“You might want to reconsider the argument in your post. No serious scholar thinks this story is about hell.”
That is one of the written responses I received after posting The Hell Test – Tested (Part 12). First, the premise cannot be proven because the term “serious scholar” is not defined and only known to the mind of the writer. Second, when described by a scholarly definition – “thoughtful and sober learned person who has done advanced study in a special field” (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary) – we will find many “serious scholars” who would agree that Luke 16:19-31 is about hell. Third, what does it matter whether anyone agrees with what you believe if what you believe is clearly stated in Scripture?
“And Jesus said, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” John 9:39
Christ’s Judgment is the key to understanding hades, but Satan doesn’t want people to be concerned about Judgment Day. He knows that when people are concerned about how God will judge them, they might believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved (Acts 16:31).
Universalists under the guise of being “Christian” want people to believe that everyone will be eternally saved whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not. Universalists believe that a person’s faith and behavior do not need to undergo any kind of change during this lifetime to spent eternity with Christ because Jesus will provide salvation for everyone ever born. They will be given all the chances they need after this life on earth to “return home to their Creator.” Here are the universalists’ beliefs in their own words.
“We believe in the full and final triumph of the grace of God over the powers of sin and death: that the mercy and forgiveness of God are victorious; that this victory of redemption is revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; and that, therefore, no human being will be condemned or allowed to suffer pain and separation forever … We believe in universal salvation, the idea that there is no such thing as eternal hell or annihilation because God has planned the universe to produce a positive outcome for all people of all times … Our belief in the ultimate salvation of all is based on a strong trust in God’s omnipotence and benevolence. God is both powerful enough and loving enough to cause all souls to be rescued from a state of separation and returned to their intended state of unity and harmony with the Divine. All things that are good will be preserved and restored to their fullest manifestation, but all things that are bad will perish (Mat. 3:12, 1 Cor. 3:10-15). Since no human being is totally bad, no human will perish eternally. It is God’s plan to take what is good in each individual and multiply it, and replace the bad within us with an infusion of God’s divine goodness, until only the good remains … God does not decide to condemn some people to hell because they sinned too much or they chose the wrong religious beliefs. Nor does God allow some people to remain in a hellish condition indefinitely because of making bad decisions of their own free will (Phil. 2:9-11). Negative experiences which happen to us are designed to produce learning and growth, for the advancement of the soul. It is through purgatorial “fires” of tests and trials that the human spirit is cleansed of negative attributes and attains a character that is compatible with God (Mal. 3:2-3, Mark 9:49, 1 Pet. 1:7) … Souls that leave this life on earth without experiencing salvation will have other opportunities for conversion, learning and growth after death (1 Pet. 3:18-20, 4:6). No one will ever run out of chances to return home to their Creator. Even the most evil beings who have ever lived can still be saved — and will be, in the fullness of time (Phil. 2:10). That is God’s promise!” The Christian Universalist Association
I find these beliefs appalling based on the clear teaching of God’s Word. If they had not quoted from the New Testament, I would have thought I was reading Hindu or New Age philosophy. The Christian Bible reveals the True God as Holy and Righteous and the Judge of all who inhabit the earth. The Hebrew prophets foretold the Messianic Judgment centuries before Jesus Christ was born.
“Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:10-12
“The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’ The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’ The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries. He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the head.” Psalm 110
“O enemy, destructions are finished forever! And you have destroyed cities; Even their memory has perished. But the Lord shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment. He shall judge the world in righteousness, And He shall administer judgment for the peoples in uprightness.” Psalm 9:6-8
“Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.” Psalm 98:7-9
“The great day of the Lord is near; It is near and hastens quickly. The noise of the day of the Lord is bitter; There the mighty men shall cry out. That day is a day of wrath, A day of trouble and distress, A day of devastation and desolation, A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of trumpet and alarm Against the fortified cities And against the high towers. ‘I will bring distress upon men, And they shall walk like blind men, Because they have sinned against the Lord; Their blood shall be poured out like dust, And their flesh like refuse.’ Neither their silver nor their gold Shall be able to deliver them In the day of the Lord’s wrath; But the whole land shall be devoured By the fire of His jealousy, For He will make speedy riddance Of all those who dwell in the land.”
“Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of heaven and their constellations Will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine. ‘I will punish the world for its evil, And the wicked for their iniquity; I will halt the arrogance of the proud, And will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a mortal more rare than fine gold, A man more than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the Lord of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.” Isaiah 13:9-13
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist. ‘The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, And the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea. ‘And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, Who shall stand as a banner to the people; For the Gentiles shall seek Him, And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1-10
These are just a small sampling of Old Testament Scriptures dealing with the Lord’s Judgment. It is clear that His Judgment comes from His “wrath” in the day of His “fierce anger.” Judgment Day is coming and Christ will express His wrath on that Day whether universalists believe it or not. The question is never what we believe – it is always what God believes.
In the next part of our study we will look at the New Testament teaching about Christ’s Judgment. We will see who He judges, why He judges, how He judges, where He judges, when He judges, and what sentence He will hand down.
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
“Universalists under the guise of being “Christian” want people to believe that everyone will be eternally saved whether they believe in Jesus Christ or not. ”
Actually, being an evangelical (Trinitarian) universalist I do not believe man will be saved apart from Christ. I believe it is by and through Jesus that ALL will eventually be reconciled and restored through the eternal work He accomplished on the cross for the world. Just wanted to make sure there is no confusion on what Christian Ultimate reconciliationists believe.
Some good words brother (Matt)
Post Tenebras Lux-
I have struggled with this issue ever since I began my walk with Jesus, and there is no easy way out. On one hand, the universalists make some good points, i.e. about the words translated eternal, eternity and forever, and a few other things in the Bible. On the other hand, we have nearly 2,000 years of Bibles being translated into many languages, and all of them backing up the doctrine of eternal torment. Not only that, but with very few exceptions, all mainstream Christian sects and denominations have always believed and taught eternal torment of the wicked. I have noticed many leaps of faith made by traditional, evangelical Christians that could and should be reevaluated Biblically. For instance, most mainstream evangelicals say that Romans 1 is teaching us that all people, everywhere know they need Jesus, and regardless of whether or not missionaries come to them, or whether or not they receive any direct revelation, they are fully responsible for their own attainment of salvation. This seems unlikely to me personally, simply because of the dark ages, in which few if any people were even able to read, thus could not know what the Bible said about salvation, and add to that the fact that the people in the dark ages were force fed false doctrine from birth by Roman Catholic monks and priests, making it unlikely that they could have had ample opportunity to have the truth preached to them. I realize that The Holy Spirit convicts and draws men to Jesus, but people still need to have the truth preached to them, in order to be saved, or at least it seems that way in the Bible. The idea that every person who ever lived, is living, and ever will live who doesn’t say within themselves “Jesus is Lord” or place faith in Him will burn day and night forever and ever seems beyond cruel and inhumane. However, with a lack of any real proof to the contrary, we are left more or less with just that. I tend to preach salvation, and when it comes to hell, I will admit that i am not 100% sure that every unsaved person will spend eternity burning, but I remind people that regardless of whether the fire is a literal pit in which one burns forever, or if it is a spiritual torment, and whether or not it is literally eternal, or simply so far beyond reckoning that it seems eternal, one thing is clear; God had to lower Himself and become a man, and be executed, and die for the sins of the world just so we could avoid that fate. If it was bad enough for God to experience death, it’s bad enough to avoid at all costs.