- God Desires All Men to Be Saved
- What Is God’s Will for Mankind?
- The Wages of Sin
- Damnation and Destruction
- The Hell
- The Fiery Lake – the Second Death
- The Lake of Fire: Literal Truth or Symbolic Expression?
- Why didn’t God give as much faith to everyone?
- Do we understand God? Why did Jesus speak with parables?
- Why Is the Word of God Written So Impenetrably?
- Why Would God Not Follow His Own Command?
- Whom Is Jesus Saving?
- Paul’s Conversion to Christianity
- The Last Judgement
- What Is the Discipline of God?
- Is the ‘Discipline of God’ a Literal or Figurative Expression?
- Is the Punishment Eternal?
- A Jubile and ‘Owlam’ (eternal)
- Eternal Life
- The Fire of God – The consuming fire
- The Fire of God – The Purifying Fire
- The Fire of the Last Judgment
- The Pain of the Fiery Lake
- Salting with Fire
- Is Annihilation a Penalty of God – The Second Death?
- Christ – God’s High Priest and the Royal Priesthood
- God Desires All Men to Be Saved
Does God really want all (i.e. everyone) men to be saved, and not to perish in the lake of fire? When I write that he wants, it means that God does not just hope or that he would be happy if all would be saved. It means that God does not accept the outcome that the majority of mankind will be lost. Everything is possible for God!
Mat 19:26: Jesus looked at them intently and said, For humans this is impossible, but for God all things are possible. – Would not God, therefore, do as he wills when it is possible for him? Ok, let us believe it is so. But what does it mean?
This is easy to agree with. However, what follows from this is, that people, and especially the theologians say, “No, this can not be possible.” What then cannot be possible? The fact that the entire Bible interpretation of end-time judgment is wrong! I am trying to prove why God actually needs to save all people. God has acted wrong, unfairly, in relation to humans. He has created people to be different, with different gifts. He has given people faith, a lot to some, a little for some others. Of course, it is easy for the “saint” to find salvation, while the ordinary man is fighting for his daily bread. Although I often reproached God, I have to confess like Isaiah (55:9): For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my [God’s] ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts
In mainstream churches, the old doctrine of eternal torture in a fiery lake has been proclaimed for centuries. The Church’s doctrine of the second death is still in force today. It has been proclaimed so many times in the Bible so clearly that it must be literally true! This was now irony from me. Theologians do not just seem to realize that this is a figurative expression. If this doctrine is true, it should be proclaimed time and time again. Only recently has the situation changed. Who has even heard at church today of the hell in a burning lake? Hardly anyone, because such message does not sell God’s word to people.
The perfect opposite of this doctrine is the doctrine of universalism meaning that “everyone will come to heaven”. In this chapter, I deal with both. When I say that all go to heaven, I mean that the interpretation of the will of God is that all be saved. In other words, universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God. God always does what he wants, even to save all people.
When reading these writings the reader will have to be moved between the two options. Just like I did. However, I hope that the solution will ultimately be found. The right solution can be found in the will of God, if only we can properly interpret it. How can we be able when our Lord said, Go, and tell this people: Hearing you hear, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not perceive. (Isa 6:9)
God’s Advance Plan
Both Satan and people are willing to sin and are therefore responsible for it. However, God is prepared in his foresight to cover the sins of men and has decided before the foundation of the world to send the Redeemer: I Pet 1:19-20 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake,
Rev 13:7 It was given to him [Satan] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed.
God has planned everything before the foundation of the world: Satan’s rebellion, the fall of Adam and Eve, Christ’s ransom sacrifice, the Second Coming of Christ as King of the Millennial kingdom, and finally – the resurrection of the dead and the final judgment.
People know that God has created the world, but what God has planned for the future, people have no idea. Many think that God failed in his creation plans and suddenly, Satan rebelled. God makes no mistakes, but everything proceeds according to his plans. He knows in advance what is going to happen, because he causes these events.
Rom 11:36 For all things are from him, by him, and for him. Glory belongs to him forever! Amen.
Isa 45:6 that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, who does all these things.
– God produces both happiness and peace but also evil. Perhaps we have thought that God, in his goodness, only creates joy and happiness. Why would God deliberately produce evil?
KJV translates רַע raʻ badness; Strong’s H7451 as follows:
evil (442x), wickedness (59x), wicked (25x), mischief (21x), thur (20x), bad (13x), trouble (10x), sore (9x), affliction (6x), ill (5x), adversity (4x), ill favoured (3x), harm (3x), naught (3x), noisome (2x), grievous (2x), sad (2x), miscellaneous (34x).
God has created the world and also created Satan, the “king of this world.” Apparently, Satan’s actions are part of God’s predetermined plan because otherwise God as almighty would have destroyed Satan as soon as Satan settled against God’s will. Why did God allow this? Why did God allow Satan to seduce Adam and Eve for sin and thereby allowed sin to come into the world with all its consequences? I will also deal with these consequences in this chapter.
So, if God has predetermined everything to happen, it means that God will fix everything in the final judgment and not punish the people with the endless torture of such that God himself has caused or let happen.
Christ died for all, both good and evil. The bad ones just don’t understand this. Because of their lack of understanding, should they be sent in the lake of fire for eternity? Paul did not understand that he did great injustice to Christ and Christianity. What did Christ do – he converted Paul to Christianity by force!
Joh 11:41 … Then Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. 42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus said in John 11:41-42 that God always hears him (not only hears, but also fulfils his request). Luk 23:42 I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When Jesus was being crucified, he said: Luk 23:34 ”Father, forgive them, for they don’t know [understand] what they are doing.”
We can be sure that the Jews who demanded the crucifixion of Christ have been forgiven of their deeds. If such terrible deeds can be forgiven, even without asking, are not our actions forgiven, even if we were so absorbed by the world that we could not even apologise for them. God’s fire can purify us all, no matter how disgusting our deeds may be. Jesus stopped Paul, who was filled with anger on his way to arresting more Christians. Jesus could have destroyed Paul with consuming fire, but he chose otherwise; he forced Paul to change his mind and Paul became a keen Christian and supporter of Jesus. What if Paul is not the only one who is forced into faith; what if after the last judgment billions of people are on their way to the lake of fire. Does Jesus leave them in the fiery lake to suffer and goes to rejoice with his saints in New Jerusalem? Or does he force them all in the same way as he did with Paul? – The learned theologians, however, testify that God cannot forgive anyone who sins if he does not repent and ask for forgiveness. But, as Jesus said, “they do not understand what they are doing”. When the spiritual fire of the lake burns them, they will understand – and repent – and ask for forgiveness – and will be forgiven.
Rom 3:10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous. No, not one. 11 No one understands. No one searches for God. 12 All have turned away. Together they have become worthless. No one shows kindness, not even one person!
– We can, of course, be comforted by the fact that if we regret our sins, we will be forgiven and be saved. Unfortunately, the majority of mankind does not even understand that they have sinned or done anything wrong. In fact, these people imagine the opposite; they are good believers, Christians. Or they are good Muslims, Shi’ias, or they are good atheists, who don’t need God. They just want to be good people. All of these do not understand. But still, there is no one who does what is good, not one. – Here, Paul is exaggerating a little. We know that when Christ comes for the second time, the righteous, or saints of the first resurrection will come to meet him in the clouds. But in the big picture, Paul is right.
God has predetermined everything:
Act 4:26 The kings of the earth take a stand, And the rulers take council together, Against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do all that your hand and your will had predetermined to take place.
God had previously known about the Fall and also the work of Satan’s seditious activity and the attempt to become king of this world. He had pre-planned the birth of his son into the world, as the saviour from the power of sin. He had – this may be difficult to understand – decided to give his son Jesus to be crucified.
- What Is God’s Will for Mankind?
My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. God desires all men to be delivered and to come to a full knowledge of truth.
Isa 14:24 Jehovah of Hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so it shall be; and as I have purposed, it shall rise up;
Isa 46:10-11 declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; calling a bird of prey from the sunrise, the man of my counsel from a far off land. Yes, I have spoken; yes, I will cause it to come; I have formed; yes, I will do it.
1 Tim 2:4 who [God] desires all men to be delivered and to come to a full knowledge of truth.
We have all read in the Bible that Jesus wanted to do everything according to the will of God.
Gen 1:3 ”Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light”. – God has in his word created the world. Whenever God says something he wills, it always happens:
Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall do that which I please, and it shall accomplish that for which I send it.
2 Pet. 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.
Isa 45:6 … I am Jehovah, and there is none else 7 forming light, and creating darkness; making peace, and creating evil. [evil, calamity, disaster; heb. רַע ra`]; I Jehovah have created it.
1 Jhn 4:14 We have seen for ourselves and can testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
God reassured at his prophet Isaiah’s mouth that He will accomplish everything according to his will. Why would we fight this decision? Is it because we do not understand how it could be possible? Is it because the world is so full of sinners, who according to the Bible will receive the judgment of God, the eternal torment in the lake of fire. – It is perhaps appropriate to study and reflect on what God means by judgment and the penalty of the fiery lake, so that we will not interpret Isaiah’s text against the will of God.
Does God really want all men to be saved, and not to perish in the lake of fire? When I write that he wants, it means that God does not just hope or that he would be happy if all would be saved. It means that God does not accept the outcome that the majority of mankind will be lost. Everything is possible for God! Mat 19:26: Jesus looked at them intently and said, For humans this is impossible, but for God all things are possible. – Would not God, therefore, do as he wills when it is possible for him? Ok, let us believe it is so. But what does it mean?
This is easy to agree with. However, what follows from this is, that people, and especially the theologians say, “No, this cannot be possible.” What then cannot be possible? The fact that the entire Bible interpretation of end-time judgment is wrong! I am trying to prove why God actually needs to save all people. God has acted wrong, unfairly, in relation to humans. He has created people to be different, with different gifts. He has given people faith, a lot to some, a little for some others. Of course, it is easy for the “saint” to find salvation, while the ordinary man is fighting for his daily bread. Although I often reproached God, I have to confess like Isaiah (55:9): For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my [God’s] ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts
In mainstream churches, the old doctrine of eternal torture in a fiery lake has been proclaimed for centuries. The Church’s doctrine of the second death is still in force today. It has been proclaimed so many times in the Bible so clearly that it must be literally true! This was now irony from me. Theologians do not just seem to realize that this is a figurative expression. If this doctrine is true, it should be proclaimed time and time again. Only recently has the situation changed. Who has even heard at church today of the hell in a burning lake? Hardly anyone, because such a message does not sell God’s word to people.
The perfect opposite of this doctrine is the doctrine of universalism meaning that “everyone will come to heaven”. In this chapter, I deal with both. When I say that all go to heaven, I mean that the interpretation of the will of God is that all be saved. In other words, universal reconciliation – the view that all human beings will ultimately be restored to a right relationship with God. God always does what he wants, even to save all people.
When reading these writings the reader will have to be moved between the two options. Just like I did. However, I hope that the solution will ultimately be found. The right solution can be found in the will of God, if only we can properly interpret it. How can we be able when our Lord said, Go, and tell this people: Hearing you hear, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not perceive. (Isa 6:9)
who [God] wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:4)
… God knew before the world began, that people would come to fall into sin and 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 [or: before eternal times, before the ages of time] (2 Tim 1:9)
God is love – most people are happy to accept this. On this basis, people do not want to accept the word confirmed many times in the Bible, the punishment of sinners, eternal torment in the lake of fire. It would still be acceptable for Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to burn with Pol Pot in the lake of fire.
What about the old grandma, whose only sin is fearfulness, being timorous: Rev 21:8 But to the fearful (Strong’s 1169 δειλός deilós, Engl. timid, fearful) and unbelieving, and sinners, and those who make themselves abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death. – Would she be in the lake of fire with Hitler and Stalin? The many centuries the mainstream churches have kept people in fear and terror. The church has used the fiery lake punishment to keep people obedient. But, God should be obeyed for love, not fear of punishment.
Every person has sinned and the reward of sin is death: Jhn 1:29: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! ‘Death’ means here the so-called first death that everyone has to experience. Here, however, is referred to the so-called “second death”, a judgment given in the final judgment. By believing in Jesus’ teachings and his redemption sacrifice and by living one’s life according to God’s will, man will avoid the second death.
What kind of punishment do those get who are sentenced to second death?
Rom 9:20-21 On the contrary, who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this?” A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn’t he? He can make something for a special occasion or something for ordinary use from the same lump. 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. – Apart from the amount of faith, God also decides whom he draws to himself and to the Christ: Jhn 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him to life on the last day.
It is not, therefore, a matter of human choice, but of God. Jesus also told his disciples that they did not choose Jesus, but Jesus chose them.
What should we think about the above Bible verse? First, God has not created all people alike. Others have been made for ‘cheap use’, others for ‘noble work’. Those who have been made for cheap use have been given faith a smaller amount compared to the ones created for noble tasks. Does this feel unfair? What if it is insignificant what we do in our first phase, in life on earth, before the first death. If God would leave his “little vessels” without the possibility of salvation, that would be unfair. God himself has given different starting points for each human being. If God’s plan – which people do not seem to understand – is that all people will be saved by God’s cleansing fire after reading the last judgment.
Once again; God wants everyone to be saved! Even the greatest persecutor Saul, he (later known as the Apostle Paul), received grace and salvation. Do we trust that God is love, and God is righteousness? We do not always understand the words of Isaiah: 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 – When the fearful have been included in the list of sentenced people, could it be intentional in the sense that God wants to stop people to think that maybe all about hellfire is not literally true? The aforementioned ideas are rather shaky; all human beings would eventually be saved, both good and bad. Before you dare to accept these ideas rejoicing that there is no rush to stop your sinful life – everyone will be saved – read on and ponder!
- The Wages of Sin
The coming of sin into the world
Satan deceived Adam and Eve
Original sin and the formation of the doctrine
What does the Bible say about sin?
– What proves that there is no original sin?
God gave the world dominance to Satan
- Satan is still the King of this world
- Satan leads people to sin
The wages of sin is death
- What is the punishment for those who will be sentenced to second death?
The coming of sin into the world
Gen 3:22-24: “And Jehovah Elohim said, Behold, the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever…!” 23 Therefore Jehovah Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed Cherubs at the east of the garden of Eden, and the flame of a sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
Years ago, when I pondered the nature of sin and its consequences, I thought this way: Man has free choice in his life. However, Adam and Eve had no desire or intention to sin. They were just inexperienced; never before had they faced a situation where they had to decide to resist the temptation. In this sense, God did not create his perfect image, but a spiritually weak couple to resist sin that they did not even know well. They were like a young child in a cookie jar from where her mother had forbidden to eat.
God, who knows all of this in advance, must have known of Satan’s fall and his intention to seduce Adam and Eve. Why did he let it happen and not make them strong enough to stand up to Satan’s temptations? We also know God, even before the creation of the world, planned a special mission for his Son. The Son’s assistants (apostles) were already in God’s plan, as were his chosen followers. Adam and Eve, the first people, were by no means perfect when they were deceived by Satan. They had just not been deceived by Satan before. If only we were to believe that God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than those of us humans, even though we were created in the image of God – almost godlike beings.
If Jesus had been both God and the perfect man, as the main churches believe, Jesus would not have had temptations to overcome. But Jesus was a man, and even he was not perfect in the beginning, but he became such through suffering. Heb 2:10 ” For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” – Adam and Eve’s life had been carefree without any suffering. No one had ever tried to deceive them, meaning they were completely unprepared for Satan’s seduction. Jesus also had to learn obedience through suffering: Heb 5:8 ”though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered, 9 and having been perfected, became to all them that obey him, author of eternal salvation.”
Jesus’ earthly suffering made him perfect to receive from God the high position and power, all power in heaven and on earth. The elect of God will also be tested and taught during their lives on the earth to receive high government position under Christ in the Kingdom of God.
The angels of God in heaven are completely obedient and sinless. Instead, all people have sinned. If everyone has a free choice to sin or not, why does everyone sin? Wouldn’t there be even one who is free from sin? There is no such person; Paul said in Rom 3:23: ”for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Now, after years have passed, I am returning to these questions and would like to start by saying that I left these things to the last because I found them very difficult.
There are two opposing views in my writing;
(a) an ancient view of the original sin interpreted differently by churches.
(b) the opinion that man commits sin in his own lusts and is lured by Satan to sin.
I reflect on the nature of sin and how it manifested itself in human activities. At the same time, speaking of original sin, it is assumed to be part of human nature since Adam and Eve. One might ask: Has God planted sin in man’s nature so that man will always be inclined to it? It would mean that Adam and Eve would have had this tendency to sin already when Satan was tempting them.
The red thread in this article is that Satan has been involved since the time of Adam in luring and deceiving people. Human behavior, both in good and bad, comes from an external example; Moses, Abraham, and Jesus gave man a good example to follow. The examples in this world are often such that bring out the celebrities and stars whose example emphasizes success, money, fame, etc. Satan, whose goal is to make man forget the word of God and make people live according to ‘the course of this world’ (Eph 2:2), strikes right there.
Satan deceived Adam and Eve
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve lived in Paradise, God’s creation for them. They had a connection with God. They were the first people, and they lacked nothing. All Christians know how Satan seduced and deceived Eve and also Adam.
However, God had warned Adam saying, Gen 2:16-17 Jehovah Elohim commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.” – Did Adam really understand what “you will surely die” meant?
Satan tempted them to disobey saying:
Gen 3:5 ”for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
What a Great temptation:
1) “Your eyes would open.” What might Adam and Eve have thought? Is something hidden from us?
2) ”You will be like God.” Perhaps Adam and Eve realized that they were not like-God yet. Did they think “what do we lack”?
3) ”knowing good and evil”. Did Adam and Eve We only know what is good in paradise. What about outside paradise? What could be there? Why shouldn’t we know everything like God?
The transgression of disobedience, seemingly minor in itself, was, in fact, great — an act contrary to God’s will. They tasted the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because Satan had assured them that they would then learn, like God, to distinguish between good and evil. Adam and Eve knew nothing about the world. What did they know about the good? Maybe they knew God was good. They knew nothing about evil. However, they were fascinated by obtaining the knowledge. Even today, man is looking into things and seeking knowledge. Modern man may think from Satan’s argument that “it is good, every man should know the difference between good and evil.” The world would be better if only people knew and remembered this difference. In my opinion, the following question is most important: Why shouldn’t Adam and Eve be allowed to know the difference between good and evil?
Why didn’t God want the first people to understand this? Gen 3:22: Jehovah God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”
3:23 Therefore Jehovah Elohim sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. – God says [to the angels]: The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”
Is this what God said to be understood as meaning that God wanted Adam and Eve to remain ignorant of the good and evil that can be in the world? The Bible has been given to mankind so that we can distinguish between good and evil. Jesus and the apostles made every effort to explain this to their hearers. Why didn’t God want them to have eternal life? When Adam and Eve lost this eternal life that was originally meant to them, it was considered by many to be too much of a punishment.
Surely, at this point, you have to ask: God, what is your purpose when you say that your ways are much higher than ours and we cannot understand your purpose?
I have used Adam and Eve a parable, that they were like children at a cookie jar. Although the mother had forbidden them to go to the jar, it attracted children like honey attracts bees. It was not a rebellion against God in the same way that Satan wanted to become God and replace him, and in order to achieve that, he would sacrifice even the millions of angels under his command.
I can easily understand Jews and Muslims. When you look at a small newborn baby, it is difficult to see the baby being taken by the original sin inherited from Adam and Eve. Children are sometimes disobedient: they “go for a biscuit can” or otherwise disobey their parents’ instructions. But note: children are not disobedient to God’s commandments. Only teen-age children begin to understand what is right and what is wrong. Only after they have been taught what is right and wrong. It is only then that they will begin to have an understanding of God’s will. After they have understood it and yet acted against it, they sin. However, small children are free from original sin.
I am quite sure that children and young people for the first time committing offenses, do it after learning it from the environment. If the environment were filled with God-fearing righteousness, for example, youth crimes and all sorts of sin would not exist, at least not as much as today.
However, the world and its nations are fragmented into numerous religions and thousands of denominations. All religions face the same problems. However, I now stick to Christianity and the problems and causes of Christianity.
There are approximately three billion Christians. Most live “according to the way of this world.” Sinful life has become the new normal. What did Peter write? “Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet 5:8)
God destroyed mankind except for the Noah family. Sin did not disappear, but it manifested itself stronger and stronger to afflict mankind. Does man have a built-in attribute, the original sin, which manifested after the fall of Adam and Eve to all people and does not leave humanity?
Even though the sins of our ancestors do not inherit, something else is inherited – death. Adam and Eve were immortal before falling into sin and would have lived forever had they not sinned. The consequence of their sin was that they became mortals. It was manifested in a way that, over time, human life expectancy decreased from nearly a thousand years to an average of about 70 years.
Should God have destroyed Satan instead of humanity?
Satan rebelled against God and deceived the first people with false promises. I ask, shouldn’t God have punished Satan so he could no longer deceive humanity? God did not do this, but on the contrary, God gave the whole world to Satan.
Towards the end of this article is a paragraph about Satan’s influence on human behavior. Its starting point is completely unknown to many and many do not agree. However, it is based on the clear word of the Bible. The reason for humankind’s sinful cycle is that God gave this world to Satan. Satan is the king of this world and the greatest influence in the world. However, Satan’s power will come to an end. After all, God has promised all power in heaven and on earth to his Son Jesus Christ.
Since then, Satan has played a central role in the sinful behavior that afflicts mankind. One might ask: will humankind be healed if Satan is removed from deceiving men? If Satan is no longer deceiving mankind, will evil go away from people’s minds? The Bible knows what’s going to happen. I’ll come back to that soon.
Original sin and formation of doctrine
Of the three Abrahamic religions, only one, Christianity, recognizes the existence of original sin. Jews and Muslims do not believe in the existence of an original sin.
Lutheran confessions tell how sin passes from ‘father to son’:
“Even now, in the midst of this corruption, God does not create or cause sin in us, but through the human nature, which is still God’s creation, the original sin is passed on from the sinful father and mother in bodily conception and birth.”
According to most versions of the original sin doctrine, man is responsible and guilty in front of God for having the corrupt nature of the original sin, even though man cannot influence it in any way.
What is Original Sin?
Kristinusko.fi (a Christian website) defines original sin as follows: “Original sin is a practical theological expression of man’s inherited tendency to sin, that is, to live his life independently of God and Jesus. But we are guilty of the fall ourselves. We cannot blame Adam or Eve for being slaves to sin. We got the sin through our own choices.”
Original sin is called in some other languages “Inherited sin”.
The term “original sin”, deals with the sin of Adam’s disobedience to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil against the word of God and the effects of this transgression on the rest of humanity. Original sin can be defined as “Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden and the consequent guilt that we all have in God’s eyes as a direct result of Adam’s sin.” Original sin doctrine focuses specifically on its effect on our position before God, before we are old enough to commit conscious sin. – This definition has long emphasized the doctrine of the churches that all people are guilty of Adam’s sin. The doctrine is so advanced that even children are responsible before God for Adam’s sin.
Why did the Church Fathers emphasize Adam’s responsibility alone? It was Eve who picked the fruit and gave it to Adam.
Augustine, Father of the Church, also a proponent of the doctrine of predestination, explained that as a result of his fall, Adam’s descendants have been subjected to sin and death, and that man is completely lacking both will and capacity for good. Man is dead in sin.
Saint Irenaeus and Saint Augustine illustrate these two aspects. However, Augustine thought that the first sin was the result of a very conscious, adult decision that really harmed human nature and was transmitted through reproduction.
The teachings of Augustine received the strongest support in the West. Almost its opposite was the rise of Pelagianism; monk Pelagius claimed that man has free will and ability to live without sin and thus to contend for eternal life as his goal. It was essential for the Pelagians to have faith in the teachings of Jesus and in the Word of the Gospels in the Bible. The mutual love of people and the deeds that flowed from it were believed to achieve salvation.
The British monk Pelagius has begun the school of thought bearing his name; man is born as innocent as Adam. Man has free will and ability to choose good or bad. If one has fallen into sin, he can rise from sin by his own means. Man is also able to live his life according to the will of God.
”Pelagius denied Augustine’s theory of original sin. His adherents cited Deu 24:16 in
The Pelagians argued that if a man is incapable of doing any good, can he be held accountable for his actions? There was confrontation between Augustine’s faith and grace, and the acts of faith emphasized by Pelagianism. – Augustine’s conception won in the West, and Pelagianism was condemned to be heresy in 418. Pelagian doctrine states that man has the free will to choose between good and evil, salvation and loss. According to Pelagius, free will is a prerequisite for ethics; if one does not have free will, one cannot be guilty of one’s actions, and on the other hand, if one’s destiny is predetermined and one’s own choices cannot influence one’s fate, ethical behavior is absurd. Thus, Pelagius’ eschatology is synergistic and requires man to take active measures, after which he is rescued by God’s actions – Christ’s atonement. Pelagius was opposed to the original sin because of inconsistency and internal contradiction.
We may well ask, like Pelagius, how can man be held accountable for his actions if God has not given him the ability to do good?
Has God predestined the role of men in the coming salvation? Has God really made some people for “bad things” and others for “noble use.” Romans 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?” – Many consider this Bible passage as evidence of predestination. Paul says this in this way: 2 Tim 2: 20-21 “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 Therefore, if anyone stops associating with these people, he will become a special utensil, set apart for the owner’s use, prepared for every good work.”
– Man himself can influence his own destiny. Leaving the familiar environment can be difficult under the pressures of this world.
For Irenaeus, according to uscatholic.org, the disobedience of Adam and Eve was more of an act of a child who did not know better. Irenaeus thought that Adam and Eve’s turning away from God was due to their immaturity and weakness. Augustine saw in human nature a fatal mistake: pride. To him, pride meant the ability to use his free will to try to live without God – to see yourself only in relation to yourself, not to God, and to feel false autonomy, and you forget that you were created.
In 439 at the Ephesus Ecclesiastical Council, the Catholic Church reaffirmed the notion of original sin that it is not in itself a sin, but a “state leading to sin.”
“The Church was keen to emphasize its importance in such a way that it is impossible to be saved outside the church. The idea that if one is able to find God’s word and salvation without the Church, the basis of faith in Christ and the significance of grace in relation to deeds will crumble.
The Schmalkalden Declaration of the 16th Century proclaims the original sin as: “This original sin is such a deep and terrible destruction of nature that it cannot be understood by any human mind, but must be known and credible in Bible revelation, Psalm 51:5.”Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin my mother conceived me.”
What is the intention of proving by reference to this verse of the Psalm? Is it to prove that man lives in sin from birth? Or that it is sinful to conceive a woman? At least in the Middle Ages, the church ordered the day of the week when to have sexual intercourse. And this was only for the purpose of childbirth. Reference is made in Romans 5:12 and Exo 33:3: “To a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of you, for a stiff-necked people, lest I consume you in the way.”
– I do not understand what this verse is intended to prove. Such is the case in many apologists’ writings. Do they trust that people will not bother to check the Bible passage mentioned in the reference? Or, does their imagination find in these verses something that an ordinary man cannot see?
Does original sin exist?
In the foregoing, I briefly examined the scholarly constructions of various eras, the central content of which was often to confirm the existence of the original sin. One may ask why? People have been tied to the Church in many ways over time. Confirmation of the original sin was one of the ways in which people were constantly reminded of their sins and make them obedient members of the Church. People were assured that it was not possible for them to be saved outside the Church.
There is no original sin according to the doctrine developed by the churches. How can we be convinced?
Proponents of the original sin claim that man is not born in the “image of God” but in the image of Adam. This is defended by claiming that because Adam fell into sin, he became a sinner and his sinful nature was passed down to posterity.
Man – the image of God
That argument that man is the image of Adam is not correct. God created man in his image. The people born after Adam and Eve are still “images of God” according to the Bible. God’s image means sinless. From this, we can still conclude that when man is born, he is the image of God and has not inherited the sins or sinful nature of his previous ancestors.
Gen 5:3. Adam lived one hundred thirty years, and became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
The following Bible verses clearly state that God created man in the image of God even after Adam. The people born after Adam are ‘God’s images’ just as Adam was.
Gen 9:6; Adam lived one hundred thirty years, and became the father of a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. – This is in Noah’s time.
1 Cor 11:7; For man indeed ought not to have his head covered, being God’s image and glory; but woman is man’s glory. – Paul’s statement in the 50’s.
Jam 3:9; With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. – Letter of James was written about 100 AD.
When the Bible states that man is God’s image, it means that man is sinless. Over time, sinful thoughts come to each person. If a person is not able to fight against them but implements his thoughts, he sins. Paul’s account of his spiritual struggle proves that sin is not inherited from parents to children but is learned from the environment. Romans 7:20 “But if I do what I do not want to do, I am no longer the one who does it, but it is the sin that lives in me.”
Inclination to sin
Do people inherit a tendency to sin? Paul writes in Rom 7:15 “I don’t understand what I am doing. For I don’t do what I want to do, but instead do what I hate.” – It could be inferred from this that some power is taking over man and causing man to do something sinful, even though man hates what he is forced to do. For example: Drunkenness, gambling, sex, etc. Has at least in such situations a person becomes subject to the original sin?
Can such sins be hereditary? Children of thieves would become thieves and children of drinkers would become drinkers? Young people adopt behaviors in their environment. Often, circumstances are imperative. Did Paul remember this explanation when he wrote that he was doing what he hated, though he didn’t want to? Perhaps the young man has inherited behaviors from his parents, but not all the way from Adam and Eve.
If a person does not want to do this, then who does? Well, Satan of course. He is the one who wants man to sin, which would lead to separation from God.
All humanity, except for small groups of the righteous, has lived and lives “in accordance with the course of this world.” It means that almost everyone sins. Already in Genesis 6:5 “Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
In the defense of original sin, it is typical to plead that “sin departs from man and defiles man”. And also, “sin does not come to man from outside him, but dwells in him as an inherited sinful nature, from which all other sins arise and originate.”
Man always falls first in his thoughts and then sins with his deeds or words. Throughout the ages, it has been thought that sin dwells in the heart of man from birth as inheritance from Adam. As Adam’s legacy, man’s sinful nature is corrupt and prone to sin. However, this is a misinterpretation because man is created in the image of God to be sinless. He chooses himself, but it is generally believed that the people around him make him what he is like. Another belief is: “stupidity is thickening in the crowd,” which means that man is not strong enough to resist the pressures of the environment.
While the Bible may suggest that sin from within is inherited from ancestors, it does not have to be this: Man gathers influences from the environment where Satan sows his thoughts. Inherited maybe environmental thinking and sinful practices of the environment.
Most Bible readers are familiar with the example of Satan’s influence on Judas Iscariot. Joh 13:2 By supper time, the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray him. Luke also confirms the same: But Satan went into Judas called Iscariot, who belonged to the circle of the twelve. – We do not know exactly how long Judas had matured this thought in his mind. He must have hoped that Jesus would become a secular king who would have rebelled against the Roman Empire and liberated Israel. When it became clear at Easter that this was not Jesus’ goal, Judas was disappointed. At this point, always attentive Satan struck.
Sin from within (‘the heart’) is spoken of, these Bible verses.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and incurable; who can know it?
Mar 7:20 He said, “That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, go forth evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Jam 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.
14 But every one is tempted, drawn away, and enticed by his own lust;
15 then lust, having conceived, gives birth to sin; but sin fully completed brings forth death.
What does the Bible say about sin?Gen 6:5 Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.6 And Jehovah repented that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart.
7 And Jehovah said, I will destroy man, whom I have created, from the earth; man, along with animals, to creeping things, and to fowl of the heavens; for I repent that I have made them. “Gen 6:11 The earth was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 God saw the earth, and saw that it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
Rom 5:12 ”Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to everyone, because all have sinned.” Also: Rom 3:23 ” for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
Jam 1:15 then lust, having conceived, gives birth to sin; but sin fully completed brings forth death.
Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Eph 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the nations walk in the vanity of their mind,
18 being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their hearts;
19 Since they have lost all sense of shame, they have abandoned themselves to sensuality and practice every kind of sexual perversion without restraint.
20 However, that is not the way you came to know Christ.
21 Surely you have listened to him and have been taught by him, since truth is in Jesus.
22 that you put away, as concerning your former way of life, the old man, that grows corrupt after the lusts of deceit;
23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,
24 and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.
Pro 19:3 The foolishness of man overturns his way, and his heart rages against Jehovah.
It is clear from these passages in the Bible that all human beings are corrupt and sin and this reproach is not inherited but learned from the environment. Man himself is guilty of his sinful mind and of the sins he has committed, but he has not inherited his sinful tendencies, even though the doctrines of the original sins claim so.
God shows his human qualities to the people he created: God repented that He had made men on the earth. He became sad in his heart. It seems surprising to see that God has such human feelings. Didn’t God foresee the kind of development that humanity would bring? I believe that God saw everything coming. Instead, I do not yet fully understand God’s plan. Why was such a complex development needed? Again, Isaiah’s wise statement of God must be remembered. 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.
Gen 8:20 And Noah built an altar to Jehovah; and took of every clean animal, and of all clean fowl, and offered up burnt-offerings on the altar. 21 And Jehovah smelled the sweet odour. And Jehovah said in his heart, I will no more henceforth curse the ground on account of Man, for the thought of Man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will no more smite every living thing, as I have done.
Noah built an altar to God and offered burnt offerings on the altar. God felt the “sweet scent” coming from the altar and promised that he would never again curse the earth for man’s sake. The continuation of the sentence is very clear; “For the thoughts of the human heart are evil from his youth.” – The evil thoughts of the human heart are born from man’s youth. Note that it does not say “from childhood” but only from adolescence. Babies and children are free from sin. Only when they are grown up, the environment infects them with sinful thoughts. Sinful actions sprout from thoughts.
Rom 5:12 Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all have sinned.
Room 3:10 As it is written, “There is no one righteous. No, not one. 11 There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God.
12 All have gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable; there is not one that practises goodness, there is not so much as one.”
Paul is quite right in Rom 5:12. Sin came into the world through one person (or two in fact). When the Bible states that the wages of sin is death, it is quite right to conclude that death has come to the lives of all men because all have sinned. How do you conclude that the sin passed to all people through one man? For centuries, churches that have spoken of the inheritance of the original sin have failed to realize that all generations of mankind have all committed their sins while living ‘according to the course of this world’.
Paul feels very hopeless when he observes that mankind is walking on Satan’s leash. From the Bible, we remember the guideline: the wages of sin is death. If a person sins, he runs the risk of receiving the wages of sin – death. First the spiritual death and then in the final judgment the ‘second death’. Everyone has sinned! Do all who have sinned receive the wages of sin? Of course not. Even though we have all sinned, we always have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. Even as many as seventy times seven. At this point, Paul’s message is pessimistic, but surely his many writings highlight the salvation associated with Christ’s grace.
When the Bible says that all have sinned, it has been wrongly taught that babies, even fetuses, are guilty of the sinful nature they inherited from Adam and Eve and are thus answerable to God. This would mean that God would condemn people for something that they could not influence themselves. Babies have not sinned but will sin as they grow older. To sin requires awareness and understanding. No one can sin without understanding.
Contrary to popular belief, sin or the sinful nature of man does not inherit from father to the following generations:
Eze 18:19 Yet say you, Why does not the son bear the iniquity of the father? when the son has done that which is lawful and right, and has kept all my statutes, and has done them, he shall surely live.
20 The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him.
21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done, he shall live.
Ezekiel concludes that “the son bears not the debt of the father”. Only the soul that sins must die. If a sinner turns from his sins and live righteously, he will be forgiven of his sins and live.
Man is only responsible to God for things that he has been able to influence and which he has understood as sin. Many interpretations of the original sin doctrine can be said to be misinterpretations of the Bible. The misinterpretations of the original sin doctrine in the Bible have, since the first centuries, passed through Catholic fathers throughout the Christian world. When Rom 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Many scholars have wanted to understand that infants have also sinned.
When Paul states that everyone has sinned, he is right. This is not true for an infant or a little child; a child sins later when he grows up to the age where he realizes his actions are sin. No one lives old without committing any sin. In this way, Paul’s interpretation of his message is true.
Paul describes his life in Romans 7:8 “But sin, finding occasion through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of coveting. For apart from the law, sin is dead.” I understand this so that if there is no God-given law, one cannot know sin. When the law is given, one realizes where he or she has sinned. NLT: But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me! If there were no law, sin would not have that power. – The various translations of this Bible passage are quite similar to each other. Sin is seen as a person; sin awakens lusts, sin dies, sin revives … But sin is the result of man’s doings, the result of the act. It is man who sins lured by Satan. Satan causes man to sin with the temptation of sin just as in Eden’s paradise. Sin is said to awaken in the heart, even though nowadays everyone knows that thought activity occurs in the brain. The question is who or what arouses sinful thoughts in the human brain that lead to action.
According to Jewish practice, a boy will be of legal age in religious terms of 13 and a girl at 12 years of age. At this age, they will have a Bar Mitzva or Bat Mitzva party. They are now “sons of the law” and “daughters of the law.” Young people have come to an age where they are mature enough to understand the meaning of the law and the consequences of breaking it. From the religious age onwards, the young person is responsible for the observance of law, tradition and Jewish ethics. The young person also has the right to participate fully in Jewish worship: he may be called to read the Torah. Under Jewish law, he is also theoretically old enough to marry.
Satan has shaped the world we live in. The world has changed more in the last 100 years than in the previous 2000 years. I am convinced that development has taken place to a large extent under the impact of Satan.
Eze 28:16 By the abundance of your traffic they filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I have cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire…
17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I have cast you to the ground; I have laid you before kings, that they may see you. – This description of Ezekiel of the Prince of Tire (Satan) describes how Satan’s heart was filled with violence and pride. Satan’s behavior came from within, from himself. Satan was one of the highest holy angels in the presence of God. There was no original sin implanted in Satan. No one else was guilty but himself.
1 Joh 5:19 We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
The whole world is under the control of evil (Satan), says the Bible. The Bible also testifies that God gave Satan control over the world (Jer 27:5) and Jesus did not deny it (Luke 4: 6). However, human beings have the opportunity to make a choice and distinguish themselves from the system governed by Satan and the churches led by Satan.
Jam 4:7 Subject yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
God has also given people different starting points for their lives. I have written a small article on this subject.
One question in that article is, why hasn’t God given everyone as much faith as others? Otherwise, God has made people different. Some are made for ‘cheap dishes’, while others are made for ‘noble use’.
What proves that there is no original sin?
Ever since the early centuries of Christianity, it has been taught that fetuses and babies are guilty of their inherited sinful nature and thus responsible to God for being sinful. This would mean that God would condemn people for something that they cannot influence. Jesus also said, “Allow the little children to come to me! Do not forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Mar 10:14).
In this way, Jesus testified that the children were pure and innocent, with no hidden sinfulness in them. Children are pure images of God. When people are born after they are pure images of God, it shows that they have no original sin. Only the childlike, pure and sinless can enter the kingdom of God.
Babies and children have not sinned but will do so when older. To sin requires awareness and understanding. No one can sin in their dreams or without understanding. If a little boy hears someone crying in a foreign language and repeats it to others without realizing that it says something blasphemous about God, he has not sinned.
God gave the world to Satan
Most Christians know the story of Jesus in the wilderness; When Jesus fasted, Satan came to tempt him. “If you bow down to me, you will have the whole world under your control,” Satan offered, but Jesus drove him on his way. I am in these writings commenting on this biblical story. Many are only aware of the aforementioned short excerpt and have not heard of the shocking background to it. The priests do not accidentally say anything about it. So, what happened? Luke 4:7 tells what Satan promised: “If you, therefore, will worship before me, it will all be yours.”
After Adam and Eve had fallen into Satan’s temptation, God was angry and drove them away from Paradise. With their departure, sin and death appeared to the growing humanity; henceforth, all men have sinned, and have become mortal.
But what did God do to Satan? He gave the rule of mankind to Satan. Jeremiah confirms God’s words: Jer 27: 5 “I have made the earth, the men and the animals that are on the surface of the earth, by my great power and by my outstretched arm; and I give it to whom it seems right to me.” God saw fit to give the world to Satan: Luke confirms Satan’s words: 4:6 The devil said to him, “I will give you [Jesus] all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want.
Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim. He and the apostles in the Bible call Satan “the prince of this world.” We also know that when God gave Satan control over the world, he did not give it unconditionally or forever.
Paul describes Satan as follows: “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet 5:8). Satan has done well in his work. Most of the world’s 7 billion people are other than new-born Christians. Nevertheless, Satan is not pleased; he knows that he failed at first when trying to kill Jesus as a baby and then as an adult, he failed to seduce him to worship himself. Satan also knows that his time is running out and that Christ has already received from God all power in heaven and on earth and will soon come to earth to exercise his power and destroy Satan’s troops.
To this day, Satan is the king of this world. If people knew that, it would be much easier for them to understand what is going on in the world. People often blame God for adversities or accidents. Wrong address! After all, they should blame Satan, but instead, people make claims to God.
The major religions still believe in centuries-old concepts of original sin. I presented my own view. It is based on Satan’s above-described activities and his influence on the people of the world. All people are under Satan’s influence! Without Satan, there would not as much sin as in the modern world. Sin is easily transmitted like Ebola disease. God has foreseen that some of the people he created can resist Satan but most cannot. God offers everyone the opportunity to break free from Satan’s influence. To accomplish his plan, God has made us “different vessels” for the purposes God meant us to be.
I ask a question: If Satan was not seducing mankind for his own course, would humankind, free from sin, be ready to follow Christ and live up to his teachings? What are you betting on? Do you know the answer? The Bible tells you what will happen: When Satan is captured and put in chains for a thousand years before he is released again for a short time. Satan manages to seduce a large number of people and to attack the saints who are fighting Satan. The Bible tells us of Satan’s troops that; Revelation 20:8 ”and he will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war; the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” – Not even a thousand-year Christ-led era free from the influence of Satan will help humanity to get rid of the influence of Satan. Even after a thousand years of Christ-reigned peace, Satan manages to seduce a large crowd to follow himself. However, Satan and his troops are being destroyed. With the defeat of Satan, Satan himself and all his troops will be condemned by the final judgment.
Jesus Christ commanded to preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to all people of the world before the events of the end-time. God has foreseen that a small part of humanity will experience resurrection and will reign with Christ for a thousand years. Many will be destroyed in the Day of the Lord. For more of the Day of the Lord’s wrath, see the article The Last Days.
I have mentioned above the Bible prophecy of the coming Millennium and the time of peace that will prevail during it. All people learn to know God and live under Christ’s will. However, when Satan is released from his captivity, a thousand years free of Satan does not change the deepest nature of humankind. The ‘weak vessels’ remain weak and are attracted by Satan to the struggle against the rest of Christianity. It is not the original sin of mankind, but some of the human beings can be lured by Satan for his purposes. – The result of the rebellion is that the fire falls from heaven and Satan and his troops are destroyed.
I think these events show that much of humanity is being deceived by Satan with false promises just as Adam and Eve once were. I do not know what Satan will promise his troops that they will leave the Kingdom of Christ for the Satan Battle Group. Sin remains firmly in the people.
However, man can be freed from sin by being born again from above, from the Spirit of God, and then he is freed from sin.
The Book of Concord Article II, page 29 (1580) or Concordia (often referred to as the Lutheran Confessions) is the historic doctrinal standard of the Lutheran Church, consisting of ten credal documents recognized as authoritative in Lutheranism since the 16th century. They are also known as the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The following passage tells clearly what is the Lutheran doctrine of original sin accepted in many Lutheran Churches – even today.
“It is also taught among us that since the fall of Adam all men who are born according to the course of nature are conceived and born in sin. That is, all men are full of evil lust and inclinations from their mothers’ womb and are unable by nature to have true fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this inborn sickness and hereditary sin is truly sin and condemns to the eternal wrath of God all those who are not born again through Baptism and the Holy Spirit.
Rejected in this connection are the Pelagians and others who deny that original sin is sin, for they hold that natural man is made righteous by his powers thus disparaging the sufferings and merit of Christ.”
Has God planted sin in man so that man will always be inclined to it? It would mean that Adam and Eve would have had this tendency to sin already when Satan was tempting them. I have already stated that it is not a question of God planting the original sin in Adam, and thus in all future humanity. The question is that Satan, as the king of this world, guides humanity to sin by directing human beings to sin, creating many different kinds of sins, each one of his own.
Jam 1:14-15 ”But each one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own lust, and enticed. Then the lust, when it has conceived, bears sin; and the sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”
Where do people every person find “his own lust”? It is learned from the environment and imitated. God doesn’t tempt anyone! Jam 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God can’t be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.
After all, it was Satan who was teasing Adam and Eve – not God.
Satan, after all, will plant sinful thoughts in people’s minds. When Satan gained world domination from God – probably under certain conditions – Satan, with millions of angels, has done his utmost to turn every man to his sinful side.
The wages of sin is death
God wants everyone to repent and be saved: 1 Tim 2:4 “who wants all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.”
God knew, before the beginning of time, that people would fall into sin, and he saved us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our deeds, but according to his purpose and grace given to us in Jesus Christ before eternal times.
God is love – most people are happy to accept this. On this basis, people in no way want to accept the word, repeatedly confirmed in the Bible, of the punishment of sinners, the eternal torment of a fiery lake. It would still be acceptable for Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin to end up with Pol Pot in a fiery lake.
Every man has sinned and receives death to pay for it: John 1:29 The next day, they will see Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The first death is that we all will have to face, but the more serious is the so-called second death, the verdict of the last judgment: By believing in the redemption sacrifice of Jesus and doing as best we can in God’s will, man is saved from the second death.
Rom 9:20 ”On the contrary, who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, “Why did you make me like this?” 21 A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn’t he? He can make something for a special occasion or something for ordinary use from the same lump.
12:3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
Aside from the amount of faith, God also determines who he draws to him and Christ: Joh 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.”
It is not a question of human choice but of God. Jesus also told his disciples that they did not choose Jesus, but Jesus chose them.
What should we think of the Bible verses above? First, God has not created all people the same. Some are made for ‘cheap use’, others for ‘noble use’. Those made for cheap use have received less faith than those made for noble tasks. Does this seem unfair? This is what I think: It makes no difference what happens to us in the first phase, that is, life until the first death. If God were to leave his “cheap vessels” without the possibility of salvation, it would be unfair. God himself has given different starting points to each person. If only God’s plan – which people do not seem to understand – is that all people will be saved in God’s purifying fire after the final reading of the judgment. Once more; God wants everyone to be saved! Even the greatest persecutor of Christians, Saul (later known as Apostle Paul), received mercy and salvation. Do we trust that God is love and God is righteousness? We just do not always understand the words of Isa: 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.” I have written a separate article
about the last judgment.
- Damnation and Destruction
Damnation in Bible verses:
38:17 Behold, for peace was bitter to me, most bitter; but you loved my soul from the pit of destruction; You have cast all my sins behind your back.
7:13 Go in through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road is broad that leads to destruction, and many people are entering by it. 8:14: When Jesus went into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed, sick with a fever. – ’ Broad way’, which means pursuing wordly success, will lead to damnation. There are many such people, in fact the vast majority of us. In chapter 18 Jesus spoke of the lost sheep that the shepherd went to look for. The sheep is, of course, a symbol of a person who goes astray and stops believing. He will be lost in damnation if he is not found back in the congregation. God does not want anybody to get lost in this way.
16:16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who doesn’t believe will be condemned. 16:15 Then he said to them, “As you go into all the world, proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. – Baptism as such is just “an appeal to God for a good conscience” (1 Pet 3:21). Some accept the gospel message, some not. Paul realized this when he preached the gospel to the gentiles in the present Turkish territory. Those who believed in the gospel were also baptized. They are promised salvation on the basis of faith.
6:37 Judge not, and in no way be judged. Do not condemn, and in no way you will be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 9:25 For what is a man profited gaining the whole world but destroying himself or suffering loss?
17:12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name; I guarded those whom You gave to me, and not one of them was lost, except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
8:20 But Peter said to him, may your money perish with you because you thought you could obtain God’s free gift with money!
5:16 Nor can the free gift be compared to what came through the man who sinned. For the sentence that followed one man’s offense brought condemnation, but the free gift brought justification, even after many offenses. 18 Consequently, just as one offense resulted in condemnation for everyone, so one act of righteousness results in justification and life for everyone. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to flesh, but according to Spirit.
1:18 For the message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. – According to Corinthians (1:18), there are two types of people: those who are lost because they do not accept the word from the cross. Secondly, there are people who will not be lost, but will be saved. For those who are saved the word of the cross is the power of God. According to this verse, some people are actually saved, some are lost.
11:32 But being judged, we are disciplined by the Lord, that we not be condemned along with the world. – All will have to be judged. For those who are the Lord’s own believers, the judgment of the Lord means teaching, correcting, healing, etc. in his life time. Discipline means for them teaching and chastise. The carnal minded are not Lord’s own, they are subject to condemnation with the world.
2:15 To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are being lost.
4:3 But if also our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in those that are lost; (ἀπόλλυμι apollymi),
1:28 and not frightened in anything by the opposers, which is to them a demonstration of destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God;
3:19 whose end is destruction, whose god is the belly, and who glory in their shame, those who mind earthly things.
1:9 Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power.
The previous verses say: 1:6-since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you, and to give you, those being troubled, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power, 8 in flaming fire giving full vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The 2 Thes talks about the Second Coming of Jesus when on the day of wrath of the Lord He will take revenge on those that do not know God, and who do not obey the gospel of Christ. What is the punishment for these? It is eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power. Penalty is said to be a revenge. Revenge is more than a rigorous teaching and reprimand that confronts those of the Lord who have been strayed into sin. Those who are not obedient to the gospel will be punished with eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord. The punishment is said to be eternal, but it does not speak of the eternal torture in the fiery lake.
2 The 1:9 Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power.
What does it mean not know God? In biblical terms, its meaning may be 1. to see; see, observe with the eyes or other senses 2. To know; to know, in particular: to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive (gain information), cherish, pay attention to. – Knowing God can have different meanings. A person may be totally unaware of God Jehovah or he or she has heard about Him, but this has not resulted in any further. I will interpret the matter so that, after having understood the central message of the gospel, one must make a solution; he or she must acquire more information to make a decision of faith. If a man is indifferent, even though he understands the importance of the matter, he is at risk of facing the punishment given in verse 9.
Sometimes it is better not to know: 2 Pet 2:21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to know it and turn their backs on the holy commandment that was committed to them. Luk 12:48: But the servant who did things that deserved a beating without knowing it will receive a light beating. Much will be required from everyone to whom much has been given. But even more will be demanded from the one to whom much has been entrusted. – Rom 2:14: 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. 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 – We can conclude from these verses that knowledge brings responsibility. If you do not know (“know the law”), you can not be condemned.
2 The 2:3 Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, because that Day will not come unless first comes the falling away, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 2:10 and in all deceit of unrighteousness in those being lost, because they did not receive the love of the truth in order for them to be saved.
6:9 But those having purposed to be rich fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which plunge men into destruction and loss.
10:39 Now, we do not belong to those who turn back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
3:7 Now by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire and are being kept for the day when ungodly people will be judged and destroyed.
3:16 He [Paul] speaks about this subject in all his letters. Some things in them are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort to their own destruction, as they do the rest of the Scriptures.
17:8 he beast that you saw once was, is no longer, and is going to come from the bottomless pit and go to its destruction. Those living on earth, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, will be surprised when they see the beast because it was, is no longer, and will come again.
11 The beast that was and is no longer is the eighth king, but it belongs with the seven kings and goes to its destruction. (ἀπώλεια)
What Does Destruction Mean?
Destruction ἀπόλλυμι apollymi: to destroy; to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin, render useless, to kill, to declare that one must be put to death, metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell, to perish, to be lost, ruined, destroyed
The above verses give a clear picture of the nature of destruction. It is a most serious punishment. These people will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life. (Mat 25:46)
Judgments are divided into two types: sinners receive punishment, and on the other hand the righteous people receive eternal life. If, then, sinners do not receive eternal life, there remains only a question to be resolved; what is their punishment? And is it really eternal?
In Revelation, as in Daniel, there are beasts. It is a figurative expression of the end-time kingdom and the of the “kings” in it. The Beast Kingdom is going to be lost and destroyed.
The Weeping and the Gnashing of Teeth
8:12 But the sons of that kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. – This verse is not easy to understand without reading the context. Children of the kingdom of Israel were Jews who kept it for granted that they could get into the kingdom of God. Jesus said this after having met a true believer in a Roman soldier: ”Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. – Only the true believers can enter the Kingdom of God.
13:47-50 Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to a drag net thrown into the sea, and gathering together of every kind; When it was full, the fishermen hauled it ashore. Then they sat down, sorted the good fish into containers, and threw the bad ones away. That is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the evil from the righteous and will throw them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. – In the dragnet there is gathered fish of many kind and the angels take out the wicked from among the righteous. The wicked will be thrown into the furnace of fire. This furnace of fire does not seem to differ much from the fiery lake. Perhaps it is only an alternative figurative expression for fiery lake.
22:13 Then the king told his servants, ‘Tie his hands and feet, and throw him into the outer darkness! In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 24:51 Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
25:30 Throw this useless servant into the outer darkness! In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The sinners of these verses are not thrown into a fiery lake but instead into the outer darkness, which Strong’s describes:
outer darkness: ἐξώτερος exōteros σκότος skotos
metaph. of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell
persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway
13:28 In that place there will be crying and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves being driven away on the outside.
Gnashing of teeth: used to denote extreme anguish and utter despair of men consigned to eternal punishment in hell, snarling, growling: in the sense of biting
- The Hell
Death and Hades
were also thrown into the fiery lake. Why would death and Hades be punished by eternal torture? What evil have they done? Death and Hades are not even able to think. So how could they knowingly sin against God?
Death was the result of the sin of Adam and Eve against the commandment of God. Death is as if personalized: Act 2:24 But God raised him up and destroyed the pains of death, since it was impossible for him to be held in its power.
What is Death? What is Hades? The Hebrew word Šeol and its Greek counterpart Hades appear more than 70 times in the original text of the Bible. Both are related to death. In some translations of the Bible, they have been translated as “tomb” or “hell”. In many languages, their meaning is accompanied by mythology that removes the meaning of the words from their biblical content. Perhaps it would be better to use the words “Šeol” and “Hades”.
Ecc 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going. – Is Šeol a burial place where someone close to us may be buried? What kind of grave does “Šeol” refer to? The Word of God shows that “Sheol” (Hebr.) or “Hades” (Greek) means the place where the dead of all mankind rest. One cannot determine its location. Whether the death occurred on any land the ship sank in the high seas, the dead are all called out of Hades.
For instance Isaiah 5:14 Isa 5: 14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its desire, And opened its mouth without measure; And their glory, their multitude, their pomp, and he who rejoices among them, descend into it.
Pro 30:16 Sheol, the barren womb; the earth that is not satisfied with water; And the fire that doesn’t say, ‘Enough.’ – The literal grave can hold only a limited number of the dead, while Biblia (1776) says: Proverbs 27:20 “Hell and destruction are never full.” In other words, it is never fulfilled. It has no limits.
Referring to a private burial site, the Bible uses other Hebrew and Greek words instead of šeol and hadēs. For instance, Gen 23:7 And Abraham rose up and bowed himself to the people of the land, to the sons of Heth.
23:8 He talked with them, saying, …hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he has, which is in the end of his field. For the full price let him give it to me in the midst of you for a possession of a burying-place.” Gen 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah: – The word Šeol is not used for a family tomb; Jesus was buried in the tomb of the family of Joseph of Arimathaea, which was handed over to Christ. – Although many of the dead are buried in tombs or graves dug in the mountain walls, all the dead are in the same grave, Hades i.e. their bodies are.
However, at the death of man, his spirit (pneuma) rises to God in heaven. When a person is called to the resurrection, he rises in the resurrection body (i.e. spirit body). I do not believe that the actual physical body is even awakened, the most important being his spirit. Ecc 12: 7 And the dust returns to the earth as it was, And the spirit returns to God who gave it.
– The spirits of all dead are in heaven with God. The Bible does not tell you more. Are the spirits in a conscious state or unconscious waiting for the resurrection? I believe it is credible that these spirits will rise in due course up to either the first or the last resurrection, the resurrection of judgment. The creed speaks of the resurrection of the body, but the body does not rise, for there is often nobody left. When Jesus comes for the second time, the participants in the first resurrection awaken and rise to meet Jesus in the clouds. Would Jesus be the only spirit and the resurrected in physical bodies would be meeting him in the clouds?
Rev 20:13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. – The book of Revelation tells how the dead rose from the sea for the resurrection, as did those in Death. This is a figurative expression. I wrote above that the spirits of all the dead are in God’s heaven; there is no need to collect bones from the sea or from countless graves. There is nothing left for many – except the perfect spirit in heaven.
The resurrection body is a spirit body: Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like God’s angels in heaven. Act 24:15 I have the same hope in God that they themselves cherish—that there is to be a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked.
Rev 20: 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. Hades (/ˈheɪdiːz/; Greek: ᾍδης Hádēs; Ἅιδης Háidēs), in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father. He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father’s generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus …
English translations of the Bible use often the word Hades G86. There is no English-language equivalent. Hades contains folk mythology similar to the Greek. Jehovah’s Witnesses define Hades as follows: “Sheol, or Hades, is therefore not a literal place with a certain position. It is the common grave of dead mankind, the figurative location where all dead people are sleeping completely unconscious knowing nothing”. The Bible proves that the dead do not know anything: Ecc 9:5 2For the living know that they will die, but The spirits of all dead are in heaven with God neither do they have any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.”
– People are pretty confused when they think about the fate of their beloved dead. They will be happy to see that the dead are buried in a family grave where they take flowers in memory of the dead. The dead themselves are believed to be in heaven. In an American program, a family talked about their deceased family members and the mother of the family claimed that the dead would follow their actions from heaven. Understanding the fate of the dead becomes more difficult if the dead is drowned in the depths of the ocean or destroyed by a bomb in the war without anything left of the body.
In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church kept people under control and fear of the Lord by describing the horrors of hell. The sinners could go to hell before any judgment was uttered at all to them. According to the Bible, to the sinner can incur the fate in the fiery lake, but only after death and after the last judgment. Without judgment, no one will be condemned, not even in secular courts.
The Catholics probably at this point remark about the purgatory. According to the definition, people are tested in the purgatory after death before entering heaven. By buying indulgence, people could prevent from falling into hell or could shorten the time in the purgatory. The Bible speaks of hell or of a fiery lake where evil sinners may go after the last judgment if they have not repented of their sins and believed in Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
To some extent, the purgatory resembles God ‘s purifying fire, but it is useless to try to cope with the fire of God by paying.
With these thoughts, I return to the point:
What does the Bible mean when it says that Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire? Does God seek to punish Death and the Grave? Have Death and Hades sinned against God? The punishment of the fiery lake is called the Second Death. Should it not be called “Second Life”? There you will never die, but you will suffer and live forever. This is how the word of the Bible has been interpreted for ages.
Death is a stage in the life cycle of man (and of course also of animals). God created man immortal, but with the Fall, death became the last stage of human life. With the resurrection, the dead will have the opportunity for a new life, but the judgment following the resurrection may, according to the Bible, also bring the second death, which is said to be an everlasting torture in a fiery lake.
So what does it mean when the Bible talks about throwing Death and Hades into a fiery lake?
This verse is, in my opinion, a clear indication that Death and Hades are no longer necessary. In mankind no one will sin anymore; all remaining people have received eternal life. When nobody dies anymore, no burial is needed. Death and Hades are figuratively destroyed.
Mat 5:22 But I say to you, anyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be subject to punishment. And whoever says to his brother ‘Raka!’ [Aramean, Hebrew dialect for ‘worthless’] will be subject to the Council. And whoever says ‘You fool!’ will be subject to hell.
γέεννα géenna, of Hebrew origin (H1516 and H2011); valley of (the son of) Hinnom; a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:—hell.
If someone calls his brother names like ῥακά (rhaka, you good-for-nothing and says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.
How often when we are angry we call our closest friends crazy? I can not believe that such thoughtlessness would cause to be punished in the fire of hell. First, there is no hell. The word ‘Gehenna’ means the valley of the son of Hinnom, who was once outside Jerusalem, but now that the city is growing it is in its center. At the time of Jesus, waste, the remains of animals, even the executed corpses were thrown into the pit where fire burned continually and worms ate the corpses and therefore ‘never died.’ Hell’s fire is a figure of speech!
In Rev 20:14 it says: And death and Hades were thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. KJV: And death (θάνατος thanatos) and hell (ᾅδης hades) were cast into the lake of fire. KJV actually says that death and hell were both thrown into a fiery lake. The lake of fire is believed to be the hell to which ungodly sinners will be thrown. It is not possible to throw hell into itself.
- The Fiery Lake – the Second Death
Punishment of the fiery lake
Sodom and Gomorrah. Jude 1:7 “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. Eternal (aiōnios), fire (pyr), punishment (dikē).
Gen 19:24 And Jehovah rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from Jehovah out of the heavens.
We all know quite well that the fire has been extinguished a long time ago. The fire could not, therefore, be eternal. The question is what is meant by eternal punishment. Does it mean that the punishment (fire and brimstone) will last forever, or does it mean that the effect of the punishment and its memory will remain forever?
When the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah has become clear to us, we can say that in this case, the issue is the effect of punishment and the preservation of its memory forever. Then the important question: can we generalize and say on this basis that the purpose and meaning of the eternal fire and the punishment of fire and brimstone is the same in all the places where the Bible speaks about it? Could it be possible that God’s eternal punishment, fire, and brimstone, would have different effects depending on the reason for the punishment?
Revelation 14:11. The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. They have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name. – Smoke does not rise for a long time, it is a figurative expression that God’s people will forever remember the fate that came to Sodom and Gomorrah and that the same fate will be to the wicked and godless. 14:9 Another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or on his hand,
10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger. He will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
Mat 25:45 “Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn’t do it to one of the least of these, you didn’t do it to me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Mat 5:22 But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna. – Here are a couple of examples of cases to consider. Based on the examples of the Bible, one could say that we all deserve the fire of hell. None of us is sinless, but all of us can have our sins forgiven and to become confident about the final judgment.
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- The Lake of Fire: Literal Truth or Symbolic Expression?
If the Bible’s story of throwing Death and Hades into the fiery lake is a figurative expression, is the fiery lake a figurative expression also in other passages of the Bible? Is it possible that it is a realistic description in some cases and figurative in others? If so, how could we know which one it is at any given time? When we look at who in the Bible says to be thrown into the lake of fire, we can draw conclusions.
The Antichrist who is also called the Beast, is one of the most significant characters who will be misleading the entire world. Likewise his working pair, the False Prophet. 19th chapter of Revelation describes the ultimate battle between the forces of Christ and Antichrist. Rev 19:6 I heard something like the voice of a great multitude, and like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of mighty thunders, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns!
19:20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.
– The Antichrist and the false prophet are captured and thrown into the fiery lake in the second coming of Jesus. They have been either in prison or in a fiery lake for a thousand years before Satan experiences the same fate. This is a significant event in the sense that it shows that the punishment is long. At least with regard to their main opponent of Christ. Are they people, then a consuming fire burns them to ashes. If, on the other hand, they are spirit beings, then the physical fire will not work on them. A different kind of fire is needed. The throwing of the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the lake of fire is one of the judgments that Christ condemns upon his coming. Most of the judgments are given only when his reign ends in a thousand years (2 Timothy 4:1).
All those resurrected whose names were not written in the Book of Life. Rev 20:15 15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. – The resurrected are all in spirit bodies. The physical fire does not affect them. If I’m wrong and they are in the physical body, an ordinary fire shall burn them. Of course, God has another kind of fire at his disposal.
Satan, the king of this world, who is the source of all sin, is also thrown into the fiery lake. Rev 20:10 The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – Satan is a high-ranking angel with about one-third of angels in his command.
Psa 104:4 He makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire.
Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Every person must die – i.e the first death. Many will be judged to experience the second death in the lake of fire.
Verses of a fiery lake:
Rev 14:10 he also shall drink of the wine of the anger of God having been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath. And he will be tormented by fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb.
Rev 19:20 The beast [antichrist] was captured, along with the false prophet who had performed signs on its behalf. By these signs, the false prophet had deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur [brimstone].
Rev 20:10 and the devil [Satan] who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. They will be tormented (G928 βασανίζω basanizō) day and night forever and ever.
Rev 20:14-15 Death and Hades [i.e. the realm of the dead] were thrown into the lake of fire. (This is the second death—the lake of fire.) Anyone whose name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. – What does this Bible verse mean? Death was not a part of the man’s life. It came to Adam and Eve as a result of their sins and, consequently, to all mankind. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death. Death means the first death that every person experiences in his given time and then the body goes to Hades which means the grave. At the last conviction, death is destroyed; none of the people who are worthy of eternal life do not have to experience the second death. When Revelation says that death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire it means they just cease to exist. No one dies anymore and no one needs to be buried.
Death and Hades are not persons: they do not think, do not know, do not sin. They should not be punished like those who commit sin. However, both of them are thrown in the lake of fire. Why? Remember, this is a figurative expression; in the lake of fire the death and the symbolic tomb are removed as unnecessary. If the fate of sinful people is the same fiery lake, it is appropriate to ask: do people in the fiery lake disappear completely and definitively in the same way as death?
The verses above make it clear that the convicts will be thrown alive into the flaming lake. Throwing itself characterizes a disrespectful act, punishment. They will also be kneaded day and night. Is this God’s will? I was sure God wants all to be saved!
Rev 21:8 But people who are cowardly, unfaithful, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.
Would it be a real lake of fire or is this lake a figurative expression? If it were a real lake, it would have to accommodate billions of people, sinners of all times; real lake and real physical people. They would stand in the shores of the lake, not in the middle of the lake, because they would be drowned there. If you think of yourself in such a lake, you probably think that you should get food and drink every now and then. How could this service be arranged? For billions of people. How would the flames of the lake be regulated so that they would torture suitably, but not completely burn the people there? It feels a bit crazy to even think of the existence of such a lake, but without any doubt, the Bible speaks of it with clear expressions, repeating the message several times. This doctrine has been in the churches for nearly two thousand years. There are, of course, some other kinds of hells in literature and art in which the sinners are languishing.
What if the fiery lake is figurative language of God’s spiritual punishment? People who receive it will be in the spirit body after their resurrection. Spiritual bodies are not affected by actual flames. Therefore, they should be in the spirit body and the flames should be spiritual. God is a consuming fire! (Heb 12:29 “Our God is a consuming fire”) And God is a spirit. I am sure that the spiritual fire of God may be punishment just as painful as the right one.
In this chapter, I have pointed out factors which support the interpretation that the words aion/aionios and owlam not really mean eternal, infinite. Better translation of words would often be time, time span, period, era. This interpretation would also allow us to interpret the spiritual content and duration of the fiery lake in a new way. It is certainly a difficult place for many. For me as well, when I long believed in a literal interpretation of this fiery lake. But, if that were the case, a new vision and hope would open to sinners, to forgive sins and to be saved among the righteous. Then would God’s will be fulfilled – that all will be saved.
- Why didn’t God give as much faith to everyone?
If that were the case, they would be striving for the goal from the same starting level. Why has God given people a different amount of faith?
Rom 12: 3 For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
1 Cor 12:11 But the one and the same Spirit works all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires.
Mat 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey.
Rom 9:21 Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? 2 Tim 2: 20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood
The Spirit of God works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as God wills. God also has decided whom he calls and whom he selects and whom he draws unto Christ. Paul had no opportunity to refuse Christ’s call. Three days he was blind, without eating and drinking. Then the Lord’s enemy became his steadfast supporter. God works out his will. The person, who feels he hasn’t got as much as someone else, can find comfort in that God will remember him in the last judgment.
… God has allotted to each a measure of faith (Rom 12:3)
Why God did not give everyone as much faith but instead He gave a different measure? 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 think of yourself with sober judgment on the measure of faith that God has assigned each of you.
1 Cor 12:11 But one and the same Spirit produces all these results and gives what he wants to each person.
Rom 9:21 A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn’t he? He can make something for a special occasion or something for ordinary use from the same lump.
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.
God distributes gifts as he wills, to each according to their capabilities. God has also decided who he calls and who he chooses and whom he is attracts to himself and to Christ. Paul did not have the opportunity to refuse Christ’s invitation. For three days he was blind, without eating and drinking. Then the enemy of the Lord became his steady advocate. God does his will. The man who feels that he has not received as much as some others can be comforted that God remembers him in the final judgment.
- Do we understand God? Why did Jesus speak with parables?
Mat 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn’t speak to them,
Mat 13:10 10 The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. 12 For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand. 14 In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, And will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, And will in no way perceive:
Jesus spoke with parables and said it was because people would “in no way understand”. People are baffled after reading the Bible but think they now understand the parables, because they have been written by the apostles.
The Bible has been concealed by God and Jesus and as a result of this people in churches have been imprisoned for centuries. The priests have intimidated them into human ruins who believe they will fall into the fire of hell after the last judgment. There have been long and bloody wars between Protestants and Catholics and also inside each denomination because the Bible has not been understood in the same way. God has sealed certain things. For example, the time of the second coming of Jesus. I believe many questions that are difficult to understand will open up when you explore them vigorously. This is certainly what God appreciates.
- Why Is the Word of God Written So Impenetrably?
Why is the Word of God written so unclear? Although we have many different translations, explanatory texts and dictionaries today, there is not much increase in people’s understanding. I ask: Why did God give such an ambiguous Bible? Why did Jesus not even want his listeners to understand?
If God wanted people to understand, he could have written the Bible so that no interpretation problems would have emerged. If Jesus wanted the great crowds to understand and believe, could he not even explain what His parables meant?
Why is the Bible so much full of figures of speech, symbols, figurative narrative?
There are many people, both laymen and church officials, who believe that everything that is said in the Bible must be literally true and understood so.
Particularly, this is true in this chapter. Penalties for the final judgment with the fiery lake must be taken literally. People (who in their own mind are sinless and righteous) just want the punishment of God to be strictly enforced. – Understanding the Bible is easier when the reader learns to realize when it a question of a figurative expression and what is behind the figure of speech and what is its purpose. Each parable aims to teach a spiritual truth. Jesus said that “the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life“. (Jhn 6:63)
- Why Would God Not Follow His Own Command?
God tells us to love our enemies: Mat 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, – If sinners at the last judgment are enemies of God, should God not follow his own commandment and love them? God instructed us to forgive those who have violated us, if necessary “seventy times seven”. Why would God himself not be gracious and forgiving to his creatures, but would send them to suffer in the lake of fire forever?
Why? God says in the Bible that he wills to save everyone. However, He intends to destroy most of humanity. There is a fiery lake for the sinners, where they will be thrown into eternal torture of fire.
Rom 8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
God declares here that [the whole] creation is, against its own will, subjected to vanity, but becomes liberated from the bondage of sin (KJV bondage of corruption) to the freedom of the glory of God’s children. But, shouldn’t most of the creation be condemned for their sins and be thrown into the fiery lake forever? The Romans writer promises hope for the creation, but in many places, the Bible instead of hope promises damnation, weeping and gnashing of teeth, eternal departure from God, etc.
God created men, and he subdued them under “vanity”. Older English translations, such as KJV, use the word vanity, which could be characterized not only by vanity, but also by pursuit of self-interest, by living in this world. God also made sure that there are righteous men among those who are his elect.
That is how I have come to an important conclusion; In his own wisdom, God made an important division of his creation. We have also read how God gave faith to each one according to his own discretion. Thinking of salvation people start from a different level to contend for the prize of eternal life. I must definitely come to the conclusion, that God corrects the situation at the last judgment and makes it easy to obtain salvation. We already know from the Bible, that it is enough to cry for salvation by one word: Jesus!
Act 17: 31 for he has set a day when he is going to judge the world with justice through a man he has appointed, and he has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”
- Whom Is Jesus Saving?
Alternative 1: The entire world
Here are some Bible verses that say that Jesus is the Savior of the whole world.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (Jhn 1:29).
It is he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world’s. (1 Jhn 2:2)
who desires [θέλω thelō Strong’s 2309 1. to be resolved or determined, to purpose] all men to be delivered and to come to a full knowledge of truth. (1Tim. 2:4).
1 Tim 4:10 To this end we work hard and struggle because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe.
According to verse 4:10, God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Does Jesus indeed save ALL MEN, however sinners they maybe? The verse can also be interpreted so that the believers will naturally get salvation and all people in the world have the same chance (if only they believe).
God is the Savior of believers, it is clear. Is God REALLY the savior of ALL PEOPLE? Everyone? OK, God says this way, but could it be possible for all, just every person, to get rid of their sins – whether they want or not? 1 Cor speaks of the cleansing fire that brings purification of sins. Not for everyone, but for those who have built their ‘house’ at least to some extent on the foundation of Christ.
Tit 1:10 For there are many people who are rebellious, especially those who are converts from Judaism [Lit. those of the circumcision]. They speak utter nonsense and deceive people.
Rebellious men can be found among all kinds of people, but especially … If this is compared to 1 Tim 4: 9-10, which speaks of the salvation of God, and especially whether it concerns all (every one of us), or it concerns especially believers, but also others. There are three possible interpretations: 1) Salvation applies only to believers 2) Salvation applies especially to believers, but equally to others 3) Salvation is without any doubt for the believers but also for others “under certain conditions”.
In fact, I am inclined to the third option. I think it means this: Salvation applies to all people who at least, at some stage of their lives have built their faith in Christ, but especially for the true believers. This is on the condition that the content of the gospel has been comprehensively communicated to those people. Then the responsibility for salvation is transferred to the listener. He can believe or not.
Such a person can be saved who has never even heard of Christ, as long as the acts of the law are in his heart. Rom 2:14 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 16 on that day when God, through Jesus Christ, will judge people’s secrets according to my gospel.
What if people do not believe that God wants to have them saved? What if they have never heard of God Jehovah? God could, if he wanted to, bring himself and his will know to all people! But only a small part of the large crowd of billions of people even knows the God Jehovah. Even those who know God, few know his will.
But people do not obey God’s will! If a person believes his sins can be forgiven on the basis of Jesus’ redemption sacrifice, and repents his evil deeds, he will be saved and will not suffer the second death in the final judgment. What if people do not even realize that they have committed sin? For humans, both for the theologians and word listeners, it is clear that a sinner not repenting will be subject to eternal pain in the lake of fire, that is, to experience the so-called second death. This is perfectly clear in the Bible and is told many times. Or is it?
You must want the salvation. Rev 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Let every one who hears this say, “Come!” Let everyone who is thirsty come! Let anyone who wants the water of life take it as a gift!
Jer 29:13 says: And you shall seek and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Heb 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards [with eternal life] those who diligently search for him. Jhn 12:32 As for me, if I am lifted up from the earth [after resurrection], I will draw all people to myself.
The verse above shows that everyone is offered salvation. Salvation does not require much, but something important; man will be saved IF he only wants to take the free ‘water of life’ or ‘step by the door’, which is Christ. You need to want to become saved. Jer 29:13 promises that you will find Christ when you search for him with all your heart. You have to do something to achieve it. The matter can be turned the other way; if you do not do so – step in the door of Christ or drink water for free – you will not be saved. Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder [with eternal life] of those who seek him. It is easy to find Christ because he is drawing all men to himself (Jhn 12:32).
Alternative 2: All the believers in the world
Jhn 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Instead of Jesus taking away the sins of men throughout the world and bringing them to salvation, John 3:16 explaining God’s promise says: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. When the above verses stated that the whole world might be saved (universalistic interpretation: the whole world and all its people), then according to John 3:16 salvation requires that a person believes in Jesus!
If there are verses that interpret the people of the whole world to become saved and received eternal life, then there are verses in the Bible which testify that salvation is conditional. Such is one of the most famous verses in the Bible, John 3:16: Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ will be saved. I checked what Strong’s say: πιστεύω pisteúō; from G4102 to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit; by implication, to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well-being to Christ): —believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.
Could it be possible that there is a contradiction in the Bible, verses that are against each other? The starting point is that the Bible cannot be contradictory to itself. So if there are verses that seem to be opposing, how do we resolve the interpretation problem? Which one is the right one? In this case, does Christ really save all people in the world, or only those who believe in Him and call on his name for help? This is what I have to think about and study with the progress of my writing. Now I would like to say from the example above that the solution could be this: All people in the world are saved, but punishment for ungodly sinners is long and harsh, but not endless.
It is said in Jhn 3:16: … “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. Here is a definite condition and requirement. Salvation and the enjoyment of eternal life requires faith. According to this, not everyone will be saved. What about 1 Jhn 2:2, which says: he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and he himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. – This could also be interpreted so that Jesus has reconciled the sins of human beings all over the world, and so they all are saved. However, the verse can be interpreted so that Christ has reconciled all sins and all can be saved if they only believe that Christ has done so for them.
According to another example of the Bible, “God wants all people to be saved”. Does not God’s will happen if only part of the people are saved? This is not the question of God being able to rescue every human being, though by force as Paul was converted. I believe that God makes salvation to all people as easy as possible. The world is tempted by the scourges of heaven and every person has many opportunities to shout for the one word needed to be saved – Jesus (or Jehovah) on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
To get to the bottom of which one interpretation is correct, I will examine what is the word used when the Bible speaks of God’s will.
The word is θέλω (THELÒ) Strong’s G2309 and it occurs 212 times in NT. Strong’s describes it: to be resolved or determined, to purpose, but also; to desire, to wish. The difficulty of translating is illustrated by how differently, for example, 1 Tim 2:4 has been translated. Is the salvation of all mankind the true will of God or should it be translated “God says It would be nice if all people were saved”? When studying the 200 plus verses where θέλω is used, most of them are about real intent.
Another example: Luke 18:41, where the blind man asked Jesus for help, and Jesus answered: What do you want me to do for you? And he [the blind] said: Lord, I want to regain my sight! – Who doubts the blind man’s will to get his sight back?
What happens when God wants to? Isaiah answers: 46:10-11 “… My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; … I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. – If God assures that he will do according to his will, i.e. to save ALL PEOPLE, then the question is: how can it happen when the Bible requires faith to achieve salvation? Well, the people who believe will be saved because of their faith (they are cleansed by the fire of God) and the unbelievers will be saved, because God will force them to know their sinful deeds and repent (as happened to Saul, later called Paul). The fire of the latter group may be much stricter and longer than the first group. I can imagine how A. Hitler and J. Stalin hold each other by their hands and howl, praying for mercy in the fire of God, when they are being scorched SPIRITUALLY.
Salvation is the people with regard to the main event, even if very few people think about it during their lifetime. This issue has been central to God ever since the creation of man, so it is not the same whether God wants or just “desires”.
According to the Bible, in the final judgment, people are divided into two groups; those whose names are written in the Book of Life will receive LIFE, while others whose names are not in the book, shall be condemned. There may be a variety of judgments, punishments of varying lengths in “lake of fire”. In the last chapter, I will study this punishment more closely. Is it just a perpetual punishment and whether a fiery lake is a concrete or figurative expression. Has the salvation been lost forever for those who are thrown in the lake?
Rom 8:20-21 because the creation was subjected to frustration, though not by its own choice. The one who subjected it did so in the hope that also the creation will be freed from the slavery of corruption to the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
God is here to announce that [the whole] creation is against its will subjected to futility, but will be delivered from the bondage of corruption, ie sin to the glory of the children of God. But, most of humanity should be condemned for their sins and to be punished and suffer forever in the fiery lake forever? The Letter to the Romans promises hope to mankind, but in many places of the Bible, it is instead promised damnation, gnashing of the teeth, eternal separation from the glory of God, etc.
So, God created men, and he subjugated them under ‘corruption’. Older English translations such as the KJV use the word vanity, which could be described as not only vanity, also seeking only their own interests and walking according to the course of this world. God also ensured that among the people there are righteous people who are his chosen ones.
Now I come to this important conclusion: For some, he gave plenty of faith and for others less, to each one according to His own discretion. This means that God made in his wisdom an important dichotomy in His creation. For the sake of salvation, people go from a different starting point to compete for the prize of eternal life. However, I am that God corrects the situation with the final judgment and provides an opportunity for easy salvation. We know from the Bible that to reach salvation it is enough to shout just one word: Jesus!
- Paul’s Conversion to Christianity
Many people believe that the free will of man will resolve man’s repentance and conversion. Israel’s greatest sinner, Saul (Paul), converted to Christianity in a few moments and it did not ask for his will.
Saul becomes a believer: Act 26:4 All the Jews know how I lived from the earliest days of my youth with my own people and in Jerusalem. 5 They have known for a long time, if they would but testify to it, that I lived as a Pharisee by the standard of the strictest sect of our religion.
Phl 3:6 As far as zeal is concerned, I was a persecutor of the church. As far as the righteousness that is in the law is concerned, I was perfect.
Act 9:1-2 Now Saul, still breathing threats of murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way he might bring them in chains to Jerusalem.
Act 9:3 ”As he [Saul/Paul] traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. 9:9 For three days he couldn’t see, and he didn’t eat or drink anything.
1 Tim 1:12-15 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gives me strength, that he has considered me faithful and has appointed me to his service. and the grace of our Lord overflowed toward me, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserves complete acceptance: To this world Christ Jesus came, sinful people to reclaim. I am the worst of them.
God has all power and everything is possible for Him. When God wants something, he just says and it happens. If God wants to save all people, this can take place in a blink of an eye. The Son of God, who has all power in heaven and on earth, forced the Pharisee Saul (who became the Apostle Paul) to conversion when Saul was on his way to Damascus to capture Christians.
Paul became a devout Christian and a keen declarant of Christianity to the Gentiles and a writer of the NT. Paul himself said he was the greatest criminal in Israel and yet Jesus turned converted him in a flash of lightning. Why did Jesus choose Paul? There would have been Christians in Israel eager to take the gospel to the Gentiles. Maybe Jesus wanted to show you that everyone can be converted and no one is lost. Some scholars say, referring to this, that the will of God is that all men truly come to conversion – even if with the power of the purifying fire of God.
Many think that the person’s free will to choose accomplishes human repentance and conversion. Israel’s greatest sinner Saul (Paul) converted to Christianity in a matter of a couple of days against his will.
According to the Bible, God wants all people to come to repentance and be saved? If it is certain that both the laymen and the theologians think that to receive salvation you must come to repentance during your life, even at the very last moment. If a person does not repent, then in their opinion, he will face the fire of hell after the final judgment. The fact that God or his Son, have mercy on this kind for sinners is not acceptable to believers, who believe it is only right that the bad people are sent to eternal torment, in the lake of fire.
Stop for a moment to think! If God wants, and we know that he wants, everyone to be saved, and we know that God has a proven means to make it come true, wouldn’t we believe that it will happen? The same way as with Paul on the way to Damascus but on a much larger scale.
According to the Bible, God wants all people to come to repentance and be saved. Both laymen and learned theologians believe it is absolutely certain, that in order to be saved, man must come to repentance during his life, even if at the very last minute. If a person does not repent, then, in their opinion, a man will fall into the fire of hell after the last judgment. However, the fact that God or his Son would have mercy on such sinners is not suitable for believers who think it is just right that evil men are sent to eternal torment, to the lake of fire.
Even when being crucified, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” – And God forgave them when Jesus asked him for it. Note: The Roman soldiers did not repent and yet they were forgiven! Can we conclude from this that other unrighteous people are forgiven their deeds?
Isa 45:5 I am Jehovah, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; 6 that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am Jehovah, and there is no one else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, who does all these things.
God has created evil and predestined sin for Adam and Eve, but who believes that? If this is the case, it means that God will fix the matter in the final judgment and not punish people for the endless torture of what God himself has caused.
1 Cor 15:28 … that God may be all in all. – Does this mean also in the people of the fiery lake?
Different people, especially at different times, have had different perceptions of God; for some, he is a jealous God who Exo 34:7” …visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation”. To others, God appears as the God of the beginning of the same verse, he is Jehovah, “a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth” (Psa 86:15)
- The Last Judgement
Indeed, just as people are appointed to die once and after that to be judged(Heb 9:27)
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and the scribes that indeed, they liked good care of paying tithes of mint, anise, and cumin, but not about what the law is important – justice, mercy and faith. (G4102 πίστις pístis, faith from G3982 persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:—assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
Judgment is used in the New Testament for the Greek word 2920 κρίσις krisis; decision (subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension, a tribunal; by implication, justice (especially, divine law):—accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.
Mat 23:23 How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you give a tenth of your mint, dill, and cummin, but have neglected the more important matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness [or faith]. These are the things you should have practiced, without neglecting the others.
Judgment is one of the most important words whose purpose and nature should be understood. Strong’s defines it quite hard: accusation, condemnation, damnation. The judgment occurs as a third word together with the word pair of mercy and faith. The Pharisees did not have these three important qualities. The Pharisees did not understand their meaning at all but met the tithes of dill and cumin pedantically. An important question to answer is: Is the judgment severe or corrective and instructive?
Mat 5:21 You have heard that it was said to the ancients: “Do not commit murder!” And, whoever commits murder shall be liable to the Judgment. – God can forgive a crime and punishment can be avoided by repenting the crime. So did King David, who murdered the husband of Bathsheba, to have this beautiful woman to himself. David, however, repented his deed and was forgiven. God finally said about him, a murderer: … “A man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
It is essential to consider judgment on those who do have no faith and do not repent.
1 Cor 11: But when we are judged (κρίνω krinō), we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 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 (κρίνω krinō) according to their works, as recorded in the books. 20:15 And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the Lake of Fire.
In verse 1 Cor 11:32 As a result of the judgment is the Lord’s discipline, which means correction, and instruction. In Revelation 20:12 the consequences of the judgment were determined by deeds. According to Revelation 20:15, those who were not written in the Book of Life were thrown into a fiery lake. Is it not so that a judgment should lead to a similar punishment, irrespective of the Bible verse? Does not God’s teaching and his discipline lead to the same end result?
God says that …”My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure” (Isa 46:10).
God wants all people to be saved. That is what He surely will do. God either wants or desires, God does not wish. This does not invalidate the prophecies of the Bible, according to which most of the world’s people will be destroyed on the day of the Lord’s wrath. All people, however, will be resurrected and then comes judgment. How in this judgment God will execute his will, remains to be seen. Are all people really going to be saved or are the very worst going to be destroyed? I cannot say. “Everything” does not always mean all in the Bible. All nations rise up against Israel, is said in a Bible prophecy of the end time. All peoples were to be taxed by the commandment of Caesar Augustus, etc. All the nations of the world will not rise up against Israel, but the Muslim countries near Israel. The tax collection affected only the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean. – What is the will of God, it becomes clear at the latest when Christ judges all nations fairly.
Mat 28:18 Then Jesus came up and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. – Jesus’ mission on earth is to carry out the will of God. … that all people would be saved! Jesus has all power, the same power as God himself, to accomplish the task he has received. Evidence of that power he gave when converted Saul (or Paul), by force who was on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians. Christ knows the world; the absolute majority of the population of 7 billion people are wicked sinners. Billions of people are on the way to the damnation. The big question is: how does God accomplish (through Jesus) his will that all will be saved? The promise made by Christ was: ”And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”. (Jhn 12:32)
The judgment began as soon as Jesus died and continues for each of his chosen ones until death. When the resurrection comes, they will no longer be judged with the others of the world who must take part in the last judgment. The chosen ones will rise up in the spirit body and be raptured to meet Christ in the clouds. Jhn 5:24 Truly, truly I tell you, the one who hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
- What Is the Discipline of God?
For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
1 Cor 11:31-32 But if we [chosen ones] judged ourselves correctly, we would not be judged. Now, while we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
The word for judging is in Greek κρίνω krinō. When the church of God is judged, it includes the Lord’s discipline. The contents of the discipline, on the other hand, are the reprimand and blame for the wrong behavior. Discipline is in Greek παιδεύωv paideuo, which, according to Strong’s, contains the following attributes: educate, discipline (by punishment): chasten, instruct, learn to teach. Further. God stretches out by producing suffering, pain, or great loss. The church is not included in the same ranks with the rest of the world.
God’s chosen ones are chastened (which also includes education and instruction) already in their lifetime. When they have a part in the first resurrection, they are happy, because the second death has no power over them. Rev 20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years. – In other words, they no longer need to participate in the final judgment and be cleansed with God’s fire.
From verse 1 Cor 11:32 it can be concluded that if the Christians are chastened and reprimanded, such a world is subjected to a more severe punishment;… “when we [Christians, chosen ones] are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world”.
This penalty is shared by the saints under the direction of Christ: 1 Cor 6:2 You know that the saints will rule the world, don’t you? – More severe punishment is called in the Bible damnation or throwing into the lake of fire and it is carried out by the saints [those who had a part in the first resurrection] and Christ. When the saints, together with Christ, carry out God’s law, a straightforward interpretation has been made that the fiery lake which is a figure of speech means Christ and His saints.
Tit 2:12 instructing (teaching, Gr. παιδεύω paideuō) us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live discreetly and righteously and godly in the present age, – Teaching, instructing us… is in Greek παιδεύωv paideuo’ G3811.
God’s disciple comes from the same word. This is a very important issue; God’s punishment actually means teaching, educating.
Isa 45:24 He shall say, only in Jehovah do I have righteousness and strength; to him, he comes; and they are ashamed, all who are angry with him. (NIV: who have raged against) –
If all God’s enemies, those who do not believe in God, have come to repentance and are ashamed of their earlier behavior, how is that possible? Are they not in the lake of fire burning forever?
How long will God’s punishment last? Paul’s punishment lasted a total of three days, after which his blindness left him. Paul considered himself the greatest sinner, but after that, there have been more even more horrible people. I would draw a conclusion that those who have “built their house” on the foundation of Christ can survive through a short punishment in God’s cleansing fire, and at the other end, those who deny Christ (like Saul once did) have to endure fire for a longer time. If this is true, Christianity has been badly misguided for two thousand years, and the everlasting torture in a fiery lake is a big misunderstanding.
- Is the ‘Discipline of God’ a Literal or Figurative Expression?
There are two main alternatives:
- Literal interpretation: Lake of fire and the second death are both literally true.
- Figurative (symbolic) interpretation: There is no real fiery lake or second death. The second death is God’s judgment, which corrects the human being’s sins and shortcomings.
Alternative 1. has been the most commonly accepted scriptural interpretation right after the time of the Apostles. The church has maintained this interpretation and thereby dominated the lives of people.
2 Pet 1:20 First of all, you must understand this: No prophecy in Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation. – In fact, I have translated this rather difficult verse as follows: The interpretation of a Bible prophecy is not in itself.
1 Cor 2:13 We don’t speak about these things in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, as we explain spiritual things to spiritual people [or in spiritual words].
The Revelation, which is called the Revelation of John, is actually the revelation given by Jesus Christ. Jesus said that His words are spirit and life. The words of Jesus in Revelation are spiritual, and the fiery lake spoken in Revelation is also a spiritual expression. Things we speak taught by the Spirit, we combine spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. Understanding is hampered by the fact that ordinary people are not able to think spiritually, people do not understand this, they want everything to be concrete for them: According to the next verse of 1 Cor: “A person who is natural (common) doesn’t accept the things of God’s Spirit, for they are nonsense to him. He cannot understand them because they are spiritually evaluated”. – ‘Natural people’ mean quite ordinary people, you might say, men and women in the street.
Fire and brimstone: Gen 19:24 Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven. – Sodom and Gomorrah felt the wrath of God in a very concrete way. Fire and Brimstone were raining over cities, and really destroyed them and their inhabitants. The expression fire and brimstone can also be figurative, such as Rev 14:10 he will drink the wine of God’s wrath, which has been poured unmixed into the cup of his anger. He will be tortured with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the lamb.
The verse in the Revelation is a figurative expression in which fire and brimstone describes how they will be tormented in the fiery lake. So human beings are suffering, but they are not destroyed in the same way as Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed.
It has been said that all that is written in the Bible is true, but for the most cases, it is not literally true. Symbols, parables and figures of speech are not literally true. But what they describe instead is true. When Jesus said when breaking bread … “Take, eat this is my body.” (Mat 26:26) Surely the bread was not His body, and it does not change to the body of Christ in the communion, even though the Catholics so believe: He who receives Christ, receives a “bread of life” (Jhn 6:35). Forever burning fiery lake does not exist; the fiery lake is a symbolic expression of the punishment God applies to sinners who do not repent.
In this article, I ponder about the most important question; whether the fiery lake is literally true when it is said to be the fate of unrepentant sinners or is it a figurative expression of God’s punishment. Quite ordinary words can actually be symbols and describe something else in the Bible. Examples of these are the ‘candlestick’ (meaning parishes), seven golden candlesticks), star, locust, beast, dragon, horn, gold, seal, crown, rod of iron, sickle, waters, sea, manna, harlot, pillar, fire and brimstone, etc.
Jesus spoke to the people as well as to the disciples in parables. Neither of the listeners understood the parables of Jesus. Jesus did, however, explain the parables to his disciples. Even Daniel wrote concerning the end time: “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand” (Dan 12:10). Those that are purified and refined are those who are cleansed in the purifying fire of God, clarified and tested.
Luk 8:10 So he [Jesus] said, you [disciples] have been given knowledge about the secrets of the kingdom of God, but to others they are given in parables, so that ‘they might look but not see, and they might listen but not understand.
Especially in the Revelation, there are many, many and even more symbols. John received his visions of the future in spirit. (G4152, spiritual, pneumatikos, the word is always associated with the idea of invisibility and power). Thus, the fiery lake, which is the second death, contains an invisible power whose effect is spiritual. Figures of speech must be interpreted correctly, not literally but figuratively and spiritually. It has been difficult and still many verses are interpreted literally because “they are so clearly said”.
For example: Jesus told his disciples that the bread He gave them was His body. The bread given by Jesus was literally real bread, and it was not his body, but only symbolizes his body. For such phrases, it is easy to distinguish whether the sentence is literally true or whether it is a figurative expression. Still, more than a billion people believe that the wine that is given in the Eucharist really changes into Christ’s blood and communion bread in His flesh.
- Is the Punishment Eternal?
Kolasis refers to the punishment in relation to the punished person. 2 The 1:9 “Such people will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction by being separated from the Lord’s presence and from his glorious power”. – Is the separation from the Lord’s presence truly eternal?
What I have written, does not mean that there would bot be eternal perpetual time. The words describing the essence of God can surely be considered to portray God as such an endless time God.
Take Rev 10:6 for example: ”and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,” – Nonetheless, I do not understand how a man’s action against God’s will during a person’s short life span could lead to a perpetual torture in the lake of fire. Is it right, that Satan and a man who has proved to be a liar, both receive the same punishment? Rev 21:8 … and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur …”
2 Tes 1:6 since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you,
7 and to give you, those being troubled, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power,
8 in flaming fire giving full vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
9 who will pay the penalty: everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord, “and from the glory of His strength,”
Destruction aiōnios olethros ὄλεθρος G3639 Strong’s definitions: for the destruction of the flesh, said of the external ills and troubles by which the lusts of the flesh are subdued and destroyed. 1 Cor 5:5 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh… 1 Tim 6:9 … into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
This Thessalonian verse 1: 9 has been used to prove the punishment of annihilation instead of the eternal torture punishment of a fiery lake. However, it is clear from the earlier verses that this punishment faces those sinners who are not obedient to the gospel of the Lord Jesus at the second coming of Jesus. These punished ones seem to be those who know about Jesus and the gospel, but little care about it. So they don’t know Jesus in their hearts. Eternal damnation or destruction forever is their punishment. It is the ultimate punishment, not just God’s teaching for repentance.
It seems that many of the Bible translations have often been used to punish, even if it would be better to say to chastise, because this word has implications for teaching and educating.
Strong’s defines the adjective “aionios”: perpetual, eternal, forever, everlasting. Strong’s Greek Dictionary gives the Greek word “aion” meanings like forever, eternity, (Messianic) era, without end.
Flavius Josephus was an officer of the Roman Army, in the first century. During his army career, he participated in the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. He later became a writer. According to his understanding, aion did not mean eternity, but describing the time from the law of Moses to himself. Josephus also uses the word aionios for the existence of the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was destroyed in his time, so Josephus cannot have meant eternity with the word aionios.
The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Dr. R. F. Weymouth: Eternal: Greek “aeonion,” i.e., “of the ages.” Etymologically, this adjective does not mean “during,” but “belong to” the aeons or ages.” I.e. belonging to a specific time or era.
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (vol. IV, p. 643): OT and NT do not know the concept of eternity as endlessness or timeless. VT has not developed a specific term for “eternity.” The word aion originally meant “vital force,” “life,” then “age,” “lifetime.“
Elliot’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: Mat 25:46 and the words everlasting punishment, life eternal: These two adjectives come from the same Greek word aionios — It must be admitted that the Greek word interpreted as eternal in itself does not include endlessness, but rather duration, either through time or succession of ages, and therefore applied in the NT in periods that have had both the beginning and the end.
Rom 16:25 “Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel, and the proclaiming of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery having been kept unvoiced during eternal times,”
”Pro cronos aionios” πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων (textus receptus) e.g in 2 Tim 1:9; WEB: which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal, KJV: before the world began, NKJV: before time began, ESV before the ages began, YLT before the times of the ages,
Titus 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who can’t lie, promised before eternal times;
If there has been a time before eternal times, then there is not even eternal time (aionios), which is said to mean eternal. Did “eternity” begin after these times? The Bible uses words describing the oldest events “since the foundation of the world”. For example: Rev 17:8 … whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world…
These will go away into eternal punishment, and the righteous into eternal life. (Mat 25:46)
– In this as in many verses are clearly two different types of outcomes: sinners go to the punishment and the righteous gain eternal life. If, then, sinners do not receive eternal life, there remains only a question to be resolved; what is their eternal punishment?
These go to eternal separation from God. Eternal punishment is in original Greek text αἰώνιος κόλασις, aiōnios kolasis. Verb κολάζω kolazō means pruning (e.g. trees), as well as rectification, punishment. R.C.Trench considers the word kolasis to mean: punishment, trouble, which does not involve the idea of getting it better. – It should be noted that the word “παιδεύωv paideuo” is not used here; paideuo, which was used when the punishment was intended to teach, educate, etc., which at least was not the ultimate separation from God in nature. The ultimate or perpetual pruning from God’s connection, nevertheless leaves the exact meaning of the word aionios to be solved. If aionios does not mean eternal, endless, then the elimination is also not final. For example, John speaks of pruning in 15:2 “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, he takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, he prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. ”
These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 The 1:9) – Does God really want this?
Linguists argue about do the Hebrew owlam and the Greek language aion/aioniosmean, eternal, infinite, always been. I do not know Greek and Hebrew, so I have to resort to translations and dictionaries (such as Strong’s). All of us can when reading the Scriptures, use our common sense. Here’s an example:
Jde 1:7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them, which like them committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities [lit. went after other flesh], serve as an example of the punishment of eternal fire,” δίκη αἰώνιος πῦρ dike aiōnios pyr. – The Bible tells how God rained on Sodom and Gomorrah regions of fire and brimstone. The fire, however, has been off for ages; at least this punishment cannot possibly be eternal or everlasting! Fire and Brimstone were raining on Sodom and Gomorrah, it is a concrete punishment. Speaking of fire as a punishment it can also be a figurative one. There was an example of a few pages earlier, also in relation to Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Hebrew language ‘owlam’ and the Greek ‘aionios’ do not mean eternal or endless time.
Another example: Exo 21:6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. (עוֹלָם `owlam) KJV ”he shall serve him forever”
Does the Hebrew word ‘owlam’ really mean eternity, or a shorter period of time. Perhaps it is best to find out from looking at those verses. For example, Exo 21: 6 tells how the slave’s ear is marked so that the slave becomes the master’s property forever. This is by no means possible! In Israel, there was also a rule that, in every jubilee celebration, every 50th year, a slave was given his freedom. Nobody was a slave for over 50 years.
- A Jubile and ‘Owlam’ (eternal)
Hebrew ‘owlam’ and Greek ‘aion’ and ‘aionios’ do not mean eternal or endless time.
An example of the use of the word owlam: Exo 21:6 ” then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever.” (עוֹלָם owlam)
Does the Hebrew word owlam really mean eternity, or some shorter period of time is perhaps best explored by looking at the verses where the word occurs. Exo 21: 6, for example, tells how the slave’s ear is marked so that the slave becomes the master’s property forever, or owlam. This is by no means possible! There was a rule of jubilee in Israel, according to which a slave was released every 50 years.
The “eternal” i.e. owlam used by the Old Testament and the Hebrew language appears in Exodus, Chapter 21, about God’s system. However, everyone in ancient Israel knew that slavery was not eternal, even though the word owlam is considered to mean just that. Such slaves were liberated by the ordinance of God (Exodus 21:2) normally in the seventh year of service, but in the jubilee those, who had not yet served full time, were also released. All the hereditary possessions that had been forced to sell were returned, and every debtor could return to his fathers’ lands.
God created a system in which the jubilee year guaranteed the people of Israel and even the slaves the liberation: at that time man could sell himself as a slave because of his debts. 21:6 … and he shall serve him forever” (owlam). ASV: and he shall serve him forever. Septuaginta: …εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. In Septuaginta ‘owlam’ has been translated in many places by the word aionios.
Strong’s (of future) H5956: forever, always continuous existence, perpetual everlasting, indefinite or unending future, eternity. –
Although many translations say “forever”, the translators certainly have known that slavery was not forever. Not even “your whole life” as NIV translates. It should be noted that the Septuagint uses the word αἰῶνα, so it could have been very well translated “by [God-imposed] time.”
The question, therefore, was a theocratic organization of God: by following this arrangement, the entire nation of Israel was restored each Jubilee Year to the theocratic state to which God meant it, and which he had revealed through Moses. This did not result in inequality between the different groups of the people, but each jubilee leveled the situation.
Jesus Christ said in Luk 4:18, ”He has sent me … to proclaim release to the captives”. Joh The question was not about the release of prisoners, but about the slavery of sin: 8:36 ”If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” Paul says Rom 8:2 ”For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus made me free from the law of sin and of death.
During the millennial kingdom, the administration of Christ restores the earthly paradise in which the righteousness and the love of God prevail. Everything is finally ready for a New World where God is all in all.
Rev 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no longer, nor mourning, nor outcry, nor pain will be any longer; for the first things passed away. 5 He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true. 6 He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give freely to him who is thirsty from the spring of the water of life. 7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son.
The system described above was intended for God’s chosen people. However, Jesus Christ came to proclaim the Word of God to be spread to the whole world. The second coming of Jesus means a new return of the theocratic kingdom of God. The jubilee and the theocratic government of God show that the power of sin is not eternal, nor is the punishment endless, but ‘owlam’.
- Eternal Life
Jhn 3:15 that everyone who believes in him may not perish, but have life eternal. 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that everyone believing in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
We know that Jesus and the saints rule the nations for a thousand years, but the ruling includes is condemnation and the execution of the second death penalty. The saints live forever, even though the matter is expressed differently: Luk 20:36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. – God and his Son live forever, but it is not always expressed using the word ‘aionios’.
Jhn 5:26 For just as the Father has life in himself, even so, he granted the Son to have life in himself. God is, however, eternal God as is said in Rom 16:26… according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known for obedience of faith to all the nations.
1 Tim 6:16 who alone possesses immortality (ἀθανασία Athanasia) and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or is able to see. To whom be honour and eternal might! Amen.
The saints are immortal, i.e. they live forever. They do not, however, live on earth, ruling with Christ forever. The eonian rulership, as well as the eonian judgment, will come to an end; 1 Cor 15:25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.
The “eonian” prize of the saints will end. Christ, saints and others who have received eternal life do not die and do not disappear because they have received life – ie immortality. The Millennial kingdom will end after the thousand years have passed. The kingdom of God itself remains forever.
In connection with immortality, I think we can talk about eternal life. However, one Bible scholar wants to keep the concepts clear; we can get immortality (immortality, ἀθανασία athanasia), but we are not promised ‘eternal life’. I think more important than the kind of conceptual hair-splitting, is to understand where in the Bible ‘perpetual’ does not mean endless, but God’s prescribed era (time period). In addition to immortality, the context may require the use of the word eternal, as Heb. 9:14 by how much more the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit (aiōnios pneuma), offered himself without blemish to God, will purify your conscience from dead works for the serving of the living God
- The Fire of God – The consuming fire
Rev 20:9 They went up over the breadth of the earth, and surrounded the camp of the saints, and the beloved city. Fire came down out of heaven from God, and devoured them. (consume, devour katesthiō G 2719)
Rev 11:5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire comes out of their mouth and devours their enemies. If anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
Deu 4:24 For Jehovah your God is a consuming fire; He is a jealous God. 9:3 And know today that Jehovah your God is He who passes over before you as a consuming fire; He will destroy them, and He will bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and make them to perish quickly, as Jehovah has spoken to you.
2 Sam 22:9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, Fire out of his mouth devoured: Coals were kindled by it.
Psa 50:3 Our God comes, and He is not silent; a fire shall devour before Him; and it shall be very stormy around Him.
Isa 30:27 Behold, the name of Jehovah comes from afar; His anger burns; and is heavy as the uplifting of smoke ; His lips are full of fury, and His tongue like a devouring fire.
Jer 17:27 But if you will not listen to me to make the Sabbath day holy, and not to bear a burden and enter in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day; then will I kindle a fire in the gates of it, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem, and it shall not be quenched (H3518 kâbâh).
Joel 2:3 A fire devours before them, And behind them, a flame burns. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, And behind them, a desolate wilderness. Yes, and no one has escaped them.
Oba 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for straw. And they shall burn among them and consume them. And no survivor shall be to the house of Esau, for Jehovah has spoken.
Naa 3:15 There the fire will devour you. The sword will cut you off. It will devour you like the grasshopper. Multiply like grasshoppers. Multiply like the locust.
Zec 11:1 Open your doors, Lebanon, that the fire may devour your cedars. 12:6 In that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire among cut grain. And they shall devour all the peoples all around, on the right hand and on the left hand. And Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her place, in Jerusalem.
Zec 11:1 speaks of the future, when the surrounding hostile states attack Israel. The fire will consume these nations around Israel, but Jerusalem is safe.
The consuming fire burns and destroys the people who are affected by it. So, one might ask: is this consuming fire in the lake? Is the consuming fire merely a destructive fire? In the above verses, nothing was mentioned about the fiery lake. The consuming fire is efficient and the subject is quickly destroyed
Then there is another kind of fire of God, which I have referred to as a purifying fire that cleanses and saves.
- The Fire of God – The Purifying Fire
At the final judgment, God’s purifying fire will test everyone.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
1 Pet 1:7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1 Pet 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: – Peter says that believers are already confronted with the treatment of God’s purifying fire already in their lives. KJV:… the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. – This fiery trial does not burn people from the outside, but from inside. It can test a person for years without this person even realizing what is happening to him. He can experience many kinds of trials and losses, for example economically, etc. When the trials are over, he gets peace and understanding. Things get a new priority. It is noteworthy that the righteous are experiencing this fiery (figurative) trial already in their lives.
Why is this happening? The answer is found in the Bible; these people chosen by God will be participants in the first resurrection. They are the Saints described by the Bible, who will rule with Christ for a thousand years. They have been purified during their lifetime, and they will be resurrected among the first, and they will not be judged with others who are resurrected after a thousand years later.
Mar 9:43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna, 44 ‘where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched.
’49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be salted with salt. – ‘Salting’ is a means of preserving the raw material for later use, after this life. Sacrifice 2378 θυσία thysia. Mat 9:13 Go and learn what this means: ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice.’ [Hos 6:6] For I did not come to call righteous people, but sinners.” Mar 12:33 “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding, and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all the burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
1 Pet 1:7 so that the genuineness of your faith, which is more valuable than gold that perishes when it is tested by fire, may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Cor 3:13 each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is. – The fire will test each one of you on the last day. That’s when it is decided what each one is paid, how does the ‘building’ of each person last..
The word fire πῦρ pyr, for example: Rev 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – The central question to be solved is: is the fire a concrete fire or a figurative one. The Bible uses the same word πῦρ, so you might think that in all the fire verses the same word determines the quality of the fire. 1 Corinthians’ letter the fire is purifying fire, with purpose to cleanse the human being from all the filth of sin. However, these people are saved. The fire, described in Rev 21:8, is mainly directed at sinners who have traditionally been counted as being sentenced to death in the lake of fire.
Strong’s states 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”.
When the purifying fire of God is purifying at the final judgment, those cleansed are in the spiritual bodies. They are resurrected; Rev 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and Hades gave up the dead in them. And they were each judged according to their works.
1 Cor 3:11 For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which 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 [I.e. the day of judgment] will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test [dokimázō] the quality of each person’s work. 14 If any man’s work remains which he built on it, 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.
G 1381 δοκιμάζω dokimázō: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals
The purifying fire of God, which we read in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, is trying testing, investigating, but not consuming to those who are to be saved. How long does purifying take? No one knows. Possibly for different periods of time depending on how much there is to purify.
Could this be the fire that burns in the fiery lake; some would get away from it and enter in the kingdom of God. The fiery lake is a metaphor about the ordeal, in which a man sees his own sins and evil deeds, and which he will have to undergo prior to purification. Others would have to stay longer before they could get away – or would eventually be destroyed if it were Christ’s judgment.
Mat 3:11 I indeed baptize you in water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. – This fire John is speaking about when baptizing people for repentance, means God’s purifying fire.
Isa 52:10 Jehovah has bared His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. – Isaiah, the Prophet of God, knew better than we who remember only the words of the Bible that speak of death and destruction, and of the destruction of evil men. The last judgment ends with God saving all people according to his will. .. all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God (Isa 52:10). Some translation uses the word ‘bliss’, but I think, instead of seeing a bliss, everyone sees – a better word – salvation.
God “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
God himself says that the expression of his will, the word of God, will do his will: Isa 55:11 so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Faith as the basis for salvation. Act 17:31 because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead.”
God has appointed a human (his son) as chief justice. Christ condemns all humanity in uprightness. The Bible states that judgment is based on the actions of each human being. There are different deeds and therefore different judgments. It is certain that the judgments are righteous. Many sinners purify their deeds and receive eternal life. In examining the purifying fire of God in the first Corinthians, it seems to be a prerequisite that the person in question has “built his house” on Christ.
Even the concept of the last judgment means people feel that evil will suffer loss and sinners will be punished and it is only right that the unrepentant sinners are cast into the fiery inferno and eternal suffering.
1 Cor 3:11-15 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus Christ. Whether a person builds on this foundation with gold, silver, expensive stones, wood, hay, or straw, the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.
These 1 Cor verses tell us about building faith on the foundation that is Jesus Christ. Fire tests the building and if it cannot stand, man can be saved as if through the fire. Rescue through the fire is possible, however, only if the foundation is right. A man who has built his life without this foundation can not experience God’s saving fire. Fire comes to his destruction, although not in any burning lake.
It is a figurative lake that burns both death and Hades [KJV of Rev 20:14 Death and Hell …], which are equally figurative expressions. The cleansing fire is not literal, real fire. Also, building materials such as gold, silver, and gemstones of the same verse are not real building materials, nor wood, straw or hay. They just describe human faith. If a man has built his faith (‘his house’) of the first-mentioned expensive materials, his faith is secure and durable. If someone has built his faith from the grass and straw, he finds his house burning. However, he can himself be saved “as through fire” because he, however, had founded his faith in Christ.
The words “as through fire” means there was no real burning fire on those who were saved, but it was a figurative, symbolic fire. Verse 15 says: If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he will be saved, but so as through fire.
The expression “suffer loss” does not really tell what kind of loss this person is having. The Greek word is G 2210 ζημιόω zēmioō: to injure, i.e. (reflexively or passively) to experience detriment:—be cast away, receive damage, lose, suffer loss. – On the other hand, it is to be noted that the term of eternal punishment is not used here (Mat 25:46).
On what basis does Christ rule the quality of judgment? I’m thinking like this: If a man has built his “house” on Christ, and used valuable materials like “gold, silver, or jewels” fire tests his work, find them good and he will survive and even get wages. If Christ has had a very small part in ‘building construction’, how is he doing? The fire will try his deeds too; if there are any reprehensible acts, he will experience harder testing and his house may burn to ashes. However, the man himself will survive and be saved. What if the man has in no way used Christ to “build his house”? Lived his life doing bad things. His destiny is the fiery lake with fire and brimstone – forever or just for a long period of time?
Jhn 10:9 I am the gate. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture.
The Bible tells us that the resurrected are in spiritual bodies just as God’s angels. So are other angels, like Satan and his angels. 1 Cor 15:44 “It is sown in the natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body”. – How does a physical fire affect spirits? Or is there, then, a spiritual fire that would be effective in spiritual bodies? Heb 12:29: “Our God is a consuming fire.” The fire of God can be a cleansing fire that cleanses the faithful from sin and all the impurity, all the deeds of the flesh. I also believe that the fire of God, which is spiritual fire, can also destroy a human being without faith. If a man has built his life on the basis of the faith in Christ, according to the measure of faith which God has given him, the fire of God is a purifying fire for him.
It is common to the humans of the above group that they have built their lives on Christ. The fire will try them, but they will be saved. They are those whose names can be found in the Book of Life. God has all the knowledge of man, for the spirit of each person has returned to heaven to him. Ecc 12:7 then the dust shall return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.
Those whose names cannot be found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire.
There are, therefore, two kinds of consequences. Fire tries some, but they are saved. The fate of the second group is to be thrown into the fiery lake. If God’s cleansing fire burns away the sin of the sinners, what about the people who receive the damnation? Is the fire that burns them real fire?
Christ gave visions for the future in the Book of Revelation to John as symbols and metaphors, this is clear. What then is the destiny of the sinners spoken of at the end of Revelation, chapters 19-21? Eternal torture in the fiery lake? Many believe that the Bible’s description is, in its clarity, quite literally true. Should we now change the interpretation from the figurative and symbolic to the literal?
Deu 4:24 Deu 4:24. Isaiah, in turn, says: Deu 4:24 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from a remote place; Burning is his anger and dense is his smoke; his lips are filled with indignation and his tongue is like a consuming fire”
When Isaiah says that God’s tongue (word) is like a consuming fire, it must be understood figuratively. God is a spirit, and His word is also a spirit. Deu 9:3 And know today that Jehovah your God is he who passes over before you as a consuming fire; he will destroy them, and he will bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and make them to perish quickly, as Jehovah has spoken to you. – Although God’s consuming fire is spiritual fire, its effect is to the greatest extent concrete. Fire may be directed to spirit beings such as Satan or angels, or then to living people (as in verse 9: 3) or then to resurrected people being judged in the spirit body. The Book of Revelation tells of John’s vision. Rev 1:16 In his [Christ’s] right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword. His face was like the sun when it shines with full force. – Also, the power of the Son of God is pictured with symbols; the two-edged sword that leaves from his mouth. Both the Father and the Son are spirits, and their power come from their spirit reaching the humans in flesh and blood or the resurrected, spirit-like people.
The lake of fire, where sinners are burning, is not a real lake and real fire. It is a figurative expression as I have told repeatedly. However, this fire of God can produce a great deal of pain, even if it is not “real” fire. The pain caused to a man by the burning sins when he sees what he has done in his life, is certainly not milder than the pain of the “right” burning lake that many want the sinners to experience.
Bible scholar Ray Smith (as well as Origen at his time) has argued that all people have access to the cleansing treatment of the Holy Spirit of God. In the case of bad sinners, cleansing is long and painful, but the result is a purified new sole worthy of God. This is because it is the will of God; God wants everyone to be saved. And what God wants will always be fulfilled. In addition, some researchers say that man has ultimately no free will and free choice. It is, after all, a matter of God’s will and choice. Thus, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, and others, mass murderers would all be part of the salvation.
Let’s see if there are any phrases in the Bible to solve the matter.
Mat 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. – There are clearly two different consequence here: the sinful goes to eternal punishment, and the righteous people get eternal life. If, then, sinners do not receive eternal life, there remains only a question to be resolved; what is their eternal punishment?
Mat 24:50-51 the master of that servant will come on a day when he doesn’t expect him and at an hour that he doesn’t know. and will cut him in two, and will appoint his portion with the hypocrites. There will be weeping and gnashing of the teeth. – In this parable, Jesus speaks of good and evil servants when their master arrives at a time they do not know. 24:45-47 Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has put in charge of his household to give the others their food at the right time? How blessed is that servant whom his master finds doing this when he comes! Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his property.
A good servant gives food on time to his master’s other servants in accordance with his instructions. ‘Food’ means spiritual food. The pay of a good servant upon the arrival of the Lord is a promotion to look after all his master’s property. A bad servant acts contrary to his master’s instructions: 24:48-50 But if that wicked servant says in his heart, my lord delays to come, and begins to beat his fellow servants and eat and drink with the drunks, the master [Christ] of that servant will come on a day when he doesn’t expect him and at an hour that he doesn’t know – the end result we read already in verse 51.
However, the punishment is contradictory: the master of the evil servant … “will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The servant’s master cuts the servant in pieces! Why? If it is intended that the servant will suffer eternal pain in the fiery lake, do the body parts cut into pieces feel anything? Where ever the bad servant is thrown, his body parts “will not be weeping and gnashing of teeth”!
When the Bible says that the fiery lake is the second death, is the second death the same as the eternal separation from God? A complete loss of consciousness? This would mean that some people will be totally destroyed and there is nothing left of them. Or, can God’s love for man be so comprehensive that the even the worst wicked, who do not even repent their deeds, will be forcibly purged together with the righteous?
The Bible says that whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit is guilty of an eternal sin (Mar 3:29 KJV: …is in danger of eternal damnation). Such behavior and that a sinner does not repent, I think, are same kind of offenses and deserve the same punishment. If a person cannot be forgiven this sin, he cannot be saved either. This is how I think, but I am not entirely sure. I wish I was wrong and, by the influence of God’s love, all would indeed be saved, even against their will as Paul was.
When the Bible speaks of the last judgment, we should remember that God has given judgment to the Son, Jesus Christ. We read in the Ephesians: 1:22: God has put everything under his [Christ’s] feet and has made him the head of everything for the good of the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills everything in every way. – The church of Christ is his body, which governs together with Him, and also condemns the world. 1 Cor 6:2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world … – I have interpreted the teaching to be harsh and all sin and all filth become purified in the fire of fiery lake. The church of Christ will play an important role in the last days. The saints who rule and judge together with Christ are only a small group with respect to other humans. God has already ordained them to salvation.
Dear friends, we are now God’s children, but what we will be like has not been revealed yet. We know that when Christ is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him as he is. (1 Jhn 3:2).
Perhaps God and Christ shall call the rest of mankind, just as Christ called Paul, in a bright flash of fire that cleansed him and gave him a new faith.
- The Fire of the Last Judgment
The concept of the last judgment implies, that people get their ‘wages’ and sinners will be punished, and it is just right, that the unrighteous sinners are thrown into the inferno and eternal suffering.
The verses of the 1. Corinthians refer to the building of faith on the foundation, which is Jesus Christ. The fire is testing the ‘building’, and if it does not last, man can be saved “as if it were through fire”. However, salvation through fire is possible only if the foundation is correct. A man who has built his life without this foundation, cannot experience God’s saving fire. Fire will be his destruction, although the fire is not in any real burning lake.
The fact that it is a figurative lake, also seems to me obvious as both Death and Hades, which are both figurative expressions, not of meat and bone, are destroyed in the lake. The purifying fire is not a literal, real fire. Also, building materials such as gold, silver, and gemstones are not real building materials for the house. Nor wood, straw or hay. They just describe human faith. If one has built his faith (the “house”) of the first-mentioned expensive materials, his faith is confident and durable. The person who built his faith on hay and straw will notice his building is burning to ashes. Only if faith (“house”) is built even to some extent on Christ, it is possible that man can be saved “as if through fire”.
Verse 1 Cor 3:15 If any man’s work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire: The expression ‘as through fire’ refers to the fact, that the fire of these rescued is not a consuming fire, but a figurative, symbolic fire. “Suffer loss” does not really tell you what kind of damage that person would suffer. The Greek word is G 2210 ζημιόω zēmioō: to injure, i.e. (reflexively or passively) to experience detriment:—be cast away, receive damage, lose, suffer loss. – On the other hand, it should also be noted that the term ‘eternal punishment’ is not used here.
On what basis does Christ choose the judgment? I think this way: if a man has built his “house” on Christ and with valuable materials such as “gold, silver, or jewels”, the fire will test his deeds, find them good, and he will survive a little, punishment. He might even get a reward.
If Christ had a very small part in the ‘house building’, what will happen to him? The fire tests also his actions; if his deeds are reproachable, the fire tests him harder and his house may burn to ashes. However, the man himself survives and is saved. What if a man has never used Christ when “building his house”? He may even have lived doing bad deeds. His fate will be in the fiery lake and suffer the long and thorough cleansing in the brimstone. Joh 10:9 I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.
In my understanding, the survivors have spiritual bodies, like angels. 1 Cor 15: 44 “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is also a spiritual body”. – How does physical fire affect spirits? Or is there a spiritual fire that would work on spiritual bodies? Heb 12:29 ”for our God is a consuming fire”. – The fire of God can be a purifying fire, that purifies the believer from sin and all uncleanness, all the works of the flesh. I also believe that the fire of God, which is a spiritual fire, can also destroy a man without faith. If a man has built his life on the foundation of the faith of Christ, according to the amount of faith God has given him, the fire of God will be a cleansing fire for him.
It is common among the people in the above groups that they have built their lives upon Christ. The fire will test them, but they will be saved. They are the ones whose names are found in the Book of Life. God has all the information about men, after all, the spirits of every human beings have returned to God in heaven. Ecc 12:7 And the dust returns to the earth as it was, And the spirit returns to God who gave it.
Those, whose names are not found in the Book of Life, are thrown into the lake of fire.
So, there are two kinds of consequences. Some are tested by the fire, but they will be saved. The fate of the second group is to be thrown into the lake of fire. If the purifying fire of God burns the deeds of sin, then what about the people, who receive the judgment? Is the fire burning them literal and concrete fire?
Christ presented to John the visions of the future in the Book of Revelation as symbols and metaphors, it is clear. And what about the eternal torment in the fiery lake spoken at the end of the Revelation, in chapters 19-21, which refer to the fate of those, who are lost? Many people think, that the description is quite clear and literally true. So, should we now change the interpretation from metaphorical to literal?
Deu 4:24 For Jehovah your God is a consuming fire; he is a jealous God. Isaiah says: 30:27 Behold, the name of Jehovah comes from far; his anger burns; and is heavy as the uplifting of smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue like a devouring fire. – When Isaiah says that God’s word is like a consuming fire, it must be understood figuratively. God is a spirit, and his speech (word) is also spiritual.
Deu 9:3 And know today that Jehovah your God is he who passes over before you as a consuming fire; he will destroy them, and he will bring them down before you; so you shall drive them out and make them to perish quickly, as Jehovah has spoken to you. – Although God’s consuming fire is spiritual, its effect is to a great extent real. Fire can be directed at spirit beings, such as Satan or angels, or to the living people (as in verse 9:3) or to the resurrected in spiritual bodies.
Revelation tells about John’s vision. Rev 1:16 “He [Christ] had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest” – The power and strength of the Son of God is also symbolized; a double-edged sword coming from his mouth. Both the Father and the Son are spirits, and their power derives from their spirit. The power can be directed to humans, who are flesh and blood or to the resurrected in the spiritual bodies.
The purifying fire of God burns the fleshly acts and sins of men. The fiery lake where the sins are burning is not a real lake, but a figurative expression. The burning of sins in itself can well cause pain to a human when he sees what he has done in his life.
The Bible scholar Ray Smith (as well as Origenes), has suggested that all people will be exposed to the fiery purification of the Holy Spirit of God. For the really evil and sinful people, the cleansing is long and painful, but the end result is a new clean human worthy of God. This is primarily justified by the fact that it is God’s will; God wants to save everyone. And the will of God is always fulfilled. In addition, the scholar says, that people do not have their own free will and free choice. After all, it is about God’s will and choice. Hence, Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, and others, would take part in salvation.
Let’s see if there are Bible phrases to resolve the matter.
Mat 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – There are clearly two different kinds of sanctions here: the sinners go to punishment, and on the other hand, the righteous will have eternal life. So, if sinners do not receive eternal life, the question remains; what is their eternal punishment?
Mat 24:51 and he will cut him in pieces and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there is where the weeping and gnashing of the teeth will be. – In this parable, Jesus speaks of what happens to good servant and evil servant when their lord arrives.
24:45 “Who, then, is the faithful and wise servant whom his master has put in charge of his household to give the others their food at the right time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 47 Most assuredly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has.
A good servant gives food to his lord’s other servants on time in accordance with his instructions. ‘Food’ means spiritual food. The salary of a good servant upon the coming of his lord, is the promotion to become his master’s servant of all his property. The evil servant works against his master’s instructions:
48 But if that evil servant should say in his heart, ‘My lord is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow-servants, and eat and drink with the drunken, 50 the lord of that servant will come in a day when he doesn’t expect it, and in an hour when he doesn’t know it, 51 and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites; there is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.
When Jesus says in his parable that the wicked servant is chopped to pieces, it might mean the death penalty i.e. the second death.
When the Bible states that the lake of fire is the second death, is this penalty the same as eternal destruction away from the presence of God? (2 The 1:9) So, total loss of consciousness. This would mean that some people would be destroyed and nothing left of them.
Or, could God’s Love for man be so comprehensive that even the worst wicked, who do not even regret their deeds, will be cleansed and have part among the righteous?
The Bible talks about blaspheming the Holy Spirit as a sin that cannot be forgiven. I would regard a conscious act of wickedness and complete impenitence to be comparable with the mocking of the Holy Spirit. If one cannot have sins forgiven, he cannot be saved. So, this is my conclusion, but I’m not entirely sure. I wish I was wrong, and by the influence of God’s love, everyone would indeed be saved, even against their will, just like Paul. Why did Jesus choose Paul for conversion? I believe that Jesus gave a message that this will happen later to a wider part of humanity. Maybe God and Christ will call the rest of mankind, just as Christ called Paul, in a bright flash of fire that cleansed him and gave him a new faith.
When the Bible speaks of the last judgment, it is thought to be God’s judgment. God has given judgment to the Son, Jesus Christ. Eph 1:22 He put all things in subjection under his feet and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The Church of Christ is his body (Col 1:24), which co-governs with him and also condemns the world. 1 Cor 6:2 Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? – I have interpreted the ‘judging’ to mean teaching and purification from sin and all the filth there is in man. This purification takes place in the (figurative) lake of fire. The Church of Christ will play an important role in the last days. The saints who rule and judge with Christ are only a small number in relation to the whole of mankind. They have already been ordained by God for salvation. … we are children of God, and it is not yet revealed what we will be. But we know that, when he is revealed, we will be like him [Jesus]; for we will see him just as he is (1 Joh 3:2).
- The Pain of the Fiery Lake
With the following verses, I try to find out what kind of pain is described in these verses with the words of Greek.
Luk 16:23-24 In Hades, [i.e. the realm of the dead] where he was in constant torture, he looked up and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus by his side. So he shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and to cool off my tongue, because I am suffering in this fire.
The pain of the Greek language is βάσανος basanos, which appears twice in Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus. It must be remembered that this is a figurative parable, it is not an account that should be understood literally. This is easy to understand as the rich man asks Lazarus to dip his fingertip into water to cool the rich man’s tongue. The tiny drop of water in fingertip would be of no help in the furnace.
Mat 4:24 KJV And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them”. (G1139 βάσανος basanos, possessed with devils)
Mar 6:48 tells of the incident when Jesus sent his disciples to the lake in the heat of the wind. “He saw that they were straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn, he came to them, walking on the sea. He intended to go up right beside them” … – He saw the disciples straining(βασανίζω basanizō) at the oars… The disciples were in distress and feared for their lives. Fear and anxiety, however, were not physical but spiritual pain.
And what about the fire, which is described in 1 Cor 3:11-15: 11 After all, no one can lay any other foundation than the one that is already laid, and that is Jesus Christ. And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, the workmanship of each person will become evident, for the day of judgment will show what it is, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what a person has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If his work is burned up, he will suffer loss. However, he himself will be saved, but it will be like going through fire.
1 Cor 3:13 says that it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. The Corinthians letter begins with the assumption that man can build his life on a sustainable foundation, which is Christ. The man-made building is not a literal house, it is a figurative expression of man’s work in life. If the ‘building’ is to withstand the fire, this man receives a reward. From the parable of Jesus, we remember what kind of reward a man could receive; someone got control over five cities, some other ten. Those who are not in faith and have not built the houses of their lives on the foundation of Christ’s basement do not receive a reward because their building cannot withstand the testing fire. Such a person will be saved, but as if through fire. But the reward cannot be the administrative work mentioned above because the thousand-year reign of Jesus has already ended. The saints have ruled under Christ, and now comes the last judgment and Christ gives all power back to the God Father. The nature of the wage remains unclear.
Reward G3408 μισθός misthos:
- in both senses, rewards and punishments
- of the rewards which God bestows, or will bestow, upon good deeds and endeavors
- of punishments
- Salting with Fire
Jesus said in Mar 9:49 49 For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be salted with salt. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
– What does mean “salt in yourselves”? Why are people salted in the first place? In order that he would stay in faith. When a person is salted, his faith remains strong and evolves. However, you should not salt yourself too much; you might become a zealot).
Peter said 1 Pet 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ-
1 Cor 3:13 says that “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is”.
– On the last day, the deeds of all men are examined; If there are shortcomings in them, God’s purifying fire burns the impurities. The Bible says that such a person is saved, but as if through fire. Revelation 20:13 emphasizes that “they were judged, each one according to his works”. – “Every man” means every person who is being judged. Not everybody, but almost everyone. A small number, the Saints of God, who have already been tested during their lives, and who were the participants of the first resurrection, will not be judged. But all the others: believers as those who believe in another god.
What about those who do not believe? One word is enough for the answer: pyr fire. Rev 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
STRONG’s Greek Dictionary of the New Testament, page 219, #4442, pyr; a primary word; “fire” (literally or figuratively). Pyr is used besides its ordinary natural significance:
(1) of the holiness of God, which consumes all that is inconsistent therewith, Heb. 10:27; 12:29; cf. Rev. 1:14; 2:18; 10:1; 15:2; 19:12;
(1a) similarly of the holy angels as His ministers, Heb. 1:7;
(1b) in Rev. 3:18 it is symbolic of that which tries the faith of saints, producing what will glorify the Lord;
(2) of the divine judgment, testing the deeds of believers, at the judgment seat of
(3) of the fire of divine judgment upon the rejecters of Christ, Matt. 3:11 (where a distinction is to be made between the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the “fire” of divine retribution; Acts 2:3 could not refer to baptism); Lk. 3:16.”
Pay particular attention to the interpretation in 3: The fire of God’s judgment for those who do not receive Christ. The fiery ‘tongues’ appearing in Act 2:3 are not the same as in the case of divine judgment: “They [the apostles at Pentecost] saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them”.
In hundreds of cases, the word pyr appears in the figurative, symbolic sense. How many people interpret almost everything, especially in the case of God’s punishment, literally! Symbolic fire can burn and produce pain just as literal.
Already Moses and Ezekiel gave instructions on salting of the offerings. Eze 43:24 And you shall bring them before Jehovah, and the priests shall throw salt on them, and they shall offer them for a burnt offering to Jehovah.
– However, we are talking about salting every human being. Every! Mark said, “For everyone will be salted with fire…” (9:49) The salting of man cannot be concrete, it is clear. When the sacrificial offering is salted, salting gives the meat a taste and lastingness. However, the meat was sacrificed immediately after slaughter, so the salting of the meat sac is certainly not meant to preserve the meat. Salting with fire is to a large extent metaphor of fire as well as is cleansing with fire. Maybe together they describe bringing man worthy to God for eternal time.
When every human being has to be salted with fire, is not every person also refined in fire?
Rev 20:13 tells us how “The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works”. The Corinthian letter already said that everyone’s actions are being investigated with fire. So there should be nothing new here. In verse 15, however, it is said: “If anyone was not found written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the lake of fire.” The end of this verse can be interpreted in different ways, but I tend to support the following interpretation: The Book of Life is considered for everyone, whether the name of the person is mentioned in the book. If it is, there is no need for further investigation – a man is saved outright. If there is no name in the Book of Life, man will have to receive the treatment of the cleansing fire in the ‘lake’.
It is important to understand that the fiery lake and all that is associated with it is a figurative expression, not literal. It does not mean that God’s punishment does not exist.
However, the punishment is true, but something other than linger on the fiery lake. God’s purifying fire can be very painful when one sees all his actions and their injustice and the pain they cause to other people.
Mar 9:49 For everyone will be salted with fire…
We have dealt with the fire of God, the cleansing fire, and the consuming fire. But what is salting with fire? Even Moses and Ezekiel gave instructions for the salting of offerings. Eze 43:24 And you shall bring them before Jehovah, and the priests shall throw salt on them, and they shall offer them for a burnt offering to Jehovah. – Now, however, we talk about salting every human. Salting with fire is a commonly used figurative expression as well as cleansing fire or consuming fire. Perhaps they together describe how to make a human worthy of God for everlasting times.
Rev 20:13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades [i.e. the realm of the dead] gave up the dead that were in them, and all were judged according to their works. – In the Corinthian letter, it was already stated that every act is being investigated by fire. So there should not be anything new here. In verse 15, however, it is said: “And who was not written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” This verse can be interpreted in different ways, but I support the next interpretation: In the Book of Life can be checked for everyone, whether the name of the human being is mentioned in the book. If so, no further investigation is needed – the man is saved. And he gets the reward he earns. If there is no name in the Book of Life, a man will have to receive the purging fire or fire in a ‘fiery lake’.
It is important to understand that the lake of fire and all that is related is a figurative expression, not literal. It does not mean that God’s punishment would not be. The punishment is true, but something other than languishing in fire. God’s cleansing fire may be very painful when a person sees all his deeds and their iniquity and the pain they cause to other people.
- Is Annihilation a Penalty of God – The Second Death?
Jesus appears from heaven with his angels. 2 Tes 1:8 in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ;
9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
The above verse is favored by supporters of annihilation to defend annihilation as punishment of God. God’s punishment is harsh because God is severe in perfection. Only Jesus can offer the opportunity to avoid this punishment. But if one does not take advantage of this opportunity, what is the sanction?
What does annihilation mean? The second death happens by fire. Is it a consuming / devouring fire, I can’t say. However, the person involved is annihilated completely and permanently. In the examples of Bible verses, the consuming fire burns and produces death in one moment.
There are different perceptions of annihilation. Some of the supporters of this doctrine think that the sentenced may first suffer their punishment and only then are they annihilated so that nothing remains.
Annihilation means destruction, total disappearance. Believers in annihilation say that the above verse 1:9 means precisely that; losing everything. Annihilation – judgment will lose their lives, they will not be left behind. Even their memories have vanished. As if they had never been.
Annihilation opponents say that annihilation is not a real punishment. Nothing compared to eternal torment in the lake of fire. Defenders say that it is a terrible punishment. When a judgment is pronounced, people are divided into two groups. Those who are granted eternal life rejoice. Those who receive the opposite judgment of destruction, are terrified and repent bitterly. Many who believe they are saved, would like all the unbelievers to get into eternal torment.
Jesus will act as the chief judge of all: There are only two kind of judgments. Mat 25:41 Then he [Christ] will say also to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;
– Jesus himself confirms the punishment of eternal fire. Similarly, John in Revelation (20:10) confirms that “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are also. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
Matthew says in 25:46 ” These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life”. Both are equally eternal punishments, although eternal ‘pruning’ from God’s presence does not satisfy some people’s strong desire to see unbelievers being tortured.
The Greek word for punishment is in this here kolasis and verb kolazō G2849 as defined: 1. properly, to lop, prune, as trees, branches from trees.
Heb 10:29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Rev 20:12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Rev 22:12 “Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work
Jesus brings wages with him, but who all get paid? At least it is clear that the saints of the first resurrection will be paid; they will rule with Christ for a thousand years (or for a long time if a thousand years is not an exact period). A large number of humanity dies and those who oppose the coming of Christ are destroyed. It does not mean, however, that they will not be in the last judgment after a thousand years. Their destruction is not a ‘payment of wages’.
… Or, Will All Be Saved After All?
Why would God’s punishment in the fiery lake be eternal?
There is another alternative: Both the fiery lake and the second death are both figurative expressions. Those who are not saved in the judgment of Christ and of the Saints after the Second Resurrection, they go into the figurative lake of fire where they are tormented and they have to confront all their sinful deeds. The purifying fire burns (consumes) off sins, after which they can join the great multitude of God’s children.
When one has to look at himself, “the deeds of the flesh,” and all the sins that are consumed in the fire, there is no doubt that man would not suffer pain, no matter how spiritual it would be.
Throughout history, the Church has taken advantage of the literal word of the Bible and frightened humanity with this literal truth. The Bible is full of metaphors and figurative expressions, but it is easier to understand the Bible literally. It has been said quite to the point that everything in the Bible is true, but not all is literally true.
Ordinary people, as well as learned theologians, do not always understand what is behind the metaphor or figurative expression.
Here is an example of a teaching on the Internet on literal interpretation.
Gotquestions.org: “Because God is completely righteous and morally perfect, He always does what is right—there is no “darkness” in God, not the smallest speck of imperfection. God Himself is the standard for what is right, good, and moral. If it were not for God being the standard of moral perfection, created beings would have nothing to measure themselves against. In other words, if God is perfectly righteous, then anything that falls short of said perfection is sinful, and every human being who has ever lived, since Adam’s fall from grace, has committed sin. Because Adam sinned, the entire human race now has a sinful nature. But people do not go to hell because of Adam’s sin; they go to hell because of their own sin, which they freely choose.
Since God is eternal, immutable, and infinite, and all sins are fundamentally against God, God has decreed the just punishment for sin must also be eternal…
God, therefore, has deemed all who commit sin will go to hell because they have failed to meet His righteous standard; they have broken His Law of moral perfection. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just..
However, the good news is that God is also merciful. In His rich mercy, He made a way for sinners to avoid the punishment of hell by trusting in the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ. For Christians, the penalty of sin has been removed and placed upon Christ on the cross. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God is still just—the sin is punished—yet He is also merciful to all who believe. “
If this should be explained in this way in the Bible, I could not resist. However, I do not accept the reasoning in this form. However, the Son of God is the one who decides the judgments. Maybe he understands people’s disability and is merciful? Maybe God the Father himself discovered that in order to save mankind he must offer a way of salvation and it is in his son Jesus Christ. However, Revelation tells us that people are hardened and stubborn. No hardship can cause a large number of people to turn to God. And the salvation would be just one word away!
Why would God torture people forever in the fiery lake? Since everything is possible for God, would he rather not want to burn off the sins and purify the men like those who have already received eternal life? God would not be a loving God if he would punish just for torture. I am confident that the purpose of punishment of God is to correct, purify and recover. Why did Jesus appear to Saul on the road to Damascus, spoke to him and blinded him for three days and made Saul totally change his way of thinking so that he became a keen Christian. Could God not do the same to others who have opposed him?
The Bible claims: [God] “who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).
To desire θέλω thelō G 2309: to will, have in mind, intend
And Isaiah about God’s will 46:10 … My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; 11 … I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it.”
The above two Bible passages are perhaps familiar to many. People may have read them, but have they understood them to the end? All the time these have been known to me. Still, I have not broken free from the fiery lake as eternal punishment. After everything I’ve written, I stopped to think about these verses, and I really cannot understand why I have rejected the obvious truth: GOD WANTS ALL MEN TO BE SAVED. God is Almighty, it is in his power to save even all sinful mankind, his creation. God assures: “I will do all my pleasure”.
When Christ comes, most of humanity does not want to receive him. Although millions of people die in the Lord’s day, people do not repent their sins. When they are facing the last judgment, and God has forcibly cleansed them the same way as the greatest persecutor of Christianity, Saul, people will do the same as Saul – a total conversion. Then the prophecy of Isaiah will come to pass: Isa 45:24 … Only in Jehovah do I have righteousness and strength; to Him [God] he comes, and they are ashamed, all who are angry with Him.
New Interpretations of God’s Punishments
In the second part of this article, I will try to sum up my thoughts on the punishment of God in the Last Judgment and especially in relation to annihilation. I believe that some of my interpretations, which differ from those of the major churches, arouse readers’ thoughts for and against. How many births and how many deaths are reserved for a person? When our Bible speaks of the concepts of loss and destruction, what word did the Greek writer use and how was it translated into English, for example? What is a fiery lake? Humans who are like senseless animals are Biblical notions of people whose fate has been defined at the beginning of time. What kind of people are they? And what does “black darkness” mean? What kind of punishments is it? Is the punishment reserved for Angels different from that of men? Summary: Annihilation as God’s punishment.
One birth – two deaths
Or two births, but only one death?
Everyone is born once and dies at least once. In this update, I will investigate a situation where a person is not born the second time but dies twice. For a man not to die twice, he must be born twice; His second birth is the rebirth in faith – the saving power of Jesus Christ. Then you do not have to fear the second death; already at rebirth, man receives the gift of eternal life – the same eternal life that Jesus received from his Father.
Here I will try to further clarify my thoughts on the eternal punishment of the last judgment. The Bible speaks of the eternal torment of the fiery lake as a punishment for those who have not repented and have not received Jesus as their Savior.
Same sin, two different punishments. 2 Peter 1:4 (ISV) speaks of “… his precious and wonderful promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, seeing that you have escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires.” Those who satisfy their flesh by indulging in its passions and who despise authority will go to corruption i.e. perish, are destroyed.
“Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who, like them, practiced fornication and went astray with unnatural lusts of flesh, are a warning example of suffering the punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:7). So the debauchees of Sodom and Gomorrah end up in the fiery lake forever. – It doesn’t seem logical. Perhaps the fault lies in the interpretation, and in the concept of the lake of fire.
Mat 5:29 “So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.” Jesus spoke of hell but did not mean any fiery lake as in Revelation, but, as all Jews generally knew, the waste dump south of Jerusalem, the Valley of Hinnom, where fire was constantly burned. The fiery lake and hell have become synonymous, and even the Gospel of Matthew, for example, uses the Greek word γέεννα géenna (gehenna).
Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans 6:23 “For the wages [consequence] of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Death as a result of sin specifically means the second death.
Those who are not born again in their lives will not receive the gift of eternal life. According to the Bible, there are two deaths. When the final judgment is given, those resurrected dead who will not be saved will face the second death, which is their punishment. The second death is indeed death. Instead, punishments like the fiery lake are metaphors. Other figures of speech include black darkness, deep darkness, etc. For two millennia, the great problem for me and other Bible readers and scholars has been that we have not been able to distinguish the literal announcement of the Bible from the countless figures of speech and figurative expression of the Bible. This is particularly the case with the descriptions of the last judgment. What is common to judgments is that those who receive the judgment are destroyed (perished).
When God was about to create man, He said: Genesis 1:26 “Let us make man our image…” – So we are God’s image. As we read the Bible, God reveals human qualities. What image does the Bible draw of God? On the Old Testament side, the image of God is often tinged with vengeance. “I will avenge …” is repeated many times. For example, Micah 5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and in fury upon the nations, such as they have not heard of (”nations which have not obeyed”). However, God can change his mind and repent: God says in Jer 18:8 “if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do to them.”
In addition, God says he wants everyone to be saved. God also makes people (“vessels”) for different uses. Maybe God doesn’t care if these bad vessels are destroyed at the final judgment. God has given all power to Christ, and he is the one who gives the judgments after the second resurrection. Can we draw conclusions from Christ’s line of judgment based on what he made to the greatest enemy of Christianity, Pharisee Saul – forcing him to be a faithful servant of God to preach to the nations of God’s kingdom.
Let’s look more closely at some Bible verses:
2 Pet 2:12 ”These people, like irrational animals, are mere creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. They insult what they don’t understand, and like animals they, too, will be destroyed,”
In this 2 Peter 2 man is compared to a wild animal. What has man done to be treated like a wild animal?
2:1-3 Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their immoral [destructive] ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be blasphemed. 3 In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. The ancient verdict against them is still in force, and their destruction (apōleia) is not asleep.
So the condemnation of such people is total destruction, to perish. Strong’s defines Hebrew and Greek descriptive words as follows: gâvaʻ, H 1478 a primitive root; to breathe out, i.e. (by implication) expire:—die, be dead, give up the ghost, perish. So perish means complete destruction, end of life. An example of perish, (be destroyed) by the Flood: Gen 6:17 “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.”
Greek word for destruction is ἀπόλλυμι apóllymi, Strong’s: from G575 and the base of G3639; to destroy fully (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively:—destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.
Even in English, the words perish, destroy, cast into Outer Darkness are used to mean the same thing. Luk 13:3 I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him may not perish, but have eternal life. – By believing in the Son of God you will receive the gift of eternal life and the believer will not have to be destroyed (in the figurative lake of fire of the last judgment).
Destruction is quick, but its effect is eternal.
From the following Bible verse we can conclude that destruction is quick and complete: Gen 6:17 For I, behold, I bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy all flesh under the heavens in which is the breath of life: everything that is on the earth shall expire. – The deluge described in the Bible happened quickly and all living things were destroyed. Wouldn’t the last judgment be enforced quickly in the same way?
2 Cor 2:15 For we are a sweet aroma of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish;
2:16 To some people we are a deadly fragrance, while to others we are a living fragrance. Who is qualified for this?
The fire of God. I understand that destruction will happen quickly and not in the long term. To carry out the final judgment, God shall investigate all human actions. This fire of God is either purifying fire or consuming fire; if sins (evil deeds) weigh too much and man has not been forgiven, man should be consumed. What does one have to consider when considering a judgment? Peter writes:1 Pet 4:8 “Above all, continue to love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.”
In the Last Judgment, therefore, we meet all the resurrected humanity, examined and divided to the right and left of Christ. Mat 25:33 “He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”
It is understandable that those sentenced to damnation will respond to the sentence as Luke writes: 13:28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside.” And finally: Mat 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
– The convicted will cry and gnash their teeth. Verse 46 says that after the judgment they will go away to eternal punishment, to the destruction that is eternal and final. Mankind has literally understood the word of the Bible, and the most colorful descriptions of the suffering of hellfire have been produced and used to intimidate people. Of course, these descriptions have also been used by the church to keep people under control.
What is the lake of fire?
The punishment of the fiery lake is found in only four verses of Revelation: 20:15 “And whosoever was not written in the book of life was cast into the fiery lake” including Satan and his helpers the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
Also, the figurative expressions death and Hades (the grave) have to go there. Death is no longer in the future New World, and as a result, the grave of mankind (Hades) is removed as unnecessary. Why should death and grave be tortured forever and ever? Wouldn’t it be better to just abolish them as unnecessary?
Rom 6:23 ” For the wages of sin (consequence) is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – The perpetrator receives the judgment, but not the sin itself. When the Bible says that the consequence of sin is death, it simply means that after the condemnation of mankind, sin no longer exists. Sin has been destroyed. Sin does not disappear by throwing death (the consequence) into the lake of fire. Sin disappears because the unrepentant sinners die the second death. The rest are those who will not die the second death, but Christ will give them the same as he himself received and the true believers will receive from the Father – eternal life as a child of God.
When one understands the part of death and Hades in the fiery lake, one understands the figurative significance of the fiery lake itself.
The eternal doom of fiery lake. The big question is the description in Revelation 20:10 of the torture of the fiery lake – “night and day, forever and ever” – a concrete punishment for all, or is it limited, for example, to angels who are eternal beings. It was also God’s purpose for man that we should be eternal just like the angels, but the high-ranking angel Lucifer (Satan) succeeded in seducing Adam and Eve and thus mankind became mortal. Satan tried the same thing with Jesus but failed. As a result, God was able to raise Christ from the dead and give him immortality again as the first of the new mankind.
Destruction i.e. end of life is the only option for those who have not had eternal life by believing in Christ’s salvation. Almost every human being who faces the “normal”, that is, the first death, must face either the salvation to eternal life in the kingdom of God, or the destruction – the loss of life, in the final judgment. I wrote ‘almost everyone’ because the exception is the Saints of the First Resurrection, who have ruled with Christ for a thousand years and are now judges with Christ for the people of the last Resurrection.
Ordinary people are mortal and can receive the gift of eternal life after the last judgment. Angels were originally created to be eternal beings. It has been suggested that when angels like Satan and his angels (one-third of all angels) are condemned, their punishment is eternal suffering in the fiery lake. Revelation 20:10 says: And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are both the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for the ages of ages. – Yes, if the description of the punishment is meant to be taken literally. I have interpreted the Beast and the Antichrist and the False Prophet to be men, so the fiery lake punishment gets a large number of angels and humans.
At the end of Revelation 21:8, John sees God on his throne and God says, ”But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.” – According to this translation, cowards too will end up in a fiery lake. Greek word 1169: δειλός, which Strong’s translates into timid, fearful is right at least according to the three Bible examples where the word is used. However, Strong’s explanation is accompanied by an amendment, “i.e. (by implication) Faithless: —fearful, of Christians who through cowardice give way under persecutions and apostatize. – I could interpret this “scared as a result of lack of faith”. By no means can I consider the fearful old grandmother to be such a great sinner that she deserves the second death penalty, along with murderers, adulterers, and idolaters.
Lake of fire is a figurative expression. Such a lake does not really exist. Instead, there is God’s consuming fire. In the last judgment, God’s fire will investigate all our actions; if we have built our house [our faith] in Christ, the fire of God is purifying fire, and though it is painful for man, he himself shall not perish. For those who, when they are examined by the fire, are found to have denied Christ, the fire will be consuming fire. So what does consuming fire mean? The Bible gives an example: In Satan’s final attack on God’s people’s camp, “a fire (of God) fell from heaven and consumed” them. That is, they are destroyed.
According to Revelation 20:15, all those whose names are not written in the book of life shall be cast into the lake of fire. First, there are billions of names missing from the book of life. Most of the missing names are “ordinary” people (“cheap vessels”), who for many reasons, have simply not received Christ as their savior. They are also to be studied by God as described above. Instead, those false Bible teachers who misrepresent the word of God and in their lust for money lead people to serve a false faith, are punished by black darkness or eternal destruction of complete unconsciousness. Both punishments must, therefore, be viewed as a figurative expression.
The Bible compares a man who does not have God’s spirit with a wild animal. Animals have no chance of resurrection; when the animal dies, it is permanently destroyed. So it can be said that animals are created to be destroyed.
According to the Bible, God has not only foretold the future of every human being; who will be saved in the kingdom of God and who will be destroyed. In fact, God has created people for different purposes. This right of God, the Creator, is expressed in the Bible in parables:
Rom 9:20-21 ”On the contrary, who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, Why did you make me like this? Or hasn’t the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?
2 Tim 2:20-21 “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor. If anyone, therefore, purges himself from these, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, and suitable for the master’s use, prepared for every good work.”
Most people remain in their role given by our creator, but in verse 21 Timothy reveals the possibility for man to make himself “a vessel for God’s use.”
In any case, God knows mankind and knows that most of mankind does not meet the conditions for salvation. We do not know or understand God’s plan for mankind even before the creation of the world. However, God has planned everything and also fulfills his plans. However, we know that people who are saved will have eternal life in the kingdom of God and will be God’s co-workers, whatever tasks God gives them. See 1 Cor 3:9 NASB: “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Why do so many believe that those who are not saved will suffer in the fiery lake forever? Once God created them into such – cheap vessels – to perish like animals! If God Himself has created them as such, should he not at least make sure that his creation will have a painless death at the end? Such eternal suffering in a fiery hell for those to be destroyed is considered by many to be incomprehensible. How God, who the Bible declares to be Love itself, could be so cruel to its creatures, however imperfect they may be.
People who are like senseless animals
A man who is not born of the spirit is just like an animal. A person who does not believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is like an animal – at least his fate after death is the same. His life simply ends. When Stephen died he prayerfully said: “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” (Act 7:59). Animals have no chance of doing so. Their lives just stop working.
Peter clearly proves that such people are like wild animals. God has made them to die like animals. When they die they simply cease to live. 2 Pet 2:12 NKJV: But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,
2 Piet 2:10 ”especially those who satisfy their flesh by indulging in its passions and who despise authority. Being bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to slander glorious beings.
11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, don’t bring a railing judgment against them before the Lord.
12 These people, like irrational animals, are mere creatures of instinct that are born to be caught and killed. They insult what they don’t understand, and like animals they, too, will be destroyed,
13 suffering wrong as punishment for their wrongdoing. They take pleasure in wild parties in broad daylight. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceitful pleasures [in their love feasts] while they eat with you.
14 With eyes full of adultery, they cannot get enough of sin. They seduce unsteady souls and have had their hearts expertly trained in greed. They are doomed to a curse.
According to biblical testimony, a man who is not born again is like an animal and is destroyed like an animal. Such a person dies twice. The second death means the transition to the darkness reserved for these people forever. The hallmarks of the end time are the unbridled life of mankind as the world goes on. This is illustrated by e.g. Eph 2:2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air [Satan], the spirit who now works in the children of disobedience; Tit 3:3 After all, we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and misled. We were slaves to many kinds of lusts and pleasures, spending our days in malice and jealousy. We were despised, and we hated one another. From this we can also read about in Jude 1:10-13:
Jude 1:10 But these speak evil of whatever things they don’t know. What they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, in these things are they destroyed.
11 Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13 wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
14 About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,
15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These people are complainers and faultfinders, following their own desires. Their mouths speak arrogant things, and they flatter people in order to take advantage of them.
Jude 1:4 For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Greek word to describe the verb corrupt or destroy is φθείρω phtheirō: properly, τόν ναόν τοῦ Θεοῦ (in the opinion of the Jews the temple was corrupted, or ‘destroyed’, when anyone defiled or in the slightest degree damaged anything in it, or if its guardians neglected their duties.)
1 Cor 3:17 KJV “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” – For the Jews, the Lord’s temple could be corrupted (‘destroyed’) by even a small amount of damage. However, Jude with the temple means a person who is corrupted by false doctrines. Those who spread such doctrines, and especially those who do it for financial gain, are twice dead. Their sentence is to experience the second death. Verse Jude:13 states that the deepest darkness is reserved for them for ever; “Look! The Lord has come with countless thousands of his holy ones. to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (v. 14-15). When Jude declares from the forthcoming judgment that they are twice dead, it means that they are destroyed in the same way as brute animals die; when animals die, they simply cease to exist.
Other references: Tit 1:16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified to do anything good.
2 Pet 2:1 Now there were false prophets among the people, just as there also will be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.
2 Pet 2:3 In their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words. The ancient verdict against them is still in force, and their destruction is not asleep.
2 Pet 2:19 promising them liberty, while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a man is subdued, by him is he also brought into slavery.
Satan, too, was shackled to wait Rev 20:3 ”He threw him into the bottomless pit, locked it, and sealed it over him to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were over. After that, he must be set free for a little while.” – Satan has to wait for his final judgment. Why is Satan not destroyed now that he has been captured? Why is he released again to mislead humanity?
1 Pet 2:8-9 “and a stone of stumbling and rock of offense; who stumble at the word, being disobedient to which also they have been appointed. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” – The letters of Peter and Jude show how the fate of these destructive people was predicted in ancient times. They experience two deaths, and the second death is “total black darkness,” which I interpret as meaning the complete extinction of consciousness forever. It means the end of life without hope of a new resurrection. No eternal torture in the fire of hell.
2 Pet 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
Jude 1:13 confirms the punishment: “They are wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their own shame. They are wandering stars for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.” Other translations of the Bible say the same thing in slightly different words: the blackness of darkness, the gloom of darkness. The point in various Bible versions is not to distinguish between the different meanings of the words, but to make your own translation slightly different.
Jude 1:4 ”For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Again, this verse points out that, long ago, God saw the future and said that such judgment would come to use; the black darkness forever. Someone may think that these doomed will wander forever without seeing anything in the dark … This is not the issue, but that they will perish and be forever in complete unconsciousness. 2 Pet 2:9 ” the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their trials and to hold unrighteous people for punishment on the day of judgment.” – Is the judgment day (G2250 ἡμέρα hēmera) a normal 24 hour day, or maybe a longer time, I can’t say. Maybe it doesn’t matter.
What does black darkness mean?
The Bible speaks of ”black darkness”, ”mist of darkness” or ” pits of darkness” which mean eternal punishment – What does this mean in more detail? Who is it for? Many perceive this penalty as the eternal torment of the fiery lake. My own interpretation is not this but a surprisingly ordinary punishment.
Perhaps this black darkness could be translated ‘total unconsciousness’ (‘eternal blackout’).
Ecc 9:10 describes the dead in Sheol which means the grave: ”Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in Sheol, where you are going.” Job, in turn, says: 17:13 ”If I wait, Sheol is my house; I spread my bed in the darkness” – In the state of death, man does not feel or know anything. When a condemned person experiences the second death, it is reminiscent of the time in hell described by the Ecclesiastes, but with the difference that ‘black darkness’ is final, whereas after the first death there is resurrection.
I interpret black darkness and its various versions as meaning complete unconsciousness. It means the end of conscious life. That person no longer exists. His body doesn’t exist. His life is gone. Maybe someone has a pale and volatile memory of himself until even that is gone. How have I come to that conclusion? The following verses in Jude tell of people who are compared to brute animals. Animals die, but nothing is left of them, neither spirit nor soul. Humans who die like an animal die and disappear completely. This is what black darkness means.
The people described in these verses are some of the cheapest ‘vessels, we don’t even understand the purpose of. All we know is that God has created them, and it is right to condemn them forever to the deepest darkness. The second death means the end of life for them just like for the animals.
“Long ago” it was God’s plan for some people to reject Christ and receive their judgments. – What is the judgment of these people? It is “total black Darkness,” as Peter described – destruction.
Matthew Henry in his Bible commentary: “As for the blackness of darkness for ever, I shall only say that this terrible expression, with all the horror it imports, belongs to false teachers, truly, not slanderously so-called, who corrupt the word of God, and betray the souls of men. If this will not make both ministers and people cautious, I know not what will.”
2 Peter 2:17-19 describes the darkness: 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
18 By talking high-sounding nonsense and using sinful cravings of the flesh, they entice people who have just escaped from those who live in error.
19 promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for by whom a man is overcome, by the same is he also brought into bondage.”
Job 38:17 Have the gates of death been revealed unto thee? and hast thou seen the gates of the shadow of death?
Jude 1:6-7 “And angels who had not kept their own original state, but had abandoned their own dwelling, he keeps in eternal chains under gloomy darkness, to the judgment of the great day; Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.”
The punishment reserved for angels
It has been suggested, based on Jude, that fallen angels receive the most severe punishment for their disobedience, the eternal torment in the fiery lake because they were created as eternal beings. Jude 1:6 reveals that these angels have been placed in the darkness for preservation. This state of darkness is not yet the real punishment for them. As a condition, it is very similar to the punishment of total ignorance for humans. Jude 1:6 ”And angels who had not kept their own original state, but had abandoned their own dwelling, he keeps in eternal chains under gloomy darkness, to the judgment of the great day;” – Even now, these disobedient angels are in shackles in the dark waiting for the judgment to be executed on the last day.
The following verse compares the fate of the angels with that of the inhabitants of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. These inhabitants practiced ‘unnatural lusts of the flesh’ and as a punishment, they are thrown into the eternal fire. 1:7 ”Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.”
Would that be the case? One would imagine that all people who practice such pervert sex life, following their lusts (see Jude), would receive the same punishment regardless of the time. I have just dealt with the punishment of eternal deep darkness, which I interpreted as a complete lack of awareness.
Summary: Annihilation as God’s punishment.
Mat 25:41 “Then he [Christ] will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who are accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! – The final judgment divides people into two parts; those who will be saved on the right side of Christ and those condemned to his left side. What can we conclude from this? For each person, it has been determined whether he belongs to the ‘sheep’ or the ‘goats’. It is God’s fire that determines for each person whether he will be saved or not. The saved will receive a fire-cleansing treatment; fire examines (1 Corinthians 3:13 “tests”) all human deeds. If the fire declares that man has not built his ‘house’ (faith) in any way upon Christ and his deeds are evil, he should be consumed.
But, can God’s fire consume a man before Christ has defined which group this person belongs to? Another problem: there are probably a large number of those identified as ‘goats’. If the fire, when they are tested, finds them to be goats, does the fire stop the consuming so that the person can be condemned and sent to the lake of fire? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3:13, “each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is.”
In the article of this chapter about the fire of God I have been thinking this way: “Could this fire also be the same fire that burns in the fiery lake; some would escape it by being saved into the kingdom of God. After all, the fiery lake trial is a figure of speech in which man sees his own sins and his evil deeds and has to go through them before he is purified. Others would have to stay ‘in the lake’ longer before they could get away – or be destroyed if it were Christ’s judgment. Does it happen quickly – perhaps in a day – or does the sentence take longer? The purification might take a longer time for some individuals than others. Perhaps the fiery trial is so effective that even the worst cases can be passed through quickly, who knows?
All the same, apparently some are so bad sinners that fire does not cleanse them. Thus, these remnants are placed on the left side of Christ, who sends them (back?) into the “fiery lake” for final destruction.
When the fiery lake is not a real lake, and the fire is no ordinary fire, the question is whether the fiery lake is the same as the “dark black eternal darkness” but with fire purifying or consuming? And also, why does Jesus Christ emphasize the condemnation of those who have been condemned for falling into a lake of fire? When all is possible for God and Christ, could not those who could be converted with the same compulsion as Paul? He was, in his own opinion, the greatest enemy and persecutor of Christendom.
What is God’s plan for his vessels of mankind for “cheap use”? If these people turn out to be worthy of positive judgment, has God not foreseen and even planned to do so? When such vessels break into pieces, the pieces are merely swept away and thrown into the waste dump, rather than being effortlessly assembled and glued together, making the vessel usable again.
Rom 9:21 ”Or has not the potter [God] authority over the clay, out of the same lump to make one vessel to honour, and another to dishonour? 2 Tim 2:20 “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of clay. Some are for honor, and some for dishonor.” – Of course, it is understandable that not all people can become apostles or prophets of the Lord during their earthly lives. When we do not know the details of God’s plan and how to carry it out, we can only rely on the goodwill and love of God and Christ for his creations.
Luk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, On earth peace, good will toward men.”
Universalism was a popular concept in the early days of Christianity. In the book on Universalism in the First Five Centuries, Origen says: ”Our God is a ‘consuming fire’ in the sense in which we have taken the word; and thus he enters in as a ‘refiner’s fire’ to refine the rational nature, which has been filled with the lead of wickedness, and to free it from the other impure materials which adulterate the natural gold or silver, so to speak, of the soul.
At least it can be said that Bible readers’ and scholars’ views on God’s punishment have fluctuated from one side to the other. From Universalism, whereby all will ultimately be saved to the other extreme, whereby God will punish the unrepentant sinners by throwing them forever into the fiery hell. The latter model was strongly popular in the Middle Ages, but even today, many believers want God to be harsh on sinners, and when they themselves feel saved, they can see the sinners being tortured in the fire of hell.
My opinion is this: God wants everyone to be saved, and God’s purifying fire makes many worthy of God’s kingdom. However, some people are so bad that God destroys them so profoundly that they leave no trace. For the latter, God’s solution is annihilation (total black darkness), that is, the complete destruction of sinners.
- Christ – God’s High Priest and the Royal Priesthood
Melchizedek’s Priesthood – Aaronic Priesthood (or Levitical Priesthood) – Urim and Thummim – Anointing with Holy Oil – From Levitical Priesthood to Christ’s Priesthood – Bible Guidelines concerning food – New Covenant of Christ – General Priesthood – Royal Priesthood – Royal Priesthood compared with General Priesthood – What people make up the Holy Priesthood? – Divine nature – Man, image of God – In the coming New World
For this article, I have studied five hundred years old and generally accepted opinion that the common priesthood belongs to all baptized people. I think this is a misinterpretation of the Word of the Bible, which Martin Luther, in particular, has put forward.
The last chapter of Revelation also requires a new interpretation. In verse 22:5, we return to the previously emphasized reign of the saints. This verse deserves a new meaning.
Melchizedek is the first priest mentioned in the Bible, who was both “the High Priest of God” and King of Salem (Jerusalem). Melchizedek was of Abraham’s age. We know more about Abraham, that Abraham, through Shem, belonged to the tenth generation of Noah, and was born about 350 years after the Flood, about 2000 BC.
Abram met this priest king on his return trip after defeating three kings who had allied with the king Kedorlaomer of Elam. By giving Melchizedek tithing of his prey and receiving the Melchizedek blessing, Abra(ha)m showed that he acknowledged the Melchizedek Priesthood to be from God. According to the principle that it is the higher one who gives the blessing: Gen 14:18 And Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine; and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him and said, blessed be Abram of the Most high God, possessor of Heaven and earth; 20 and blessed be the Most high God, who has delivered your enemies into your hand. – And he gave him a tithe of all.”
The Melchizedek Priesthood, which was fulfilled in Christ, is described in Psalm 110:4 and the Hebrews: Heb 6:20 where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone on our behalf, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb 7:17 For it is testified, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
Heb 7:21 but Jesus became a priest with an oath when God said to him, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not change his mind. You are a priest forever.”
God swore this by oath and only to Christ. Christ, in turn, promised to his apostles Luk 22:29, and I appoint to you, as my Father did appoint to me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit down on thrones to govern the twelve tribes of Israel.
The Apostles will rule with the Saints of the First Resurrection:
1 Pet 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.
Rev 1:6 and did make us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.
Rev 20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.
Melchizedek was king and priest of God on earth. Jesus Christ would have those two offices, both the King’s and the High Priest’s, but not yet on earth but in heaven. After he ascended to heaven, he was ordained High Priest forever. On earth, Christ will serve as king and high priest after his second coming, when he rules the Millennial kingdom.
Jehovah himself called Melchizedek a priest. In discussing Jesus’ position as the great High Priest, the writer of the Hebrew Letter (probably Paul) showed that no one would take this honor on his initiative, but ”… he who is called by God, as also Aaron.” (Heb 5:4) In addition, the author explained that 5:2 ”He can deal gently with people who are ignorant and easily deceived, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3 For that reason he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for those of the people.” ” In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the glory of being a high priest. No, it was God who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.” (v. 5:5). – ”Today is “apparently the day when God made Jesus the high priest. “Today,” Christ was finally confirmed as God’s own Son. Of course, when John was baptized, God the Father had acknowledged Jesus that “this is my beloved son, hearken unto him.” Recognizing the eternal high priest of the whole world is a step further.
5:6 As he also says in another place, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”
Heb 7:1 ”Now this man Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham and blessed him when he was returning from slaughtering the kings. 2 To him Abraham gave a tenth of everything. In the first place, his name means “king of righteousness,” and then he is also king of Salem [Jerusalem], that is, “king of peace.”
Indeed, Jerusalem is sometimes called “Salem” Psa 76:2 ”And His [God’s] tabernacle is in Salem, And His habitation in Zion.”
Heb 7:3 He has no father, mother, or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life. Like the Son of God, he continues to be a priest forever.
ἱερεύς hiereús, from G2413; a priest (literally or figuratively):—(high) priest. According to my interpretation, Melchizedek, “who continues to be a priest forever” (j. 7:3) does not mean a high priest.
Melchizedek was born and also died. He is waiting for resurrection in his tomb and is not in heaven like Jesus Christ. Some scholars believe that Melchizedek was Jesus. The Bible says Melchizedek was a priest, but the Bible does not mean he was a high priest. This is a very significant revelation of the Bible. Therefore Jesus cannot be Melchizedek because Jesus is not an ordinary priest but the High Priest of the eternal priesthood. Christ is forever the high priest of God, and there can be no two high priests of equal value. Instead, there are many priests. A Melchizedek can be a priest forever in the new world to come. Only Christ is the High Priest forever.
Aaronic Priesthood (or Levitical Priesthood)
Before the Levitical priesthood came into effect, the head of the family served as a priest in his own family.God appointed Aaron, Israel’s first high priest, to his office. This happened about 1400 BC. Heb 5:4 ”No one takes this honor upon himself, but he is called to it by God, just as Aaron was.” Aaron was descended from Levi, the third eldest son of Jacob.
The office of the high priest passed from father to the eldest son in the family unless he died or became unworthy, as happened to Aaron’s two eldest sons, Nadab and Abihu. “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in them; and they put incense on it and brought strange fire before Jehovah, which He had not commanded them. And fire went out from before Jehovah and consumed them; and they died before Jehovah (Lev 10:1-2).
They did not obey God’s command, but sinned and brought in strange, abominable fire before God. The fire of the Lord came out from heaven and consumed them. (3 Moos 10:1-2).
As we read the Old Testament, we learn that God was exceedingly harsh and insisted on strict observance of His commandments. In addition to the detailed regulations concerning the above high priest, I remember an example from the people of Israel wandering in the wilderness: a man collected twigs for fire on the Sabbath. Moses and Aaron imprisoned him but did not know what kind of punishment they would impose. Num 15:35 says: “And Jehovah said to Moses, The man shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.”
Today we live in Christ’s New Covenant, which is based on forgiveness and grace. Judgment will not come immediately, and man will have time to repent and be forgiven for his sins. During the Old Testament, the blood of the sacrificial animal would have been required. The blood of Christ timelessly covers all sins and makes it possible to forgive them.
God gave precise instructions (Exo 28) on the high priest’s costume. On the front of the priest’s headgear was a glossy plate of pure gold and had the words “Holiness to the Lord” graved on it. The breastplate was the most expensive part of the high priest’s costume. It was rectangular in shape with twice its length but folded twice to form a square. Folding twice made a kind of pocket. Moses kept in the breast pocket plate Urim and Thummim (Lev 8:8).
Urim and Thummim. What the urim and thummim actually were, is unknown. Their have been used to ask God for an answer. The question and the answer received must have been so that the answer could be either negative or affirmative. When the problems of the whole nation arose, the High Priest approached Jehovah with the help of the Urim and the Thummim. As an example, in Num 27:21: ”And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask for him according to the judgment of the Urim before Jehovah. At his mouth they shall go out, and at his mouth they shall come in, he and all the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation.”
We do not know what kind of questions God was asked during the OT, but in the New Testament the apostles asked God which one of the two candidates should be elected as a new member to replace Judas Iscariot. When Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, he hang himself because of the pain of his conscience. There were eleven apostles. According to the Acts, the remaining disciples gathered between the resurrection of Jesus and the Pentecost to choose a new apostle. The new member had to be a witness of Jesus’ resurrection and had to be with the disciples for such a long time that he knew Jesus’ work thoroughly. The students nominated two people, Joseph Barsabbas, called Justus, and Matthias. Of these two, the new apostle was chosen by lot. The lot fell on Matthias, who became the new twelfth apostle.
Apt 1:23 And they set two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias, 24 And having prayed, they said, You, Lord, knower of all hearts, show which one You chose from these two, 25 o receive the share of this ministration and apostleship, from which Judas, by transgression, did fall, to go on to his proper place; ” 26 and they gave their lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
In the coming world, when Christ has established his Millennial kingdom, we do not need to use Urim and Thummim to get an answer from God. Isaiah writes 65:24: ”And it will be, before they call, I will answer. While they are speaking, then I will hear.”
The high priest’s clothing was by no means the only thing God controlled. Further restrictions were imposed on the high priest: Lev 21:14 ordered:”He shall not take a widow, or one put away, or a polluted one, a harlot, but he shall take a virgin of his own people for a wife.” – The high priest could not touch the dead body because touching would have contaminated him. He had to take care of his hair and he couldn’t get his clothes torn. The priests were subject to the ordinances that they should not have any injuries listed in the Bible. Lev 21:18 ”For no man in whom there is a blemish shall draw near, a blind man, or one lame, or disfigured, or deformed, 19 or a brokenfooted man, or a brokenhanded man, 20 or one humpbacked, or one emaciated, or with a spot in his eye, or a scurvy one, or one scabbed, or one with crushed testicles.”
A peculiar and challenging to understand regulation was about cities of refuge. Num 35:25 provided the following: ”And the congregation shall deliver the manslayer out of the avenger of blood’s hand. And the congregation shall return him to the city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the high priest dies, he who was anointed with the holy oil.” – According to this, the killer was safe while living in a safe city, “until the death of the high priest anointed with holy oil”
Anointing with holy oil.
The priests’ sanctifying work took seven days. The following day, for the first time, the reconciliation procedures were performed, which were ordered to be celebrated annually on the 10th day of Tišrì. The people of Israel needed to be cleansed of their sins, as they had previously made themselves an idol, a golden calf, after Moses had stayed on Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments of God. Meanwhile, 2 Moos 32:4: ” And he [Aaron] took them from their hand and formed it with an engraving tool. And he made it a casted calf. And they said, These are your gods, O Israel, who made you go up from the land of Egypt. ” The people of Israel have celebrated ‘Yom Kippur’ every year in the autumn 10th day of Tišrì.
In fact, I thought that Jesus Christ would be born on the Day of Yom Kippur. His exact birthday is unknown, and it is by no means December 25th. Atonement day earlier in the fall would be at least metaphorically appropriate in this sense.
God gave detailed instructions on many things about the High Priesthood: Moses was to deliver Aaron’s anointing by pouring holy anointing oil on his head. Lev 8:10 And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle, and all in it, and sanctified them; 12 And he poured of the anointing oil on the head of Aaron, and anointed him, to sanctify him. In addition to the anointing, a young bullock was sacrificed as a sin offering.
The high priests who followed Aaron were called “anointed.” Christ is also spoken of as anointed by God. (Act 3:18, 4:26, Rev 12:10)
Jehovah himself commanded Moses, showing what a blessing should be like; Num 6:23 ” Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, In this way you shall bless the sons of Israel, saying to them:
24 Jehovah bless you and keep you;
25 Jehovah cause His face to shine on you, and be gracious to you;
26 Jehovah lift up His face to you, and give you peace.
The guidance given by God Himself is very reminiscent of the present blessing of the Lord. By the time of King David’s reign, the number of priests had grown so large in the 400s BC that the priests were organized in as many as 24 divisions. (1 Chr 24th chap).
At the beginning of the Aaronic Priesthood, the priestly service of God was very carefully regulated. If they were not strictly observed, it might have happened as to the two sons of Aaron; God stroke them to death. The profession of a priest began to appear dangerous to many. On the other hand, the Bible tells us how God gave his approval to the sacrifice offered on the altar: Lev 9:24 ”And fire came out from before Jehovah and consumed the burnt offering and the fat on the altar. And all the people saw and cried aloud, and fell on their faces.”
In the New Testament we can read a similar account of God’s punishment. Ananias and Sapphira had decided to sell their farm and give the money to the church. However, they concealed part of the purchase price. Act 5:3 Peter asked, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you should lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back some of the money you got for the land? 4 As long as it remained unsold, wasn’t it your own? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? So how could you have conceived such a thing in your heart? You did not lie to men but to God!” 5 And hearing these words, Ananias fell down and expired. And great fear came on all those hearing these things.
Moses was left to act as a prophet and to write the Pentateuch, though there are claims (as concerning almost all Bible books) that some of them were written by someone else, such as a student. Those who make such claims are probably unfamiliar with Ivan Panin’s fifty years of research on the Bible code, which Panin interprets to be the seal of God from the divine source of Scripture.
Below I will write about the general priesthood of the people. Already, I say that the five hundred years old concept of the common priesthood of all baptized people is a misinterpretation.
From the Levitical priesthood to the priesthood of Christ
Bible Prophecies of Jesus.
Deu 18:18 I shall raise up a Prophet to them from among their brothers, one like you; and I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak to them all that I shall command Him. – Many other prophecies about Jesus in my article.
Aaron was high priest and a model of Christ. What about Melchizedek? Is not he supposed to be a model of the priesthood of Christ? Perhaps there are two role models. Melchizedek was not the first priest of the Godly ordained priesthood system, but Aaron was. Moses also served as a priest of Israel, but Aaron took his place. Why did God allow Aaron to become the first high priest? It was Aaron who led the rebellion of the people of Israel and the making of the golden calf god while Moses was on the mountain receiving God’s Ten Commandments. God’s action is sometimes surprising: I wrote about apostle Paul who persecuted and killed Christians, and was in his own words, the greatest enemy of Christendom. However, Christ turned him into a faithful servant with one stroke of lightning.
Heb 7:11 ”Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—for on this basis the people received the law—what further need would there be to speak of appointing another kind of priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when a change in the priesthood takes place, there must also be a change in the law.
8 The Holy Spirit was indicating by this that the way into the Holy of Holies had not yet been disclosed as long as the first part of the tabernacle was still standing.
9 This is an illustration of the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered could not make the conscience of the worshiper perfect,
10 since they deal only with food, drink, and various washings, which are required for the body until the time when things would be set right.
11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things that have come, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that was not made by human hands and that is not a part of this creation.
12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood he went into the Holy of Holies once for all and secured our eternal redemption.
13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are unclean purifies them with physical cleansing,
14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works so that we may serve the living God!
The example of the Melchizedek Priesthood showed that the coming Messiah would be both a priest and a king. In his epistle to the Hebrews, Apostle Paul removed all doubts who the prophecy was about, when he spoke of “Jesus, who has become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 6:20, 5:10). In about 33 AD the road to the most Holy was announced! Many Jews did not believe it but continued the vain and useless temple service. The Levitical priesthood and the law of the Old Covenant for the Israelites were and are worthless. The law does not perfect anyone, and the Israelis could not follow it perfectly. The sacrifice of an animal as a sin offering does not correspond to the complete sacrifice of Christ.
As in the case of Melchizedek, the office of the High Priest of Christ combines both kingship and priesthood. This is also shown by the fact that Christ has a throne like God. God has yet explicitly given him all power in heaven and on earth. Saying all power means the same power as God Himself. As New Jerusalem descends to earth, God and Christ will appear together on their thrones. The power and priesthood of Christ will continue forever.
Heb 6:19 ”We have this hope as an anchor for our souls, firm and secure, which reaches behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone on our behalf, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Bible does not tell about the Melchizedek nationality, nor its origin or descendants. The Bible could give an inspiring example of Jesus Christ, who is sworn by God, “a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek (Heb 6:20).”
Melchizedek was a symbol of Christ (the Messiah), for there is no genealogical record of Melchizedek or his ancestors in the Bible. The Bible says in Hebrews 7: 3, “He has no father, mother, or genealogy, and has neither beginning of days nor end of life, but naturally he had a father and a mother.” Unlike Jesus, there is no genealogy of Melchizedek. Therefore, the Bible says that he has no father, no mother, no family. Neither has he the beginning of days, because it is not known when he was born and when he died.
Therefore Melchizedek is compared to Jesus; Jesus’ secular ancestors and his birth as Mary’s son are registered in the Bible in time. In the thoughts and plans of Jesus’ Heavenly Father, Jehovah, Jesus was before the creation of the world. Similarly, God had planned the role of the apostles in Jesus’ work. Rom 8:28 “But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to purpose; 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
The Old Law covenant and its Levitical priesthood did not attain perfection, but fell far short of it. Therefore, a new priesthood was needed according to the order of Melchizedek. As the priesthood changed, so did the covenant. It was replaced by Christ’s New Covenant, also called the Better Covenant; Heb 8:6 ” But now He has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as he is a mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” – The Ten Commandments remained in effect, but the Law and the Levitical Priesthood and the old Law were abolished together with the 613 ordinances, i.e. ‘mizvot’
The New Covenant required Jesus Christ to be the High Priest because he is the eternal Son of God and the Savior, who gave his life as a sacrifice for the salvation of all sinners who believe in him. Christ’s New Covenant is better than the previous one because Heb 7:21 ”or they have become priests without the swearing of an oath, but He with the swearing through Him who says to Him, “ The Lord swore, and will not repent, You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek;” 22 In this way, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.”
Christ redeemed us from under the law and the Law covenant so that we could be as children and could call God the Father, Abba. Joh 1:17 17 For while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Rom 10:4 For Christ is an end of law for righteousness to every one who is believing.
Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,
5 in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as his children.
6 Now because you are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to cry out, “Abba! Father!”
7 So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if you are a child, then you are also an heir through God.
Paul describes the New covenant man in his letter to Titus: 1:14 and not pay attention to Jewish myths or commands given by people who reject the truth.
15 Everything is clean to those who are clean, but nothing is clean to those who are corrupt and unbelieving. Indeed, their very way of thinking and their consciences have been corrupted.
16 They claim to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, and disqualified to do anything good.
Bible instructions for food.
As an example of the central issue of daily life in the New Covenant; God’s original guide to eating was: Gen 9:3 ”Every creeping thing which is alive shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green plant. 4 But you shall not eat flesh in its life, its blood. – however, among 613 Mitzvot’s are listed animals that were not suitable for eating.
The ban on eating foods containing blood is still in force in the New Covenant: Act 15:20 ”But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and blood.”
– The Old Testament and the New Testament prohibit the eating of flesh where blood has not been removed. The reason is respect for life. The Bible says that in the blood, there is the soul of an animal, that is, its life, its life force.
Paul instructs: Rom 14:2 One person believes that he can eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 The person who eats must not despise the person who does not eat, and the person who does not eat must not criticize the person who eats, for God has accepted him. Rom 14:20 Do not destroy God’s work for the sake of food. Everything is clean, but it is wrong to make another person fall because of what you eat.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known to be accurate in avoiding blood. In fact, I interpreted the Bible to mean to avoid blood, meaning to avoid blood-containing foods. Jehovah’s Witnesses also avoid blood transfusions, that is, the transfer of one person’s blood to another, for example, during surgery. Of course, it is understandable that during the Apostles the possibility of blood transfusions was unknown. Does Act 15:20 end of verse “and from blood” mean just this prospective use of blood? I do not think that is the case. I justify my point as follows: Avoiding blood, and specifically in food, was due to respect for life because the animal, as well as human vitality, is, according to the Bible, in the blood. So wouldn’t it be respectful of human life if we were to preserve the life God gave to man by transferring to him the life of another, his blood? Wouldn’t that just be to honor the life God has given?
The New Covenant of Jesus.
On the day of Pentecost 33, the covenant ceased and the “better covenant”, the new covenant, came into effect. God made this covenant the same day of Pentacost the Holy Ghost was poured. Heb 8:13 In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.
During the apostolic period, there was no division between laypersons and priests. In the coming millennial kingdom of Christ, there will at first be even Gentiles who have not yet heard of Christ, let alone believe in him. Gradually knowledge and faith increase, and the rulers with Christ teach the people. According to my interpretation, there are no professional priests in this kingdom, but the ruling group of saints declare the kingdom of God and Jesus Christ as its sovereign king. No professional priests, bishops, cardinals, or popes are needed.
God made Jesus both Lord and Christ (Act 2:36) and according to Heb 5:5, God’s high priest. ”In the same way, Christ did not take upon himself the glory of being a high priest. No, it was God who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.”
Heb 5:1 For every high priest selected from among men is appointed to officiate on their behalf in matters relating to God, that is, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.
Heb 8:1 Now the main point in what we are saying is this: we do have this kind of high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord and not by any human.. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, this high priest had to offer something too. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not even be a priest, because other men offer the gifts prescribed by the law.,… 6 But now He has gotten a more excellent ministry, also by so much as he is a mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.
Christ proclaimed a New, Better Covenant, and with it a new kind of priesthood that does not need the blood of animals as sacrifices:
Ordinary high priests offered gifts and sacrifices for the sins of men. Jesus Christ is, according to Joh 8:6, the Mediator of a better covenant, which is established on better promises. According to the New Covenant, we do not need sacrifices for our sins because Christ has given his life as a one-time sacrifice for every human being. We are forgiven our sins by repenting and asking for forgiveness.
Already at the time of Moses the Israelites said: Exo 20:19 “And they said to Moses, You speak with us, and we will hear. And let us not speak with God, that we not die. This historical background must have been forgotten by the time of the Apostolic Age; Jesus Christ had proclaimed the New Covenant, and he was the High priest of the covenant. There were no professional priests in the churches. Everyone had the right to speak and express their views on issues of faith. Why is this principle superseded? Perhaps the reason was that both internal and external divisions were threatening, and different sects were gaining ground. It was felt that the church needed a stronger organization, and therefore a clergy profession was formed. The Catholic Church was at the forefront of this development until the Middle Ages. Then the Protestant churches brought their doctrinal challenges to inter-church competition.
Martin Luther’s idea of a common priesthood in the early 1600s was that all baptized were priests. This opinion has been specifically justified by 1 Pet 2:9 and 10: ” 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. 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.” Luther opposed the Catholic view, which emphasized the ecclesiastical structure of the priesthood, from priests to bishops, and the pope on the top. Pope was the Holy Father and the supreme leader of the whole Church. Unlike Luther, Catholics saw that there had to be a priesthood between sinners and God. The priests receive confessions and grant people absolution and perform baptism and other sacraments.
Even today, the Lutheran Church supports the notion that the general priesthood means that every baptized Christian belongs to the general (common) priesthood. I have previously examined the question of whether the baptism rescues, and my opinion is that baptism alone saves nobody. Post-baptism life, faith, and works of faith linked to God’s grace, save. I may ask: Should not the priest fulfill the requirement of faith and the truth of the Bible? How could baptism alone connect a person to the general priesthood? The importance of baptism has been greatly emphasized in different denominations. Baptism is “asking God for a clear conscience” (1 Pet 3:21), not an attachment to the priesthood.
In spite of the general (common) priesthood recognized by the Church, it does not include the administration of the sacraments. It is limited to ordained priests who require a degree in theology. The laypeople are entitled to prayer at church service, spiritual teaching, and pastoral care.
In spite of the common priesthood recognized by the Church, it does not include the administration of the sacraments. It is limited to ordained priests who are required a degree in theology. The lay people are entitled to prayer at congregation service, spiritual teaching, and pastoral care.
The Bible says nothing about the general priesthood. I do not believe in the priesthood of the people as taught by Luther or modern churches. According to my interpretation, the priesthood is an essential part of the reign with Christ in the Millennial kingdom. It is limited to a so-called ‘small flock’ that always follows Christ.
The following verses have been used to testify to the universal priesthood of Christianity.
1 Pet 2:5 you, too, as living stones, are building yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, so that you may offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 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.
Rev 1:6 and made us kings and priests to his God and Father, to him is the glory and the power to the ages of the ages! Amen.
Ilm 5:10 and made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign over the earth.“
20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.
Who, or which group of people, is mentioned in the Bible verses above? Or, I ask, who is NOT being talked about? What is NOT said in the Bible?
1 Pet 2 chapters refer to evolution in the future to build up a spiritual house and a holy priesthood; a chosen family, a royal priesthood, chosen and called to the marvelous light of God. Before the creation of the world, God had known and chosen people for different tasks. They may well have been baptized, but they still had to be built up as the holy priesthood.
According to the teaching of Peter, all “you who believe” in the future (a people to be) will be a people who will build up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. You are God’s chosen family, royal priesthood, holy tribe, a holy nation. Verse 10 reminds you that you were not a people before, but now you are a people of God. It is not about natural Israel, but about the peoples of many nations who used to be pagans. By faith, they have become God’s people or God’s Israel. God’s Israel includes all people who believe in Jesus and confess him as Lord. All believers have the opportunity to compete in the faith and aspire to the ‘royal priesthood’.
Royal priesthood compared to the general priesthood.
Rev 1:5 ”and from Jesus Christ, the witness, the faithful one, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has freed [has washed] us from our sins by his blood. 6 and has made us a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.”
Rev 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy are you to receive the scroll, and to open its seals, because you were slain, and by your blood purchased [people] for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 You made us a kingdom and priests for our God, and we shall reign on the earth.”
Rev 1: 5 and 5:10 testify that the people concerned in these verses are made a kingdom and a priesthood to God and they will reign on earth. Revelation 20:6 reveals who these verses are talked about: ”How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.”
The question is by no means of being baptized. Many have not been baptized at all. They are the “saints of Christ” and co-rulers who reign with Christ as kings and priests in his Millennial kingdom. They will be priests of Christ, and they will rule.
They have not been priests and they are not priests if they are currently alive. It is a question of a later part in the kingdom of Christ.
What I have written above, should encourage all Christians to build up their faith, so they could build their lives towards the future great prize i.e. the first resurrection. Those who achieve it, will also be priests of Christ.
Who will form the royal priesthood?
What is this group of chosen generation that is discussed in the verses above; “the Holy Nation,” “the royal priesthood”? They are those who believe in Jesus Christ. The apostolic people are dead in their graves, but modern-day believers also belong to this “chosen family,” “God’s people.” Isaiah calls them “The Holy People” (Isa 62:12 KJV). They are true Believers out of every Tribe and Tongue and People and Nation. They form the priesthood and “will rule with him [Christ] for a thousand years.”
Not all believers automatically join this group. They are chosen by God and have been tried and found faithful throughout their lives. They are participants in the first resurrection.
Paul also talks about them when he talks about the first resurrection and the related rapture.
1 The 4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have died.
17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
1 Cor 15:51 Let me tell you a secret. Not all of us will die, but all of us will be changed , 52 in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the sound of the last trumpet. Indeed, that trumpet will sound, and then the dead will be raised never to decay, and we will be changed.
What does Paul say about believers becoming? Believers will change into spirit beings because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and what decays cannot inherit what does not decay. (v. 50). As the last trumpet sounds, the dead in Christ rise first and then those who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds with them to meet the Lord in the air (1 The 4:17) when Christ comes to earth for the second time to establish the Millennial kingdom.
As the priests and rulers of that kingdom under Christ, this group of the first resurrection has been raised. The Bible tells us Rev 14:1, ”Then I looked, and there was the lamb standing on Mount Zion! With him were 144,000 people who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Verse 4 explains that ”they follow the lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from among humanity as the first fruits for God and the lamb.”
I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000. Those who were sealed were from every tribe of Israel: (Rev 7:4). A little earlier, Revelation explains the same thing in Rev 5: 9 ”They sang a new song: ”You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered. With your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation. – This “little flock” (Luk 12:32) “royal priesthood” is actually quite large, 144,000 believers. There is no consensus as to whether this number is an exact number or a symbolic number. It is important that this dominant priesthood can be reached as long as one has a strong faith. The ‘flock’ is assembled from ‘all languages and nations and peoples’ and not just the twelve tribes of Israel. The Bible tells us that this 144,000 ‘small flock’ of twelve tribes of Israel, each of 12,000 people.
I interpret the description of the number as symbolic. Saints of the small flock are Israelis. The 12 Jacobic tribes listed in the Bible are not correctly recorded. Second, the Bible says that they are assembled from “all languages and nations and peoples.” Third; all tribes should be treated equally. Could each tribe be of equal value to join this group?
This, too, is one of the countless passages in the Bible, where it is a matter of a figurative expression. Paul, above all, explains Judaism in Rom 2:29, “a person is a Jew inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by a written law. That person’s praise will come from God, not from people.”
However, they will work with Christ, the High Priest of God, as rulers of the earth for a thousand years as Christ’s Millennial kingdom rules. Today, in this world, we have a separate clergy with many different titles and degrees. During the apostolic period, there were no professional priests, and this ideal system shattered as the Catholic Church became stronger. Probably all the major Christian church organizations have serious problems.
The Bible urges: 2 Cor 6:17 “Get away from them and separate yourselves from them, declares the Lord, “and don’t touch anything unclean. Then I will welcome you.” Rev 18:4 “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you don’t participate in her sins and suffer from her plagues.” – I do not urge anyone to leave his church without serious reflection. One should not separate because the Church has a flamboyant priesthood leadership. Or that the worship services are stiffened by their formulas. I consider the doctrine of the Church to be the most important thing. Is it biblical? When you ask yourself different questions and answer them honestly, you might find a solution. However, many continue year after year in a church where he may have been associated even as a baby, and is blind to serious false doctrines or downright wrongdoings in his church.
Jehovah, our God, made Jesus Lord and Christ according to the Bible (Acts 2:36) and gave him eternal life; Joh 5:26 ”For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Mat 28:18). Jesus Christ gave his own blood for sacrifice and redemption from sins. During the Old Covenant, the priest sacrificed the animal’s blood for the redemption of sins – Christ sacrificed his own innocent blood for redemption, which need not be renewed as the animal sacrifice. The redemption has been in effect for nearly two thousand years and is still there for anyone who believes in Jesus and apologizes for his sins.
Heb 4:14 ” Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us continue to hold on to our confession.” What does “passing through the heavens” mean? The tabernacle and throne of God are said to be in the highest, tenth heaven, according to an Apocrypha text. So Jesus ascended to the highest heaven to God, who let Jesus sit on the throne on his right hand and gave him all the power that God himself has.
2 Piet 1:3 ”His [Christ’s] divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the full knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. 4 Through these he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, seeing that you have escaped the corruption that is in the world caused by evil desires.
What does Peter mean when he says that Christ has given us the most magnificent promises, and that according to these promises, we would be partakers of the divine nature and be saved?
The word divine, Gr. θεῖος theîos; from G2316; godlike (neuter as noun, divinity):—divine, godhead.
From here, we can get to human creation and start exploring it from there, no further.
Man image of God
God created man in his own image. In the past, God had already created angels. Then God created the earth and the world. The Bible tells how angels would rejoice in God’s creation. Gen 1:27 And God created the man in His own image; in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female. Job 38:7 when the morning stars [angels] sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
What does it mean to be God’s image? It does not mean physical nature. God is spirit, and man is ‘flesh.’ The first people were in the flesh, but one can also get the spirit body. The people of the first resurrection are the first to do so. Paul, in his Corinthians epistle tells us how the dead in Christ are raised first, and then those of Christ who are alive, will change. Changing means that they change into spirit bodies because “flesh and blood is not able to inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor 15:50). These two groups of ascenders form the ‘little flock’ described in the Bible, who comes to meet Christ in the clouds and becomes rulers with Christ in the Millennial kingdom.
In 2 Peter, he states that Christ’s divine power was bestowed upon them, etc. Christ thus has divine power at his disposal. In the next verse, Peter hopes that through these promises, “you will be partakers of the divine nature.” Do saved people receive divine nature for themselves in the kingdom of God because they are images of God? And do they get divine power at their disposal?
My answer is: Yes.
Jesus, while on earth, said to his disciples that if they had even a little faith, they could move the mountain from its place: Mat 17:20 He told them, “Because of your lack of faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
In the New World, those who enter there will be God’s co-workers:1 Cor 3:9 ”For we are God’s co-workers. You are God’s farmland and God’s building.” – Can’t God’s co-workers, who are made in the image of God, really have divine nature and divine power?
Christ comes with a great multitude of angels. 1 John 3:2 tells us that ”Beloved, now, children of God are we, and it was not yet manifested what we shall be, and we have known that if he may be manifested, like him we shall be, because we shall see him as he is;” The Bible describes the nature of Christ as glorious. (Rev 1:14-16) “his hair were white like wool, in fact, as white as snow. His eyes were like flames of fire.” What kind of spirit body each receives is not essential. The essential thing is that man returns to the image of God that God created man.
Among the resurrected, there are with certainty 12 Apostles, because Christ has promised them that they may sit with Christ on the throne and rule over the twelve tribes of Israel. King David is also among the resurrected because he is the king of all Israel. The other resurrected are the ‘royal priesthood’, who reign with Christ, even if necessary, with a scepter of iron.
A thousand years later, there is another resurrection and the final judgment. All people, except the saints of the first resurrection, the royal priesthood of Christ, must attend the final judgment. They got their share in the first resurrection because God had tried and disciplined them already in their lives so that they would not be judged with the world. (1 Cor 11:32) Gr. κατακρίνω katakrinō “Now, while we are being judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined lest we be condemned along with the world.” Heb 12:6 ”For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he punishes [whips] every son he accepts.” This is natural because they are qualified to be co-rulers with Christ and even to judge angels.
Heb 7:26 We need such a high priest—one who is holy, innocent, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens, 27 He has no need to offer sacrifices every day like those high priests, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he sacrificed himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.
The superiority of Jesus Christ as High Priest.
When Christ became a man of flesh and blood like his “brethren,” he was subjected to a profound trial: he suffered all kinds of resistance, persecution, and ultimately painful death. It is said of him: ”Heb 5:8 Son though he was, he learned obedience through his sufferings, 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,”
Paul explains the benefit to us of trying Jesus in this way: ”Heb 2:18 “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” – Those who ask for help can be sure that they will receive mercy and compassion. Paul says, 4:15 ” For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
On Pentecost, this covenant became effective as the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus anointed the disciples.
Apt 2:3 ” They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them that ability.” Jesus Christ promised his Apostles: Luk 22:29 ”And I appoint to you, as my Father did appoint to me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit down on thrones to govern the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Rev 1:4 From John to the seven churches in Asia. May grace and peace be yours from the one who is, who was, and who is coming, from the seven spirits who are in front of his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the witness, the faithful one the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To the one who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and has made us a kingdom, priests for his God and Father, be glory and power forever and ever! Amen. Rev 3:21 ”To the one who conquers I will give a place to sit with me on my throne, just as I have conquered and have sat down with my Father on his throne.”
Rev 5:9 ” They sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals, because you were slaughtered. With your blood you purchased people for God from every tribe, language, people, and nation.10 You made them a kingdom and priests for our God, and they will reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voices of many angels, the living creatures, and the elders surrounding the throne. They numbered ten thousands times ten thousand and thousands times thousands.”
Rev 20:6 How blessed and holy are those who participate in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them. They will be priests of God and Christ, and will rule with him for a thousand years.
Phl 3:10 says: ”To know him what his resurrection power is like and what it means to share in his sufferings by becoming like him in his death,” Paul and Timothy wrote this way to the Philippians. Many Apostles and their contemporaries were subjected to a violent death like Christ. Its reward was, according to Paul, to become like Christ.
Exo 19:5 And now if you will surely listen to My voice, and will keep My covenant, you shall become a special treasure to Me above all the nations, for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall become a kingdom of priests for Me, a holy nation.“ – How did the people of Israel keep the covenant with God? Already in the book of Genesis, chapter 32 tells how Aaron the High Priest made a golden god shaped like a calf to the Israelites, when Moses was up on the mountain to receive God’s two tables of testimony. Giving up on the prayers of Moses, God’s mind was at peace as Moses reminded what God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (v. 32:14)
However, the Aaronic Branch priesthood was to remain only until came the greater priesthood it exemplified. Heb 8:6, ” However, Jesus has now obtained a ministry that is as superior to theirs as the covenant he mediates is founded on better promises.. 7 For if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second one.” It would last till the end of the old Law covenant and until the new covenant would enter into force. Heb 8:13 ” In speaking of a “new” covenant, he has made the first one obsolete, and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear.”
Heb 7:11 “Now if perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—for on this basis the people received the law—what further need would there be to speak of appointing another kind of priest according to the order of Melchizedek, not one according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when a change in the priesthood takes place, there must also be a change in the law. 13 For the person we are talking about belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is obvious that our Lord was a descendant of Judah, and Moses said nothing about priests coming from that tribe. 15 This point is even more obvious in that another priest who is like Melchizedek has appeared.”
Only a minority of Jews received Christ. Paul wonders in his Roman epistle whether God has forsaken his people. Paul assures you Rom 1:1 “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, having been separated to the good news of God 11:2 God has not rejected his people whom he chose long ago.”
God had warned Israel of his infidelity through his prophet Hosea hundreds of years earlier: Hos 4:6 My people are cut off for lack of knowledge. Because you rejected the knowledge, I also rejected you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will forget your sons, even I.” Jesus said to the Jews of his day, Mat 21:43 “That is why I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce fruit for it.” Jesus Christ acknowledged the existence and mission of the Israeli priesthood because he was still under the law and the Law Covenant and acted upon its commandments while on earth. E.g. Mat 8:4 Then Jesus said to him [the leper], “See to it that you don’t speak to anyone. Instead, go and show yourself to the priest, and then offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded as proof to the authorities.”
In the New World to come
In the coming New World, after the Last Judgment, those who get there can enjoy the peace and blessings of God.
The description of the New World at the end of Revelation is, to a great extent, a figurative expression. I underlined these points.
But first, an important definition: only those written on the Lamb’s Book of Life can access it. These are the same people who, based on the entries in the Book, have received a favorable judgment at the last judgment. Christ has approved them.
Another essential definition: Are the above saved in the spirit body or the flesh? Of those who were saved, those who were partakers in the first resurrection are definitely in the spirit. Participants of the second resurrection are considered by many to be in the flesh because the Bible speaks of “the resurrection of the body.”
I interpreted the situation so that these are also in the spirit bodies. Their spirits have been “stored” with God in heaven. In many ways, there is nothing left of their earthly bodies. Of course, it would be possible for God to give them in the resurrection carnal bodies to which their spirits would unite. Another solution may also be possible: survivors can appear in both bodies, depending on the situation. Christ himself was able to pass through locked doors, appear at any time, anywhere. He was a spirit, but he also had a body that showed traces of the crucifixion.
Ilm 21:23 The city doesn’t need any sun or moon to give it light, because the glory of God gave it light, and the lamb was its lamp.
24 The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
25 Its gates will never be shut by day, because there won’t be any night there.
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.
Ilm 22:3 There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him
4 and see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
5 There will be no more night, and they will not need any light from lamps or the sun because the Lord God will shine on them. They will rule forever and ever.
Who are those in verse 22:5 who rule forever and ever? God and Christ, of course, because their thrones are there. Are the Saints of the Millennial kingdom reigning with Christ still involved in the reign? During their reign, the Bible described their rule as “iron scepter.” When all who are saved are faithful children of God, there is no need for an iron scepter. Is there any reason at all, when all who are saved are one in Christ and have divine nature?
The word translated for ruling is Greek βασιλεύω basileuō, of which the version Basileus, known as king, is familiar to everyone. Strong’s G936 defines not only to rule, but also metaph. to exercise the highest influence, to control. Are all saved priests like kings who have the enormous powers and hence the power of influence, who are brethren recognized by Jesus and co-workers of God. Would a better translation be: The Lord God will enlighten them, and they will do great works forever and ever.
“The kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.” I’ve been under the impression that the kings have during the Millennial kingdom abandoned the traditional kingship, and Christ and the Saints have reigned the world. The glory of the nations has faded, and glory is now given to God and Christ. Treasures of the world no longer have any value.
There is no night. God’s glory illuminates, and its lamp is Christ. This is undoubtedly a figurative expression of a complete change in people’s way of thinking, its brightening, and the disappearance of all sinful and gloomy. By then, the saved part of humanity is again the image of God as God created people. The image of God could be translated ‘God-like’. Angels are called sons of God, but humans are in higher position than the angels.
Both the fiery lake and the second death are figurative expressions. The final judgment is mainly for all people; they are judged according to their deeds. In the Book of Life, which is also a figurative expression, the names of those who are saved, are written.
If there is no name in the book, he will be thrown into the lake of fire forever. This is what the churches have taught, in accordance with the traditional interpretation that the churches have preached for the last two millennia.
I have taken as a starting point the will of God, when I wanted to find out whether the description is a correct interpretation of the Bible. Interpretation is exactly what this is all about. Many argue that no interpretation is needed; all Bible teaching is so clear and literal. But it is not. The Bible and the Revelation, in particular, are full of symbolism and figurative narration.
In my opinion, the following facts are literally true and valid as a starting point for the review:
– God’s will is that everyone will be saved
– God has confirmed through his prophet Isaiah that he will do all his pleasure
– God has planned everything before the world was
– God has produced both good and evil; Satan is his creation in evil and God’s own son, Jesus, whom God has raised to Christ and Lord, is the counterpart of Satan in good
The following points require interpretation:
– Does eternal (aionios, owlam) really mean what we now understand with forever; that is, one that has always been and will always be, without beginning and without end
– Is the lake of fire described in the Bible a concrete lake where fire burns forever
– If in the last judgment someone has been convicted to damnation in a fiery lake, will the judgment be forever?
– Are there Biblical grounds for annihilation or universalism?
So how do I believe today? I must say, after years of contemplating, I had to review my approach especially to the salvation of all.
The will of God is absolute, not conditional. God does not say that “I will save everyone if…” If people repent … or if they do as the Bible teaches, etc., God also assures that he will do his will.
I also think that the words of Greek and Hebrew translated into eternity have been misunderstood. They are tied to time and time period. It is not possible for anyone to explain how long a time it is question of.
I also believe that the fiery lake is a figurative expression, and the sufferings of those who are in it are real, even though it is spiritual, not physical suffering. Spiritual suffering can be as severe as physical suffering. Christians also have to endure the purification of God’s fire; they will be saved ‘as if’ through the fire.
I’m not saying anything definite about annihilation. If someone has been such a bad sinner that has caused tens of millions of deaths, would he not deserve to be completely destroyed, from the presence of God? What did Christ do to such a Christian persecutor? Converted Paul by force and gave an example of what could happen to other unbelieving sinners as a punishment for the last judgment.
What about my attitude to universalism? When I wrote about it a few years ago, I just said briefly that I didn’t believe in universalism. Now I have learned to believe in the will of God, especially when it is expressed indisputably. Should it be written in the Bible in red letters, that other readers of the Bible could believe it and would not go along with the old interpretations of the Church, whose motives have often been the interest and position of the Church instead of God’s truth.
In these writings I have brought out my thoughts of God’s will, to save – if possible – all people.
The starting point should be kept in mind: Jesus Christ and his saints have dominated the kingdom of God on earth for a thousand years. Mankind has lived free from the plots of Satan and his demons. People have all heard the teaching of God’s word. They have lived longer lives than older generations, and thus they have had the full freedom to decide whether they believe in Jesus Christ as God’s son and King of the whole world. Now, we could say, that people are finally free to choose.
What happens when the reign of a thousand years of happiness, joy of peace and health ends? Satan and his angels will be released. Satan succeeds in agitating a huge number of soldiers from among mankind. They do not succeed, and Satan is imprisoned, his troops destroyed. Satan is thrown into the fiery lake. According to Scripture, the lake of fire was primarily devoted to Satan, but many others are thrown there according to the Bible.
I have tried to ponder the possibility that God really would execute his will and would also allow the major sinners, who have ‘earned’ the punishment in the fiery lake, to be saved. For the sake of clarity, I say: this is understandable for those who have got the worst starting points for their lives. This is what I was thinking in the writing “Why Has God Given People a Different Amount of Faith?” One might think that God takes note of the weaker starting points of these people and would also allow these to be cleansed by fire. But what about these people, who have lived under a thousand-year reign? Nobody has misled them for sin. Their decisions regarding faith have been entirely theirs, without the harassment of Satan. If, in the end, they joined the forces of Satan to fight against Christ and his saints, they made their own decision, according to their own free choice. If God had mercy on those who have not previously joined the Church of Christ because the choice has not been free because of Satan and all other influential factors, how can God forgive those who voluntarily associate with Satan’s troops? I understand, if God punishes such people with a hard hand, perhaps he will prune them at once and for good. However, I cannot believe that even the worst of all sinners would be tortured forever and ever.