“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not parish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe, is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather then light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” - John 3:16-21
The words to that passage posted above are spoken very plainly, yet through hardness of heart, there are many who simply refuse to understand it. I have been deeply grieved to find that there is a growing movement among professing Christians toward universalism, and for that reason I have found it necessary to post this particular page. I want everyone to understand that I am only deeply concerned! My attempt is not to bash universalists… I am only concerned for them, and that is why I am writing this page. Universalism teaches that everyone will be saved, yet the Bible clearly reproves this notion time and time again. 1 Corinthians 6:9 says “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived…”
Aside from that, the Bible has repeatedly warned us of an unbearable eternity without God. These warnings have been given to us in verses such as Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29, John 3:36, Matthew 25:41-46, Mark 9:47-48, Revelation 14:9-11, Revelation 20:15, Revelation 21:8, Matthew 13:24-43, Matthew 13:47-50, Jude 1:6-7 and 2 Thessalonians 1:9.
Before I go on any further, with love for each and everyone who may be reading this, I ask you to please understand that I do not wish eternal punishment on anyone… in fact, that is the very reason I am writing this page. I do not want you to feel condemned, but I do want you to realize that you don’t have to feel condemned! God does not wish eternal punishment on anyone either, and that is why He said that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked in Ezekiel 33:11. Furthermore, Lamentations 3:33 says “He does not afflict willingly”. Although it is a righteous thing for God to repay with tribulation, He does not wish that anyone should parish. I will be explaining more about that on this page. I will be explaining that God’s love reaches to a great depth, deeper then we can even fathom, and it goes beyond human love which is often derived from hidden self centered motives.
As one example of God’s love, Hebrews 12:5-10 says “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness”.
That is the kind of love that God has for us. God knows what is needed to bring man into submission to His perfect will, for our own profit. So there is no self centered motives in God’s love, and if you continue reading this page you can find out more about that, but first of all I need to get some other important matters cleared up.
What happens after death?
In the New Testament, the Greek word “Hades” is translated as hell in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word “Sheol” is a word translated as hell in the Old Testament of the King James Bible. In Psalm 16:10 David was making a prophetic declaration concerning the Messiah when he said “You will not leave My soul in Sheol”. That verse was quoted by Peter in Acts 2:27-31, but notice that he used the word “Hades” in his quotation rather then “Sheol”. So Sheol and Hades can only be the same place, the realm of the dead which had to have been occupied with the redeemed as well as the lost since the Messiah was there.
Luke16:19-31 indicates that the lost were in a separate area from the redeemed, because verse 23 says “being in torment in Hades, he lifted up His eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom”, and verse 26 mentioned that there was a great gulf fixed between the two areas. Since the rich man was in torment and Lazarus was in comfort, the part in Hades referred to as “Abraham’s bosom” has to be the “Paradise” that Jesus mentioned to the dieing yet repentant thief on the cross in Luke 23:43. Since Jesus said “Today you will be with me in Paradise,” it is clear that the man would be with Him upon death.
Another Greek word which was translated as hell in the New Testament is “Gehenna”. From the way that this word is used in verses such as Mark 9:43-47, Matthew 18:8-9, and Matthew 10:28, it is clear that only the lost are in the part referred to as Gehenna.
Jesus is now in heaven at the Father’s right hand as mentioned in Acts 7:55-56, and Hebrews 1:3. This is where He was received after His resurrection, as mentioned in Mark 16:19. The Bible also makes it clear that the redeemed are now taken to heaven upon death. In Acts 7:59, when Stephen was being stoned, He called on Jesus and said “receive my spirit” knowing that his life in this world was about to end. Once again, we know that Jesus was received into heaven after His resurrection, so that can only be were Stephen was expecting to go since he was expecting Jesus to receive his spirit.
Furthermore, in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Paul made it clear that He would be “absent from the body and present with the Lord” upon death, and in Philippians 1:21-23 he spoke of his desire to depart from the flesh and “be with Christ”. Also read the Amplified version of Hebrews 12:22-23.
If you have read those verses, it should now be clear that the souls and spirits of the dead in Christ are in heaven, and according to 1 Thessalonians 4:14, Jesus will take them with Him at the rapture. This is when they will then be “raised incorruptible”, as mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:52-53. Clearly, this is the resurrection into the spiritual body which was mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:44.
We must understand that there will be two kinds of resurrections. According to what Jesus said in John 5:28-29, there will be a “resurrection of life” for those who have done good, and a “resurrection of damnation” for those who have done evil. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 describes the resurrection of the dead in Christ. Clearly, the resurrection of those who are in Christ can only be the “resurrection of life” that Jesus was referring to. So what is the resurrection of damnation? That is what I will explain next…
The “Resurrection of Damnation”
Revelation 20:14-15 says “Then death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Some people have argued that the word hell was mistranslated, but even if someone may say that, it does not do away with the resurrection of damnation, because through that passage I just shared and others which I have shared, it becomes clear that this “lake of fire” is the final abode of those who are “not found written in the Book of Life”. This is the same Book of Life also mentioned in Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, etc. Clearly, only the redeemed are in the Book of Life. Revelation 20:10 and Revelation 14:9-11 also make it clear that this “lake of fire” is a place of eternal torment, so it can only be what Jesus referred to as “everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels” in Matthew 25:41.
Since the Scriptures have said that it was “prepared for the devil and His angels,” it is clear that it was never intended for humans in the first place. You see, God only had a grand design for our lives, but fellowship with Him is naturally broken through sin, because the carnal mind is enmity against God as it is explained in Romans 8:6-11.
Daniel 12:2 explains that some will awake to “shame and everlasting contempt”. If they awake to everlasting contempt, it is clear that they must be eternally at enmity with God, and because of this, they can only be separated from Him. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” How can God even be blamed for the eternal consequences when all He wants to do is give us the gift of eternal life?
Man is enticed by his own desires
To everyone reading this, one of the main things I want you to know is that God is love, just as it is said in 1 John 4:8. But although God is a God of love, He is also a God of justice. And although the body is temporary, the soul and spirit of man exist forever. Genesis 2:7 was describing the creation of man when it said “and the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (King James Version). When God made man as a “living soul”, He had nothing but good intentions toward us. Ecclesiastes 7:29 says “Truly, this only I have found: that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”
God could have made us like robots, programmed to do what He wants us to, but this would not be right. We can’t be forced to love God because that would not be love at all, so we can only receive Him by choice. We also must understand that God gives everyone a fair chance to come to Him. Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
God proves His existence through our existence, and through the existence of the rest of His creation. Consider all the beauty and the natural designs in the world; it is already clear that there had to be a creator to design everything. There is just no other logical explanation, and as Romans 1:20 has said, His eternal power and Godhead is also seen. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. But if we do not want to retain God in our knowledge, He can only give us over to the debased mind which we choose over Him (see Romans 1:28-32). That is the condemnation… that the light has come into the world simply to give us a meaningful life, but man loved darkness rather then light.
We also must understand that God is not to blame for any of mans temptations. James 1:13-14 says “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” And In John 15:22 Jesus said “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin”.
In John 3:20 Jesus said “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest His deeds should be exposed”. In order for them to hate the light, they would need to have knowledge of the light in the first place. So God is just, and He does give everyone a fair chance to come to Him. Now that we have that knowledge, we must ask ourselves these questions… if God is just, how can He be expected to accept those who simply refuse His acceptance? How can God forgive those who refuse to admit that they are guilty? Would that even be just? Jesus did die for everyone, but many of us want to be forgiven on a basis that lets us continue in injustice. How is it even possible for a perfect, just and holy God to forgive unless it is on a just basis? If He forgave on an unjust basis wouldn’t that be a complete contradiction of His just character?
The idea that the unjust should be accepted just as they are is only the destructive human idea of love and tolerance, and acceptance, but God’s love goes much deeper. To see what I mean by that, please think about this… if a father truly loves his child, does he let that child do whatever he wants, even if he knows that the child will be destroyed as a result? Certainly not! True love does not let someone destroy themself for their own temporary pleasures… true love rebukes and chastens when it is needed, for our own profit! Please think about that, and once again, strongly consider the words of Hebrews 12:5-10 to see what I am getting at. I will also explain what I am getting at with this next verse.
The purpose of God’s judgment.
In John 12:48 Jesus said “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” If Jesus was to tell us that He will one day go back on His word then there would probably be no order in the world, and it would be even more corrupt then it is now because no one would have to think about God’s judgment… what kind of love would that be? To believe that God would accept those who reject Him would be to undermine His authority, divine nature and His holy and just character.
In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” If He did not mean it, then He would not have said it. So Jesus can be the only firm and just foundation that we have. There can be no second chance on judgment day; if there was, then the Bible would have said so. But on the contrary to that, Revelation 21:27 mentions that only those written in the Lambs Book of Life will enter the New Jerusalem (the final abode of the redeemed). With that in mind, Revelation 22:19 should also be read. When all is said and done, the only thing that matters is if our deeds have been done in God (see John 3:20-21).
Mans heart has always told God, “leave us alone, we will make things better on our own.” So those who reject God are only getting their wish, because God does leave them alone by giving them over to the debased mind, and the empty life which they have chosen over Him. But when eternity comes, the result of this wish is the greatest of all tragedies!
God’s thought’s and ways are very deep
Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” God’s thought’s and way’s are very deep as that verse indicates. Even for those of us who know God, some of God’s way’s will always be beyond our comprehension until we meet Him and see Him as He is. Just read 1 John 3:2 to see what I mean. This next verse also helps explain what I am getting at.
In Psalm 131:1 the psalmist wrote “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty. Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things to profound for me.” If there were things which were still too profound for those whom God had chosen and set apart to write His Word, then this really says a lot about God’s ways!
One of the reasons I used Psalm 131:1 is because it is a great example of true faith. True faith is to believe God even when we don’t fully understand all His ways… it is to acknowledge that there are still things which are to profound for us, even for those of us who are children of God. As for those who don’t acknowledge this, they are the ones who are most likely to be “haughty,” because they are only leaning on there own understanding, and that brings to mind the words of Proverbs 3:5-7. By the time the saints meet God and see Him as He is, there minds will be completely at one with His, and we will understand it all. But for now, faith is enough, because it is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” as it says in Hebrews 11:1.
How can we be sure that God loves us?
According to Revelation 21:1-4, God will wipe every tear from the eyes of His saints when they partake of the New Jerusalem which will descend out of heaven at the end of the age, and there will be no more sorrow or death, or pain. Clearly, this New Jerusalem will be the final abode of the redeemed, were they will be with God forever. So we know that all things will work together for good to those who love God and are the called according to His purpose (See Romans 8:28).
Even though we do not yet fully comprehend all of God’s ways, one thing that we can be sure of is that God loves us, because He has already demonstrated that love. Romans 5:7-8 says “scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus would not have gone through so much brutal suffering if it was not the only way to save us. If you have read through the book of Acts, also consider all of the suffering His apostles went through to bring others to Him. They even put there lives on the line to bring others to Christ. The apostle Paul probably went through more suffering then any of the apostles, (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-28) yet he continued to do God’s will because he knew that the souls were worth saving. If you belong to Christ, then I want you to know that you have nothing to worry about. Romans 8:1-2 says “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh (the body, trying to keep the law in the flesh),but according to the Spirit (The Spirit of Christ living in you). For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” Once you have made this decision you can rest assured that your name is written in the Book of Life. May God bless you and keep you in His loving arms… and to God, who is alone wise, be the glory forever through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Why? By Dave Hunt
Love, Justice and Judgment, by Dave Hunt
Justice, Forgiveness, and Transformation, by Dave Hunt
The Penalty For Sin - Part 1 (One of my articles)
Diluting the Word of God, by Henry Morris
8 Symptoms of False Teaching, by J.C. Ryle
Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell Part One, by Alan W. Gomes
Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell Part Two, by Alan W. Gomes