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UNIVERSALISM


Compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, October, 2012

Scripture is from New King James Version unless otherwise noted.


      Universalism is the doctrine which teaches that God will eventually “save” all of mankind. Some include all created sentient beings, including Satan and his angels.


      Those of you who have followed this website, know that I have never said that my version of truth is above all others. I try my best to explain from my study of the Scriptures, what I believe and why I believe it. What you find here is my opinion - my commentary. There are thousands of sincere believers who hold opinions contrary to mine. I would never say that they will be lost for teaching what they sincerely believe. Jesus will clear up any differences during our 1000 years at the New Jerusalem University. That said, I can tell you that I do NOT personally believe that all of mankind will be saved.


I need to review a few doctrinal positions which are important to understand as we begin:

 

First: I believe that death is an unconscious state, during which the Father retains the spirit essence of the person who has died. This spirit essence (like a memory download) is what God will use to resurrect each person with mind intact - the righteous to everlasting life, and the persistently rebellious to judgment and then death without hope of future resurrection.

 

Second: The end for the persistently rebellious, is the “lake of fire.” “Sheol” - the abode of the dead, is consumed and destroyed in the “lake of fire.” “Sheol” at the time of the final judgment (Rev. 20) will contains, or consist of, the spirits (spirit essence) of those who refused the healing thru Christ. These people ARE dead at this point. The spirit essence of these individuals is destroyed (as Sheol is destroyed) in the “lake of fire” rendering future resurrection impossible.

 

Third: The “Israel” of future kingdom prophecy includes all of those who have entered into covenant with the God our Father thru Christ His Son.

 

Fourth: Salvation is based upon a dynamic living relationship with the LORD. It is not a forensic transaction, where one is promised eternal salvation because one has said the essential formula words - “I believe. Save me.” - unless those words came from a heart overwhelmed by the love of God, with the sincere intent to “follow His ways” in future.

 

Fifth: God has predestined all to salvation, but each one must accept that invitation. No one was ever predestined for “Hell.”


  



      These positions are set out in the following studies at this website:

1. Where are the Dead?

2. Hell - What It’s Not

3. Final Judgment - Lake of Fire

4. “Once Saved - Always Saved ?”

5. Predestination - Is this the Security of the Believer?


Let’s consider a few arguments for Universalism.

 

1. God is our Father and any punishment must therefore be for the ultimate improvement of His children - not for punishment only, or for annihilation.

 

Job 5:17-18 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. For He bruises, but he binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole.”

 

NOTE: It is true that the LORD allows the wayward to experience the result of his own choices, and patiently waits, hoping he will “see the error of his way.” Yet there will come a time when the LORD will withdraw His spirit from the earth, because men have rejected Him. Certain death will result.

 

Job 22:16-17 “Who were cut down before their time, Whose foundations were swept away by a flood? They said to God,`Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?”

 

2. [Universalist argument] How can our Father God be satisfied so long as even one is lost? That would be incomplete and imperfect.

 

Luke 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?”

 

NOTE: The LORD speaks here of a “lost” animal, meaning one which has simply wandered away and cannot find its way back. We assume that when the animal hears the Shepherd’s voice calling, it will run toward the Shepherd - NOT try to get away.

 

Zechariah 1:3 “Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Return to Me,” says the LORD of hosts, “and I will return to you,” says the LORD of hosts.’”

 

NOTE: The invitation is extended, but those invited must respond. They must come to the Shepherd. They “return” by confessing their sins and repenting. They must act. They “return” by keeping His covenant law, thankfully returning to Him the tithe, and praising His name.

 

Isaiah 5:4What more could I have been done to My vineyard that I have not done in it? Why then, when I expected it to bring forth good grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes?”



 

3. [Universalist argument] The LORD advises us to forgive and forgive and forgive. How can the LORD stop forgiving? He is love. He is forgiveness. How can He then go against His own character?

 

1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 

NOTE: The LORD invites. He pleads. He waits. He continues to bless - hoping that His message of love will provoke a response, but is there a point when He waits no longer - because He knows that the sinner will never respond? Is there a point of no return?

 

4. [Universalist argument] God is all knowing. How can the redemption of all humanity be beyond His ability to bring about? It must be within His wisdom to apply just that correction to every human being, in order to bring every one to bow before Him.

 

NOTE: An all powerful divine Being has limited His power over mankind. He will not manipulate the mind. What are His options then? He teaches and informs. He blesses, showing us that great benefit is to be obtained in association with Him. He protects. He demonstrates His great power. He warns. He allows the individual to suffer the natural consequences of his own choices (sometimes as a warning to others). He invites the individual to return to covenant relationship. He demonstrates His great love and willingness to forgive. Beyond this - what is left?

 

Love cannot be forced. The demonstration of His power over the gods of Egypt, did not change Pharoah’s heart. The demonstration of His power did not bring about perpetual obedience of the Israelites in the wilderness. Demonstrations of power may buy time, because of the fear engendered, but they will not win the heart. Love is awakened ONLY by love. “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

 

5.    [Universalist argument] God is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pet. 3:9) therefore none will perish - because God has willed it. For example: Despite the “free will” of those who worked against Joseph, he was finally triumphant. The LORD can do the same to bring about the salvation of all mankind. Who can effectively thwart the will of God, who is working out His will (Eph. 1:11)? Is evil too strong for God?

 

NOTE: Only those who do the will of God, receive the promise of eternal life. Joseph was triumphant because He did the will of God. He endured. The LORD will not force any man to do His will.

 

Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:” (NKJ)




 

Does God always get His will?

 

“Will” (2307) thelema {thel'-ay-mah} - Meaning: 1) what one wishes or has determined shall be done 1a) of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ 1b) of what God wishes to be done by us 1b1) commands, precepts 2) will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure what one wants or desires?

 

His “will” is not the same as His “word.” If God speaks a thing - if He says it will happen - then His word will not come back to Him void. It will accomplish His purpose (Isa. 55:11).

 

NOTE: Where does the Scripture say that all men will be saved? I know of no passage stating it. In fact - we are told over and over that the way is narrow, and “few” will find it.

 

NOTE: A most amazing revelation of the character of our God is that He does NOT impose His power over the minds of His created beings. They CAN say “no” to Him. He presents evidence. He allows them to experience the consequences of doing things in their own way. He uses corrective punishment, when He allows them to suffer the consequences of life without His protection. But He does NOT overpower their minds. If He would manipulate minds, then He should have done it in the first place and skipped all this painful mess! The length of this conflict is the best evidence that He does NOT manipulate minds. [Satan, on the other hand does manipulate minds!]

 

6. [Universalist argument] Annihilation is unjust. Man did not ask to be created and had no hand in the creation process, except to beget children at the command of God (“be fruitful”). Man was deceived by a spirit being far superior in power and intellect to the pair in Eden - so newly “born.” Men live a very short time, compared with God, yet if an individual does not respond, within a short lifetime to the influence of the Spirit of Christ - to repent and change his ways, then he must be annihilated? It is unjust.

 

NOTE: How many years of life should be granted for any individual who continues to act in selfish and rebellious ways? The LORD gives life. It is thru His power that life continues. For the LORD to prolong the life of the selfish and rebellious (unless He isolates them completely) is to prolong the pain of those they continue to hurt.

 

NOTE: A lifetime of 40, or 80, or 300 or even 1000 years seems “short” compared with the life of God or the life of an angel. The question here is whether a human being can “know” the difference between right and wrong within this life span. Can he recognize the influence of a higher power - the call of God - and respond or refuse?




Continued next page:


   

 

NOTE: I believe that those who died in ignorance of the LORD, will be resurrected at the 8th millennium to continue their lives, and they will have the opportunity to choose whom they will serve. I believe that IF further knowledge of any kind would reconcile an individual who has already died, the LORD will resurrect that person at the 8th millennium, and will give him further instruction, until every avenue is exhausted. Only then - if that individual continues in rebellion, and comes up with the Horde of Gog to attack The City, will he be consumed by the fire of God, which comes down in defense of His City.


      See the studies at this website: “The 8th Day” ;“Priests of the LORD” ;“Gog and Magog”

 

In the final judgment, the Father and the Son must demonstrate that everything divinely possible was done to reconcile each individual. Only then can the redeemed put the loss behind them, and go on into eternity.

 

NOTE: The creation of Adam and Eve followed the war in heaven. If there had already been a rebellion in the spirit realm, where every created being was forced to choose a side, then it seems right that mankind should also choose. Adam and Eve had a very limited knowledge of the character of God. (The true character of Satan was not fully revealed until He murdered Christ.) They were deceived by Satan. These circumstances are the reason why they were granted probation, rather than immediately banished from God’s kingdom forever. The process thru which some men are at last reconciled to the Father, has brought to light the depth of the Father’s love. The process has been a revelation to all the spirit realm. We human beings are a part of that revelation. Our suffering has not been wasted. It has been a revelation - a lesson book - to a universe of sentient created beings. We will be rewarded for our contribution.

 

7. [Universalist argument] Death will be abolished at the end of the ages (eons). Those within the “lake of fire” will then be reconciled with God, who becomes All in all (1 Corinthians 15).

 

NOTE: The dead “know nothing.” They can make no choices. Those in the lake of fire are “the dead.” They are already dead. They will not live again. There is no third resurrection mentioned in the Scripture. Sheol with all of its dead, will be destroyed in the “lake of fire.” These people will then no longer exist. [Please see the study titled “Where are the Dead?” at this website, and also the study titled “Hell - What It’s Not”.]

 

8. [Universalist argument] Two Greek words are translated “punish” or “punishment.” They are “kolasis” - used by our Lord, and “timoria.” “Kolasis” came from a root meaning “to prune,” as a tree. This speaks of a corrective punishment, NOT one intended solely for vindication of law and justice.

 

“Timoria” refers to punishment which is intended solely for the vindication of law and justice.

 

NOTE: The LORD has pruned His vine - Israel. God has also“broken off” branches from His tree - Israel. The word for execute was to “cut off.”

 

 Psalm 37:34 “Wait on the LORD, And keep His way, And He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.”

 

Psalm 37:38 “But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off.”

 

Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment (kolasis), but the righteous into eternal life.”

 

NOTE: Two outcomes are presented: life or death (eternal life or eternal death - from which there is no resurrection).

 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (To “perish” is to die.)

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;”

 

Psalm 1:6 “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

 

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

 

Proverbs 10:25 “When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.”

 

NOTE: Some would say that man has no choice. We are predestined. They site passages such as John 15:16, to show that men do not have any choice. I disagree. Yes Christ chose the first disciples - but they had to respond to His call. That response was a choice! And Judas was called “a devil” because of his choice to listen to Satan.

 

Joshua 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,”


9. [Universalist argument] Christ is Savior of ALL.

 

1 Timothy 4:9-10 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.


 

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world (all men) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

      NOTE: Jesus Christ came with the purpose of saving all mankind. All are invited. Not all will accept the invitation.

 

10. [Universalist argument] If death came upon ALL men because of the sin of Adam, then ALL will be given life in Christ. They will be “vivified” or “made alive” at different times, according to their class.

 

1 Corinthians 15:21-23 “For since, in fact, through a man came death, through a Man, also, comes the resurrection of the dead. For even as in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be made alive. Yet each in his own class...”


      NOTE: Let’s continue the verse. The “all” includes only those who “are Christ’s.”

 

[continued] “. . . even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.


      OTHER “all” PASSAGES:

 

Romans 5:18 “Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”


      NOTE: The gift can be rejected.


      Hebrews 2:9 “. . . that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”

 

John 3:17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

 

NOTE: It does not say that the world will be saved, but that it “might be saved.” “All” are invited, but most will refuse.

 

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away [bears] the sin of the world!”


      John 12:32 “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw ALL men unto myself.”

 

NOTE: All men feel the drawing power of God’s love. Some resist and their hearts are hardened. These texts demonstrate that no man was ever predestined for Hell.



      2 Corinthians 5:19 “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.”

 

NOTE: God is not reconciled to us. He has always loved us. We are reconciled to Him, when we see His great love for us. But some resist this drawing power, and refuse to be reconciled to Him.

 

Colossians 1:20 “ . . . and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

 

Once again: God wills (desires) to reconcile all things to Himself, and sent His own Son to plead His case, but not every man will be convinced. Also beings in the spirit realm are fully reconciled to the Father, because of the evidence provided (Satan and his angels excepted). Satan was unmasked. He was fully revealed as a murderer. Every sentiment in his favor, still held by any heavenly being in the spirit realm, was then lost.


11. [Universalist argument] God swore by Himself, that “every knee shall bow” before Him.

 

Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.”

 

In context, the words here were spoken to “you who have escaped the nations.” Isaiah is writing during a time of great apostasy in Israel. Many worship idols. He wonders whether Israel will ever be brought back to oneness with the LORD. These words would be very reassuring to the prophet. A time will come, when those who “have escaped” will enter into covenant with the LORD and every knee will bow to Him.

 

Romans 14:11 references Psalm 22:29. Every knee will bow before the judgment seat of Christ - of those living and those who have died. These two verses do not say that they will love the LORD or be reconciled to Him, just that they will acknowledge Him.

 

12. [Universalist argument] The “lake of fire” is a cleansing fire, which will consume only the sin from those thrown in. They will come forth from that “fire” reconciled, humbled and ready to do God’s will.

 

Isaiah 33:14-15 “The sinners in Zion are afraid; Fearfulness has seized the hypocrites: "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil:

 

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” NOTE: This is a promise to the righteous - not to the wicked!

 

Zechariah 13:9 “I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say,`This is My people'; And each one will say,`The LORD is my God.'"

 

NOTE: Satan rebelled and took one-third of the angels with him. This verse suggests that the LORD will take back one-third of mankind from Satan, before the great Day of the LORD. They will become His priests.

 

NOTE: Those thrown into the “lake of fire” are DEAD. There is no other resurrection mentioned, after the “lake of fire.”

 

Isaiah 38:18 “For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.”


      The following is the prophecy of the angel messenger to Daniel.

 

Daniel 12:1-2 “. . . at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book [of life]. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (KJV)


      NOTE: One does not recover from “everlasting contempt.” This is forever judgment!!

 

Jeremiah 23:40 “And I will bring an everlasting reproach upon you, and a perpetual shame, which shall not be forgotten.'" NOTE: This was a curse upon false prophets in Israel.

       

NOTE: Divine “fire” consumed Nadab and Abihu, the 250 princes who rebelled against Moses, and will consume the Horde of Gog, when they come to attack the City during the coming Kingdom of Messiah.

 

Divine fire consumed the sacrifice on the alter before the Tabernacle - at the consecration of that Tabernacle and the initial priestly offering of Aaron. Psalm 37 tells us that the wicked will all be consumed into smoke by this same divine “fire.”

 

2 Thessalonians 1:8 [At the Second Coming] “ . . . in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,”


      NOTE: This is the “fire” which will NOT burn the righteous.






 

Psalm 37:9 “For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the LORD, They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 12 The wicked plots against the just, And gnashes at him with his teeth. 13 The Lord laughs at him, For He sees that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn the sword And have bent their bow, To cast down the poor and needy, To slay those who are of upright conduct. 15 Their sword shall enter their own heart, And their bows shall be broken. 16 A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous. 18 The LORD knows the days of the upright, And their inheritance shall be forever. 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 20 But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the fat of lambs, shall vanish into smoke. They shall vanish away.



THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS ARE:


Does God manipulate minds.

Do men (and angels) have free choice?


My personal belief is that our God does NOT manipulate minds. We do have free choice.

Some will choose LIFE, and some will not.


Because God knows the future, does not mean that He forces it.



We pray this study will prove a blessing.

Prophecy Viewpoint

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