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UNIVERSALISM


Compiled by Rachel Cory-Kuehl, October, 2012

Edited: November 20, 2021

Scripture from the NKJV unless otherwise noted


      Universalism is the teaching that God will eventually “save” all of mankind. Some include all created sentient beings, which would mean that Satan and the angels who rebelled with him, will one also one day, be reconciled to the Father.


      Let me state plainly. I do not believe that all of mankind will ultimately be saved.


      The question is terribly important. Do we have free will - or not? Can we actually “love” the Lord our God? Can we resist the Him? Does HE - the omnipotent Creator, allow lesser sentient beings to choose whom they will serve? If not - then are we simply manipulated by Him, with stimuli and deterrents, until we respond in His desired way? Are we like trained dogs, of a higher order? I have trouble believing my God would want such a “relationship.”


      Universalists post another question. Does the Creator have the right to destroy sentient beings? It seems similar to the abortion question, which asks if a woman has the right to destroy a human life growing in her womb - a life which she (by her actions) “created?”


      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, will be the “lake of fire.” The “lake of fire” is called “the second death.” No third resurrection is mentioned anywhere in the Bible. This means the “second death” is final and irreversible. I do not believe that human beings will be consciously tormented for eternity. I believe the spiritually hardened will be annihilated.




 

According to Revelation Chapter 20, at the conclusion of the final judgment, Sheol itself - the abode of the dead, will be consumed completely and forever in the “lake of fire.” After Sheol is gone, “there will be no more death”(Rev 21:4). If Sheol is consumed and gone forever, then the spirit essence of every person in Sheol will be vanished, rendering future resurrection impossible.

 

Third: Salvation is based upon a dynamic living relationship with God our Father and His Son, Yeshua Messiah. 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.”

 

Fourth: God predestined all to salvation. Christ died for the whole world. But the invitation to become part of His kingdom, is individually accepted - one by one. Each person must accept the invitation, and the conditions. No one is forced. No one is coerced.


      These positions are set out in several studies at prophecyviewpoint.com.

1. Where are the Dead?

2. Hell - What It’s Not

3. Judgment Day

4. The Book of Life

5. The Only Way

6. What Does God Want - From me?

7. The Unpardonable Sin

8. Final Judgment - Lake of Fire


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.”

 

ANSWER: It is true. The LORD allows the wayward to experience the painful results of their own choices, and patiently waits, hoping they will “see the error of their ways.” Does this prove the Lord will continue His appeals forever? The Bible says a time will come when hearts have become “hard.” Further appeals would be useless. The story of Pharaoh is a good example.

Should the LORD allow the pain to continue forever? The wicked persecute the righteous and wreck havoc upon the lives of the weak, the helpless and the ignorant. They constantly deceive, leading millions upon millions to hate, to pain, and to destruction.


 

The LORD will finally remove His people from this earth. The wicked will stand before Him to hear judgment pronounced. Those left behind will destroy each other, along with all life on this planet. A fire - more terrible than the flood of Noah - will consume the heavens and the earth - with the bodies of those left behind. They will die without hope of resurrection.


            See studies: “Judgment Day“ and “Millennium“ and “Cursed.”

 

Matthew 24:37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (NIV)

 

Job 22:16-17 [In the days of Noah] “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 (for) them?”


                  Without God’s spirit, there can be no life.


 

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?”

 

ANSWER: 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.

 

John 10:27 [Jesus said] “My sheep hear My voice,

                                   and I know them, and they follow Me.”

 

“You can lead a horse to water (with a bridle), but you can’t make him drink.” And you can teach and preach and love, but you can’t MAKE human beings believe the LORD when He says that He can give them joy and peace, if they will only surrender to Him. It is well know that some cats will starve themselves to death, rather than eat some new food that their owners bought to improve their health. Some people are like those cats.

 

ANSWER: The invitation is extended, but those invited must respond. They must come to the Shepherd when they hear His call. They “return” by confessing their sins and then changing their behavior (with the help of His spirit within). Each one must act. One is NOT passively swept into the Kingdom, like an infant being baptized.




 

NOTE: Infant baptism does NOT gain salvation for the child, who did not understand, or believe, or repent, or consent. Peter said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

 

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.”’”


         A day will come when the LORD will say,

 

Isaiah 5:4 [The LORD speaking] “What 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. His patience is infinite.

 

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.”

 

ANSWER: God’s forgiveness is conditional. One must acknowledge that God’s exists, and has been wounded by our sins. One must confess past sins, in order to obtain God’s forgiveness One must acknowledge that God’s Son died, to make forgiveness possible. True heart confession is made from a humble heart, with the intention to change the offending behavior. The desire is that one’s life will be cleansed of the sinful behavior, not just from guilt.

 

ANSWER: The LORD invites. He pleads. He waits. He continues to bless - hoping that His message of love will provoke a response. Finally a point is reached, beyond which He will wait no longer - because He knows that the sinner is hardened, and will never respond.

 

Yes. He knew from the beginning that this person would not respond. Why does He then exhaust every divine means (short of mind manipulation)? Answer: Because the redeemed must see that He tried.

 

ANSWER: While the LORD “waits” for a rebellious person to “see” and believe and respond, and repent, that stubborn person is causing a lot of damage and pain, not just to himself, but to many others. He may lead others to commit greater sins. He may lead some to doubt God’s love or very existence. When does the suffering end? Must it continue forever - so that God can wait for the stubbornly rebellious?



 

 

4. [Universalist argument] God is all knowing and all powerful. 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 each individual, in order to finally reconcile everyone.

 

ANSWER: God has limited His own power over human beings. He will not manipulate minds. What then, are His options?

He teaches and informs.

            He blesses, showing us that great benefit is to be obtained in association with Him.

            He restrains the forces of Satan, thus allowing more time to the individual or the nation.

            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 into covenant relationship.

            He demonstrates His great love and willingness to forgive.

  

            The incarnation and death of God’s only Son, was the greatest love letter of all time!

                  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 Israel to obedience with love, during the wilderness wandering. Demonstrations of power may buy time, because of the fear engendered, but they cannot win hearts. Love is awakened ONLY by love.


   1John 4:19 “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

 

This is the bottom line. There is NO OTHER WAY to win the heart of a human being, than by love. That is how He created us. If love doesn’t work, the only other option is a permanent police state, with mind control tactics.

  

To believe we were created, takes some study of the evidence for Intelligent Design. To believe the story of the Cross, takes a miracle, and perhaps some study of the historical evidence, or the prophetic evidence.

 

Most times, a desire to know more is awakened in the heart of an otherwise oblivious human being, because a believer showed him real kindness and love and moral character.








 

5.    [Universalist argument] God is “not willing that any should perish,” (2 Peter 3:9) therefore none will perish - because that is not God’s will. Who can effectively thwart the will of God? Is evil too strong for God?

 

ANSWER: God’s “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). Where did God say that all men will be saved? He didn’t! In fact, Jesus said, “it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it(Matt. 7:14 NJB).

 

God’s “will” is His desire, and His desire is that all men be saved. But He will not overpower the free will of human beings, to make them come to Him. They are allowed to resist His spirit. They can say, “No!” He is pledged to respect their will.

 

ANSWER: No. Satan and his fallen angels are not “too strong for God.” He has set a limits, beyond which Satan cannot go. The story of Job is a good example.

 

ANSWER: Evil is not an entity - of itself. Evil is the absence of good. God has allowed humanity the freedom to resist the good, thereby choosing evil. He will NOT overpower the human mind. He can. But He won’t. A forced choice, is no choice at all.

 

Some say He “should,” do whatever it takes, rather than allow a single life to be “lost.” What would be the end result? Not love. Just endless engineered obedience. That is not what the Father wants for Himself or for his human children.

 

It is a most amazing revelation of the character of our God - that He does NOT impose His will over the minds of created sentient beings. We can say “no” to Him. He has actually set the puny “will” of individual human beings, above His own will, when it comes to individual choice - to love and serve Him - or not.

 

The LORD presents evidence. He allows us to experience the consequences of our unwise choices. He uses corrective punishment, when He allows us to suffer without His protection. But He does NOT and will not overpower human minds.

 

If God would ever manipulate human 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.







 

6. [Universalist argument] Annihilation is unjust. Mankind 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”). Eve was deceived by a spirit being far superior in power and intellect. Men live a very short time, compared with God, yet the individual who does not respond, within his short lifetime to the influence of God’s Spirit - must be annihilated?

      It is unjust.

 

ANSWER: How many years of life should be granted for an individual who continues to act in selfish and rebellious ways? All life flows from God. Created beings draw life from God. For the LORD to prolong the life of the selfish and rebellious (unless He isolates them completely) would be to prolong the pain of those they continue to harm.

      How “just” would that be?

 

ANSWER: A lifetime of 40, or 80, or 300 or 999 years seems “short” compared with the life of God or the life of an angel. Can a human being”know” the difference between right and wrong within this life span? Can he recognize the influence of a higher power - the call of God. Yes. He need not reach perfection, just be heading in the right direction.

 

I believe that all those who died in ignorance of God (who were unable to choose because of life circumstances or immaturity) will be resurrected at the 8th millennium. They will resume their lives and then will have the opportunity to know, and to then choose, whether to serve the LORD, or refuse. Those redeemed during this age, will teach and govern those resurrected at the 8th millennium.

 

I believe that IF further knowledge of any kind would reconcile an individual - one 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, will he be judged worthy of annihilation in The Lake of Fire.


            See our study: “The 8th Day.”

 

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

 

ANSWER: The creation of Adam and Eve followed the great war in heaven. In that war, every angel of heaven was forced to choose either God the Father, or Lucifer. If every angel had to choose, it seems only right that mankind ALSO should have to choose. Adam and Eve had a very limited knowledge of the character of God. (The true character of Satan was not fully unmasked until He murdered Christ.) Eve was deceived by Satan. Adam could not bear to loose Eve. Because of this, the pair (and their descendants) were granted time for learning and healing and reconciliation, rather than separated completely from God forever.


 

7. [Universalist argument] Death will be abolished at the end of the ages (eons). That means no one else will die. Those within the “Lake of Fire” will be cleansed of sin and reconciled with God. The Lake of Fire is a cleansing fire, not annihilation.

 

ANSWER: Evil is not something to be burned off, or burned up - without touching the individual. Evil is simply the absence of good. Those who are consumed in the Lake of Fire, have NO GOOD in them, because they resisted and refused the Spirit of God (the good). Human beings are not “good” (meaning loving) in and of themselves, without God. We are “carnal” - selfish. That’s just what we are. Two-year-olds demonstrate this very well. We were created to be indwelt - by our Creator. This is the living, saving relationship.

 

ANSWER: The “Lake of Fire” is called “the second death” (Rev. 20:14). It is not a portal to everlasting life, for those who died without God.


      Isaiah 38:18 “Those who go down to the Pit cannot hope for Your truth.”

 

Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell [Gehenna].

 

ANSWER: NO THIRD RESURRECTION is mentioned in the Scriptures. There is a resurrection at the Glorious Return, and a resurrection at the 8th millennium. That’s it. Those who “stand” before the final Great White Throne Judgment, ARE DEAD. They “stand” only in the sense that the record of their lives is reviewed. They are not made alive again. This is closure for the redeemed, not another life opportunity for those who rejected God’s love. Once God’s retained “memory” of them - their spirit essence, is consumed in the Lake of Fire, they will no longer exist.


            King David said the wicked will vanish like the smoke from a sin offering (Psa. 37:20).

 

NOTE: The only beings described as tormented “to the age of the ages” in the Lake of Fire, are Satan and his fellow rebellious spirit beings. They are not mortal human beings. No one has clearly defined the Greek words translated as “the age of the ages.” We really don’t know how long they will last in that “fire.” We do know the “Lake of Fire” was created FOR them (Matthew 25:41).


 

8. [Universalist argument] Two Greek words are translated “punish” or “punishment” in the New Testament. They are “kolazo”(#2849) and “timoria” (#5098).

 

Kolazo” 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.


 

ANSWER: Of course God uses “corrective punishment.” The Scriptures are filled with examples. See Job 5:17, Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6-7, Revelation 3:19 and 1Corinthians 11:32.


            He will also exact “vengeance” at the Day of Judgment.

 

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 “ . . . WHEN the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 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, WHEN He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints.”

 

The word translated as “vengeance” is the Greek word “ekdikesis” (#1557) meaning a revenging, vengeance, or punishment. The word translated as “punished” is “dike” (#1349), meaning condemned or punished or executed per judicial decision.

 

ANSWER: His treatment is different for branches that bear fruit, and of those that do not. Those who “bear fruit” are those who “remain in Me.”

 

John 15:2 [Jesus speaking] “Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off (#142); and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes (#2508 kolazo), so that it may bear more fruit.” (CJB)

 

            2508 is also translated as “purified” in Hebrews 10:2.

 

John 15:6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (NIV)

 

To “prune” the tree or vine or branch, is not the same as to “cut off” the entire branch, or to “cut down” the entire tree.

 

Matthew 3:10 “And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Matt. 7:19, Luke 3:9)

 

To be “cut off” (karath #03772) was to die, separated from God, family, tribe and nation. The word is translated into English as: cut off 145, make 85, cut down 23, cut 9, fail 6, destroy 4, want 3, covenanted 2, hew 2, misc 9; 288.




 

Genesis 9:11 [God to Noah] “Thus I establish My covenant with you: Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

 

Leviticus 18:29 [God speaking] “For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.”


    Psalm 37:22 “For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him         shall be cut off.”


            The word translated as “cursed” means “doomed to destruction.”


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

 

Proverbs 2:22 “But the wicked will be cut off from the earth, And the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.”

 

Romans 11:22 [Paul writing to a Gentile convert] “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” (Cut off like those who refused Christ.)

 

ANSWER: “Kolazo” is used only twice (Acts 4:21 and John 15:2). It does mean “to prune.” It is also used to mean curb, check, or restrain, and as a metaphor for correction or punishment.

Acts 4:21 “After threatening them further, they released them, for they could not find how to punish them on account of the people, because they were all praising God for what had happened.” (NET)


            Timora (#5098) - punishment, is used only once.

 

Hebrews 10:29 [Speaking of someone who once believed, but then turned away] “How much greater punishment do you think that person deserves who has contempt for the Son of God, and profanes the blood of the covenant that made him holy, and insults the Spirit of grace?” (NET)







      OTHER WORDS:


            kolasis (#2851) - meaning: 1) correction, punishment, penalty

 

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

 

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (NIV)


            timoreo (#5097) - meaning: to take vengeance on one, to avenge honor, to punish

 

Acts 22:5 [Paul speaking] “as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains, even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”

 

Acts 26:11 “Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.” (NIV)

 

paideu, (#3811) meaning: 1) to train children 1a) to be instructed or taught 1b) to cause one to learn 2) to chastise 2a) to chastise or castigate with words, to correct 2a1) of those who are moulding the character of others by reproof and admonition 2b) of God 2b1) to chasten by the affliction of evils and calamities 2c) to chastise with blows, to scourge 2c1) of a father punishing his son 2c2) of a judge ordering one to be scourged

 

Translations into the English include punish (Luke 23:16; 1 Cor. 11:32; 1 Tim. 1:20; Heb. 12:6-7; Rev. 3:19), correct (2 Tim. 2:25), instruct (Acts 7:22; 22:3; Titus 2:12) and scourge (2Cor. 6:9).


            ANSWER: Ultimately, there is only life or death. To refuse the LORD is to choose death.

 

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

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 30:19I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose          life, that both you and your descendants may live;”


            

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.”

 

ANSWER: Yes. Jesus Christ died for all. He came to “save” all. All are invited. Most will not accept the invitation to “come unto Me,” because they love sin. They do not want to “see” or to “believe” that Christ can heal them, to the point where they will hate what they once loved.

Human beings are not “saved” whether they want to be - or not. God’s spirit is constantly drawing us toward HIM. To be lost, one must actively resist this drawing. One must fight it, throwing up one barrier after another. If we do not resist, we will be drawn to search for the One who can heal and fill our hearts completely.


    Jeremiah 29:13 “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

 

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.”

 

Loving and saving are two different things. God loves everyone. God is not able to save everyone He loves. Why? Because He has allowed us free will, to either accept or refuse. Eternal life is found only in and through Christ Jesus.


 

10. [Universalist argument] If death came upon ALL men because of the sin of Adam, then ALL will be given life because of the victory of Jesus Christ.

 

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...”


            ANSWER: Let’s continue the verse. The “all”refers to “all”of “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.


          Paul was writing to believers at Corinth - not to the general public.


 

ALL have been offered life, through Jesus Christ. There are conditions: believe, confess sins, forsake sins, “love one another as I have loved you.”

 

This is closely related to the question concerning whether human beings are “saved” til they’re lost, or lost til they’re “saved.” See our studies: “The Book of Life“ and “The Book of Life - a Challenge.”



            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.”

 

ANSWER: The “free gift” was Christ Jesus. He was made available to “all men.” A gift can be rejected. It’s not a “gift” if it is forced. We must acknowledge the gift, and accept the gift. We do that by believing and then by allowing Him to change us.


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

 

ANSWER: He did “taste death for everyone.” What Jesus did - He did for everyone. That doesn’t mean everyone will accept His gift.

 

Those who believe that Jesus’ death somehow literally “paid for” our release from death, have a forensic understanding of salvation. Jesus paid the penalty - for us, therefore God cannot execute anyone. He must let everyone live. I don’t understand Jesus’ death in that way.

I believe that Jesus’ death made it possible for the Father to forgive. It did not obligate Him to forgive.

 

            When we say that a soldier “paid the ultimate price for our freedom,” we are not saying there is a book somewhere with a debit column - so much freedom for so much blood - or a divine being somewhere with a cash register, ringing up sins vs payment. We are saying the soldier died while fighting for our freedom.

 

Jesus died, fighting to regain dominion of this earth. Only by perfect obedience to God His Father, could Jesus regain dominion of this earth. With dominion, comes the right to judge, to rule over, to heal, and to restore this earth. Also the right “to destroy those who destroy the earth.” With dominion comes the right to resurrect - to give life! THAT is what Jesus was fighting for - with His last breath. In the process, Jesus delivered a powerful message. “This is how much God loves you. If God loves you this much. Allow Him to heal you.

 

  

 

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.”

 

The verse does not say that the whole world will be saved. It “might be saved.” It could be saved. All are invited. Few will accept the invitation.

 

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

 

Jesus carried the sin of the whole world. He carried the sin, as the Lamb of God. He won the right to forgive those who come to God, through Him.


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

 

ANSWER: All men feel the drawing power of God’s love. Some resist and their hearts are gradually hardened. These texts demonstrate that no man was ever predestined for Hell. Jesus fights to save every one. It’s just that God has allowed human resistence.


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

 

ANSWER: God is not reconciled to us. He has always loved us. We are reconciled to Him, when we see His great love for us. Some resist the drawing power of His love, and refuse to be reconciled - to Him. He is the source of ongoing life. To refuse Him is to choose death.

 

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’s will (desire) is to reconcile all things to Himself. He sent His own Son to plead His case. Most will not be convinced. Most refuse to see His love. Most will be lost.

The angels of Heaven, have also been fully reconciled to the Father, because of the evidence provided (Satan and his angels excepted). Satan was unmasked. Every sentiment in his favor, still held by those beings of the spirit realm, was turned to utter contempt as he inspired men under his control to torture the Son of God hoping to break Him before He died. Satan failed.

 

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.”




 

ANSWER: In this text, the LORD is not speaking of “every knee,” in the sense of all mankind. This passage is about Israel.

 

In context, He is telling the prophet that some will escape the coming destruction and desporia - of Israel. Isaiah is writing during a time of great apostasy in Israel. Many worshiped idols. Few obeyed the commandments. He wonders whether Israel can ever be brought back to oneness with her God.


            The words of the LORD, would have given hope to the prophet, and to the faithful few. Israel       will be restored one day. Some will escape. Then every knee will bow and every tongue confess.       The knees and the tongues are those of escaped, redeemed Israelites.

 

Remember: Gentile believers are “grafted in” to Israel,

                                                while the rebellious are “cut off” from Israel.

 

ANSWER: Romans 14:11 references Psalm 22:29. Every knee will bow before the judgment seat of Christ - of those living and of those who have died. These two verses do not say they kneel because they love the LORD. They will acknowledge Him. The vanquished kneel to the victor.

            We know those in Christ “will not come into judgment” (John 5:24).


 

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 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.”

 

ANSWER: This is a promise to the righteous - not to the wicked!

       

Isaiah 33:14-15The 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?’ [Answer] 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:”

 

ANSWER: God said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live” (Exo. 33:20). Jesus said, “Noone has seen the Father” (John 6:46 ). God’s glory consumes that which He does not indwell. Only those whom He indwells, will survive His presence at the Day of Judgment.


 

ANSWER: “Fire”was also used as a metaphor for persecution. Peter called persecution,

“the fiery trial which is to try you” (1Peter 4:12). Many followers of Christ were burned at the stake or in the arena. Their bodies were consumed, but their spirits remained safe - in God.

 

Zechariah 13:9I 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.'”

 

Zechariah is writing TO ISRAEL. The LORD would bring one-third through the “fire” of dispersions, persecutions and trials. Zechariah is NOT writing about the “Lake of Fire.”

 

Satan rebelled and deceived one-third of the angels into rebellion with him. This verse suggests the LORD will save one-third of Israel. Some would say this means God lost the war. I disagree. Satan wanted to control all of mankind. Short of that, he wanted to destroy them. God stopped him. One day soon, Christ will banish Satan to the abyss and finally to the Lake of Fire.

 

Yes. Only one-third will be “saved” from this age. But there is an age to come - the 8th millennium. Many of those raised to life at that day, will come to know the Lord as Savior.

      See our study: “The Rest of the Dead.”

 

      ANSWER:                        

Those thrown into the “Lake of Fire”are DEAD. There is no mention of another resurrection, 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 multitudes of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (KJV)


            “Everlasting contempt” is a 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.



 

Divine “fire” from the pillar of cloud above the Tabernacle, consumed Nadab and Abihu, and the 250 princes who rebelled against Moses. Those men were not “cleansed.” They died. This “fire” will also consume the Horde of Gog, when that Army comes to attack the City during the coming Kingdom of Messiah.

 

On three occasions, “the fire of God” - divine fire, consumed the sacrifice on the alter in the courtyard of the Tabernacle. 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,”

 

The “vengeance” of “everlasting destruction” does NOT suggest a good outcome for those so punished.

 

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.”


         v.20 “But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the LORD, Like the fat of (sacrificed)          lambs, shall vanish into smoke. They shall vanish away.

 

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

 

Hebrews 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” (NAS)

 

The word translated as “destruction” is “apoleia” (#684). It is translated as “utter destruction,” “are perished,” and “are lost,” in other versions.


 

13. [Universalist Argument] God created this problem. He created Satan, and then allowed Satan to deceive Eve. Satan dug the pit, and the LORD allowed it. Satan is the “violent bull.” The LORD did not keep him penned, so he could not kill anyone. God is responsible for the problem of sin, therefore He should rescue everyone.




 

ANSWER: In the Scriptures, God always accepts responsibility for the outcome, even when Satan and evil men cause the damage. There are dozens of examples.


      Exodus 7:3 [God said to Moses] “I will harden Pharaoh's heart.”


      1 Kings 22:19-23 God allowed Satan (“a spirit” v. 21) to lie through false prophets.


    2 Thessalonians 2:11 “God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”

 

2 Samuel 24:1 “He (God) moved David to number Israel.” Compare with

    1 Chronicles 21:1 “Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.

 

God accepted responsibility for allowing Satan to tempt the king.


      Isaiah 13:5,6,11,17 God himself takes responsibility for the destruction of Babylon by the Medes.

 

Jeremiah 6:8,11-12; 7:14-16,20,34 God takes responsibility for the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of its people. He says “I make thee desolate(Isaiah 10:5-6).


      Isaiah 45:7 “I form light and create darkness: I make peace and create calamity:                I the Lord do all these things.”

 

There are 500 similar texts in which God takes responsibility for what happens to those people who forfeit His protection and become victims of Satan or of evil men under Satan's control. Ultimately God is responsible, because He gave free will to His created beings. He knew this would someday result in suffering.

 

The LORD has accepted the responsibility. It is morally His responsibility to provide for the deliverance of those wounded by the sin problem. He has “provided a way of escape?” Christ is that “way” of escape. The individual must accept the “way.” Universalists are demanding that God provide a different way, with a guaranteed outcome for ALL.

 

Has God paid a penalty? Yes. He has suffered the greatest penalty one could imagine. His Son, who was equal to Himself in power and presence and knowledge, incarnated to become a human being. Such is beyond our comprehension. HE then had to watch, as demons and evil men tortured His only Son - until He died. I would say the LORD has paid the greatest price imaginable, for creating angels and human beings - with FREE WILL.

 

And there is another aspect to all of this. God feels our pain. “In all their affliction He was afflicted (Isa. 63:9). He knew - before He created us, that He would feel our pain. He created us knowing what we would cost Him. He felt we would be worth it.

 


Isaiah 53:11 “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied.”



THE ULTIMATE QUESTIONS:


      Does God manipulate minds.

      Do men (and angels) have FREE WILL?


      My personal belief is that our God does NOT manipulate minds.

 

      Some will choose to accept the gift of life provided. Most will not.


 

We pray this study will prove a blessing.

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