John MacArthur’s Other Gospel
“And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
– Zechariah 12:10 (NASV) [emphasis mine, ed.]
The highlighted portion of this passage in Zechariah is quoted again in the Gospel of John, chapter 19, verse 34:
But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. And He who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass that the Scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” – John 19:34-37 (NASV)
It is not my purpose today to enlarge upon either text but rather to bring to your attention what God has declared to the Church as prophecy fulfilled. My point in doing so I trust will become both evident and beneficial.
Now then, here you have two texts, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. The passage in the Gospel of John, a testimony of the beloved Apostle, who, he himself says he witnessed not only the actual piercing of Christ on the cross, but that his own testimony is true. Not only that, the Apostle declares by authority of the Holy Spirit of God that what he himself has witnessed is the fulfillment of the prophecy recorded in Zechariah 12:10, quoted above.
Now, you the reader have two choices.
- You can affirm that what God has declared fulfilled through His Apostle is so, and say Amen, or…
- You can say it is only partially fulfilled or worse, deny it en totem.
If you choose to declare that God’s Word stands true and in this case, fulfilled, you do well. If you declare it only partially fulfilled or deny it outright, you are either lacking in spiritual ability to see the truth, or you are deceived.
The Importance of the Question
The issue I bring to your attention today is not one of small import. There are teachers and preachers in our country who are using the very passage in Zechariah, and many others, in regards to a future salvation of a people – after the Second Advent of Christ, where they are teaching, at the coming of Christ again, an opportunity for repentance and salvation – not by faith alone- but by faith and sight upon His coming.
To say the least, it disregards the Scriptural exhortation that Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts (Hebrews 3:7, 13, 15; 4:7) and teaches the Church that, for the Jews, “Today” is not the day, but tomorrow-therein lies your salvation. Now why would the Holy Spirit emphasize today, when tomorrow will do just fine for some?
It is a twisted exegesis that concerns the very souls of men. We are not dealing with some theological nuance here, nor partaking in a futile exercise of hermeneutical nit-picking. We are talking about redemption of the souls of men by faith alone in Christ, the central focus of the entire record of Scripture.
A Denial of Scripture’s Testimony of A Fulfilled Prophecy
As I’ve said, God, through the Apostle John, declared the statement quoted earlier, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” as being fulfilled at the crucifixion of our Lord. It’s just that simple folks. That’s what it says, and that’s what it means.
Yet, listen to what John MacArthur tells us in his footnotes on the passage of Zechariah 12:10 in the MacArthur Study Bible:
God, in His own perfect time and by His own power, will sovereignly act to save Israel…Israel’s repentance will come because they look to Jesus, the One whom they rejected and crucified, in faith, at the Second Advent. (emphasis mine, ed.).
MacArthur here teaches that opportunity for repentance will be available at the Second Advent. What? Brethren, if there will be opportunity for repentance at the Second Advent, why worry about repentance now? If what he says is true, there is no sense of urgency regarding repentance and the judgment of God for many. Moreover, what the Apostle John says happened at the crucifixion, MacArthur denies and relegates to the future. MacArthur’s wrong. Listen, when Christ Jesus comes again, when the trumpets sound and our Lord appears with all His holy angels, the time for repentance and salvation for the unbelieving is over….even for the Jew. MacArthur promises a false opportunity for repentance and a false hope to many.
An Assault on Sola Fide
MacArthur doesn’t stop there. It gets far worse. In a sermon on Zechariah 12:1-14, he states this concerning the Jews:
While their spiritual eyes are up and they’re thinking about God and how He has delivered them, they’re going to see God incarnate, Jesus, coming. They’re going to look on Him….they recognize that the very one who came back as their deliverer, was the same one they killed and they pierced when He came the first time. That’s why they mourn. And now that’s the anguish of true repentance, beloved.
He goes on:
And then Israel is going to receive salvation, look at 13:1, “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” God’s going to wash the nation from its sin.
First, they’re going to cry “My Lord and my God,” when they see Jesus. They’re going to realize it was God they pierced. And then God’s going to turn the fountain loose and wash them and pour out His Spirit.
What ever happened to Sola Fide?
Here MacArthur has not only promised opportunity for repentance after Christ appears, but he teaches that, at least for the Jews, salvation is no longer sola fide, by faith alone, but for the Jews, it is in faith by sight. Brethren, this contradicts all teaching of Scripture. This man’s dispensationalism forces him into a twisted, unbiblical exegesis that promises hope at a time when there is none any longer.
John MacArthur may desire to appear calvinistic, but his teaching in eschatology is clearly from the bosom of John Nelson Darby where it originated. In fact, reformed theology has always, historically opposed MacArthur’s dispensational teaching. Far from teaching the doctrines of grace and proclaiming the urgency of repentance today while there is yet time, John MacArthur is clearly proclaiming another gospel – for the Jew – which truly is not a gospel at all, but a lie endangering souls of men, deceiving the Church body at large and robbing the Church of Jesus Christ of the comforts of God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His prophetic Word in Christ Jesus.