10 Bible verses /examples commonly used to support the sinful nature – refutation

bebis2Man’s idea to add original sin to the Bible

The idea of original sin, or the sinful nature from birth, was first pushed by Augustine who was a former gnostic. Augustine is guilty of having introduced many unbiblical ideas into church, and  some of them were later also taught by both Luther and Calvin. The old church fathers before Augustine did not teach the sinful nature (see here), and most importantly the Bible does not. Below are some of the most common verses used as an attempt to prove the sinful nature.

Example 1) Romans 5:12

Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man SIN entered into the world, and death by sin; and so DEATH passed upon all men, FOR that all have sinned

Comment: Sin entered the world the first time through Adam, because no one had sinned before him (him and Eve). The verse does not say that SIN passed upon all men but DEATH passed upon all men, and it also explains why this is: Because all have sinned! Not because all have inherited sins from Adam. Notice that ”all men” is a translation from the Greek word ἄνθρωπος (anthrópos, Strong’s 444) and could mean 1) men, 2) men and women, or 3) mankind, people, human beings. It may or may not include babies depending on context. Since the verse claims that we die (spiritually) because we have sinned, this verse cannot be used as support for another idea – like the idea that we die spiritually because we have inherited someone else’s sin. Dying physically is something different, and even Jesus Christ died a physical death. It is possible to say that we die physically due to Adam, because we cannot reach the tree of life due to him.

Example 2) Romans 5:18

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation — 19 so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

Comment: The entire context is this:

Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience MANY were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY be made righteous.

If ALL are automatically condemned through Adam, then ALL are automatically made righteous through Jesus. Are 100% of all ALL PEOPLE automatically righteous in Jesus? No, that would be universalism. It is not proper hermeneutics to read ”all” in two different ways in the same sentence – an ”even so” indicates a valid comparison. If ALL die in Adam, then the very same ALL are saved in Christ. If ”many” (not all) were made righteous, then ”many” (not all) were made sinners. We cannot make one absolute and the other conditional. If, however, we add conditions on both accounts (we die spiritually if we sin like Adam, and we become alive in Christ if we choose to believe in him) then we have solved all contradictions. Rom. 5 does list conditions, just like the rest of Romans and just like the rest of the Bible.

Example 3) 1 Corinthians 15:22 

1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

Comment: If all people are automatically dead in Adam, then the very same ”all people” are automatically saved in Christ. But this interpretation leads to universalism, and we know this is not true. The context makes it clear that the subject is the RESURRECTION and what will happen when Jesus returns. Most importantly what will happen to those in Christ. They will die physically just like Adam (even Jesus Christ once died physically), and they will be made alive to get their judgments and rewards.

Example 4) Ephesians 2:1

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins

Comment: What makes us dead? Sinning makes us (spiritually) dead! It is not being born (or being conceived) which makes us dead, but it is transgressing of his law:

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law

Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Eph. 2 does not say that we are BORN dead in trespasses and sins. How can newborn babies choose to transgress the law of God?

The solution to the problem of sin is to repent, which explains why Paul in Acts 17:30 says that God ”now commandeth all men every where to repent”.

Example 5) Ephesians 2:2-3

Eph. 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Comment: Do not get fooled by the term ”children of disobedience” or ”children of wrath” because these terms refer to those who follow Satan – as the text indicates. Likewise the term ”children of God” (or sons of God) does not necessarily refer to little toddlers, but to those who have chosen to believe and follow God. The text certainly does not claim that people are BORN as children of wrath – merely for the ”crime” of existing. It is crystal clear that those spoken about in Eph. 2:2 are adults. They:

  • have a need or reason to be ”quickened”
  • perform TRESPASSES and SINS and through them be dead
  • walk according to the world
  • walk according to Satan (the prince of the power of the air)
  • are disobedient through following Satan
  • walk in the lusts of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their flesh
  • fulfill the desires of their mind

Example 6) 1 Corinthians 2:14

1 Cor. 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

Comment: It is a bad idea to be a natural man, which is a man who lives of the world. If someone is a natural man (which is no obligation), he cannot please God. It is impossible for a person to please God if he at the same time chooses to walk in darkness.

”Natural” is a translation from ψυχικός (psuchikos, Strong’s 5591) and could also be translated ”worldly-minded” or ”sensual”. It describes the behavior of a carnal man who lives of the world. The word can be contrasted with ”spiritual” (pneumatikós, Strong’s 4152).

Example 7) Job 25:4 + Job 15:14

Job 25:4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?

Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be CLEAN? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Comment: The first comment is from Bildad, and the second one is from Eliphaz. They did not always provide good advice to Job. On top of this, the book of Job is replete with poetic expressions. See for instance Job 1:21 and see if you read it in a literal sense.

Example 8) Romans 3:10

Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Comment: Paul, who made the above statement that no one is righteous, called HIMSELF righteous, along with Silas and Timothy (see 1 Thess. 2:10) and he constantly requested that people should avoid obeying their flesh and be righteous. Paul also said (Acts 23:1) that he had lived ”in all good conscience before God until this day”. (NASB: ”perfectly good conscience”). Paul urged his readers to ”sin no more”! Was Paul a hypocrite or a man of God who we can trust?

Paul was in Rom. 3:10 referring to a couple of well-known psalms where we can read ”there is none righteous ….” and if we go to these psalms (Psalm 14 and Psalm 53) we can see the proper context to this phrase. There we can read about unrighteous people, called FOOLS, who do not seek God but we can also read about righteous people who DO seek God. Psalms contain poetic expressions which are mirroring the truth, so we should carefully keep this in mind.

We can read in Acts 17 that we are created precisely to seek God, even though he is not far away from any of us. We can also read verses such as:

Jer. 29:13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart 

Matt. 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you

Below are more psalms, and it would be unwise for us to start new doctrines (which are not supported by non-poetic verses) based on such poetry. Poetic expressions can of course teach us things and be encouraging, but it is not always correct to read poetic texts in a literal sense.

Example 9) Psalm 51:5

Ps. 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me  

Comment: This verse is not about all people in the entire world but concerns only David and his mother. It could be understood both figuratively (the way also king David has battled with dark powers and obstacles very early on) or literally (David’s mother was indeed sinning during the conception) but either way, this verse does not say that we have all inherited Adam’s sin and have a sinful nature from birth. David starts out speaking about his own transgression (not sins inherited from another), and we can read claims from David which could not possibly be understood in a literal sense:

Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice…

Example 10) Psalm 58:3

Ps. 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, SPEAKING LIES  

Comment: Naturally newborn babies cannot speak, much less speak lies. This is just a poetic expression to describe that the wicked man go astray very early on and usually continue on this path. The psalmist starts out addressing a ”congregation” and apparently they are old enough to SPEAK since they are asked if they speak righteousness. They are also old enough to JUDGE, they are able to WORK WICKEDNESS in their hearts and WEIGH the violence of their hands. Babies are unable to do any of that, and it is the WICKED who ”are estrange”. If someone goes astray, it means he must have started from a position where it was not ”astray”. In verse 10 and 11 we can read about righteous people who do NOT go astray:

10 The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. 11So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth.

Some people might ask: ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why do we sin?” Well, why did Adam and Eve sin? Certainly not due to a sinful nature. They might also ask ”If we are not born with a sinful nature, why did Jesus have to die for us?”. Because we have chosen to sin – despite that we did not have to. This is what makes us guilty.

If we are born with a sinful nature (which would provide an excellent excuse for sin), why does the Bible not disclose this important piece of information anywhere? Why can we read the exact opposite story? Moreover, the idea of the sinful nature actually reduces the great deeds that Jesus Christ did for us, when we accuse him of not having to struggle with a sinful nature as the rest of us. In reality, Jesus was tempted in all things just like us and he did not get an advantage.

rom-8The Bible says that babies are innocent

While there are no Bible verses which say we are born with a sinful nature (or born depraved, which is not even a word included in the KJV Bible), the Bible does say that we are wonderfully made.

Zecharia 12:1  The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and FORMETH THE SPIRIT OF MAN WITHIN HIM. 

Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet bornNEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

Mark 10:14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God AS A LITTLE CHILD, he shall not enter therein.

Isaiah 7:16 For BEFORE THE CHILD SHALL KNOW TO REFUSE THE EVIL, AND CHOOSE THE GOOD, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. 

Isaiah 42:Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and SPIRIT to them that walk therein

Job. 31:14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?15 Did not HE THAT MADE ME IN THE WOMB make him? and DID NOT ONE FASHION US IN THE WOMB? 

Ps. 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.14 I will praise thee; for I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Ps,73 Thy hands have made me and FASHIONED ME: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments.  

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that GOD HATH MADE MAN UPRIGHT; but THEY they have sought out many inventions.  

35 thoughts on “10 Bible verses /examples commonly used to support the sinful nature – refutation

  1. Greetings again! We agree on many things such as conditional security and flat earth. I also agree with your view on original sin. However I have a different take on your interpretation of Rom 5:18-19. In these verses we agree that Paul is drawing a parallel comparison between Adam’s transgression and Christ’s gift and in doing so you interpret these two verses as being conditional based upon belief. However I think it makes more sense to interpret these verses unconditionally. Based on your view, in v.18 all men are condemned without condition because of Adam but then Christ’s righteous act is efficacious only upon the condition of belief. Would that not make Adam’s offense greater that Christ’s gift? Since all without condition are condemned by Adam’s trespass, would not justification for all without the condition of belief also have to be applied to Christ’s act of righteousness? Verses 15, 17, 20 emphasize how much greater Christ’s gift is compared to Adam’s offence. So it would seem to me that in v.18, Christ’s righteous act would have to be without qualification or condition. It cannot be that Adam’s act brought brought judgment/condemnation to ”all” men while Christ’s act brought righteousness/justification to only ”some” men who believe. All need to be equally applied in both scenarios.

    We now turn our attention to v.19 where the focus shifts from ”all” to ”many.” The many were made sinners through Adam’s disobedience. It does not say that all were made sinners. Exceptions exist such as babies who die in infancy who cannot commit sin. Similarly, the many (who do commit sin) will be made righteous by Christ’s obedience. So in summary, the ”all” in v.18 really does mean all and the ”many” in v.19 really does mean many.

    I know you are thinking that this then leads to universalism and you would be correct. I do believe in Christian Universalism and a literal, physical Lake of Fire. If God’s stated purpose is to reconcile all to himself as written in such places as Col 1;20 and Phil 2:10-11, then how is it possible that those consigned to the Lake of Fire are tormented there forever separated from and unreconciled to God? That however is a topic for another discussion. If you post another topic on that matter, then I will be glad to discuss my reasoning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Evan and good to hear from you again!

      << Based on your view, in v.18 all men are condemned without condition because of Adam

      Maybe I'm missing your point here, or perhaps you're missing my point 🙂 Since I don't believe in original sin, I don't believe that anyone is condemned because of Adam.

      << Since all without condition are condemned by Adam’s trespass, would not justification for all without the condition of belief also have to be applied to Christ’s act of righteousness?

      It seems like neither of us believe in that first premise. Yes, IF all are automatically condemned through Adam, then all should be justified in Christ. I certainly agree with you on that. Although, I don't believe the text is saying we are condemned through Adam. I believe we are only condemned through him if we sin like him, which we all do (all who are capable of sinning). Likewise, I believe we are righteous in Christ if we believe in him. I believe Paul is telling us about the sad story of the hopelessness of humankind, and the good story of Christ and what he can do for us. All have the opportunity to be saved.

      << Verses 15, 17, 20 emphasize how much greater Christ’s gift is compared to Adam’s offence.

      Amen. We make our own blunders when we sin like Adam, but Jesus has a way out.

      << So it would seem to me that in v.18, Christ’s righteous act would have to be without qualification or condition.

      If that is so, I feel that also the damnation in Adam would be without qualification or condition, since the two sentences are parallels. But I don't believe the text is saying we are condemned in Adam. If all are indeed righteous in Christ, then original sin should be true. But I don't believe in original sin, and I don't believe Romans 5 is teaching it.

      << It cannot be that Adam’s act brought brought judgment/condemnation to “all” men while Christ’s act brought righteousness/justification to only “some” men who believe. All need to be equally applied in both scenarios.

      I totally agree and I had hoped my stance would be understood in the text 🙂 I probably was not clear enough.

      << Similarly, the many (who do commit sin) will be made righteous by Christ’s obedience. So in summary, the “all” in v.18 really does mean all and the “many” in v.19 really does mean many.

      I'm not sure I understand. If universalism is true, I don't see why it should read "many" to confuse the readers.

      << then how is it possible that those consigned to the Lake of Fire are tormented there forever separated from and unreconciled to God?

      This is a separate issue. I recently wrote a blog article in Swedish where I explain (my rather new revelation) why I no longer believe that Bible is saying that people will be burning eternally in the hell fire. The Greek word for "eternal" must not convey something that will last for ever, which many Bible verses prove. The Bible tells us that our options are eternal life or death. Not "eternal life in bliss or "eternal life in torture". Universalism, on the other hand, is another topic. If universalism is true, then why does the Bible tell us our options are eternal life or death?

      Gilla

  2. Thank you for clarifying which has caused me to rethink my position. I agree with you on no original sin so therefore no one is condemned because of Adam. So I now interpret Rom 5:18-19 with my understanding in brackets: ”Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men [because they sinned], so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men [because they believed]. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners [because they sinned], so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous [because they believed]. This is the same as your interpretation, correct? Given this, this passage can’t be used as a support for universalism as I had previously supposed.

    Regarding universalism – the noun aion and its adjectival forms such as aionios and aionion cannot mean eternity and eternal respectively. Aion pertains to age of time which is limited in duration; not eternity which is unlimited in duration. Aionios and aionion therefore cannot mean eternal since they cannot change the meaning of the noun aion which they modify. The options are age-during life or death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Evan

      Yes, it seems like we agree on Romans 5, and at least we can see that there is no such thing as the sinful nature taught in Romans (or elsewhere). When it comes to universalism, I think it’s hard to reconcile this idea with the life/death teaching which is repeated both in the old and the new testament. Right, aion does not have to mean eternal with no end, and not even God’s eternal covenant with Israel ended up being eternal.

      Gilla

  3. Hi – yes we have agreement there. I’m not sure what you mean by life/death though. We have aionion life and death which I presume you mean spiritual death. Spiritual death means separation from God ultimately in the lake of fire. For the universalist the question is, is that separation ”eternal” or ”age-during?” By death are you referring to extinguishment as in annihilationism?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I was just thinking that the Bible often contrast eternal life with eternal death, and our choice seems to be one of the two. If one state of being will last for ever, the other one should last for ever as well. It’s not the ”dying” that will last for ever (as in being tortured for ever) but the ”death” – as in ceasing to exist. If universalism is true, then our choice would rather be eternal life directly (after the physical death) vs eternal life later on (after the physical death and after some time in the hell fire). If all humankind will in fact get eternal life (by two different roads and means), I feel that the Bible is silent about it.

      Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

      So death or life. Not life or life.

      Gilla

  4. Indeed, the wages of sin is death however I can’t think of any scripture referring to death as ”eternal.” We have aionion life which does not mean eternal life. But I don’t know of any verse which refers to eternal death. It seems the closest idea to eternal death is derived from the notion of eternal torment which was popularized by Augustine (whom I’m no fan of) who was a poor student of the Greek language,

    The most oft cited verse in an attempt to disprove universalism and the idea that eternal torment/death is ”forever” is Matt 25:46. ”And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into eternal life.” It is claimed that since the righteous inherit eternal life, then the same must be true for the unrighteous who will reap eternal punishment. ”Eternal” cannot take on two different meanings in both clauses. It is thought that since the Greek word aionios translated as eternal means life forever for the righteous, then the unrighteous will suffer eternal torment forever. However the context of this verse indicates otherwise as Jesus is judging between the sheep and goats prior to the institution of his Millennial Kingdom reign. The sheep therefore enter into the 1,000 year (age-during) time period while the goats depart into the fire for the same age-during 1,000 year period. Death/punishment in this verse cannot be interpreted to mean ”eternal.”

    If the vast majority of humankind permanently end up in the lake of fire then the Good News is really the bad news, all are not reconciled to God and not every knee will bow and not every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Ultimately, God accomplishes his divine will through the ages even if He has to draw/drag all men to Himself. Just my two cents. 🙂

    Gilla

    • I think we are talking about three different things here.

      1) original sin
      2) people being tortured for ever in the hell fire
      3) universalism (all will get saved and continue to live eternally)

      We both disagree on the two first issues, but it’s in the last issue where we might disagree.

      I wrote in my previous post:

      “It’s not the ”dying” that will last for ever (as in being tortured for ever) but the ”death” – as in ceasing to exist”

      If some people will never escape from the process of “dying”, they will in fact live for ever just like God’s children, with the obvious difference that God’s children will live for ever in bliss while the others will live for ever in torture. So one reason for me to not believe in the “eternal process of dying” (being tortured for ever), is because the contrary option is eternal life (living for ever). I feel that the logical conclusion is that the punishment of death must mean ceasing to exist, since it’s compared with the other choice which is continuing to live. Death vs life. Not life vs life.

      I don’t believe Matt 25:46 concerns universalism, and it’s not possible to use as proof for that people will be tortured for ever.

      <<The sheep therefore enter into the 1,000 year (age-during) time period while the goats depart into the fire for the same age-during 1,000 year period. Death/punishment in this verse cannot be interpreted to mean “eternal.”
      If the vast majority of humankind permanently end up in the lake of fire then the Good News is really the bad news, all are not reconciled to God and not every knee will bow and not every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Ultimately, God accomplishes his divine will through the ages even if He has to draw/drag all men to Himself.

      I'm not able to disprove this idea (or prove the opposite), but it's just that I see the issue of life/death spoken about quite a lot in the Bible, and the most logical conclusion for me is at least that if the gift of life is eternal (lasting for ever), so too is death eternal – as in ceasing to exist, something that is irrevocable and final. If someone ceases to exist, he cannot at the same time be tortured since being tortured requires existence.

      But maybe I'm all wrong … Will the lost in fact be temporary dead for 1000 years, and later on get eternal life? So life vs life and not life vs death? It's certainly an interesting topic.

      Gilla

  5. Före första uttåget ut ur Egypten säger YEHWEH (vår Skapares namn) åt Moses att be Hans fru dvs. YEHWEHs folk som är brud till Hans ord att fråga personer i landet, t.o.m. dom som lever avskilt från YEHWEH i deras egna hem efter rov, guld, silver och kläder. Efter detta kallar YEHWEH alla som lever avskilt från Hans ord för egyptier. Det här säger den Högste i sista versen av kapitel 3 i andra Moseboken före Han sänder Moses till Farao. I andra Moseboken kapitel 11 upprepar YEHWEH det här budet före dom lämnade Egypten och dom kom ut med ett överflöd av värdesaker. Första uttåget ut ur Egypten korrelerar med nu, det andra uttåget.

    Det är brådskande, en del av Jesajas kapitel 8 profetia har redan uppfyllts, den talar om ett mansbarn vid namn Mahare Shalawl Koosh Baz som kommer födas och är just nu i sin mammas livmoder. Den här profetian säger att före Mahares födelse kommer YEHWEH att plundra alla som lever avskilt från Honom som inte befinner sig här där Han satt sitt namn, som Han beordrat oss att göra.

    YEHWEH min Elohiym har beordrat mig att fråga dig, så jag frågar efter allt du har, kom hit och bli en deltagare av det med mig. Hjälp oss fylla vår Skapares lagerdepå. Om jag var du skulle jag likvidera allt jag har, gjort om till pengar och komma hit. Även om du inte kommer frågar jag dig fortfarande att likvidera alla ägodelar och skicka alla pengar du har och kanske YEHWEH ger dig fördel och gör ditt lidande kort när Han häller ut sin vrede. Om du inte gör det här kommer YEHWEH att bränna upp dig med dina ägodelar, det är ändå Hans. Jag är beordrad att berätta det här för dig och att ropa ut Mahares namn så det är det jag gör.

    Mahare Shalawl Koosh Baz betyder: röva dom plötsligt och plundra dom snabbt.

    Sänd pengarna genom paypal på adressen: ”r—-

    eller via vår Skapares donera knapp ”donate” på hemsidan:
    http://www.—

    Tack.
    /Wictor

    Gilla

  6. When death is referred to in Scripture and it’s not physical, we both agree that it refers to spiritual death. So the germane question is, is spiritual death:
    1. eternal punishment
    2. ceasing to exist (annihilation)
    3. temporary punishment for the purpose of chastisement
    We both agree that option #1 is invalid. I would tend to agree with you on #2 if not for the fact the scriptures state that it is the Father’s plan to reconcile all to himself (Col 1:20) and for every knee to bow including those under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil 2:10-11) As I wrote earlier, if souls cease to exist, they remain forever unreconciled to God which would contradict these scriptures. Also since death is thrown into the lake of fire, (Rev 20:14, which presumably means the abolishment of death) how then can souls die or cease to exist if death is already abolished?

    I admit that as far as I’m aware, the idea that God will eventually save all is not explicitly taught in Scripture, however for me at least, the whole of Scripture appears to indicate that He does. And if so, have we been preaching the wrong gospel message that all who do not accept Christ in this life are forever condemned (or annihilated)? We acknowledge that God is a God of justice. We would both agree that being condemned to the lake of fire qualifies as punishment but does it meet the demands of justice? For example, a rapist could rape a woman. He claims he is innocent and is not repentant for his crime but is found guilty and sentenced to prison. We would agree that the rapist is being punished but the rape victim will have to live with the consequences of what happened for the rest of her life. Is that justice as the victim has life-long consequences through no fault of her own? Suppose yet that a child was conceived and born as a result of the rape and the mother now has the responsibility to raise the child on her own while the perpetrator does nothing but sit in jail. Is that justice? Based on this example, it can be argued that there is a difference between punishment and justice as the former does not always meet the demands of the latter. The pertinent question to consider then is how can punishment also meet the demands of justice in this case? I would submit that the answer demands that the perpetrator of the crime has to willingly agree to make amends and seek reconciliation with his victim. He needs to admit guilt, seek forgiveness and make recompense for his crime – perhaps some sort of ongoing financial obligation/support when he leaves prison and hopefully gets a job. The point is justice is only accomplished when the perpetrator participates in making amends toward the one he is guilty of offending.

    I believe this human scenario approximates the picture of how God deals with us justly for our sins against Him. There is Biblical precedent for this view of punishment/justice throughout the scriptures. For example Ex 22:1 states: ”If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” In the NT, Zacchaeus promises Jesus that he will restore fourfold those whom he has defrauded. These instances exemplify that justice demands not just the aspect of punishment but also recompense in order to make amends and fully bring about God’s justice.

    Given this scriptural evidence, we can apply this to the concept of an eternal hell. Being condemned to eternal punishment or annihilation in the lake of fire certainly constitutes as punishment but it does not bring about God’s justice because the inhabitants in the lake of fire have no opportunity to admit their guilt, seek forgiveness and seek to make recompense as it is ”already too late.” They must suffer the consequence of their sin forever. There is no chance for amends and reconciliation with God and therein lies the weakness with the retributive punishment of hell. The view of the lake of fire that is most consistent with the scriptures and the character of God is the view where the lake of fire is for the purpose of chastisement where sinners recognize their sin against God, repent and seek forgiveness from the Lamb. Of course they, like all of us cannot repay their debt against God except that they believe in the sacrificial atonement of Jesus to make recompense for their sin. Like the rapist example it requires willing participation on their part as guilty sinners before a holy God. This reconciliation model of the lake of fire requires that the sinners must endure the purifying fires of hell in order that they may seek reconciliation with the Lamb who is also present in the lake of fire (Rev 14:10) so that one day God’s ultimate goal of reconciliation is achieved. I apologize for the length of this reply.

    Gilla

    • Hey Evan

      Interesting thoughts.

      <<I would tend to agree with you on #2 if not for the fact the scriptures state that it is the Father’s plan to reconcile all to himself (Col 1:20) and for every knee to bow including those under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. (Phil 2:10-11)

      These are valid arguments, but I'm still uncertain to what degree it's possible to understand these verses as general promises for all. Let's take Col. 1:20 for example. Paul mentions some wonderful promises but ends with a condition: "IF ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel —" The promises in Phil 2:10-11 ends with "12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed— work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. —- 15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation —-"

      <<Also since death is thrown into the lake of fire, (Rev 20:14, which presumably means the abolishment of death) how then can souls die or cease to exist if death is already abolished?

      Because there is an option that says that some beings will in fact get a punishment in hell which will last some time. Satan for sure, but also some of the angels who sided with him. According to the book of Enoch they will suffer for thousands of years (but not eternally, apart from possibly Satan). When hell is thrown in Gehenna, the sufferings will cease due to annihilation.

      1 Enoch 21:1. And I proceeded to where things were chaotic. 2. And I saw there something horrible: I saw neither a heaven above nor a firmly founded earth, but a place chaotic and horrible. 3. And there I saw seven stars of the heaven bound together in it, like great mountains and burning with fire. 4. Then I said: ‘For what sin are they bound, and on what account have they been cast in hither?’ 5. Then said Uriel, one of the holy angels, who was with me, and was chief over them, and said: ‘Enoch, why dost thou ask, and why art thou eager for the truth? 6. These are of the number of the stars of heaven, which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and are bound here till ten thousand years, the time entailed by their sins, are consummated.’ 7. And from thence I went to another place, which was still more horrible than the former, and I saw a horrible thing: a great fire there which burnt and blazed, and the place was cleft as far as the abyss, being full of great descending columns of fire: neither its extent or magnitude could I see, nor could I conjecture. 8. Then I said: ‘How fearful is the place and how terrible to look upon!’ 9. Then Uriel answered me, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: ‘Enoch, why hast thou such fear and affright?’ And I answered: ‘Because of this fearful place, and because of the spectacle of the pain.’ 10. And he said unto me: ‘This place is the prison of the angels, and here they will be imprisoned for ever.’

      << Is that justice as the victim has life-long consequences through no fault of her own?

      Life is not fair (and fortunately it's brief in comparison with eternity). There are people who are suffering all their lives due to diseases, depression, forced to see loved ones suffer, etc. Although, I do believe "books will be opened" and people will be judged according to their works.

      Rev. 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

      << The point is justice is only accomplished when the perpetrator participates in making amends toward the one he is guilty of offending.

      Sounds fair enough.

      <<I believe this human scenario approximates the picture of how God deals with us justly for our sins against Him. There is Biblical precedent for this view of punishment/justice throughout the scriptures. For example Ex 22:1 states: “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.” In the NT, Zacchaeus promises Jesus that he will restore fourfold those whom he has defrauded. These instances exemplify that justice demands not just the aspect of punishment but also recompense in order to make amends and fully bring about God’s justice.

      Good example.

      <<They must suffer the consequence of their sin forever.

      Well, they would cease to exist. Is it also possible to compare with those who are never born? Like if a woman decides to have 2 children and not 3. This would mean that the third person would never even exist, just like those who used to live and will eventually cease to exist.

      << The view of the lake of fire that is most consistent with the scriptures and the character of God is the view where the lake of fire is for the purpose of chastisement where sinners recognize their sin against God, repent and seek forgiveness from the Lamb.

      If that is the reason for the fire, why can we read:

      John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

      Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

      Matt. 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
      35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

      << Like the rapist example it requires willing participation on their part as guilty sinners before a holy God. This reconciliation model of the lake of fire requires that the sinners must endure the purifying fires of hell in order that they may seek reconciliation with the Lamb who is also present in the lake of fire (Rev 14:10) so that one day God’s ultimate goal of reconciliation is achieved.

      I can't prove you wrong (or right). What would be the greatest punishment? Enduring a long time in the fire, and later on be reconciled with God and saved, OR being burned up fast in the fire and cease to exist? Both options are of course horrible, and the followers of God are therefore fortunate to not having to go through the second death.

      I can't get rid of the thought that Death (not the verb "dying") should be equally permanent as Life is. The gift is eternal life, but is the other alternative really "temporary death"?

      Gilla

  7. Thanks for your reply as it also causes me to think deeper. Let’s start with your last paragraph which appears to be your main objection. We see several references in Scripture to the phrase ”eternal life” however I’m not aware of any existence of the phrase ”eternal death.” We know that life is eternal or aionion, to be more precise, but we cannot assume that death is eternal because there is no such term as eternal death in Scripture as the two words are never linked together – as far as I know. Moreover, if life is not eternal (forever) but instead aionion (age-during) and pertaining to the age(s), then one cannot draw the assumption that death is eternal or forever. Since life is aionion or pertaining to the age, would it not be reasonable to conclude that death also pertains to the age and is not permanent/forever?

    Ultimately there is the second death which refers to the lake of fire mentioned in Rev 2:11, Rev 20:6 & 14, and Rev. 21:8. In these 4 verses, the second death is also not described as being eternal or permanent.They describe that believers who keep the faith, persevere and overcome will take part in the first resurrection and will not be hurt by the second death. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire where they experience the second death. Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin. Therefore, the second death cannot touch them because Rom 6:7 states that ”for he who has died is freed from sin.” Believers who have died and crucified their own flesh have obtained a better resurrection and the second death has no power over them. In essence if we die to ourselves in this life, thus experiencing death in this life, we are not subject to the second death. Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire. God gives us a choice – either to die in this life/age or die in the next life/age. I hope this sheds some light on death and what it means to die. Due to space and time constraints, I will try to address you other objections in another reply. Thank you!

    Gilla

  8. Sorry – my previous post did not format all of my reply for some reason. Hopefully this one does.
    Does ”all” in Col 1:20 refer to all in general or only all who specifically believe? You have rightly pointed out that in the verses following this verse, Paul is addressing believers specifically. However if we look at the verses preceding this verse the context reads: ”He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” If we consistently exegete this passage, Paul makes it very clear what the scope of all things includes everything that was created: All things in heaven – All things on earth – All things visible – All thrones – All dominions – All rulers – All authorities. Thus I believe Paul’s scope includes all in general, in which of course believers who continue in the faith are a part of.

    You wrote: Because there is an option that says that some beings will in fact get a punishment in hell which will last some time. Satan for sure, but also some of the angels who sided with him. According to the book of Enoch they will suffer for thousands of years (but not eternally, apart from possibly Satan). When hell is thrown in Gehenna, the sufferings will cease due to annihilation.

    In Rev 20:13-15 we find that the dead are judged according to their works (v.13). Then Death and Hades are thrown into the lake of fire (v.14). And those names not in Book of life are also thrown into the fire (v.15). It seems to me that Death precedes those souls that are thrown into the LOF or at the very least, they are all thrown into the LOF around the same time. If this is so, then death is abolished at that time so wouldn’t the human souls in the LOF cease to exist immediately since you say the their ”sufferings will cease due to annihilation?” In other words, since Death and human souls enter the LOF around same time, their souls would also cease to exist at that time. If that’s the case then no one would experience any torment in the LOF since they would be immediately annihilated. Perhaps I’m not understanding you correctly.

    You wrote: Life is not fair (and fortunately it’s brief in comparison with eternity).

    My point to which you replied is contrasting the difference between punishment and reconciliation as the former does not always meet the requirements of the latter. The ”victim” in my example is God (though God is never victim) who is the one we all sin against. My point was punishment in the LOF forever or annihilation does not bring about reconciliation with God which is His stated purpose for all things

    You wrote: Well, they would cease to exist. Is it also possible to compare with those who are never born? Like if a woman decides to have 2 children and not 3. This would mean that the third person would never even exist, just like those who used to live and will eventually cease to exist.

    They will cease to exist but remain unreconciled to God which in my opinion goes against His stated purpose.

    You wrote: If that is the reason for the fire, why can we read:
    John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    If the branches (believers) do not abide in Him in this life, then they are cast into the fire. I believe ”fire” refers to the lake of fire as only the overcomers are promised that they will not be hurt by the Second Death. If we do not rid ourselves of the dross in this life, then we will have to be refined in the fires of the next life/age.

    Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

    The tares are burned in the fire; i.e., lake of fire where they are ultimately reconciled to God.

    Matt. 18:34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
    35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.’

    Believers are required to follow the Lord’s commands including forgiving others as the scripture states that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. The sin of unforgiveness, if not repented of leads to spiritual death which is the lake of fire. The question is – is ”delivered him to the tormentors” a permanent state of existence or temporary? In v.34 it states ”till he should pay back” which indicates that recompense is involved. Eternal torment and annihilation do not allow for recompense and forgiveness. Only universalism allows for the opportunity for recompense and forgiveness.

    You wrote: I can’t prove you wrong (or right). What would be the greatest punishment? Enduring a long time in the fire, and later on be reconciled with God and saved, OR being burned up fast in the fire and cease to exist? Both options are of course horrible, and the followers of God are therefore fortunate to not having to go through the second death.

    This is a complicated subject made more difficult because of mistranslated words and our own biases instilled when we were first taught the Word of God. I think even just spending a minute in the LOF would be horrible. Ceasing to exist would definitely be less painful but in the end, wouldn’t the pain endured for however long be made worthwhile once the sinner is ultimately reconciled to God? I’m not a woman but maybe like childbirth when the pain endured is worth the cost of giving birth to one’s own child.One ”forgets” the pain when one is united and bonds with one’s newborn child. So it is with us when we are reunited and restored to relationship with our Father.

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan and sorry for late answer

      I still can’t prove you wrong or right 🙂

      It’s true that we can only read about ”eternal life” in the Bible and not about ”eternal death” , however, a few arguments could still be made that spiritual death leads to eternal death. It doesn’t really say that death is NOT eternal, and as I’ve said death is often contrasted with LIFE, and even eternal life. This makes the reader assume that death is just as final as the upcoming LIFE for the Christians. If all will eventually be saved, then shouldn’t this be expressed more clearly, and shouldn’t the authors avoid contrasting death with life the way they do? Since the choice is often presented as life or death, why would we assume that we should rather interpret this as LIFE or LIFE (temporary life and eternal life)? If a branch is thrown in the fire and burned up, the reader assumes the branch disappears. Why assume that this ”ceasing to exist” will not last forever after all, but that the branch will spring to life again?

      I’m not sure I understood what you mean with ”age-during” and what the difference is with eternal life.

      << In these 4 verses, the second death is also not described as being eternal or permanent. —

      These verses also don't say the opposite – that the second death is NOT permanent.

      << Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin.

      Not sure I follow you here. I thought believers would only have to endure the first death, and that they will later be resurrected to eternal life – which would be the reason why they will escape the second death.

      <<Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire.

      Unbelievers and believers alike? Hmm

      << all things were created through him and for him

      Yes, but a clay product is also created by its maker (the potter), and the maker can choose to throw away useless clay on the scrap heap. I feel this verse is too weak to support the idea that also unbelievers will be saved (but useful for other teachings in relation to other subjects). If all things were created by him (and they are), these things must give an account unto him.

      << It seems to me that Death precedes those souls that are thrown into the LOF or at the very least, they are all thrown into the LOF around the same time.

      Yes, Hades will be thrown in Gehenna. Some believe that the torment will be in Hades, but get a final end when Hades is thrown in Gehenna.

      << My point was punishment in the LOF forever or annihilation does not bring about reconciliation with God which is His stated purpose for all things

      Right, but the question is if we can take that verse to mean that all will be saved, and not just that all will have to give an account for him and get a proper judgment.

      <<They will cease to exist but remain unreconciled to God which in my opinion goes against His stated purpose.

      Must also children who don't even exist (the mother decides to not have any more children) be reconciled with God?

      <<The question is – is "delivered him to the tormentors" a permanent state of existence or temporary? In v.34 it states "till he should pay back" which indicates that recompense is involved.

      One can also assume, that if he is thrown into prison, he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty. We can of course repent for our sins as long as we live on earth, but one day it will be too late. Then we can no longer do something about our guilt which must be used against us.

      <<I think even just spending a minute in the LOF would be horrible.

      Yes!

      Gilla

  9. ”Since the choice is often presented as life or death, why would we assume that we should rather interpret this as LIFE or LIFE (temporary life and eternal life)? If a branch is thrown in the fire and burned up, the reader assumes the branch disappears. Why assume that this ”ceasing to exist” will not last forever after all, but that the branch will spring to life again?”
    I think because everyone has to die first – either die to our flesh in this life or die to our flesh in the LOF. When we die to self we obtain life. We abide in the vine in this life or have to abide in the vine in the LOF. It is natural to assume that the branch is burned up and ceases to exist. However, my main objection to this possibility is that it would not match with God’s stated purpose in reconciling all to himself. If the branches cease to exist then they remain unreconciled to God and God’s will is forever thwarted. Secondly, are the branches burned up and cease to exist or are the branches burned for the purpose of refining in the refiner’s fire? I suppose the answer to that question goes back to the purpose of the LOF. Retributive justice or restorative justice? Does God really mean what he says when he declares that he will one day restore all to himself?
    ————————
    ”I’m not sure I understood what you mean with ”age-during” and what the difference is with eternal life.”
    Age-during life refers the to age in which we have abiding life with God. God works out his will and plan for humankind through the ages of time until he ultimately accomplishes his perfect will. We have age-during life right now as long as we are abiding in Christ in this present church age. We encounter cognitive dissonance as we have been trained to think that we have ”eternal” life instead of life pertaining to this age. Elsewhere in Scripture we see evidence of age-during life pertaining to other ages of time for example at the sheep-goat judgment in Matt 25:46: ”And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during.'” (YLT) This particular verse is often misinterpreted to mean eternal punishment and eternal life however the context indicates that age-during is the proper translation as the sheep-goat judgment refers to age-during life in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ on earth and correspondingly age-during punishment in the LOF for the same 1,000 year period. This leads me to ponder what then does eternal life mean for the believer? We are falsely led to believe that we are saved and we will spend life with God forever in heaven however we know that is simply not true because our ultimate residence is with God in the New Jerusalem on earth and not in heaven. My current thinking is that the term eternal life is really age-during life pertaining to those victorious believers who have persevered in this life and will co-reign with Christ age-during in the Millennial Kingdom according to Rev 20:4. So although we have age-during life as long as we abide in Christ during this present church age, I believe that the privilege of reining with Christ is the prize that Paul often referred to for himself and for believers overall. We die to ourselves and fight the good fight and finish the race in order that we may reign and have age-during life with Christ during his 1,000 year rule.
    ————————
    ”Believers who overcome have already died the second death – death to sin.

    Not sure I follow you here. I thought believers would only have to endure the first death, and that they will later be resurrected to eternal life – which would be the reason why they will escape the second death.”
    I should have worded it to prevent confusion as in – believers who overcome are dead to sin and therefore do not have to experience the second death which is the lake of fire.
    ————————
    ”Those unbelievers and believers who do not die to themselves in this life (first death) are then subject to the second death where they will have to die to themselves in the lake of fire.

    Unbelievers and believers alike? Hmm”
    You and I agree that there is no such thing as eternal security and that believers must continue to believe and obey God, thus our security in Christ is conditional. Therefore those believers who fall away because of their departure from the faith and/or disobedience end up in the LOF. Believers can either choose to die to themselves in this life or have to die to themselves in the LOF.
    ————————
    ”Yes, but a clay product is also created by its maker (the potter), and the maker can choose to throw away useless clay on the scrap heap. I feel this verse is too weak to support the idea that also unbelievers will be saved (but useful for other teachings in relation to other subjects). If all things were created by him (and they are), these things must give an account unto him.”
    Yes all must give an account but the germane question is does the account terminate at the end of our lives in this age or does God in his mercy give grace and allow us to give an account to him in the next age? God works out his plan through the ages.
    ————————
    ”Yes, Hades will be thrown in Gehenna. Some believe that the torment will be in Hades, but get a final end when Hades is thrown in Gehenna.”
    But if death is also thrown into the LOF around the same time, wouldn’t those in the LOF not experience death or cease to exist because death has already ceased to exist?
    ————————
    ”Right, but the question is if we can take that verse to mean that all will be saved, and not just that all will have to give an account for him and get a proper judgment.”
    I’m sure you will agree that at conversion when a person is genuinely saved, he/she is judged to have been reconciled to God – at least at that point in time. I presume you would say that he/she has been properly judged and is now reconciled to God. If so, would you not then say that in order to be reconciled to God, one has to be saved? If God’s purpose is to reconcile ALL to to himself don’t ALL persons have to eventually end up being saved?
    ————————
    Must also children who don’t even exist (the mother decides to not have any more children) be reconciled with God?
    If I understand you correctly, children who never existed do not need to be reconciled to God. While that is true, the same cannot be said for persons who were actually born into this world and never repented of their sins, thus remaining reconciled to God. Unrepentant sinners remain unreconciled to God which goes against his stated purpose of reconciling all to himself.
    ————————
    ”One can also assume, that if he is thrown into prison, he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty. We can of course repent for our sins as long as we live on earth, but one day it will be too late. Then we can no longer do something about our guilt which must be used against us.”
    Actually, the verse does not state or assume that he will never be able to pay back what he is guilty of. It states ”until” he pays back — ”In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.” The word ”until” indicates a condition that must be met in order for the result to be established. I don’t think this verse indicates that it is too late for the condition of payment to be met, otherwise why stipulate such a condition in the first place?

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan

      Sorry again for my delay.

      << We abide in the vine in this life or have to abide in the vine in the LOF.

      I'm not able to find this promise though, that those in the lake of fire will be restored to life.

      <<However, my main objection to this possibility is that it would not match with God's stated purpose in reconciling all to himself.

      Well, if we use Col 1:20 as a filter (and narrow the meaning), then maybe we will get that result, but when reading even more in that chapter and also o elsewhere about reconciliation, it's possible to come to another conclusion. 1 Cor. 5:20 for example, makes it sound like we must make sure to reconcile with God, and even if reconciliation is offered the whole world (Jesus died for the whole world), there seems to be a condition for this reconciliation. Sometimes it's spelled out, and sometimes it isn't (but doesn't make contrary claims).

      <<If the branches cease to exist then they remain unreconciled to God

      Yes, and I'm not able to see why this is unbiblical, based on what I wrote above. You write about God's purpose possibly being thwarted, but if we read John 1, we can see that his purpose was that all men would believe (v. 7).Well, all men did not end up believing in him, and the pharisees made this very clear. So was God's purpose thwarted? Not if we include the rest of the information. The condition: "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name".

      <<Secondly, are the branches burned up and cease to exist or are the branches burned for the purpose of refining in the refiner's fire?

      We already know about those branches that bear little fruit. He purges them tha they may bring forth more fruit. The branches with NO fruit, however, are thrown in the fire. Things thrown in the fire burn up.

      <<Does God really mean what he says when he declares that he will one day restore all to himself?

      If you're referring to Colossians, it doesn't say "restore", but maybe you have other verses in mind.

      << and correspondingly age-during punishment in the LOF for the same 1,000 year period.

      I really don't know how long the time of suffering will be, but at least one of us believe the suffering will last for ever 🙂

      << our ultimate residence is with God in the New Jerusalem on earth and not in heaven

      Right, and it's also possible to spend eternal life in different segments. Like first 1000 years in one realm, and later on in another realm.

      << Therefore those believers who fall away because of their departure from the faith and/or disobedience end up in the LOF.

      Right.

      <<But if death is also thrown into the LOF around the same time, wouldn't those in the LOF not experience death or cease to exist because death has already ceased to exist?

      Not sure exactly when Hades will be thrown in the lake of fire, but it's possible that Hades is a place where the dead souls are still alive, and that they will cease to do so when thrown in the lake of fire. Thus, the Bible is still correct about both the gnashing of teeth (which will last more than seconds), and that our choice is life or death (and not life or life).

      << If so, would you not then say that in order to be reconciled to God, one has to be saved? If God's purpose is to reconcile ALL to to himself don't ALL persons have to eventually end up being saved?

      The question is still if the wordings about "reconcile all to himself" must be interpreted the way you do. 🙂 This seems to be the key issue here.

      I've made blog post where I collected the most interesting Bible verses referring to eternal life or death. See my latest blog post. Although, the post is not about reconciliation, and what the Bible lists as conditions for reconciliation. I should of course have studied this subject as well.

      Gilla

  10. No need for apology. I don’t know how you manage to maintain a blog as it would require too much time and effort for me to do such a thing.

    ++I’m not able to find this promise though, that those in the lake of fire will be restored to life.
    I believe you are correct as there are no clear promises as far as I know. However there is this:
    The phrase ”kings of the earth” appears 7 times in Rev 6:15; 17:2,18; 18:3,9; 19:19; 21:24. In all but the last citation the kings of the earth are portrayed in Revelation as aligned with Mystery Babylon and are the sworn enemies of God. Yet, in 21:24 we find that the ”kings of the earth” will one day bring their splendor into the New Jerusalem. One must therefore ask how or why are the kings of the earth who are consistently and without exception portrayed in Revelation as evil and unrepentant, allowed into the New Jerusalem where ”nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (21:27). To me it appears that even the kings of the earth after having spent some unknown time (aionion) in the lake of fire will one day repent and be allowed to enter into the New Jerusalem after having to wash their robes in the LOF which is situated outside the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:14-15). If the LOF is outside of the New Jerusalem, why are the gates of the city never shut? (Rev 21:25) I don’t think the saints who are inside the city go outside where the LOF is. Is it possible though that its gates are left open so that those in the LOF can one day enter into it? I am engaging in speculation but one is left to wonder why. Rev 22:14 refers to those who are ”washing their robes” Blessed are those who wash (plynontes | πλύνοντες | pres act ptcp nom pl masc) their robes, so they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. Plynontes is a present tense participle so the action of washing one’s robe is an ongoing act as in ”washing.” Could it be possible that those in the LOF outside the city (v.15) are washing their robes so that they are made clean and enter the city? (Rev 21:26-27) What other alternative explanation makes sense?

    ++1 Cor. 5:20 for example, makes it sound like we must make sure to reconcile with God, and even if reconciliation is offered the whole world (Jesus died for the whole world), there seems to be a condition for this reconciliation. Sometimes it’s spelled out, and sometimes it isn’t (but doesn’t make contrary claims).
    Not sure I understand. The condition is meeting all of the requirements of the gospel message. Either believe, repent and obey in this age or believe, repent and obey in the next age. The parameters of what it means to have faith in Christ and reconciliation with God don’t change.

    ++You write about God’s purpose possibly being thwarted, but if we read John 1, we can see that his purpose was that all men would believe (v. 7).Well, all men did not end up believing in him, and the pharisees made this very clear. So was God’s purpose thwarted? Not if we include the rest of the information. The condition: ”But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.
    Indeed all men did not believe in him but that does not in itself preclude the possibility that God will one day reconcile all men to himself as all will eventually believe. 1 Tim 4:10 states: ”To this end we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” Does this verse say that only some (especially) believe or will all believe since Jesus is the Savior of all men? Does ”especially” negate ”all?” The apostle Paul employs a similar construction in Gal 6:10 ”Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (NKJV). Is Paul saying that we are only to do good to the ”household of faith” or is he saying we are to do good to ”all,” but especially the ”household of faith?” Obviously, we are to do good to both groups. In like manner, Jesus is the Savior of all mankind and Savior of those who know they are saved. He is the Savior of both groups. The Greek word in both passages is the same Greek word, malista, which means ”most of all.” So then, we are to do good to all, most of all to the household of faith, and Jesus is the Savior of all, most of all to those who already believed.

    ++We already know about those branches that bear little fruit. He purges them tha they may bring forth more fruit. The branches with NO fruit, however, are thrown in the fire. Things thrown in the fire burn up.
    Yes things in fire burn up but the germane question is do they (branches/souls) cease to exist or do they get purged of sin thus continuing to exist? Are they punished with annihilation or purified and reconciled to God?

    ++I really don’t know how long the time of suffering will be, but at least one of us believe the suffering will last for ever 🙂
    The context itself determines how long the time of suffering will be. The sheep/goat judgment is not the great white throne judgment. The sheep/goats are those who are still alive on the earth at the time of Jesus’ return while the dead still await their judgment after the 1,000 years are completed. The sheep enter aionios life during the 1,000 year period on earth and correspondingly the goats enter the lake of fire for aionios punishment during the same 1,000 year period. Their suffering therefore cannot be construed as meaning ”forever.”

    ++Right, and it’s also possible to spend eternal life in different segments. Like first 1000 years in one realm, and later on in another realm.
    Agreed. That is why I believe aionios life pertains to the age that is dictated by the context of the verse(s).

    ++Thus, the Bible is still correct about both the gnashing of teeth (which will last more than seconds), and that our choice is life or death (and not life or life).
    Yes our choice is life or death. If we choose to sin, the consequence is spiritual death. However, again the question is whether spiritual death lasts ”forever” or just for an age of time? If aionios life does not mean eternal (I think we agree on that) then how can death/punishment be eternal?

    ++The question is still if the wordings about ”reconcile all to himself” must be interpreted the way you do. 🙂 This seems to be the key issue here.
    Agreed, and it is a multifaceted issue which makes things more difficult. The devil is in the details. However if I look at the big picture then I should also consider this:
    Calvinism = God is able to save all + He desires not to save all = all are not saved.
    Arminianism = God is not able to save all + He desires to save all = all are not saved.
    Universalism = God is able to save all + He desires to save all = all are saved.
    The Good News is only the good news if all are (eventually) saved. Under Calvinism and Arminianism the Good News is in reality, the bad news as the great majority of humanity is condemned forever. God is more than able to accomplish what he desires

    Gilla

    • Hi Evan!

      It’s not out of lack of interest that I haven’t read your posts yet, but they are usually clever and advanced and I need time to think 🙂 Will finally read your posts now and respond as I read.

      << Yet, in 21:24 we find that the "kings of the earth" will one day bring their splendor into the New Jerusalem.

      The book of Revelations contains so much information (some of which are understood with a better clarity today when we can compare with the latest global events) and I have only investigated this book to a certain degree. There are good and bad kings/rulers on earth, and while "the kings of the earth" in Revelations mostly concern the situation with the rulers who battled against God during the last days, the kings in Rev. 21:24 concern those who are rulers in the new Jerusalem – which apparently will also have rulers/kings. The rulers in the new kingdom will give glory to the city, and I believe everyone will. There is no darkness in the new kingdom. This verse can therefore not be used to support the idea that God's enemies will also be saved.

      <<One must therefore ask how or why are the kings of the earth who are consistently and without exception portrayed in Revelation as evil and unrepentant, allowed into the New Jerusalem

      They aren't.

      << If the LOF is outside of the New Jerusalem, why are the gates of the city never shut? (Rev 21:25)

      Don't know, but this verse does not say that God's enemies will be saved.

      <<I don't think the saints who are inside the city go outside where the LOF is.

      So, it wouldn't matter if the gates were open or closed. Unless perhaps those outside of the city needed to see what they missed and gnashed their teeth ….

      Luk1 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

      << Is it possible though that its gates are left open so that those in the LOF can one day enter into it?

      That would be a huge piece of information, and one must wonder why the text doesn't say that? While many other verses focus on the "throwing out" (and not the welcoming) of sinners. Like the fellow who came to the king's party but had the wrong clothes. Should we assume that he was eventually allowed back in again and could take part in the feast? Why doesn't the parable say that?

      <<I am engaging in speculation

      Me too! Iron sharpens iron 🙂

      << Rev 22:14 refers to those who are "washing their robes"

      Yes, that seems to be the condition for salvation. Something that is too late to accomplish when Christ returns.

      Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

      The verse here for instance doesn't say that he who overcomes will eat of the tree of life, together with those who do not overcome.

      <<. Plynontes is a present tense participle so the action of washing one's robe is an ongoing act as in "washing."

      Yes, this ongoing event could still have an end, just like many other ongoing events.

      <<Could it be possible that those in the LOF outside the city (v.15) are washing their robes so that they are made clean and enter the city? (Rev 21:26-27) What other alternative explanation makes sense?

      If that is so, why doesn't the text say that? Why do we consistently read the exact opposite? Other explanations? See above. The Bible says "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). It doesn't say that both those who are faithful and those who are unfaithful will get the crown of life.

      << The condition is meeting all of the requirements of the gospel message. Either believe, repent and obey in this age or believe, repent and obey in the next age.

      Again, I can't see that we have an opportunity to believe, repent and obey in the next age unless we already did on earth. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death". Not those who overcome AND those who do not overcome.

      << 1 Tim 4:10 states: "To this end we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

      I suppose this verse could be read in that way, but it can also be understood in the same light as all other verses – which tells us that Jesus died for the WORLD, ALL has been given light, Jesus came to save that which was LOST, etc, and if people have an interest in him and start to believe, they will be so much nearer the tree of life.

      << In like manner, Jesus is the Savior of all mankind and Savior of those who know they are saved. He is the Savior of both groups.

      There are many verses which explain that Jesus died for the world and gave light to all men. There are also verses which separate people between sinners/saints and heaven/hell. I find no clear verses which claim that all will be saved. The Bible says "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God". It doesn't say that both those who receive him and those who do not receive him will become sons of God.

      << Their suffering therefore cannot be construed as meaning "forever."

      Right, I don't believe suffering will last forever.

      <<If aionios life does not mean eternal (I think we agree on that) then how can death/punishment be eternal?

      We agree on both. Life is eternal and suffering is not eternal. Although, I believe that death is eternal just as much as life is eternal.

      << However if I look at the big picture then I should also consider this:
      Calvinism = God is able to save all + He desires not to save all = all are not saved.
      Arminianism = God is not able to save all + He desires to save all = all are not saved.
      Universalism = God is able to save all + He desires to save all = all are saved.

      I vehemently disagree with the description of arminianism. It's very common among Calvinists to misrepresent Freewillism as though God is not ABLE to save all, even though I know of no freewiller who believe this. Freewillers absolutely believe that God can do whatever he wants, including saving ALL if he only wants. What freewillers do believe is that God does not WANT to save sinners but only those who repent and are humble. This is a huge difference.

      <<The Good News is only the good news if all are (eventually) saved.

      Jesus death is good news to the whole world since all have the opportunity to be saved.

      Gilla

  11. Hi Annika,
    Don’t feel compelled to reply or explain for any delay. Even if you don’t reply that is fine too. The thing that I appreciate is that even when we disagree, we still remain amicable. With that being said, here goes:

    ++the kings in Rev. 21:24 concern those who are rulers in the new Jerusalem – which apparently will also have rulers/kings. The rulers in the new kingdom will give glory to the city, and I believe everyone will. There is no darkness in the new kingdom. This verse can therefore not be used to support the idea that God’s enemies will also be saved.
    The thrust of my point was to demonstrate that throughout the Book of Revelation, the phrase ”kings of the earth” consistently and without exception show that these people, whoever they are, are God’s sworn enemies. There is no variance in the Greek as to how they are described as the phrase kings of the earth or ”basileus ho gē” is the same in all occurrences in Revelation. In order to maintain a consistent hermeneutic, I think one must assume that these kings who enter New Jerusalem are the same kings described elsewhere in the book unless something in the text indicates otherwise. I can find nothing in the text that indicates such a difference. The apostle John was well-aware of who these people are and in my mind, I would think that he would want to emphasize that these kings who enter the city are not the same kings he described previously so as not to confuse or lead the reader astray. However he did not do this so I must assume that these are the same kings described elsewhere. For example, if I were to replace the phrase ”kings of the earth” with the phrase ”United Nations assembly” the reader would assume that with no other change in context that the United Nations assembly is the same exact entity being referred to. I think to interpret this otherwise is to eisegete the text. I suppose one could say but this contradicts the doctrine that all are not saved however that is exactly my point – that all are eventually saved – even the kings of the earth.

    ++So, it wouldn’t matter if the gates were open or closed. Unless perhaps those outside of the city needed to see what they missed and gnashed their teeth ….

    Luk1 13:28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
    Yes perhaps those outside the city in the LOF can see what they missed out on but by the same speculation one cannot absolutely rule out that the gates are left open so that they can one day enter in.

    ++That would be a huge piece of information, and one must wonder why the text doesn’t say that? While many other verses focus on the ”throwing out” (and not the welcoming) of sinners. Like the fellow who came to the king’s party but had the wrong clothes. Should we assume that he was eventually allowed back in again and could take part in the feast? Why doesn’t the parable say that?
    That’s a good point but we both know in forming our doctrine, we must take the whole of Scripture into account not just one parable, otherwise we would be resorting to proof-texting. The difference between us is that you view the whole of Scripture as teaching annihilation when it comes to eschatological matters whereas I view the whole of Scripture as teaching Christian universalism.

    Bracketed [<< Rev 22:14 refers to those who are "washing their robes"

    Yes, that seems to be the condition for salvation. Something that is too late to accomplish when Christ returns.

    Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

    The verse here for instance doesn't say that he who overcomes will eat of the tree of life, together with those who do not overcome.

    <<. Plynontes is a present tense participle so the action of washing one's robe is an ongoing act as in "washing."

    Yes, this ongoing event could still have an end, just like many other ongoing events.

    <<Could it be possible that those in the LOF outside the city (v.15) are washing their robes so that they are made clean and enter the city? (Rev 21:26-27) What other alternative explanation makes sense?

    If that is so, why doesn't the text say that? Why do we consistently read the exact opposite? Other explanations? See above. The Bible says "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). It doesn't say that both those who are faithful and those who are unfaithful will get the crown of life.

    << The condition is meeting all of the requirements of the gospel message. Either believe, repent and obey in this age or believe, repent and obey in the next age.

    Again, I can't see that we have an opportunity to believe, repent and obey in the next age unless we already did on earth. "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death". Not those who overcome AND those who do not overcome.]
    I have bracketed the above discussion since they are all related. The central question is, is it too late to be saved? Some people came to faith in the age of the Old Covenant. Other people come to faith in the age of the New Covenant. Does this then preclude that yet other people will come to faith after the church age passes?
    Note that Rev 22:14 states: "Blessed are those washing their robes, that their right will be to the tree of life, and they shall enter into the city by the gates." This verse states that those who are washing their robes = will have the right to the tree of life and shall enter the city. In its context, in the very next verse this ongoing action (robe washing) is taking place at the same time that the dogs, sorcerers, murderers, immoral persons, etc. are outside the city in the lake of fire, v.15. We know that those in the New Jerusalem have no need to wash their robes as they have already overcome and have made themselves clean. The only persons who have to still wash their robes are those outside in the LOF. These are the ones – washing their robes (present tense). V.14 states that they WILL partake in the tree of life and SHALL enter through the city gates (future tense). I don't think this passage reads that it is too late for them.

    ++I suppose this verse could be read in that way, but it can also be understood in the same light as all other verses – which tells us that Jesus died for the WORLD, ALL has been given light, Jesus came to save that which was LOST, etc, and if people have an interest in him and start to believe, they will be so much nearer the tree of life.
    Indeed, Jesus is the savior of all men – especially to those who believe. Again the question is when do people believe – in this life or the next? Since the verse plainly states he is the savior of ALL does it not mean that all are saved? He cannot be the savior of all men if only some men are saved.

    ++There are many verses which explain that Jesus died for the world and gave light to all men. There are also verses which separate people between sinners/saints and heaven/hell. I find no clear verses which claim that all will be saved. The Bible says "as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God". It doesn't say that both those who receive him and those who do not receive him will become sons of God.
    I take the opposite view where I see many verses that teach all will indeed be saved. I previously held to your view as that is the view I was taught when I first became a believer decades ago. But like many of my views previously held, I had to change my view after delving into the scriptures for myself. The scriptures of course do not teach that those who don't receive him will become sons of God as that is a red herring. Our discussion revolves around is it ever too late to become a son of God.

    ++We agree on both. Life is eternal and suffering is not eternal. Although, I believe that death is eternal just as much as life is eternal.
    I don't agree that life is "eternal" as aionios, aionion, etc. do not mean forever.

    ++I vehemently disagree with the description of arminianism. It's very common among Calvinists to misrepresent Freewillism as though God is not ABLE to save all, even though I know of no freewiller who believe this. Freewillers absolutely believe that God can do whatever he wants, including saving ALL if he only wants. What freewillers do believe is that God does not WANT to save sinners but only those who repent and are humble. This is a huge difference.
    Then is it still not true that God is not able to save all because he is only willing to save those who repent and are humble? Did Jesus not die for the sins of the whole world? Isn't the bottom line that God is still not able to save all because all do not repent?
    1 Tim 2;3-4 reads: This is good and acceptable before God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
    This verse states that God desires "all" men to be "saved." – not only those who repent and are humble. Of course repentance and humility are mandatory to be saved – but if all means all – all will eventually repent and become humble. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9). You may object pointing out that what God wants/desires and what actually happens are two different things however I think what God desires, he will in fact accomplish. He is the savior of ALL men; especially of those who believe (1 Tim 4:10).

    ++Jesus death is good news to the whole world since all have the opportunity to be saved.
    But according to the "traditional" view the great majority of humankind will never be saved as that opportunity is forever lost so it is not good news at all, but in reality is bad news.

    Gilla

    • Hey Evan!

      I also appreciate the tone of your posts 🙂

      <<The thrust of my point was to demonstrate that throughout the Book of Revelation, the phrase "kings of the earth" consistently and without exception show that these people, whoever they are, are God's sworn enemies.

      I got that, but I'm just explaining that this still doesn't mean we are talking about the same individuals. "Kings of the earth" is not a title. It doesn't matter that we can follow the story about a certain group of kings (God's enemy) in Revelation, because it's still possible that John also wants give a mention about the new kingdom and its residents (and its kings). If John simply wanted to express that the particular kings (the leaders) of the earth in the new Jerusalem will bring glory to the city – and none of them being the same as previous kings – how should he have expressed himself in a better way? For my part I think "kings of the earth" is an excellent term to be using. It would be a different matter if we were talking about a title, such as "the son of perdition", or "Judas Iscariot", because then we would be talking about a certain individual. Kings and leaders have always lived on earth. Most of them not righteous fellows, but the kings in the new Jerusalem will definitely be righteous.

      << I would think that he would want to emphasize that these kings who enter the city are not the same kings he described previously so as not to confuse or lead the reader astray.

      Throughout the Bible we can read about various kings, and there are have not been a reason to emphasize that these kings are not the same individuals as previous kings. The readers take for granted they are different people. Why would such clarification be necessary when it comes to Revelations, when one type of kings will even live in a different environment in the new Jerusalem? If John wanted to express the HUGE idea that God's enemy will also get a new life in the new Jerusalem, despite so many verses giving the opposite picture, why is he silent about it? The fact that kings lived both before and after the new Jerusalem is no support for such an idea.

      << For example, if I were to replace the phrase "kings of the earth" with the phrase "United Nations assembly"

      The UN consists of members and they are not the same individuals today compared to 50 years ago.

      <<<I suppose one could say but this contradicts the doctrine that all are not saved however that is exactly my point – that all are eventually saved – even the kings of the earth.

      So why doesn't the Bible say so? It would have been easy.

      << That's a good point but we both know in forming our doctrine, we must take the whole of Scripture into account not just one parable, otherwise we would be resorting to proof-texting.

      Right, but to be honest, so far I see no verses which insist on a different picture.

      << Some people came to faith in the age of the Old Covenant. Other people come to faith in the age of the New Covenant. Does this then preclude that yet other people will come to faith after the church age passes?

      The difference is of course that whether people lived in the OT or in the NT, they were alive when they repented.

      << We know that those in the New Jerusalem have no need to wash their robes as they have already overcome and have made themselves clean. The only persons who have to still wash their robes are those outside in the LOF.

      There will not be a need to wash any clothes in the new kingdom, so I believe repenting and washing of clothes (also among the worst of sinners) will have to take place before the door is closed. Things described in the present tense can still cease to continue, just like the case is in English. And yes, those who do wash their clothes WILL enter God's kingdom.

      << Again the question is when do people believe – in this life or the next? Since the verse plainly states he is the savior of ALL does it not mean that all are saved? He cannot be the savior of all men if only some men are saved.

      Again he is called the savior of all men since he died for the whole world and can indeed be viewed as the whole worlds' savior. There is no other savior in which we can be saved and ALL has been given the light. The savior of the world is a good definition. We are told that those will be saved who endure to the end. We are not able to read that those will be saved who endure to the end along with those who do NOT endure to the end (who will also be saved but at a later point).

      << But like many of my views previously held, I had to change my view after delving into the scriptures for myself.

      That is a wise attitude, and I've changed my views as well concerning the duration of hell (you're one of those who made me interested in this topic), OSAS, original sin, etc. Oh, and the shape of the earth 🙂

      <<The scriptures of course do not teach that those who don't receive him will become sons of God as that is a red herring. Our discussion revolves around is it ever too late to become a son of God.

      A normal reading of Genesis makes one believe that when the door of the ark was closed it was too late for those outside. Have we been mistaken about this, despite an honest reading? And have we been fooled to believe something similar about the new Jerusalem when it won't be too late for God's enemy after all? Should we really have interpreted "thrown in the fire and burned up" in a different way, as though the branch will come back to life after all? I just feel that I wouldn't want to make God as the author of confusion. I know of course that you have no other desire.

      <<< Then is it still not true that God is not able to save all because he is only willing to save those who repent and are humble? Did Jesus not die for the sins of the whole world? Isn't the bottom line that God is still not able to save all because all do not repent?

      NO, because "not able" infers that there is something that God cannot do, and that he is too weak to accomplish something. But if the case is that God CHOOSES an alternative by his own free will, even though he could have chosen another alternative, then it would be totally wrong to suggest that God CANNOT choose another way. Of course he can! God has simply chosen to NOT create man as programmed robots who can only do his will. He has chosen to create us with the ability to obey/disobey and love/hate. He has chosen to save those who believe and repent. So where can any inability be seen in this picture? Choosing one way before another doesn't mean there is an inability involved. Of course God can decide to let his son die for the world, be the light of the world, etc, and still decide that only those who repent for their sins will be saved.

      <<This verse states that God desires "all" men to be "saved." – not only those who repent and are humble.

      And it would have been strange otherwise!

      <<Of course repentance and humility are mandatory to be saved – but if all means all – all will eventually repent and become humble.

      We are in agreement. God wants ALL people to be saved. 100%. He take NO pleasure in the death of the wicked. But wicked will die. It is absolutely possible for a king to have a party for his son's wedding and invite ALL people in the whole town, and yet accept that all will not come to the party. It's also possible that the king can decide to throw people out of the party if they don't wear the proper clothes.

      << "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9).

      Amen. He doesn't want anyone to perish. That is our Lord!

      << You may object pointing out that what God wants/desires and what actually happens are two different things however I think what God desires, he will in fact accomplish.

      Correct. What God wants and what will take place are two completely different things. The Bible is a book replete with texts describing people who rebel against God and walk their own ways. God pleads with them, gets angry with them, provides messages through his prophets, make rules, etc, and yet people turn their backs on him.

      <<But according to the "traditional" view the great majority of humankind will never be saved as that opportunity is forever lost so it is not good news at all, but in reality is bad news.

      It is good news to all in the sense that all can be saved. If I invite my entire neighborhood to a party, it's good news for all of them. The fact that some choose not to come doesn't take away the open invitation.

      Gilla

  12. Hi Annika
    ++If John simply wanted to express that the particular kings (the leaders) of the earth in the new Jerusalem will bring glory to the city – and none of them being the same as previous kings – how should he have expressed himself in a better way? For my part I think ”kings of the earth” is an excellent term to be using.
    Problem is and this is where we differ, is that there is no indication in the text that the kings of the earth who enter the city are any different from those mentioned elsewhere in Revelation. I cannot just presume they are different when the text does not state it and to do so i my opinion would be to eisegete the text and argue from a position of silence which I don’t think are strong positions.

    ++If John wanted to express the HUGE idea that God’s enemy will also get a new life in the new Jerusalem, despite so many verses giving the opposite picture, why is he silent about it? The fact that kings lived both before and after the new Jerusalem is no support for such an idea.
    I don’t think that John is silent about it as the text says what it says. The notion of silence is only presumed when one takes the position that other verses give the opposite picture as you state. My position is that other verses in Scripture do not give the opposite picture but actually support the idea that these are the same evil kings who will one day enter the city.

    ++The UN consists of members and they are not the same individuals today compared to 50 years ago.
    Yes the UN changes over the years but in the specific context and timeline of Revelation, I don’t think that it applies as the text itself give no indication that the ”kings of the earth” are any different individuals over the years.

    ++So why doesn’t the Bible say so? It would have been easy.
    I think the Bible does say so. We have both been taught that the Bible states the opposite which results in confirmation bias as we filter the various scriptures through the lens of what we have been taught. For example, I used to believe in eternal security as my seminary professors were all Reformed in their theology so I just accepted what I was taught and interpreted Scripture as such. Only when I had to wrestle with and study for myself scriptures which appeared to contradict what I was taught, did I then discover that what I was taught was incorrect. In the same way, if the doctrine of eternal security was ”easy” then we wouldn’t have these endless discussions in the body of Christ vouching for one view over the other.

    ++Right, but to be honest, so far I see no verses which insist on a different picture.
    Yes and therein lies our difference. I think the primary difference is that you allow that aionios/aionion can mean forever in some instances whereas I maintain that it cannot mean everlasting.

    ++The difference is of course that whether people lived in the OT or in the NT, they were alive when they repented.
    I would have answered the same as you several years ago so I understand where you’re coming from. Some of the pertinent questions which impinge upon this are whether the Greek words in English mean everlasting or age-during, whether all means all or only some, do those condemned get a second chance, etc.

    ++A normal reading of Genesis makes one believe that when the door of the ark was closed it was too late for those outside. Have we been mistaken about this, despite an honest reading? And have we been fooled to believe something similar about the new Jerusalem when it won’t be too late for God’s enemy after all? Should we really have interpreted ”thrown in the fire and burned up” in a different way, as though the branch will come back to life after all? I just feel that I wouldn’t want to make God as the author of confusion. I know of course that you have no other desire.
    As I understand you, you base your argument on the belief that those who end up in the lake of fire are eventually ”burned up,” annihilated and thus cease to exist. In that sense death is ”eternal.” However if you examine the Greek text in John 15:6 it reads: ”If anyone does not abide in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; men gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned” (kaietai | καίεται | pres pass ind 3 sg). καίεται is a present tense verb more accurately translated as ”burning” since the tense indicates ongoing/continuous action. Given this present tense rendering of the verb, it cannot mean that the branches are ”burned up” as they are continuing to burn. Therefore the branches continue to exist and are not annihilated which I think lends support to my view instead.

    NO, because ”not able” infers that there is something that God cannot do, and that he is too weak to accomplish something. But if the case is that God CHOOSES an alternative by his own free will, even though he could have chosen another alternative, then it would be totally wrong to suggest that God CANNOT choose another way. Of course he can! God has simply chosen to NOT create man as programmed robots who can only do his will. He has chosen to create us with the ability to obey/disobey and love/hate. He has chosen to save those who believe and repent. So where can any inability be seen in this picture? Choosing one way before another doesn’t mean there is an inability involved. Of course God can decide to let his son die for the world, be the light of the world, etc, and still decide that only those who repent for their sins will be saved.
    Our views on the sovereignty of God differ. My view of his sovereignty is unlimited and unrestricted as I believe God can allow for man’s free will while at the same time maintain his own utmost sovereignty. It is not an either-or choice as God is able to do both. For example, Scripture states that in Ex 7:3-4 describes Pharaoh as hardening his heart and yet on 3 occasions we are told that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex. 8:15; 8:32; 9:34). Thus did God harden Pharaoh’s heart or did Pharaoh of his own free will harden his own heart. Both responses are correct as Scripture confirms both as having occurred. However, it seems to me that ultimately it is God’s will that prevails as the apostle Paul later elaborates on this in Rom 9:16-18 ”So then it depends NOT on human will or exertion, but on God, who has MERCY. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.”
    A couple of chapters late, we find this nugget of truth: ”For God has consigned all men to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on them all” (Rom 11:32). Based on scriptures like these, it is hard for me to accept your view that God has allowed man’s free will to override his divine prerogative and that he has designed it as such. Instead his divine prerogative prevails; in spite of man’s free will.

    I have to go now. Sorry I didn’t get to your other objections but perhaps I will do so later. No promises though as we can go round in circles….

    Gilla

    • Hey Evan
      Will get back to you, but if you have interest, maybe you have something to say to Dan’s questions under the article ”How globe earthers should not communicate …..”
      God bless

      Gilla

      • Okay, wasn’t planning to do so but have replied to Dan attempting to take his experience as a mariner into account.

        Gilla

    • Hey Evan

      Sorry again for delay, but here it is 🙂

      <<Problem is and this is where we differ, is that there is no indication in the text that the kings of the earth who enter the city are any different from those mentioned elsewhere in Revelation.

      The text itself does not state that the kings in question are the same, or that the kings are different. This means that we can't really use the text itself to establish the reality. Why then ruling out one of the two alternatives?

      <<I don't think that John is silent about it as the text says what it says.

      The text does not say the kings are the same.

      << I don't think that it applies as the text itself give no indication that the "kings of the earth" are any different individuals over the years.

      The text does not claim the kings are the same. It's an assumption one has to make.

      << For example, I used to believe in eternal security —

      Agreed, but at least I changed my mind when I could see Bible verses to the contrary. I'm not able to do this when it comes to God's enemy being saved in the end, despite so many verses explaining that they will face corruption, death, being thrown out from the King's feast, etc.

      <<I think the primary difference is that you allow that aionios/aionion can mean forever in some instances whereas I maintain that it cannot mean everlasting.

      Ruling out that it could mean everlasting is a mistake in my view, because it could. Authors could very well choose to use this word to express everlasting (as in lasting with no end). The fact that the word does not always mean this type of everlasting is no evidence of that it could *never* mean everlasting.

      << καίεται is a present tense verb —-

      I believe you are making a mistake with the focus on Greek present tense verbs, because this tense can be used for ongoing events that still still eventually cease. You cannot always use Greek present tense to prove if something lasts for ever or for a while. You have to use other arguments for your case.

      <<Given this present tense rendering of the verb, it cannot mean that the branches are "burned up" as they are continuing to burn. Therefore the branches continue to exist and are not annihilated which I think lends support to my view instead.

      You're mistaken about the Greek. Of course it's possible for branches to present-tense-burn, and yet cease to do so when there is nothing left to burn. (Btw, I don't know if you've studied Greek. I did at Uppsala university so I do understand the basics.) If the Greek must be read in such a way that the branches keep on burning, then they must continue to do so and then we end up with everlasting suffering, which none of us believe in.

      << My view of his sovereignty is unlimited and unrestricted as I believe God can allow for man's free will while at the same time maintain his own utmost sovereignty.

      Which is what I too believe, and what most (or all) freewillers believe.

      << For example, Scripture states that in Ex 7:3-4 describes Pharaoh as hardening his heart

      Yes, I've written an article about this, and it works both ways. When faced with a proposition to choose between right/wrong, one hardens his/her heart when making the wrong choice. It's possible to walk up to some atheists, tell them about the gospel and ask if they would like to make a decision. If they reject the gospel they have "hardened their hearts", but it's also possible to say that YOU have hardened their hearts. You started the process. (I could say more about this, but it will take too much time.)

      << . However, it seems to me that ultimately it is God's will that prevails —-

      It was never ever God's will that Pharaoh would harden his heart. No chance.

      <<as the apostle Paul later elaborates on this in Rom 9:16-18 "So then it depends NOT on human will or exertion, but on God, who has MERCY. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills."

      I've written about Rom. 9 too, and the question is what "it" refers back to. This is rather essential for the understanding. "It" refers back to God's choice to select Jacob's line to bring about the Messiah instead of Esau's line (the firstborn), and God's choice to make Israel his people despite of their actions (which naturally doesn't mean all Israelites will be saved.) God can have mercy on whomever he wills, and this term is also a quote from Exodus in connection to Moses. It's also important to check this passage in order to understand the full meaning. God can of course decide to show mercy under certain conditions, like granting this only to the humble. The Hebrew must also be checked about the "raised you up", because the fact is that God did not extinguish Pharaoh at once but allowed him to walk his own race (against God's desires). Again, there is absolutely no way that God in any way would have liked Pharaoh to sin. There is no darkness in God. He does not tempt people, much less causes or desires people to sin.

      <<A couple of chapters late, we find this nugget of truth: "For God has consigned all men to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on them all" (Rom 11:32).

      I hope you don't interpret this verse as meaning "God made people disobedient so that he could have mercy on them". That would make God walking hand in hand with Satan. Here is a better explanation: "For just as you [Gentiles] once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their [Jewish] disobedience, so these [Jews] also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you [Gentiles] they [the Jews] also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all [both Jews and Gentiles] in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all [Jews and Gentiles]. – Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

      << Based on scriptures like these, it is hard for me to accept your view that God has allowed man's free will to override his divine prerogative and that he has designed it as such. Instead his divine prerogative prevails; in spite of man's free will.

      You have misunderstood those verses. Either we sin according to God's will or against his will. If we sin according to his will, this is no longer the God of the Bible. If our will must always be according to God's will, then there is nothing called "sin", because everything would pan out exactly as God wants. Why would we even say that we have a free will if we don't, and if God's will is the only one? Again, the Bible is a book replete with examples of people who act against God's will. God IS capable of creating man with free will, thus making man responsible for his actions/choices rather than God.

      Gilla

  13. Hello again,
    ++The text does not say the kings are the same.
    This is where we differ in interpretive approach. In any given passage of Scripture, particularly when contained in the same book/epistle the author’s use of certain names/phrases can only be assumed to be the same person/group unless something in the immediate context indicates otherwise. Therefore if nothing in the surrounding text indicates that John’s reference to the kings of the earth who enter the New Jerusalem is somehow different than John’s references elsewhere in the rest of his book, I don’t have the liberty of changing the meaning/reference. I can only assume that they are the same group. To claim that they are somehow different is to argue from silence which is a very weak form of argumentation; not that we’re arguing 🙂 Take for example, if I write an article about the ”Sacramento Kings” which an NBA professional basketball team in the USA. The reader naturally assumes that whenever such a reference is made, I’m referring to the same team that I’ve cited elsewhere in my article. For the reader to assume otherwise would not make sense and only lead to confusion. In addition, I as the author have the obligation to point out to my readers that if I were referencing a different ”Sacramento Kings,” then it is incumbent upon me to clarify that for my readers in order to prevent any misinterpretation. The apostle John made no such distinction, so therefore I as the reader of his message I must assume that it is the same group.

    ++Agreed, but at least I changed my mind when I could see Bible verses to the contrary. I’m not able to do this when it comes to God’s enemy being saved in the end, despite so many verses explaining that they will face corruption, death, being thrown out from the King’s feast, etc
    While such verses exist, I think the germane question is: Are such states of existence – forever?

    ++Ruling out that it could mean everlasting is a mistake in my view, because it could. Authors could very well choose to use this word to express everlasting (as in lasting with no end). The fact that the word does not always mean this type of everlasting is no evidence of that it could *never* mean everlasting.
    To quote Morgan again, caps for emphasis: ”There is NO Word in the Whole Book of God corresponding with our ”eternal,” which, as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end.” Morgan in his opinion leaves no wiggle room whatsoever for interpreting the words in Scripture as ”eternal.” You would have to provide scriptural examples where you think it must mean everlasting.

    ++I believe you are making a mistake with the focus on Greek present tense verbs, because this tense can be used for ongoing events that still still eventually cease. You cannot always use Greek present tense to prove if something lasts for ever or for a while. You have to use other arguments for your case.
    I’m by no means a Greek scholar, but Koine Greek is different from most other languages when it comes to verb tenses. The focus of the verb tense does not refer to time as in other languages but instead primarily focuses on the action. The kind of action is of primary importance with time of action (past, present, future) having secondary importance. With that in mind, let’s focus on καίεται. This verb as used in this verse, is in the present tense which denotes ongoing/continuous action. However when used in the indicative mood – as this verb is – the present tense denotes action taking place or going on in the present time. Unlike English, it makes no reference to this kind of action that may (or may not) continue into the future. Rather, the focus is indicative of the kind of action that is in fact, presently occurring. Therefore the branches are thrown into the fire and they are (presently) burning with no reference whatsoever to the future state of those branches. Thus to claim that they will be continually burn into the future but eventually burn up and cease to exist I don’t think can be supported by the Greek text.

    ++Yes, I’ve written an article about this, and it works both ways. When faced with a proposition to choose between right/wrong, one hardens his/her heart when making the wrong choice. It’s possible to walk up to some atheists, tell them about the gospel and ask if they would like to make a decision. If they reject the gospel they have ”hardened their hearts”, but it’s also possible to say that YOU have hardened their hearts. You started the process. (I could say more about this, but it will take too much time.)
    ++It was never ever God’s will that Pharaoh would harden his heart. No chance.
    In reality, it is not an ”either-or” issue as the scriptures BOTH state pharaoh hardened his heart and God hardened pharaoh’s heart. Therefore we have no choice in having to accept this proposition as being factual and true. In Western thinking this is difficult to reconcile because Western logic is linear/steps whereas Eastern thinking is block-based. When you rely on your Western mode of logic you can interpret it as ”you started the process.” Hebrew thinking is not linear and step-based (sequential) but instead block-based seeing the whole as important and giving chronology less relevance. Therefore it is irrelevant as to who started the process. Pharaoh AND God hardened pharaoh’s heart. For more info, see here:
    http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/language_philosophy.html#logic

    ++Again, there is absolutely no way that God in any way would have liked Pharaoh to sin. There is no darkness in God. He does not tempt people, much less causes or desires people to sin.
    Yes but the applicable verses do not state state that God caused pharaoh to sin – only that he hardened pharaoh’s heart. To go beyond what the verses state and bring the subject of sin into the equation is not relevant in my opinion.

    ++I hope you don’t interpret this verse as meaning ”God made people disobedient so that he could have mercy on them”. That would make God walking hand in hand with Satan. Here is a better explanation: ”For just as you [Gentiles] once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their [Jewish] disobedience, so these [Jews] also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you [Gentiles] they [the Jews] also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all [both Jews and Gentiles] in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all [Jews and Gentiles]. – Galatians 3:22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
    Again I think a closer look of the Greek text is in order.
    For God has consigned all to disobedience so that he (eleēsē | ἐλεήσῃ | aor act subj 3 sg) may (eleēsē | ἐλεήσῃ | aor act subj 3 sg) show (eleēsē | ἐλεήσῃ | aor act subj 3 sg) mercy (eleēsē | ἐλεήσῃ | aor act subj 3 sg) to (eleēsē | ἐλεήσῃ | aor act subj 3 sg) all.
    In this verse, the subjunctive mood is used in both the purpose and result clause. When the subjunctive mood is utilized in a purpose or result clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as a definite outcome that will happen as a result of another stated action. Therefore since God has consigned ALL to disobedience (purpose), the definite outcome is that God WILL have mercy on ALL (result).

    ++ You have misunderstood those verses. Either we sin according to God’s will or against his will. If we sin according to his will, this is no longer the God of the Bible. If our will must always be according to God’s will, then there is nothing called ”sin”, because everything would pan out exactly as God wants. Why would we even say that we have a free will if we don’t, and if God’s will is the only one? Again, the Bible is a book replete with examples of people who act against God’s will. God IS capable of creating man with free will, thus making man responsible for his actions/choices rather than God.
    I think again you utilize your Western logic vs. Hebrew logic in formulating your view. Paul and the other apostles were Hebrew in their thinking and so I think is incumbent upon us to adopt their mindset and interpret their NT writings primarily in terms of a Hebrew mindset instead of a Greek mindset. Thus you have adopted an ”either-or” linear view whereas my view is ”both-and” block view. That is why your view excludes having both individual free will and God’s will; whereas my view incorporates both.

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan!

      Long time no seeing! Hope you’ve been well. Again, it’s not due to lack of interest that my responses are slow …

      I respond as I read as usual. Here we go …

      << In any given passage of Scripture, particularly when contained in the same book/epistle —

      Again, "king" is such a common title that it's not possible to assume that the individuals are the very same in a book just because of this title. It's possible to read about various different kings/leaders in one and the same book. Most importantly, in the book of Revelation there is a HUGE dividing mark that we can read about, and that is the information that the kings in question are residing in the new Jerusalem. This information is actually enough to make the reader understand that we are now reading about an entirely different scenario and key players. As a reader this provides me with the understanding that we are reading about the worthy residents of this new kingdom. There will be kings also in this kingdom, and perhaps they have earlier (on earth) died as martyrs or similar. Due to the important information that these kings (unlike the other ones mentioned in Rev.) are residing in the new Jerusalem, I don't feel that I need a further explanation such as "and by the way, these new-Jerusalem-kings are not the same as the earthly kings mentioned earlier in this book". I already get that since these particular kings reside in the new Jerusalem. If a text speaks about certain political leaders in the US, and in the end of the text there is a mention of leaders in Canada, we should not assume the leaders are the same since the scenarios are totally different. So, I'm definitely not able to use that verse as evidence of that all will be saved. It would have been SO easy for a Bible author to explain that all will be saved, but I can't read it anywhere. Instead I get the exact opposite story.

      << John's reference to the kings of the earth who enter the New Jerusalem—-

      The text doesn't say that the kings of the earth enter the new Jerusalem.

      << Take for example, if I write an article about the "Sacramento Kings" —

      That story is completely different from the one in Rev, and reading it makes me think that you perhaps don't get my point. In Rev. we have the key information that we are talking about a completely different realm (the new Jerusalem), and it's a fact that there will be kings there as well. If those kings are the very same kings as those who lived on earth it would have been so easy for the authors to say that. Your story contains players only on earth and no other information is provided so of course I must assume they are the same. At best we can say that John is silent about the identification of the kings in question. This means that we cannot go from the "the kings COULD be the same as the earthly kings" into "they MUST be the same".

      <<< To quote Morgan again, caps for emphasis: "There is NO Word in the Whole Book of God corresponding with our "eternal," which, as commonly used among us, means absolutely without end."

      Again it seems like you don't get my point, but it could be my English. If Morgan believes there is no such word available, how does he know that the author doesn't want to express "eternal, without end"? Is the author forbidden from having such a view for the only reason that there are no words available to express such an idea? This goes from "the word COULD mean not-eternal" to "the word MUST mean not-eternal".

      <<< The focus of the verb tense does not refer to time as in other languages but instead primarily focuses on the action.

      Yes, but do read what else that I wrote. Also on-going actions (expressed in Greek) can still come to an end. It's not possible to use the Greek to suggest whether or not something will continue on also in upcoming worlds. Sorry, this Greek path doesn't prove the idea that all will be saved.

      <<Therefore the branches are thrown into the fire and they are (presently) burning with no reference whatsoever to the future state of those branches.

      The reader only reads what is available in the text – that the branch will be thrown in the fire and burned. The reader understands that something that is thrown in the fire will be consumed and disappear. If the author would like to show another picture – the object will come to life again, why in the world doesn't he say just that? Why, again, can we constantly read about things dying, being burned, being corrupt, thrown in Gehenna, thrown out from the wedding party, etc, and instead of just accepting the text as it says, we must constantly add to the stories and assume that the object/person will spring back to life after all at a later point? Despite that the text doesn't give any indication of this whatsoever. God is not the author of confusion.

      << Thus to claim that they will be continually burn into the future but eventually burn up and cease to exist I don't think can be supported by the Greek text.

      The Greek text says the branch will be thrown in the fire and burned and it's not possible to use Greek tenses to assume that things will continue to "act" also in upcoming worlds.

      << In reality, it is not an "either-or" issue as the scriptures BOTH state pharaoh hardened his heart and God hardened pharaoh's heart.

      Yes, I hope you read what I wrote – where I expressed that both options can be combined, and that it still doesn't make God culpable of Pharaoh's evil choices (against God's will).

      << Therefore it is irrelevant as to who started the process. Pharaoh AND God hardened pharaoh's heart.

      It's irrelevant it Pharaoh hardened his heart or if God hardened his heart because it all boils down to the same thing: Pharaoh was placed in a spot where he had to make a decision, and he chose to act against God's will.

      <<Yes but the applicable verses do not state state that God caused pharaoh to sin – only that he hardened pharaoh's heart. To go beyond what the verses state and bring the subject of sin into the equation is not relevant in my opinion.

      Just about 100% of the time when the case of Pharaoh is used, it's about the question of sin 🙂 But I'm glad we are in agreement of that Pharaoh acted against God's will when he refused to let Israel go, and that each time a person sins it's always against God's will.

      << Therefore since God has consigned ALL to disobedience (purpose), the definite outcome is that God WILL have mercy on ALL (result).

      The text is about Jews and gentiles. How can this verse be used to support the idea that all individuals will be saved? The text doesn't say that. Not in Greek and not in English. Read Rom. 11-15 and you will see Paul's reasoning about Jews and gentiles. Particularly read. v14 where we can read about a "hope" to save some. It's not a sure thing. Only those who repent and believe will be saved. If it would be a sure thing, why doesn't Paul say that?

      << Paul and the other apostles were Hebrew in their thinking and so I think is incumbent upon us to adopt their mindset

      The Bible is written in a way that readers (of all languages) can understand, and the authors are capable of expressing their views in a simple way for all ages. Either we sin according to God's will or we sin against his will. If you say both can be true at the same time, you have to explain how since they are mutually exclusive. The Bible is a book where we can read about rebellious people and individuals who constantly act against the will of God. God pleads with them, warns them, punishes them, etc. God's will clearly does not always happen. The common freewill view of the Bible is that God is sovereign (even though this is not a Biblical word) AND man has free will. Both are true. Also that a sovereign God can create man with free will. If man's "free" will is always lined up with God's will, then man does not have free will after all but his will is actually God's will. If man can only do God's will, then God is also to be blamed for the sins of the world. For some mysterious reason, God wants (and predestines) people to sin. Well, this is Calvinism.

      God bless!

      Gilla

  14. Thanks for your reply as iron sharpens iron. My take on the kings of the earth differs from your interpretation for the reasons I already specified.
    ++Again, ”king” is such a common title that it’s not possible to assume that the individuals are the very same in a book just because of this title.
    I agree that ”king” is very common; however the phrase in question is ”kings of the earth” – οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς – which is not common at all – only occurring in the NT in John’s Revelation. Therefore i don’t think it is proper to interpret this peculiar phrase as being ”common.” There are many other places in the Bible which reference kings but only Revelation references kings of the earth which in my mind distinguishes this phrase from all others.

    ++Most importantly, in the book of Revelation there is a HUGE dividing mark that we can read about, and that is the information that the kings in question are residing in the new Jerusalem. This information is actually enough to make the reader understand that we are now reading about an entirely different scenario and key players.
    I disagree because I think you are making an a priori assumption based on the paradigm that was taught to you (and I). You assume that the enemies of Christ – in this case the kings of the earth – can never enter the New Jerusalem. They can never enter the city and must forever be unreconciled to God – because you and I were taught that those in the lake of fire don’t get a second chance. Therefore, this entails that these must be different kings. The text itself never says that but your belief system forces you to interpret it as such. Based on my interpretation, the text states what it states – namely, the kings of the earth enter the city. I seen no indication in all of Revelation where it distinguishes these kings of the earth as somehow being different from all the other references to the kings of the earth that John writes about in his letter. When there is no such distinction, I must assume that this is the very same group of people – who are allowed to go into the city. It was incumbent upon the apostle John to point out to his reading audience that these kings who enter the city are somehow different from the other kings of the earth he wrote about elsewhere in Revelation. He did not do so, so I must assume that they are the same group of people who are allowed into the city.

    ++If a text speaks about certain political leaders in the US, and in the end of the text there is a mention of leaders in Canada, we should not assume the leaders are the same since the scenarios are totally different.
    Yes, and that is exactly my point. There is no difference stated in these texts that the kings of the earth are not the same. In my opinion, to arrive at your interpretation you have to eisegete the text instead of exegeting it. You assume that they have to be different because they are allowed to enter they city. My logic differs in that I ask why are these same people allowed to enter the city, thus we end up with different conclusions.

    ++The text doesn’t say that the kings of the earth enter the new Jerusalem.
    ”I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev 21:22-27)
    I’m not sure how you can interpret it any differently as the text plainly states that ”the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it” (it – referring to the New Jerusalem).

    ++At best we can say that John is silent about the identification of the kings in question. This means that we cannot go from the ”the kings COULD be the same as the earthly kings” into ”they MUST be the same”.
    The silence claim only enhances the probability that this is the same group of people. When an author references a person or persons in a letter, article or a book, the reader assumes that the so- named person or persons are the same entity unless the author specifies that the person(s) are somehow different so as to not confuse the reader. John specified no such distinction, therefore I as the reader can naturally assume that they are indeed the same persons.

    Like I wrote earlier, you interpret these passages based upon what you were taught – eternal condemnation. You and I were both taught that, but like heliocentric cosmology, we later found out that we were intentionally/unintentionally misled by both secular and biblical authorities. Since you believe that those outside the New Jerusalem are never allowed into the city and remain condemned in the lake of fire, I think it is fair to ask does Scripture actually teach that? Let’s explore Revelation further.
    Rev 22:14-15 Blessed are those WASHING their robes, that their right WILL BE to the tree of life, and they SHALL ENTER into the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone loving and practicing falsehood. (BLB) The Berean Literal Bible translation is particularly instructive in this passage as it accurately translates the verb tense of plynontes which is a present tense participle. Most English translations incorrectly render this word in v.14 as ”wash” instead of ”washing.” Obviously, those inside the city have no need to keep on washing their robes because they have already washed their garments and made them white. Who is it then that are still washing their robes? The only answer is that the souls who are still outside the city in the lake of fire in v.15. These unsaved souls are the only ones left with unwashed robes. Therefore they are washing (present ongoing action) their robes in order that at some point – THEIR RIGHT WILL BE TO THE TREE OF LIFE and SHALL ENTER the city.

    Furthermore compare Rev 21:22-27:
    ”I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
    With Isaiah 60:11,19:
    ”our gates shall always be open;
    day and night they shall not be shut,
    so that nations shall bring you their wealth,
    with their kings led in procession.”
    ——————————————————–
    ”The sun shall no longer be
    your light by day,
    nor for brightness shall the moon
    give light to you by night;
    but the Lord will be your everlasting light,
    and your God will be your glory.”

    I submit to you that the apostle John had Isaiah 60 in mind when he wrote Rev 21:22-27. Those who were at one time enemies of the cross will one day bow before the Lord who is the New Jerusalem.
    Isa 60:14 ”The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and ALL who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel.”
    Those souls outside the walls of the city in the lake of fire eventually find their refuge and salvation within the walls of the city/Jesus.
    Isa 60:18 ”Violence will no longer be heard in your land, desolation or destruction within your borders; instead, you will call your walls Salvation and your gates Praise.”

    I don’t have the time or space to further reply to your remaining comments but will hopefully get to it later.
    Blessings

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan!

      Yes, iron sharpens iron.

      << however the phrase in question is "kings of the earth" – οἱ βασιλεῖς τῆς γῆς – which is not common at all

      The kings of the earth will likely think and act in a similar way prior to the return of Jesus, so it's possible to speak about them as one unit. Today not all kings of the earth think alike (and they will not be the same as the leaders prior to Jesus return). Today some are very christianlike and some are not. It's also possible to speak about the kings in the new Jerusalem and label them too as kings of the earth, as one unit – in the new earth/Jerusalem. They too will be of the same mind.

      << Therefore, this entails that these must be different kings. The text itself never says that

      The text doesn't say that the kings in the new Jerusalem will be the same as the ones who resided on the old earth. That's one reason for me to not believe they are the same. (Such a HUGE piece of information should be spelled out.) The other reasons are the multiple verses which I would have to change (make additions to), if I would want them to say something else but what they appear to say. For example: A wedding guest is thrown out due to improper clothes. Yet I would have to assume that he is welcomed back in again at a later point? If the text does not say this, why does the author expect me to make this addition for no apparent reason?

      << Based on my interpretation, the text states what it states – namely, the kings of the earth enter the city.

      The text doesn't say that the kings of the earth enter the city.

      << I seen no indication in all of Revelation where it distinguishes these kings of the earth as somehow being different —–

      If I read a text about leaders/politicians in the US, and also a brief mention of leaders/politicians in the EU, why would I assume they are the same leaders? True, the text does not say they are different but the settings are distinct from one another. One setting is in the US and one in Europe. When it comes to Revelations the settings are even more distinct, because one setting is on the old (current) earth, and the other setting is in the new earth/Jerusalem.

      <<< It was incumbent upon the apostle John to point out to his reading audience that these kings who enter the city
      << are the same group of people who are allowed into the city.
      << <<<You assume that they have to be different because they are allowed to enter they city.
      <<My logic differs in that I ask why are these same people allowed to enter the city,

      The text doesn't say they are the same people and it doesn't say these people were allowed into the city. Yet, you made this claim at least four times 🙂

      << the kings of the earth will bring their glory into

      bring = pherō = bring, bring forth, bear, come, reach, endure, carry

      There is no doubt that the kings who will reside in the new Jerusalem will bring/provide honor and glory into and to the city. It would be strange if they didn't. I believe everyone will who reside in that city since they are all saved. Incidentally, the same verse says "the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it". How about just saying that all nations (period) will walk in the light of it if everyone will be saved, including wicked kings? The verse does not say that those kings who resided on the old earth will be the same ones giving honor and glory to the new Jerusalem. Yet, for some reason you take it for granted, and even view it as the only way to read the text.

      << When an author references a person or persons in a letter, article or a book, the reader assumes that the so- named person or persons are the same entity unless the author specifies that the person(s) are somehow different so as to not confuse the reader.

      Yes, indeed, or if the setting is different, such as the above example with politicians in the US or Europe. Even if not spelled out in a text that the politicians are different, the reader will still assume they are different since the places are vastly different from one another.

      << Rev 22:14-15 Blessed are those WASHING their robes, that their right WILL BE to the tree of life, and they SHALL ENTER into the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone loving and practicing falsehood. (BLB)

      Should we make an amendment and add the information that also the dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, etc will be saved?

      <<< Who is it then that are still washing their robes?

      Those that are outside: The dogs, and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and everyone loving and practicing falsehood? At least that would be the case if everyone will be saved. Instead they are NOT listed as categories which are promised the tree of life. Only those washing their clothes are promised this. So why is that? Probably because the categories that I just list will not be saved. They have no promise to the tree of life but are described as being outside. You are proving my point with this verse. And again, when it comes to the Greek it's not possible to interpret Greek continues tense the way you do. I can also say, that the Greek has helped me a lot with my understanding of certain verses, but it wouldn't make sense if God required the Bible reader to understand Greek in order to understand the Bible. It wouldn't make sense if certain things remained hidden for honest readers for the only reason that they don't know Greek. If all will be saved, why not spell it out clearly? What we have are multiple verses which say the exact opposite, unless we make amendments and add the information that what is burned, corrupted, thrown out, etc, will come back to life again and be welcomed after all.

      <<Therefore they are washing (present ongoing action)—

      To be consistent with your Greek understanding, you should believe that they continue to wash their clothes also in the new Jerusalem. Yet, you don't believe it due to the context, which is how you should treat the text. Ongoing actions (Greek continuous tense) can still cease.

      <<<With Isaiah 60:11,19:

      I read and I fail to see anything else but the natural circumstances that all who reside in the new Jerusalem will bring glory to it.

      <<Those who were at one time enemies of the cross will one day bow before the Lord who is the New Jerusalem.

      So why do we not have one single verse which say that?

      <<Isa 60:14 "The sons of those who afflicted you shall come bending low to you, and ALL who despised you shall bow down at your feet; they shall call you the City of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel."

      We can also read: "For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." Isaiah is pretty deep. We can also read about a description of what sounds like the new Jerusalem, and I too believe that those who reside in that place will be nothing but righteous.

      Gilla

      • ++The kings of the earth will likely think and act in a similar way prior to the return of Jesus, so it’s possible to speak about them as one unit. Today not all kings of the earth think alike (and they will not be the same as the leaders prior to Jesus return). Today some are very christianlike and some are not. It’s also possible to speak about the kings in the new Jerusalem and label them too as kings of the earth, as one unit – in the new earth/Jerusalem. They too will be of the same mind.++
        When one surveys all of the applicable passages in Revelation which refer to the kings of the earth, your claim that some are ”very christianlike” is not at all supported by the texts themselves. You would have to cite at least one of the applicable texts in Revelation where the kings of the earth are allied with Christ – none that I can determine. Also there is no reference to the kings of the earth already residing in the New Jerusalem other than those who will bring their glory into it. Thus in order to accept your argument, In order to agree with you would have to rely on many of your assumptions and presuppositions which are not support by the texts themselves – which I cannot do.

        ++The text doesn’t say that the kings in the new Jerusalem will be the same as the ones who resided on the old earth. That’s one reason for me to not believe they are the same. (Such a HUGE piece of information should be spelled out.) The other reasons are the multiple verses which I would have to change (make additions to), if I would want them to say something else but what they appear to say. For example: A wedding guest is thrown out due to improper clothes. Yet I would have to assume that he is welcomed back in again at a later point? If the text does not say this, why does the author expect me to make this addition for no apparent reason?++
        Why would it have to say that? The text itself in Rev 21:24 gives not a single indication that the kings of the earth referred to in that verse are any different than the ones referred to previously in Revelation. Thus the reader should not be predisposed to see any difference when there is none. Logic entails that if no such difference exits as you suppose, then there is no reason for anything to be ”spelled out” as you assert. The reader can naturally assume that no difference exists because if there were, the apostle John would have noted such a difference – which he did not do. Thus I don’t think you or or I as readers of the text, have any basis to make such a presumption.
        As for your wedding guest example, while you are correct in stating that such a guest is thrown out for not wearing proper garments to the wedding feast, the author of this particular text makes no
        statement or inference either way that such a guest will – or will not be welcomed back. Thus since the text in question is silent regarding this, then it is best that our interpretation be silent as well. In other words, based on your example we cannot state that the guest will be, or will not be welcomed back because the text itself does not address such a matter.

        ++The text doesn’t say that the kings of the earth enter the city.++
        You make this statement but you neglect to elaborate. The text states that the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. Can you explain that since you believe they don’t enter the city, then how do they bring their glory into it?

        ++If I read a text about leaders/politicians in the US, and also a brief mention of leaders/politicians in the EU, why would I assume they are the same leaders? True, the text does not say they are different but the settings are distinct from one another. One setting is in the US and one in Europe. When it comes to Revelations the settings are even more distinct, because one setting is on the old (current) earth, and the other setting is in the new earth/Jerusalem.++
        The problem with your argument is that location in and of itself does not logically entail difference, which respectfully is a big interpretive mistake. A leader in the US or Europe can travel to another location in the world but yet be the exact same person. Location has no impact on their identity whatsoever. In addition, although Revelation does describe people groups in the old and the new earth we both know that the saints are described in both settings – and are the same. No reason to believe that the saints in the old and new earth are somehow different just because of change of location is there? Therefore, no justification to believe that the kings of the earth are any different just because of change of setting.

        ++The text doesn’t say they are the same people and it doesn’t say these people were allowed into the city. Yet, you made this claim at least four times.++
        Respectfully, I think your view is a very unnatural reading of the text. I assume that they are the same people because John made no such distinction in his writing. Therefore, I as the reader have no right to presume otherwise. Again, I must ask if they don’t enter the city as you claim, how do they bring their glory into it?

        ++There is no doubt that the kings who will reside in the new Jerusalem will bring/provide honor and glory into and to the city. It would be strange if they didn’t. I believe everyone will who reside in that city since they are all saved. Incidentally, the same verse says ”the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it”. How about just saying that all nations (period) will walk in the light of it if everyone will be saved, including wicked kings? The verse does not say that those kings who resided on the old earth will be the same ones giving honor and glory to the new Jerusalem. Yet, for some reason you take it for granted, and even view it as the only way to read the text.++
        The doctrine of apokatastasis states that everyone will eventually be reconciled to God and saved including the wicked kings of the earth. The kings of the earth are never portrayed in Revelation as followers of Christ; yet somehow they enter the city. You may believe that presumably there are (saved) kings who are already in the city therefore no kings can now enter the city. If so, the verb tense does not support that view. Pherousin in Rev 21:24 is a present tense, indicative verb so these particular kings are presently bringing/carrying their glory into the city – not that they have already entered the city and have already (aorist tense) brought their glory into the city.

        ++Yes, indeed, or if the setting is different, such as the above example with politicians in the US or Europe. Even if not spelled out in a text that the politicians are different, the reader will still assume they are different since the places are vastly different from one another.++
        As I wrote earlier, setting does automatically mean different. You could go Los Angeles for a vacation yet your identity would remain the same. I could travel to Europe and I would remain the same person. No one would confuse my (or your) identity solely based on place/setting; yet that is the logic that you employ which I don’t think is justifiable.

        ++Should we make an amendment and add the information that also the dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, etc will be saved?++
        The verse states that those such persons are outside the city. I presume we agree that those inside the city have already washed their robes. So again, I ask you who are the ones washing – not washed – their robes?

        ++And again, when it comes to the Greek it’s not possible to interpret Greek continues tense the way you do. I can also say, that the Greek has helped me a lot with my understanding of certain verses, but it wouldn’t make sense if God required the Bible reader to understand Greek in order to understand the Bible. It wouldn’t make sense if certain things remained hidden for honest readers for the only reason that they don’t know Greek. If all will be saved, why not spell it out clearly?++
        You claim that’s ”it’s not possible to interpret Greek continues tense the way you do.” If that is true, you neglect to explain why so you think so and need to elaborate on your claim and provide evidence where I’ve made a mistake in parsing the verb and what it entails. We both know that even a basic knowledge of Koine Greek assists in understanding Scripture. As you and I know most of the sheep just believe what they were taught without reading the Bible for themselves, much less trying to understand the Greek text. All are saved is indeed spelled out clearly in the Bible but most are not aware of it because they have been taught otherwise. So I think a fair question to ask is if all are saved is indeed taught in Scripture, why do we believe differently in eternal condemnation instead? If we examine history, Augustine is the person who made popular the belief in everlasting punishment. The big problem is that Augustine was a poor student of Koine Greek and had rely on his knowledge of Latin instead. That alone should be a big red flag for those who adhere to Augustine’s teaching of eternal punishment. Augustine even acknowledged that in his time, very many did not believe in eternal punishment; yet with his poor comprehension of the Greek language he proceeded to teach it.
        It is quite in vain, then, that some–indeed very many–yield to merely human feelings and deplore the notion of the eternal punishment of the damned and their interminable and perpetual misery. They do not believe that such things will be. Not that they would go counter to divine Scripture—but, yielding to their own human feelings, they soften what seems harsh and give a milder emphasis to statements they believe are meant more to terrify than to express literal truth.
        — Augustine, Enchiridion, sec. 112.
        See this link for more info.
        http://unfundamentalists.com/2017/04/indeed-many-universalism-early-church/

        ++What we have are multiple verses which say the exact opposite, unless we make amendments and add the information that what is burned, corrupted, thrown out, etc, will come back to life again and be welcomed after all.++
        If I remember correctly, I think I already commented on your belief that the branches are burned up and destroyed – thus annihilated in your estimation. I suggest that you are amending the text because the text itself does not state that. It is incorrect to claim that the branches are ”burned.” John 15:6 reads: If anyone does not abide in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; men gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned (kaietai | καίεται | pres pass ind 3 sg). Kaietai is a present tense verb which indicates that the branches are ”burning” – not ”burned.” Therefore, one cannot draw the assumption that since the branches are burned, they no longer exist. The most one can claim is that the branches are presently burning with no indication that they will continue to burn until they are burned up which is your assumption.

        ++To be consistent with your Greek understanding, you should believe that they continue to wash their clothes also in the new Jerusalem. Yet, you don’t believe it due to the context, which is how you should treat the text. Ongoing actions (Greek continuous tense) can still cease.++
        Of course not as we both know that those in the New Jerusalem have already washed their robes. Thus as you stated washing one’s garments clean cannot apply to those in the city. This leaves only two options in my mind. The first is Rev 22:14 refers to those who are washing their robes in preparation and anticipation of being allowed to enter the city. In other words, the city is not yet established on the new earth and the saints continue to wash their robes in anticipation of then having the right to enter the city. This would be a plausible explanation except for the fact that in the very next verse v.23 states that ”Outside are the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the sexually immoral…. In other words, the lake of fire is already outside the city where the unsaved are situated. Since the LOF is already outside where the dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral etc. are, then the first possibility – that the city is not yet established on the new earth – is impossible. Thus the only option left to consider is that the New Jerusalem is already established on the new earth and those inside have already washed their garments. The only people left who are washing their robes can only be those outside in the LOF. Does this make sense or am i missing something??

        ++So why do we not have one single verse which say that?++
        What do you suppose Rom 14:11, Phil 2:10-11 means?

        ++We can also read: ”For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.” Isaiah is pretty deep. We can also read about a description of what sounds like the new Jerusalem, and I too believe that those who reside in that place will be nothing but righteous.
        Indeed we can also read that but why do you suppose that one automatically cancels out the other? These scriptures state that both scenarios occur. On one hand we have Isa 60:12 which states that the nations shall perish – true statement. On the other hand, Isa 60:14 states the sons of those who afflicted you will come bowing to you – also true statement. You have neglected to reconcile these two verses; affirming the former but neglecting the later. Since we know that Scripture cannot contradict itself, it is necessary to reconcile these two truths. How do you suppose that reconciliation might come about? My answer is that the first consequence (destruction) has to occur in order for the second result (bowing) to occur? What would your suggestion would be?

        Gilla

      • Hello Evan

        Maybe you saw my post about reconciliation. I’ll do my best here to respond to your interesting comments again. I try to be brief at times, so that the posts won’t be so long, but I can see that I often fail 🙂

        <<When one surveys all of the applicable passages in Revelation which refer to the kings of the earth, your claim that some are "very christianlike" is not at all supported by the texts themselves.

        That's not what I said. I was referring to today's leaders (and we're living in the last age). Some of them are christianlike and some are not.

        << Also there is no reference to the kings of the earth already residing in the New Jerusalem other than those who will bring their glory into it.

        The verse tells us about the kings in the new Jerusalem so of course that's where they reside.

        <<Why would it have to say that? The text itself in Rev 21:24 gives not a single indication that the kings of the earth referred to in that verse are any different than the ones referred to previously in Revelation.

        The text is at best silent about the identification of those kings, other than that they of course give glory to the city since they are in the new kingdom. Again, it doesn't matter if the book elsewhere speaks about stories of a certain set of kings, because it still doesn't mean they are the leaders in the new kingdom.

        << The reader can naturally assume that no difference exists because if there were, the apostle John would have noted such a difference – which he did not do.

        He did, by placing some kings on earth, and other kings in the new Jerusalem.

        << the author of this particular text makes no statement or inference either way that such a guest will – or will not be welcomed back.

        It would be totally illogical to expect the readers to assume that such a thrown-out guest would still be welcomed back later on. That's not how the parable ended. Wouldn't it be better if the author ended the parable with this information if it was valid? It's not a small matter since it's about salvation. Since the story ends with this person thrown out, I don't feel I need to add anything to the story which is perfect as it is.

        << Thus since the text in question is silent regarding this, then it is best that our interpretation be silent as well.

        The text in Revelations is silent about the identification of the kings, but still you only accept the alternative that the kings are the same (even though it does not sy that), despite the different settings (earth vs new Jerusalem). You also add the information that the thrown out guest will be welcomed back in. Can we make these type of additions to Biblical texts where we see fit?

        ++The text doesn't say that the kings of the earth enter the city.++

        <<You make this statement but you neglect to elaborate. The text states that the kings of the earth bring their glory into it. Can you explain that since you believe they don't enter the city, then how do they bring their glory into it?

        I did elaborate (see previous post), but you just have to compare with the text and see for yourself that the text does not say what you claim it says. I can copy what I wrote in my previous post in case you missed my elaboration:

        "bring = pherō = bring, bring forth, bear, come, reach, endure, carry
        There is no doubt that the kings who will reside in the new Jerusalem will bring/provide honor and glory into and to the city. It would be strange if they didn't. I believe everyone will who reside in that city since they are all saved. Incidentally, the same verse says "the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it". How about just saying that all nations (period) will walk in the light of it if everyone will be saved, including wicked kings? The verse does not say that those kings who resided on the old earth will be the same ones giving honor and glory to the new Jerusalem. Yet, for some reason you take it for granted, and even view it as the only way to read the text."

        << A leader in the US or Europe can travel to another location—-

        NATURALLY, but unless I add this information in my context, the readers will not assume I'm talking about the same political leaders. They will believe the opposite. Again, if I'm writing a text about certain European political leaders, like their absurd decisions, conclusions, Brexit, mass immigration in Europe, etc and then make a brief mention (maybe as a comparison) with political leaders in the USA, why in the world would the readers make the assumption that the political leaders are the same individuals? They would not make this assumption. Only if I spelled it out. Naturally location has everything to do with it in this context.

        <<the saints are described in both settings – and are the same.

        Yes, the same in spirit (not with a body of flesh), and Jesus says we will become much "like the angels". So there will certainly be some differences, but we will of course continue to be righteous, justified and saints also in the next world. It would be strange otherwise. The Bible also says that the kingdom is within us.

        << I assume that they are the same people because John made no such distinction in his writing.

        John is silent about the matter. The identification is not spelled out. We therefore do not have a right to rule out a valid option which could be right and which works perfect with the rest of the Bible (without having to make additions to verses).

        << The kings of the earth are never portrayed in Revelation as followers of Christ; yet somehow they enter the city.

        Now you are again claiming they enter the city even though we have both quoted the verse and it does not say it. It only mentions that the kings (whoever they are) bring glory to the city. It does not say that the previously mentioned kings are the ones entering the city. That is an amendment of the text.

        << If so, the verb tense does not support that view. Pherousin in Rev 21:24 is a present tense, indicative verb so these particular kings are presently bringing/carrying their glory into the city —

        Of course they can continuously bring glory to the city, as an ongoing action. No problem there.

        <<As I wrote earlier, setting does automatically mean different.

        I did not claim that settings automatically make a difference.

        <<You could go Los Angeles for a vacation yet your identity would remain the same. I could travel to Europe and I would remain the same person.

        That is a totally different example than the one I made about the political leaders.

        <<The verse states that those such persons are outside the city. I presume we agree that those inside the city have already washed their robes. So again, I ask you who are the ones washing – not washed – their robes?

        The ones washing their robes are those who have repented and who are righteous. The text separates these people from the sinners mentioned afterwards.

        << If that is true, you neglect to explain why so you think so and need to elaborate—-

        (About Greek texts). I have elaborated about this many times, and I can repeat again that present tense actions can still cease, just the way you understand the "continuous" washing of clothes which will not be ongoing also in the next world despite the present tense. If you're right, then we have to assume that all actions described in Greek continuous tense, will also continue to happen in the new Jerusalem. Then nothing would make sense any more. We would then continue to have have animal sacrifice, covenants between Israel and God, tongue speaking, etc.

        << All are saved is indeed spelled out clearly in the Bible

        Where?

        <<If we examine history, Augustine is the person who made popular the belief in everlasting punishment.

        Yes, that man is indeed guilty for many false doctrines.

        <<< I suggest that you are amending the text because the text itself does not state that.

        (About branches …) How am I amending the text if I understand "burned up" to be "burned up"?

        << Therefore, one cannot draw the assumption that since the branches are burned, they no longer exist.

        Are you understanding the text to mean they will continue to burn for ever and ever because of the Greek tense? That is not a doctrine you believe in.

        <<Of course not as we both know that those in the New Jerusalem have already washed their robes.

        Yes, so I hope you therefore understand my point about Greek continuous tense. The context (despite the present tense), tells us that the actions will cease.

        << Thus the only option left to consider is that the New Jerusalem is already established on the new earth and those inside have already washed their garments. The only people left who are washing their robes can only be those outside in the LOF. Does this make sense or am i missing something??

        Revelations does not identify the clothes-washers with those outside. To the contrary, those who wash their clothes are righteous ones, the believers, the saints, those who obey God. Revelations makes a distinction between these righteous people and those outside who are the sinners. The former have the right to enter the new Jerusalem, but not the latter.

        Rev. 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that THEY may have right to the tree of life, and MAY ENTER in through the gates into the city.15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

        Rev. 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

        <<What do you suppose Rom 14:11, Phil 2:10-11 means?

        Could mean that there will come a day when even atheists will understand that they made a mistake about God, but one day it will be too late. If you're outside the closed Ark, it doesn't matter if you start bowing down to God and confess he is valid after all. Just like the case will be for those outside the new Jerusalem. I do believe the lost ones will understand their errors my then, and that God is the one he has always said he is.

        <<Indeed we can also read that but why do you suppose that one automatically cancels out the other?

        They don't.

        <<These scriptures state that both scenarios occur.

        Yes, as in some are lost and others not.

        <<My answer is that the first consequence (destruction) has to occur in order for the second result (bowing) to occur?

        Not sure I understand. Are you saying God wanted Adam and Eve to sin, so that chaos would arise, so that God could save? That's probably not what you mean, but I'm only asking 🙂

        Gilla

  15. At this rate, we could co-write a book on this subject discussing our opposing views. 🙂
    ++The verse tells us about the kings in the new Jerusalem so of course that’s where they reside.
    Yes, they [will] reside there after they bring their glory into it.

    ++The text is at best silent about the identification of those kings, other than that they of course give glory to the city since they are in the new kingdom. Again, it doesn’t matter if the book elsewhere speaks about stories of a certain set of kings, because it still doesn’t mean they are the leaders in the new kingdom.
    And since the text is silent, I as the reader have to presume that John is making no distinction whatsoever that these kings are the same entity that he writes about elsewhere in Revelation. You have taken the liberty of assuming that these kings are not the same but I don’t think that is a reasonable conclusion since John himself did not identify them as being a different group of people.

    ++ He did, by placing some kings on earth, and other kings in the new Jerusalem.
    The New Jerusalem is also on the earth – no difference there.

    ++It would be totally illogical to expect the readers to assume that such a thrown-out guest would still be welcomed back later on. That’s not how the parable ended. Wouldn’t it be better if the author ended the parable with this information if it was valid? It’s not a small matter since it’s about salvation. Since the story ends with this person thrown out, I don’t feel I need to add anything to the story which is perfect as it is.
    If this passage were the only reference to the subject then I would have no problem agreeing with you. However, employing it as a proof text for your view without considering the whole of scripture which in my opinion indicates otherwise, is not a convincing argument for me.

    ++The text in Revelations is silent about the identification of the kings, but still you only accept the alternative that the kings are the same (even though it does not sy that), despite the different settings (earth vs new Jerusalem). You also add the information that the thrown out guest will be welcomed back in. Can we make these type of additions to Biblical texts where we see fit?
    I already answered above.

    ++”bring = pherō = bring, bring forth, bear, come, reach, endure, carry
    There is no doubt that the kings who will reside in the new Jerusalem will bring/provide honor and glory into and to the city. It would be strange if they didn’t. I believe everyone will who reside in that city since they are all saved. Incidentally, the same verse says ”the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it”. How about just saying that all nations (period) will walk in the light of it if everyone will be saved, including wicked kings? The verse does not say that those kings who resided on the old earth will be the same ones giving honor and glory to the new Jerusalem. Yet, for some reason you take it for granted, and even view it as the only way to read the text.”
    You no doubt have a different interpretive method as I see no reason in the text to presume as you do, that these kings are somehow different. However, the point you made ironically illustrates my belief – that at some point in the future the wicked kings and the nations as well will ALL be saved.

    ++NATURALLY, but unless I add this information in my context, the readers will not assume I’m talking about the same political leaders. They will believe the opposite. Again, if I’m writing a text about certain European political leaders, like their absurd decisions, conclusions, Brexit, mass immigration in Europe, etc and then make a brief mention (maybe as a comparison) with political leaders in the USA, why in the world would the readers make the assumption that the political leaders are the same individuals? They would not make this assumption. Only if I spelled it out. Naturally location has everything to do with it in this context.
    Since the New Jerusalem is actually on the earth and not elsewhere, there is no difference. There is only a difference in ages of time as God works out his plan for the salvation of all through the ages. You presume they have to be different because your theology dictates it.

    ++John is silent about the matter. The identification is not spelled out. We therefore do not have a right to rule out a valid option which could be right and which works perfect with the rest of the Bible (without having to make additions to verses).
    Problem is, I don’t think your view works perfect with the rest of the Bible and hence our impasse.

    ++Now you are again claiming they enter the city even though we have both quoted the verse and it does not say it. It only mentions that the kings (whoever they are) bring glory to the city. It does not say that the previously mentioned kings are the ones entering the city. That is an amendment of the text.
    I’m not amending the text. John who wrote the text made no distinction between these kings so I as the reader have no liberty to presume otherwise. I think that is basic reading comprehension but this is where we agree to disagree.

    ++Of course they can continuously bring glory to the city, as an ongoing action. No problem there.
    I could be wrong, but I made that statement in the belief that you were saying that the saved kings had already resided in the city (past tense). Thus these were the same saved kings who bring their glory into it and not the wicked kings who are presently entering from the LOF.

    ++The ones washing their robes are those who have repented and who are righteous. The text separates these people from the sinners mentioned afterwards.
    If that is so, then the text according to your view should read the ones WASHED their robes are those have repented and who are righteous. The fact that they are still WASHING their robes indicate that they are still repenting not yet righteous.

    ++ (About Greek texts). I have elaborated about this many times, and I can repeat again that present tense actions can still cease, just the way you understand the ”continuous” washing of clothes which will not be ongoing also in the next world despite the present tense. If you’re right, then we have to assume that all actions described in Greek continuous tense, will also continue to happen in the new Jerusalem. Then nothing would make sense any more. We would then continue to have have animal sacrifice, covenants between Israel and God, tongue speaking, etc.
    Of course continuous actions in the present can cease in the future. However as I read it, the continuous washing of robes does take place in the future age. In its context, the New Jerusalem is already established on the earth. The river of life runs through it. The tree of life grows in it as described in Rev. 22. By the same token, the lake of fire is also already established outside the New Jerusalem (Rev 22:15). Given this context, this time period cannot be this present church age as the New Jerusalem and LOF are not yet established on this earth. How is it possible for someone to be washing their robes in the future when you believe that one can only wash their robes in this life?

    ++ Where?
    God does save all. I’ll give one example as I don’t have the time nor inclination to cite a lengthy list:
    1 Tim 4:10 – For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
    One way to read this verse is that God is the Savior of all men but only to those who believe. Thus ”all” men is limited by the subset of those who are believers. Thus all cannot mean all, as all only refers to believers. However the verse states ”especially” and not ”only.” For example, I could say I enjoy eating all ice cream; especially chocolate ice cream. In this sense, I don’t mean I only enjoy eating chocolate ice cream but rather I mean that I enjoy eating all ice cream including chocolate ice cream in particular. So does this verse mean ”only” or ”including.” To determine this, it is incumbent upon us to examine Paul’s usage of the word ”especially” in the Greek ”malista” (Strong’s 3122).
    In Gal 6:10 and elsewhere Paul does not use malista to mean only. ”So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” Obviously, Paul does not mean that we should do good only to those in the faith. He means that we should do good to ALL people INCLUDING those in the faith. Paul employs malista in the same fashion in 1 Tim 5:8;17; 2 Tim 4:13; Phil 4:22. Titus 1:10. Based upon Paul’s use of malista, I can only conclude that God is the Savior of ALL men INCLUDING believers – not only believers.

    I don’t have the time to address the rest of your reply but will do so later.

    Gilla

    • Hello Evan!

      Sorry for the delay, which again didn’t occur due to lack of interest. Instead, this topic has been rather been interesting to me, but perhaps it’s time to wrap it up since we end up writing books to each other and we are also repeating ourselves 🙂 You were the one who made me study more about the topic of eternal hell (as lasting for ever without ceasing) and I even changed my mind about it. However, when it comes to this topic (everyone will eventually get saved) I have definitely not changed my mind. I haven’t found any bible verse yet which must be interpreted this way, but I have found multiple verses which must be amended (or added to) in order to make that model work.

      OK, here we go (as usual I comment as I read for the first time …) I try to be brief, but I suspect it will be hard.

      <<Yes, they [will] reside there after they bring their glory into it.

      Right, as long as there is no claim that it must be those kings who lived on the old earth.

      ++ And since the text is silent, I as the reader have to presume that John is making no distinction whatsoever that these kings are the same entity

      Since the text is silent about it there should not be any particular side that you must prefer over another, but you rule out one option and insist on the other. Again, since John is silent about it, why must I assume that he is talking about the kings who lived on the old earth? The verse does not say that. And again, a normal author who writes about European politicians (their comments and actions) should not have to clarify to his readers that he is not referring to them when he later on in his text starts writing about politicians in the USA and the politicians there. He wouldn't have to state "and btw, these politicians are not the European politicians that I spoke about earlier, but they are American politicians". That would be useless information. Of course the reader understands that already.

      <<The New Jerusalem is also on the earth – no difference there.

      Yes, but I think we can agree on that it's still TOTALLY different. Or do you believe that the new Jerusalem will be just like any of the cities that we have on earth today?

      <<If this passage were the only reference to the subject then I would have no problem agreeing with you. However, employing it as a proof text for your view without considering the whole of scripture—-

      I am considering the whole scripture, and the parable of the King's feast is not the only one that doesn't fit the all-will-be-saved-model. This is my No 1 objection. There are so much amendments and additions that I have to do in order to make that kind of model fit (like adding other endings). I see no reason to do it, but to accept the parables and the Bible verses as they are, including the endings.

      <<However, the point you made ironically illustrates my belief – that at some point in the future the wicked kings and the nations as well will ALL be saved.

      That is not what I believe.
      <<Since the New Jerusalem is actually on the earth and not elsewhere, there is no difference.

      So the new Jerusalem will be just like another Denver, Barcelona, or whatever? No, EVERYTHING will be different about the new Jerusalem. There won't even be a sun lightening up. We are talking about a time AFTER Jesus has returned and the difference will be HUGE.

      << John who wrote the text made no distinction between these kings

      Does he really say that there is no difference? Of course not. He is silent about it. This means that our options are 1) they are the same, 2) they are different, or 3) they are the same kings as elsewhere in the Bible and not just Revelations (you and I don't believe in the third option). Yet, you can only accept the first option despite that John doesn't say it. John DOES place the latter mentioned kings in the new Jerusalem (after Jesus return), and that settles it for me along with the many other Bible verses in the Bible such as the parable of the King's feast, etc.

      <<I could be wrong, but I made that statement in the belief that you were saying that the saved kings had already resided in the city (past tense). Thus these were the same saved kings who bring their glory into it and not the wicked kings who are presently entering from the LOF.

      The new Jerusalem will be a new city, and I believe it will be inhabited as soon as it has come down from heaven – with the saints (believers) including the kings. Not any unsaved kings or people of course, but only those who have believed and repented for their sins while living on earth. The people residing in the new heaven will bring glory into the city or anywhere they go.

      <<If that is so, then the text according to your view should read the ones WASHED their robes are those have repented and who are righteous. The fact that they are still WASHING their robes indicate that they are still repenting not yet righteous.

      Again, you place too much emphasis on the verbs, because again, also ongoing actions (like prophesying, speaking in tongues, evangelizing, etc) will still cease in the Jerusalem despite that we can read about those verbs in present tense – which we agree on. It's the author who makes the difference between the robe washers and the sinners. I believe him.

      << However as I read it, the continuous washing of robes does take place in the future age.

      Exactly. It will cease. Along with evangelizing, speaking in tongues, etc.

      <<In its context, the New Jerusalem is already established on the earth. The river of life runs through it.

      When John wrote his text, the new Jerusalem did not exist. He is talking about a scenario in the future, and he makes a distinction between the robe washers and the sinners.

      <<How is it possible for someone to be washing their robes in the future when you believe that one can only wash their robes in this life?

      It isn't. It will naturally cease.

      ++ 1 Tim 4:10 – For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.

      As I've mentioned before, God is indeed all men's savior. He is not SOME men's savior. He did not die for PART of the world but for ALL the world. ALL can be saved thanks to him. Not just some. Believers have no problem with the verses which for example say that Jesus died to save the world. But will everyone choose to believe him and will all men repent? The Bible says no. I could therefore not take this verse as evidence of that all will be saved. Surely there must be at least one clear verse which say that all will be saved, that a thrown-out guest can be welcomed back in again, that a burning branch can spring to life again, etc. It would have been so easy to mention it for honest Bible readers who want nothing else but to understand it. I believe that lack of such verses is due to the lack of the theory that all will be saved.

      <<However the verse states "especially" and not "only."

      I cannot base a model based on one single word ("especially"). I just read in the Bible that Jesus indeed died for ALL people (not just some) – and the Bible also explains in what way he did that. By dying on the cross and shedding his blood for all mankind. Those who will get the benefit are those who believe and repent, which everyone has a chance to do. This works well with Rom. 5 which talks about both All and Many.

      << In Gal 6:10

      Does not say otherwise.

      Do write down your thoughts again if you want, and if you can be brief (it's hard!) it would be great. I also hope you continue to comment future posts the way you do 🙂

      God bless!

      Gilla

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