What Happens at the Judgment?
Lorraine Day, M.D.
(Video and booklet available)
"A stranger coming into Christendom would certainly deduce from the literature of the day that there are two great powers struggling for supremacy, one good, and one evil, and that the evil was not only uppermost at present, but would eternally prevail over the good. Only a feeble fraction would be saved from the clutches of the evil one." (1)
Most Christians believe that those who give their life to Christ will spend eternity in heaven and in the new earth, but those who DON'T know Christ will be destined either to permanent annihilation or a burning hell of some duration, either forever or at least for a time. (Some think the "time" will be "as long as each individual deserves ---since God is "just!")
Some say it's really a "loving act" for God to burn up His children because they wouldn't want to be in heaven anyway! It's interesting how we human beings would think it a heinous monstrous crime if a neighbor burned up his children, but when God does it, somehow it's classified as a "loving act." Many explain that God burning up His children is God's "strange act." But God says He's NOT like us. His ways are HIGHER than our ways.
Human beings destroy their enemies. If God destroys His enemies, then He's just like us!! And if He's just like us, we're ALL in trouble!!
However, there are some who believe that God is far too loving to destroy any of His children so as a result they believe that God will save everyone, whether they accept Jesus and allow Him to change their life - or EVEN if they DON'T! That theology is known as "Universalism."
Of course, if a person is "saved" WITHOUT his life being changed, then heaven and the new earth will be exactly the same as this earth is now. There will be violence, sin and degradation, because nothing will have changed. And furthermore, God will NOT suddenly and arbitrarily change a person's life, against his will, to make him like Jesus.
So the dilemma arises regarding our picture of God. If God is truly loving, how could He burn up His children? Or how could He even permanently annihilate them? But if He is "just" as we have been taught, then how could He do anything else?
To elucidate this dilemma, let's first ask some common sense questions in order to clearly establish the problem we are addressing because God instructs us to "Come now and let us REASON together." Isaiah 1:18 So He wants us to use our mind. In addition, we will, of course, also "Search the scriptures" to find the Biblical answer to our dilemma.
(1) Knoch, A.E. The Problem of EVIL and the Judgments of God. Concordant, Preface.
1) Could your children ever do anything bad enough that you would KILL them for it? And would you BURN them to death? I doubt it!!
Where do we get this love that we have for our children? From God, of course. But no human parent in his or her right mind would burn up their childen for making a mistake or even for commiting a horrible crime. So ---are WE more loving than God?
We are taught that God is a loving and kind God. But we are also taught that He will burn us up, or permanently annihilate us, if we DON'T love Him. In essence God is saying "Love me ---and everything will be fine. But if you DON'T love me, I'll have to kill you, and I'll do it in the most horribly painful way possible. I have no other choice since you've broken my law!" In simple terms, God's really saying "Love me --- or I'll kill you!"
But it is IMPOSSIBLE to truly love someone if you are afraid of them! We can't REALLY love God if we are just worried about what He'll do to us if we DON'T love Him! The Bible tells us, "It is the GOODNESS of God that LEADS US TO REPENTANCE." (Romans 2:4) NOT THE FEAR OF GOING TO HELL. That fear only makes us into a REBEL!
Jesus died on the cross to show us that NO MATTER WHAT we, His children, did to Him, --- including beating Him, spitting in His face, mocking Him, jamming a crown of thorns on his head, ridiculing Him, driving spikes through His hands and feet and MURDERING HIM ----- He would NEVER, NEVER hurt us! In fact He said of those torturing Him "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing."
Yet most Christians believe that, even though Jesus said "Forgive them" while He was on the cross, those people will "get theirs" later. They will go to hell and be eternally destroyed for what they did. But isn't that "two-faced" of Jesus? He says one thing on the cross, but plans to do the opposite later! I thought we have been taught that He is "the same yesterday, today and forever!"
Jesus said "Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you." He wants US to do that - But I guess that doesn't work for God, because He's going to BURN ALL His enemies to DEATH!
2) Jesus died with the sins of the world on Him - a "surrogate sinner." If He died a "sinner" and the penalty for sin is death FOREVER -- then why isn't Jesus still dead????? How could He pay the "price" for us and satisy the "penalty" for sin, if He was only dead for a short time, rather than forever?
3) In the parable of the lost sheep, how long did the shepherd search for the lost sheep? Until Probation closed? Until the sheep died from exposure to the elements? Until the shepherd got tired of searching, or until he wanted to move on to do something else? Of course not.
Answer: He searched until HE FOUND IT!
In the parable of the lost coin, how long did the woman search for the lost coin??
Answer: Until SHE FOUND IT!
Both the sheep and the coin were found. Why do we have two such similar parables? Answer: The sheep KNEW it was lost, and was subsequently found. But the coin was found when it DIDN'T even know it was lost!
God has said "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you." Heb. 13:5 But yet we're told that God's going to eventually destroy about 75% of ALL the people in the world!!!! If that's not forsaking us, then what is?
Luke 19:10 Jesus said "For the Son of Man is come to seek and TO SAVE that which was lost." (And since everyone has no choice but to be born a sinner, then everyone is included in the term"lost" !) And Jesus said He came to SAVE them, NOT just to "offer" salvation to them -- but TO SAVE them!!!
John 12:47 Jesus said "For I came not to judge the world, but TO SAVE IT." (the WHOLE world)
Romans 8:38,39 For I am persuaded that NEITHER DEATH, nor life nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, NOR ANY OTHER CREATURE (including Satan) CAN SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD!" So that means that Death - INCLUDING the SECOND death CANNOT separate us from God!!
Eccl. 3:11 "He has made EVERYTHING beautiful IN ITS TIME."
Rev. 21:5 "Behold, I make ALL THINGS new."
One last question: This WHOLE plan of salvation is NOT really about us, even though we're always worrying "Am I saved? - Am I lost?" That's terribly self-centered. NO, the WHOLE plan of salvation is about the CHARACTER OF GOD! God has put His own character on trial before the universe. Satan is the Adversary, accusing day and night.
God knows the heart of every person. But the other beings in the universe, including the good and evil angels, CANNOT read your heart.
If YOU say you love God, God knows whether that is really true. But the other beings don't know that for sure, because they can't read your heart. Satan will say that YOU say you love God ONLY because you DON'T want to burn in hell, or be permanently annihilated. Even though God may know differently, HOW WILL HE EVER PROVE IT TO THE OTHER BEINGS IN THE UNIVERSE?
The answer is: He WON'T be able to prove you love Him ONLY because you want to be with Him, and not because you just don't want to burn to death or be annihilated UNLESS there is NO permanent burning or annihilation!! Now, don't get me wrong. I believe that EVERYONE will reap what they sow, and NO ONE will make it to heaven or the new earth UNLESS he or she learns to be like Jesus.
Let's look at another illustration. Suppose a young man is VERY handsome and VERY rich. The women FLOCK around him and many fall "in love" with him.
Question: How will he be able to tell if a woman REALLY loves him for who he is, or just for his money and his looks?
Answer: He won't be able really to know, UNLESS he loses his money and his good looks. ONLY then will he be able to know for sure if he is loved only for who he really is.
God has created us with an overwhelming desire to stay alive. If a person holds someone's head under the water in a swimming pool, that person will fight with everything he has, to get free and survive.
If God says "Love Me --- and you can live! But if you don't love Me, you will die!" Then how can He prove that ANYONE loves Him for ANY OTHER REASON than to escape permanent death??
* * * * * *
Now let's look at two groups of Bible texts. The first group of texts appears to say that only a small group of people will be saved and the majority will be lost.
However, there is another group of texts, equal in number, that appear to say that EVERYONE will be saved! Yet this second group of texts is usually not taken at face value but instead are "explained away" by some rather vague philosophy, such as "Well, that REALLY means............"
With an open mind, let's study and analyze these two groups of texts.
These texts appear to say that only a small minority will be saved and the majority will be lost ---forever!
WORDS OF CHRIST HIMSELF:
1) The Lord has "a little flock" Luke 12:32
2) "Many are called, but few are chosen" Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14
3) "strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it" Matt 7:14
4) "Many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able" Luke 13:24
5) "he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" John 3:36
6) "the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment" Matt 25:46
7) "the resurrection of damnation" John 5:29
8) "the damnation of hell" Matt 23:33
9) "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" Mark 9:44
10) "every word against the Son of Man may be forgiven but the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come" Matt 12:32
WORDS OF THE APOSTLES:
1) Paul declares that while some are "saved" by the gospel, others "perish" 2Cor 2:15
2) "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day." 2Thess. 1:8-10
3) "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" Heb 10:26,27
4) "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" Heb 10:31
5) "our God is a consuming fire" Heb 12:29
6) Peter says that "judgment must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God; for if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1 Pet. 4:17,18
7) "false teachers" who "deny the Lord that bought them" "shall bring upon themselves swift destruction" and, like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, "shall utterly perish in their own corruption." 2 Peter 2:1,3,6,12
8) "the fearful, and unbelieving, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, idolators, and all liars, shall have their place in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" Rev 21:8
9) "those who worship the beast, and his image, shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb, and they have no rest day nor night, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever." Rev 14:9, 10.
THE OTHER SIDE:
These texts appear to say that EVERYONE will be saved!
READ THEM CAREFULLY!!!
1) "in Abraham's seed ALL the kindreds of the earth shall be blessed." Gen 12:3, Gen 22:18, Acts 3:25, Gal 3:8
2) there shall be "a restitution of ALL things" "God hath spoken of this by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:21
3) Paul declares this wondrous "mystery of God's WILL, that He hath purposed in Himself, according to His good pleasure, to rehead and RECONCILE unto Himself, in and by Christ, ALL things, whether they be things in heaven" (that is the spirit-
world where the conflict with Satan yet is - Rev 12:7) "or things on earth", where death now reigns. Eph 1:9,10, Col 1:20
4) "ALL creation, which now groans, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty of the children of God" Rom 8:19-23
5) "God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself" 2 Cor 5:19
6) "therefore as by the offence of one, or by one offence, judgment came on ALL to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One, or by one righteousness, the free gift should come on ALL unto justification of life" while "they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" Rom 5:17, 18
7) "as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive (vivified)" 1 Cor 15:22
8) "the end" shall not come, "till ALL are subject to Him", that "God may be", not all in some, but "ALL in ALL; for He must reign till He hath put ALL enemies under His feet: the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" 1Cor 15:24-28
9) "that in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even in Him." Eph 1:3-10
10) "that at the name of Jesus, (that is Saviour,) EVERY knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER." Phil 2:10,11 (It doesn't bring "glory to God", if this is a forced, superficial acknowledgement that God's way is right.)
11) "for this sake he suffers reproach, because he hopes in the living God, who is the Saviour of ALL men, SPECIALLY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE." 1 Tim 4:10 ("Believe" is the same word as "faith." Meaning those who believe without seeing.)
12) God "will have ALL men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" that therefore "thanksgivings as well as prayers should be made for ALL," because there is "a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time." 1Tim 2:1-6 (If it is God's WILL that ALL men be saved, is our "will" stronger than God's will?)
13) "the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the WORLD" 1John 4:14 (Remember, you CAN'T be someone's Saviour, unless you SAVE him!)
14) "for God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the WORLD through Him MIGHT BE SAVED." John 3:17
15) the Only-Begotten Son "is the propitiation, not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" 1 John 2:2
16) "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of THE WORLD" John 1:29 (He doesn't "offer" to take away the sin, nor does He take away "some of the sin" from "some" people in the world.)
17) "was revealed for this very purpose, that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL" 1John 3:8 (God created human beings, Satan didn't. When the "works of the devil" are destroyed, that means the SIN, NOT the sinner.)
18) "there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain, because ALL THINGS are made new, and the former things are passed away." Rev 21:4,5
19) For "the Father loveth the Son, and hath given ALL THINGS into His hand" (John 3:35) and Jesus declares "All that theFather giveth me shall come to me and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.... And this is the Father's
WILL, which hath sent me, that of ALL which He hath given me I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day." John 6:37-39
20) "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men unto me" John 12:32
How does one interpret this apparent contradiction, --- "few finding the way of life", and yet "in Christ shall all be made alive"?
God's elect is "a little flock", and yet "ALL the kindred of the earth blessed in Abraham's seed"?
"Eternal destruction"and yet "restitution of ALLthings"?
The common answer is, that these opposing words only mean that some are saved and some are lost forever; that the saved are the elect of this and other dispensations, who as compared with the world have hitherto been but a little flock; "In Christ shall all be made alive" only means that all who are HERE in Christ shall be made alive; that the Lamb of God, though willing to be, is not really the Saviour of the world, but only of those who are NOT of the world, but chosen out of it. It is presumed that Christ is the Saviour of ONLY some of the people in the world.
That instead of taking away the sin of the WORLD, He only takes away the sin of some of the people in the world, specifically those who here believe in Him.
This is the approved teaching of Christendom: this is the orthodox solution of the mystery.
OBJECTION: In asserting one side of Scripture (that some will be saved, but the majority will be lost), it is obliged, not only to ignore and deny the other side (the 20 texts that say that ALL will be saved), but to represent God in a character absolutely opposed to that in which the gospel exhibits Him.
What this says is that if evil is allowed to have fair play (equal time) with good, evil will overmatch all that God can do to meet and remedy it.
Is this indeed the Glad tidings of great joy?
Is this the glorious gospel of the blessed God?
DO YOU AGREE THAT THERE IS SOME DIFFICULTY HERE, WHICH IS AS YET NOT SOLVED? Is the mystery beyond our present light? Or if there is light, then what is the key to it?
The truth which solves the riddle is to be found in those same Scriptures which seem to raise the difficulty, and lies in the mystery of the will of our wonderful God as to the process and the stages of redemption.
The answer to these two seemingly contradictory groups of texts is found in 1Cor 15: 22-28. Let's read this passage, then closely analyze what it says.
vs 22: "For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.
Analysis: "For as in Adam ALL die" includes the ENTIRE human race. "Even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Again this refers to the ENTIRE human race. If not, then why is the illustration of "in ADAM" given? Also the Greek word for "alive" here is zoopoieo, #2227 in Strong's Concordance which comes from the root that means to be made alive FOREVER, the Greek word zoe, #2222 in Strong's Concordance. This is the form of the word "life" that is ALWAYS used in the Bible when eternal life is spoken of, such as in Matt 19:16, "that I may have eternal life", Matt 19:29, "shall inherit everlasting life", John 3:15 "not perish, but have everlasting life."
When this earthly life is referred to in the Greek, the word psuche is used, #5590 in Strong's Concordance, which means "breath." Some illustrations are: Matt 6:25 "Take no thought for your life," Mark 8:35, "whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, John 15:13 "lay down his life for his friends."
vs 23: But every man in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits: afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.
Analysis: "But every man in his own order" means that not everyone will be saved at once. "Christ, the firstfruits" - Jesus was the first to be resurrected - 2000 years ago) "afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" means that a group will be saved at the Second coming of Jesus.
vs. 24: Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
vs. 25: For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.
vs 26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
"Then cometh the end" - what "end" does that mean? Does it mean the 2nd coming of Jesus, or after the millenium and the judgment? Let's read on and we will see that the Bible will give us the answer. "Then cometh the end when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power...and put ALL enemies under His feet," including the enemy of death! That clearly means the "end " that is spoken of here, is AFTER the millenium and the judgement.
Now let's see what God is going to do at the very "end."
vs. 27 For He hath put ALL things under His feet. But when He saith ALL things are put under Him, it is manifest (evident) that He (Jesus Christ) is excepted, which did put all things under Him (God).
vs 28: And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (God) that put all things under Him, that God may be ALL in ALL.
Jesus will reign until He has put all enemies under His feet - including the last enemy to be destroyed - which is DEATH!
Then in verse 28 it says that when ALL things shall be subdued, then even the Son (Jesus) will be subject unto Him (God) (because we won't need a Saviour anymore) because God will be ALL in ALL! Not ALL in some - but ALL in All! Everyone will be saved!
However, NO ONE will be saved IN their sins. ALL will be saved FROM their sins. No one will make it into the Holy City without first having learned to live like Christ. This is called Universal RESTORATION (being saved FROM your sins), which is vastly different from Universalism (being saved IN your sins).
Many will say this is heresy! But the TRUTH can always withstand scrutiny. Study this information and pray about and let the Bible and the Holy Spirit lead you.
Destruction of the wicked is easy! That's Satan's main modus operandi! Satan is the author of death and destruction. That's also the way humans behave. Even WE can destroy. Destruction is TOO EASY! And that's not God's way of doing things.
God is far greater and far smarter than all of us. He has the power and genius to win His children back. He didn't create a creature (Satan) that is smarter than He (God) is -- someone who could win the majority of God's children away from God - and leave God helpless to know how to win His children back!! Rubbish!
It's EASY to destroy! But it takes a real Genius to change His children's lives and win them back so God can be ALL in ALL!
Remember, Jesus said "If I be lifted up, I will draw ALL unto me." John 12:32
What a God! How GLORIOUS the New Earth will be!
By the way, that's the way God is going to "wipe away all the tears from our eyes." Not by giving everyone a lobotomy so they won't remember all their loved ones who "weren't saved." Instead, Our great and wonderful God has the power and intelligence to win EVERYONE back to Him!
If God is love. (I John 4:8) --- and Love NEVER fails. (1 Cor 13:8) --- then GOD NEVER FAILS! It is impossible for God to lose even one of His children!
GOD DOESN'T WASTE ANYTHING!!
Everything God has created is recyclable. Nothing is wasted or permanently destroyed. It is a law of physics that matter is never permanently destroyed. All matter is conserved.
Jesus, after feeding the 5000, ordered the disciples to collect all of the scraps in baskets. He doesn't waste ANYTHING!
It is God's nature NOT to throw anything away. Why would He create BILLIONS of people just to permanently annihilate them by whatever means? If He will go to the trouble of having scraps of bread picked up so they wouldn't be wasted (after the feeding of the multitudes), how could He permanently destroy billions of people? (After all, God tells us that He watches out for the sparrows and we're told we're far more important than sparrows.)
We BECOME like those we admire!
Jesus is God in human form. When we fall in love with someone, we want to know all about them, and do what they want to do, and do what they want US to do.
That's what happens when we fall in love with Jesus. But the ONLY way we can fall in love with Him is by getting to know Him, by talking to Him regularly every day in prayer, and by letting Him talk to us through His Word, by our reading the Bible, and through Him impressing His character on our minds.
It is well known that we become like those we admire. Kids that admire Satanic Rock groups, dress like them, talk like them and behave like them.
If we love a God that is going to destroy His enemies -- then that's how we become - hateful to those who don't believe as we do. We start to believe that they DESERVE to be destroyed! After all, THEY didn't make the RIGHT CHOICE --- and WE DID!! (What spirit is that?)
Did God create Lucifer (who became Satan) to be smarter than God is? That has to be the case if Satan can win 80% or more of God's children away from God, and God doesn't have a clue as to how to win them back. And then what do we do with the quote of Jesus "If I be lifted up, I will draw ALL men unto me"???
The omnipotent, omniscient God who creates galaxies with billions of stars, Who created the sun, moon and everything in the universe, yet knows when a sparrow falls - certainly HE can win His children back!! God Himself said, "Is ANYTHING too hard for the Lord?" Gen 18:14
But we're taught that Satan has outsmarted God and God has NO idea how to win His kids back, so He's just got to KILL BILLIONS of them!!
But I thought Satan is the destroyer!! Destruction is SATAN'S modus operandi. And that's what we humans do also - DESTROY - whatever we don't like or can't control.
But God says "I'm NOT like you! My ways are NOT your ways. My ways are HIGHER than your ways." God is the RESTORER, NOT the destroyer! "Behold I make ALL things NEW!" says the Lord.
CONTRACTS OBTAINED THROUGH FRAUD
If a person enters into a contract through fraudulent representation, it is NO contract at all. Fraud nullifies consent. If any contract is obtained by the use of fraudulent means, it is declared null and void in any court in the land.
Are our earthly courts more fair than God's justice? Satan has won ALL of his converts by the use of fraud and deceit. If Satan had been honest about his motives, methods and goals, NO ONE would agree to follow him.
Even though God allows us to reap what we sow, will God honor permanently the contracts made between Satan and human beings when ALL of them were obtained by fraud?
FREE WILL - FREEDOM OF "CHOICE"
God has given us "free will" to make our own choices. We "choose" to follow the Lord?
But where is our "free will"? Consider this:
1) We didn't ask to be born. We had No choice in it.
2) We had NO choice whether to be born a sinner or not - "ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
3) We had NO choice as to who are parents were, our genetic make-up, the place or circumstances of our birth, our heighth, our nationality or our physical characteristics nor whether or not we were born with or without birth defects.
4) And we have NO choice as to the circumstances nor experiences that go into making up our subconscious mind which determines in large part how we react to situations and how we make decisions.
Methuselah had 969 years to find God and get his life right.
Yet a child may be born to a prostitute, drug addict mother and a Mafia "hit man", alcoholic father who beats his wife and kids everyday. The child grows up in the ghetto, on the street, joins a gang and is murdered in a shootout at the age of 14.
According to what we're taught, God says "Well kid, you had 14 years to find Me and get your life straight and you didn't get it right -- so YOU'RE DEAD MEAT. You're going to BURN because you didn't accept Me as your Saviour in those 14 short years!"
In this "parable" the boy responds by saying "But why did you give Methuselah 969 years and me only 14 years? That isn't fair!"
And the boy is absolutely right! IT ISN'T FAIR!! SO GOD WOULDN'T DO THAT!!
God is the ULTIMATE in fairness.
REGARDING GOD'S SAVING OF ALL MANKIND!
"The news of Christ's resurrection was so DIFFERENT from what they (the disciples) had anticipated that they coud NOT BELIEVE it. It was TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, they thought. They had heard so much of the doctrines and the so-called scientific theories of the Sadducees (the church leaders of the day) that the impression made on their minds in regard to the resurrection was vague. They scarcely knew what the resurrection from the dead could mean. They were UNABLE TO TAKE IN THE GREAT SUBJECT." Desire of Ages, pg. 793
The SAME is true of the church of today regarding UNIVERSAL RESTORATION - the SAVING of ALL mankind. But this means saving people FROM their sins, not IN their sins! It is "TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE" we say, but yet that's the way God REALLY is!! He's FAR GREATER and KINDER than we have EVER IMAGINED!
This is why we can now understand the following texts to their fullest:
Phil 4:6 Be anxous for NOTHING! (Don't worry about ANYTHING) But in EVERYTHING, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests know to God and the peace of God that passes ALL understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
UNIVERSAL RESTORATION is truly "the peace that passes ALL understanding."
1 Thess. 5: 16-18 Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS! For this IS THE WILL of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
Will I Make it to Heaven?
Everyone is always worried about whether they're going to "get to heaven." "How do I make sure I'm going to be there?!" People say that Universal Restoration means we don't have to pray for people because, if Universal Restoration is correct, EVERYONE is going to be saved anyway.
But that misses the real point! Because that assumes that it's NOT FAR BETTER to be with Christ NOW while here on earth! We want to pray without ceasing that our friends and relatives accept Christ NOW so they can be with Christ NOW on this earth, as well as for eternity.
That's what the parable of the Prodigal Son is all about. The son who stayed home said to his father "I stuck around here all these years with you and didn't go out and have "fun" like my brother (who, of course, ended up living with the pigs! Some fun!) "And you're giving my brother the same reward you're giving me (son-ship) plus you're giving him a big "welcome home" party. I'm upset!!"
And the father replies "Hasn't it been better to be here with me all this time? If you don't think there's any advantage to being with me NOW - EVERY DAY- then you haven't gotten the picture yet! In fact, you really have NEVER been with me. You've just been going through the motions, waiting to get my fortune (reward of eternal life). Depart from Me, I NEVER knew you!"
If we don't understand that it's FAR BETTER to be with the Lord right now, here on this earth, even if there were no future eternal life, then He will allow us to follow our own path until we finally learn that our own plans lead to nothing but pain and sorrow and that the ONLY road to happiness is to follow God's way.
How long will God have patience with us? Will He ever become impatient and give up on us? Remember, God says "I will NEVER leave you nor forsake you." Heb. 13:5 How long did the lost shepherd search for the one lost sheep? Until He found it! There was NO time limit!
"Do you mean we actually get a second chance?" you ask. Isn't that heresy? When could that possibly happen? And if that is true, then I can "be bad" as long as I want, and I'll still have a chance later to change and be saved, so what's the big deal? I can put off coming to Christ for as long as I want.
And why should we pray for people, when everyone is going to be saved anyway?
Don't you realize that it's BETTER to be WITH the Lord, than to be WITHOUT Him? --Even if there were nothing after this life, wouldn't it be better to be with the Lord NOW than NOT to be with Him NOW? If we don't realize that, and if our reasons for being with the Lord are ANY other than just WANTING to be with Him, we're NOT safe to save! We either just want the "goodies" of heaven, or we're just afraid of the "penalty."
Re-read the parable of the Prodigal Son and concentrate on the role of the older brother who really didn't care that much about his father, he was just staying around to get his inheritance (the goodies).
Are Christians guilty of the same motivation?
(Video and booklet available)