Eternal Torment?

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The Creation Concept

The gospel is a great light

Man is mortal

Jesus spoke of a resurrection

There are two resurrections

Jesus said the dead "sleep"

Jesus is the resurrection and the life

The gospel is good news

The first resurrection

The book of life

The judgment

Judgment is now on the house of God

The old nature of a Christian dies

A new creation

The kingdom of Christ

The scope of salvation

God's last enemy

The "curse"

The jubilee year

The sun is turned to darkness

Greek philosophy in the church

The locust plague

Scriptures on death


The gospel is a great light, like the sun

The theme of the sun being identified with the gospel occurs throughout the New Testament.

Luke 1:76-79 (New International Version)
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.

Matthew 4:12-17
Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The gospel is the truth about death, and what happens after death.

Matthew 13:43
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

2 Peter 1:19
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

The gospel is the sun which clothes the church, represented by the woman in heaven:

Revelation 12:1 
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

The gospel reveals the righteousness of God to man. Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ... For therein is the righteousness of God revealed ..." [Romans 1:16-17]

Christ has made known God's righteousness, by taking on himself the penalty of sin, that is required by the law, (which is death, not unending infernal torment!) John wrote, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not forours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. [1 John 2:2]

Paul wrote,

Romans 3:21-25
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Man is mortal

Matthew 5:18
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

John 5:39
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Genesis 2:7
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Ecclesiastes 3:19
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

Ezekiel 18:4
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Link to Baccioli's article:

Paul said Jesus, not Plato, brought immortality to light.

2 Timothy 1:10
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

Jesus is the only human who has been made immortal.

1 Timothy 6:16
Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Jesus spoke of a resurrection

Matthew 22:30-32
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

The above refers to those who are included in the first resurrection, as Luke's account makes clear.

Luke 20:34-36
And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

Luke 14:12-14
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

There are two resurrections

John 5:28-29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.

Matthew 13:47-48
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:
Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.

Jesus said the dead "sleep"

Matthew 9:24
He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

John 11:11
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.

Jesus is the resurrection and the life

John 11:25
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

1 Corinthians 15:53-54
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

The gospel is good news

The birth of Jesus

The angel announcing of the birth of Jesus said it was good news for all people!

Luke 2:8-14
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Jesus healed the sick

Matthew 4:24
And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

Matthew 8:5-13
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

Matthew 8:16
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

Matthew 12:15
But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;

Matthew 12:22
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

Matthew 14:14
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.

Matthew 15:30
And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:

God cares even for animals

Proverbs 12:10
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

Matthew 10:29
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

Matthew 10:31
Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Jesus talked about rescuing animals on the sabbath day:

Luke 13:15
The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?

Luke 14:5
And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

The law has rules about caring for animals.

Deuteronomy 25:4
Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.

1 Corinthians 9:9
For it is written in the law of Moses, thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

1 Timothy 5:18
For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

God commanded Noah to build an ark to save animals as well as humans. [Genesis 7:1-10]

Jesus did not come to condemn the world

John 3:17
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

The resurrection of Jesus

Jesus said the dead will be raised, his resurrection shows that there is a resurrection for us, too. And if the dead are not  raised again, Jesus could not have been raised. 

1 Corinthians 15:12-13
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:

The first resurrection

1 Thessalonians 4:16
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

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

1 Corinthians 15:52
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Revelation 20:5-6
But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

This scripture says the first resurrection is reigning with Christ as priests of God in the earth. The saints who were behedded for their testimony are among those who reign with Christ. The thousand years years must be symbolic of the age of the church, when real Christians are persecuted, because Peter describes believers as a royal priesthood, and priests of God in the earth.

1 Peter 2:5
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

The book of life

Revelation 3:5
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Revelation 17:8
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The name that is written in the book of life may be the new name that God gives believers:

Revelation 2:17
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 hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

It was foretold in the prophets:

Isaiah 62:2
And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Revelation 21:27
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The judgment

Jesus talked about a judgment

Matthew 11:20-24
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Matthew 12:42
The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

Matthew 13:36-42
Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.
He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 18:6-8
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

[The Concordant Literal New Testament translates it as "to be cast into the fire eonian"]

Luke 11:32
The men of Nineve shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Christ will judge the world

Isaiah 26:9
With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

Paul says the gospel reveals God's righteousness, Romans 1:16-17.

John 5:22
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:

John 5:26-27
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

John 12:48
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Acts 10:42
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Acts 17:31
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Romans 2:16
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

1 Corinthians 6:2
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?

2 Timothy 4:1
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

Hebrews 10:26-27
For if we sin wilfully 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.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

1 Peter 4:5
Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Jude 1:14-15
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

The lake of fire

When the earth is filled with the knowledge of God, like waters cover the sea, how can there be a lake of fire where people are suffering endless torment?  It is suggested that this phrase in Revelation is a metaphor, that represents the time of the judgment. It combines the ideas of Isaiah 11:9 and Jeremiah 23:29, the "sea" of the knowledge of God, and the "fire" of God's word.

Isaiah 11:9
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Jeremiah 23:29
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?

Zephaniah 3:8-9
Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.
For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.

Luke 12:49
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

Jesus here identifies the nature of the fire in the "lake of fire." That "fire" is also the judgment that the church experiences today.

2 Peter 3:7
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Revelation 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.

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8
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.

God does not punish forever

Psalms 103:8,9
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide; neither will He keep His anger forever. 

Psalms 30:5
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Lam 3:31
For the Lord will not cast off for ever 

Micah 7:18-19
Who is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities underfoot. Yes, Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.

Luke 15:4-7
What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when (not ‘if') he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing... I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. 

Purpose of the judgment

1 Peter 4:6
For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary notes re 1 Peter 4:6, "Dead" must be taken in the same literal sense as in 1Pe 4:5, ... Moreover, the absence of the Greek article does not necessarily restrict the sense of "dead" to particular dead persons, for there is no Greek article in 1Pe 4:5 also, where "the dead" is universal in meaning. ... "judged" cannot have a different meaning in this verse from what "judge" bears in 1Pe 4:5. "Live according to God" means, live a life with God, such as God lives, divine; as contrasted with "according to men in the flesh," that is, a life such as men live in the flesh."

I suggest that in this scripture, the Apostle Peter shows that the dead will have the gospel preached to them in the future, when they are raised up from their graves in the judgment, as Jesus said, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." [John 5:28-29]

The purpose of the judgment is explained by Peter, who shows us that it is intended for the salvation of men, "that they may be judged, as all mankind will be judged, in the body, but may be living a godly life in the spirit."

This is from Weymouth's translation; the complete verse is: "For it is with this end in view that the Good News was proclaimed even to some who were dead, that they may be judged, as all mankind will be judged, in the body, but may be living a godly life in the spirit."

Every translation of this verse that I examined put the preaching of the gospel in the past, except one, the Concordant Literal New Testament, which has: "For for this an evangel is brought to the dead also, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in flesh, yet should be living according to God, in spirit."

Most translators had no concept of the judgment being a time when people have the gospel preached to them, so they too could receive the gift of salvation, and so they interpreted the passage as if that preaching of the gospel had already occurred. The Concordant Literal version suggests that it is not past tense. I suggest the true meaning is that the preaching of the gospel to them will occur in the future judgment, when the dead are raised up. This is confirmed by Jude 1:14-15.

Result of the judgment

Those who have to go through the judgement are described in Revelation 7:9-17. Here the judgement is referred to as "great tribulation".

Revelation 7:9
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Revelation 7:13-14
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 

Judgment is now on the house of God

Zechariah 13:9
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Luke 12:49
I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?

Luke 16:16
The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Luke 21:36
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.

Acts 14:22
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

Romans 2:7
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

1 Corinthians 4:4
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:32
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Philippians 3:11-12
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2:19
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Hebrews 11:35
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

1 Peter 1:7
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 4:17
For the time is come 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?

2 Peter 1:4-9
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

James 2:12
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

Revelation 20:6
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The old nature of a Christian dies

Romans 8:13
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Colossians 3:5
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Ephesians 2:10
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

2 Timothy 3:17
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Titus 2:6-8
Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Titus 3:8-9
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Hebrews 10:24
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

James 3:13
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

1 Peter 2:12
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

A new creation

Romans 8:9
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Galatians 6:15
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Ephesians 4:24
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Colossians 3:10
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The kingdom of Christ

Colossians 1:13
He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

1 Corinthians 15:25-26
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.

Matthew 28:18
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.

Ephesians 2:1, 4-7
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, ... But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The scope of salvation

God's Kingdom will fill the earth

Daniel 2:35
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Isaiah 11:9
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

All nations will worship God

Genesis 26:4
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

Psalm 22:27
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

Psalm 66:4
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

Psalm 72:11
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

Psalm 72:17
His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

Psalm 82:8
Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

Psalm 86:9
All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

Isaiah 2:2
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Isaiah 11:10
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Isaiah 45:22-25
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Isaiah 52:10
The LORD hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

Isaiah 61:11
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Isaiah 66:18
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory.

Isaiah 66:23
And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

Haggai 2:7
And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.

Zephaniah 2:11
The LORD will be terrible unto them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth; and men shall worship him, every one from his place, even all the isles of the heathen.

God has reconciled the world to himself

Colossians 1:19-20 
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

2 Corinthians 5:18-19
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Universalist scriptures in Paul

1 Timothy 1:15
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

1 Timothy 2:4-6
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 4:10
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

Romans 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.

Romans 11:32
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Ephesians 1:10
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 on earth; even in him:

1 Corinthians 15:22
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Every knee will bow, every tongue confess

Isaiah 45:22-24 
Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.

Romans 14:11
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

Philippians 2:8-11
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

More universalist texts

Luke 3:6
And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

John 1:9
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

John 1:29
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 5:28-29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.

John 6:45
It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

John 12:32
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Acts 15:17
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.

1 John 2:2
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:14
And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

Revelation 15:4
Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

God's last enemy

If some are suffering in hell, won't they be enemies of God? But God will have a last enemy, that is to be finally destroyed. It is death! So after that one is destroyed, how can any of his enemies remain?

The "curse"

Galatians 1:8-9
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The jubilee year

The law of Moses says everyone who was in bondage was to be set free, and repossess his own land in the jubilee year, so how could God be unforgiving forever?

Leviticus 25:8-13
And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.
And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.
For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field.
In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession.

Leviticus 27:24
In the year of the jubile the field shall return unto him of whom it was bought, even to him to whom the possession of the land did belong.

The sun is turned to darkness

Genesis 15:12
And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.

Joel 2:31
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.

The sun turning to darkness represents the truth of the gospel being obscured by false teaching.

In the dream of Joseph in Genesis 37:10, the moon is Rachel, and she represents the Jews in Matthew 2:18, "In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." The moon turning to blood in Joel's prophecy may picture the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Romans in the first century, and frequent tribulations of the Jews since then, culminating in the holocaust.

Acts 2:20
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

Matthew 24:29
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Revelation 8:12
And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

Greek philosophy in the church

Defining the "soul"

Below is an account of numerous attempts to define what the "soul" actually is, from Mans mortalitie, Richard Overton, 1644. Chap. III, p. 8-9.

If we will rationally argue concerning the Soul, it is necessary to define what it is, to which it is ascribed: But since it is defined by some one way, by some another way, I shall produce some Opinions about it; and then bring the most rationall to tryall, omitting the more frivolous: viz,

The Stoicks held it A certaine blast hot and fierie: or the vitall spirit of the blood: The Cretians, Blood: Gallen, a certaine exhalation of the purest blood: Zeno, Cleanthes, Antipater, and Possiadonius, a hot complexion, or corporeall quality diffused throughout the whole body: Democritus, Fire, and his opinion was, the round Attomes being incorporated by aire and fire doe make up the Soule: Pythagorus opinionated it a Number moving of it selfe: Plato, a substance to be conceived in the mind, that received motion from it self, according to number and Harmonie: Aristotle, the first continual motion of a body naturall, having in it those instrumentall parts, wherein was possibility of life: Dinarchus, an Harmonie of the four Elements: Nemesius divides it into Phantasie, Judgment, Memorie: Aristotle in his Physicks, into vegetative, sensitive, motive, appetitive, intellective: And Ambrose Pare pag. 895: faith, the soule is the inward Entelechia, or the primative cause of all motions and functions both naturall and animall, and the true Forme of a man: It seeth, heareth, smelleth, toucheth, tasteth, imagineth, judgeth, &c. And more exactly pag. 83 lib. 3 cap. 1. he saith, the soule is commonly distinguished into three Faculties: Animall, Vitall, Naturall: The Animall, into Principall, Sensetive, Motive: The Principall, into Imaginative (seated in the upper part of the braine) Reasonable, (the middle part of the braine,) Memorative, (Cerebellum) or after-braine. The Sensetive, into Seeing, (the eyes) Hearing, (the eares) Smelling, (the nose) Tasting, (the tongue, pallat) Touching, (the body) The Motive, into Progressive (legs) Apprehensive, (hands.)

The Vitall, into Dilative, or parts for respiration (weason, lungs) Concoctive, or parts for vitall motion, (heart and arteries, understood by the Pulsificke Facultie.

The Naturall, into Nutrative, Active, Generative: which three are performed by the help of the Attractive, (the gullet) Retentive, (lower passage or the stomack) Concoctive, (body of the ventricle) Assimulative, (three small guts) Expulsive, (three great guts.)

Augustine and Athanasius say, it is a substance created, a spirit intelligent, invisible, immortall, incorporeall like the Angells.

And there be several Opinions of its Body: Lucippus and Hipparchus say, it hath a fairie Body: Critius and Anaxemines, Woolner and others an Aeriall body: Hesiod, and earthly: Epicurius, fierie and airie: Zenophon, watry and earthly: Drone, a middle betwixt the spirit and the body: Didimus and Origen, a third substance.

Divers other conceptions and fancies there be, to uphold this ridiculous invention of the Soule traducted from the Heathens, who by the Book of Nature understood an immortality after Death; but through their ignorance how, or which way; this invention (reported to be Platoes) was occasioned, and begat a generall beliefe: and so they, and after them the Christians have thus strained their wits to such miserable shifts, to define what it is, but neither conclude any certainty, or give satisfaction therein.

Quote by Polybius on superstition

Polybius [Histories VI,56].
But among all the useful institutions, that demonstrate the superior excellence of the Roman government, the most considerable perhaps is the opinion which the people are taught to hold concerning the gods: and that, which other men regard as an object of disgrace, appears in my judgment to be the very thing by which this republic chiefly is sustained. I mean, superstition: which is impressed with all it terrors; and influences both the private actions of the citizens, and the public administration also of the state, in a degree that can scarcely be exceeded. This may appear astonishing to many. To me it is evident, that this contrivance was at first adopted for the sake of the multitude. For if it were possible that a state could be composed of wise men only, there would be no need, perhaps, of any such invention. But as the people universally are fickle and inconstant, filled with irregular desires, too precipitate in their passions, and prone to violence; there is no way left to restrain them, but by the dread of things unseen, and by the pageantry of terrifying fiction. The ancients, therefore, acted not absurdedly, nor without good reason, when they inculcated the notions concerning the gods, and the belief of infernal punishments; but much more those of the present age are to be charged with rashness and absurdity, in endeavoring to extirpate these opinions. For, not to mention effects that flow from such an institution, if, among the Greeks, for example, a single talent only be entrusted to those who have the management of any of the public money; though they give ten written sureties, with as many seals and twice as many witnesses, they are unable to discharge the trusts reposed in them with integrity. But the Romans, on the other hand, who in the course of their magistracies, and in embassies, disperse the greatest sums, are prevailed on by the single obligation of an oath to perform their duties with inviolable honesty. And as, in other states, a man is rarely found whose hands are pure from public robbery; so, among the Romans, it is no less rare to discover one that is tainted with this crime. But all things are subject to decay and change. This is a truth so evident, and so demonstrated by the perpetual and the necessary force of nature, that it needs no other proof.

Religion in ancient Rome

The historian Livy says Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, invented the fear of the gods:

Rome was now at peace; there was no immediate prospect of attack from outside and the tight rein of constant military discipline was relaxed. In these novel circumstances there was an obvious danger of a general relaxation of the nation's moral fibre, so to prevent its occurrence Numa decided upon a step which he felt would prove more effective than anything else with a mob as rough and ignorant as the Romans were in those days. This was to inspire them with the fear of the gods...and he was in the habit of meeting the goddess Egeria at night, and that it was her authority that guided him in the establishment of such rites.
Livy, History of Rome 1:19.

Peter warns of false teachers

The second chapter of 2 Peter contains a fiery prophecy about false teachers who would come in to the church and lead many astray. Peter wrote:

2 Peter 2:1-2
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

In the early centuries of the Chritian era many strange teachings were prevalent, and during that period, as Peter had foretold, some of the church fathers introduced concepts that had their origin in pagan philosophy into the church. One of these was Plato's speculation about man having an immortal soul. Another was the superstition of endless infernal torment of the souls of unbelievers, that was taught in ancient Rome. False teachers Peter had warned about in his 2nd epistle introduced these ideas which eventually became dogmas of the church. It is no surprise that those theologians make no mention of Peter's 2nd epistle in their writings. They probably ignored it, hoping it would disappear!

Modern scholars who apparently failed to consider this very plausible reason for the silence of early church fathers about Peter's 2nd epistle, have claimed that it was not written by Peter at all, citing the lack of references to it in the early period. But 2 Peter 3:8 is quoted in the Epistle of Barnabas 15:4, "for the day with Him signifyeth a thousand years;" and "the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years."

Origen and Plato's doctrine of the immortality of the soul

Origen of Alexandria (ca. 185 - ca. 254), was a Neo-Pythagorean and a Neo-Platonist early Christian Scholar, and Church Father, who taught at Caesarea Maritima. He adopted Plato's idea of the immortality of the soul, and taught that the soul passes through successive stages of incarnation before eventually reaching God. It was through his teachings that Greek philosophy and belief in the immortality of the soul became established in the church.

Werner Jaeger wrote:

The Hebrew Bible does not know immortality ... [of the soul] at all, and the idea of resurrection in the New Testament is quite different. If nevertheless Plato's ideas of the soul and its destiny seem so familiar to us and have kept their direct appeal, that is because they have been adopted, with inevitable modifications, by the fathers of the church. If they dogmatized this part of Plato's philosophy of the soul, whereas in Plato himself everything remains in suspense, they have this in common with the Neoplatonists, who brought it all into the form of a theological system. The Christian fathers rejected the story of the transmigration of the soul, but they accepted the immortality of the individual soul, since they found it reconcilable with Paul's notion of the resurrection and with Jewish-Christian angelology, i.e., the existence of a world of immaterial beings. The most important fact in the history of Christian doctrine was that the father of Christian theology, Origen, was a Platonic philosopher at the school of Alexandria. He built into Christian doctrine the whole cosmic drama of the soul, which he took from Plato, and although later Christian fathers decided that he took over too much, that which they kept was still the essence of Plato's philosophy of the soul. It was for them as it was for Plato the significant expression of their basic spiritualism and immaterialism.

Werner Jaeger, The Greek Ideas of Immortality: The Ingersoll Lecture for 1958. The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 52, No. 3. (Jul., 1959), pp. 135-147. [See p. 146]

In De Principiis Origen wrote:

"... The soul, having a substance and life of its own, shall after its departure from the world, be rewarded according to its deserts, being destined to obtain either an inheritance of eternal life and blessedness, if its actions shall have procured this for it, or to be delivered up to eternal fire and punishments, if the guilt of its crimes shall have brought it down to this ..."
(Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, 1995, p. 240).

A post on Plato and the early church fathers:

Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo brought in the doctrine of unending infernal torment of unbelievers after death, an idea probably imported from his Manichean past. See Book XXI of "The City of God":

Influenced by Augustine, the Fifth General Council in 553 A.D. approved the following:

Whoever says or thinks that the torments of the demons and of impious men are temporal, so that they will, at length, come to an end, or whoever holds a restoration either of the demons or of the impious, let him be anathema.

Paul on paganism

In the following discourse, Paul calls the philosophers fools.

Romans 1:18-25
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Colossians 2:8
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

William Tyndale on the resurrection

William Tyndale (1484-1536),
English Bible translator and Martyr


In 1530 responding to Sir Thomas More's objection to his belief that "all souls lie and sleep till doomsday" he vigorously replyed.

"And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurection...And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good a case as the angels be ? And then what cause is there of the resurrection ?" - William Tyndale, An Answer to Sir Thomas More's Dialogue (Parker's 1850 reprint), bk.4, ch.4, pp.180,181

Tyndale went to the heart of the issue in pointing out the papacy's draft upon the teachings of "heathen philosophers" in seeking to establish its contention of innante immortality. Thus

"The true faith puteth forth the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshy doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the Spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man. And becuase the fleshy-minded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it. If the soul be in heaven, tell me what cause is there for the resurrection?" - ibid., p.180

In yet another section of the same treatise, dealing with the "invocation of saints," Tyndale uses the same reasoning, pointing out that the doctrine of departed saints being in heaven had not yet been introduced in Christ's day:

"And when he [More] proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, 'If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead;' there he stealeth away Christ's argument wherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints would rise again, and not that their souls were in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. And with that doctrine he taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ's argument of none effect." - ibid., p.118

Tyndale presses his contention still further by showing the conflict of papal teaching with St. Paul, as he says is slightly sarcastic vein:

"'Nay Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again.' And I marvel that Paul had not conforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had wist it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, shew me what should be of the resurrection?" - ibid. p.118

The locust plague

This prophecy reveals one of the doctrines that turns the sun to darkness. The locusts described in  Revelation 9:1-11 are the ones who promote the doctrine of unending infernal torment of unbelievers.  (My interpretations are enclosed in parentheses.)

Revelation 9:1-11

1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit (the truth of the gospel is obscured).

3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: (they resemble the locusts of the great army described in Joel 2) and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power (they afflict people with an agonizing pain).

4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads (they teach a doctrine that affects only unbelievers).

5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, (they teach the immortality of the soul) but that they should be tormented five months: (The life span of the desert locust is 3 to 5 months, but is extremely variable, depending on environmental conditions. Five months or 150 days was also the duration of the flood waters that covered the earth, and destroyed all those not saved in the ark of Noah, and the unsaved are those who are affected by their torment. Perhaps the 5 months of torment represents a "locust life-span") and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man (terribly painful).

6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them (the doctrine of infernal torment of the souls of unbelievers, which are said to be immortal).

7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; (they are ridden by their dogmas, and fight to defend them) and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, (some are called saints, and are shown with halos in old paintings; they appear as a kingdom of priests, churchmen; 1 Peter 2:9) and their faces were as the faces of men (they are humans).

8 And they had hair as the hair of women, (like Narazites, they are devoutly religious, and they are confident in their own safety, and their own salvation: 2 Samuel 14:11, Luke 21:18) and their teeth were as the teeth of lions (they appear as fierce predators; Satan is compared to a lion in 1 Peter 5:8).

9 And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; (they tout their own righteousness, Ephesians 6:14) and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle (there are great numbers of them, and they are agressive).

10 And they had tails like unto scorpions, (Isaiah said, "the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail" Isaiah 9:15) and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months (the doctrine of infernal torment of unvelievers).

11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, (destroyer, Job 26:6) but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon (Apollo Parnopius, god of plagues. Apollo is also a god of prophecy).

Scriptures on death 

Sheol: The Hebrew word sheol means "the unseen" and is equivalent to the Greek Hades.

The translators of the KJV translate "sheol" as "hell" 31 times, and "grave" 31 times, and "pit" 3 times.

It is often synonymous with the grave. It simply means "the state of death". In scripture, it is never connected with concepts of hell, or infernal torment. Both the righteous and wicked went to sheol.

The Jewish Bible of the JPS does not contain the word "hell".

Jonah 2:2
Out of the belly of hell [sheol] cried I, and thou heardest my voice. 

Ps 139: 7,8
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 

Job 14:10-13
Oh that thou wouldest hide me in Sheol, that thou wouldest conceal me until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

Hosea 13:14
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave (or Hell, Sheol), I will be thy destruction.


Hades occurs 11 times in the NT, and its meaning is similar to that of sheol. In 1 Corinthians 15:55 it is translated "grave" in the KJV.


Tartaros is used only once, in 2 Peter 2:4, and refers to the abode of fallen angels.


The greek word aión -- aiónios... by Rev. John Wesley Hanson, A.M.

Jesus' Teaching on Hell, by Samuel G. Dawson

Eternal Torment vs Reconciliation, by David R. Baughman

A Challenge to the doctrine of eternal torment

Eternal torment in hell - a scriptural teaching?

Why The Traditional View of Hell Is Not Biblical

Ancient Beliefs - Plato Comes to Church (Usenet post) 

Bible Translations That Do Not Teach Eternal Torment

Is "EVERLASTING" Scriptural?

Eternal Hope, by Frederick William Farrar (1878) 

Richard Bauckham, "Universalism: a historical survey," Themelios 4.2 (September 1978): 47-54.

Stephen H. Travis, "The Problem of Judgment," Themelios 11.2 (January 1986): 52-57.

Leon Morris, The Biblical Doctrine of Judgment. London: The Tyndale Press, 1960.
Pbk. ISBN: 0851110185. pp.72.

Millard J. Erickson, "Is Hell Forever?" Bibliotheca Sacra 152: 607 (1995): 259-272.

Tony Gray, "Destroyed For Ever: An Examination of the Debates Concerning Annihilation and Conditional Immortality," Themelios 21.2 (1996): 14-18.

Trumbower, Jeffrey A. Rescue for the Dead. The Posthumous Salvation of Non-Christians in Early Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN:0195140990.

Peterson, Robert A. Undying Worm, Unquenchable Fire. What is hell--eternal torment or annihilation? A look at the Evangelical Alliance's The Nature of Hell. Christianity Today, October 23, 2000

Copyright © 2007 by Douglas E. Cox
All Rights Reserved.