- How is God’s justice accomplished?
- Does God change his mind? Does he repent?
- God and his own people
- God did not want to save the Gentiles
- How could the Gentiles be saved?
- The conditions of salvation for Christians and Gentiles
- The significance of the deeds in the final judgment
- Is the Bible completely reliable?
- Everything ends in death, and everything begins in death.
- Salvation in Christ
- God’s foreknowledge and predetermined plan
- How is a Christian saved?
- Faith or deeds? On what grounds are the dead condemned?
- The fire of God
- What does it mean when the Bible says a human spirit will ascend to heaven?
- What does it mean that the human spirit is in heaven with God?
- Who are God’s pre-chosen ones?
- How could the Gentiles be saved?
- Why doesn’t God give everyone the same amount of faith?
- God wants everyone to be saved
- A universalist view of salvation
How is God’s justice accomplished?
The Bible explains that the Potter (God) has the right to make utensils for everyday use and festive use. So, people (i.e., Gentiles) are disposable commodities; this is how I have written. They don’t matter in the same way as “vessels made for festive use.” Is this just a question of short human life on earth? If ‘everyday vessels’ are recognized as children of God, and a way of salvation is reserved for them as well, just as it is for those of festive use, the matter must be accepted. Or is it the case that everyday utensils are annihilated, that is, quickly destroyed out of the way of the festive vessels that are saved? I wouldn’t think that’s right.
After all, all people are created by God. So the pagan is also the image of God. Would such an explanation be correct and sufficient to explain the contradiction felt by many between God’s claimed goodness and righteousness and what has actually happened?
One biblical blog describes God: “The God of the Bible is a jealous, capricious, sudden, intolerant, discriminatory, biased, hateful sadistic murderer and a god of revenge. The opposite of what Psalm 89:14 and other similar passages say.”
The above Psalm says: 89:14 “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. Psa 85:13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. Psa 97:2 Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne..”
Jos 10:42 “and all these kings and their land did Joshua take at one time; for Jehovah the God of Israel fought for Israel.”
2 Chr 15:13 “and that whoever would not seek Jehovah the God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.”
God chose Israel as His people. Probably the reason was Abraham, of whom God said, “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Gen 12:3) and Act 3:25 “You are the descendants of the prophets and the heirs of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendant all the families of the earth will be blessed.’
This prophecy and promise of the first book of the Bible are worth noting. It promises that in Abraham, all nations on earth will be blessed. Did you understand the scope of that promise; all nations will be blessed! “All the families” also includes pagan nations. Indeed, at the time of Abraham, the majority of the nations were Gentiles. As you read this scripture forward, you will notice how incredible it sounds in all the situations in which God punishes the Gentiles. The Gentiles are included in God’s plan, but we do not yet know how it will happen. However, I am sure that the Gentiles will also find salvation.
The Bible describes Abraham as “God’s friend. ” Abraham is described not only as of the ancestor of Israel but also as an ancestor of the Christians. After Egyptian slavery, Israel fell short of worshiping “Baal and Ashtaroth,” but God was patient and forgave when Israel repented.
Question: “Did God send His Son to earth because he himself was so fierce and needed a gentler mediator? On the other hand, Jesus himself acknowledged that he had not been sent to find the lost sheep other than Israel’s.
Does God change his mind? Does he repent?
Will God change his mind about the treatment of the Gentiles? Even during the lifetime of Jesus and the apostles, the attitude towards the Gentiles was contemptuous. The Gentiles were ‘dirty,’ and you should not even socialize with them.
Jesus, too, was repulsive to the Gentiles: The woman’s daughter was mentally ill, and the woman asked Jesus for help. Jesus said he was not sent because of the Gentiles, and the disciples were also sending the woman on her way. “Mat 15:27 “But she said, Yes Lord; for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the table of their masters.” Jesus noted the woman’s deep faith and changed his mind, and healed her daughter.
Hebrews 13: 8 says that Jesus Christ “is the same yesterday and today — and forever.” However, in this particular case, Jesus changed his mind and helped the heathen and her daughter. Even then, Jesus did not change his mind about bringing faith to the Gentiles. This happened after he ascended in heaven.
What is meant by repentance of God?
Even Jeremiah once conveyed the word of God he received. He writes, “Then came this word of the Lord unto me.” I have recently come across opinions that the word of the Bible is not entirely the word of God, but there is much more involved in the Bible that is not even true. I have said that at least those passages in the Bible where the author begins by saying, as in Jeremiah chapter 18, “the word of the Lord came unto me,” is the true word of God.
A few excerpts from the word of the Lord: Jer 18:6 “Behold, as the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.”
God can destroy even a whole nation or kingdom. But, God goes on to explain, “If the people turn away from their wickedness, from which I threatened it, then I will repent of the evil I thought I would do to it.” – God’s repentance is conditional. God sometimes waits a long time and patiently, hoping that the people will turn away from their wickedness. Nineveh is an excellent example of this “repentance.” Nineveh was a great city but full of evil. Jonah said 3:4: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overturned.”
However, the Ninevites believed the warning, fasted, and dressed in sacks, hoping ” Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened (v. 3:9-10).
Usually, repentance refers to an attitude towards an act that has already been done. Here, God’s repentance (NKJV relent, formerly KJV repent) means a change of mind, a renunciation of the sanction announced by God.
God is long-suffering and patient. Romans 9:22 testifies: “Now if God wants to demonstrate his wrath and reveal his power, can’t he be extremely patient with the vessels of wrath that are made for destruction?” – What are these “vessels of wrath”? And how were these vessels “prepared”? Other issues arise. Let’s look at what we know from the Bible about God or the Great Potter.
God has made different people for different uses. Verse 9:21 says: “Or has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honor, and another to dishonor?” – Our God has in advance planned various uses for people and chose, for example, Jesus’ helpers, the apostles, long before the birth of Christ. These are examples of utensils for noble use. There are many more cheap vessels made for everyday use – ordinary people. Was Judas Iscariot, for example, meant to be such a cheap vessel? The Bible says that Satan went to Judas Iscariot. Was that also in line with God’s foreknowledge?
God has long suffered these vessels of wrath; he has done so “that he might make known the riches of his glory upon vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared for glory [salvation],” (Rom 9:23) – According to this, God has long been patient and endured people destined for destruction to bring to glory the people whom he has prepared beforehand for salvation. I tried to translate this into the modern language to reflect God’s purpose better. The core question of the sentence remains open: why do there have to be people destined for destruction so that people prepared in advance can have their salvation? Remember that God wants everyone to be saved.
God’s promised nation Israel will have to give way. God calls a new people for his own who have not previously reached this position (Rom 9:25-27). Isaiah also calls out concerning Israel, “Although the descendants of Israel are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore, only a few will be saved.” – Why are only a small percentage of Israelis saved? That is clear; although they have had time for two thousand years, they still have not received Christ. Except for the remnant – Messianic Jews?
Changing the mind of God
Num 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither a son of man, that he should repent. Shall he say and not do? and shall he speak and not make it good?
1 Sam 15:29 And also the Hope of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.”
Elsewhere, the Bible asserts that God does not regret what he does because he is not human. However, there are verses in the Bible about God’s initiated punishment, which he interrupts relenting of the destruction he caused. Would it be better to talk about God changing his mind? God began to destroy Jerusalem but then commanded his destroyer angel to stop. God was so disappointed with mankind that he planned to destroy all living creatures from the earth. – Didn’t God know what would happen when he became so indignant? What evil had the animals done when God, in his anger wanted to destroy them from the earth as well? God seems to have very human feelings. Remember, he made the man in his image, be like him. Gen 5:1 “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.”
1 Chr 21:15 “God sent an angel to Jerusalem to destroy it: and as he was about to destroy, Jehovah saw, and he repented him of the evil, and said to the destroying angel, It is enough; now stay your hand.
Jer 26:13 Now therefore amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of Jehovah your God; and Jehovah will repent him of the evil that he has pronounced against you.
Gen 6:7 Jehovah said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I repent that I have made them.
1 Sam 15:11 ” It repents me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments. Samuel was angry; and he cried to Jehovah all night.” – Why did God make Saul king? After all, God is omniscient.
Jer 18:8 If that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I planned to bring on it.
18:10 if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they not obey my voice, then I will repent of the good, with which I said I would benefit them.
26:3 ‘Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way, that I may relent concerning the calamity which I purpose to bring on them because of the evil of their doings.’
42:10 If you will still abide in this land, then will I build you, and not pull you down, and I will plant you, and not pluck you up; for I repent me of the evil that I have done to you. NASB20: I will relent of the disaster that I have inflicted on you.
Jon 3:9 Who knows whether God will not turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, so that we might not perish?” (NKJV.. turn and relent,)
How do we explain God’s attitude toward the Gentiles? They were “disposable goods” and sacrificial for the needs of the Israelites. Gentile women were also available to meet the sex needs of Israelis. What caused the change of mind to preach the kingdom of God to the Gentiles? Or accepting Gentiles for baptism? Or to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost?
God and his own people
God led his people out of Egyptian slavery. The peregrination to the promised land is said to have taken 40 years. Not everyone believes the story of the Bible, at least not entirely. It contains a lot of incredible-sounding passages. The journey itself was colorful, but even towards its end, the tribes of Israel were allowed to fight against the surrounding Gentiles. God helped his people in battles against the surrounding nations.
God commanded to kill all the Amalekites: “Now go and strike Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and don’t spare them; but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.” (1 Sam 15:3)
15:18 And Jehovah sent you on a way and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed..’
19 Why then didn’t you obey the voice of Jehovah, but flew on the spoil, and did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah?”
20 Saul said to Samuel, Yes, I have obeyed the voice of Jehovah, and have gone the way which Jehovah sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the devoted things, to sacrifice to Jehovah your God in Gilgal.”
22 And Samuel said, Has Jehovah delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, As in hearkening to the voice of Jehovah? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, Attention than the fat of rams.
Why did God necessarily want all the Amalekites to be killed? He did not even tolerate the separation of sheep and cattle from the victory as a burnt offering for himself. Perfect and literal obedience was more important to God than the burnt offering of a grateful people. And what evil had the children and infants of Amalek done when they were retaliated because of “what Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt.”
I don’t want to accept everything I read in the Bible, and I wouldn’t even want to believe such brutality; the destruction of the losing party to the last man or the sexual slavery of women and young girls.
By no means do I understand the God of the Old Testament. He doesn’t seem consistent; when David fell in love with the beautiful wife of one of his soldiers, David, to have a wife for himself, he murdered the soldier. Sure, David repented his actions when he realized he had done wrong, but only after God’s prophet revealed the matter to him. David received grace from God, unlike the Amalekites, children, and sheep.
According to Jesus, the God of the New Testament is merciful; “love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,” (Mat 5:44). 1 Joh 4:16 God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.
The human conception of the New Covenant of Christ is quite different from that of the God of the Old Testament. This is not due to Christ himself, for he did exactly as God the Father commanded him.
Is it so that God the Father has changed from that fierce and vengeful God to a lovingly nurturing Father of all people, his creatures?
God did not want to save the Gentiles
”God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him;” (Gen 1:27) When this Bible verse came to my mind, I was left wondering. Would man be the image of God? I may not believe such an ugly image of man and humanity in my mind. People and peoples have fought throughout history. People may not recognize that God created them. Has God done anything good for others except for the tiny nation he has chosen?
This is especially clear concerning salvation. God has offered salvation only to the tribes of Israel, at least until his son came into the world. Many believe that Jesus was born into the world to bring salvation to all nations. No, Jesus only came “for the lost sheep of Israel.”
God did not even intend to save the Gentiles. How easy it would have been for him to give his son the command to preach salvation to the Gentiles as well. God made it clear that he is only the God of Israel and left other objects of worship, celestial bodies, etc., to the Gentiles. This is already evident from the beginning of the Bible:
4:19 “And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
Who could explain God’s intentions? Isaiah offers one explanation, which, however, does not explain the matter to the end. Isa 55:9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” – What can we do but trust that God’s ways are not only higher, but also merciful to all his creation?
Is God righteous? Many believers consider even a mere question to be at least futile, even offensive. When we talk about God’s righteousness, we mean that God is absolutely righteous. Man is righteous if he is worthy of God. – This is one good and simple definition.
During the Old Law Covenant, obedience to God’s commandments was emphasized:
Deu 6:25 “And it shall be our righteousness if we take heed to do all these commandments before Jehovah our God, as he has commanded us.”
1 Chr 18:14 David reigned over all Israel; and he executed justice and righteousness to all his people.
Neh 9:33 However you [God] are just in all that is come on us; for you have dealt truly, but we have done wickedly;
Psa 7:12 God is a righteous judge, Yes, a God who has indignation every day.
Psa 9:9 He will judge the world in righteousness. He shall execute judgment upon the peoples with equity. – Also pagans?
God was seen as righteous, doing nothing wrong but “getting angry every day.” People, on the other hand, have been wicked. Man was to strictly obey the law and do the deeds of the law.
During the New Covenant of Christ, love is emphasized. In righteousness, one competes to enter the Kingdom of God. It is also new that the Gentiles are offered the opportunity for salvation.
Mat 5:20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven..
6:33 But seek first God’s Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
13:49 That is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the evil from the righteous.
Act 10:35 Indeed, the person who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him in any nation.
How could the Gentiles be saved?
In the Old Testament, the tribes of Israel were God’s people. The part of the Gentiles was to give way, and in the battles, it became a loser, with God acting for his own people. Gentiles were abominable to God when they worshiped their own gods, with their child sacrifices, etc. How could Gentiles become partakers of God’s grace?
However, there are surprising verses in the Old Testament that call on all nations to praise God. Psalms were written during many centuries, e.g., Psalm 117: 1 “Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth.
When Gentiles are exhorted to give thanks and praise God, it feels rather amazing. When you think about how the Gentiles were just nations pushed aside from Israel and worshiped idols, how realistic would it be to expect them to thank and praise God?
My understanding is that the peoples of the OT did not thank and praise God at all. The pertinent question is: are all Old Testament Gentiles on their way to perdition? In this writing, I show that Jesus, too, was sent into the world only to bring the lost sheep of Israel back to God. Jesus did not give the command of missionaries and baptism that Matthew describes. Still, it was Peter who God instructed to stop discriminating against the Gentiles and that God did not look at which nation a person came from.
It is right to say that a nation is not saved as a nation, but individuals are saved from a nation. This applies to both Christians and Gentiles. God chose His plan of salvation to carry out Abraham (then called Abram), from whom God promised to bless all nations. At that time, all nations were Gentiles, except Jews. Thus, the Jewish tribes had thus been chosen to initiate the transmission of the message of salvation to the whole world. However, the world of that time included only the countries around the Mediterranean.
How are the Gentiles saved? Paul, in his Romans, explains: 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without the law. As many as have sinned under the law will be judged by the law; 14 For whenever Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse.
This, I understand, means that the “good people” among the Gentiles know in their hearts what is right and what is wrong. Their conscience tells these people if they are doing wrong. This is how they do the right thing without knowing the law and Christ. Has God, in creating man and later in dividing his own people and the Gentiles, made sure that the Gentiles have a moral sense, though no knowledge of the true God?
Gentiles have their own ethical rules that are often far from the morality adopted by Christians. The pagan may have considered it perfectly acceptable to kill someone of a foreign tribe for no reason. A Christian, on the other hand, cannot accept this. Killing one may be permitted to defend one’s own or a family member’s life, but not because the other is from a foreign tribe. The pagan conscience has not responded to the unjust killing of a foreign tribe, though it should. I believe that these tumultuous times have moved on, and no other religious practitioners can be imagined to act as they did in the days of Moses. The violence between the people of Israel and the Gentiles of that time was commonplace.
Every human being, both a Gentile and a Christian, is saved as himself, not as part of some nation. Universalists believe that, in the end, all the people of the world will be saved. The main argument seems to be the will of God. It is God’s will that all be saved: 1 Tim 2:4 ”who [God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth.”
The message of the Bible is that all that God wills, he will accomplish. In this verse of Timothy, there are two parts attached to salvation; salvation itself and, secondly, the knowledge of the truth. There is no salvation without knowing the truth. Truth meant knowing the gospel and not just learning a few verses but knowing and understanding the gospel of the Kingdom and salvation. Understanding certainly involves a desire to carry out the message of the gospel into one’s own life.
According to the Bible, this will not happen, but some will be saved, and some will be condemned to perdition.
The conditions of salvation for Christians and Gentiles
Are the requirements for forgiveness and salvation the same for Christians and Gentiles? A person must turn and repent to be saved. This is especially true of the Gentiles; they must turn first. Turn away from believing and serving the wrong God. Conversion and repentance are followed by living according to God’s will.
In his gospel, Luke writes of the discussion between Jesus and the apostles after his resurrection, but before he ascended to heaven: Jesus reminded them of what he had spoken to them (See Luke 18: 31-33) while he was still with them. “All the things that are written through the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be completed.” (24:44-47). It seems that only now did the eyes of the apostles open to the understanding of the scriptures. That, Jesus, must suffer and that on the third day he would rise from the dead.
Luk 24:47 “and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
The apostles seem to be a stubborn crowd. By no means did they immediately rush to begin a mission to the Gentiles. It was needed for Peter to have a vision from heaven three times before he understood that it is God’s will that Gentiles be treated in matters of faith and other believers in Christ. It took several years before missionary work began. Better late than never.
The significance of the deeds in the final judgment
Act 3:19 “Therefore, repent and turn to him to have your sins blotted out,”
Those passages in the Bible which emphasize the importance of deeds are counted for the convert. He may have been a so-called good man when he was a Gentile. Good deeds done to a neighbor as pagan are also counted – not just good deeds done in faith. Paul wrote in Romans 2:15: ”They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse them”
Living faith does bring about good deeds. Jacob said, 2:18, “Yes, a man will say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”
In the final judgment before Christ, our deeds are examined. 2 Cor 5:10 “For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what he deserves for what he has done in his body, whether good or worthless.” – John sums up the Last Judgment in the same way: Joh 5:28 Don’t marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice, 5:29 and will come out; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
The above fractions do not seem to distinguish whether the person at the last judgment is a Gentile or Christian. The Bible allows Gentiles to be saved if their consciences prove they were “good people.” After all, practitioners of other religions can be compared to Christians. So, what will happen to such a good man at the final judgment if he is well acquainted with Christianity but does not believe in Jesus Christ? Even more severe in salvation is if this man once believed Jesus to be the Son of God but then gave up his faith. According to the Bible, he will perish.
God the Father, Jehovah, chose the Jewish tribes as his people. He did not appear or speak to the Gentiles, unlike the prophets of the Jewish people. As we argue which biblical writings are truly the word of God, I have expressed my opinion that the OT writings in which the prophet of God speaks in this way “this word of God came to me” are, I think, reliable and true revelations from God.
While alive, Jesus was not interested in the fate of the Gentiles. Even to a woman in need of help, Jesus rejected her saying; “I have been sent only because of the lost sheep of Israel.” Jesus did not give a commandment or a baptismal command to the Gentiles as Matthew 28:19 claims. Perhaps there has been a discussion in heaven and the mission order was given in a vision to Peter, apparently, several years after Jesus ascended to heaven. I have pondered and wondered in my mind that God did not pay attention to the Gentiles, even though they were children of God just like the Jews. I have come to the conclusion that, especially for the Gentiles, good deeds for the benefit of their neighbors are the criteria for salvation.
Can a person be saved, even if he does not believe — that is, on the basis of abundant good works? Or, can one be saved by strong faith even though he has done nothing good?
Is the Bible completely reliable?
Those who believe God exists, at least most of them, trust that the Bible is the word of God. They believe that its writers have received guidance from the Holy Spirit in their writings. Jehovah’s Witnesses use the phrase “Inspired of God.” If God or his Holy Spirit were the guarantors of the word of the Bible, then we could be sure that there are no errors or contradictions in the Bible.
People often do not understand that the language of the Bible is largely figurative. For centuries, churches frightened people with hell, one form of which is the “fiery lake”. There is no such lake and the whole concept of hell needs to be re-understood. It is possible that some of the biblical accounts are borrowed and combined from old accounts of different peoples. For example, the story of the flood is familiar to many peoples. That has been the case, and there are still visible signs of this great flood. Instead, the story may have been exaggerated. Probably the flood covered the whole known world at the time, but not the whole earth. You can also reason for yourself how it would have been possible for Noah to gather in his ark near all the animal species and millions of little insects in the world.
There are also contradictions in the biblical accounts that make them unreliable. For example, there are two versions of the Bible in the order of the creation of man and the rest of creation.
Then there are translation errors, maybe even purposeful translations. There are later additions, such as Matthew 28:19. There is also uncertainty about the authors of some parts of the Bible; it is suspected that, for example, the disciples of the apostles may have written certain chapters in the names of the apostles.
Some have outright lost faith after finding out how much such material is contained in the Bible.
I’ll tell you about my old Grandma Olga. She was a believer, though I know that her faith did not always base on the right knowledge. Once, when I returned home from school, I told about my religion class and how the teacher had told about Jesus’ brothers and sisters. My grandmother by no means believed that Jesus had siblings. That, how God could have siblings, was for her, an impossible idea to believe. Even if a person believes incorrectly or with incomplete information, does it matter much? We have to accept that there is no definite information on many things. If it were absolutely essential to salvation, surely God himself would have written the entire Bible.
The most important thing is to seek the truth, to believe in the existence of God, and in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, our Lord. God gives his Holy Spirit to believers who ask him for it. In addition, we can receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit! (Gal 5:22)
Everything ends in death, and everything begins in death.
The premise of this scripture is the death of the man and his resurrection. Salvation begins with death for most people. Only a tiny percentage of people are saved without dying; those partakers of the first resurrection who are alive at the second coming of Christ and who have been chosen into the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
Mankind is living in the end times. Matthew, Mark, and Luke unanimously showed that the end-time signs had begun to be fulfilled, e.g., Luke says 21:10″Then he went on to say to them, Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” [These world wars] are “the beginning of labor pains,” adds Markus.
We Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. One significant series of events is on view for all; The end of the diaspora of the people of Israel and the return to the Promised Land. The state of Israel was founded in 1948, and we are watching the leaves on the fig tree burst (Mar 13:28).
I wonder if the people of the world, both Jews and Christians, have equal conditions and opportunities for salvation in the many different Christian denominations. That is, to all those people who at least believe in God the Father. Such people still exist today and have been through the ages, only a fraction of all the people in the world. Will the Gentiles be saved where Christians are? God creates even the Gentiles, aren’t they? I ask this because a massive proportion of Christians are a little different from Gentiles; they are Christians only nominally.
After all, the premise is that God has created all people in his image. What happened when Adam and Eve sinned against God’s will? They were punished by expelling them from paradise.
What did God do to Satan, who in the form of a serpent lured and lied to Adam and Eve and caused them to break God’s command? God punished the serpent; “On your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life” (Gen 3:14), but also gave the whole world power over to Satan. I have asked in my earlier articles, shouldn’t God have destroyed such an intriguing angel?
You might say that the biblical accounts of the events of paradise, the flood, etc., at best, are merely figurative narratives, metaphors, and not reliable descriptions of what happened. That may be the case. The biblical accounts of creation in Genesis are somewhat contradictory. For example, the question of which was created first, humans or animals.
According to Genesis, God first made the world’s diverse animal kingdom, and Adam only after that. According to the second chapter, the Lord made man; 2:7 “Jehovah Elohim formed Man, the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and Man became a living soul.” Then, in 2:19, the Bible describes how God made animals: “And out of the ground Jehovah Elohim had formed every animal of the field and all fowl of the heavens, and brought them to Man, to see what he would call them.”
This description of the Bible cannot be used to prove the unreliability of the Bible. The whole of creation can be a figurative expression intended for the people of the time. As such, the whole creation event is not necessarily true, but as many think today, everything has evolved over millions of years. Had people two or three thousand years ago been able to understand that God’s work of creation took millions of years?
However, the essential decision of God was to give the authority of the world to Satan. As miraculous as it is, this is confirmed by Jesus himself. While Jesus had a long fast in the wilderness, Satan took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in one moment and said to him: “He said to Jesus, I will give you all this authority and the glory of these kingdoms. For it has been given to me, and I give it to anyone I please. 7 So if you will worship me, all this will be yours.” (Luke 4:5-7).
Satan had received from God the world domination. Satan was ready to give it to Jesus if Jesus bowed to Satan. We know from the Bible that Jesus sent Satan in his way. Satan is still allowed to do his work on earth. Peter warns 1 Pet 5:8″ Be clear-minded and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” – What opportunities do people have to defend themselves? Why is Satan allowed to roam freely?
God chose the Jewish tribes as His people. Through Moses, God gave the law of the Ten Commandments to the Israelites. In addition, according to the “regulation,” they received 613 mitzvot for compliance. No one was able to obey every precept, but everyone committed more or less sin while living. The subjects of the Law Covenant survived by shedding the blood of a faultless animal sacrificed by a priest.
God defended his people against the Gentiles. After all, the tribes of Israel were surrounded by pagan peoples and were small compared to the surrounding Gentiles. The protection of God took various forms: The Bible tells, e.g., how an angel of God killed 185,000 enemy soldiers during the night. God also had to ask for advice, and Satan presented the solution God saw fit to accomplish. Sometimes God could not help if the enemy had better equipment at their disposal than the Israelites.
During the Law Covenant, God was harsh and punished even the slightest (in our opinion) transgressions. Among other things, the man who collected twigs during the Sabbath, or the one who touched the Ark of the covenant to be moved when the bulls stumbled and the man feared the Ark would fall to the ground.
The people of Israel were unfaithful to their God: Judges 8:34″ And the children of Israel remembered not Jehovah their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side.” – Nevertheless, God was faithful to his promise to be the God of the people of Israel.
Salvation in Christ
God, who sees everything and knows everything, has foreseen what will happen in the world. The Bible tells us how God foresaw the events to come and therefore gave birth to a son in the world, “that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Christians who believe in the Triune God also believe that Jesus, the Son of God, would have been with God in heaven even before the beginning of time and that God would have created the world through Jesus. I do not believe in this interpretation. The Bible says that God also chose his son’s helpers, the apostles, and Jesus before the beginning of time. It comes to mind to ask if the apostles were in heaven before the beginning of time because God tells about them just like he tells about Jesus?
My understanding is that Jesus was born on earth. The Bible says the Holy Spirit of God’ overshadowed’ a young girl named Mary and made her pregnant.
John affirms the vital role of Christ in salvation; 3:16″ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.” This could be reversed and say; those who do not believe in Christ will not be saved. Such a negative interpretation was adopted by the early churches and brought up in their creeds, e.g., In the Creed of Athanasius.
The question, then, is whether faith in Christ as the Son and Savior of God is an absolute prerequisite for salvation. It cannot be solved by Catholic church meetings or other man-made doctrines but must be found in the Bible.
Dan 12:2 And the multitude of those sleeping in the dust of the ground do awake, some to life age-during, and some to reproaches, to abhorrence age-during.
Act 16:30 Then he took them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved, you and your house.
Joh 3:36 He that believes on the Son has life eternal, and he that is not subject to the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.
Luke 10:25 Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. He asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
26 Jesus answered him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?
27 He answered, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.
28 Jesus told him, You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.
Joh 6:40 For this is my Father’s will, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him to life on the last day. 6:47 Verily, verily, I say to you, He that believes on me has eternal life.
2 The 2:10 and in all deceit of unrighteousness to them that perish, because they have not received the love of the truth that they might be saved. 11 and because of this shall God send to them a working of delusion, for their believing the lie, 12 that all might be judged who have not believed the truth, but have found pleasure in unrighteousness. 13 But we ought to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, that God has chosen you from the beginning to salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.
2 Cor 4:3 But if also our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in those that are lost;
2 Tim 4:4 They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to myths.
Mat 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard this statement he went away sad, because he had many possessions.
Mat 19:24 and again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to enter a needle’s eye than a rich man into the kingdom of God.
25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely astonished and said, “Who, then, can be saved?
26 Jesus looked at them intently and said, For humans this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.
The Bible does not say much about the demands of salvation. Many passages referring to salvation mean salvation from some dangerous situation in life. However, I am trying to figure out salvation for eternal life.
Tit 1:2 “which is based on the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before the world [or the ages] began.”
Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither a son of man, that he should repent. Shall he say and not do? and shall he speak and not make it good?
Rom 1:2 which he [God] promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures
Rom 16:25 Now to the one who is able to strengthen you by my gospel and the message that I preach about Jesus Christ, by revealing the secret that was kept in silence in long ages past 26 but now has been made known through the prophets to all the Gentiles, in keeping with the decree of the eternal God to bring them to the obedience of faith.
2 Tim 1:9 He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works but according to his own purpose and the grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. 10 Now, however, it has been revealed through the coming of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and through the gospel has brought life and release from death into full view.
2 Tim 2:13 if we are not stedfast, he remaineth stedfast; to deny himself he is not able.
Time of the New Covenant
Act 16:31 They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.
Mar 16:16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn’t believe will be condemned.
Joh 3:18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s unique Son.
Joh 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who disobeys the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.
Joh 6:40 For this is my Father’s will, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him to life on the last day.
Here are just a few examples of the central role of faith in salvation. Luke, however, registers Jesus ’pessimistic statement; Luke 18:8 But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?
God’s foreknowledge and predetermined plan
Even before the beginning of time, God has seen what is coming and decided how he will take care of the future; he has seen the birth of Jesus and the apostles even before the fall and even before the first man. Question: Couldn’t God have directed events to another course and prevent Satan from entering such a prominent role? Maybe he could have destroyed Satan right from the start? Why did such a struggle between good and evil have to develop?
In the Acts of the Apostles, Paul and Barnabas spoke to a large audience but showed the following verses to the Jewish hearers:
Act 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas boldly declared, “We had to speak God’s word to you [Jews] first, but since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are now going to turn to the Gentiles. 47 For that is what the Lord ordered us to do: ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles to be the means of salvation to the very ends of the earth. 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord. Meanwhile, all who had been destined to eternal life believed,
As many as were ordained to eternal life believed” is an interesting verse. It reflects the foreknowledge of God, perhaps also predestination. God must have known in advance and ordained certain people to be followers of Christ, apostles, and perform the tasks God had entrusted to them. However, there is probably no question of any general and universal pre-determination. After all, it would be a matter of fatalism, in which case man’s efforts to gain faith and salvation would be in vain.
Paul writes in Eph 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm,
4 ust as he [God] chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence. In love,
5 he predestined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will.”
Is it predestined that we cannot be saved other than by believing in Jesus Christ? If this is the case, it means that, at least in this respect, the doctrine of predestination is entirely following the Bible. The love of God caused him to send his Son into the world. Can we children of God get back into communion with God only through Jesus Christ?
I believe this is true of Christians who have genuinely received the gospel in faith. After that, there is no other option for salvation. Nominally Christians, I think, are just like Gentiles.
Does God call everyone? What does he want every person to do? I would say he hopes everyone to believe. That’s enough. Not everyone can and should not become workers of the faith like the apostles. The instruction given in Romans is enough for salvation: 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
I have previously written about God’s foreknowledge, which includes a plan that man can be saved in the name of Jesus Christ by believing in the Son of God. This was planned and decided by God before the beginning of time. That means God foresaw what would happen to mankind. This plan includes God calling every person to Christ. If a person does not respond to the call, the person himself excludes himself from salvation. – To this, of course, a wise man can comment that why did God not create a better and more obedient man? Why did God create such humanity that begrudges against God’s good plan?
1 Cor 2:7 Instead, we speak about God’s secret wisdom that has been hidden, which God destined for our glory before the world began.
2 Tim 1:9 He saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works but according to his own purpose and the grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.
Tit 1:2 which is based on the hope of eternal life that God, who cannot lie, promised before the world [or the ages] began.
1 Pet 1:20 On the one hand, he was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but on the other hand, he was revealed at the end of time for your sake.
Jude 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen.
Someone will take the invitation seriously. The other welcome the invitation, but the world takes him as he goes. Someone, on the other hand, rejects the invitation, considering it is plain nonsense. My interpretation is that anyone who has accepted the invitation, at least to some extent, will have access to God’s cleansing fire at the final stage of execution. Those who have heard the call of God, the main content of the gospel, but utterly rejected it, will not be saved. God’s consuming fire burns him. This is the punishment called annihilation, the complete elimination of the connection with God.
Someone might respond to God’s call with resentment because the call carries with it an obligation to resolve the attitude toward the salvation brought by Christ.
How is a Christian saved?
In the following, I will deal with the salvation of the Christian. I will return to the salvation of the Gentiles later.
Where are you saved? Most probably answer to heaven. However, that cannot be the case. First: The Bible says that no one has ascended into heaven except Jesus Christ. John 3:13 “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven.” Second reasoning: Before deciding the destiny of man and mankind, there must be a final judgment before the judgment seat of Christ. Christ is coming to earth to rule for a thousand years, so the judgment of Christ will be given on this basis on earth. The judgment requires the resurrection of the dead, and this has not yet taken place. Without judgment, no one imagines going to paradise or heaven.
Then there is another argument that many do not know. I think it’s the best. God descends from heaven and establishes his abode on earth in New Jerusalem. Rev 21:3 “I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them, and he will be their God, and they will be his people.
What does it mean to descend from heaven? Verse 21: 2 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. – If you now tilt your head back and look up in the clouds, it is useless because God’s heaven is not there. Space scientists have looked into space for trillions of miles, not a trace of God’s heaven. However, God’s heaven is very close to all of us. Rev 21:10 He carried me away in the Spirit to a large, high mountain and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.
11 It had the glory of God, and its light was like a valuable gem, like jasper, as clear as crystal.
26 People will bring the glory and wealth of the nations into it.
27 Nothing unclean, or anyone who does anything detestable, and no one who tells lies will ever enter it. Only those whose names are written in the lamb’s Book of Life will enter it.
22:14 How blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city!
15 Outside are dogs, sorcerers, immoral people, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
The previous verses tell us that idolaters and no one who loves a lie can enter holy Jerusalem (v. 22:15). It shows that the last judgment has been given and that only the saved can enter the same city with God.
However, the question arises as to why the Book of Revelation tells the doomed are left out as if to look at those happy who get in. Is that their verdict? Or is enforcement still pending?
Faith or deeds? On what grounds are the dead condemned?
Is a person saved by believing in God and Jesus Christ? Or is a person saved by doing good deeds? I picked up relevant verses from the Bible. Can salvation be resolved with them?
Jam 2:20 Do you want proof, you foolish person, that faith without works is worthless?
2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
2:26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.
Have you heard that faith and grace are central to salvation? There have been times when emphasis has been on deeds. The Reformation, on the other hand, emphasized faith and the grace of Christ. Here are a couple of verses that reinforce the weight of deeds.
Rev 20:12 I saw the dead, both unimportant and important, standing in front of the throne, and books were open. Another book was opened—the Book of Life. The dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to their works.
”The dead were judged according to their deeds, “that is what it says here. Elsewhere, the Bible says, “believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved.” Is there an irreconcilable contradiction here now? The next verse can smooth out the waves. Jam 2:18 “But someone may say, You have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without any works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
– I am not going to turn the scales on either side, but following Jacob, I find that faith produces good works of faith. Good deeds, on the other hand, rarely come alone, without a touch of faith.
In the following, I write about the fire of God, which studies man and cleanses the believer from the effects of sin. Speaking above of judgments by deeds, it may mean that man is condemned, if necessary, to the ‘hardened’ handling of God’s fire.
The fire of God
I have written a separate article on the fire of God.
I will go through the essentials of it here, especially in relation to salvation.
The fire of God – when man lives
Peter explains that the righteous experience the (symbolic) ordeal of fire while they are still alive. Why is this happening? The answer is found in the Bible; these God-chosen people may be involved in the first resurrection. They are the saints described in the Bible who will reign with Christ for a thousand years. They have been cleansed, and when they are resurrected, they receive the spirit body, and they no longer have to be judged by the others who are later resurrected.
1 Piet 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.
Many believers face the handling of God’s cleansing fire already in their lives.
This fiery ordeal does not burn a man from the outside but from within. It can take up to years without a person even understanding what is going on for him. He can experience many kinds of trials and losses, for example, financially, etc. When the trials are over, he gets peace and understanding. Things are given a new order of priority.
The fire of God in the resurrection
When God’s purifying fire tests and cleanses the believer with the final judgment, the purified are in the spirit body. They are resurrected; Rev 20:13,” The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to their works.” – This verse in Revelation describes how they will be resurrected and judged according to their deeds.
1 Cor 3:11 “After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus Christ. 12 Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, 13 the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test (δοκιμάζω dokimázō: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize, to see whether a thing is genuine or not, as metals) the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.”
Verse 12 is significant for salvation. You can build faith from many ingredients. Those who build “of gold, silver, or precious stones” may well be the ones who reach the first resurrection and thereby help Christ to rule the Millennial kingdom. On the other hand, man has built his faith from very weak materials, “hay and straw,” his faith is not sustainable, but the “building” will burn. It is comforting, however, that man himself is saved, ”through the fire. “Even the slightest faith in God and Christ can suffice for eternal life. Such a person has to go through a thorough purification of the fire.
1 Cor 3:15 If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.
The fire is testing each person’s deeds — on the last day. It is then decided what each one should get paid, how each ‘building’ will last—fire tests’ people individually. A result is a man cleansed from sin, a pure image of God.
Rev 21: 8 speaks of another kind of fire, a fiery lake. The fiery lake is a figure of speech of “the second death.” People who are cowardly, unfaithful, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will find themselves in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” Strong’s explains that ”of the 500+ times the word ‘fire’ is used in the Bible, hundreds of times the word ‘fire’ is used in a figurative or symbolic sense”.
Why is the second coming of Christ delayed? 2 Piet 3:9” The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some people understand slowness, but is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to perish, but wants everyone to come to repentance.”
God the Father was also patient: Eze 18:23 “Do I at all desire the death of the wicked? An affirmation of the Lord Jehovah, Is it not in his turning back from his way, that he may live?”
Isa 30:18 And therefore will Jehovah wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he lift himself up, that he may have mercy upon you; for Jehovah is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him!
What does it mean when the Bible says a human spirit will ascend to heaven?
Can a person go to heaven after death?
The following is how I have written about the spirit and the soul before: “Many have the notion that at death it is precisely the immortal soul that ascends to heaven, but that is not right; at death, the human spirit ascends to heaven. There is a separate article on this.
Act 7:59 tells of Stephen’s stoning:”And they stoned Stephen, praying, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” – Stephen did not pray that Jesus would take his soul to heaven, but his Spirit [pneuma, Spirit]. So didn’t Stephen think he had an immortal soul that he hoped would end up in heaven?
The soul, that is, the body of man, or man as a living being, lands in the tomb, but the Spirit of man is with God in heaven ready for resurrection.
When a man dies, “the dust returned to the earth as it was, and the spirit returned unto God who gave it.” (Eccl 12:7).
King Solomon was a wise and knowledgeable man. He wrote in Eccl 3:20, “All go unto one place: all are of the dust, and all return to the dust.” – Everyone dies, people and animals, and returns to the dust of the earth. The Ecclesiastes recounts how the ‘dust’, or human body, returns to the earth, but the spirit ascends to God in heaven.
Eccl 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of the sons of man that is going up on high, and the spirit of the beast that is going down below to the earth? 12:7, “The dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit return unto God who gave it.”
What does it mean that the human spirit is in heaven with God?
Does that mean the spirit is ready for the resurrection and the final judgment? People have the perception that the ‘heaven’ is somewhere far away, up. What if the sky is down here with us, but only in another dimension? Moving from heaven to Christ, reading the Last Judgment would only be moving to another dimension.
Is this access of the spirit to heaven the same as people have believed for ages and ages? That after death, a person will enter heaven, or that good people will enter? So, where do the ‘bad’ get to? And who has decided who is good and who is bad? The book of life has not yet been opened, and no final judgment has been given.
What does Hebrews mean: 12:23 ”to the assembly [or church] of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect.”
Who are the firstborns who are enrolled in heaven? The assembly of the firstborn in heaven? A judge who is the God of all? Who are the spirits who have been made perfect?
Has the spirit ascended to heaven in a conscious state?
What if it is time to come before Christ for the final judgment? Do the ascended spirits have to return to earth to participate in the final judgment?
Heb 12:22 ”Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together.
23 to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect,
24 to Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant.”
Verse 12:22 already reveals what and what time it is a question of. This vision of the future is told in the Book of Revelation: God Himself descends to heavenly Jerusalem. Rev 21:1 ”And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea exists no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See, the tabernacle of God is among humans! He will make his home with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God.”
There will be access to [the New Jerusalem] all those saved who pass the investigation of the Last Judgment. They also meet the “Firstborn enrolled in Heaven” and the judge who is the God of all (Jehovah). There are also ‘righteous spirits who have become perfect; all are, in fact, spirits. And in particular, there awaits the saved New Covenant mediator, Jesus Christ.
Joh 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; the one who believes in me will live, even if he dies, 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Joh 3:16 for God did so love the world, that His Son, the only begotten, He gave, that everyone who is believing in him may not perish, but may have life age-during.
17 For God did not send His Son to the world that he may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through him.
18 He that believes on him is not judged: but he that believes not has been already judged, because he has not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
Who are God’s pre-chosen ones?
The tribes of Israel and Judah were God’s choices for his people, among whom was born Jesus, the Son of God. However, the Jews did not receive the Son of God with joy, but on many occasions were even willing to stone him because of their incomprehension. God’s punishment has been on Israel, but he has not forgotten his people and the promises made to them.
Rom 9:27 But Esaias cries concerning Israel, Should the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only the remnant shall be saved.
Sak 8:11 But now I will not be unto the remnant of this people as in the former days, saith Jehovah of hosts.
12 For the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. 13 And it shall come to pass, like as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear you not, let your hands be strong.
God first chose the Jewish tribes as his own people. God and Christ later chose individual people. The choices are described in the Bible. 1 Cor 1:28 “And God chose what is insignificant in the world, what is despised, what is nothing, in order to destroy what is something, 29 so that no human flesh may boast in God’s presence. 30 It is because of him that you are in union with Christ Jesus, who for us has become wisdom from God, as well as our righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.”
Selection as a disciple of Jesus was a process with many offerings, and most of them soon dropped out. Joh 6:65 “So he [Jesus] said, That’s why I told you that no one can come to me unless it be granted him by the Father. 66 As a result, many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”
The elect, for example, were the apostles of Christ. Luke 6:13, When daylight came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also called apostles. Joh 15:16 “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you..” – Verse 16, I think, is to be understood as meaning that it was not the intention of the apostles to seek gold or glory for themselves through God, but whatever they would ask of God to heal people or otherwise do them good, they would receive it.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, 4 just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence. 5 In love having foreordained us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Paul affirms that even before the foundation of the world, God had chosen Christ’s nearest men as children of God and in communion with God through Christ. “Choosing” and “prescribing” sound like very deterministic sayings. Was Judas Iscariot also chosen and ordained in this way? I might say this: God has seen and desired this but does not force people to do so. Soldiers are also bound by the rules of the army and the orders of their superiors, but there are always fugitives – regardless of rules and regulations.
God had chosen the tribes of Israel as his own, but they did not obey or follow God’s commands. So, there was only a remnant of the tribes of Israel left. Nevertheless, God had not forsaken his own people when it entered the diaspora around the world. By 1948, members of the Israeli tribes had returned to the promised land, Eretz Israel, ready to establish their state. By 1948, members of the Israeli tribes had returned to the promised land, Eretz Israel, ready to establish their own state.
Rom 11:5 ”So it is at the present time: there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if this is by grace, then it is no longer on the basis of works. Otherwise, grace would no longer be grace. 7 What, then, does this mean? It means that Israel failed to obtain what it was striving for, but those who were chosen obtained it. However, the rest were hardened.”
1 Pet 1:1, ”Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the choice sojourners of the dispersion of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 the people chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with his blood. May grace and peace be yours in abundance!”
2:9 ”But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
– “A royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, and a people for God’s own possession,” descends from the titles given to the tribes of Israel, but now, in a new context, they describe those of Christ who together form the royal clergy. Here is a change in the concept of the clergy: In Old Testament times, the clergy were in their dignity and separated from the ordinary people. The “royal priesthood” consists of ordinary believers. Together with Christ, the High Priest, they form the Royal Priesthood. Christ himself is their King.
Although God or Christ has chosen certain people, it does not mean that they will remain in the faith until the end. The best-known example in history is Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus to the Roman soldiers. God also tests his elect; 2 Thessalonians 2:11 “For this reason, God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” – Satan tries his best to mislead people, and at the time of the end, God will send a powerful delusion! I don’t always understand God’s actions. Yes, God would know, without this delusion, who is faithful to him and who turns to follow Satan’s lies.
God’s choice is not a deterministic and permanent choice. Such predestination has not been God’s purpose. Such a doctrine has been instilled ever since Augustine, and in the Middle Ages, Calvin claimed that God had predestined some people to be saved and others to perish.
Eph 1:4 ”just as he chose us in him [his Son Jesus Christ] before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence. In love, 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will.
It is a question of God’s plan in a situation where there were no parties yet. Essential, however, is the central role of Jesus Christ in bringing the Saints and believers in different churches to be children of God.
We Christians have no choice but to get in touch with God through his Son. Therefore, God sent his own Son into the world to bring the message of salvation.
Jesus addresses his promise of salvation to each person. He does not say that this or that nation will be saved or will perish. Indeed God has already seen in advance that Jesus has the help of faithful co-workers. Of these, however, the Bible states that Jesus said, “You did not choose me but I chose you” (John 15:16). God does not divide people according to whom he would like to be saved. God wants all people will be saved!
How could the Gentiles be saved?
In the Old Testament, the tribes of Israel were God’s own people. The part of the Gentiles was to give way, and in the battles, they became a loser, with God acting on behalf of his people. The Gentiles were abominable to God in worshiping their gods, with their child sacrifices, etc. How could Gentiles become partakers of God’s grace?
God created man in his image. Already the book of Genesis tells how Satan tempted Adam and Eve to act contrary to God’s command, and they were punished, but Satan received the dominion of the world. Satan began to use his position and free field of action.
God created man in his image. Already the book of Genesis tells how Satan tempted Adam and Eve to act contrary to God’s command, and they were punished, but Satan received the dominion of the world. Satan began to use his position and free field of action.
However, there are great verses in the Old Testament that call on all nations to praise God. Psalms were written for many centuries, e.g., Psalm 117:1 “Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth.”
When Gentiles are exhorted to give thanks and praise God, it feels rather amazing. When you think about how the Gentiles were just nations pushed aside from Israel and worshiped idols, how realistic would it be to expect them to thank and praise God?
The peoples of the Old Testament by no means thanked and praised God. The pertinent question is: are all Old Testament Gentiles on their way to perdition? In this writing, I show that Jesus was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 15:24). Jesus did not give the missionary and baptize command described by Matthew (28:19), but God instructed Peter to stop discriminating against the Gentiles and that God did not look at from which nation a person came from. This vision given by God led to the missionary work of the Gentiles.
It is right to say that a nation is not saved as a nation, but individuals are saved from a nation. This applies to both Christians and Gentiles. God chose his plan of salvation to carry out Abraham (then called Abram), from whom God promised to bless all nations. At that time, all nations were Gentiles, except Jews. The Jewish tribes had thus been chosen to initiate the transmission of the message of salvation to the whole world. However, the world of that time included only the countries around the Mediterranean.
How is it possible for the Gentiles to be saved?
Paul explains what happens to the Gentiles. In his Romans, he explains it: 2:12 For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 14 For whenever Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse or excuse.
This, I understand, means that the “good people” among the Gentiles know in their hearts what is right and what is wrong. Their conscience tells these people if they are doing wrong. This is how they do the right thing without knowing the law and Christ. Has God, in creating man and later in dividing his people and the Gentiles, ensured that the Gentiles have a moral sense, even though there is no knowledge of the true God? Why are Christians required to believe in Christ, and it is not enough being a “good person” when it is enough for Gentiles?
Gentiles have their own ethical rules that are often far from the morality adopted by Christians. The pagan may have considered it perfectly acceptable to kill someone who belongs to a foreign tribe for no reason. A Christian, on the other hand, cannot accept this. Killing another may be acceptable to defend your own or a family member’s life, but not on the ground that the other is from a foreign tribe. The conscience of the pagan has not responded to the unjust killing of a foreign tribe, though it should. I believe that there has been a move forward from these tumultuous times, and no other religious practitioners can be imagined to act as they did in the days of Moses. The violence between the people of Israel and the Gentiles of that time was commonplace. Every human being, both a Gentile and a Christian, is saved as his own self, not as part of some nation. Universalists believe that, in the end, all the people of the world will be saved. The main argument seems to be the will of God. God’s will is for all to be saved: 1 Tim 2:4 ”who [God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth.”
The message of the Bible is that all that God wills, he will accomplish. In this verse of Timothy, there are two parts attached to salvation; salvation itself and, secondly, the knowledge of the truth. No salvation without knowing the truth. Truth must have meant knowing the gospel and not just learning a few verses, but knowing and understanding the gospel of the kingdom and salvation. Understanding certainly involves a desire to carry the message of the gospel into one’s own life.
According to the Bible, this will not happen, but some will be saved, and some will be condemned to perdition.
Why doesn’t God give everyone the same amount of faith?
Rom 12:3 … For by the grace given to me I ask every one of you not to think of yourself more highly than you should think, rather to think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you.
Wouldn’t justice require everyone to have the same amount of faith? After all, we are all created by the same God. What about Gentiles whose faith is directed to idols? They have not had genuine faith at all. How should they be treated fairly in the final judgment? Even Gentiles can be devout, even passionate. The name of their God is different; for example, Allah. Jesus is replaced by the Prophet Muhammad.
Suppose God would have given all Christians the same amount of faith. Wouldn’t God be just then? All people would be on the same starting line in their race for faith. Assessing people with a final judgment would be easier. There is no need to think about possible mitigating factors. Are greater demands placed on the believer of high faith than on the low faith? What if someone has not got faith at all? How does it affect Christ’s judgment?
In creating man, God has had a plan. The man was made on purpose “a little lower than the Angels” (Psalm 8:6). Everything God does is based on his foreknowledge, the creation of the world, the creation of angels, man, and animals. I have asked the question: why didn’t God create perfect angels and perfect humans? Was Satan the first fallen angel? Perhaps, but he was not the last, but many other angels have fallen in the ranks of Satan. Even the first people fell into the sin of disobedience.
Rom 9:21 ”Or has not the potter authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour?”
2 Tim 2:20 ”In a large house there are not only utensils made of gold and silver, but also those made of wood and clay. Some are for special use, while others are for ordinary use. 21 If therefore one shall have purified himself from these, in separating himself from them, he shall be a vessel to honour, sanctified, serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work.” – Even if man is made only for cheap use, man has the opportunity to cleanse himself of injustice, unholy and empty speech, and to return to the truth. In this way he becomes “a vessel for noble use.” One can ask God for more faith. Luke says the apostles turned to Jesus, saying, “Give us more faith! (Luk 17:5).
Jer 18:6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” – Although the verse of Jeremiah is addressed to the tribe of Israel, we are all children of God in the hands of the same God, shaped by a heavenly potter.
Isa 29:16 ”You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, You did not make me? Can the pot say to the potter, You know nothing?”
Dan 12:1 ”And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people; and there shall be a time of distress, such as never was since there was a nation until that time. And at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that is found written in the book.” – “The book” means the book of life, which is also a figurative expression. The book is updated in heaven. At the last judgment, it is revealed to disclose the records and deeds of those facing the judgment. In the apostles’ time, such a comprehensible description was needed of a “book” showing the good and evil deeds of each.
God wants everyone to be saved
1 Tim 2:4 ”who [God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth.”
The word that is translated as ‘wants’ is θέλθέ thelo. It has been translated into English in various ways: will have all men to be saved (KJV), who desires all men to be saved (NASB95), who wants all people to be saved (NASB20).
Does it matter whether God wants or hopes? God assures according to Isaiah 46:10: I will do all my will. If God wills or desires that all will be saved, God will do his will. That’s how simple it is.
The whole history of the Bible is full of revenge on evil people, and only good, God-fearing people will be saved. And now I testify that God wants everyone to be saved. Why is this salvation of all so hard to accept? Well, when the Bible says so clearly that evil will go to hell, to the lake of fire where they will suffer forever.
Does the Bible say so? First, words that have been translated as ‘forever’ have been mistranslated. Second, a fiery lake is a figurative expression, and no such lake exists. Instead, there is the fire of God, which I have already written in this article. This fire may be excruciating. Even if it is a figurative expression, the fire of God, which burns the sins and all evil in man, is a real pain to man. The length of fiery treatment varies so that those who do little evil deeds will survive the handling of fire faster than the great sinner. Eventually, however, everyone is cleansed. The result is that man returns to the image of God as he was created.
In his Book of Revelation, John describes how God will descend to earth to live in the midst of the saved in the New Jerusalem. There are all saved people purified from sins. This is a promise of the future and includes a warning in Rev 22:15 ”Outside are dogs, sorcerers, immoral people, murderers, idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
Does this verse of Revelation not mean that not everyone will be saved and will not enter the New Jerusalem, but will be excluded from it.
God loved the world so much that he gave his own Son to save the world. Admittedly, John 3:16 says, “whosoever believes on him may not perish.” Before the Son came into the world, billions of people had lived and died without even hearing about God or his Son. For these, God’s condition is not met. Paul has introduced a clause (Romans 2:15) that a person’s conscience can dictate salvation to a good person. However, I doubt that there will be salvation here but for a small number of Gentiles. Billions threaten to be left out of salvation. In vain do they spread their hands, shouting miserably, “we have not even heard of this Jesus!” God’s will does not seem to be coming true.
In my previous post, I presented a “half-second quick course” on Christianity to the Gentiles in connection with the Last Judgment. After this, the Gentiles will also know Christ and can either believe or not. God makes sure that his will is fulfilled, one way or another.
Romans 5:20 contains an important note: where sin increased, grace increased even more. The grace of Christ increases as the number of sins increases.
A universalist view of salvation
John 1:29 “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” How and when will this happen? The removal of all sin has not yet taken place. Perhaps in this statement, John is referring to a future in which Satan has been eliminated.
Universalists have found many verses in the Bible that they believe confirm the salvation of all people. Let’s take a couple of examples:
John 6:39 And this is the will of him that sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing but should raise it up again at the last day.
Jesus says that it is the will of God the Father that Christ will raise from the dead all those whom God has given him. In the next verse, Christ specifies precisely what God’s will is: God wants everyone who believes in the Son of God to have eternal life.
6:40 “For it is the will of my Father that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; I will raise him up at the last day.” – Not everyone, but everyone who believes in Christ will have eternal life and will be raised at the last day!
John 3:17 “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” – The verse speaks of the salvation of the (whole) world through Christ. If you only read this verse, you may well believe that the whole world will be saved from this and many others. The following verse returns the reader to the surface of the earth:
3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned. But he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Salvation, then, requires faith. And if you don’t believe, you are already doomed.
We see how dangerous it is to take just one verse and draw conclusions from it. This seems to be the guilt of universalists. However, the matter still requires further investigation, and I have not yet made my final decision on the salvation of all. However, I will say that if there are verses near the promising salvation that require faith, these verses cannot be forgotten either. They are as significant as the above verses, which seem to promise salvation for the whole world.
In this writing, I have highlighted verses from the Bible, many of which can be interpreted in two ways. In summary, I present two verses:
“I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the people of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD.”
The spirit of the Old Testament was that God had chosen Israel as his people. In many ways, God sought to protect his people using what we believe are even questionable means. God says he reserved the celestial bodies as Gentile gods and did not take any practical steps to bring the Gentiles into contact. Ezekiel sums up the attitude of God: I will pour out my Spirit upon the tribe of Israel.
However, God has always had a plan to save everyone. It is addressed to “all men,” or, in the language of the Bible, “all flesh”; in the last days God will pour out His Holy Spirit on all flesh.
Acts of the Apostles:
2:17 “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”
We live in the end times or the last days. They started already in the time of Christ. This is shown in Hebrews 1: 2 “in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.”
The Bible also has another attribute of time, the end time. When Daniel talked about it, he was told: Dan 8:19 He said: “I am going to tell you what will happen later in the time of wrath, because the vision concerns the appointed time of the end. 12:9 He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.”
So we live in the “last days” until the “time of the last wrath, the time of the end.” Then God’s plan and will for all mankind will be revealed.
What is certain is that God, according to his promise, will pour out his Spirit upon all mankind.