Faith & Self Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

The Hell Test – Tested (Part 8)

“If Hell doesn’t exist in the Old Testament, how could Jesus and his disciples teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in their Scriptures? (There was only the Old Testament at that time.) Would that not make Him appear like a false teacher? Or could it be that Jesus never taught such a concept in the first place? Could it be that this concept has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through “traditions of men?” (The Hell Test)

Here’s another trick of the so-called “Christian” universalists: state a theory as if it is fact and attack anyone who disagrees. As we’ve shown in previous studies, the God of the Old Testament will judge the wicked. That’s clear from the many Hebrew Scriptures we quoted during our test of The Hell Test. The question is how and how long?

Here’s what “Christian” universalists believe about the eternal future of unbelievers:

“We believe in the ultimate triumph of divine mercy and grace: that no being ever created will be condemned or allowed to suffer forever, but God has arranged through a benevolent plan of learning and growth for all souls to attain salvation, reconciliation, restoration, and reunion with the Source of All Being, in the fullness of the ages.” (Christian Universalist Association, What We Believe – #4)

The universalists question how Jesus and His disciples could possibly teach that salvation was deliverance from a place that is not even found in the Hebrew Scriptures. They make thinking that even more terrible by suggesting that anyone who believes such a thing would be making Jesus to “appear like a false teacher.” They go even further to claim that what Jesus said about His judgment – “has been added to the church and SOME Bibles through ‘traditions of men.”

Jesus was certainly not a false teacher, so whatever He said about the future of the unbelieving would be the final answer. As for the Words of Christ concerning His coming Judgment being “added to the church and SOME Bibles,” it’s ridiculous to say that in light of the thousands of ancient copies of the New Testament that can be investigated. If something had been “added” to Church doctrine and “SOME” Bibles, we would see that clearly and easily in the ancient records of the Church.

The reason we’re testing The Hell Test is because the author of The Hell Test asked us to saying it is “a test every pastor, Bible teacher and seminary professor should be required to take before being allowed to teach.”  That’s another trick of the universalists: to present themselves as having full knowledge (gnostic) and everyone else needing to learn at their feet.  

“Give a copy of this test to those to whom you have submitted yourself. See whether they know their subject. If salvation is indeed deliverance from a Hell of everlasting punishment, then the answers to these questions are vital to your well being.” (The Hell Test) 

We agree. The answers to God’s Test are vital to everyone’s well-being. Are you ready to put The Hell Test to the test again? So are we.

We learn in John 5 that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus for at least two reasons: (1) He healed on the Sabbath, and (2) made Himself “equal with God” by saying that God was “His Father” (John 5:18). What Jesus said to His persecutors next gives us great insight into His position on the future of saved and unsaved  as the final Judge of all things.

“Then Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:17-23

What Jesus said next is a key to the how and how long of His Judgment.

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” John 5:24-30

Jesus said, “he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” Do you see it? There is “no judgment” for the person who “hears” Christ’s Words and “believes in Him” who sent Him. Instead of facing Christ’s judgment, they pass “from death into life,” a life Jesus quantifies with the descriptor “everlasting” (aionion), used for both a long period of time and forever, as understood by usage and context. The question here is whether Jesus meant that people who believe in Him have life for a very long period of time or forever. If Jesus meant that people live for a very long period of time, when will that time end? A thousand years? Ten-thousand years? A million years? What happens to people when that period of time comes to an end? We’re not told because the clear understanding in the context is that people will live “forever.” There is no end to the aionion Jesus spoke of in John’s Gospel account. [You can use the same interpretive process in other instances of the word aionion in the New Testament.]

Jesus also said that the person who believes in Him “shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” What did Jesus mean by that? If He is not going to judge people in the context of aionion, why would it matter that someone who believed in Him would not come into judgment? It would seem from that way of thinking that believing or not believing in Christ had the same outcome if there is no judgment that means anything. If salvation is universal, what does it ultimately mean to those who choose not to believe in Jesus during their lifetime? Why would it matter that people who believe in Him “shall not come into judgment” if judgment had no consequences for aionion?

Jesus went on to say that He has the “authority to execute judgment” because He is the Son of Man. God the Father gave God the Son the responsibility of executing (poiein-to do, to make) judgment (krisin). Again I ask, what does it matter whether Jesus has the responsibility of executing judgment on people if that judgment means nothing in the context of aionion?

I believe that Jesus having authority to execute judgment does mean something because of what He said next – “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” A day is coming, Jesus said, when “all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth.” What will happen to them? Jesus presented only two options:

  1. “… those who have done good, to the resurrection of life …”
  2. “… those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”

This is what Jesus Christ, THE JUDGE, said will happen to “all who are in the graves.” They will hear His voice and come forth, either to “the resurrection of life” or to “the resurrection of condemnation.”

Could it be that SOME Bibles were changed centuries ago so that a false doctrine of Christ’s judgment would be added to the Church? Let’s look at several versions of John 5:29 to see.

“And they shall come forth, that have done good, unto the resurrection of life: but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of condemnation.” GNV)

“And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” (DRA)

“And they that have done good things, shall go into again-rising of life; but they that have done evil things, into again-rising of doom. [And they that have done good things, shall come forth into rising again of life; forsooth they that have done evil things, into rising again of doom.]” (WYC)

“… those whose actions have been good, rising to new life, and those whose doings have been evil, rising to meet their sentence.” (KNOX)

“… those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” (NIV)

“… those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” (RSV)

“Those who have lived the right way will walk out into a resurrection Life; those who have lived the wrong way, into a resurrection Judgment.” (MSG)

“… they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” (ASV)

“… those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.” (ESV)

“… those who did the good things to a rising again of life, and those who practised the evil things to a rising again of judgment.” (YLT)

“Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.” (NLT)

“… those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment.” (HCSB)

How does the Greek read?

καὶ ἐκπορεύσονται οἱ τὰ ἀγαθὰ ποιήσαντες εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς, οἱ τὰ φαῦλα πράξαντες εἰς ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως. (Westcott/Hort)

και εκπορευσονται οι τα αγαθα ποιησαντες εις αναστασιν ζωης οι δε τα φαυλα πραξαντες εις αναστασιν κρισεως (Byzantine/Majority Text)

καὶ ἐκπορεύσονται οἱ τὰ ἀγαθὰ ποιήσαντες εἰς ἀνάστασιν ζωῆς οἱ δὲ τὰ φαῦλα πράξαντες εἰς ἀνάστασιν κρίσεως (1550 Stephanus Textus Receptus)

How does the Greek translate? anastasin zoes – “a resurrection of life” … anastasin kriseos – “a resurrection of judgment”

What does the Greek mean? It means that the post-resurrection future of the saved is life and the post-resurrection future of the unsaved is a judgment of separation (krisis – a separating following the process of investigation that leads to a decision of condemnation).

Can these words of Jesus Christ be clearer? “… all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”

The Hell Test is tested and found severely wanting.

In Christ’s Love and Grace,

Mark McGee

Faith Defense

Building Confidence Through Evidence

“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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4 thoughts on “The Hell Test – Tested (Part 8)

  1. Joseph on said:

    We don’t agree on the hellfire part. I’ll ignore that first.

    The answer to your question is actually in my post above. And yes I mean AIWNION, from the noun AIWN. It does work for every instance. If you look at the covenant with the Israelites, it was age-lasting and the Messiah did come at the end of that same age and brought in a new age and made a new covenant in his blood. In that case olam does not mean everlasting.

    Then you have as I mentioned above, age-lasting life. Age-lasting life simply means you have life thru that whole age, without mentioning the next age. If you take the narrow view, it may seem so to the reader. But the concept of eternal life is not restricted to the meaning of AIWNIOS as I mentioned above. It is the greater context of the Word that explains everlasting life. For instance verses that mentions, the esteem that will be revealed to those who belong to the Messiah in the ages to come; believers taking part in the first resurrection shall not die again; and mortality putting on immortality.

    You can take The Age-lasting Test in translation, it works every single time. The verse from Mark 10:30 makes that point “in the age to come age-lasting life”. It simply means in that age we have age-lasting life, but the broader Word explains that we have eternal life. It is not just the meaning of one single word.

    To give you one last example. Our Creator Himself, is said to accomplish “mighty works” and having “mighty power”. But the overall Word definitely describes Him as the All powerful. So the explanation of His eternal and almighty greatness does not lie in words like the Greek MEGAS meaning great, although it is applied to Him. The narraw view of looking at the word ‘great’ does not explain His almighty power, but rather the overall word. So we don’t translate the word MEGAS when it is applied to Him, as almighty, because it is not explained by this single word. So likewise AIWNIOS the adjective form of AIWN can safely be translated age-during in every instance, yet we understand everlasting life from the broader Word.

    Joseph

    • Hi, Joseph. As I mentioned earlier the proper way to understand any word in Scripture is through the process of language, usage and context. Let’s begin with language and your translation of αἰών and αἰώνιος. Your translation is “age-lasting life.” What is your source for that translation?

      Thanks

      Mark

  2. Joseph on said:

    Hi.

    I think we can agree that the teaching of eternal hellfire is false. The literal translation is the correct translation. When the scriptures says “age-during life”, that’s exactly what it means. Now everlasting life is not limited to the definition of “AIWNION”. Everlasting life is found in the verses that says “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” – 1 Cor. 15:53

    Age-during life is the promise of life mentioned concerning those who will be resurrected at the end of this age, for the thousand year long age. It means that these will live that whole age. The book of Revelations say that those who take part in this resurrection will never taste death again. So age-during life is the correct translation of “ZWHN AIWNION”.

    “But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come age-during life.” – Mark 10:30

    So there are those that receive age-during life in the age to come, and after that age they don’t die because they have put on immortality, but lives unto the ages of the ages. Forever. It is how the scripture add up, not just the meaning of age-during life.

    I’m only hoping to provide a helpful explanation here.

    • Thank you for commenting, Joseph. I do not think we can agree that the teaching of eternal hellfire is false. A few questions to help me understand how you came to your conclusion.

      Do you mean αἰώνιος? Comes from αἰών and is similar to עֹלָם. αἰών was used for an unbroken age, eternity, the universe, world, period of time, and age. αἰώνιος was used for everlasting, without beginning, without end, never ceasing, that which always has been and always will be. Both words are used more than a hundred times in the New Testament. Does your translation/definition work in every case? Language, usage, context. Do the words mean the same thing in every usage, every context?

      Thanks!

      Mark

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