By Albert E. Jenke, Ph.D.
Table of Contents
Please CLICK on one of the Links below to go to the respective chapter.
Click here to Download the FULL Book Package from this site.
The following work is not intended to be an exhaustive treatise on the subject of the Salvation of ALL Men!! There have been enlightened Men of God in prior years, endowed with greater scholarship, understanding, and revelation than I possess, who have covered this subject with much greater authority than I could begin to approach. I will speak more of this shortly. What I DO propose to offer in the following pages is an updated compilation and summary of the "Mystery Hidden From Ages Past", which the God of revelation was pleased to speak forth through these vessels. I will attempt to present it in the vernacular which 20th century man can understand. I will appeal to man's emotions, reason, intellect, and logic -- ALL of which were given to us by the God of creation. I DO NOT see anywhere in His Word where He rescinded these gifts, but He rather encourages us to be transformed into His Image by the "Renewing of our MINDS".
First, I would like to offer my deepest and highest gratitude to the God of Heaven who, by His Grace (for reasons only He understands) chose me to share in the revelation of this mystery, granting to me grace to believe and to understand. Second, I am deeply indebted to Adolph Ernst Knock, founder of the Concordant Publishing Concern, who, in obedience to God, devoted his life to searching out the "hidden things of God", and uncovering much "buried treasure" in the Word of God. It was through an introduction to this ministry, and the Concordant Literal New Testament, that God began to open up my heart, mind, and understanding to the things that I will be presenting in the following pages.
I wish it to be clearly understood at the onset that I DO NOT claim for my own ANY of the ideas, understandings, or revelations of which I will be writing. Ultimately, of course, they belong to God and come from God. Specifically, however, they have come to me through the inspiration of Mr. Knoch and others, whose writings are available through the Concordant Ministry. Another major source of revelation was through the writings of Andrew Murray. He has written a number of excellent translations of the works of a Christian mystic of the 1700's, a William Law. Finally, Mr. Law's writings themselves have been of extreme benefit.
The following writings ARE NOT for EVERYONE. I have NO delusions that the majority of Christians will embrace this teaching that God's ultimate intention is nothing less than the Salvation of ALL Men. Such HAS NOT been the case for almost 2,000 years. However, I do also believe that the winds of God's Spirit are blowing, clearing away the mists and fog that cloud man's mind, heart and understanding. He is, as He has always been doing, unfolding in greater measure the "Mystery that has been hidden from ages past". It is for the Searcher, for the Hungry, for the man or woman who is willing to SELL ALL to acquire the "Pearl of Great Price". It is, last of all, for the man or woman of Proverbs Chapter 2, the "Seeker of Wisdom", who is willing to SEARCH for it, to DIG for it, as one who is seeking precious gold or rare gems!! Did not God say that, "When you seek for Me with ALL of your heart, THEN will you find Me!!" The prayer that is upon these pages is that they will be read by SUCH SEEKERS!!!!!!
For those whose spirits are stirred by the pages to come, I wish to direct you to the following list of men and writings to take you deeper into God's heart on this subject (Listed in the order of recommendation):
"The Concordant Literal New Testament", from the Concordant Publishing Concern
"The Problem of Evil and the Judgments of GOD", by A. E. Knoch
"Restitution of ALL Things", by Andrew Jukes
"Christ Triumphant", by Thomas Allin
"Paul's Epistle to the Galatians", by Valadimir Gelesnoff
"The Power of the Spirit", selected writings of William Law, Edited by Andrew Murray
"Wholly for God", Edited from a work of William Law, by Andrew Murray
"The Spirit of Love and The Spirit of Prayer", by William Law
"All in ALL", by A. E. Knoch
"Death, Resurrection, Immortality", by Joseph E. Kirk
"The Greek Word 'Aion - Aionios', Translated 'Everlasting - Eternal'", by Rev. John Hanson
"The Ancient History of Universalism", by Hosea Ballou
"The Modern History of Universalism", by Thomas Whittemore
This ministry is devoted exclusively to enabling ALL Christians to come to a clearer, deeper knowledge of the truths of God's Word, particularly as it pertains to the subject of "The Salvation of ALL Men". They have an excellent collection of study materials, books, booklets, and tracts available at VERY reasonable prices. I have found that they are truly devoted to Serving the Body of Christ, NOT to making money off Christians. As an example, they offer a Semimonthly magazine, "Unsearchable Riches", for $1.00 per year. They also have their Concordant Old and New Testaments, available on Computer Disk, which will interface with the "SeedMaster" and/or "Bible Companion" Systems.
You may find "SeedMaster", as well as other low cost / FREE Bible Reference Software available on the WEB at page: http://www.tlchrist.info/bible.htm.
"SeedMaster", however, is an OLD program, and will not run on the newer versions of MS Windows. An excellent, modern, FREE Bible Research program (which I use and recommend) is called "The Word" and is available for download [ Here ].
This book is available for download from the Software Link. There are two files in the file UNIVERSL.ZIP.
The first is a .PDF file, ULTINT.PDF. It will enable you to read the book on your computer screen, or to print out any and/or ALL of the pages of the book, in full color, formatted exactly like the original document. If you don't already have it, you will need to download the FREE .PDF Reader [ Here ].
The second is an "eBook" which will look like your "InterNet Browser". This will give you a fully readable, printable, searchable, hyper-linked book. It does, however, require MS Internet Explorer V4.0 or later to run.
PLEASE feel free to copy and distribute this document AS FAR AND
AS WIDE AS POSSIBLE, by whatever means are at your disposal !!!!
CHAPTER ONE *** LAW and GRACE, by Andrew Jukes
An excellent understanding of the twin processes of Law and Grace, Mercy and Judgment in God's plan of salvation is found in the book "Restitution of ALL Things", by Andrew Jukes. His is the clearest and keenest exposition of this truth that I have ever read. I shall attempt to paraphrase a summary of it here, to set the stage for the ideas that follow. However, I urge you in the strongest possible terms to get his book and read his exposition for yourself. The Apostle Paul makes a foundational statement in Romans 11:32, where he states that, "God has shut up (or locked up) ALL in unbelief (or disobedience), for the purpose that He might have mercy upon ALL."
Mr. Jukes makes TWO key points. The first being that the gateway into any NEW form of life is ONLY through death to the OLD form. God told Adam that, "On the DAY he ate of the tree that he would die." Die he did, from the Divine life with God into the Natural life of this world. We are told that if we would, "Find our New life with Jesus Christ, that we must Lose our old life (die to it)." We are told further that, "Unless a grain of wheat will die, it will remain alone." We enter into the life of heaven through the portal of death from this world. We are also told that the unrepentant, after judgment, are cast into the Lake of Fire -- which is the "Second Death" (Romans 6:3-5; 7:4-6; 8:13 ; 1Cor. 15:31,36,37; 2 Cor. 4:11,12).
The second point that Mr. Jukes has to make is simply this, "ALL men will die through God's Judgment (Law) and be raised to life through His Grace (Mercy) given in Jesus Christ" (2Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 4:5,17). Within this ALL, there are two classes (1Cor 15:22-24): First, there are those who are His at His appearing; those who have allowed God to Judge them in the flesh and have died to the body of Sin NOW in this life under the Ministration of Grace (Romans 7:4-6). Within the second category, we have those who were cast into the Lake of Fire, the SECOND death. These found it necessary to be Judged OUTSIDE of the body and die to sin under the Ministration of Judgment. So it shall be that the Firstfruits, even as Israel in Types and Shadows were to be priests of God unto the Nations, shall perhaps minister as agents of salvation unto their brethren of the "Latter Rain" (1Cor. 6:2,3).
Thus shall ALL be purged and purified by Fire; the first group by the fire of the Holy Spirit, the second group by the fire of Judgment!!! (Math. 3:11,12; Mark 9:49; Luke 12:49; 1 Cor. 3:13-15; Heb. 12:29) C.S. Lewis made a point similar to that of Mr. Jukes -- How much more blessed it is to allow God to kill (destroy) this Man of Sin NOW within our body of flesh, when he can use our flesh as an instrument of death, than when we have been liberated from this body and He must use instruments of infinitely greater power to overcome this "Old Man".
I again repeat, that the preceding was but a VERY brief summary of what Andrew Jukes has to say on this subject. He goes into it in FAR greater detail. I offer this summary merely to whet your appetite. His, together with the writings of William Law, have done more than those of any other man to open to my understanding "God's Mystery hidden from ages past", and to clarify His dealings toward the Salvation and Restoration of ALL men. If these explanations seem to you unique and "off the beaten path", consider that in the Apostle Paul's day, he wrote that this "Mystery" was even THEN being unveiled!! Further, Peter, in 2 Peter 3:15,16, comments that Paul wrote certain things in his letters that are, "Hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort to their own destruction!" Do you not think that perhaps He has been, and is continuing to unveil it to those that have "Ears to hear and Eyes to see??" The Jews in the days of Jesus COULD NOT and WOULD NOT comprehend the mystery of the Suffering Messiah!!! Thus He said to them that, "Their house would be left to them desolate until they could shout -- blessed is He who comes in the name of Jehovah."
Please CLICK HERE to download a FREE eBook containing the "Collected Works of Andrew Jukes".
CHAPTER TWO **** Exerpts From the Writings of William Law
I add four extracts from William Law, which bear more or less directly on the subject of the preceding and succeeding pages. Speaking of the fall, he says, -----
"I have thus shown the glory of mans original state in Paradise, and the lamentable change that the fall has brought upon him. From a divine and heavenly creature, he is so wretchedly changed as to have inwardly the nature and dark fire of the devils, and outwardly the nature of all the beasts; a slave of this outward world, living at all uncertainties amongst pains, fears, sorrows, and diseases, till his body is forced to be removed from our sight and hid in the earth.
The reason why even the most profligate persons do not fully know and perceive their souls to be in this miserable state, is because the soul, though thus fallen, is still united to the blood of a human body, and therefore the sweet and cheering light of the sun could reach the soul, and do that for it in some degree, and for some time, which it does to the darkness, sharpness, sourness, bitterness, and wrath, which is in outward nature; that is, it could enlighten, sweeten, and clear it in a certain degree. As this is not its own life, that is, it does not arise in the soul itself, but only reaches it by means of the body, so if the soul hath in this present time got no light of its own, when the death of the body breaks off its communion with the light of this world, the soul is left mere dark, raging fire, in the state of devils. If therefore the light of this world were to be at once extinguished, all human souls that are not in some real degree of regeneration would immediately find themselves to be nothing but the rage of fire and the horror of darkness.
Now, though the light and comfort of this outward world keeps even the worst of men from any constant, strong sensibility of that wrathful, fiery, dark, and self-tormenting nature, which is the very essence of every fallen, unregenerate soul, yet every man in the world has more or less frequent and strong intimations given him that so it is with him in the inmost ground of his soul. How many inventions are some people forced to have recourse to, to keep off a certain inward uneasiness which they are afraid of, and know not whence it comes. Alas, it is because there is a fallen spirit, a dark aching fire within them, which has never had its proper relief, and is trying to discover itself, and calling out for help at every cessation of worldly joy.
Why are some people, when under heavy disappointments or some great worldly shame, at the very brink of distraction, unable to bear themselves, and desirous of death of any kind ? It is because worldly light and comforts no longer acting sweetly upon the blood, the soul is left to its own dark, fiery, raging nature, and would destroy the body at any rate, rather than continue under such a sensibility of its own wrathful, self-tormenting fire.
Who has not at one time or other felt a sourness, wrath, selfishness, envy, and pride, which he could not tell what to do with or how to bear, rising up without his consent, casting a blackness over all his thoughts, and then as suddenly, going off again, either by the cheerfulness of sun and air, or some agreeable accident, and again at times as suddenly returning upon him? Sufficient indications are these to every man that there is a dark guest within him, concealed under the cover of flesh and blood, often lulled asleep by worldly light and amusements, yet such as will, in spite of everything, show itself, and which, if it have not its proper cure in this life, must be his torment in eternity. It was because of this hidden hell within us that our blessed Lord said when on earth, and says now to every soul, 'Come onto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' For as the soul is become this self-tormenting fire only because the birth of the Son of God was extinguished in it by our first parents, so there is no other possible remedy for it, either in heaven or earth, but by its coming to this Son of God to be born again of Him.
Oh, poor unbelievers, that content yourselves with this foundation of hell in your nature, or either seek for no salvation, or, what is worse, turn your backs with disregard on the One Only Savior that God Himself can help you to. Think not of saving yourselves -- it is no more in your power than to save the fallen spirits that are in hell. Talk not of the mercy and goodness of God. His mercy is indeed infinite, and His goodness above all conception; but then the infiniteness of it consists in this -- that He offered this Savior to mankind, because in the nature of things nothing less than this Savior could redeem them. Therefore, to choose to rely upon some other goodness of God beside that which He has offered to us in Jesus Christ is the most dreadful mistake that can befall any man, and must, if persevered in, leave him out of the possibility of any kind or degree of salvation. For as the Son of God is the brightness and glory of the Father, so no soul made in the likeness of God is capable of any degree of brightness and glory but so far as the birth of the Son of God is in it. Therefore, to reject this birth, to refuse this method of redemption, is to reject all the goodness that the Divine Nature itself hath for us." (1.)
"Yet the Love that brought forth the existence of all things changes not through the fall of its creatures, but is continually at work to bring back all fallen nature and creature. All that passes for a time between God and His fallen creature is but one and the same thing, working for one and the same end, and though this is called 'wrath', and that called 'punishment', 'curse', and 'death', it is all from the beginning to the end nothing but the work of the first creating Love, and means nothing else, and does nothing else, but those works of purifying fire, which must and alone can burn away all that dark evil which separates the creature from its first-created union with God. God's providence, from the fall to the restitution of All things, is doing the same thing as when He said to the dark chaos of fallen nature, 'Let there be light.' He still says, and will continue saying, the same thing, till there is no evil of darkness left in nature and creature. God creating, God illuminating, God sanctifying, God threatening and punishing, God forgiving and redeeming, are all but one and the same essential, immutable, never ceasing working of the Divine Nature. That in God, which illuminates and glorifies saints and angels in heaven, is that very same working of the Divine Nature, which wounds, pains, punishes, and purifies, sinners upon earth. Every number of destroyed sinners, whether thrown by Noah's flood or Sodom's brimstone into the terrible furnace of a life insensible of anything but new forms of misery until the judgment day, must through the all-working, all-redeeming love of God, which never ceases, come at last to know that they had lost and have found again such a God of love as this.
If long and long ages of fiery pain and tormenting darkness fall to the share of many or most of God's apostate creatures, they will last no longer than till the great fire of God has melted all arrogance into humility, and all that is self has died in the bloody sweat and all-saving cross of Christ, which will never give up its redeeming power till sin and sinners have no more a name among the creatures of God. If long ages hereafter can only do that, for a soul departing this life under a load of sins, which days and nights might have done for a most hardened Pharaoh or a most wicked Nero while in the body, it is because, when flesh and blood are taken from it, the soul has only the strong apostate nature of fallen angels, which must have its place in that blackness of darkness of a fiery wrath that burns in them and in their kingdom.
To prevent this and make us children of the resurrection, Jesus Christ, the Only-Begotten Son of God, came into the world, and died, and rose again for us. Does not this speak plainly enough what it was that man lost by his fall, namely, the birth of the Son of God in his soul? Therefore, it was that the Son of God alone, and He only by the cross, could be man's Redeemer." (2.)
"For in very deed, the new birth is a new man, whether Christ for us, or Christ in us, which is formed by the Divine Word. This new man is 'he that is born of God and cannot Sin,' because he has no sin in his nature. This is 'he that overcometh the world,' because he is of a divine nature, and is both contrary to the world and above it. This is he who can alone 'love his brother as himself,' because the love of God abideth in him.
The old, natural man is of this world, and enlightened only with the light of this world. He is shut up in his own envy, pride, and wrath, and can only escape from these by the cross of Christ, that is by dying with Him. This is the 'self' that our Savior calls on us to deny --- this is the 'self' that we are to 'hate' and 'lose', that the kingdom of God may come in us, that is, that Gods will may be done in us. All other sacrifices that we make, whether of worldly goods, honors, or pleasures, are but small matters compared to that death of self, spiritual as well as natural, which must be made before our regeneration hath its perfect work." (3.)
"Let no one, therefore, take offense at the opening of this mystery, as if it brought anything new into religion; for it has nothing new in it. It alters no point of gospel-doctrine, but only sets each article of the old Christian faith upon its true ground, pressing nothing more than this --- namely the necessity, if we would be saved, of the opening of the life of God within us, and of a death to that life of self which keeps us far from God. Suffer me therefore, once more, to beseech you, as I have so often said, not to receive this mystery as a mere notion, nor, as the world has for the most part done with the Bible, to make it a matter of opinion or speculation. This and every other doctrine is useless, and worse than useless, unless it teaches that Truth can have no real entrance into you except so far as you die to self and to your earthly nature. The gospel says all this to you in the plainest words, and the mystery only shows you that the whole system of the universe says the same thing. To be a true student or disciple of the mystery is to be a disciple of Christ; for it calls you to nothing but the gospel, and wherever it enters, either into the height or depth of nature, it is only to confirm those words of Christ, 'He that followeth me not, walketh in darkness,' and 'Unless a man deny himself, and forsake all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.' This is the philosophy opened in this mystery. It is not to lead you after itself, but to compel you by every truth of nature to turn to Christ, as the one Way, the one Truth, the one Life and Salvation of the soul; not as notionally apprehended or historically known, but as experimentally found, living, speaking, and working, in your soul. Read as long or as much as you will of this mystery, it is all labor lost, if you intend anything else by it, or would be anything else from it, but a man dead to sin and to the world, that you may live unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (4.)
(1.) Grounds of Christian Regeneration, pps 11-15.
(2.) Address to the Clergy, pps 171-173, slightly abridged.
(3.) Grounds of Christian Regeneration, pps 69 and 99.
(4.) Way to Divine Knowledge, pps 255-258, abridged.
Please CLICK HERE to access and/or download a collection of the writings and works of William Law.
CHAPTER THREE **** "ALL-in-ALL", by A. E. Knoch
The following is a brief excerpt from the book "All in All", by A. E. Knock, pp. 89-97, entitled, "The Salvation of the Unbeliever".
Those who believe are saved by His grace (Rom 4:16). Those who do not believe are saved through His judgments. In both, however, it is He alone Who is Savior. Faith is but the channel of grace; it plays no efficient part in salvation. Judgment is but a means which God uses. It does not remove man's guilt or cleanse a single sin. That is done wholly and solely by the blood of Christ. Every effort to bring about the ultimate salvation of all through the purgatorial or penitential sufferings of the sinner is a denial of this great truth. Judgments do not save, but the God Who Judges is also the Savior, and all His dealings with mankind are governed by the grand goal that He has set before Him -- to become All in All His creatures.
The judgment of unbelievers takes place in the interval between the passing of this present earth and the creation of the new. Every tie that bound them to earth has been burned up. They are the subjects of the most astounding miracle ever wrought, having been raised from the dead. They are in the presence of the Divine Majesty. Their secrets are bared to His awful gaze. The character of their judgment, being adjusted to their acts, not simply as to severity but so as to correct them, will reveal God's purpose to save and reconcile them to Himself. This, followed by their death in the lake of fire and subsequent vivification at the consummation, becomes a means for their acceptance of Christ.
The salvation of the unbeliever will be by sight, not by faith. Otherwise, it is effected in the same way as that of the believer, by the word and power and presence of God. In the judgment day God will judge the hidden things of humanity (Rom 2:16). We are prone to consider this a mere exhibition of His omniscience to facilitate the trial of the sinner and to insure his condemnation. More than this, it can't avoid having a very powerful effect on the unbeliever's attitude toward Christ. The change that occurs in the ultimate salvation of the unbeliever is wrought, not only by his resurrection, but by the august judgment session, when he stands in the presence of Christ, with all his unbelief swept away by the awful realization of His power and the justice of His throne. We are asked, "Is it possible for them to repent?" Rather, we would like to know, "Is it possible for them NOT to repent, or change their minds?" We cannot conceive an unrepentant sinner before the great white throne.
The apostle Paul's case is of surpassing significance in its bearing on the salvation of unbelievers. He was the foremost of sinners, and it cannot be denied that, among men, there was no case quite as desperate as his. All question as to God's ability to save vanishes in the light of his call on the Damascus road. The miraculous means employed in his case surely would suffice for every one of God's enemies. Who will deny, on sober reflection, that the appalling power and glory of the august judgment session into which the unbeliever is ushered by his resurrection will be unutterably more impressive? The apostle's vision passed. He came back to a scene where all was as before. He alone had changed. The unbeliever sees the power and presence of God not only in his own deliverance from death, but in all around him. The vision does not vanish. The Divine Presence bides.
God's thoughts and man's imaginations are nowhere more at variance than on the subject of judgment, or punishment. God is love, man is hate. Jonah went through the streets of Nineveh, crying, "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented concerning the evil that He said He would do unto them, and He did it not (Jonah 3). What did Jonah do? Was he not pleased at the success of his mission? Did he not glory in the character of his God? Alas! He was like the majority of the Lord's people today. Like Jonah, they imagined that God has a streak of hate in His character, and that He wanted to destroy Nineveh to give it exercise. He had an object, though, in threatening its destruction. Now that they repented and the object was attained, why should He belie His character and destroy them from sheer vindictiveness?? Jonah thought He ought, and so think those today whose prototype he was.
Is it not unfortunate that Jonah's God was a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenting of the evil that He had threatened? (Jonah 4:2). What did Jonah care for Nineveh? What pains had it cost him? What comfort did it bring to him? God, however, looked at it from His standpoint. In it there were sixty thousand souls more in tune with Him than sulky Jonah. He was their Creator, and He had not created them for naught. This is God's way with the unbeliever.
CHAPTER FOUR ****** A Study in Job and Jonah
Not only is a through study of the Book of Jonah an excellent revelation of the perverseness and hardness of the human heart, but likewise is a through study of the Book of Job. We are all very willing to judge the vain emptiness of the words of his three quote, "Friends", as did God, but how about the pompous, self-righteousness of Job's words?? In Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, we find the worst elements of deductive reasoning based upon first, "Spiritual Experience", second, "Tradition of the Elders and the Wisdom of the Silver Head", and third, "Reason and Logic of the Unregenerate Human Mind". It is God's testimony (Job 42:7) that these three men DID NOT speak the truth about Him (God).
It is likewise the truth, that the bulk of Christendom DOES NOT speak the truth about God OR about His Written Word, when they depict Him as a doddering, helpless, discrepant FIEND. This is what is portrayed of our ALL powerful God: First, He creates a universe in such a way that He KNOWS that Sin will enter into it, and populates it with beings that He KNOWS will fall victim to said Sin. To make sure that they WILL fall, He creates a Mighty Tempter (Satan) to seduce them into it. Then, when His plan is complete, He dispatches His Most Precious Son (the Highest, Greatest, Most Powerful Expression of Himself) into this Arena of Sin to be the Savior of these, His children. Surely now, our heart whispers, our God will reveal His mighty arm, His lost sheep will be redeemed, evil will be vanquished, and the God of Love and Goodness will triumph.
WAIT THOUGH, what is this???? Our ALL powerful God stumbles again, and it is Satan who emerges victorious!!! Despite all our religious, pious platitudes, SUCH IS THE CASE if Jesus Christ came only "to OFFER salvation to those who would receive it." Satan DID NOT come to "Offer damnation", but rather, men are brought into this world as his slaves, WITHOUT CHOICE!!! According to the creeds of Orthodox Christendom, the "VICTORY" of Christ is thousands. The "VICTORY" of Satan is tens of thousands!! If this is true, than the scripture SHOULD NOT read, "Oh Death, where is your sting," but rather, "Oh Christ, where is YOUR VICTORY???" The worst has not yet come, however. The evening may be dark, but the night is yet DARKER STILL!!!!
Not content that millions upon millions of his created offspring should suffer under the diabolical torment of this "Prince of Darkness" during their brief sojourn through THIS LIFE, upon their death they are immediately ushered into his even darker kingdom, without trial or recourse, for infinitely greater measures of torment for HUNDREDS or even THOUSANDS of years. At the Crowning Climax of this sordid scene comes the Day of Judgment, when the God of ALL Creation expends power beyond comprehension to snatch millions upon millions of HIS children from the clutches of death, torment, and the god of Death. At last, we breathe a sigh of relief, "Now surely the God of ALL Life shall do Justice!!" What, though, was the purpose of this miracle of miracles?? It was so that these lost, tormented, mindless souls might once again be cast into the PIT, to be tormented without ceasing "unto the ends of eternity", "for ever and ever", "where the worm never dies and the smoke of their torment rises without end." THUS SPEAK the PROPHETS of ORTHODOXY!!
Is it any wonder then, that the lost do not hear the cries of the ALL-MIGHTY God of Love??? If Job could denounce his friends for uttering, "empty words without wisdom," what would he say about these words?? How about, as he said in 16:1,2, "The comfort you give is only torment. Are you going to keep talking forever??" How about Job though? Was his view of God any better?? No, according to his words in chapter 16:9-14, I think he to would be right at home among the Traditions of Christendom. Let us look at a few of his words: "In anger God tears me limb from limb. He glares at me with hate. God has handed me over to evil men. I was living in peace, but God took me by the throat and battered me and crushed me. God uses me for target practice and shoots arrows at me from every side -- arrows that pierce and wound me; and EVEN THEN HE SHOWS NO PITY!! He wounds me again and again; he attacks me like a solider gone mad with hate." Job repeats these and similar accusations against God in many other verses.
The problem goes deeper than merely the response of the unsaved, however. Deep in their inner hearts and minds, (hearts and minds, though corrupted, yet still fashioned by the God of Creation), God's OWN CHILDREN, if they truly reflect upon these things, rebel against such contradictory lies. They create unsupported, unbiblical "Back Doors", through which to escape from these inexplicable contradictions. The mind wrestles with questions such as: "How can a God of Love condemn innocent babies, children, and the mentally retarded to an eternity of unimaginable torment??" To answer questions that have no biblical answer according to Orthodox interpretation, we invent such fantasies as "the age of accountability", "moral responsibility", and "infant baptism". To the perplexities of questions such as: "What happened to all mankind before Jesus Christ came?", "What about all the heathen cultures which never heard the name of Jesus?", "Shall a common thief receive the SAME judgment as a Hitler?", or "Is it Justice to condemn ANY creature to an ENDLESS Eternity of Unimaginable Torment for a brief duration of sin??" we answer with the all encompassing platitude, "GOD IS JUST!!" If the Orthodox interpretation of such scriptures as, "NOW is the Day of Salvation", "It is appointed unto men to die ONCE, and after that the Judgment", and unless you "Confess Jesus with your Mouth and Believe in your Heart, you CAN NOT be saved", God is going to have to be a lot more than merely JUST to solve this dilemma that WE HAVE MANUFACTURED!! No, Jesus summed up the problem when He condemned the Pharisees with these words, "By YOUR Dogmas and Doctrines of MEN, you have rendered the WORD of God useless." Concerning the ultimate fate of mankind, has the BULK of His Church done any differently????
REJOICE OH HEART, however, for God HAS seen fit to unravel this mystery in His Word!!! It is there for those who will seek for it as for fine gold. It will be found by those who prefer the Glory of God to the Glory of Men. It will be sought after by those looking NOT for rewards from Ecclesiastical Organizations, but rather, to hear from God, "Well done good and faithful servant." It will be treasured by those who are NOT concerned about the scorn or rejection of men, but are looking for a heavenly treasure that CAN NOT be taken away. If, on the other hand, you value more the praise and commendation of Religious Societies, then you have your reward. I will attempt, in the pages that follow, to present with logic and reason, some of the truths which God has seen fit to reveal to me regarding His dealings in Salvation and Judgment, toward the ultimate goal of The Reconciliation of ALL.
CHAPTER FIVE * Christ Triumphant, by Thomas Allin
The following is a brief excerpt from the book, "Christ Triumphant", by Thomas Allin, pages 220-224 and 312-316.
We now turn to an examination of the very many passages in the New Testament that clearly declare, or imply, the salvation of all men -- how numerous these are we shall see. The time has fully come for appealing with all boldness on behalf of the larger hope, alike to the letter and the spirit of the New Testament. One thing only I ask, which common fairness and honesty require, that our Lord and His Evangelists and Apostles may be understood to mean what they say. Thus, we shall look at a FEW instances out of MANY. When they speak of all men, I assume them to mean ALL men, and not some men. When they speak of all things, I assume them to mean ALL things. When they speak of life and salvation as given to the world, I assume them to mean GIVEN, and not merely offered. When they speak of the destruction of death, of the devil, and of the works of the devil, I assume them to mean that these shall be DESTROYED and not preserved for ever in hell. When they tell us that the whole of Creation suffers but that it shall be delivered, I assume that they mean an ACTUAL deliverance of all created things. When they tell us that Redemption is wider, broader, and stronger than the Fall, I assume that they mean to tell us at least this, that ALL the evil caused by the Fall shall be swept away. When they describe Christ's empire as extending over all things and all creatures, and tell us that every tongue must join in homage to Him, I assume them to mean what these words convey in their ordinary sense. If I did not, should I not be making God a liar???
What does the traditional creed require? It practically requires a MUTILATED BIBLE. More than this, it bids us to expunge precisely that which is noblest and divinest in Holy Scripture. I have no desire to ignore "the Terrors of the Lord" -- (see next chapter). They deserve and shall have full recognition. I do insist, however, that those teachers misread Holy Scripture who forgets that its essential purpose is to unfold His name, Who is "our Father", and to proclaim His full victory in the extinction of all evil, and not in its perpetuation in hell. I protest against teaching that "All" means in scriptural phrase absolutely "All" when some evil is foretold, but that "All" means only "some" when spoken of final salvation. So rooted is this most inequitable mode of interpretation, that it has become involuntary. The restitution of all things means, we are told, that only some beings are to be restored, while some are tortured for ever, or annihilated. That God shall be finally "All in All" means that He will shut up many for ever in endless evil, to blaspheme and hate Him eternally, and only save the rest. That His tender mercies are over all His works means, in the ordinary creed, that His tender mercies expire at the gates of hell. Solemn as is the question, there is something almost ludicrous, when we find those who so teach, then turning around to charge us with evading the words of Scripture.
I submit that the entire history of exegesis contains no stranger fact than this persistent ignoring of so large a part of the New Testament. To bring this out clearly, I append the following chain of passages from a long series. They, clearly and closely linked, claim for Christ a saving empire coextensive with the race, or (perhaps) rather with the whole universe. This connection is clearly marked, for each passage suggests or contains the same central idea, and thus forms a link in a continuous chain. This chain begins at creation, when all things were created by Christ, who therefore, as S. PAUL implies, reconciles (re-creates) all things unto God -- Col. 1:16-20. Hence, His work is the restitution of all things -- Acts 3:21. He is Heir of all things -- Heb. 1:2. In him all nations are to be blessed -- Gal. 3:8. The Father has given Him authority over all flesh, to give to whatsoever was given to Him eternal life -- S. John 17:2 (see original). So all flesh shall see the salvation of God -- S. Luke 3:6. For God, Whose counsel is immutable -- Heb. 6:17,18, Whose attitude towards His enemies is love unchanging -- S. Luke 6:27-35, will have all men to be saved -- 1 Tim. 2:4, and all to come to repentance -- 2 Pet. 3:9. He has shut all up unto unbelief, so that He may show mercy upon all -- Rom. 11:32. For (out) of Him, as Source, and unto (or into) Him, as End, are all things whatsoever -- Rom. 11:36. He has, therefore, put all things in subjection under Christ's feet -- Eph. 1:22. So we are assured that God will gather into one all things in Christ -- Eph. 1:10. His grace comes upon all men unto justification of life -- Rom. 5:18. So Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands -- S.Jno. 13:3, promises by His Cross to draw all men unto Himself -- S. John. 12:32. For having, as stated, received all things from the Father -- S.Jno. 3:35, all that was given comes to Him, and He loses none -- S. John. 6:37-39, but if any stray, goes after that which is lost till He finds it -- S. Luke 15:4, and so makes all things new -- Rev. 21:5.
Thus, He comes so that the world through Him may be saved -- S. John. 3:17. His grace brings salvation to all men -- Tit. 2:11. He takes away the sin of the world -- S. John. 1:29. He gives His flesh for its life -- S. John. 6:51.
Because the gifts and calling of God are without repentance (are irrevocable) -- Rom. 11:29, He gives life to the world -- S. John. 6:33. He is the Light of the world -- S. John. 8:12. He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world -- 1 John. 2:2. He is the Savior of all men -- 1 Tim. 4:10. He destroys the works of the devil, not some of them only -- 1 Jno. 3:8, and the devil himself -- Heb. 2:14. He abolishes death -- 2 Tim. 1:10. He is manifested to put away sin -- Heb. 9:26, and thus subdues all things unto Himself -- Phil 3:21 (the context clearly shows this subjugation to be conformity to Himself). He does not forget the dead, but takes the gospel to Hades -- 1 Pet. 3:19, of which He holds the keys -- Rev. 1:18. He is the same (Savior) for ever -- Heb. 13:8. Thus, even the dead are evangelized -- 1Pet. 4:6, and death and Hades destroyed -- Rev 20:14. All are therefore made alive in Him -- 1Cor. 15:22. Christ finishes, completes His work -- S. John. 17:4, restores all things -- Acts 3:21, and there is no more curse -- Rev. 22:2,3. Every knee of things in heaven and earth, and under the earth, bends to Him -- Phil. 2:10. The creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption -- Rom. 8:21, and every creature joins in the song of praise -- Rev. 5:13. So comes the END, when He delivers up the Kingdom to God, Who is then ALL IN ALL -- 1Cor. 15:24-28.
These passages are, I repeat, not taken at random and piled up any way. They are the expression of that Purpose that runs though the Bible. It is a Purpose first stated in man's creation in God's image; a Purpose to be traced in the Law, the Psalms and Prophets; and most clearly in the New Testament. From it we learn that (I.) Christ came, claiming as His own the entire human race, to the end that He might save and restore the WHOLE, and not any fraction of it, however large. (II.) He came with full power "over all flesh", having received power in heaven and on earth -- over all hearts, all evil, all wills. (III.) He lived and died, and rose again, victorious in the fullest sense, "having FINISHED His work," as He expressly claims.
Thus, to deny the absolute universality of Christ's redeeming sway, as destined to embrace ALL SOULS AND ALL THINGS WHATSOEVER, seems no less than to withdraw from the New Testament an essential and vital part of its teaching. For here we are not dealing with some few passages, in which it might be possible to say that "ALL" was used in a lax sense. We have a connected series in which link follows link, a series in which the actual, not the potential, universality of Christ's kingdom is the center and essential thought. Let us now consider a little more in detail, the passages themselves, taking them in their natural and fair meaning, not obscured by traditional gloss.
"FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST" **** S. Matt 18:11
Here the question is simply this, will Jesus Christ do what He has come to do, or will He fail -- as the traditional creed, in spite of all denials, indubitably teaches?? Will He save that which was lost and not some of the lost merely, a totally different thing?? How can "that which was lost" be saved, if any soul be finally lost??
Lastly, a chapter has been devoted to pointing out how full the New Testament is of passages too often explained away, and yet teaching, or implying, the final salvation of all. So important is this evidence, that I here append a brief summary. We have seen how to Christ is assigned a kingdom absolutely without bound or limit, how all flesh shall see the salvation He gives. You have read how the Good Shepherd seeks on, till each sheep He has lost is found, and how the Son of Man came to seek and to save, not some of the lost, but simply "that which was lost". This might also be rendered, "the destroyed", so little does "destruction" involve final loss. His mission is exactly described as having for its object the salvation of the world, and He is said to take away the sin of the whole world. Do these terms represent a partial salvation? Are they honestly consistent with it? Again, it is said all things have been given to the Son, and that all that is so given shall come to Him. He is repeatedly described as the "Savior of the world", which yet He does not save on the popular view. He is called the "Light the world". He is said not to offer, but to give life to the world, a totally different thing. He says (no words can be more absolute), speaking of His Cross, that He will draw all men unto Himself. He adds, that He came not to judge, but to save the World. Can you, on any fair theory of the meaning of human language, reconcile all this with the horrors of endless evil? If the sin of the whole world be taken away, how shall there be a hell for its endless punishment. If all things without exception (the original is the widest possible) are given to Christ, and all so given to Him shall come to Him, can you reconcile this with unending misery? Let us go on, however. We find language employed by the Evangelists quite as decisive against the popular creed as that just quoted. When, for instance, we read in S. John how God's Son was manifested for the very purpose of destroying the works of the Devil, we are forced to inquire if that is consistent by any possibility with preserving these works in hell for ever? Is there no significance in Christ's telling us that He is "alive unto the ages", and has the keys of hell and death? Then again, what do the promises to make all things new, and that there shall be no more curse or pain mean? If these be not promises of universal restoration, what are they? Lastly, ponder over the vision of the Apocalypse, where every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (the dead), joins in the song of praise to God. Can you truly say that anything less than a universal salvation can satisfy the plain sense of these words!!
To (virtually) evade such words is bad enough, but having done so, to charge universalists with fearing to appeal to Scripture is surely not fair. Take next, a very large body of fresh passages teaching the larger hope, from the Epistles of S. Paul, S. Peter, and Hebrews. S. Paul, especially, is full of glowing anticipation of the assured triumph of Christ's kingdom over all evil. Thus ABRAHAM is to receive the world and no less as His portion, i.e., in the elect, all are to be saved. Whatever sin has done to injure man is to be more than repaired by the grace of Christ. Is it, however, possible to undo all that sin has done, if a single soul (1.) be left in endless evil? Would not S. Paul be speaking untruly in such a case? Surely a fair answer is due to this inquiry (even though a fair answer seems to lead to universalism). Further, the Apostle says that the whole creation shall be delivered into the glorious liberty of God's children. Again, all Israel is to be saved (and being the firstfruits, their salvation involves that of the entire world). The Apostle affirms that God's gifts and calling are without repentance (irrevocable). This is very significant, for what is the popular creed but an assertion that God's gifts can be set at naught finally. Further, what S. Paul asserts is echoed in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which assures us of the immutability of God's counsel. Again, if God has shut up all in unbelief, it is, as S. Paul says, that He may have mercy upon all. Does "all" mean "some" in the latter clause, and not in the former??
Again, he assures us that if the first ADAM brought death universally, then the last ADAM brings universal life, and that if sin abounds, much more shall grace abound. However, in saying that the last ADAM has failed in myriads of cases to undo the evil caused by the Fall, you are giving these words a flat contradiction. Then, as to Christ's empire, we are told that to Him every knee shall bow, i.e., "All creation, all things, whatsoever and wheresoever may be." -- (LIGHTFOOT on Phil. 2:10) and every tongue confess -- the original term means thanksgiving, rather, is the very term used of our Lord's giving His Father thanks -- S.Matt 11:25. Finally, we are told that one day -- at the End -- God shall be All in All. It is the Father's good pleasure to sum up all things in Christ, to reconcile all things unto Himself through Christ. Are we indeed to believe that anything can be reconciled to God by being consigned to hopeless evil? For it is a virtual, if unconscious, evasion to say that all things are reconciled to God, if, after countless generations have sent their contingents to the devil, some one generation and those succeeding it, shall be fully saved. Further, the Apostle assures us that the living God is the Savior of all, that Jesus Christ has abolished death, and that the grace of God brings salvation to all men. Are these statements fairly consistent with a partial salvation? Why also, do our opponents never allude to the noble and most inspiring hope, suggested by such a passage as Rom. 11:36?
S. Peter, too, speaks to the same effect. He tells of Christ's preaching the Gospel to the dead, who had been disobedient and died -- a story whose significance is the greatest possible, as indicating how behind the veil Christ works on to heal and to save even those who died in sin. He adds, that the Lord is not willing that any should perish. Is God's deliberate counsel -- such is the original word -- to come to nothing? Then, in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we have this same remarkable testimony, e.g., the assertion that all things are to be put under Christ. It is stated that His object in dying was to destroy the devil -- that once, at the conclusion of the ages, He has appeared to put away, i.e., abolish sin by His sacrifice of Himself. Can anyone explain how the abolition of sin can be consistent with maintaining evil in hell for ever? Thus, the traditional creed seems to stand hopelessly opposed to the teaching of Scripture. Does it not almost deny God Himself, because if we are to believe in God at all, there is no room for a defeated God. Therefore, either God really wills to save all men, and if so, He will assuredly accomplish this, or He does not so will. The first proposition involves the larger hope -- the second is mere Calvinism. I can see no rational alternative.
Such is a brief outline of the teaching of the New Testament, for I have not quoted all its promises of universal salvation. It is no case of building upon Eastern metaphors, of dogma resting upon mistranslations or misconceptions of the original, as in the case of the traditional creed. It is evidence, clear and unambiguous, and repeated. We have without doubt line upon line, promise upon promise, assertions reiterated, accumulated, yet amid all their variety, closely linked and pointing to one central thought. This thought is none less than the completeness of the triumph of Jesus Christ!! It includes the boundless nature of His saving empire over all, to the assurance of a victory won by His Incarnation, His death, and His Resurrection over all the powers of evil.
"The Father willed through Christ to reconcile the universe once more unto Himself, and so to restore all things whatsoever and wheresoever they be." -- LIGHTFOOT on Col. 1:19,20.
(1.) "If but one soul were to remain in the power of the devil, death, or hell, to all endless eternity, then the devil, death, and hell would have something to boast of against God. Thus death would not be entirely swallowed up in victory, but always keep something of his sting, and hell would ever more be able to make a scorn of those who would say, 'O hell, where is, your victory?'"- The Everlasting Gospel -- Paul Seigvolck, 1753.
Please CLICK HERE to download a FREE eBook containing "Christ Triumphant", by Thomas Allin.
CHAPTER SIX ****** TRUTH vs. "Sacred Cows"
The following treatise will be an expansion of the outline appearing at the end of this book. If you wish a very quick overview of the Biblical validity of my assertions, or to search out for yourself the scriptural references that I will be using, the outline will be an excellent reference tool. Since no intelligent discussion of any subject can be carried on unless all parties involved attach the same meaning and frame of reference to the symbols and words of the language being employed, I will begin my writing by conducting a brief Concordant inquiry into a few of the key Hebrew and Greek expressions that we will be dealing with. Please DO NOT let the idea of considering the Hebrew and Greek languages of the Holy Scripture overwhelm you. It is NOT necessary that you be able to read either Hebrew nor Greek in order to follow what I will be discussing. What IS necessary is an open heart, a teachable spirit, and a hunger to know the God of Creation and of the Holy Bible - the FATHER GOD!
Over the centuries, God has continually made available to man greater measures of revelation and better tools to search and understand His Word, to the end that we might KNOW HIM who is beyond human comprehension in a greater, deeper way. This work (this book) owes a great debt of gratitude to a number of these tools. The first tool is the work and ministry of a man by name of Adolph Ernst Knock, and the ministry that represents his life work and love, the Concordant Publishing Concern. Out of this ministry came a Bible Translation called the Concordant Literal New (and Old) Testament and the writings and insight of A.E. Knoch and many other authors. The second tool of TREMENDOUS value to the layman such as myself is the computer, together with computerized Bible Translations, Lexicons, and Concordances. There are currently many, many excellent computer bible research programs, but one that I use and heartily recommend is called "The Word". It is available with a number of FREE Bible Modules (as well as others for a fee), together with both Hebrew and Greek Lexicons, and a Concordance keyed to the Strong's numbers. If you have never used a Computer Bible, this one will revolutionize your Biblical Research. What may have previously taken you hours will now take minutes!!! As I mentioned in the beginning of this book, the Concordant Ministry also has their Old and New Testaments on computer disk. If you would like more information on how to effectively and inexpensively use this tool, please contact me. Now to begin!!!
As I stated earlier, our first task is going to be to clarify some very confused Biblical words, and to lay a common foundation so that we might both be thinking the same thoughts and talking the same language. The following discussion IS NOT going to based upon emotional, religious rhetoric. It is rather going to be based upon THINKING, logic, scholarship, study, reason, and the scientific method of cause and effect, premise and conclusion -- All of these being keyed to and having their foundation in God's written revelation of Himself, the Holy Bible. If this prospect does not appeal to you -- If you are not willing to examine God's word with an unbiased heart and a willingness to abandon all ideas and concepts that can not be reconciled to a dissection of that word, no matter how dear and cherished they may be -- Then you would probably be well advised to quit reading now before your spirit becomes offended. Jesus said that HE is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. He also said that we CAN NOT truly know Him (and therefore can not know the Father) if we prefer the doctrines, dogmas, and traditions of MEN!! In John 3:19, the Bible makes a startling statement -- It says that, "Light came into the world, but that men PREFERRED the darkness!!" It also says in Romans Chapter 1 that men's minds became darkened because, "They did not see fit to honor God as Truly GOD."
The first and hardest concept that we are going to have to reach a common understanding on before we can continue any further is the idea, as stated in the "KJV" and others, as "Eternal", "Forever", and "Forever and Ever". Neither the Hebrew nor the Greek knows any such concept!!! I am not going to devote a great deal of space to this idea because A.E. Knoch has many excellent, in depth studies available through the Concordant Ministry. The most complete of these is: "The Greek Word 'Aion - Aionios', Translated 'Everlasting - Eternal'", by Rev. John Hanson. Simply write them at the address given in the beginning of this book and ask for their Order Blank. They also have an excellent series of expositions on the subject at their WEB Site (click here). If you plan to continue beyond this point, I also strongly encourage you to order their Literal New Testament. If you have, or have access to a computer, it would be of tremendous help for you to order a copy of "The Word" (click here), so that you may research my points for yourself.
You will never really understand or believe what I am going to be presenting unless you are interested enough to do so. In fact, I DO NOT want you to believe on my word alone. Why should you -- Who am I -- You don't know me??? There is already enough emotional, brainwashing rhetoric in the Body of Christ without my adding to the supply!! What I desire is to provoke in you a Holy Spirit fueled hunger, that like the Bereans, you will seek out these things for yourself. Thus may God use one or many of you to go BEYOND what He has already revealed of Himself and His purpose to men of the past, and reveal new facets of His "Mystery Hidden from Ages Past". If I lose you at this point, may God richly bless your life and grant to you grace that, "The eyes of your heart might be enlightened so that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the Saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe." Eph.1:18,19
In the Greek Scriptures, the word rendered "Eternal" in the "KJV" is the word "Aeon" (Strong's Reference # 165), which denotes an age or an indeterminate period of time. The exact length of time is of no importance for our discussion. That this is so is born out by the fact that the word is translated "age" twice in the "KJV" and many times more in other translations. The word rendered "Everlasting" and "Forever" is the adjective of this word, "Aeonian" (# 166). My outline will give you the exact number of different words that the "KJV" uses to translate these two words. That these words can NOT possibly denote the concept of "Eternity" as we have come to give it meaning may be born out by looking at a number of scriptures. These passages ascribe to the "Aeons" both beginning and end, as well as indicating that there is more than ONE "Aeon" in Gods timetable. Please refer to the outline. Another interesting contradiction of our revered "KJV" may be seen in IC2 and IC3. One speaks of "a world without end" and the other speaks of "the end of the world". Now which is it??? A sane, rational mind would agree that BOTH can not be right. The "KJV" also tells us that there was a time BEFORE the "Eternity(s)" began???
An informative definition of the words AEON and AEONIAN is obtained from the American Heritage Dictionary, Version 3.5. See following:
ae·on (¶÷¼n÷, ¶÷÷n) n. Variant of eon.
e·on also ae·on (¶÷¼n÷, ¶÷÷n) --n. 1. An indefinitely long period of time; an age. 2. The longest division of geologic time, containing two or more eras. [Late Latin ae½n, from Greek ai½n. See aiw- below.]
ae·o·ni·an (¶-½÷n¶-÷n) adj. Variant of eonian.
e·o·ni·an also ae·o·ni·an (¶-½÷n¶-÷n) --adj. Of, relating to, or constituting an eon.
aiw-. Important derivatives are: no1, ever, every, never, medieval, age, eternal, eon.
aiw-. Vital force, life, long life, eternity; also ÷endowed with the acme of vital force, young.÷ 1.a. NO1, from Old English ³, ever; b. AUGHT1, from Old English ³wiht, ³uht, anything, ÷ever a creature÷; c. EVER; EVERY, NEVER, from Old English Æfre (second element obscure), ever; d. AYE2; NAY, from Old Norse ei, ever. a, c, and d all from extended form in Germanic *aiwi; b from Germanic *aiwi ÿ *wihti, ÷ever a thing, anything÷ (*wihti-, thing; see wekti-). 2.a. Suffixed form *aiw-o-. COEVAL, LONGEVITY, MEDIEVAL, PRIMEVAL, from Latin aevum, age, eternity; b. suffixed form *aiwo-t³(ti)-. AGE; COETANEOUS, from Latin aet³s (stem aet³ti-), age; c. suffixed form *aiwo-t-erno-. ETERNAL; SEMPITERNAL, from Latin aeternus, eternal. 3. Suffixed form *aiw-en-. EON, from Greek ai½n, age, vital force. [Pokorny aiø- 17.] See also *yuwen- under yeu-.
More than this, I don't wish to say on this subject at this time, other than that God is working through a series of "ages" or "Aeons" to accomplish His purpose (Eph. 3:11), and that none of these ages is "Eternal". If we can agree so far, we can go on. If we can not agree, than we BOTH have a problem. My problem will be that most of what I have to say will be to you Heresy and/or foolishness since we will NOT have a common frame of reference. Your problem will be that, given your meaning of the words under consideration, much of God's Word is contradictory and foolish, and makes no rational sense (if that is important to you)!!!
The second concept that we are going to examine is the time honored tradition of man's "Free Will". I propose to demonstrate that God has bestowed upon man the dignity of "choice", NOT "Free Will". Free Will to me implies a self-determinate sovereignty. If man DOES NOT posses this self-determination, than his will IS NOT FREE, for it is subject to the control and/or influence of one or more outside and/or inner forces. Also, if man has a "Free Will", then I contend that Satan, a being FAR greater in power and glory than man, must also most certainly have a "Free Will". If you hold the orthodox interpretation of this doctrine to be true, then I assert that we do NOT have ONE supreme, sovereign GOD, but rather THREE Sovereign, Independent, Self-determinate Beings who fit our theological definitions of "gods". Consider the ultimate implication of this position. If a puny creature like Man can resist, contradict, and thwart God's will, then surely Satan can do likewise. If this is true, than God IS NOT in control of the universe no matter WHAT word tricks you may pull out of your theological bag!! If God does NOT have ultimate and absolute control over the universe and all that is in it, what assurances do you or I have that He can really accomplish that which He promises?? How do we know after we get to "Heaven" that sin may not break out into the universe again?? What confidence do we have that Satan might not escape from the Lake of Fire and seduce some other world into sin?? Whatever your opinion on this subject may be, God's Word most certainly DOES NOT support such a concept.
If you subscribe to the current crop of platitudes such as, "The Holy Spirit is a gentleman" and, "God never forces anyone to do anything," you are going to be greatly shocked and at a loss to explain some of His clear declarations in His Word. Take for instance Isaiah 43:13, where God clearly proclaims, "I Am God. I do as I wish, and who can withstand Me?" He (God) repeats this assertion in Isaiah 46:10 where He proclaims, " I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: MY PURPOSE WILL STAND, and I will DO ALL THAT I PLEASE." It seems that Job, in the book bearing his name, had a similar exalted opinion of himself and Man in general, as does Orthodox Christianity today. He felt that surely, if God would only give him a chance, he could explain a few things and straighten God out on certain matters. Finally, when he DID get a chance to talk with God face-to-face, the outcome was that Job's view of himself was properly adjusted. He was brought to see that previously, he had spoken ONLY from secondhand knowledge of things he had heard from others and really knew nothing about himself. Now that he had seen and heard God in person, he realized just how small, weak, and ignorant he really was. If you will refer to the scriptures in Item II of the outline, you will readily see that what is portrayed in God's Word is that there is but ONE FREE WILL, and that belongs to God alone. He states quite emphatically that ALL wills and ALL creatures move in conformity to the council and dictates of HIS WILL. We may BELIEVE that we are making independent choices based upon our "Free Will", but God is there, constantly working behind the scene to move ALL according to the council of HIS Will and Purpose (Eph. 1:11).
While I will admit that our human vanity, pride, and ego may chafe under this truth, that does NOT render it any-the-less true!! So strongly is this "Ego-Need" to be in control entrenched within Man's heart, that he has substituted for the scripture of Rom 3:4, "Let God be true though every man be a liar," HIS rendering of, "Let God's Word be made a lie so that MAN's word may be true!" The Apostle Paul goes to great pains, especially in the Book of Galatians, to establish that Salvation is purely the work of God alone, requiring NO contribution from Man. He stresses over and over that it was a work finished from, "before the Ages began", totally complete and lacking in nothing -- a gift bestowed by a loving God upon His Lost and Wayward Children!! Jesus states repeatedly that for THIS purpose was He sent, "To seek and save that which was lost." Yet, in the arrogance and conceit of his egotistical heart, Man insists that it is HE who must hunt for and seek after God until HE (Man) finds Him!! Then, by great labor in penitence and many "Good Works", he must secure and maintain this "Gift of Salvation". Even the more enlightened souls pride themselves upon the fact that THEY were "Wise and Intelligent" enough to see the wickedness of their ways and to grasp hold of this bounty of salvation. This, even though Jesus also stated very clearly that, "No man can come to me unless the Father draws that man." This fact is further emphasized by the Apostle Paul in Romans 3:11,12 where he states, "NO ONE seeks after God ..... there is NO ONE who does good, NOT EVEN ONE." I don't know how much clearer God can make it than in Rom.9:16 where He emphatically states that, "It does NOT depend upon man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." The absolute need of establishing this truth firmly in our mind will become clear as my arguments continue. See "The Problem of Evil and the Judgments of God," by A. E. Knock, pps. 121-144 for a superb discussion of this matter of Wills.
Third in our line of inquiry today is the concept of "Hell". In the "KJV" and other versions, this one English word is used to render four different Greek and Hebrew words. They are "Sheol" in the Old Testament, (the New Testament equivalent is "Hades"), "Gehenna", and "Tartarus". In the OT, Sheol carries the concept of "the unseen or the imperceptible", and this idea is carried into the NT by the word "Hades". This may be seen where quotations from the OT that used the word "Sheol" are rendered "Hades" There is NO Biblical warrant (except for ONE very figurative example in Luke 16:23) for considering "Sheol" or "Hades" as a place of torment or punishment, as both the just as well as the unjust went there at death. A fine example of the bias of the "KJV" is in Acts 2:27,31, where they have the Soul of Jesus after His crucifixion in "HELL" (Hades).
"Gehenna", also known as "The Valley of Hinnom", was a refuse dump south of Jerusalem used to burn and dispose of garbage and dead carcasses. "Tartarus", used only one time in the Bible (Peter 2:4), appears to be a prison where the sinning angels are being held until the Day of Judgment. Another place lumped into the classic "Hell" by many Christians is "The Lake of Fire" of Revelations. This is, however, a distinctly different place with a distinctly different purpose. A rather interesting scripture is Rev 20:14, "Death and HELL were thrown into the Lake of Fire." If the Lake of Fire is merely another name for "Hell", how could it be thrown into itself?? If it IS NOT "Hell", then what is it and what is its purpose??
The Biblical function of "HELL", or Sheol and Hades, seems to be as the resting place for the dead when the Spirit of God is separated from the body, and the "Soul" or "Sensations" ceases. There the just await the "Last Trump of Christ", when they shall be called forth and raised immortal, and the unjust await the Great White Throne Judgment. This was of necessity a VERY brief and sketchy discourse on the vital subject of Death and "Hell". For much greater depth, I highly recommend "Death, Resurrection, and Immortality," by Joseph E. Kirk, available from the Concordant Publishing Concern.
The forth "Sacred Cow" that we are going to investigate is that of "Man's Immortality" or the theological doctrine of the "Immortality of the Soul". When Satan tempted Eve (and Adam) in the Garden of Eden, he offered them the duel lie "You shall NOT DIE and you shall be like God." Human philosophy and Orthodox Theology have propagated these lies down to the present day!! Man says that mankind is Immortal, i.e., that we have "Immortal Souls" (whatever a "Soul" separated from Body and Spirit might be). He says that upon death, this "Immortal Soul" either goes to be with God, or passes on into the regions of "Hell" to be tormented by Satan and his legions for "Eternity" or "Forever and Ever". As usual, God's Word portrays a different scenario.
First, at the beginning (Gen 3:22,23), God drove Adam OUT of The Garden of Eden, that, "He might NOT live forever !!" He says in 1Tim 6:15,16 that there is ONE ONLY who is immortal, and that is God. He says further, that immortality has been revealed or brought to man through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ (2 Tim 1:10). The Bible states that the dead in Christ shall be MADE alive (quickened). It is this power from Christ, imparted to us, that grants immortality (see Strong's reference 2227, 11 occurrences). Finally, let's take a look at 1Cor 15:53-55, where the context is concerned with the Last Trumpet, when the dead in Christ shall be raised and the living in Christ shall be changed. Here is the unmistakable assertion that we, who are MORTAL and CORRUPTIBLE, must put on IMMORTALITY AND INCORRUPTION!! It also states quite clearly that, "The dead in Christ shall be RAISED." If they have already ascended upon death to be with the Lord, where are they being RAISED from??? Finally, at the consummation of the ages, the last enemy, Death, will finally be destroyed. Until that time, it would appear that Death is still very much "alive" and active, continuing to claim his victims. It might also be noted that in Luke 20:26, Jesus states that those taking part in the age to come and the resurrection from the dead, "Will no longer be able to die." I contend, along with many clear assertions of God's Word, that at death we DIE. Our body returns to the ground, our Spirit returns to God, and our soul returns to Sheol (Hades) or the Unseen, awaiting the resurrection. Then, the just will be raised and granted Immortality, never to die again, and the unjust will be raised to judgment. More on this subject, and the importance of it to our line of reasoning, will be unveiled as we continue.
The fifth travesty of translation (or better MIStranslation) that we are going to investigate is the word "Judgment", and the BIBLICAL concept of judgment versus that which exists in the minds of modern man. To the minds of most men today, "Judgment - Condemnation - and Damnation" are synonyms (they mean the same thing). The "KJV" uses these three words to translate the same Greek word (Strong's Ref. # 2920). It is automatically assumed that, when God brings men before Himself for "Judgment", it is REALLY for the purpose of accusing, condemning, punishing, and damning!! Thus it may come as a severe shock for us to consider that the BIBLICAL concept of the word "Judge and Judgment" is in reality one of correcting injustice or making right that which is wrong. It is NOT damnation BUT correction. This was the purpose of God in appointing Judges in Israel to render Judgment to the people. Discipline would be closer in meaning, but that word has also been twisted and distorted in the minds of men today.
We may thank our revered "KJV" in great part for hiding this concept behind a thick veil of confusion and misapprehension. The word "Judgment" appears 285 times in the Old and New Testaments. It is used to render NO LESS than 24 different Greek words (see outline). The two Strong's Ref. #'s that we are going to consider here (for time and space sake) are 04941 in the OT and it's NT equivalent 2920. That 2920 corresponds to 04941 may be seen from the NT quotes of OT passages. Three examples are Isa 42:1 to Math 12:18, Isa 42:3 to Math 12:20, and Isa 53:8 to Acts 8:33. If you have any doubt as to the personal bias of the "KJV" translators, consider that in 44 passages, 2920 is rendered "Judgment". Then, where it suits their theology in Math 23:33, Mark 3:29, and John 5:29, they render the SAME word "Damnation" !!!!
It is my contention, based upon a concordant analysis of the Word of God, that the PRIMARY meaning of "Judgment" when executed by God is toward Correction. That is, it is Remedial, with the aim of setting right that which is wrong, of making straight that which is crooked, or of bringing forth Justice from INjustice. In the OT, many of the passages that use the word "Judgment" from Strong's # 04941 (which is the primary one we are considering at this time) tie it together with executing Justice and doing Right (Gen 18:19,25; 1 Cron 18:14). Both the Books of Psalms and Proverbs speak of "Judgment" as something to be desired and beneficial, like Wisdom. The Book of Isaiah is particularly instructive in this respect. Many times God reprimands Jerusalem because He looked for Justice, Mercy, Righteous, and JUDGMENT to be found there -- and THEY WERE NOT. Therefore, He says, He will purge her of her dross and sins with a Spirit of JUDGMENT, then she will return to Him as the spotless bride that He intended her to be.
God's ENTIRE dealings with the nation of Israel were a Parable in which He reveals His purpose and heart in Judgment. He calls it His "Strange Work" and His "Alien Task" (Isa. 28:21). Judgment IS NOT God's ordinary dealing with His creation, but rather His EXTRAordinary!! The history of Israel and almost ALL the utterances of His OT Prophets show forth His heart regarding judgment. Jer 30:12 - 31:14 is a prime example demonstrating this heart. First, He condemns Israel for her wickedness, telling her that, "Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing, there is NO remedy for your sore, NO healing for you." Then He makes sure that Israel clearly understands that it was NOT some outside enemy or foreign invader that did these things to her, but that it was GOD Himself who was responsible. He clarifies that it is also NOT some vindictive act of vengeance, but is done for her healing and restoration. He comforts her with the promise that, "I will restore your health and heal your wounds. I will have compassion on you and restore your fortunes." Why will He do this?? God assures Israel that it is because, "I have loved you with an everlasting love and have drawn you with cords of loving-kindness to build you up again." I ask you, "If this is God's heart in the temporal, would it NOT most certainly also be His heart in the much greater spiritual??"
On this passage, I conclude my point. In Type and Shadow, the OT teaches that God's "Judgment" IS NOT Damnation - It is the Spirit of Cleansing and Restoration. YES, in certain cases God's Judgment may be severe, VERY Severe. It is non-the-less NOT Damnation, nor is it "Eternal". When it has done the work for which it was intended, the blessed results are reconciliation and fellowship with God. Please reference "The Problem of Evil and the Judgments of God", by A. E. Knock, pps. 227-344, for an Excellent, in-depth analysis of this subject.
You say that you believe that every word in the Bible is to be taken literally. You assert loudly that EVERY word, from Genesis to Revelation is absolutely true. You blithely proclaim that there are NO contradictions in God's Holy Word. Fantastic!! Let us now look at some of the, "Dark Sayings of God" -- the things "Hard to Understand", and see how they fit into your theology. If "Aeon" means "Eternity" or "Forever" (What "Forever-and-Ever" might mean is another point worthy of earnest thought); If the unbeliever is to be tormented in the Orthodox "Hell" for this "Eternity" ; If the fate of the unbeliever is sealed at their death ; If Mankind TRULY has a "FREE and UNassailable Will"; And if God creates ONLY that which WE deem "GOOD" -- then I offer the following passages for your learned comments. Refer to the outline, Item IV:
1. Throughout MUCH of the "OLD Testament", especially the Book of Isaiah, and particularly Isa. 45:7 and 54:16, we are presented with a very real dilemma according to Orthodox Theology. IF IT IS TRUE that God creates ONLY that which we as humans would label as "GOOD", and then Satan is responsible for taking that "GOOD" and twisting it into what we call "EVIL", these verses will require some VERY imaginative interpretation. For here God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, loudly and triumphantly proclaims that it is HE HIMSELF who creates BOTH Light AND Darkness; Peace (or Wellness) AND Evil (or Wickedness). He goes on to say that HE is responsible for creating the Blacksmith who forms the Weapons of War and that HE created the Destroyer to wreck Havoc. It will do NO GOOD, as some translations and some Bible Teachers have done, to attempt to retranslate the word "EVIL" so as to remove its Moral implications by using words like "Disaster", etc. This subterfuge is nothing short of AN OUTRIGHT LIE !! Anyone with a Concordance can check to verify that the word rendered "Evil" in the "KJV" is Strong's #07451. This word is the basic word of the OT used to denote Evil and Wickedness, and is so rendered "Evil" 442 times and "Wickedness" 59 times. By contrast, the word rendered "Peace" in the "KJV" is Strong's #07965, and is translated as "Peace" 175 times and as "Well" 14 times.
2. Math 12:32 - this verse refers to the sin against the Holy Spirit. Is it perhaps possible, from the wording of this verse, that there might be forgiveness for OTHER SINS in the Age (World) to come. Also, I sincerely pray that there may be forgiveness for the translators of the "KJV" for their unwarranted rendering of the word "Aeon" at this point as "World". Perhaps it was because even THEY did not think that it made sense to write "In this Eternity or the Eternity to come."
3. Luke 12:46-48 - Since this parable is comparing an earthly master to our Heavenly Master, the question that comes to mind is, "Will there be varying degrees of torment in "Hell"?? However, if a moments logical reflection is given to the matter, it will have to be conceded that ANY degree of torment, extended into "Eternity", becomes infinite in magnitude. How then, can you have varying degrees of infinity??
4. John 9:1-5 - This passage presents rather a perplexing difficulty. Here, JESUS HIMSELF asserts that God brought a man into life, blind from birth, so that He (God) might USE this man as an instrument to work through and to display Himself to the world through. This would seem to cast somewhat of a blot upon the "Theory of Free Will"
5. Acts 2:27,31 - After His ordeal of betrayal, torture, humiliation, and crucifixion, when even the Heavenly Father turned His back on Him, was the "Soul" of Jesus REALLY committed to "Hell"?? Was this the just deserts for the spotless Lamb of God after He triumphantly proclaimed, "It is finished!!" If Jesus did go to "Hell", then I ask you, "For what purpose??"
6. Romans 2:14-16 - Is it possible that, on the Day of Judgment, those who have done "by nature" the things written in the Law will be excused for certain parts of their conduct?? Also, if man has a totally "depraved" or "sinful nature", how can he keep any of God's Law "by nature"??
7. Romans 9:16-23 - Here we are faced with one of those scriptures, about which, if we read it in the context of Orthodox Doctrine, it needs truly be said that, "Seeing they DID NOT see and hearing , they DID NOT hear." Paul emphatically states that God raised up Pharaoh of Egypt specifically to fulfill His (God's) purpose, namely, that he might be a vessel through whom God, "Might display to the world His Power and thereby, His name might be proclaimed in ALL the earth." Paul goes on to say that therefore, "God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and HARDENS WHOM HE WANTS TO HARDEN!!" What is the standard interpretation of God's dealings with Pharaoh, however?? It is that Pharaoh hardened HIS OWN heart using HIS OWN "Free Will". Therefore, God was "Just" in continuing to pour out His plagues and judgments on Egypt. I again point out to you, "This IS NOT what Paul is saying!! He is saying that God planed and orchestrated this entire episode with Pharaoh in order to fulfill His (God's) own preordained purpose. Orthodoxy counters, "But HOW could a merciful God coerce a man into doing something, and then turn around and JUDGE him for it?" The Scripture gives us only ONE answer, "God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy ...." Therein, also, lies OUR problem. WE would seek to JUDGE God by OUR standards, rather than bow in subjection before Him who is Creator AND Owner. The question is, "Will we trust God to be God?" The scriptures also assure us that, "God has shut up ALL in stubbornness, that He may have mercy upon ALL." (Rom. 11:32). Let us , therefore, wait for Him to do it in His time and in His Way.
8. 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 4:6 - These passages present some REAL difficulties for Orthodox Exegesis. They claim, in clear English, that Jesus went and preached to those Spirits who were in prison and to the DEAD.
CHAPTER SEVEN ****** Prelude and Summary
At long last we reach the CLIMAX of this book, the point to which ALL the preceding was merely preparatory. It is here that we will approach the Grand Declaration of God's Holy Word, namely, that His ultimate intention is nothing less than the "Reconciliation of ALL Things". In Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; and Philp 2:10,11, He clearly states, if we have eyes to see and a heart to believe, that this ALL refers to things in Heaven, things ON the earth, and things UNDER the earth. This certainly seems to encompass God's WHOLE creation!! In other words, if we will look past our unbelief, past our hardness of heart, past the traditions and the dogmas of man, and finally, past the prejudices of Orthodoxy, we will see that the true heart of God's Word is UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION or UNIVERSAL SALVATION.
If you have stayed with me to this point in the book and have followed the sequence of arguments that I have lain before you, I am going to ask one final indulgence of you. That is that you will CAREFULLY consider the sequence of scriptural passages that I am going to conclude with. Dwell upon them, meditate upon them, let them sink deep into your mind like the life-giving spring rains, dissect them and inspect them. When you have done all this, if the English language has any meaning and words mean what we say that they do, then, though you MAY NOT YET agree with me, you WILL have to agree that there is some vast discrepancy between these clear declarations of the Bible (God's Word) and Orthodox Doctrine (Man's word). I entreat you again, not for my sake (for who am I but one of MANY of God's spokesmen?) but for yours. It is my sole desire that your heart might be set free from the fear and prejudice of Man's Doctrines, and be released into the freedom to soar to greater heights of knowing God and understanding His Grand Purpose!!!!
Don't let the heart of the Pharisee dwell in your breast. Contrary to how they are often portrayed by the Church, many of the Pharisees were good, devout and holy men as pertaining to the Law. Their weakness was that they preferred the, "Praise of Men over the Praise of God". They allowed their human Dogmas, Doctrines, and Prejudices to DISPLACE and REPLACE God's Word and a vital relationship to Him. Thus were their, "Ears stopped and their Eyes blinded", and when their long awaited Messiah DID come, they neither COULD nor WOULD acknowledge Him because He DID NOT comply with THEIR Religious System!!! Before we begin this grand consummation, allow me to repeat, by way of refreshment, a number of key points that have previously been established:
1. God has divided this era of His dealing with Man into a number of "Aeons" or ages. These consist of various and/or undefined periods of time. The exact number of "Aeons" is not important right now, though there seems to be Biblical support for the number FIVE. Also, the number of years in each "Aeon" does not in any way affect our stream of discussion. What IS important is that God's redemptive dealings with Man ARE NOT "ETERNAL", but take place within the sphere of these various "Aeons". Thus, the unbeliever does not suffer "Eternal Damnation", but rather Judgment and "Aeonian" or age-abiding chastisement.
2. Neither Man nor Satan has "Free Will" as it is commonly understood (or better misunderstood), but rather has freedom of choice, with God more than able to work behind the scene to direct and influence said "choosing". Thus God, as He repeatedly proclaims in His Word (and as WE repeatedly ignore), moves ALL things according to the council of HIS WILL. As Shakespeare so aptly put it, "All the world is a stage, and the people merely players." This DOES NOT make us puppets, but it DOES make us merely Creatures (and NOT gods as we would like to think) in the hands of our Creator. We are the clay in the hands of the great potter, fashioned according to HIS design and purpose.
3. God's "Judgment" IS NOT vindictive punishment. It is most certainly NOT the angry outburst of a frustrated, impotent God against an unruly creation that has broken free from the will of its weaker Creator!!!! Judgment is the ultimate tool in the hand of the Great Potter to restore His cracked and broken creation back to beauty and usefulness. It is the Good Shepherd finding and restoring the "Black Sheep" back to the fold. It is the Loving and Ever-patient Father, bringing the Prodigal once more into the family.
4. "Hell" is NOT a place of "Eternal" torment where "the worm dies not and the flame never ceases", Judgment IS NOT vindictive torment, and man does NOT inherently posses immortality. Upon his death, man's body returns to the earth, his spirit returns to God, and his soul returns to Sheol, Hades, or the "Unseen", awaiting the resurrection. At the "Last Trumpet", believers will be raised to meet our Lord in the air where we will be granted Spiritual bodies with the resulting immortality. Unbelievers will await the "Great White Throne Judgment". There, their sins will be "Judged" and they themselves will be dealt with in such a way as to effect their final restoration. They will then be cast into the "Lake of Fire which is the Second Death", awaiting the consummation at the end of the "Aeons".
5. Thus will ALL be saved by the"Blood of the Sacrifice of the Lamb", Jesus Christ. Believers are saved during this "Aeon" of Grace by Faith in Him whom we have not seen and in His Word. Our sins are purged by the "Fire of the Holy Spirit" working in us NOW. Unbelievers will be saved by Sight and by Judgment in the day of the "Great White Throne". Their sins will be purged by the fires of Judgment on that day when "Heaven and Earth shall flee from the face of Him who sits upon the throne," and all things shall be exposed to His and their gaze. Thus shall WE reign and rule with Him during the last two "Aeons", while the unbelievers shall, during this time, be cast into the "Lake of Fire". Finally, at the end of the "Aeons", shall come the grand consummation. At last sin, death, suffering, and pain shall be no more, ALL shall be made alive and restored to fellowship with their Father and Creator, and God shall fulfill His Word. He shall finally be ALL in ALL of His Creatures!!!
As we reach the consummation of this book, we are going to spend the remainder of the time analyzing in detail a large number of scriptures that explicitly state this Glorious Goal. These can only be denied by deliberate intent. They ARE NOT ambiguous or "Dark Sayings", but are quit the contrary clear and concise expressions of the English language. You MAY choose to disbelieve them and cling rather to your own doctrine. God has given you this option. You CAN NOT, however, say that they do not exist or really do NOT say what the seem to say. If these scriptures do not say what the clear rendering of English would attribute to them, then NONE of the scriptures can be relied upon to say anything meaningful, for the English language will have lost any meaning!! If this is the case, then your faith rests upon NOTHING, and you are the most foolish and wretched of men (or women)!!!
Before beginning the investigation of the aforementioned scriptures, I want to address two pointed questions for your consideration. The first is for the fathers among my readers. I appeal to the love in your fallen human nature that you have for your own children. Before you say that you can't reason from man to God, I would remind you that Jesus thought otherwise. In Math 7:11, He asks , "If YOU, being wicked, know how to give good gifts to YOUR children, will not our Heavenly Father do MUCH MORE for HIS Children?" Which of you fathers, if you had the power to change the situation, would rest content to watch as EVEN ONE of your offspring writhed in the torment of "ENDLESS FIRE"? Yet it says of Jesus in Isaiah 53:11, "He will see the result of the suffering of His soul, and be SATISFIED." BE SATISFIED, with not ONE of his offspring in the torments of "Hell", but millions upon untold millions!!! There is something seriously wrong with your concept of Love, let alone with your concept of God, if you can truly believe this!!!
It says in 1Tim 2:4 that God, "Wills that ALL men be saved." It DOES NOT say "Wishes", but "Wills". Ephesians 1:11 also says that God, "Works ALL things according to the purpose of HIS Will." In the teaching of Orthodox Christianity, this leads to one of two conclusions -- Either the Holy Scriptures lie, and God REALLY Wills that untold millions should burn in the torments of "Hell", or, despite all of the empty claims of Christendom regarding the Sovereignty and All-Encompassing Power of its "god", He is really only a second-rate deity, overruled and frustrated in His "desires" by the much stronger wills of Satan and MAN. If such is the case, it would appear that Satan's taunt toward Eve was quite correct when he promised her that, "She would be as God." In reality, she has EXCEEDED God, in that her will is superior to His !!!" Such is the "god" that Orthodox Christendom is proud to worship and exalt in. In truth, salvation becomes NOT HIS work, but rather MY work. He only OFFERS salvation. Ultimately, it is wholly up to me to grasp hold of it and to preserve for a lifetime, for a "god" who is shackled by MY WILL can certainly NOT be depended upon to insure my ultimate deliverance. Well, I praise God with my whole heart that He, by His Sovereign Grace, has opened my eyes and heart to see the truth that, though this might be YOUR "god", it is most surely NOT the Great "I AM" of the Holy Scriptures!!!
The second point that I would have you to meditate upon came by way of a Prophetic Utterance during a worship service at the church I attend. It was a challenge to the assembly NOT to diminish HIS power by OUR lack of faith and/or excess of arrogance. The question that was poised by God to us was as follows:
"When I reached out my arm to redeem YOU, was YOUR heart less wicked than that of other men? Did YOU posses a greater level of goodness and righteous in My sight than other men? Were YOU less in need of MY Grace and Salvation, or perhaps LESS LOST and rebellious than other men? Was there perhaps some GOOD THING IN YOU that brought about YOUR redemption??" If you would say, "NO, I was as ALL of Adam's Children, equally in need and equally lost," then I ask you, 'If MY Love and Grace were sufficient to redeem YOU, why then do you say in your heart that they can not redeem ALL MEN???'"
CHAPTER EIGHT ****** Paul's Soaring Logic
With these points for you to ponder upon, we will now move into a consideration of the concluding scriptures. The scriptures for this final dissertation will be found in the outline Item VII. There they are listed in Scripture order, but I am going to group them according to thought for our discussion. The first set of passages that we are going to consider begins with Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Cor 15:22. They are both FIRST in order and FIRST in significance to the theme under scrutiny. The Apostle Paul at this point rises to profound heights of mathematical logic as he labors to prove that the extend of redemption not only equals but EXCEEDS the extent of sin. His argument may be broken down into the following points:
1. Sin entered into the world through ONE man -- Adam. Through him, sin was passed through to ALL the rest of his descendants, or to ALL humanity. After Adam, NO ONE had a choice in the matter. They ALL came into the world as Sinners.
2. Jesus Christ, the SECOND Adam, came to nullify or undo the damage that the first Adam brought upon his race.
3. The Second Adam bears the same relationship to the human race, that of Father or procreator, as did the First Adam. Therefore, the results of HIS actions will be AT LEAST as inclusive as those of the First Adam.
4. Paul, however, claims that the results of the work of the Second Adam will FAR EXCEED those of the First Adam.
5. What were the respective gifts of the two Adams?? Through the First Adam SIN and DEATH spread to ALL MEN. Verse 15 states that by the trespass of the one man (Adam) the "MANY" died. Now let me ask you clearly -- Who are the "MANY"?? If the "MANY" does NOT refer to ALL humanity, then you are telling me that there were some SINLESS beings that Jesus DID NOT need to die for. However, Romans 3:23 and 5:12 say that ALL have sinned. Also, make a clear note of this -- This "MANY" DID NOT have to do anything to be constituted sinners. It was their inheritance from their father, Adam !!
6. Verse 19 goes on to say that IN LIKE MANNER, or according to the same rule or principle, the gift of the Second Adam will overflow to this SAME "MANY". If the "MANY" that received the gift of the First Adam means ALL of Humanity, by what possible manner of reasoning can you make the "MANY" that receive of the gift of the Second Adam to be anything less than ALL of humanity?? What is the gift of the Second Adam? It is nothing less than that the "MANY" shall be JUSTIFIED and made RIGHTEOUS!!!
7. Paul says, if our hearts and faith can be stretched to believe and receive it, that the gift of Jesus Christ will bring EVEN GREATER GLORY than this. He says that the "gift IS NOT like the trespass." The disobedience of ONE MAN brought death to the "MANY". How much greater weight of glory will be released into the universe by the OBEDIENCE of the ONE MAN, Jesus Christ??
8. In closing, it is noteworthy that Orthodox Christianity makes Paul to be a liar on this point, and the Obedience of Christ to be a trifling thing compared to the Disobedience of Adam. According to them, Adam's sin brought death and destruction to ALL men, while the GLORY of the Father will, in reality, impart Life and Righteous to only a VERY SMALL handful of humanity.
9. (1Cor 15:22) sums this point up quite explicitly. It states that, "As in Adam ALL die, so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Perhaps at this point you will defend your doctrine of "Eternal Damnation" by insisting that even those in "Hell" are alive. Then I ask YOU, "Can they be 'in Hell' and be 'in Christ' at the same time??" As I read the Scripture, it asserts that to be "in Christ" is to be connected to the Life of the Vine, to have the impartation of the Holy Spirit, and to be partakers of all of the gifts and fruits of the Spirit. In other words, it is to have "Resurrection Life and Immortality". As Paul further states in 2Cor 5:17, "If ANYONE is IN CHRIST, he is a NEW Creature. The old has passed away."
10. This line of reasoning is also contained in Isaiah 53:11,12, where Isaiah is foretelling the suffering of the Messiah. Here he states that the Messiah will justify "MANY", as He will bear the sins of this same "MANY".
Moving along, we meet with another of Paul's mathematical -- logical arguments in Romans 6:5-8 linked with 2 Cor 5:14. I would like to regress a moment for the sake of the mathematically minded among my readers, and consider the form of his logic on this point. It is the same form that he used in the previous point. Paul uses an algebraic formula that says if D=A, and D=B, and D=C, then D=A=B=C. Here is the analysis of Paul's reasoning based upon Romans 6:5-8 and 2 Cor 5:14:
D= IF we have been united with Him in HIS Death (or we have died with Him).
2 Cor 5:14 goes on to make the Glorious Assertion which the LOVE of CHRIST compels us to proclaim, namely, "That we are CONVINCED that one (Jesus Christ) DID indeed die for ALL, therefore, ALL have died." Theorem D is therefore true, "That we HAVE ALL been united with Him in His death." It therefore follows that Theorems A, B and C need also be true: that, "We have ALL been freed from Sin," "We ALL will be united with Him in His Resurrection," and "We will ALL live with Him." As in 1Cor 15:23, however, "Each in his own turn."
The theological mechanics of exactly HOW ALL Humanity died, first in Adam and secondly in Christ, are outside the scope of our present discussion. However, I am sure that you at least ACCEPT the fact that in the First Adam all died, rendering ALL Humanity sinful (you MUST believe this if you are an Orthodox Christian). This being the case, you are then COMPELLED to accept that in the Second Adam ALL died again, with the result being Justification to ALL Humanity.
CHAPTER NINE ****** To "Seek" Or To SAVE
The Apostle Paul makes an impressive and enlightening statement in 1 Tim 1:15,16, where he states, "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves FULL ACCEPTANCE: Christ Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS -- of whom I am the WORST. But for that very reason, I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His UNLIMITED patience as an EXAMPLE for those who would believe on him and receive 'Aeonian' life." Talk about a scripture pregnant with revelation!!!! Let us take some time and outline a number of the key issues that Paul raises here. Apparently, Paul feels that what he is unveiling here is of PARAMOUNT importance, as he begins by pointing out that what he is about to say is worthy of FULL acceptance. What is worthy of Full acceptance?? That Jesus came into the world to SAVE SINNERS!!! You say, "Of course, ALL Christians believe that." I ask you, however, to follow closely to what I am about to lay before you and see if, in reality, "ALL Christians" REALLY believe this, and whether this point has anywhere near "FULL acceptance".
Both Jesus Himself and the Apostle Paul state that He (Jesus) came to, "Seek and to SAVE that which was LOST" Luke 19:10 (Consider also the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin in Luke 15:3-10. It states clearly that the Seeker in the parables continues to seek "UNTIL He may be finding that which was lost !!"). As I have pointed out earlier, Paul states in 1Tim 2:4 that, "God WILLS that ALL men be saved." In the Book of Isaiah, God proclaims that, "So shall my word (my promise) be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void (empty, unfulfilled), but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. **** Isaiah 55:11
Now I put the following question to you plainly and challenge you for an Honest, Intelligent answer. The question is simply this, "Would not a sane, rational, intelligent man (or woman) find it exceedingly strange that an ALL powerful, ALL knowing, ALL loving, SOVEREIGN God who claims that what He decrees none can contradict, and who governs the Universe according to the "Council of His Will", would fail as miserably in His avowed purpose as Orthodox Christianity proclaims??? If it is true that He came to actually SAVE the lost (which is what the Word of God states) and not merely to make an "Offer of Salvation" to those with the inner strength and goodness to accept it (which is what Orthodox Christianity claims to be true), then any man with an eye to see will have to confess that Jesus failed miserably in His Mission. According to the Theology of "Eternal Damnation", those who are the deepest in Sin, those who are the MOST LOST, those who are the Greatest Sinners, are precisely those who ARE NOT found and saved!! Jesus denounced the self righteous Pharisees by reminding them that He DID NOT come for the righteous but for SINNERS. These self-righteous Christians also need this reminder, it would appear. Paul announced that Jesus called and saved him, the WORST of SINNERS, as an example of His (God's) UNLIMITED Grace and Patience.
Least you claim that I am merely wresting selected Scriptures out of context to support my claim, let us look further. It seems to have been the peculiar characteristic of the Pharisees to MAJOR in the "Letter of the Law" and to totally overlook the weightier matter of the "Spirit of the Law". Let us as Christians beware that we do not succumb to the SAME TRAP. Take heed lest you allow certain passages to totally overshadow and nullify the Spirit of the ENTIRE BIBLE.
I would say that the Entire Theme of the Old Testament could be summed up by this passage from Lamentations 3:31-33, "For men ARE NOT cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show COMPASSION." Surely this knowledge was what kept the Nation of Israel going during their long periods of desolation. They knew that though the Lord God would chastise them severely for their Sin and Rebellion against Him, yet there would come a day when He would tenderly draw them back to Himself again. They knew this because it was His constant message to them through His Prophets!!
What then is God's Revelation to men in the New Testament? Is it to be LESS than that of the Old Testament? The Apostle John begins his Letter with the words in verse 1:29, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the Sins of the WORLD." This is further amplified by Jesus Himself when He proclaims in John 12:31,32, "If I am lifted up, I will draw ALL MEN to Myself." The Apostle Paul has MUCH to say on this theme. In 1Tim. 2:5,6 he testifies that Jesus, "Gave Himself as a Ransom for ALL." In 1Tim. 4:9,10 he states that Jesus, "Is the Savior of ALL men, ESPECIALLY of believers" How, I ask you, can this verse be interpreted to EXCLUDE unbelievers?? The author of the Book of Hebrews adds to this weight of testimony the statement in Heb. 2:9 that, "Jesus tasted death for the sake of EVERYONE." In 1 John 4:14, the Apostle John again reminds us that, "The Father sent His Son to be the Savior of the WORLD."
It would appear, at least in MY mind, that if Jesus came with the avowed purpose to SAVE ALL MEN (or the World), then He will SAVE ALL MEN. If He does NOT, I can think of only TWO reasons. The first would be that He and the Father LIED, and that was never really their purpose. The second would be that He and the Father were too WEAK to accomplish their stated purpose. They were overpowered by Satan and Man's Sin, and therefore, they FAILED. Are YOU ready to subscribe to one of these two reasons why untold multitudes of those that the Father sent Jesus to save should ROT FOR "ETERNITY" in the "Flames of Eternal Hell", particularly in light of the fact that it states in 2 Peter 3:9 that God," Is NOT WILLING that ANY should perish??"
Three more enlightening scriptures, worthy of "full consideration", are Heb. 9:26, 1 John 2:1,2, and 1 John 3:8. If Jesus, "Appeared to DO AWAY with sin," and His mission was successful, how then can SIN multiply and fester unto "ALL ETERNITY" in the "Pit of HELL"? Secondly, if Jesus is REALLY, "The Propitiation .... for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD," how is it that most of this WORLD will have to pay the price for their sins themselves for "Eternity in Hell"?? Now this word "Propitiation" is an interesting religious word. It is rendered in the OT by the expression "Mercy Seat". This was the place where, once a year on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificial lamb as a covering (or forgiveness) for the sins of the people of Israel. Take note -- if you were a member of the Nation of Israel, you did not need to do anything for your sins to be covered. God accepted the work of the High Priest and of the Blood on your behalf. It says in the verse under scrutiny that the High Priest, Jesus Christ, sprinkled HIS Blood for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. The word Propitiation is also defined to mean "an APPEASING sacrifice unto God". If, therefore, God has been appeased (or reconciled) toward the WHOLE World, why does He insist upon "pouring out His wrath and fury upon those in 'Hell' (and for 'Eternity' no less)??"
Another very revealing "Type and Shadow" from the Old Testament is the concept of the "Kinsman Redeemer" and the "Year of Jubilee". It seems God provided that, if an Israelite should, due to unfortunate circumstances, be forced to sell himself as a slave or servant, he could be redeemed by a relative. Should this NOT occur, in the "Year of Jubilee" (every 50th year) ALL Israelite slaves and/or servants would be set free and most property would return to its ORIGINAL owner. Could we not, if we have "Eyes to see", detect a ready parallel here regarding God's dealings with ALL Mankind through His ultimate "Kinsman Redeemer", Jesus Christ???
For our third point, let us examine John's statement that, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to DESTROY the "Works of the Devil". Surely the Devil's work can HARDLY be destroyed when he is allowed to gloat for eternity over the millions upon millions of God's miserable creatures that he has succeeded in seducing away from their Father, and subjected to unimaginable torment in the "Flames of Eternal Hell".
The last group of scriptures that we are going to explore relate to what might be called, "God's Ultimate Intention or Purpose". They may be found in Acts 3:21, Romans 14:11, 1Cor. 15:28, 2Cor. 5:18,19, Eph. 1:9,10, Philp. 2:9-11, and Col. 1:19,20. These scriptures reveal to us the glorious intent of God's Heart, which is that, in the Grand Consummation, when all of His plan has been completely fulfilled, He will restore EVERYTHING into harmony with Himself. ALL of Creation, ALL lost Creatures (Man included), ALL things in Heaven and on the earth and under the earth will be reconciled again to their Creator. It was the Father's Good Pleasure that through His Most Beloved Son, Jesus, as the ONLY Mediator, that ALL THINGS should finally be brought together under ONE HEAD, the Father!!!! Then and ONLY then shall the Father's Heart be satisfied, when He shall finally be ALL in ALL of his Creation. Not only will the Father's Heart be finally filled, but HIS Universe will enter into the JOY for which it was created, and at long last EVERY KNEE will bow ... to the Glory of the Father. To this I say, "Amen and Amen, Come SOON Lord Jesus!!!"
I have one closing point to make. So pervasive and ingrained is the need to twist the clear declaration of these scriptures, that varied and many ploys have been attempted. One of these is to make Romans 14:11 and Philp 2:9-11 imply a FORCED subjection of God's enemies to His imposed rule. A moment's research and consideration of these two verses will soon expel that notion. First off, the word rendered "Confess" is Strong's # 1843, which is also used in passages where the meaning is to "praise or thank". Enemies subjected by brute force are HIGHLY unlikely to "Thank or Praise" their subjector, even if He is God. Regardless of WHAT warped opinions men have come up with, beings in "Hell" are even LESS likely to be doing much "Thanking or Praising". Also, exactly where is the "Glory to the Father" from the fact that the vast majority of His precious creation has been lost to despair and destruction, His power and His Wisdom not being sufficient to save them???
What I have endeavored to present to you in the foregoing pages has been nothing less than the CLEAR, UNQUESTIONABLE assertions of God's Word. Yes, it IS true that there are passages in our revered "Authorized Bible" and other translations which SEEM to allege doctrines that would contradict much of what I have said. Granting that these are faithfully rendered according to the Greek and Hebrew (which most of them ARE NOT), my closing question to you will simply be this, "What will you do with the truths and passages which have been brought to your attention??" They CAN NOT simply be cut out of your Bible and discarded!! Will you at least consider the POSSIBILITY that there is something wrong (or at least lacking) in the Orthodox view of God, His relationship to us as His Creation, and what is commonly taught about God's "Judgment, Hell, and Eternal Damnation"??
Jesus made one of the saddest observations regarding the Jews of His day when He exclaimed, "Seeing, they do not see, and hearing, they do not hear." What He was saying was that their Pride, their Hardness of Heart, their obstinacy in the Religious Doctrines of Men, and their SIN had made their hearts and minds so Blind and Deaf that they COULD NOT, they WOULD NOT recognize and honor Him as their long awaited Messiah. It can only be concluded by careful observation of the facts that this same Blindness, this same "Veil of Moses", rests upon the majority of Christendom today.
CHAPTER TEN ****** "The Holiness of God", by R.C. Sproul
I recently came across a classic case of this Mysterious Malady in a book that I just finished reading. It is entitled "The Holiness of God", by RC Sproul. Right up until the last chapter, the author was doing a superb job of expounding upon what is meant by "the Holiness of God" and of the Biblical call for us as Christians to be "Holy, for He is Holy". In fact, on the back flap, Chuck Colson, author of "Loving God", referred to Mr. Sproul as, "One of the most Brilliant Thinkers of our day". As he entered into the last chapter, something must have gone astray within his thinking processes. He begins with loud applause for an early American preacher named Jonathan Edwards and perhaps his most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". It is probably best to allow you to draw your own conclusions about this sermon, so I am reproducing a small portion of it following. You might also draw your own conclusions about the state of a great deal of Evangelical Christianity by the Standing Ovation that they seem to insist upon rendering to Mr. Edwards and his sermon.
Note: This is a portion of the sermon by Jonathan Edwards:
"The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked. His wrath towards you burns like fire. He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire. He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight. You are ten thousand times more abominable in His eyes than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended Him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince. Yet, it is nothing but His hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to wake again in this world after you closed your eyes to sleep. There is no other reason to be given, why you have not dropped into hell since you arose in the morning, but that God's hand has held you up. There is no other reason to be given why you have not gone to hell, since you have sat here in the House of God, provoking His pure Eyes by your sinful, wicked manner of attending His solemn worship. Yea, there is nothing else that is to be given as a reason why you do not this very moment drop down into hell.
O sinner! Consider the fearful danger you are in! It is a great furnace of wrath, a wide and bottomless pit, full of the fire of wrath, that you are held over in the hand of that God, whose wrath is provoked and incensed as much against you, as against many of the damned in hell. You hang by a slender thread, with the flames of divine wrath flashing about it, and ready every moment to singe it, and burn it asunder. You have no interest in any Mediator, and nothing to lay hold of to save yourself, nothing to keep off the flames of wrath, nothing of your own, nothing that you ever have done, nothing that you can do, to induce God to spare you one moment. . . .Your wickedness makes you, as it were, heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell. If God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf. Your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock."
Note: This section is a comment by Mr. Sproul:
"In the application section of the sermon, Edwards places great stress on the nature and severity of God's wrath. Central to his thinking is the clear notion that a holy God must also be a wrathful God. He lists several key points about the wrath of God that we dare not overlook.
1. Whose wrath it is. The wrath of which Edwards preached was the wrath of an infinite God. He contrasts God's wrath with the anger of men or the wrath of a king for his subject. Human wrath eventually concludes. It has an ending point. It is limited. God's wrath can go on forever.
2. The fierceness of God's wrath. The Bible repeatedly likens God's wrath to a winepress of fierceness. In hell, there is no moderation or mercy given. God's anger is not mere annoyance or a mild displeasure. It is a consuming rage against the unrepentant.
3. It is an everlasting wrath. There is no end to the anger of God directed against those in hell. If we have any compassion for our fellowmen, we would wail at the thought of a single one of them falling into the pit of hell. We could not stand to hear the cries of the damned for five seconds. To be exposed to God's fury for a moment would be more than we could bear. To contemplate it for eternity is too awful to consider."
Now Mr. Sproul, as I was able to deduce from his writing, tends to be a Calvinist, or a professor in the predestination of man by a Sovereign God. As to this point, VERY GOOD, for I have made it quite clear that I see God as being Totally Sovereign, governing ALL THINGS according to the Council of HIS WILL alone!! Hold this fact in your mind for a moment -- I shall return to it shortly. Mark also that the theme of his book pertained to the absolute Justice, Love, Wisdom, and Judgment of God, as entailed by His Holiness. The point at which I began to notice that there was indeed something discordant about Mr. Sproul's thinking was where he could see NO DIFFICULTY with reconciling a Being of these qualities and possessing TOTAL, UNASSAILABLE POWER over against what he was applauding in Jonathan Edwards sermon!!
In the event that you see NO contradiction either, allow me to explain to you my observations. These not only outline the Calvinistic precepts put forth by Mr. Sproul but, to a large part, the "thinking" of mainline Christianity. What I especially wish you to note in the following, however, is not so much MERELY the precepts themselves, but what is more important, the CONCLUSIONS that MUST follow if you truly BELIEVE these precepts:
1. God is a Sovereign, HOLY God. He is self-defining, self-actuating, self-governing, self-determining. He answers to NO power outside Himself and confers with NO Council other than Himself. Absolute power is contained within Him and Him ALONE, and there is NO other independent power outside of Him.
2. He is a God of perfect Love, perfect Justice, perfect Mercy, perfect Understanding, perfect Judgment, in who is "No Shadow of Turning", NO possibility of error or of Failing. In other words, He is Perfectly HOLY, or set apart TOTALLY from ALL else in the universe.
3. He has created ALL universes and ALL creatures (including MAN) according to His Plan, purely toward the end of fulfilling His Purpose and displaying His Glory. ALL His Ways and ALL His Acts and ALL of His Purposes are Perfect and Flawless.
4. There currently exists a gap between this HOLY God and fallen, sinful Man, which, on his own, NO MAN CAN BRIDGE. Hence we find that Jesus alone is this bridge. Furthermore, according to Mr. Sproul on pages 232,233 (and according to the Bible, I might add), fallen, alienated man has NO desire to seek after God, absolutely HATES God, and possess NO power to see, discern, or understand the things of the Spirit. Therefore, as Jesus Himself asserted, "NO man comes to Me (Jesus) UNLESS the Father draws him."
From these precepts, being the clear declarations of God's Word, the following four conclusions logically and truly follow:
1. God created the Universe, Man, and all else contained within it according to His perfect Plan, exactly as He wished it to be.
2. God empowered both Satan and Man to be exactly as they are to be found today, within the perfect wisdom of His Plan and Intention, and under His perfect control.
3. Man does NOT choose to come into this world as a sinner and as an enemy of God. This is his lot at birth, and he must live and act under a curse NOT of his own making. Man is TOTALLY impotent to save himself or to even avail himself of the salvation wrought for him in Jesus Christ. Unless God reaches out His Hand of Grace and draws a man to Himself, and places in his being the Light and Power to respond to what has been made available to him, he is HOPELESSLY Lost and Damned.
4. This being the case, then God must do this for EVERY MAN, or NO MAN can be saved!!!!!
At this point, however, we must say with Shakespeare, "Herein lies the rub!" If you are an honest and sincere man or woman, and are ready to carry the above logic to its ONLY reasonable conclusion, then according to Orthodox Christianity and Mr. Sproul, the following statement MUST DEFINE the outcome:
5. God DOES NOT do this for every man (or so say the Scribes of Orthodox Christianity). Therefore, it is God Himself who decrees that SOME men might be saved and that OTHER men might be damned. Thus said Calvin and his followers, if I understand correctly.
If this is what YOU say, then I say that you DO NOT worship the GREAT "I AM" of the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. NO!! I say that you worship one of the idolatrous demons of the Canaanites, who "I AM" said to destroy. These demons more resembled the "god" who Jonathan Edwards so delighted in, one who, "Holds you over the pit of Hell as one holds a spider, who abhors you, who looks upon you as a loathsome insect, and deems you worthy of nothing else but to be CAST INTO THE FIRE."
My friend, if this is the "god" whom you profess, and represent as his ambassador, may your ultimate wishes be fulfilled by Him upon yourself !!
CHAPTER ELEVEN *** "Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow"
Many years ago there was a popular song by a singer named B.J. Thomas entitled, "There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see." Another man by the name of William James is credited with saying, "Many people think they are thinking when, in reality, they are merely REARRANGING their Prejudices." If this book merely challenges you to TRULY THINK, to meditate deeply upon that which you "THINK that you think", then regardless of the outcome of your reflections, in my mind it will have been a RESOUNDING SUCCESS!!
It has NOT been my intent at any point in this book to purposely offend and/or insult. It HAS been my EXPRESS intent to challenge you to truly THINK upon what you believe in light of what God's Word, the Holy Bible, REALLY says , stripped of man's doctrine, dogma, prejudice, and irrational thinking. I am sure that there is a good and proper place for "Correct Tradition". Paul admonished believers to fashion their lives after the "traditions" that were received from him (2Thes 3:6). Conversely, he warned us not to be despoiled by the "traditions of men" (Col 2:8), just as Jesus repeatedly criticized the Pharisees for preferring the "traditions of men" over and above His Word and the Word of His Father.
I will be the first to concede that there is something very comfortable and reassuring about OLD, cherished , time-honored traditions, platitudes, and doctrines, EVEN IF THEY ARE FALSE. It can be a very fearful thing to consider being separated from these "Old Friends" who have given us so much comfort and warm fellowship. Why else does Christendom continue to revere and literally "Worship" the King James Bible, long after it has ceased to be the vernacular of the day and has served its intended purpose, especially when there are so many better translations available today.
Jesus indeed said, "You shall know the Truth (Himself), and THIS Truth shall set you free." (John 8:32) He also said, "You search the scriptures, thinking that IN THEM you will find Life, yet you refuse to come to ME of whom they testify." (John 5:39) Again He said, "You make the Word of God of NO EFFECT by your Traditions." (Mark 7:13) John goes on to say that, "Perfect Love CASTS OUT all fear." (1 John 4:18) C.S. Lewis, in his famous book, "Mere Christianity", made one of the most profound statements when he said, "The question of ALL questions IS NOT whether Christianity is comfortable, convenient, morally uplifting, or does society and/or individuals any good. The ONLY question that needs to be asked is, IS IT TRUE ??" If it and the God that it proclaims are, in fact, TRUE, then your or my opinion on the subject is of LESS than NO value. We had best be on our knees at once in worship to the Lord and Creator which it proclaims. If, on the other hand, it is NOT true, then we need pay it no more attention than we would to any other myth and/or fairy tale."
The same can be said, in general, for ALL of our RELIGIOUS BELIEFS. The points to consider ARE NOT, "They are convenient and/or comfortable.", "ALL Christians believe them," "They have been in the church for centuries," "What will all my friends say if I do or do not believe such-and-such," or, "This is what I have believed ALL my life." What IS important is whether or not a given doctrine or belief, measured against both the Written and the LIVING Word of God, with intelligence, wisdom, rationality, and a mind renewed by the Spirit of the Living God, registers as TRUTH. If it DOES NOT, then cast it out. IT IS WRITTEN, "The son born of slavery to the elements of this age SHALL NOT share in the inheritance with the Son of Promise born out of that Age which is yet to come. (Gal 4:30) C.S. Lewis also had a short essay in a book by the title of, "The World's Last Night", called , "Lilies That Fester". The basic tenant of the essay can be stated thusly: "That which purports to originate from the highest source takes upon itself the most putrid odor when it dies, rots, and festers."
In Conclusion, I will leave you with this Scripture and Charge from the Apostle Paul, taken from 1Tim 4:9-12, "Faithful is the saying and worthy of ALL welcome (for this are we toiling and being REPROACHED), that we rely on the living God, Who is the Savior of ALL men, especially of believers. These things be CHARGING AND TEACHING." I would like also to offer in prayer to all who have made it to the end of this treatise, the words of the Apostle Paul from Ephesians 1:17- 19, "I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe."
Particularly to those who are able to joyfully embrace Dr. Cole's article on Election, but are as of yet held back from going the full distance to Universal Reconciliation, I earnestly pray to God that He might break the Religious Bondage of the false doctrine of "Eternal Damnation" that Satan has so effectively used to blind the eyes of His earnest seekers. You are so VERY close to the Revelation of the God whose ultimate purpose and heart is nothing less than, that at the Conclusion of the Ages, He might finally be ALL in ALL of His Creatures.
May God, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, very richly bless and prosper your life, and grant to you an abundance of Faith to Beleive and Receive.
Amen and Amen !!!
The End !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
OUTLINE ****** Universal Reconciliation