Universalism the Carnival Tent Theology (Universalism is not in the Bible)
First, let’s start with our stage of truth here. Here is how our stage is assembled in distinguishing truths. The list will be numbered according to what is at the front of our stage, and should be for Christianity.
Proposed Christianity Stage of Truth:
4.General Revelation Experience
Reason = Information that comes through the human mind’s capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought.
General Revelation = Revelation about God given through the created order
As Christians, we would not consider ourselves adherents to the “Sola Scriptura” doctrine alone. We also do not put tradition before scripture; moreover our stage of truth uses both scripture, and tradition to find our truth. The common Universalist might add that tradition should at the front of the stage, such as many Catholics have suggested in the past eras. We find that there was a certain problem with keeping traditions in line such as… Plenary Indulgences, purgatory, and universalism were added to the beliefs. To date there are no Creeds that would support these doctrines. The Universalist may state:
“Many famous, infamous and not-so-famous church leaders, Bible teachers and authors have categorically stated that the teaching of Universalism, that is, that God plans to save all mankind through the work of Jesus Christ, is not found on the pages of the Bible. “Universalism is unscriptural,” they say. Most leading “traditional” ministries and denominations would concur with this belief. Many of these Bible teachers would consider themselves adherents to the “Sola Scriptura” doctrine, that is, that all their beliefs regarding God and His dealings with mankind, should come from the Bible alone -- that “tradition” should not be a factor in determining our daily lives as a Christian.” 
We should not assemble our theology based solely on scripture (solo Scriptura), nor should we also establish our theology solely on traditions. Many misconceptions in the history of Christianity stemmed from traditions being at the front of the stage of truth. Martin Luther was in opposition of putting traditions first, and that everyone should have a Bible. Constantine wanted Christianity to be the sole religion, and have it control the government. What the Universalist is suggesting is that many Christians are committing the False Dichotomy fallacy. A false dichotomy (or Excluded Middle) is when the extreme ends of a continuum suggest intermediate possibilities. (i.e., there is only good and bad in the world—there can be no lukewarm.) In our case, God will only save the believers. Later, we will point out the inconsistencies of the verses that are being used to establish universalism.
Are we afraid?
The skeptic and Universalist, often state that previous—and current Christians strike fear into the believer to win them over to Christ. The assumption is that fear of hell is the main or only reason we become Christians. First, let’s look at the plausibility of this assumption. Is it fear that keeps us from being sinners? Is it fear that makes us joyful? Is it fear that makes us come to know the will and nature of God? This would not be a valid reason to become a Christian in our eyes. Many Christians come into the faith from the testimony (workings in their lives) of other Christians, and the fact that God promises a life-after-life. Many early followers did use hell, or damnation, or separation from God to coerce the non-believer into the faith. I would ask… Is there any set quota for bringing anyone to Christ? What do we have to gain by using the threat of hell to make anyone conform? Did Jesus threaten his disciples with hell? The disciples thought Jesus was the Messiah—which was prophetically talked about in the OT. However, there seems to be a few verses where Jesus warns the Pharisees, and his followers. He warns them not to be like the Pharisees or they will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. (See below)
I am almost certain the fear of prison or fines often deters a would-be criminal from committing a crime, but we also know that there are a few exceptions to this rule. Is it the fear of prison that keeps us in accordance to the law, or is it our moral decisions that keep us inline? I would like to say it’s a commixture of both principles that keep our nose to the grind stone. For the most part, we (at DC.org) do agree that the utilization of fear tactics is not the way to a real-relationship with Christ, and that Jesus offers salvation for our sins (past, present, and future). It is also apparent that many of these fear-driven Christians often fall away from Christ.
Denying Jesus? Are we to assume that those non-believers that deny Christ will be offered a place in God’s kingdom? Why would Jesus make statements that would contradict this notion?
Matt: 10:32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 10:33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. 10:37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 10:38 And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of me will find it
Matthew goes further in-depth:
12:30 Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 12:31 For this reason I tell you, people will be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 12:32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven. But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
Jesus offers Rewards?
Matt: 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 16:26 For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but forfeits his life? Or what can a person give in exchange for his life? 16:27 For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done
Is the reward conditional?
Matt: 18:3 and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! 18:4 Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 18:5 And whoever welcomes a child like this in my name welcomes me. 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a huge millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the open sea. 18:8 If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 18:9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell. 19:24 Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” 19:26 Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.”
Are we chosen? Are we responsible?
Matt: 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” 23:15 “Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves! 23:33 You snakes, you offspring of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Judgement of Gehenna. 23:35 so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 23:36 I tell you the truth, this generation will be held responsible for all these things!
Can we all receive eternal life?
John: 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 6:37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away.
Note: 6:39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me—that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up 6:40 For this is the will of my Father—for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. 6:47 I tell you the solemn truth, the one who believes has eternal life.
6:48 I am the bread of life 6:49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 6:50 This is the bread that has come down from heaven, so that a person may eat from it and not die. 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats from this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves.
6:54 The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.6:58 This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”
Many Followers Depart… All will be saved?
6:65 So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”
Etymology the final words? One sure-fire way to improperly interpret scripture is to reverse the theological process steps. If you recall in our theology 101 series, we addressed this Eisogetical usage (reversal of steps) of the theological process. To recap our Exegetical theology proper:
1. Exegetical statement “what did it mean then”
• Historical interpretation
• Grammatical interpretation
• Contextual interpretation
• Literary interpretation
a. Analogy of scripture - parallels in the Bible. b. Extract the timeless principle
2. Theological statement - what is the timeless truth being taught?
• Contextualize principles for today
3. Homiltical statement - how does it apply today?
The way we approach scripture determines how we interpret scripture; this is what we call prolegomena. The problem with this approach is that we sometimes take scripture as a promise from God, then that promise fails and therefore our God fails. This leads to disillusionment, discouragement, and may lead to a falling away from scripture or Christianity. The Eisogetical (Universalist) theologian will address these steps by first using emotions, then applying reason. S/he will not believe that God will allow a judgement to be placed upon mankind, and that they feel that God will offer salvation to all–eventually. The Universalist then will look to a word study of “all” in the concordance, then assemble the scripture to support this view. The steps for theology are then reversed in order:
1. Homiltical statement - how does it apply today?
2. Theological statement - what is the timeless truth being taught?
• Contextualize principles for today
3. Exegetical statement “what did it mean then”
• Historical interpretation
• Grammatical interpretation
• Contextual interpretation
• Literary interpretation
a. Analogy of scripture - parallels in the Bible. b. Extract the timeless principle.
The Universalist simply bypasses the contextual interpretation, and the literary (license) interpretation. In many cases the analogy of scripture (parallels in the Bible) are often disregarded, and emotions are set towards the front of the stage of truth. Literary forms are simply thrown to the wayside, and suddenly the etymology study of the term “all” takes the center stage. Does the term “all” mean the non-believers in every case? Was Paul or Jesus talking to his followers at that present time, and referring to them as “all”? The Universalist will assume that “all” means everyone. If this is the case then the Jesus was teaching upon contradictorily terms.
A Closer Look At Scripture
Let’s examine some of the choice scriptures the Universalist may use in their theology.
Luke 19:10: "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."
Who is the lost that is referred to in Luke 19:10? Could the lost be the Pharisees and the Jewish community that defiantly killed the prophets God had sent? Could it mean the non-believers Surely it would make common sense if this was referring to the lost referred to in Luke 15:1-32 (The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Coin). This refers to the sinners that the Pharisees had cast out from their community, this also included the tax collectors and prostitutes. These people were surely lost at that time, and the Pharisees made it nearly impossible for them to have a relationship with God. Jesus meets with these people, and tells them that they too can be loved by God and he will redeem them. Again, this would be conditional upon them accepting Christ as the redeemer. We will agree that Jesus did offer salvation to all whom called upon him. Why else would Jesus be teaching outside the temple walls? Next we have Luke 3:6 which the Universalist might state that this verse points in the direction of universal salvation.
Luke 3:6: "All flesh shall see the salvation of God."
As spoken by John the Baptist (quoted from Isaiah Isa 40:3-5 ) Let’s look at this poetic phrase:
Luke: 3:4 As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one shouting in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight. 3:5 Every valley will be filled, and every mountain and hill will be brought low, and the crooked will be made straight, and the rough ways will be made smooth, 3:6 and all humanity will see the salvation of God.’”
Again, note the metaphoric/poetic terms used within that passage (i.e., in vs 3:5) this continues throughout this verse ending in Luke 3:6. Exegetical statement would be this phrase was used in Isaiah to pronounce the coming of the Messiah and how he would redeem the earth that had been cursed in Gen. Ch. 3 The Judgment Oracles of God:
Gen. 3:17 But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.
In Romans 8:22 we find that Christ will redeem the groaning under this curse. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now.”
Shall we see God?
The Universalist will ask if we shall see God? Matt 5:8 is from the sermon of the Mount teachings Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." As believers and followers of Christ this is already a given when we enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Many Christians struggle with the Beatitudes when these are the gifts of the believer in Heaven and not conditions that need to be met to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This would be a very weak analogy for the Universalist to use in their theology, quite simply because the verse is stating the normalcy of what we shall receive in Heaven.
God is Caring?
In verse Luke 6:27-36: “But I [Jesus] say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
The Universalist may use this passage as a play on emotions or feelings towards God not wanting anyone to be suffering in hell forever. Of course, this is not how we do theology; God’s will is not dependent on our emotions. God did eliminate Sodom and Gomorrah, he also wiped out many people during the flood, we must know that God can not allow evil to consume the earth or his kingdom. We must put God first before our emotions and realize the nature of God. Many times, it will seem that the God of the OT is not the same as the God of the NT and this bestows further confusion to the average non-believer. We know what God asks of us as Christians, but we also know that God also has judgement and wrath upon those who break his laws (i.e., the two-temple destruction’s).
The Lost Sheep and the Coin?
Luke 15:4: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it. We briefly covered this at the beginning of this article, if you notice this is not a stand alone verse and was used metaphorically to compare how a shepherd would be looking for his lost sheep. At that, time sheep were commodities and if one lost one of his/her sheep, they would be searching for that sheep. Now let’s look at that full passage.
15:3 So Jesus told them this parable: 15:4 “Which one of you, if he has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, would not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go look for the one that is lost until he finds it? 15:5 Then when he has found it, he places it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 15:6 Returning home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, telling them, ‘Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 15:7 I tell you, in the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to repent.
15:8 “Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search thoroughly until she finds it? 15:9 Then when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ 15:10 In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.”
The next question we ask the Universalist… in verse 15:7 why would there need to be a reason to repent if everyone will end up in Heaven? Why would there be joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents? Surely, if the angels knew we would all make it into heaven why would there be a reason to repent?
Everyone believe through him?
The next verse the Universalizes claims is John 1:6-7:
1:6 A man came sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him.
If we read further in John chp 1, John states after verse 7, (note the conditional key wording in verse 12):
1:11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. 1:12 But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children.
Moving forward to John 3:17:
"God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
We know that God sent Jesus into the world not to condemn it but save it. We know that salvation is indeed available to all but we must also look at Matt 24:29-31:
Matt: 24:29 “Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Clearly in Matt 24:31 the angels will gather his elect from the four winds. Some futurists believe that there will be a great tribulation that takes place--in both heaven and earth (simultaneously). In Rev 20:14 then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. 20:15 If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.
All things under his authority?
John 3:35 The Father loves the Son and has placed all things under his authority. 3:36 The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.
So Jesus has the authority of all things and the one who believes in the Son has eternal life. However, what about the one that rejects the Son? God’s wrath remains on him? Wrath is “anger because of evil,” or “punishment”. So we know we cannot approach God without Jesus’ consent to do so. Moreover, the one who rejects the Son will not see life? What is reject? It is a refusal to believe or obey him, listen up my brethren we need to do more than believe, we also need to obey him in his commands.
The next passage the Universalist will use is John 6:37-39. Let’s examine these verses about the bread of life.
6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty. 6:36 But I told you that you have seen me and still do not believe. 6:37 Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away. 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. 6:39 Now this is the will of the one who sent me—that I should not lose one person of every one he has given me, but raise them all up at the last day. 6:40 For this is the will of my Father—for everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him to have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Jews still seem to think Jesus is just a mere carpenter. If you read the passages further you will see the conclusion when his disciples complained about the understanding of the teaching, here is what Jesus said:
John 6:64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 6:65 So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”
Again, it is made abundantly clear as to what Jesus was trying to teach to those that had deaf ears. The Universalist will distort the teachings of Christ; Jesus clearly states he should not lose one person of everyone he has given me. No where is he suggesting that even non-believers will obtain eternal life. When Jesus returns all will be raised, but it will be for a day of judgement. If God would allow all to be saved there would not be any need for any such judgement even if he were to purify them either immediately or through a period of time.
God has already allowed their time on earth and they chose to disobey, the second chance theory is simply not backed by any scripture that we can find (minus a rapture event, not final judgement day). It should also be noted that we should not take the Lord’s name in vein by stating what he will or will not do for us if it is not clearly in the Bible. This is taking the Lord’s name in vein when you are speaking on his behalf when you do not know of his nature or his judgements on the non-believers at judgement day. We forewarn the Universalist to heed this warning before its too late.
Jesus Dies for the sins of the World?
The Universalist will try and use verse 1 John 2:2 to support their view on Jesus saving all. We know that when the passages are written down that the author expects readers to engage in the passages. We have a few questions for the Universalist in this interlude or intermezzo if you will .
1. Why would we need the Bible if everyone eventually were saved?
2. Why would Jesus tell his disciples go out and teach the good news and to be baptized?
3. Why would Jesus state the salvation as conditional?
4. Why would Jesus turn away even those that prophesized in his name and cast out demons?
5. Why should Jesus go against his word in those who deny him also deny the father who sent him?
1 John 2:1 (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, 2:2 and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.
Did Jesus die for the sins of the world? Yes absolutely we agree he did. Did Jesus make provisions for the non-believers in heaven even if it were a place of lesser resplendence? We are aware that we are rewarded for our deeds here on earth but what about those that denies Christ completely? Why would God allow people in his presence again (i.e., such as he did Satan) and to have history repeat itself. We understand the view of cleansing or purification of the non-believer but we still need scripture based proof of this event.
Spirits in the material world?
Testing the Spirits
1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses Jesus as the Christ who has come in the flesh is from God, 4:3 but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God, and this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and now is already in the world .
Now before we move on let’s take a closer look at the precursor to 1 John 4:14. Danger Will Robinson… this is a warning against spirits or false prophets that have gone out into the world. We do not doubt that the Universalist declares Jesus is God in the flesh (second person in the trinity) but to prophesy on the nature of Jesus that who and whom he will not save or that he will save all, is very dangerous territory. Note this spirit of the Antichrist, which you heard is coming, and now is already in the world. This may be a heads up alert to those still looking for the Antichrist…
1 John 4:14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world. 4:15 If anyone confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God resides in him and he in God.
The Blooming Keys?
The Universalist will state the keys of Death and Hades belong to Jesus (Rev 1:18) and then they assume Jesus (whom seems to have a different nature than the OT God LOL) will suddenly warrant that no one will perish, but all will come to repentance and then be saved? That is a very noble excogitation of their theology, but again we need proof text to know the nature of the day of judgement. Quite simply it is up to Jesus on whom enters the kingdom, but why put words again into his mouth when we know that he sent wrath on the generation that denied him in 70AD. Let’s compare some verses here on who have the keys to Hades and the kingdom of Heaven?
Matt: 16:18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you release on earth will have been released in heaven.”
But in Rev 1:18 Jesus has the keys…?
1:18 and the one who lives! I was dead, but look, now I am alive—forever and ever—and I hold the keys of death and of Hades! (Sheol where the evil reside)
We are not trying to confuse the believer at this point. Matt 16:18 states clearly that Jesus gave Peter the keys of the kingdom, and Jesus the keys of death and Hades… So what power does Jesus give Peter? The rock could refer to a future church or the teachings of the Apostles. This article is more concerned over the power of Jesus and the judgement day to come. Will Jesus save everyone? Does Peter still hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven?
This would be a good time to go over the parable of the faithful and wise slave in Matt
The Faithful and Wise Slave Matt 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their food at the proper time? 24:46 Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes. 24:47 I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions. 24:48 But if that evil slave should say to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 24:49 and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, 24:50 then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, 24:51 and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Why would Jesus state parables like this? Is he a masochist that really likes to torture his disciples with warnings or is it that he cares about mankind and is giving a stern warning for those unbelievers? Could it be that Jesus sent out his disciples to teach of the good news and the warnings that Jesus covered in his parables? Let’s try another shall we?
Sheep, goats and judgements oh my?
The Judgment 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 25:32 All the nations will be assembled before him, and he will separate people one from another like a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 25:33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Did we hear this right? Jesus separates people like sheep and goats?
25:34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 25:36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’
Pay close attention, this is very important about our duties as Christians. (vs. 34-36) note the wording, I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was a stranger, I was naked, I was sick, I was in prison… what happens next?
25:37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 25:38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or naked and clothe you? 25:39 When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 25:40 And the king will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’
Read verse 25:40 once again aloud… Our duties are to take care of the hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and stranger. We need to humble ourselves and help others in need. See what happens to the ones that did not offer these things to least of his. Do you feel any convictions yet my brethren?
25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels! 25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. 25:43 I was a stranger and you did not receive me as a guest, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 25:44 Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not give you whatever you needed?’ 25:45 Then he will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.’ 25:46 And these will depart into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Oh but wait doesn’t Jesus want to save all? We will let the Universalist try to combat what Jesus was teaching in the separation of the sheep and goats. We think it clearly speaks for itself the nature of judgement. Instead of creating a cloud of illusion using, a few essential verses to determine the will of Jesus… we think he spoke well of himself, and of the judgement upon certain others. The Universalist will merely state this is a temporary separation from him. If this is true, the Universalist must necessitate clear evidence from the word of Jesus himself.
The Guilt Trip?
The Universalist will use emotions to convey their theology. They want Jesus to have guilt trips for his judgements; in turn the Universalist is again mocking Jesus’ nature to leverage their heretical views. Here is a typical begging the question motif.
Revelation 5:13: "And I [John] heard EVERY creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and ALL that is in them, saying, `To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!"' How can people be left in hell weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth if they are ALL gathered before the throne of God and the Lamb, worshipping them and ascribing to them blessing and honor and glory?
Beautiful poetry indeed but not so fast Universalist we notice the poetic license within the language. The term all does not mean all as in the non-elected. It does not say all including those in Sheol, Hades, etc but are we to assume those unbelievers are also in Heaven? If so then Jesus clearly contradicts himself in his parables. Why would Jesus be so deceptive if the Universalist is correct? Again, the correct Theological Process Steps were not being used by the Universalist. They also completely threw out the use of literary forms within the passages. When anyone uses exegesis to leverage, theology in turn can become heretical in their interpretation. Nothing further needs to be said here, except for the fact of the improper interpretation from the Universalist. Need we remind you the dangers of interpreting Revelation as literal?
Eph 1:9 He did this when he revealed to us the secret of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 1:10 toward the administration of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ—the things in heaven and the things on earth.
I am not sure why the Universalist would use this passage to reinforce their theology? Let’s continue…
1:11 In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will 1:12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, would be to the praise of his glory. 1:13 And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, 1:14 who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.
We can already see the problems with the Universalist taking a partial verse and not revealing the full passage. Dos’t thou hear of a Calvinist chuckling in the background? Marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit… Nothing more needs to be stated. Notice the verse has the word all in it? See that is the problem with their consistency (use of the word all).
The Accusations against Paul?
In the book of Acts Chapter 24 Paul seems to be in a little trouble. The particular verse the Universalist will use is Acts 24:14-15. Let’s see what we have here:
24:14 But I confess this to you, that I worship the God of our ancestors according to the Way (which they call a sect), believing everything that is according to the law and that is written in the prophets. 24:15 I have a hope in God (a hope that these men themselves accept too) that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
The whole passage is Paul defending his beliefs about the resurrection. Paul is asking what crime is there in holding this religious belief. We have clearly covered the resurrection and the separating of the sheep and goats previously nothing further to comment on. Again yet another verse used out of context that reaffirms that there will be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous nothing else said, nothing else implied.
Restoration and Reconcilation?
We thought you would never ask… The Universalist may use Acts 3:21 to support a restoration and reconciliation. Looking deeper into Acts Chapter 3 we find that Peter addresses the crowd and talks about the rejection of Jesus. Look at all this repenting? Why would anyone need to repent if God is to redeem everyone? The comfort zone of the Universalist seems to stray far away from the word repentance.
Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. 3:14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. 3:15 You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! 3:16 And on the basis of faith in Jesus’ name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. 3:17 And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 3:18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. 3:19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 3:20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. 3:21 This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. 3:22 Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obeyhim in everything he tells you. 3:23 Every personwho does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removedfrom the people.
So Moses states every person who does not obey that prophet (Jesus) will be destroyed and thus removed from the people in Deut 18:15, was Moses joking, or was he just saying that to scare his fellowship? Why would Moses be polemic in his wording unless he knew the consequences for disobedience? While the final jeopardy theme dances in the heads of the Universalist… Col 1:20 bestows more beautiful poetry that the Universalist will use for reconciliation of all.
Every Knee Will Bow?
Philippians 2:10-11: 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow —in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Amen, Amen, Amen! Now they are preaching to the choir. At least we finally agree on the deity of Christ, now if we could only get the Unitarians to understand the passage it would be a big Hallelujah! The every knee will bow of course could be taken literally here in this poetic passage and for once all knees will bow in honor him for they can no longer deny him. It still does not state all those that bow will receive their rewards in heaven does it? Why does Jesus tell us to feed the hungry, sick, and clothe/shelter the homeless unless he has a reward system in place? Should we assume that everyone gets a place in Heaven even those sinners that denied Jesus? It surely would be a nice gesture from Jesus but again we wouldn’t want to wager anyone’s life on that bet.
1 Timothy 2:3 Such prayer for all is good and welcomed before God our Savior, 2:4 since he wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 2:5 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, 2:6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time.
1 Tim 4:10 In fact this is why we work hard and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.
2 Peter3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
These are probably some of the best verses if any the Universalist can use to get your emotions fighting back those tears from a loved one that did not reach repentance before his/her death. The problem when you elevate emotions above all other things on the stage of truth, please ask yourself… Would I be fully resting in Christ thinking all will be saved? Sure we want all to come to repentance to be saved, it is a very difficult concept to grasp people in separation from us in heaven. Should we deny all the verses that fully refute the Universalist to comfort our emotions? There has to be a point where we put emotions toward the back of our stage (as is where they should be) and not question God continually or put words into his mouth that would be considered using his name in vein. Note: We have previously covered 1 Tim 4:10 in the Faux Canopy series.
Using the Lords name in vein?
In Closing, we again remind the Universalist and any other Christian whether heterodox or orthodox. Do not use the Lord’s name in vien…
Do not teach or prophesy falsely in the Name of Yahweh. (Deuteronomy 18:20) Do not follow teachings other than the Law of Yahweh taught by the sanctuary of Yahweh. (Numbers 15:39) You must not blaspheme the Holy Name of Yahweh, professing to keep Yahweh's Laws yet practicing sin. (Leviticus 24:16) Do not take Yahweh's Name and bring it to nothing by hiding Yahweh's Name. (Exodus 20:7)
What we are witnessing in these times would surely seem to be a result of postmodernism reaching our media sources, and churches. The Church of today may seemingly compromise the doctrines of Christianity to appease the Postmodernist. Should we make them feel at home and deny the fact of which God and Jesus are? Should we sacrifice our position as Orthodoxy to please everyone? Whether you believe in hell or not is not what defines God or his Son. What defines them is their nature, and of course the mystery involving what we have not yet been able to know. We shouldn’t go as far as the Eastern Orthodox mysticism to describe the nature of God, but we also should not make God something he is not.