Hell Is Leaving the Bible Forever
By Gary Amirault
The word “heaven” appears in the Bible hundreds of times. If “Hell” is the fate of those who do not accept Jesus as their Lord, how often do you think God should put it in the Bible Scriptures warning all the citizens of the world the consequences of failing to accept Jesus as their Savior? As least as many times as the word “heaven”? At least once in each book in the Bible? Thousands of times? The FACTS may shock you.
|Number of times “Hell” appears the in text in English Bible Translations|
|Bible Translations||Old Testament||New Testament||Total|
|“Authorized” King James Version||31||23||54|
|New King James Version||19||13||32|
|American Standard Version||0||13||13|
|New American Standard Bible||0||13||13|
|Revised Standard Version||0||12||12|
|New Revised Standard Version||0||12||12|
|Revised English Bible||0||13||13|
|New Living Translation||0||13||13|
|New International Version (best-selling English Bible)||0||14||14|
|New Century Version||0||12||12|
|Wesley’s New Testament (1755)||0||0|
|Scarlett’s N.T. (1798)||0||0|
|The New Testament in Greek and English (Kneeland, 1823)||0||0|
|Young’s Literal Translation (1891)||0||0||0|
|Twentieth Century New Testament (1900)||0||0|
|Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible (reprinted, 1902)||0||0||0|
|Fenton’s Holy Bible in Modern English (1903)||0||0||0|
|Weymouth’s New Testament in Modern Speech (1903)||0||0|
|Jewish Publication Society Bible Old Testament (1917)||0||0|
|Panin’s Numeric English New Testament (1914)||0||0|
|The People’s New Covenant (Overbury, 1925)||0||0|
|Hanson’s New Covenant (1884)||0||0|
|Western N.T. (1926)||0||0|
|NT of our Lord and Savior Anointed (Tomanek, 1958)||0||0|
|Concordant Literal NT (1983)||0||0|
|The N.T., A Translation (Clementson, 1938)||0||0|
|Emphatic Diaglott, Greek/English Interlinear (Wilson, 1942)||0||0|
|New American Bible (1970)||0||0||0|
|Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible (1976)||0||0||0|
|Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, Old Testament (1985)||0||0|
|The New Testament, A New Translation (Greber, 1980)||0||0|
|Christian Bible (1991)||0||0||0|
|World English Bible (in progress)||0||0||0|
|Original Bible Project (Dr. James Tabor, still in translation)||0||0||0|
|Zondervan Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1975)**||0||0|
|Int. NASB-NIV Parallel N.T. in Greek and English (1993)**||0||0|
(* The KJV and the NKJV are the only two of the major translations in the list above to use “Hell” in the Old Testament. Even the NKJV which was only supposed to modernize the English of the traditional “Authorized Version,” the KJV, took a dozen Hell references out. (2 Sam 26:6, Job 11:8, Job 26:6, Ps 16:10, Ps 18:5, Ps 26:13, Ps 116:3. Is 5:14, Is 28:15, Is 57:9, Jonah 2:2). It seems even in the King James Tradition, the use of the word “Hell” is decreasing. The NKJV, RSV, ASV, NRSV, and NASB are all technically revisions of the original King James Bible. From 54 times to 32 and then to 12 or 13 times–who knows–maybe the next revision will bring it in line with the many Bibles which have eliminated the pagan word Hell all together.)
** A note about the Parallel Interlinears. I am referring to the word-for-word translations beneath the Greek in these works, NOT the English versions which are also in these reference works. Obviously the versions in these books (NIV, NASB, and KJV) contain the word Hell as many times as they normally would.
There are other translations like the Companion Bible King James Version, American Standard Version (1901), the Newberry Reference Bible (Still published by Kregal Publications), and the Riverside New Testament by Ballantine (1934) which contain footnotes, marginal readings and appendages which point out that several key Greek and Hebrew words regarding Hell have been MIStranslated by such Bible versions as the King James Bible. Please note that the above list of Bibles which do NOT contain the word Hell in the text is NOT exhaustive–we are discovering more translations all the time in which the translators did not feel justified in using the Teutonic pagan word Hell to translate the Hebrew word Sheol and the Greek words Gehenna, Hades, and Tartarus.
The End of “Forever” in the Bible
Another pleasant change which more Bible translations of the future will make deals with the subject of the words “everlasting,” “eternal,” and “for ever and ever.” These words have been used in times past to translate the Hebrew word “olam,” and its Greek counterpart “aion,” and its adjective, “aionios.” These ancient words should NEVER have been translated this way. Many modern scholars are beginning to cut the grain of tradition and speak the truth which has been shackled by the chains of tradition long enough. It’s time for light. The body of Christ has had enough of living in the shadows. It’s time for pure light!
Dr. G. Campbell Morgan, a well-known Bible teacher, hailed as “the prince of expositors” wrote in his book “God’s Method’s With Men” on pages 185, 6, “Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how to use the word ‘eternity.’ We have fallen into great error in our constant use of that word. There is NO word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our ‘eternal,’ which as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end.”
The above statement may come as a shock to the traditional Christian in the typical Church. It was certainly a shock to me. How could he make what appeared to me such a ridiculous statement. The Bible translations I had were FILLED with verses that spoke of things which were “eternal,” “everlasting,” and went on “forever and ever.” How could he be hailed as a renowned Bible teacher and be given the honor of being called by the evangelical world the “prince of expositors” and yet make what appeared to me based upon my few Bible translations an utterly ridiculous statement? But when I decided to dig through my walls of tradition to see if what the famous Doctor Morgan said was true, I found MANY other well-known and respected scholars and Bible teachers had come to the very same conclusions to which Dr. Morgan had come.
And after doing some intensive studies comparing English Bible translations and noting great discrepancies among them, comparing translations to the original languages of the Bible and studying the teachings of the early Christian believers and leaders and aided by the Spirit of Truth whom Jesus promised to send His disciples, I came to the conclusion based upon solid facts that Dr. Morgan was correct in his assertions. The “traditional” teachings which I had consumed in the many churches I had attended over the years were false. This was a very painful discovery in one sense. It brought about division with some of my other Christian brothers and sisters who were not willing to look at these plain facts. They didn’t want to rock the boat. They were comfortable being in the majority whether they were right or wrong. The fear and respect of man had gripped them and they didn’t even know it. Jesus said that His word would divide, didn’t He? Sometimes it even divided brother from sister, father from son, etc. Even though that brought sorrow for a season, the Truth shall make you free. The freedom I found after being set free of some “traditions of men” and “doctrines of demons” which had held me imprisoned is impossible to put in words. Truly God expanded Himself greatly in my life after the religious shackles which enslaved me came off. I pray that the rest of my brothers and sisters who are still enslaved to “majority rule” thinking be given the courage to look at the truth instead of bow down to the fear of man.
Today, many years after this shocking discover, I can’t believe I ever believed the “traditional” view. Today, the Bible speaks from cover to cover of a MUCH more glorious God than I had been taught in the traditional fundamentalist, evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic Churches I had attended. I wrote this brief article to serve as an introduction to a subject on which we have written and reprinted hundreds of articles, tracts, books, audio tapes, CD’s etc. It is merely a tiny spark-a spark which I hope will set ablaze once and for all every single tradition the reader has been taught by men and women which are contrary to the true Word of God. This article will NOT answer all your questions-this article’s purpose is to free the reader to begin to ask the RIGHT questions which, with diligent study and prayer, will bring the answers to the reader. At the end of this article are listed some Internet sites which contain literally hundreds of articles and books which will greatly expound upon the tiny spark which this brief article is. If the reader let’s this spark take its course in their lives, I believe a real resurrection will follow-a resurrection from the death found in the “traditions of men” and the “doctrines of demons” and into the glorious light of the truly Good News of Jesus Christ which most of the world to this day has NOT heard especially in church.
Before reading the rest of this short article, I beg the reader to pray a short prayer something like this. Use your own words, of course: Dear heavenly Father, if I have swallowed traditions and doctrines which have made the word of God of no effect in my life (Matt. 5:15-6-9), then I ask you to reveal this to me, no matter how hard it may be for me to bear it. I want the Truth and nothing but the Truth. Please send the Spirit of Truth into my life. Make all my beliefs line up with the Truth found in Jesus Christ alone. Cause me to yield myself completely to the Spirit whom Jesus promised to send to His believers. Set me free from ALL traditions, rituals, doctrines, beliefs and associations which have NOT come from you. And Father, if the message in this article is indeed true and from you, then let it do its work in me. Use it as a spark which will burn up everything and anything which is NOT from You. Humble me, Father, that I might be able to receive your Truth found in Your Son, Jesus Christ. Send my Your Precious Holy Spirit, and reveal the Truth to me. Amen.
Now please take the English Bible translation of your choice and find the following Scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. It would be helpful if you compared at least three English translations. Since the King James Bible has held sway over the non-Catholic and Orthodox Churches for the last 350 years, that should be one of the translations. Then find another one of the leading “selling” English translations like the NIV, NASB, NRSB, Amplified, Living Translation, etc. I emphasized the word “selling” because the merchandising of the Gospel is one of the leading factors which has brought corruption into our English translations. The third Bible to have at hand would be perhaps Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible published by Baker Book House, or “Rotherham Emphasized Bible” published by Kregal Publications (both publishing houses are leading well-established evangelical publishers). The last two translations can be ordered from just about any Christian bookstore, including our own; Tentmaker Resources.
Now let’s discover how long the “eternity” REALLY is in many leading “selling” English translations:
Sodom’s fiery judgment is “eternal” (Jude verse 7)–until–God “will restore the fortunes of Sodom” (Ezekiel 16:53-55).
Israel’s “affliction is incurable” (Jer. 30:12)-until–the Lord “will restore health” and heal her wounds (Jer. 30:17).
The sin of Samaria “is incurable” (Mic. 1:9)-until– Lord “will restore … the fortunes of Samaria.” (Ez. 16:53).
Ammon is to become a “wasteland forever” and “rise no more” (Zeph. 2:9, Jer. 25:27 –until–the Lord will “restore the fortunes of the Ammonites” (Jer. 49:6).
An Ammonite or Moabite is forbidden to enter the Lord’s congregation “forever”-until–the tenth generation (Deut. 23:3):
Habakkuk tells us of mountains that were “everlasting”, that is -until– they “were shattered” Hab. 3 3:6).
The Aaronic Priesthood was to be an “everlasting” priesthood (Ex. 40:15), that is-until-it was superceded by the Melchizedek Priesthood (Hebrews 7:14-18).
Many translations of the Bible inform us that God would dwell in Solomon’s Temple “forever” (1 Kings 8:13), that is,–until the Temple was destroyed.
The children of Israel were to “observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant” (Exodus 31:16)-until–Paul states there remains “another day” of Sabbath rest for the people of God (Heb. 4:8,9).
The Law of Moses was to be an “everlasting covenant” (Leviticus 24:8) yet we read in the New Covenant the first was “done away” and “abolished” (2 Corinthians 3:11,13), and God “made the first old” (Hebrews 8:13).
The fire for Israel’s sin offering (of a ram without blemish) is never to be put out. It shall be a “perpetual”– until– Christ, the Lamb of God, dies for our sins. We now have a better covenant established on better promises (Lev. 6:12-13, Heb. 8:6-13).
God’s waves of wrath roll over Jonah “forever”-until–the Lord delivers him from the large fish’s belly on the third day (Jonah 2:6,10; 1: 17); Egypt and Elam will “rise no more” (Jer. 25:27)-until–the Lord will “restore the fortunes of Egypt” (Ez. 29:14) and “restore the fortunes of Elam” (Jer. 49:39).
“Moab is destroyed” (Jer. 48:4, 42)-until–the Lord “will restore the fortunes of Moab” (Jer. 48:47).
Israel’s judgment lasts “forever”-until–the Spirit is poured out and God restores it (Isa. 32:13-15).
So, narrow is the way to life and few find it-until– and His church confiscate the “strong man’s” booty, setting the captives free so God becomes all in all (Isa. 61, Luke 11:21-22, Matt. 7:13; 16:18, 1 Cor. 15:24-28).
The King James Bible, as well as many others, tells us that a bondslave was to serve his master “forever” (Exodus 21:6), that is,–until–his death.
God is now calling out “a people for His name”–an “elect” or chosen priesthood people who will represent and reflect His loving nature. Many are called and few are chosen–until–the small chosen priesthood people, by the Spirit, restore “David’s tabernacle” so ALL mankind may inquire of the Lord. Thus we see that the church is the first-born, the beginning–until–in ALL (later born new creatures in Christ) our Lord will have supremacy (Amos 9:11-12, Matt. 22:14, Acts 15:14-18, Eph. 3:15, Col. 1 18).
All manner of sin will be forgiven in this AGE as well as in the AGE (not eternity) to come, except blasphemy against God’s Spirit-until–such blasphemy finds pardon in the fullness of the times (or ages) when God unites all in Christ. For the Lord does not retain His anger forever because He delights in mercy (Matt. 12:32; 18:11,21-22, Eph. 1:9-11, Rev. 4:11; 5:13, Mic. 7:18-20).
God’s wrath has come upon Israel “to the uttermost” (1 Thess. 2:16). So there is a gulf between “the rich man in purple” (Royal Covenant “Son”, Israel) and the saved gentiles (Lazarus) which no man can cross–until–Christ Himself crosses it to bring His promised restoration. For again, Scripture promises that ALL Israel will be saved (Jer. 50:5, Luke 16:19-26, John 12:32, Romans 11:26-29).
Christ’s fallen apostle, Judas, will be restored just as surely as fallen Israel (of which he is a member) will be restored. For the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable, and He has purposed to unite all in Christ. For Scripture assures us that He who calls us is ‘faithful”. He will surely perform it. So Judas is lost-until–the Lord restores Him (John 15:16, 1 Thess. 5:24).
So, Christ will say to unrighteous NATIONS, “Depart from Me into ‘everlasting’ fire.” And these nations will go away into “everlasting” (original language: age-lasting) punishment or pruning, that is–until–by God’s severe mercy shown in judgment, ALL nations He has made glorify and worship Him. Thus God will fulfill His covenant with Abraham that in Christ all the families of ALL the nations will be BLESSED (Gen. 12:3, Ps. 62:12, 67:4, 86:9, Matt. 25:41,46). For according to Paul (Gal. 3:8), God’s covenant with Abraham means that ALL will be justified and set right with God. So all flesh will bless His name forever and ever (Ps. 145:21).
Therefore, ALL scriptural references that speak of everlasting fire or judgment MUST be understood in light of God’s (Love’s) clearly expressed heart, promise, desire, purpose and will. They ARE “everlasting”; that is, they are continuous and on-going–until–God’s judgments serve to accomplish His unchanging will and purpose to unite ALL creation in Christ. (Gen. 12:3, Romans 4:13, Heb. 6:17).
Truly God’s judgments are in the earth-until-mercy shall triumph over those judgments. (James 2:13)
In Adam ALL died, that is,–until-in Christ shall ALL be made alive, but each in his own order. (1 Cor. 15:22) Paul reemphasized this important truth in Romans 5:18. “Through the one man’s offense judgment came to ALL men, resulting in condemnation, that is,–until-through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to ALL men, resulting in justification of life.” It is righteous AND fair that because all were condemned to death through Adam’s one act of disobedience that God undo that unrighteous act and give us all live. We didn’t ask to die and we should have to ask to live. God is God. We do we get mad when He becomes good to all just because He delights in doing good? There is a parable about some workers who worked all day yet were given the same wages as those who only worked a short while. Perhaps we, Christians, should learn the lesson of that parable. (Matt. 20:1-16) What is in us that doesn’t think it’s fair if God gives us all eternal life? After all, did we earn ours? Maybe that’s where the real problem lies. Many of us have been duped into mixing law and works with grace thereby falling from grace and becoming unrighteous judges just like the Pharisees of old.
Gehenna’s fires are not quenched and its worm does not die–until–the restoration of all things which has been spoken of by all God’s holy prophets (Christ included) since the world began. For our Savior did not come to contradict His own prophets. Our Good Shepherd and Faithful Deliverer came to fulfill the law and the prophets! Thus our Lord does not cast off forever (Lam. 3:31-32, Heb. 13:8). He who taught us to forgive and bless our enemies will surely do the same for His. For every tongue will give thanks that in Him they have righteousness and strength. All flesh will bless His name forever and ever! For our Lord will not fail or become discouraged until He fulfills all of God’s purpose, word and will. For He tells us that everyone will be “seasoned” with fire (Matt. 5:17, Mark 9:42-49, Acts 3:21).
Those who disobey the gospel and persecute Christians will be repaid with “everlasting” (that is, continuous) tribulation, destruction and punishment-until–by such persistent correction God shows them their need for Christ. So what is written in the prophets will come to pass, that ALL shall be taught of God, and everyone who has heard and LEARNED from the Father (eventually) comes to Christ. Thus, all the families of the nations will remember Him and worship before Him. And all will submit to Him and sing His praise. So God’s promise will be fulfilled that ALL men shall reverence Him proclaim His works, and wisely consider His doing (Ps. 22:27-28, 64:4-5, 64:9, 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Paul the apostle understood the “forever until” principle at work in God’s redemptive judgments. He knew the heart of God, and Paul also knew God’s will, purpose and plan. His knowledge of God’s character, will and purpose governed his understanding of Scripture. That is why Paul could appear to contradict the prophet David! Have a look at Romans 11:9-12 in the NIV translation, where David prophesies in Psalm 69:22:
“May their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution to them. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see and their backs be bent FOREVER.”
And observe how Paul responds:
“Again I ask: Did they (Israel) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? NOT AT ALL! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the gentiles (pagans, all who are spiritually unenlightened) to make Israel envious. For if their transgression means RICHES for the WORLD, and their loss means riches for the gentiles–how much greater riches will their (Israel’s) fullness bring?”
Wow. . . ! In the next three verses Paul assures us:
that Israel’s fall is the reconciliation of the WORLD;
that Israel’s fall will be (for them and all the world) life from the dead! (Ez. 37);
that because the FIRST fruit (Israel) is holy, the whole world (“lump” or “harvest field”) is holy.
Read all of Romans chapter eleven, and the Scriptures will clearly speak for themselves. Practice reading all of God’s Word in light of His character, commitment, purpose and reliable good pleasure and will. Get God’s “forever until” policy of judgment settled in your heart–and get ready!
The “forever until” principle should really more accurately be termed “present time until” principle, NOT “forever-until. As the reader can plainly see from the many Scriptures we quoted, the terms “forever and ever,” “eternal,” “everlasting,” etc., are MIStranslations which appear in many of our leading “selling” translations, but they never appeared in the original languages of the Scriptures. The wages of sin have always been DEATH, NOT “everlasting” punishment, “everlasting” destruction” or burning in a lake of fire “for ever and ever.”
Yes, death, which was IMPUTED to all mankind through the one unrighteous act of Adam, would send ALL of mankind to death-until-Jesus would overcome all His enemies, the last one being death itself. ALL death will be over come by Jesus. The lake of fire is defined by the Bible itself as the “second death.” (Rev. 20:14, Rev. 21:8) Death would reign-until Jesus overcomes it and then Jesus will deliver the kingdom unto God the Father, that He may be “all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:28)
If one wants to get down right technical about it (which I don’t particularly want to do in this article), many leading selling English Bible translations have just plain missed it when translating the Hebrew word “olam,” the Greek word, “aion,” and its adjective “aionios.” These words simply should never have been translated by words which indicate an eternal state. Many leading scholars today readily admit that. I’ll just quote one for this non-technical article just for the reader’s sake.
Dr. R. F. Weymouth, translator of the “New Testament in Modern Speech” states in that work, “Eternal, Greek aeonian, i.e., of the ages: Etymologically this adjective, like others similarly formed does not signify, “during” but “belonging to” the aeons or ages.” Many more scholars who make similar statements regarding these key Hebrew and Greek words may be found at the “Scholars Corner,” at the following Internet sites:
You are about to embark upon a love affair with our Heavenly Father that will transform your life. His heart will heal and transform your heart! For of Him and through Him–and to Him–are ALL things! (Romans 11:36) Yourself included. For again, we must remember, our Savior did not come to contradict the words of His own prophets. He came to fulfill them. God hardened all of us, that He might have mercy upon all of us. One can’t give mercy to someone unless one is in need of it. And that is why God does not unharden and give mercy to all at once. WE must learn to be like God Who overcomes His enemies with His Love. How can we possibly practice becoming like Him unless He gives us hardened unbelievers who look like enemies? How can we love the unlovely unless He allows some of us to remain unlovely until He chooses to unharden them as well? Paul told the early church that those whom God hardened were to be won through the mercy shown them through us who had received God’s mercy.
Concerning the Jews whom God hardened for a season that the gentiles might be grafted into the tree:
Concerning the gospel they are enemies FOR YOUR SAKE, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet now have obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. (Study Church history and see if the Church has shown this mercy to the Jews. Sad story indeed) For God has committed (shut them all up in) disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! ‘For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid?’ For of Him and through Him and to Him are ALL things to whom be glory forever. Amen.
The Father seeks worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The Father also implores us to reason with Him. Try to fathom the height, depth, length, and width of His Love. Imagine truly knowing the beginning from the end. Imagine being absolutely sovereign over all things, where NOTHING takes you by surprise. Imagine mercy which does not know an end. (Psalm 136) Imagine a judge who always delivers absolutely perfect righteous judgment. Imagine a God who is ever-present everywhere. Imagine a God who says all souls are HIS and that He fashions EVERY heart. (Ez. 18:4; Zech. 12:1; Isaiah 45:9; Psalms 33:15) This God is perfectly Holy. He is NOT a man that He should lie. He does NOT break His promises. He does NOT break His word. While He can get angry for righteousness sake, He will NOT be angry forever nor will He cast off man forever. (Lam. 3:31, 32; Isaiah 57:16) He is a God Who said He was going to overcome His enemies with love and commands us to do likewise if we want to be like Him. (Matt. 5:43-48) When some of Jesus’ disciples wanted to pour fire down on some unbelievers’ heads because they refused Jesus as Lord, Jesus responded to them, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did NOT come to destroy men’s live but to save them. (Luke 9:54-56) How much is the spirit of the modern church like these two disciples’ and so much UNLIKE the spirit of Jesus?
Imagine a Love that NEVER fails. (1 Cor. 13:8) Imagine a loving God for whom NOTHING is impossible. (Jer. 32:17; Matt. 19:26) Imagine a Creator who made you in HIS image-one who desires that you call him Daddy, Abba. Imagine YOUR loving heavenly Father who not only says that He loves, but Who says the He IS LOVE!!! Imagine this Love who said in one of His parables that He leaves the ninety nine sheep to find the single one that is lost and He does NOT give up until He finds it. Have you got all this in your mind and heart? It’s really all too big, too wonderful, isn’t it? That is why we will need a new spiritual body. Our natural bodies are simply incapable of handling all that our glorious Maker is. Hold all these attributes in your mind as well as you are able.
Now this heavenly Father, our Maker, has a Son. He sent His Son to the earth to accomplish a few things. He gave this Son all power and all authority to accomplish the Father’s will and desires. Here are a handful of Scriptures which declare why God the Father sent His only begotten Son into this world:
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)
Who comes down from heaven and gives Life to the world. (John 6:33)
The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)
And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. (John 12:32)
As you have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. (John 17:2)
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35)
God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1,2)
His purpose is very clear: to reconcile all things back to His Father. (Col. 1:16-20)
According to Scripture, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, created all things, reconciles all things, is Heir of all things, has authority of all things, will have all men to be saved, His grace comes to all men, He takes away the sin of the world, He gives His flesh for the life of the world, He is the propitiation for the sins of the world, whose gifts are irrevocable of which life is one of the gifts, He manifested to put away sin, He preached to the spirits in prison and holds the keys to death and hell, who changes not, He is Lord of both the living and the dead, he will destroy all enemies of God the last one being death, Who made all things alive, Who completes the work the Father gave Him to do, Who restores all things, gave HHHHimself a ransom for all, He takes away the curse and said He came to do the will and work of the Father who wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth so that God, the Father may be all in all! I could lengthen this paragraph considerably, but I think the point has been made.
Now-think and reason with your Maker and the Son Who is probably in your heart. Is it reasonable that God should consign everyone who was every born to endless misery burning forever in a literal lake of fire which will never be quenched considering the above nature and character of the Father and the purpose of Christ? Most of traditional Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Fundamentalist, Evangelical, Charismatic Christianity seems to think so. They all say one will burn in Hell if they don’t make some kind of decision before they die. Is it reasonable and just to tell the world that if two people commit murder just before they die, if one says the sinner’s prayer, he will escape punishment forever and if the other doesn’t, he will burn in Hell forever without a chance of pardon? Is this really “justice?” Millions of church-going Christians are taught it is.
Now stay with me for a little while longer. How are people saved? Paul tells us through the foolishness of the preaching of the gospel.(1 Cor. 17:25) “Faith cometh by hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:8-10)
Paul and Jesus make it quite plain that people are “saved” by hearing the gospel preached, responding to it by believing in one’s heart that God raised Jesus from the death and confess Him with the mouth, they will be saved. The Bible also makes it quite clear there is no other name by which mankind can be saved except the name of Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) There are a couple of verses they might indicate one needs to be baptized in some fashion or another as well. (Mark 1:8; John 1:26-33)
Dear reader, are you aware that 2000 years after the gospel was sent into the world, that there are literally thousands of languages in the earth today which do NOT have even pieces of Scriptures let alone an entire Bible? Do you understand that from Adam to the present day, probably well over 95 percent of the world never heard the one name under which men must be saved? Are you also aware that most of the world who did hear the name hear it from a Catholic priest who told them that Jesus was a piece of cracker which they had to eat in order to be saved? Are you also aware that most denominations of Christianity throughout the ages have added hundreds of other qualifications which potential converts also had to perform or rules one had to abide by in order to stay saved? The list is endless-it ranges from being a member of the “right” church or denomination to a certain form of water baptism to declaring a certain formula to having to speak in tongues, etc. Once a person is saved, there are literally hundreds of ways one can lose their salvation according to the thousands of different denominations which have formed around creeds, men, styles of buildings and worship, nationality, forms of church government, etc.
Let’s face it, if we add all the things Jesus said about those who thought they knew Him but whom He would say to, “I never knew you,”(Matt. 7:23) and the many luke-warm who he would “vomit” out of his mouth (Rev. 3:16), surely there is scarcely a person who can really have absolute assurance they are truly saved. Contrast this depressing situation with the nature and character of our heavenly Father and His Son. Do you see a terrible discrepancy? As a matter of fact, the discrepancy is so great that many Christians have had to create other gospels remedy this great gap. Some Christians have invented the “age of accountability” to get the little ones out of the eternal flames. Surely they do it quite unscripturally. There isn’t a shred of Scripture which supports such a cause noble as it may be. The Scriptures plainly state “there is NONE righteous, nay, not one.” (Rom. 3:10-12) “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:23) No-the teaching that children are innocent until a mythical age of accountability might partially remove the black eye He suffered from the church’s “good news” which is terribly bad for almost ALL of mankind, but it’s not in the Bible.
Some well-meaning Christians try to justify God for sending almost all of mankind to Hell even though they never heard the name of Christ by stating Romans 1:20 makes it plain that all can see that there is a god just by looking at trees, stars, rocks, etc. Well, there were MANY heathens who believed in a god through nature. The nation of Israel was surrounded by nations who believed in gods of all kind because they saw something divine in nature, but did that save them? NO! They were called idolators! One does not find Jesus by looking at clouds and trees. One finds Jesus through the preaching of the Good News. No preaching, no salvation. Archaeology conclusively proves this fact. We only find Christian civilizations where the Gospel was preached. We do NOT find it in civilizations in which there were no Bibles or preachers of the Gospel.
To try to get some of those who never heard the gospel into heaven because they realize it isn’t fair to send someone to Hell if they’ve never heard the gospel tell us that God will judge people based upon the condition of their heart. If they are good people, God will save them even if they’ve never heard the gospel. While that certainly makes God look a lot better than what traditional Christianity teaches, this teaching totally contradicts the Bible which plainly states “there is NONE righteous, nay not one.” Furthermore, it negates the cross completely. If people can get saved outside of the cross, then there was no reason for Christ’s death. Good people go to heaven, bad people go to hell. But according to Scripture, there are no “good people” from God’s point of view. When someone called Jesus good, Jesus said to them, “Why do you call me good? There is none good except God.”
All these extra-biblical ways to try to get more people out of the traditional Hell and into heaven is because the traditional view has so grossly distorted the gospel and the character of God, that well-meaning Christians have felt the need to invent non-scriptural means to empty the traditional Hell some. The traditional concept of salvation, when carefully scrutinized, surely puts almost all of mankind into Hell. How can grace have abounded much more than sin with such pathetic results. Adam condemns all of mankind to death, Jesus manages to squeeze out a pathetic handful for Himself and then is compelled to send the rest of mankind to eternal tortures which would make Hitler’s actions look like child’s play.
Until the heart of God and the will of God become the foundational factors determining our understanding of Scripture, our “gospel” will be bad news–not good. “God is Love, but” is simply not the message the Holy Spirit is conveying to us in the Bible (1 John 4:10,14).
(Many of the above “forever-til” verses came from an excellent work entitled “Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ: Four Views of the Salvation of Our God” by Charles Slagle. The book may be ordered from Charles & Paula Slagle, P. O. Box 17419, San Antonio, TX., 78217 or phone at 817-685-7617. It is also on the internet at: http://www.tentmaker.org under “books.”)