"For the Lord will not cast off forever..."
...Though He causes grief, Yet He will show
compassion. According to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not
afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
Does Eternal Damnation Glorify God?
Will you work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise you? Selah. Shall your
lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or your faithfulness in the
place of destruction? Shall your wonders be known in the dark? And
your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? (Psalms 88:10-12)
What is it that convinces us that God's
plan is to punish those who do not come to Christ in faith by consigning
them to endless torment in a lake of fire? Why do you believe it right
now? Can you defend the concept from the scriptures? Perhaps you can offer
a few scriptures containing words such as "forever and ever" and
"unquenchable fire." This article will deal
with Scriptures containing these words.
But are you so comfortable with the
concept that you haven't thoroughly investigated this belief
yourself in the Bible? How strongly do you believe in eternal
damnation? Would you feel uncomfortable having fellowship with
someone who does not believe in it? Would you feel compelled to
defend it? Would you expel those who oppose this doctrine from your
church? Does your church's doctrinal statement require a
belief in eternal damnation as a prerequisite for membership?
Think for a moment about the very real implications
of your belief! If you saw your child running toward the road pell-mell
into traffic, would you stand idly by, shaking your head in sadness about
the certainty of his impending doom, or would you immediately dash to
his rescue and do everything in your power to save him? Indeed, if he
began to fight against your attempts to rescue him, even when he's denying that there
is any impending danger, you would constrain him by any means available,
perhaps even at the risk of your own safety and life.
In the previous scenario, the consequences
of the child's actions are fleeting, having nothing to do with eternal
consequences, but what about those whom you know to be destined for eternal
agonizing torment without ever hope of light? How much do you believe
in eternal damnation now? Enough to do everything in your power to constrain
him? When you are in a public place, has it occurred to you that these
many individuals on their daily errands, the ones pushing carts, waiting
at the traffic light, sitting on the park bench reading the paper, are
individuals whose now calm features will shortly be distorted into agonizing
grimaces of incomprehensible suffering?
What of your own unsaved family
members? Do you ever picture them enduring the reality of their
destination, forever damned, their mouths twisted in a rictus of
pain, fear and hopeless despondency? What is your response? Do you
cry out a warning, grab them by the lapels and confront them with the
seriousness of their plight -- the only rational response of one who believes
faithfully in eternal damnation as much as you do?
How much do you really believe in eternal
Think of all of the seeming contradictions
you have dealt with in coming to terms with this belief. We all believe
that God wants to save all men, that His arm is not shortened that it
cannot save, that He does all things after the counsel of His own will
and yet -- we believe that there are many, perhaps even the vast majority
of mankind, who will not be saved!
God Does All Things after the Counsel of His Own Will
What is God's will for those for those who are
unsaved? Is the will of God frustrated by the lack of cooperation by
man? We know He wills that all should be saved as is testified in
the following verses:
"the lord is not slack concerning his
promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us,
not willing that any should
perish but that all should come to repentance." (2
will have all men to be
saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
God's desire is to gather together
ALL things in Christ. Is His will guaranteed to come to pass or is
His desire a hopeless wish?
"having made known to us the mystery
of his will,
according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself, that in
the dispensation of the fullness of the times
he might gather together in
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which
are on earth——in him. in him also we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestined according to the purpose of him
who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
"For I have come down from heaven, not
to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the
will of him who sent
me, that I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING OF ALL THAT HE HAS GIVEN ME,
but raise it up on the last day. For this is the
will of my Father,
that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have
eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John
What is the will of God? Does He
really work ALL things after the counsel of His own will? Aren't
there some things that He allows which are contrary to His will?
What happens when the will of man and the will of God are in
conflict as is the case of one rejecting the Gospel. Whose will
prevails? We know that it is the will of God that "...all men should
be saved..." and that "...none should perish...", but what happens
when this will of God is pitted against the will of man. According
to conventional belief, man's will overrules the will of God. How
can it be that God, the Creator of man acquiesces to the will of His
creation; especially when the consequences are infinitely dire?
Every Knee Will Bend, Every Tongue Confess
"therefore god also has highly
exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that
at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and
of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is lord, to the glory of god
the father." (Philippians
Whose knee is "every"? Surely
it cannot include those destined for eternal destruction! Will these whose
hearts were so hardened they could not be brought into conformity with
the will of God actually thank Him for the mind-numbing judgment into
which they are about to be delivered? No, some will say. This knee-bending,
this confession; it's not a willing confession, it's a forced confession.
There will be no freedom of the will. The pharisees were scandalized when
Christ presumed upon the power of God to forgive the sins of one He had
just healed. His question to them was to the point "Tell me, which is
the easier; to heal or to forgive sins?" I might pose the same question
to one who is convinced of the "free moral agency" of man, yet who is
convinced that this final act of man is without freedom of the will. "Which
is easier my friend, God forcing the will of man to temporarily acquiesce
to His in bending the knee for a moment, or God tearing out the heart
of stone and putting a new heart of flesh into the man, willing Him to
be saved?" If God could do either, and one is in concert with His
will, will He not choose the latter?
"therefore I make known to you that no
one speaking by the spirit of god calls Jesus accursed, and no one
can say that Jesus is lord except by the holy spirit." (1 Corinthians
The confession in Philippians 2 is done
to the glory of God the father! Some have tried to remove the force of
this verse by saying that the disobedient will confess not that Jesus
Christ is their Lord, but Lord of others! Ridiculous! What purpose
would this serve?
A grudging confession is meaningless and would not be "to the glory of
God the Father." The same writer who penned the letter to Philippi --
Paul -- is the same writer, who in his letter to Corinth wrote "no man
can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Spirit of God." Of course men can
utter the phrase "Jesus is Lord", but only by the Spirit of God can it
be uttered in truth and to His Glory.
Does Every Tongue Confess?
In Phillipians 2:9-11, Paul was paraphrasing a verse found in Isaiah chapter 45
in which he elaborates on the confession:
"I have sworn by myself, the word is gone
out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me
every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. Surely, shall one say,
in the LORD have I righteousness and
strength: even to him shall men
come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed." (Isaiah
The oath every tongue will take is that
"surely in the Lord have I
our plight before we came to Christ in Romans 5:6 thus:
First, we had no righteousness of
our own before the intervention of Christ:
"as it is written: "there is
no, not one;" (Romans 3:10, Romans 3:12,
Psalms 14:3, 53:3 )
Neither did we have any strength
without Christ as the following Scripture testifies:
"when we were yet
in due time Christ died for the ungodly." (Romans 5:6)
As early as the book of Isaiah, we find
the Lord declaring that, at some future time, on the tongue of every
creature would be the swearing of an oath that in the Lord he had
found both righteousness and strength! When every tongue confesses,
it will be telling the truth! He will certainly have subdued all
things to Himself! For most people who will never come to Christ
during their lifetimes, the only time this could happen is after
their physical death! This is not some "second chance" as the
opposition to this truth often say. This is plainly and truthfully
God's plan for man from the foundation of time.
Final Conquest: DEATH!
"then comes the end, when he delivers
the kingdom to god the father, when he puts an end to all rule and
all authority and power. for he must reign till he has put all
enemies under his feet. The
last enemy that will be destroyed is death. for 'he has put
all things under his feet.' but when he says 'all things are put
under him,' it is evident that he who put all things under him is
excepted. now when all things are made subject to him, then the son
himself will also be subject to him who put all things under him,
that god may be all in all."
(1 Corinthians 15:24-28)
This verse reveals to us that even
itself will be destroyed! All death will be destroyed, no
matter the kind; carnal, spiritual, first, second. We are told that the lake of fire is the second
death. (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8) Death is destroyed to end
all tears, all suffering. Jesus death was to baptize us all into His
resurrection. He was ransomed for us all. (1 Timothy 2:6, Romans
6:10, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, )
Death is separation. Physical
death is the separation of the spirit from the body. (James 2:26) The second death
is the separation of the creature from God. Christ will finally destroy
the separation of God from His people!
The Rich Man Learned in the Flames!
"There was a certain rich man who was
clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.
but there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was
laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from
the rich man’s table. moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to
Abraham’s bosom. the rich man also died and was buried.
And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw
Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said,
‘father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip
the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am
tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, ‘son, remember that in your lifetime you received
your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is
comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us
and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass
from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.
Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him
to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify
to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’
Abraham said to him, ‘they have Moses and the prophets; let them
hear them.’ and he said, ‘no, father Abraham; but if one goes to
them from the dead, they will repent.’ but he said to him, ‘if they
do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded
though one rise from the dead.’" (Luke 16:19-31)
There has been a dramatic change in
the rich man's character from the time before he died to now that he
is suffering in the flames. It seems that his whole attitude about
Lazarus together with his values have changed. The requests he makes
to Abraham are made in an attitude of obsequious humility. Abraham, for
his part takes great patience in educating the rich man about his
circumstances and the power of the Word of God.
The first question we would ask has
to be: Why would the rich man learn anything at all? Why is Abraham
available to answer him and why does he answer him? Is Abraham
treating the rich man with kindness in making reply to him? What
good can learning do the rich man now if he is eternally damned to
these flames? But Abraham patiently instructs the rich man in areas
in which he lacks knowledge. Of what use are the knowledge, lessons
and humility which the flames have apparently wrought, only too late
to do him any good, if indeed his damnation is eternal.
No flames on Earth EVER annihilate
or destroy. They change things chemically by oxidizing them. The
heat can be used to purify gold, iron, or other molten metals or to
sterilize and make clean among other things.
Both the Hebrew word (Ruach) for
'spirit' and the Greek word (pneuma) mean 'breath' or 'wind' Fire
takes that breath or wind and combines it with the substance which
is burning. This is what is known chemically as 'oxidation'.
Oxidation is the 'enspiriting' of a substance.
John the Baptist said of Christ, "He
will baptize you with the holy spirit and FIRE". There is a baptism
of fire, a cleansing, enspiriting baptism which accompanies
regeneration. The flames which the rich man inhabited were not just
flames of torment, they were flames of chastening, correction,
cleansing, regeneration and purification. These flames which were 'enspiriting'
or 'spiritually oxidizing' with the 'pneuma' the breath of God.
Observe the following
contrasts in the rich man's behavior before and after his experience
in the flames:
Before: The rich man would not
accept the invitation to come to Christ to drink of the living waters,
to be baptized by the Spirit.
He never experienced a spiritual "thirst."
After: He asks Abraham to send
Lazarus, of all people for water to alleviate his thirst.
Before: He felt entitled to
"sumptuous" living while ignoring the needs of others. He had no
After: He doesn't ask for any
significant quantity of water -- only what would adhere to the tip of Lazarus' finger.
He feels entitled to nothing. He's acquainted with the results
of his life and has come to terms with them.
Before: He cared nothing for
others. Lazarus had an unfulfilled desire to be fed only the crumbs
from his table, but was ignored and left at the gate, full of sores.
He had no sympathy.
After: After the terrible blow
of learning he would not receive so much as a drop of water, not
only does he not become indignant, he begins immediately to show
concern for those left behind who might also come into this place.
He displays both empathy and sympathy.
Before: Lazarus. worth to him was
such that he was not found worthy
even of the crumbs from his table.
After: Lazarus is now a fitting intercessor
for the rich man. He now had need of Lazarus to assist in the redemption
of his brothers and to meet his need for the droplet of the water of life.
He acknowledges Lazarus' worth and his impact on his own needs and
life. He now expresses his need for Lazarus' help.
Before: He had no care nor hope
in a resurrection after which he might be judged guilty of the
sinful choices he made in his life..
After: He overestimates the power
of a resurrection to change men's hearts. He now believes and
hopes for a resurrection, perhaps not for himself, but for his
Before: Perhaps enjoyed the company
of his brothers, maybe like so many do today, said, "I want to go to hell
-- all my friends will be there!"
After: Begged Abraham for a way
to warn his brothers that they not come to this horrible place.
Knowing that he might never see them again Why now, when the rich
man gives every evidence of a good inner nature, is he eternally damned, to take the
knowledge he has only too lately gained into the darkness of night forever
and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever?
Before: It seems that he did
not believe in the resurrection of the dead, because he doesn't fear
judgment for his sins.
After: He exaggerates the power
of the resurrection of Lazarus to convince his brothers to repent of
their sins and avoid the fate of the rich man. He learns then the
power of the Word of God: Moses and the Prophets, which were the
entirety of the Word at that time. Abraham informs him that the Word
of God is a more powerful inducement to salvation than the witness
of a man being raised from the dead.
"For the word of god is living and
powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12a)
Question: Has the rich man become
good? Paul said there is none good, no, not even one! What did Paul
say was the only way one can become good? By being buried with
Christ by baptism into His death and being raised in "newness of
life" -- the new birth! (Romans 6:4)Peter said that baptism is the
answer of a GOOD conscience toward God. (1 Peter 3:21) The flames
have certainly had some good effect on him as indicated above. He
seems to be experiencing a newness of life in his apparent death. He
has apparently repented of his former ways.
The parables of the
kingdom teach that there are those who enter early by reason of others
who failed to receive the kingdom's invitation to a supper. (Luke
14:16-24) There are also those in
the parables who recoiled in anger and shock to find that there were those
who had not "borne the heat of the day" who were now receiving the full
day's wages! (Matthew 20:1-16) Jesus said "The first shall be last and
the last shall be first" There is the parable of the prodigal son in which the
older brother resents that his prodigal brother has received an even
greater reward than he, who was good from the beginning. In all
these accounts there is surprise at the outcomes in which those who
were not expected to receive a reward because of their failures.
in the end receive sometimes a greater reward than those who were
supposed to be the firstfruits. Many upon hearing this truth
recoil from it asking, "Are you telling me that they who have sinned
and never come to the Lord as I have, will receive the same reward
as me?" They feel they have something of which to boast over those
who come afterward. Why wouldn't they rejoice as the prodigal's
father that these who were lost and dead in sin are no made alive by
the blood of Jesus Christ, having now believed?
There are, no doubt, those who
oppose these views who are very surprised that I am using the
account of Lazarus and the rich man to assist in making my case for
the salvation of all men. This is because they suppose that this
account is one of the greatest weapons in their arsenal in the war
on this doctrine. This supposition is based upon the following
fragment of the account:
"And besides all this, between us
and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to
pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to
This passage in their view precludes
any hope for the rich man to reach the other side. Indeed, at the
time Abraham said this, it is true. But Paul teaches us in his
letter to the Romans that while we are estranged from God so that He
is actively at war with us on account of our sin, those of us who
have placed our faith in the Son of God have peace with God, having
been justified by our faith. (Romans 5:1) So this great gulf
presents no obstacle to the one who has placed his faith in the
Gospel of Christ. When Christ breathed His last upon the cross, the
Temple Veil to the Holy of Holies was torn in half. This signified
that there was now peace with God and the way into the fellowship of
God had been made. All that keeps the rich man confined to the flames
is the absence of someone to teach him the Gospel once his heart has
been prepared by the flames. But as we shall see, it was Christ
Himself who would preach to these imprisoned sinners!
When Christ Died, the Rich Man Was Freed!
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me;
because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek;
he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to
the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Both Isaiah and Jesus (Luke
4:18-19) spoke these verses. Jesus came to a town and visited the
synagogue. When He was given the opportunity to speak, He first
stood up and read from the Scriptures (this was their custom for new
arrivals), and these were the verses He spoke of. He chose these
verses from Isaiah out of all the others of Scripture about Himself.
He then sat down to give His interpretation of the Scripture that
He'd read. He said, "today this Scripture is fulfilled in your
Of what "prison" are the LORD (and Isaiah)
speaking? Could the prison be one like the one Peter spoke
about in his letter?
For Christ also hath once suffered for
sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being
put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also
he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were
disobedient, when once the longsuffering of god waited in the days of
Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls
were saved by water. (1 Peter 3:18-20)
What!? Did Christ really preach to
those who ignored the preaching of Noah who now having died in the
flood are kept imprisoned? What did he preach? Victory? A spiritual
"Nyaah nyaah nyaaah nyaaah nyaah" as so many interpret this verse? Look
at the text only a few verses further as Peter refers back to this verse, thus giving
the proper understanding of what Christ preached to these long dead
souls in prison and its effect on them.
For for this cause was the gospel preached
also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men
in the flesh, but **live according to god in the spirit.** (1 Peter
Why be surprised that Christ preached
the Gospel to those who are dead? Do we not preach to those who are
spiritually dead in sin? What does it matter "when" we respond to
the Gospel? Are you offended by this since you came to Christ early
and they came late? Is this not the bad attitude of the Prodigal's
brother (Luke 15:25-32) or those who'd borne the heat of the whole
day in the fields only to be paid the same wage as those who came in
at the end of the day? (Matthew 20:1-16) Did not Christ several
times say "The first will be last and the last will be first. Who
suffered more, those who worked in the fields all day knowing they
would be able to go home and feed their families, or those who spent
the day wringing their hands with worry that it would be another
hungry night? Who led the happier life, the one who during his life
knew he was saved and lived a better, hopeful life, or the one who
was without hope and did not share in the benefits of the Gospel
during his life, dying without hope in a future after death? Is the
Christian life so miserable or the mission field so horrible that
you consider your Christianity a burden?
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up
on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that
he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower
parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended
up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) (Ephesians
As for thee also, by the blood of thy
covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no
water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day
do I declare that I will render double unto thee; (Zechariah 9:11-12)
Can you see from these verses of Scripture that
prisoners are freed after their deaths? Do you think He preached the
Gospel only to those from Noah's day? 1 Peter 4:6 seems to allow for
more inclusion. And so it is with the Rich Man. The flames from the
Lake of Fire did not annihilate him. They changed him for the better
and prepared his heart to hear from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself,
the Gospel of his salvation from prison.
The Church is a Kingdom of Priests, a Tithe or Firstfruits of Mankind Whose
Purpose is to reconcile the Whole
The Old Testament abounds with
references to the concept of firstfruits. Under the Law, the firstfruits of the
harvest, of the trees, of the flocks and even men were to be given
to God. It was always the best of the firstfruits which were
offered. The offering of these firstfruits indicated that the
ownership of the entire harvest belonged to the Lord. Once
given, the firstfruits became a guarantee of the harvests which
would follow the current one.
Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with
the firstfruits of all your increase;
so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will
overflow with new wine. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
In the following verse "the firstfruits of the
Spirit" hints at the redemption of the entire harvest of all.
Remember, God's receiving of the firstfruits is indicative of His
ownership of all.
For we know that the whole
creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly
waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
These verses reveal that with
Christ, the firstfruits of the Spirit will sit in judgment of the
all of the fruit belonging to the Spirit. They will even judge
angels! Their judgment will simulate the judgment of the father of
the Prodigal. The firstfruits will be like the nation of Israel was
intended to be, a kingdom of priests who would redeem the whole.
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge
the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy
to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?
how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
In this verse God's plan is
summarized: God being in Christ, Whose death brought about the
reconciling of the whole world to Himself, through the firstfruits
of this age mediating this final reconciliation!
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling
the World unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and
hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Jesus Christ is the one mediator
between God and mankind, Jesus becoming the propitiation, the
payment, the ransom for all our sins, not yet accomplished but to be
accomplished in a time yet future, at a time when it is expedient, a
time that is concordant with the counsel of His will, a time which
remains a mystery not revealed to all believers.
For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom
for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
Christ is the Savior of ALL men, but
He is savior ESPECIALLY of those that believe. What does it mean to
be one of those special persons who now believe? Does this mean that
those who now do not believe are excluded. ESPECIALLY indicates a
subset of ALL, a special case of ALL who are to be saved. That
special group is that kingdom of priests, the firstfruit, the loving
judges who will accomplish the final reconciliation between God and
For therefore we both labor and suffer
reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the savior of
all men, especially of those that believe. (1 Timothy 4:10)
Another Scripture tells us of the
special case who are being saved in this age with the words, "and
not for ours (sins) only" We, in this age, are being prepared
through suffering and tribulation, chastening and correction to be
sympathetic and empathetic judges, reconciling priests of God, the
firstfruits of the Spirit, the guarantee of the purchased
And he is the propitiation for our sins:
and not For ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1
So, this special age in which we live
is the time when God is taking out His firstfruits. Israel,
which was in the past to be destined to be the firstfruits of
mankind, has been set aside for a time until the fullness of the
Gentiles has been harvested. (Romans 11:25). When this has taken
place, the special firstfruits having been fully harvested and given
to the Lord (the Church), the "due time" shall have arrived when
Christ and His Bride, His priests and judges will begin to complete
God's plan to reconcile all the world by application of the blood of
Christ to every man, woman and child, every offspring of Adam. The
filthy who are in the outer darkness outside the New Jerusalem will
enter, bending their knee, confessing that in the Lord they shall
have both righteousness and strength. They will then have access to
God their Savior and to the River of Life, the Tree of Life, and its
leaves for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1-2)
All Men Is the Will of God!
Compare the following two verses with
For this is good and acceptable in the
sight of God our Saviour; who *will* have all men to be saved, and to
come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise,
as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us- ward, Not *willing*
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh *all*
things after the counsel of *his own will*: (Ephesians 1:11)
Knowledge of God = Eternal Life -- All will Have the Knowledge of
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all
my holy mountain: for the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of the
lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
For the earth shall be filled with the
knowledge of the glory of the lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk
And this is life eternal, that they might
know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true,
and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is
the true god, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)
Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom
shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children
of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah
shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For
I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth
in Zion. (Joel 3:19-21)
Paul's Discourse on God's Plan to Save All ...OR "What in Heaven Is
Romans 11 All about?"
Paul uses chapter 11 to indicate that All Israel
is to be saved through God's sovereign choosing of a remnant, a
firstfruits of Israel which sanctifies or "sets apart" the whole of
the nation. The greater part of the nation has had its eyes blinded
so that it cannot respond to the Gospel so that the fullness of the
Gentiles can come in. The Gentiles' fullness drives Israel to
I say then, Have they stumbled that they
should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is
come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the
fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them
the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
What!? Those who are fallen have a "fullness".
Here is the reason for the falling of some: to provoke the others to jealousy.
It is through the nation of Israel that God has purposed to save all mankind!
For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch
as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any
means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might
save some of them.
Paul hopes that by adhering to this principle
of provoking to jealousy that some of his kinsmen might enter the kingdom
even in this age.
For if the casting away of them be the
reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life
from the dead?
Those who are cast away now will be received!
They died in unbelief, they are dead and gone, so their receiving is indeed
"life from the dead"! Why should we be surprised when we believe that
God is a God who redeems those who "were dead in trespasses and sins"
when we also find that those who are unbelieving dead in their graves
also have hope of being raised. We who are now saved were also the "unbelieving
dead", "without hope in the world", but are now "raised
in newness of life", "born again to a living hope".
Just as the worst act mankind has ever
committed, namely that of nailing the Son of God to a cross and killing
him, resulted in the greatest gift of grace ever to accrue to mankind
-- this "casting away" of some was never designed to be the losing of
them forever, but was a horrible event turned around by God to be a display
of His glory, mercy and grace to an even greater degree than might be
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump
is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
We find the principle, ubiquitous in the
Scriptures, that in His good pleasure, God takes the firstfruits of creation
in order to indicate his possession of the whole! God is taking the firstfruits
during this age, the beginning of the harvest, to be a holy priesthood
which will accomplish the final reconciling of the world in the future
kingdom with the water of life, the tree of life, the leaves of healing
etc. God's acceptance of the firstfruits is His guarantee that he has
accepted the entire harvest.
And if some of the branches be broken
off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them,
and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast
not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root,
but the root thee.
Thou wilt say then, The branches were
broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they
were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but
fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he
also spare not thee.
This olive tree is not salvation. This
is not teaching that one can lose his salvation. Salvation is the state
of one having been raised from the dead, resurrected into newness of life.
The old man is dead and the new man has been created in righteousness
and true holiness. Peter called him (the new man) an "incorruptible seed".
Death is corruption. To lose one's salvation would mean being raised to
"newness of death", to be corrupted. (See Romans 6, Ephesians, Hebrews
No, the olive tree does not represent
the domain of those who are saved. If that were true, it would imply that
all Jews were saved by their Jewishness and subsequently lost it. They
have been removed from the olive tree! They weren't removed from salvation,
but from the kingdom under the old covenant. The old covenant was a covenant
of two, meaning if and only if you abide by the terms of the covenant,
you will continue under the covenant. If you fail to keep the terms of
it, you will be cursed.
The New Covenant is a covenant of one,
given to Abraham, confirmed by the prince (Christ) in the middle of the
week (see Daniel), who was then cut off (his crucifixion) and
will be completed in the next age. When God gave the promise to Abraham,
Abraham became paralyzed and was unable to fulfill his part in walking
between the pieces! Only God walked between the pieces. The writer of
Hebrews confirmed this when He showed that God swore by his own name to
keep this covenant. This covenant did not depend on any act of capricious
man, but on God giving to man the gift of faith (Eph. 2:8-9) by
terms of His grace. Man never comes to God of His own will ("there is
none who seeks after God....None good, no not one") but even when
one places his faith in Christ, it is only after God has performed the
miraculous work of resurrection (Romans 6) in the heart of the
man. Peter even said that baptism is not the act whereby we are saved,
but "the answer of a *good* conscience toward God". There is no
good conscience before God does his wonderful creative work in the heart
In short, the olive tree represents that
not only are the saved given the promise of the New Covenant, but the
kingdom and blessings of the Old Covenant as well, because whereas before,
man was unable to keep the law, now, through the new creation which is
incorruptible, we keep the law by faith in Christ. We now partake of the
olive tree, its root, and fatness! What does it mean to boast then, with
its resultant loss of the blessings of the old covenant? To boast against
the lost branches is to believe that you deserve the gift of salvation
while the others did not. One who believes he came to God of his own volition
or will, must believe that there is merit in that choice which makes him
more acceptable than the branches which were cast off.
When this measure is used to judge between
oneself and the other branches, one has resurrected the principle of law
under which one may be judged and held in contempt by the old covenant.
If you place confidence in your own will to have come to God, you call
Him a liar ("There is none good, No not one!", "There is none who seeks
after God", "They have turned, every one, to his own way"). Paul
showed this error in Galatians when he challenged Peter. He accused Peter
of resurrecting the principle of Law, when he esteemed Jews to be greater
than gentiles by his preferring to sit at their tables. Paul said that
Peter's actions went so far as to indicate that Christ was the minister
of sin! Continuing in Romans 11:
Behold therefore the goodness and severity
of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if
thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
Salvation consists of two stages of redemption,
the redemption of the spirit (described in Romans 6) and the redemption
of the body (described in 1 Corinthians 15). The spirit
is sinless and incorruptible when re-created by God. That is why in 1
John, John can say, "he that is born of God cannot sin"!
The body is not born of god! Romans 7 describes the fact that
sin never occurs in the new man (the heart, the inner man, the spirit,
etc.) but in the flesh, which Paul calls "this body of sin". The
body will be born of God. Just as Paul said in Romans 6 that the
old man has been crucified with Christ, buried and raised again in newness
of life, he also said in 1 Corinthians 15 that this body will
be similarly planted, to die much like a seed to give rise to a body which
will resemble this one about as much as an oak tree resembles an acorn!
In Romans 7 Paul asks, "Who will deliver me from this body of
death?" and answers, "Christ".
In conclusion, while we are still in this
body, which is still under the condemnation of law, we can still lose
the blessings of the old covenant, though not the new as it says in Galatians
that the one under law would not be heir with the one under grace. So
that while one cannot lose one's status under the new covenant (viz. one's
salvation), one can lose one's place in this age, of having the blessings
of the old covenant. (To see the blessings and the curses of the Old Covenant,
read the book of Deuteronomy)
And they also, if they abide not still
in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature,
and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much
more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their
own olive tree?
For I would not, brethren, that ye should
be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;
that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the
Gentiles be come in.
This failure of Israel to come to Christ
has an "until". They are not lost without end. Note that they are blind.
They cannot see. Their blindness will have an end however!
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it
is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn
away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when
I shall take away their sins.
Note that there will come out of "Zion"
the deliverer. Note
that the "deliverer" is spoken of as plural
in the passage below.
And saviours shall come up on mount Zion
to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD'S. (Obadiah
This is the holy city of the next age
wherein God will accomplish the finishing of the destruction of death
through His kingdom of priests, (saviors) the body of Christ, the Deliverer.
Note also that it does not say that Jacob will turn away from his sins,
but that God will "take away their sins".
As concerning the gospel, they are enemies
for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the
fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
What have those whose teachings you have
followed told you about what happens to the "enemies of the gospel?" But
here we are told that these enemies of the gospel are beloved for the
sake of the "election"! What is Paul saying!? Just what he has been hinting
at throughout, that God uses the disobedience of man to accomplish His
will! He used the disobedience of man to accomplish the greatest demonstration
of His mercy and grace -- the crucifixion of Christ. He uses the disobedience
of Israel to accomplish the salvation of the Gentiles! He then uses the
mercy and grace shown the Gentiles to move the hearts of His people, Israel!
For as ye in times past have not believed
God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: Even so have
these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain
Those who die in unbelief are in the same
condition we were! Just as we were once dead in trespasses, just as we
would not accept the invitation of Christ "Come unto me...", but had "turned
every one to his own way" and none of us were "good, no not one!", and
yet were saved, these also who now fit the descriptions above may be saved
in the same manner but because of our salvation and the mercy shown us,
they will come to Christ in the next age. God can do this because since
None of us ever came to God seeking Him, but were saved by His sovereign
will, work and act, he can save all of us by the same method.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief,
that he might have mercy upon ALL.
We are all concluded in unbelief! God
tried to win us through the curse in the garden (failed), through a worldwide
cleansing and establishment of human government (failed), and through
the establishment of a theocracy known as the nation of Israel (again,
failed). The only method which worked was to sovereignly overrule the
depraved will of man in a final display that there is no goodness without
God, a lesson which corrects the error of Lucifer who felt that he could
live independently of God. Thus is fulfilled the curiosity of the cherubim
looking intently down at the blood on the mercy seat of the ark of the
covenant. Thus is the curiosity of the messengers sated about whom Peter
said they desired to look into things concerning salvation. Thus is the
revelation of the mystery of which Paul spoke concerning the church through
which the manifold wisdom of God might be known to the principalities
and powers! Satan and his followers are learning from the church, much
as he learned that Job was not a "paid lover" of God!
This wonderful passage summarizes God's
marvelous wisdom in how he can bring about the salvation of all mankind.
Since none of us come to God at his invitation, (even we who now believe
came as a result of His giving us the gift of faith through His re-creation
of the inner man) but must be compelled, then He can save all men according
to His own will.
This wonderful truth so moved Paul that
he effused the following words which many have memorized and put to music,
but most have never understood what emotions caused such praise to be
given to God.
O the depth of the riches both of the
wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and
his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord?
or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and
it shall be recompensed unto him again?
For of him, and through him, and to him,
are ALL things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:11-36)
For of Him (all creation originated
in Him), and through Him (His redemption is preparing us to return
to Him through His blood) and to Him (His creation will return
to Him) are ALL THINGS! (ALL will return!)
Who Enters the Gates of the Great City?
And the nations of them which are saved
shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their
glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all
by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the
glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise
enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination,
or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding
out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
In the midst of the street of it, and
on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare
twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the
leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but
the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall
serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their
foreheads. (Revelation 21:24-22:4)
Notice that the gates of the city are
open! There are people entering this city! Christ told us that those who
eat His flesh and drink of His Blood would never hunger or thirst again.
For whom are the trees with leaves for the healing of the nations? Who
is this river having the water of life for. Why is there a "kingdom of
priests" in this city? Why indeed all of these things when the work of
salvation is finished? We are told that nothing defiling will enter the
gates of the city, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of
Life. So there must be good, non-defiling people outside the city, written
in the Book of Life, right? Wrong!!! Look at the following passage given
just a few verses down...
Blessed are they that do his commandments,
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through
the gates into the city. For without (outside) are dogs, and sorcerers,
and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth
and maketh a lie.
Who are outside the city? Dogs, sorcerors,
whoremongers, idolaters and liars. Wait! Where are the good people,
the ones written in the Lambs book, the ones which do His commandments
who gain entrance?
Just as we obeyed and gained entrance
to this present kingdom of God, these also outside the gates must also
obey the commandments of God. What is the commandment of God? John told
us in another of His letters, "And this is the commandment of God; that
you believe in Him whom He has sent."
So who is the river having the water of
life for? It is for the prodigals coming in late, having been chastened
by the time spent eating with the swine outside the gate, like the rich
man of Luke 16, repentant and changed. They are those who received
not the baptism of the spirit, but the baptism of fire - not the elder
brother who remained with the father, but the younger brother who squandered
his inheritance. What the father's invitation failed to do, the swine
They are met at the gates by members of
a royal priesthood who came out of this present age. This priesthood is
comprised of the firstfruits of creation, having the firstfruits of the
Spirit, those given the task of doing the "greater works" which Christ
said we would do. God said that He would take the tribe of Levi (the priests)
"instead of the firstborn". This priesthood is the "church of the firstborn"
a tithe of mankind by God to Himself which sanctifies the whole to Himself.
This lump, taken out during this present age, will complete the work of
Christ. These are the elders, the first born (elder brothers) having received
the inheritance of the "double portion" who are given the task of redeeming
their younger brethren who have squandered their inheritance. The prodigals
are greeted at the gates by their first born brothers and with a new ring
on their fingers and a new robe on their backs, they are guided to the
waters of life and to the tree of life.
If thy Brother be waxen poor, and hath
sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem
it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold.
And if the man have none to redeem it,
and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the
sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold
it; that he may return unto his possession.
But if he be not able to restore it to
him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath
bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out,
and he shall return unto his possession. (Leviticus 25)
What is it in the New Covenant that
answers to the Jubilee? Yes, there is still an invitation in the next
age. Whoever will is invited to drink from the water of life freely. The
gates open, the Spirit and the Bride extend the invitation...
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify
unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring
of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and
the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him
that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of
God Kills to
When he slew them, then they sought him:
and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembered
that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer. (Psalms 78:34-35)
Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest,
Return, ye children of men. (Psalms 90:3)
Foolish one, what you sow is not made
alive unless it dies. (1 Corinthians 15:36)
For he who has died has been freed from
sin. (Romans 6:7)
Never Have Hope?
But I would not have you to be ignorant,
brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even
as others which have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
What is Paul saying here!? If indeed there
is the eternal burning of the lost forever and ever in endless torment,
then WE are the ones who should sorrow! The heathen have no idea what
awaits them. They have no expectation of the fiery judgement. The christian
is the one who is most full of sorrow that many members of his family
will enter a Christless eternity. What kind of hope is that? Is Paul
implying that we are to be so self-centered that we can take comfort in
our own salvation even when a loved one departs this life to enter eternity
in darkness and flame?
No, the hope the christian has is that
even though this unbeliever has died without Christ, God has sworn by
His own Name that His covenant will be kept. His arm is not shortened
that it cannot save, His desire is to save ALL men and that NONE should
perish, and He WILL perform everything according to HIS will! That is
why we have hope! The unbeliever believes that the departed are gone forever,
never to be seen again. The believer knows that there will be a reunion,
that this unbeliever will be seen and known again in his new sanctified
and redeemed state, cleansed by the blood of his Savior, Jesus Christ!
Just because others have no hope does
not mean that they are destined for destruction. We who now believe were
similarly at one time "without hope"...
That at that time ye were without Christ,
being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the
covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
...but are now among those born again
to a "living hope"!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us
again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead, (1 Peter 1:3)
What about Forever, Eternal and Unquenchable Fire?
The word in our Bibles "Forever" or the
term "Forever and ever" are mistranslations of the term "aionios".
Aionios is the Greek term from which we get our English term "age", "eon",
and the constructions used in the Greek bible are "to the end of the age"
or "for ages of ages".
The Hebrew word most often used for
forever is "Olam" and it too does not translate to "forever". In the
Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament, this word
is translated to "aionios"
Both the Hebrew
Old Testament as well as the Greek New Testament use terms which speak
of a limited period of time. If none of the following applications of
the terms using "forever" were really forever without end, why would we
suddenly apply that meaning to the terms when applied to the fiery judgment?
See if the following scenarios which the Bible says would continue forever,
actually continue today...
Jonah was not inside the great fish
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains;
the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought
up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. (Jonah 2:6)
The bars about Jonah were ended when God
brought up his life from corruption!
Then his master shall bring him unto the
judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post;
and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall
serve him for ever. (Exodus 21:6)
The slave's death would END his period
of servitude AS WOULD THE YEAR OF JUBILEE!
I have surely built thee an house to dwell
in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. (1 Kings 8:13)
That physical temple no longer exists!
And the LORD said unto him, I have heard
thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have
hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for
ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. (1 Kings
(Solomon's temple lasted only 400 years.)
The Old Covenant is said to be "everlasting"...
Every sabbath he shall set it in order
before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel
by an everlasting covenant. (Leviticus 24:8)
But the writer of Hebrews declares that
it has been superseded by a "better" covenant...
If that first covenant had been faultless,
then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault
with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath
made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready
to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:13)
The Levitical priesthood said to be "everlasting"...
And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst
anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's
office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood
throughout their generations. (Exodus 40:15)
The writer of Hebrews says Levitical priesthood
has been superseded by the priesthood of Melchisedek...
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical
priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further
need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec,
and not be called after the order of Aaron?
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change
also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to
another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it
is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake
nothing concerning priesthood.
And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec
there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal
commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth,
Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. For there
is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness
and unprofitableness thereof. (Hebrews 7:11-18)
Note that this covenant is indeed forever
because it uses another greek term (akatalutos) which translates "endless"
and means "indissoluble," or "not subject to destruction."
Ecclesiastes says the earth will remain
One generation passeth away, and another
generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4)
...but Christ says the Earth is destined
to "pass away"...
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but
my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
The animal sacrifices, dietary laws and
sabbaths were to be ordinances "forever"...
Wherefore the children of Israel shall
keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations,
for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of
Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and
on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. (Exodus 31:16-17)
Behold, I build an house to the name of
the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet
incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings
morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the
solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to
Israel. (2 Chronicles 2:4)
It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you,
and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. (Leviticus 16:31)
...but Hebrews says they were to be an
ordinances "until" the time of reformation...
Which stood only in meats and drinks,
and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the
time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:10)
Christ's throne is said to be "forever"...
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne,
O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre
of thy kingdom. (Hebrews 1:8)
...but Christ is said to give up the
throne to the Father...
Then cometh the end, when he shall have
delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have
put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till
he hath put all enemies under his feet. (1 Corinthians 15:24-25)
And when all things shall be subdued unto
him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all
things under him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
Many use Mark 9:43-45
to "prove" that the destructions of Hellfire are eternal or everlasting...
"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off:
it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands
to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their
worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend
thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than
having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall
be quenched:" (Mark 9:43-45)
...but does "unquenchable" mean "everlasting"?
Or does it simply mean what it says -- the fire cannot be "quenched".
To quench means to snuff out the flames prior to the complete consumption
of the fuel. A fire which totally consumes its fuel source is never quenched!
Note the examples below of fires which were also "unquenchable", but which
ceased burning after accomplishing the purpose of the Lord...
"Because they have forsaken me, and have
burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger
with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled
against this place, and shall not be quenched." (2 Kings 22:17)
"Because they have forsaken me, and have
burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger
with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured
out upon this place, and shall not be quenched." (2 Chronicles 34:25)
"Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold,
mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man,
and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit
of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched." (Jeremiah
"But if ye will not hearken unto me to
hallow the sabbath day, and not to bear a burden, even entering in at
the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire
in the gates thereof, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem,
and it shall not be quenched." (Jeremiah 17:27)
"And say to the forest of the south, Hear
the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle
a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every
dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from
the south to the north shall be burned therein." (Ezekiel 20:47)
All of these prophecies were fulfilled.
In every case an "unquenchable" fire burned, yet these fires went out
of themselves after accomplishing the purpose for which the Lord had ignited
In not one instance did an "unquenchable
fire" last forever!
One of the basic tenets of hermeneutics
is that you compare usage of ideas in other parts of scripture "comparing
spiritual with spiritual" in order to arrive at the meaning of the current
text. Are we so in love with the concept of eternal damnation that we
must insert the concept of "endless" torment into the word "aineaos",
when in every other incidence of its use, it referred to a period of time
having a beginning and an end?
The conclusion has to be that in keeping
with God's Previous uses of this concept, neither are the fires of hell
Everlasting! They will accomplish His purpose of saving all men, and no
one will be able to intervene to the quenching of these flames until every
purpose of God has been performed in regard to His will. Even in the case
of the rich man of Luke 16, God's purpose was accomplished through
Are Sodom and Gomorra Lost Forever?
In Jude we are told that the city of Sodom
has been set forth as an example of suffering the vengeance of "eternal
"Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities
about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and
going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the
vengeance of ETERNAL ("aionial" age-lasting) fire." (Jude 1:7)
...but in the sixteenth chapter of Ezekiel's
prophecy, we are told the surprising news that the captivity of Sodom
is NOT "endless", but is to have an end, being "brought back"!
And thine elder sister is Samaria, she
and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and thy younger sister,
that dwelleth at thy right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. Yet hast
thou not walked after their ways, nor done after their abominations:
but, as if that were a very little thing, thou wast corrupted more than
they in all thy ways.
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, Sodom thy
sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as thou hast done, thou
and thy daughters.
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister
Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her
and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor
and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me:
therefore I took them away as I saw good. Neither hath Samaria committed
half of thy sins; but thou hast multiplied thine abominations more than
they, and hast justified thy sisters in all thine abominations which
thou hast done.
Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters,
bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable
than they: they are more righteous than thou: yea, be thou confounded
also, and bear thy shame, in that thou hast justified thy sisters.
When I shall bring again their captivity,
the captivity of sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria
and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives
in the midst of them: That thou mayest bear thine own shame, and mayest
be confounded in all that thou hast done, in that thou art a comfort
When thy sisters, sodom and her daughters,
shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall
return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return
to your former estate. For thy sister Sodom was not mentioned by thy
mouth in the day of thy pride, (Ezekiel 16:46-56)
Which Has the Greater Impact on Mankind -- The Sin of Adam or the
Obedience of Christ?
The scriptures teach us that the sin of
Adam had an incredible impact on the fate of mankind. That one act of
disobedience condemned the entire race and placed it at enmity with God.
Paul, in Romans 5, compares the power
of the disobedient act of the first Adam with the power of the act of
the obedient last Adam (Christ). The first act killed the entire race. Death
is powerful, but the dead do not reproduce. The act of Christ gave life
to the race. Life springs to more life. Paul said, in a faithful
translation of the Greek, "Where sin abounded,
grace "super-abounded". Can it be that Paul's illustration contrasting
the power of Christ's obedient act against Adam's disobedient act fails
at the following point?
"For as by one man's disobedience many
were made sinners, so also by one man's obedience, many will be made
righteous." Romans 5:19
We are told "death passed upon all men"
due to Adam's sin. Does the act of Christ become diminished in scope on
this one point, against all that Paul has said about the greatness of
Christ's act over Adam's? Is Christ's act the less powerful when it is
measured against Adam's in terms of quantity of its power? Under this
commonly-held scenario, Adam's act of sin condemns all, but Christ's act of obedience only saves
some of them, and that very few.
This logic would prove Satan right! Sin
is more powerful than obedience! Who has really gained the victory when
the act of Christ is put in such terms?
Note that at the end of Revelation, Christ
is still on the throne, the Spirit and the Bride are saying "Come". The
work of redemption continues, so the Book of Revelation is not the end
of the story. As a matter of fact, we are given a peek at an event which
occurs after the end of the book of Revelation, when Jesus whose
throne was said to be forever, gives up the throne to His Father. This peek is found in 1 Corinthians
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ
shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the
firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh
the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the
Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things
under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is
manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And
when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself
be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all
in all. 1 Corinthians 15:22-28
So the work of salvation goes on after
the time at which the Book of Revelation ends!
If indeed you were to conclude that the
teaching of eternal damnation were not true, you would then have to conclude
that it is the greatest calumny, the greatest blasphemy on the name of Yahweh God to accuse Him
of such a plan! Stalin nor Hitler ever came up with such a monstrous plan
for their enemies. Even Hitler's ovens operated on those anaesthetized
by death, whose fires ceased when the body was consumed.
So whence did this concept of eternal
damnation arise? It became a political necessity with the rise of Catholicism
in the early church. It was a political tool to frighten people into joining
political and state churches and to enforce religious uniformity. The
better translations of the Bible have now dropped the mistranslations
of the word "aionios" in favor of "age lasting",
"age-during", or some more accurate
The doctrine of eternal damnation paints
a false picture of God and turns Him into a pitiless tyrant. God does
not want to frighten people into coming to Him. John said "We love Him,
because He first loved us!" His plan throughout scripture is to woo us
to Him with His love.
He will accept all who come to Him in
faith! And guess what! You cannot come to Him unless He draws you! And
you know what else? He wants and desires to save all men and keep them
from perishing. Do you think He's a wishful thinker, or will He accomplish
His own will. Will Jesus Christ actually destroy the last enemy, death
(separation from God)?
"Love of the Truth Ministries"
seeks in the spirit of the New Testament letters to Preach the Word and
to correct, rebuke and encourage, with patience and careful instruction,
the assemblies gathered to Jesus Christ. It ignores denominational divisions
and reaches out to all who have ears to hear in these last days. Please
do not ask for a doctrinal statement. We have none as we are constantly
changing our understanding as we bring ourselves continuously into conformity
to what we are learning from God's Word. To conserve resources, we do
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