One of Chan’s Missing Scriptures

One of Chan’s Missing Scriptures

In his book, Erasing Hell, Francis Chan writes,

The one thing all Christian Universalists agree upon is that after death there will be another chance (or an endless string of chances) to choose Jesus.  The Universalist view depends upon it.  So we need to wrestle with all the postmortem second-chance passages to see if they actually teach this view.  The problem is, there aren’t any passages that say this.  No passage in the Bible says that there will be a second chance after death to turn to Jesus.

In the previous blog, Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Saved by Whose Choice? I address some points I take issue with regarding Chan’s opinion-based, Christian-Universalist blanket statements, but more importantly, his view on “choose Jesus”.  In this blog, I will answer Chan’s erroneous claim that there are no scriptures to support the idea of salvation after death.

Is it true that there are no scriptures supporting postmortem salvation?

The easiest answer is, no.  There are scriptures that support postmortem salvation, it’s just that the fundamentalist mind has been trained and retrained to interpret these scriptures according to the idea that the majority of mankind spends eternity in the flames and torment of hell.

I’ll name just one small segment of scripture and leave the rest of the homework up to curious readers –

…Christ once for sin did suffer – righteous for unrighteous – that he might lead us to God, having been put to death indeed, in the flesh, and having been made alive in the spirit, in which also to the spirits in prison having gone he did preach, who sometime disbelieved, when once the long-suffering of God did wait, in days of Noah… 1 Peter 3:18-20

Here we see that Christ died for everyone.  In the group called “humanity” there are two subgroups, that is the “righteous” group and the “unrighteous” group.  The righteous group originally has only one, Jesus Christ.  He is the only human being who ever lived without sinning.  Everyone else, no matter what religious background, race, sexual orientation, mental or emotional state, position or rank, etc. is (or was) included in the group called “unrighteous”.

Then we are told the reason Jesus, the righteous, suffered for us, the unrighteous.  Why?  “…that he might lead us to God.”  Reconciliation is a theme throughout all of scripture, interwoven among all the stories, like arrows pointing us to the Messiah, the Son of God.

Someone might ask how or why Jesus should lay down His life to save us.  What does it look like?  “…having been put to death indeed, in the flesh, and having been made alive in the spirit”.  This is true of anyone who has a clear conscience before God, because they understand the significance of the work of Christ.  The reason that some do not have a clear conscience is that they have not yet been “made alive in the spirit”.  Or as Jesus says, “If any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God.”

And now we arrive at the part that clearly indicates postmortem salvation – Jesus, “in the spirit”, goes to “the spirits in prison,” people who have been dead for thousands of years who were “not able to see God”.  Why?  To “preach”.

Ironically, the currently living people who either do not want to or are not able to see that the reign of God extends even into death will interpret this, saying that the spirits in prison are not people who have already died.  If they admit that these are people who have already died, then they say that Jesus’s message to the dead people was one of His own victory, Good News that did not apply to them.  Or if they admit that Jesus’s message was one of salvation, that the text never says anything about how the people respond to Jesus’s message.  Perhaps they all reject His message.

To all of this, I say, take a step back and think about it.  What is Jesus’s mission, according to this scripture?  To bring the unrighteous to God.  I think that pretty much rules out the idea that Jesus’s message was anything but Good News, after all, salvation is a prerequisite of our being reconciled to God.  Regarding the idea that the people reject His message, I suppose this could be an unlikely possibility, but only if there were no other universal reconciliation texts.  Instead of appealing to scriptures not in the context and running off on a bunny trail, I’ll just stay right here and point out that there is no information about their response, positive OR negative.

Again, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves the most obvious question.  Does Jesus succeed in His mission?  Does Jesus bring the unrighteous to God?  Either He does, or He doesn’t.  If He doesn’t, then this means that He either CAN’T or WON’T.  If He can’t, then He is not sovereign.  If He won’t, then He is a liar.  Either way, He fails His mission.

But what if the fundamentalists are wrong?  What if there’s hope?  What if He actually succeeds in His mission?  Isn’t that what this scripture seems to indicate?  He suffers and dies and goes where no one else can go and live to tell about it, to the mysterious reality we call death.  He goes to people who, while they were living, “disbelieved”.

Why would He go to the long-dead unrighteous, if not to “lead [them] to God”?  If no one ever sees God’s reign once their earthly life has passed in disbelief, then why does Jesus go to them?  To rub it in their faces? You’re screwed?!  Too late for you!?  Nanee nanee boo boo?!  You should have believed when you had the chance!?

I don’t think so.

Next blog in this series: Why Chan Can’t Erase Hell: Fumbled Fables

Comments
  • Lanny A. Eichert December 4, 2011 at 1:43 am

    “no information about their response, positive OR negative” so quit while you’re ahead and go NO further, Alice. 1 Peter 3 proves NOTHING as you said.

    He either CAN’T or WON’T. Won’t doesn’t mean Liar, because Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? {Romans 9: 21} Those He made for honor He saves and those He made for dishonor He damns. That is quite simple, think about it and use your common sense.

    “quickened by the Spirit: By which” that is, the Spirit which made Jesus alive is the Spirit that did the going and preaching. The made-alive Jesus DIDN’T go and preach: it was the Holy Spirit {that made Jesus alive} that did the going and preaching. The “By which” is a reference to the Holy Spirit; it is not a reference to the made-alive Christ.

    • admin December 5, 2011 at 12:12 am

      Yes, but your idea of honor/dishonor is eternal bliss or eternal horror. What if there’s more to it than that, Lanny? What if their dishonor is purposeful? When a judgmental pharisee saw Jesus finding purpose in a dishonorable person, Jesus responded as follows:

      Jesus – Simon, I have something to say to thee.

      Simon – Teacher, say on.

      Jesus – Two debtors were to a certain creditor; the one was owing five hundred denaries, and the other fifty;and they not having [wherewith] to give back, he forgave both; which then of them, say thou, will love him more?

      Simon – I suppose that to whom he forgave the more.

      Jesus – Rightly thou didst judge.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 4, 2011 at 2:09 am

    To all of this, I say, take a step back and think about it. What is Jesus’s mission, according to this scripture?

    Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. {Act 15: 14} Since He is taking out from them, He is also leaving many of them NOT taken. Those He takes He saves; those He leaves He damns. Simple, isn’t it? Mystery, mystery as per Ephesians 3, I write of the church, that NEW thing with the NEW Covenant: Jesus mission, what He is building by His death and blood.

    “Take a step back and think about it” means Alice’s reason prevails over Scripture for you, Alice, and your crowd by your invitation as you lead them astray.

    “What if the Father, as part of His Plan of the Ages” in your previous article plays the same deception. Suggest to them your falsehood and play the what if game rather than what SURELY says the Scriptures.

    • admin December 5, 2011 at 12:27 am

      Those “taken out” are called firstfruits. Do you not know that firstfruits, by definition according to scriptures regarding harvests, is a way of acknowledging that the entire harvest belongs to God? It is also an indication that we can trust in God’s provision. So if the salvation of current believers, expressly described as firstfruits, is an acknowledgment that all people belong to God, if we are a living indication that humanity can trust in God’s provision regarding salvation, then how can it be said that the rest of the harvest is forever lost? Does God’s great harvest of souls consist ONLY of the firstfruits? If your answer is yes, then please understand that the word firstfruit no longer holds any meaning to you. You can scratch it out of “what SURELY says the Scriptures.”

    • Mary Vanderplas December 6, 2011 at 5:36 am

      Acts 15:14 isn’t about some being taken out for salvation and the rest being left behind for damnation. It is about the expansion of God’s people to include Gentiles, period. You miss the point entirely, drawing unwarranted inferences to support your preconceived ideas.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 6, 2011 at 6:10 pm

        Symbolically, Mary, why can’t you see the intimacy of a Husband calling His bride out from her mother’s family? This is the bride of Christ that is being called out. There is no way you can avoid leaving or forsaking all others when you’re a bridegroom. The bride is the congregation of saints and the forsaken others are all the sinners in the broad “way that leadeth to destruction” {Matthew 7: 13} as Jesus said. The Bridegoom says to His bride, “Come AWAY with Me.” Now that’s filled with emotion even for the bride. There’s my heart.

        • Mary Vanderplas December 7, 2011 at 5:37 am

          The reason I can’t see it is because it isn’t there. Read Acts 15 in its entirety. What is it about? It is about the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s saving purpose and the joy elicited among the believers as they witnessed what God was doing (verse 3) in including these who formerly were outsiders. Read the text in context. Stop importing your own meaning into it – meaning which, in this case, severely distorts what the text is actually saying.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

            You say the text of the Scriptures, the Holy Bible, is symbolic, written in symbolic language, and I suggest a really good symbolic meaning and you discredit the kind of interpretation you favor. What’s your problem with my symbolism? Is it the forsaking all others part?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm

            I’ve never said that all biblical texts have symbolic meaning. To suggest that I have is preposterous. The problem with your “really good symbolic meaning” is that it isn’t at all what the author is saying here. Luke is not using symbolic language. He is using ordinary speech to convey the great Good News of God’s inclusive grace.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 4, 2011 at 2:48 am

    And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. {Matthew 10: 28}

    God is able, God is WILLING, and God is READY to destroy SOULS as well as bodies in hell, otherwise He’d not have said ABLE if He didn’t mean that He is DOING it right now: destroying souls and bodies in hell. His words in Matthew 7: 13 “broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” prove many are perishing in hell right now: their SOULS and bodies being destroyed as we write these words on this blog site. So where is your fearless compassion to the living lost now? They need the Gospel preached to them ASAP before it is too late.

    “Because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God” {Amos 4: 12}

    There’s no doubt about that. That is SURELY what the Scriptures say, clearly based on the one word able.

    Why can’t you “Take a step back and think about it” when it comes from me instead of Alice? At least I offer you what the Scriptures surely say. Why take Alice’s “what if’s” for your guide? You want slippery rocks of speculation for your foundation?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    The “By which” Holy Spirit was in Noah preaching in his day to those who then rejected the testimony of Christ preached to them in their lifetime; who are now spirits in prison, another way of saying hell. We learn from this verse that hell is a prison and as God’s prison there is NO escape. In other words we learn from this verse where the unbelieving go as soon as they die: hell’s prison. Does every reader of this site understand that? The unbelieving dead go straight to hell when they die. They immediately perish, meaning they are continuosly being destroyed SOUL and body as per Matthew 10: 28.

    1 Peter 3: 20 “in the days of Noah” is the only sure reference to the time frame of these verses and the only sure time frame we have for the preaching. The text does NOT say the made-alive Jesus went to the prison immediately after He was made alive and before He first appeared to His disciples before His ascended to heaven. Nowhere in Scripture is such a descrete thing proclaimed as Christ’s victory. Alice is trying to fill in the blanks for you from her evil imagination: so don’t believe it.

    • admin December 4, 2011 at 8:27 pm

      My evil imagination!? LOL You’re a trip, Lanny. Sometimes you talk like the male version of the church lady on SNL.

  • Mary Vanderplas December 4, 2011 at 8:17 am

    I don’t know that it can be said with certainty that the imprisoned spirits here referred to are people who have died. The reference may be to rebellious spirit beings that were present at the time of flood (Genesis 6:1-4). However, it could be that humans are meant, since the spirits are described as those who in former times were disobedient when God was patient in the days of Noah. I don’t think that the text is clear on this. I agree nonetheless that what is pictured here points to the cosmic and universal scope of Christ’s saving activity. It seems unlikely, indeed, I agree, that Christ would go to these ones who are imprisoned awaiting judgment for the purpose of announcing doom. And it seems unlikely, I agree, in view of the purpose of Christ’s work that the goal of his mission to these was anything other than to bring them to God.

    I’m not sure about your statement that if not everyone is saved in the end, it means that “[Jesus] fails His mission.” I still contend that if not all are saved, it may be because God refuses to coerce those whose will it is to remain alienated from himself and others. In this case, it isn’t that he can’t, nor is it that he won’t in the sense that he has turned away from them. I can’t say with certainty, though, that he won’t finally act to bring every lost one to himself.

    • admin December 4, 2011 at 8:34 pm

      I agree with the “can’t” part of your final paragraph, but not the “won’t” part. The reason for this is that God is able to make people who are dead in sins alive in the spirit. Everyone who is dead in sin (as we once were) has a will that is set against God, and it is only by God’s grace that anyone is saved. So, if God, in His grace coerces (or as scriptures indicate, He “draws”-English or “drags”-Greek) some, but not others, then the only reasonable conclusion is “won’t”. Can you think of a third alternative explanation?

      • Mary Vanderplas December 5, 2011 at 7:02 am

        Technically, you’re right. But there are different ways of understanding “won’t.” One is “Nanee nanee boo boo, God is a liar” (saying that he desires that all be saved but evidently not really meaning it because, if he did, he would act to ensure that it happens) – which you mention in your blog. This is different from God willing that all be saved but choosing not finally to override the will of those who don’t want what God offers, saying to these “Okay, have it your way; I will not force you to have the true freedom that I desire to give you.” In the case of the latter “won’t,” God cannot justly be charged with lying. And far from taking a perverse pleasure in the fate of those who have turned away from him (i.e., being “able, willing, ready” to damn them), he continues to be turned toward them in love, longing still for their final salvation.

        I agree with your statement that “it is only by God’s grace that anyone is saved.” But I don’t believe that this means that God compels the “yes” to his offer of freedom and life, that a responsible moral agent’s freedom not to believe is hereby overridden. But perhaps in the end it will be – I don’t know. Herein lies my greatest struggle with all of this.

        • Mary Vanderplas December 6, 2011 at 5:35 am

          Without a doubt, the “drawing” texts in John’s Gospel assert that the initiative lies with God and that his act will be effective (though they say nothing about how or when exactly God will accomplish the bringing to himself of all people). It needs to be noted, too, though, that while there are texts such as these which emphasize the divine initiative, there are others which emphasize human decision and responsibility when it comes to believing or not believing.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Which then of them, say thou, will love him more? Alice, you then think the dishonorable vessels the potter made and destroyed will love Christ more than the honorable vessels? Isn’t Romans 9: 23 the purpose verse? It says the purpose was toward the honorable vessels, not the dishonorable ones, when 21 – 23 are taken together. Your “What if there’s more” stems from your evil imagination that desires to deny eternal damnation.

    And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory {Romans 9: 23}

    Alice, the “who first trusted in Christ” of Ephesisans 1: 12 identifies the “we should be a kind of firstfruits ” of James 1: 18 as the first century apostles of Christ. They were aware of their unique position in the harvest and all that turned to Christ after them are the body of the harvest as “In whom ye also trusted after” of Ephesians 1: 13. Firstfruits does not prove an after death salvation as the main harvest. The many entering the broad way of Matthew 7: 13 ARE LEAD TO DESTRUCTION [NOT REDEMPTION] as the words say in that verse. Why do you argue with God’s words? It is because of your evil imagination that denies eternal damnation.

    All of you are just dreaming a dream and have provided absolutely no support for your imaginative evil doctrine of salvation after death.

    In all of this, Alice, Mary, and Sarah, since you all agree the language they use is symbolic, not literal, are you literalizing 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20 ? I know these words are literal and refer to literal spirits of literal persons in a literal place characterized as literal prison. Why ISN’T your interpretation symbolic? What are the symbols and what do they mean and why do they mean what you say they mean?

    • admin December 5, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Are you a first-fruits, Lanny?

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2011 at 11:38 am

        There is a second way of looking at James 1: 18 and Ephesians 1: 12 and that is a Jews and Gentiles, since the evangelistic formula was to the Jew first and then the Gentile was the Gospel first preached. The FIRSTFRUITS in this case would be the first century Jews that were saved and afterwards the rest of the harvest is the Gentiles with the Jewish minority that was being saved from the first century through now and on to the future. This view still includes the Apostles as firstfruits and leaves every one converted after Acts 13: 46 outside the description of being firstfruits, thus making them the body of the harvest.

        Your idea of firstfruits is erronous and therefore cannot be a proof of salvation in the Lake of Fire which is still found populated at the end of the Revelation without escape or remedy.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm

        A first-fruits, no, as you can see if you have eyes to see what I have already written, the firstfruits have already been harvested in the apostolic period. Since then the harvest is general.

        Don’t you neglect to recognize that the whole harvest includes “tares” to be gathered and burned? Perishing, being destroyed, for ever and ever. Annihilated, no. Eternal burning, yes. God’s plan, yes. The Potter’s plan, certainly. Sovereign, yes.

        Jesus told you that broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat … strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. {Matthew 7: 13 & 14} He told you God’s plan is the destruction of the many and the salvation of only the few. Does He accomplish His plan, yes. Who made the narrow way, Alice?

        • admin December 6, 2011 at 8:58 am

          How did you come about believing that the first-fruits have already been harvested? I’m curious about this.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    In all of this, Alice, Mary, and Sarah, since you all agree the language they use is symbolic, not literal, are you literalizing 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20 ?

    Why ISN’T your interpretation symbolic? What are the symbols and what do they mean and why do they mean what you say they mean?

    What happened to your symbolic language? Show it to me, please, in 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    From a LITERAL interpretation of 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20 their prison experience PROVES unbelievers go immediately to hell upon death. Alice, they are NOT SLEEPING if you want them to have the preaching at all effective in hell in your subverted interpretation.

    Sleepers don’t hear preaching. People “on pause” cannot hear the Gospel. So what happens to your soul sleep idea in 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20, Alice? Don’t your doctrines contradict each other?

    These died in the days of Noah and are ALIVE and AWARE in hell and have been since their physical death otherwise prison is not prison. They have been and are in eternal destructive torment today every day since they died.

    You three really need to retreat to symbolic language, don’t you think? So tell me how it works with symbols, please, since it is problematic literally. Three heads are better than one: surely you can invent a symbolic interpretation to support your doctrine.

    The only sensible literal approach is having the Holy Spirit in Noah preaching in his day to those who NOW are in God’s hell’s prison for their unbelief. The Holy Spirit quickened, made alive, resurrected, the dead body of Christ after the crucifixion and burial, so it is the Holy Spirit Who is referenced “By which also he went and preached” in1 Peter 3: 19. “By which also he went and preached” is not the resurrected Christ, but it is the Holy Spirit and the time is in the days of Noah.

    Your perspective of in1 Peter 3: 18 -20 has too many flaws to be a proof of salvation in the Lake of Fire, don’t you think?

    • Mary Vanderplas December 6, 2011 at 5:39 am

      I’m interpreting this text in light of the context: as picturing a “journey” that Christ made, most likely following his resurrection, for the purpose of making a proclamation to these imprisoned spirits. Likely Peter is using imagery to express truth of what Christ did. While there are things in the text that aren’t clear – such as exactly when in the course of Christ’s life-death-resurrection this occurred and who exactly these spirits were – it seems clear that the subject of the journey is Christ, not “the Holy Spirit in Noah” as you contend. And there is nothing at all in the text to warrant the conclusion that the long deceased are now in hell or that they went to hell immediately upon death. You read into the text things that simply aren’t there, making it support your preconceived notions about where the unbelieving reside and what happens to people when they die.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 6, 2011 at 6:51 am

        Mary, if they aren’t in hell, just where are they, where is this prison, what is it like? You don’t believe in soul sleep like Alice, then? You know if they are sleeping or paused, they can’t hear any preaching.

        What particular words in the text are not literal, but expressing imagery?
        How do you arrive at determining what the imagery is?

        • admin December 6, 2011 at 8:52 am

          Lanny, you are not accurately representing my views on “soul sleep”.

        • Mary Vanderplas December 7, 2011 at 5:18 am

          The questions you’re asking are not answered in the text. It is widely thought that the text incorporates traditional materials, but there is no agreement as to what exactly those materials were. And since the background can’t be determined precisely, it is impossible to say exactly what the meaning is. So, I don’t know. Perhaps Peter is drawing on 1 Enoch (an apocalypse), where fallen angels are in prison somewhere beneath the earth, in the nether world, awaiting judgment. It can’t be said for certain, though; and a case can be made that the “spirits” here are humans, not fallen spirit beings. The language in any case is symbolic, pointing to something that Christ did but not describing a literal descent into hell. There is no mention of “hell” here, only “prison” (which some argue is better translated “refuge”). And nothing is said about the deceased going to hell immediately upon dying.

          I don’t know what happens to unbelievers immediately after death. The Bible doesn’t say. Regarding believers, the Bible gives two different pictures. One is that at death they are taken immediately into the presence of God; and the other is that they go to the grave and on the last day are raised to eternal life. I am inclined to believe that at the moment of death, believers are raised to be with Christ. And I am content not to speculate about the “intermediate state” of unbelievers.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm

            It is widely thought that the text incorporates traditional materials, but there is no agreement as to what exactly those materials were. And since the background can’t be determined precisely, it is impossible to say exactly what the meaning is.

            See, Mary, this is exactly your problem: you rely on the wisdom of human reasoning rather than trusting God is able to write exactly what He means and to preserve it through the centuries.

            what happens to unbelievers immediately after death. The Bible doesn’t say.

            You have been taught that bias, but God’s words on the subject are always before you if you’d only see them as literal as they are.

          • Mary Vanderplas December 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

            This text stands as one of the most difficult and disputed texts in the New Testament. If God “wrote exactly what He means,” why is this single precise meaning not plainly evident to the majority of believers? This isn’t about trusting God or not trusting God. It’s about an obscure text that we won’t know the precise meaning of this side of glory.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2011 at 2:34 am

            It’s about an obscure text that we won’t know the precise meaning of this side of glory.

            That, dear Alice, is precisely why it is illogical for you to use it even as the slightest prop for your Amazing Hope doctrine, especially from your view of Scripture.

            Mary, all unbelievers {even those claiming to be believers} having a low view of the Holy Scriptures will certainly have a hard time of this text and certainly some Bible believers will also, but by firstly taking the which ᾧ {g3739 ὅς hos} of verse 19 as the Holy Spirit and secondly knowing damnation is eternal mandates Noah’s preaching was in the power of the Holy Spirit; thus the solution for understanding the passage in the light of the whole Bible and serves to reinforce eternal damnation and the immediate destiny of the lost soul in hell. This interpretation works multiple wonders.

            I pity your helplessness and ignorance. Where’s your childlike faith in God’s Word?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 9, 2011 at 10:54 pm

            I pity the person who talks out of both sides of his mouth (“It’s obscure, Alice…..It’s as plain as day, Mary”), who doesn’t know the difference between “wonders” and eternal damnation, and who thinks that childlike faith precludes wrestling and uncertainty.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2011 at 11:37 pm

            Mary there’s nothing wrong with me using your “It’s obscure” when Alice accepts your view more than mine while I know “It’s as plain as day” to me which you both reject.

            Now your agrument on childlike faith is not with me, but with Jesus Who requires it. Where’s “wrestling and uncertainty” in the child? Go ahead and educate yourself directly into unbelief and into reasons why you cannot believe the simplicity that is in Christ, 2 Corinthians 11: 3. You’ll burn in hell for your effort. Why not instead turn to simplicity and be saved?

  • Trolando December 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Well, some may think there are no indications for “second chances” as they call them.

    First this: “second chances” is LOADED terminology. Christian Universalists don’t say you “have a second chance in hell”. You can be lazy and go for your second chance in high school. You don’t do that with God. Hell is a punishment, not a second chance. Obviously, the punishment has a purpose and that is righteousness: that the sinner converts and changes, finally.

    Alright. So we are in 1st century Israel and we have all these theological people around us. Saducees claiming there is no afterlife, and Pharisees and Essenes who think all the good people go to some nice place with God and all the bad people go to hell to be tortured forever. What are they saying? “Eirgmon aidion”. A prison forever. “Timorion aidion”. A revenge/punishment forever.

    And there’s this guy called Jesus. He’s also preaching and teaching about these things. But does He use those words? No, he doesn’t. He says: “Kolasin aionion”. A long corrective punishment. Now that’s different, you know. There’s a whole world of difference between those things. First off, why didn’t he say “aidion”? Everyone says “aidion” when they mean “forever”. We know that. But that’s not the most puzzling.

    What’s really puzzling, is that He used “kolasin”. And we know what that means. Plato says there are two types of punishment. “Kolasin” is the punishment for correction, to the benefit of the person being punished. And “Timoria” is the punishment out of revenge. This is the difference between those words, not only clear from the writings in earlier centuries but also in later centuries. So… what Jesus is saying… is that the punishment has a purpose of correction?

    Not only do we know that God wants to save all people and that Jesus the Christ is how He will save all people, but also that the punishment is part of the plan! If “God wills to save everyone” and “Christ died for the world” is not enough to tell you hell cannot be the final state, then listen to the remarkable difference between Jesus and those Pharisees and Essenes!

    • admin December 6, 2011 at 8:57 am

      It is difficult for people to see the concepts you are explaining when they haven’t exposed themselves to the secular writings familiar to speakers of Koine Greek, including Jesus and the disciples. The scripture writers, and more importantly, Jesus, chose their words differently than the religious leaders of their day. Good comment, Trolando.

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 1:43 am

      Trolando: the sinner converts and changes, finally. Dreams, there is NO support for post physical death conversion in the Holy Bible. 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20 is a futile attempt requiring human reasoning and faulty interpretation. Since Jesus said in Luke 16: 31 If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Yet you all think it would work with these folks? Why ever would you think success if it weren’t from an evil heart of unbelief? Jesus did rise from the dead, but the whole earth didn’t believe Him. You see, you cannot even believe Luke 16: 19 – 31 is literally real fact and history. You all are unbelievers of the broad way being lead to destruction. Your insistence upon the non-literal is that which hinders you from receiving eternal life in the here and now. As Jesus said, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” {Matthew 23: 24} Know your are called blind guides. I say you are lost sinners in need of receiving the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for currently He says to you, “then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” {Matthew 7: 23}

      Your attempted use of 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20 is contradicted by Luke 16: 31. Since 16: 31 is true, your interpretation of 3: 18 – 20 is absolutely false and you are found out to be corrupt liars having your part in the Lake of Fire without remedy. {Revelation 21: 8} all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

      • Trolando December 7, 2011 at 9:07 am

        Now this is getting interesting, Lanny.

        You did not respond to what I wrote about Jesus himself calling the punishment a “kolasin aionion” instead of what the religious teachers taught, a “timorion aidion”. What the religious teachers taught was clearly a punishment forever without reformative purposes. What Jesus taught was a completely different thing. Alice said this may not be obvious to someone who doesn’t know Greek, I’m not sure if you do, but if you do you can find out for yourself. Now obviously you could say Jesus did not mean “kolasin aionion” but He really meant “timorion aidion” but you wouldn’t say that because that would be against your principles, right?

        I didn’t mention 1 Peter 3 at all, by the way. I never studied that chapter so I can’t say much about it. Luke 16 is a different story.

        So Lanny, you would obviously say that Luke 16:26 is a true fact. If not, then I am misrepresenting you, but based on what you write about “literal” and “real fact and history” I think you would. Do you then think it will be normal in heaven to talk to people burning in a fire? And that we’ll be carried up by angels when we die, to Abraham’s bosom? It’s a PARABLE. Jesus is making a point here, and it’s not about what the afterlife is like. He’s using imagery familiar to the people and turning the world upside down doing so, because the religious teachers would have the rich man in paradise and the poor in the fire.

        What’s funny, is that I read this book from one guy Rob Bell the other day, I don’t know if you know him, maybe you do. Anyway, there was this picture in the book, a very nice picture of a cross over a deep chasm of fire. Luke 16,26, assuming it is a literal and true story, obviously happened before Jesus died on the cross. I think you would find that this deep chasm that couldn’t be overcome now features a very nice cross, which is Christ, allowing those in hell to be saved through grace, through faith. Because that is what the fire is for.

        I did enjoy your comment “you are found out to be corrupt liars having your part in the Lake of Fire without remedy”. I like how some christians will immediately refer you to hell whenever you quote the bibles in ways they don’t like, even if they know nothing more of you than just one comment on a weblog. Even Paul did not go so far in 1 Korinthians 5. You know, I’m looking forward to a warm and cozy fire, because where I live, the weather today is wet and cold. Brrr.

        • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 5:23 am

          Trolando,
          ἀΐδιος is related to the adverb ἀεί
          permanence, and unchangeableness (everlasting)
          ἀΐδιος is used only two times in the New Testament
          Romans 1: 20 his eternal power and Godhead ἀΐδιος αὐτοῦ δύναμις καὶ θειότης
          Jude 6 in everlasting chains δεσμοῖς ἀϊδίοις
          Jude 6 obviously reflects a beginning, but unchangeable.
          Romans 1: 20 reflects no beginning and permanence.

          αἰώνιος is related to αἰών reflecting a time with a beginning and an end; therefore αἰώνιος when used as eternal reflects the absence of an end; and in relation to God neither a beginning nor an end. Since both words share the same usage in this regard they are synonyms and may be used interchangeably without mutilating their meanings. Again in summary ἀΐδιος => unchanging; αἰώνιος => unending. That is the significant difference in their meaning of eternal.

          εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον Matthew 25: 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

          κολαζομένους {κολάζω} a the Passive Voice Participle in 2 Peter 2: 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

          τιμωρέω {irrelevant to Biblical discussion of eternal punishment since it is not so used}

          So for a single use of κόλασιν αἰώνιον and only one other verse, Trolando, you think it correct to believe everlasting punishment is remedial and only temporary denying all the rest of Scripture? That’s totally nearsighted when you can apply another meaning consistent with all of Scripture as well as its adjective αἰώνιον eternal.

          Trolando, yes, Luke 16:26 is a true fact, because whether or not it is a parable Jesus adds factual credibility to every detail of it by not specifying any part of it as the Jew’s tradition or a man made fable. That credibility teaches us facts about life after death regardless of whether or not it is the point of His discourse. Take note that Lazarus does not speak. What he sees and hears is not specified. The conversation is only between the formerly rich man and Abraham. Why it is so is also not specified. Your question is interesting because God superintends the Lake of Fire residents in person, although to them He is not there; and His saints are always in His presence. However His saints will never be omnipresent as He is, but will be about their Father’s business in various locales in the new heaven and the new earth. The Lake of Fire is NOT in the new heaven and the new earth; it is totally elsewhere in empty space. The entirely different scenes between Luke 16 and the Revelation 19 – 22 is accountable by hell being cast into the Lake of Fire.

          Carried by angels may perhaps be still true, but no longer into “Abraham’s Bosom” but rather into the very presence of Christ as per 2 Corinthians 5: 1 – 8 with the possible change having been made as per Ephesians 4: 8 “when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” as a possible allusion to moving the Old Testament saints from “Abraham’s Bosom” to the very presence of Christ. That moving part is vague because I don’t think it is clearly specified as such; nevertheless the destination of church saints is clearly not “Abraham’s Bosom” especially due the Jewish nature of it and the Holy Spirit’s inspired 2 Corinthians 5: 1 – 8 statement.

          What the point of His Luke 16: 19 -31 discourse is depends on the context and you should read verse 18 “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” You see He was tell those wife coveting Pharisees that they were about to burn in hell for marrying a woman before her divorced husband was dead and before their divorced spouse was dead. They were double wammied adulterers. I think that’s a better point that yours. Yours is just a hypothetical as mine, so lets agree it is about the after life teaching us that faith in God’s Scriptures make all the difference in destinies.

          I can gather enough from this blog site of Alice’s to know a little something about Rob Bell’s heresy as she critiques those better men that expose his error. The cross over a deep chasm isn’t meant to save those already in hell beneath, but those above on the earth before physical death, so that they can past across it as a bridge from death to life. I haven’t seen the picture in your context, but I have seen many like it and I am surprised you either did not understand it or you’re deliberately perverting it for agrumentation sake which is permissible if you’re serious. By your warm and cozy fire comment you destroy your credibility, my dear man; and cause me pause to post this.

          • Trolando December 10, 2011 at 7:18 am

            You are of course completely correct that my “warm and cozy fire” comment is rather cynical. It was a response to your arrogance. You destroyed your own credibility when the first thing you did was refer me to hell.

            However, your reply to my second reply seems a bit more intelligent. At least you know some Greek and reply slightly to what I wrote.

            I’m skipping the “aionios” discussion, it’s not that I can’t handle it, but there is more than enough discussion about that already. The word simply does not mean “forever”, but I bet we would spend eternity bickering about it.

            I would not say that Luke 16 is about “the afterlife” teaching us anything, but Jesus teaching us things using a PARABLE to make it clear. I would like to quote Alistair W. Donaldson (“the last days of dispensationalism, page 21): (Begin Quotation) An understanding based on a strict literalism often caused Jesus to correct and occasionally to rebuke his hearers for their ineability to hear what he had really said. In Matthew 16:6 Jesus said to his disciples, “Watch out, and beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Taking Jesus literally, the disciples began to discuss the fact that they had no bread with them. Jesus responded to this by saying, “You of little faith, why are you talking about having no bread?” He then asks, “How could you fail to perceive that I was not speaking about bread?” It appears that Jesus did not intend his words be understood with strict literalism – in their normal everyday usage meaning – and he seems surprised that the disciples had done so. (End Quotation)

            You didn’t respond to the point that Jesus used the word kolasis instead of timoria. I already explained that kolasis is a different kind of punishment than timoria, and that timoria is the punishment of the traditional hell, while kolasis is the remedial type of punishment. And indeed 2 Peter 2:9 can also be used to suggest that the New Testament does directly teach a reformative punishment.

            You wrote “you think it correct to believe everlasting punishment is remedial and only temporary denying all the rest of Scripture?” I think that is interesting. First, it does not DENY the rest of Scripture, as there is no other way to prove that hell is final than using the aionios texts. Second, to believe the punishment is remedial CONFIRMS the rest of Scripture, such as MANY texts that state that God wants to save all, that Christ came to save the world, etc. The suggestion that “aionios” means “forever” is the ONLY THING you have to “prove” eternal torment from the bible.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

            Trolando, 2 Peter 2: 9 is about holding sinners for judgment and does not specify eternal punishment although it is warranted. Again interpret according to the rest of Scripture as punitive and eternal torment. Just like Mary and the rest of “them” you cannot see correctly for the color of the glasses you see through and your emotions. The “aionios” discussion is irrelevant since eternal punishment is provable by texts not even using that word.

            Parables were not FOR teaching, but for hiding truth from most hearers. {Matthew 13: 10 – 17} and the disciples were glad when He stopped the parables and spoke plainly.

            I found no use of timoria in the Bible as I wrote τιμωρέω {irrelevant to Biblical discussion of eternal punishment since it is not so used}

            You prove nothing except that you try by twisting words to your own destruction {2 Peter 3: 16} some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction

            Since you cannot believe every word as per Matthew 4: 4 and twist them unto your own destruction, the obvious conclusion is that your are a hell bound sinner destined to burn eternally. Face it and flee to Jesus instead. Now is the time to prepare to meet God; nobody can after death, it is too late then.

            • Trolando December 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

              So everyone who even disagrees slightly with your interpretation of the bible, for example regarding women wearing hats in church (or not wearing hats, depending on what you believe of Paul’s writings), will go straight to hell. Thanks for clearing that up. If it is as you say, then 99% of christians will go to hell, because there is always something to disagree on.

              Indeed, timoria is not in the bible! Well seen. Now we happen to know for certain (read “Josephus” en “Philo”) that timoria is what the Pharisees and Essenes called the punishment and we also know for certain the distinction between timoria and kolasis. However, you TWIST the meaning of kolasis. If what you believe is true, then Jesus would have said timoria and 2 Peter 2 would have been a different word for punishing as well (I think it was “timoreo”).

              Anyway, go on and prove eternal torment without using texts with “aionios”. Luke 16 does not convince me, since it is a parable. Rev 14/20 depend on the meaning of “eis aiwnas twn aiwnwn” (until the ages of ages), 2 Tess 1:9 depends on aionios and employs olethros (see 1 Cor 5:5 to see how olethros is actually a good thing – destruction of the flesh so the soul will be saved) and Matt 25:46 is what we discussed earlier.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

            without “aionios”: Try their worm dieth not Mark 9: 44, 46, 48

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 6:06 pm

            Maggots, Trolando, maggots; God has an infinite supply of maggots to wiggle inside and eat the dying flesh of all the trashy people in the Lake of Fire who never can die. {Mark 9}

            Did you also notice in Luke 16 that the formerly rich man never asks how to exit hell, I mean, Jesus never supplies any hope of escape, no hope of pardon based on His shed blood? The Revelation 19 – 22 also never details any hope of escape either, Trolando, not even chapter 14.

            Wiggling maggots are going to eat you for all of eternity, Trolando, so repent of your wicked doctrine ASAP before it is too late. Physical death can come suddenly to you, you don’t know if or when. Better to settle up with God NOW while you have a chance.

            • admin December 11, 2011 at 1:07 am

              That’s really gross.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 1:38 am

            Sure is, and worse yet maggots turn into flies to get all over their bodies, their faces will be covered with flies, in their eyes, ears, nose and mouth. There’ll be flies also trying to get into other body openings as well where waste usually exits. Arm pits and fat folds will also be like spots. Flies lay eggs that become maggots that chew their way into the body’s interior, and the cycle goes on and on; because the body also replenishs its lost tissue.

            their worm dieth not Mark 9: 44, 46, 48

            • Trolando December 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm

              Very colorful, Larry. You know, the other day I read that maggots are very useful to help patients recovering from severe burn wounds. They call it maggot therapy. Very helpful when being burned alive. I would suggest you go google it since you’re so interested in the details. Don’t you think it’s convenient that there will be both a fire and a means to recover from serious burn wounds at the same place?

              You even made the whole thing more colorful, with your little excursion with the flies. Now obviously regarding the “worm that doesn’t die” and the “fire that can’t be extinguished”, we could suggest that it’s colorful language and doesn’t actually tell us anything about the Real Hell (TM). But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume it does.

              Then, does it say anything about the endlessness of the condition? Does it tell us anything about whether or not it is possible to get out of the fire? No, it doesn’t. It merely tells us that the fire can’t be interrupted, that worms will keep gnawing. In the ancient Greek works, we read about a ship burning with a fire that can’t be extinguished, the exact same words. Does it still burn? Of course not. It merely meant that no human was able to stop the fire from burning. Compare it to the fire of a silversmith: the silver being purified cannot halt the fire, but the silversmith can and will pull the silver out of the fire when it has become pure.

            • Trolando December 11, 2011 at 2:29 pm

              Oops, typo. Of course I didn’t mean to misspell your name.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

            Trolando, I reference the worms specifically to avoid your fire excuse. The worms are particular to the individual being eaten, always being eaten by worms should be easily understood. If they escaped the constant decaying of their body, the worms they had hosted would die for lack of food. That is the endless nature of that statement. The fire is started by God, it is God’s fire, so why would you think God’s fire could be extinguished by any man? God said it is not quenched and that is exactly what He means, just like it is His worms and His worms will not ever have reason to die.

            You really amaze me how with something so simple you strain out a gnat and swallow a whole camel. That’s what finding an ancient Greek story is. The heavens and the earth are GONE, dissolved, when they are thrown into the Lake of Fire. The fire and the worms are God’s special creation for this particular purpose, but you never thought of that, did you. Think, man, think. If you were thinking, I’d expect questions regarding the need of their bodies for food and water, especially water to sustain the reproduction of cells to replace what the worms ate.

            • Trolando December 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm

              I could say just the same of you. I did not believe universal restoration until I started thinking. There are very big camels out there to get you Lanny and there are so many very clear texts about God’s will to save everyone.

              “The worms are particular to the individual being eaten” this is not in scripture.
              “always being eaten by worms” it is not written in the bible that you will always be eaten, only that the worm does not die.
              “If they escaped the constant decaying of their body, the worms they had hosted would die for lack of food” Also not true, God could keep them alive if He wanted to.

              If God wanted to save all people, COULD HE DO IT? Yes of course. Free will is no issue, God is patient and able to use punishment for correction, if He wants to. So eventually all people will be saved, if God wants to. If God wants to. If He wills it.

              Does He?
              1 Tim 2:4
              2 Pet 3:9
              Rom 5:18-19
              Col 1:18-20

              Plenty of texts, but mere cannon fodder for your creative interpretations, of course. You wouldn’t DARE understand them literally, of course. That would utterly destroy your position.

              Anyway, you forgot to mention some gruesome way in which I will spend eternity, so I wouldn’t know why I should continue replying to you. To be honest, I was just keeping the discussion alive to mock your hilarious statements. If you were truly interested in universal salvation, you would not approach us in this way, and if you were truly interested in our eternal fate, then you wouldn’t accompany your “argumentation” with silly elaborations on what hell looks like. You are only preaching a “gospel” of FEAR. If you want to find a nice new person to smack dirt at, go to the tentmaker forum or to the evangelical universalist forum for plenty of “fresh meat” to set ablaze and infest with maggots. Bye!

            • Trolando December 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm

              Oh, one last “post scriptum”. Did you know you’re the very first person ever that made me write cynical replies to hell threats? Congrats!
              (One thing kept puzzling me. Do you have problems with the word ‘anus’? Try saying it aloud, just to practice the word. You went through SO MUCH TROUBLE to describe it!)

              • admin December 11, 2011 at 9:25 pm

                LOL just say it! ANUS! A-N-U-S!

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm

            Trolando, the Holy Bible still ends its final revelation with a populated Lake of Fire without remedy. Without remedy the Revelation ends for all liars. There is nothing said about an escape from the Lake of Fire in the Revelation from the beginning of the subject to the end of the Revelation. It is just NOT in the script.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm

            It is God’s script and He ends it with the Lake of Fire having NO fire escape. That’s God’s way of ending His script for humanity and evil angels. God’s eternal trash bin where He puts all His moral trash. He has forewarned us. Pay attention everyone.

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 6, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    First fruit 8 times only in NT. Twice it is used of Achaia, Romans 16: 5 & 1 Corinthians 16: 15; once of the 144,000, Revelation 14: 4; once of the Holy Spirit, Romans 8: 23; twice of Christ’s resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15: 20 & 23; once of Israel, Romans 11: 16; and once of the disciples or of the Jewish saints of the Acts 8: 4 dispersion, James 1: 18. Since Paul especially describes the twelve Apostles as a unique group with a unique calling as per 1 Corinthians 4: 9 – 13 “For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. … we are made as the filth of the world, [and are] the offscouring of all things unto this day.” Add to that the obvious difference he claims for their conversions as in Ephesians 1: 12 as those “who first trusted in Christ” it seems quite obvious the harvest’s first fruit is the Apostles and or the Jewish Christians before Acts 13: 46 especially if you “have picked up” on the theme of “to the Jew first and then to the Gentile” in Romans 1 : 16 & 2: 10 seeing that pattern in the Acts, which is the beginning history of the New Covenant in His blood. Are you able to see the Apostolic reluctance to preach the Gospel to any other than the Jews? God had to force the Gospel to the Gentiles by use of Saul of Tarsus and the resultant dispersion; and by the vision to Peter and Cornelius’ request. Even Paul’s great evangelistic fervor for his countrymen took an abrupt change as he states in Acts 13: 46.

    It is quite elementary,dear Alice: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Be observant of the Holy Bible. Don’t you see that as a literalist I have a Biblical advantage over you? You and Mary are in quite a state of flux over so many things and it is pitiful, because you could avoid so much confusion if you’d only believe the Holy Bible word for word as Jesus said it was necessary to do: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4: 4

    Now what’s this about my having you soul sleep idea all wrong? It is a dreadful thing to make a general claim without supporting it in the blog, even as you essentially said to Trolando. So explain yourself in particular to 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20.

    And since we are discussing 1 Peter 3

    Speaking of Jesus Christ, Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. {1 Peter 3: 22} I remind you again the verbal form translated “being made subject” is a Second Aorist Passive Participle, a past tense viewing action in a point of time, meaning that God has ALREADY made angels and authorities and powers subject unto him when He seated Him in His throne upon His ascension.

    By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Peter wrote the truth. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote the truth. Do you have a problem with that? Is your problem due to a faulty view of 1 Corinthians 15? Must be.

    • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm

      Want more detail on first fruit, Alice? Was the above sufficient or does it need more specific explanation?

    • admin December 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      I am not going to try to respond to so many ideas at once. Ask me about that other stuff later. For now, let me make sure I understand you correctly regarding firstfruit. Are you saying that the firstfruit are EXCLUSIVELY the apostles and/or Jewish Christians, in contrast to the Gentiles who are NOT firstfruit? If so, I disagree. Gentiles can be firstfruit.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

        Yes in its confined symbolic use in the New Testament. It is a term rarely used in the New Testament due to its Jewishness and the obsolescence of the old covenant.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm

        Yes (the first fruit is the apostles and/or Jewish Christians before Acts 13: 46) in its confined symbolic use in the New Testament. It is a term rarely used in the New Testament due to its Jewishness and the obsolescence of the old covenant.

        Gentiles cannot be firist fruit because they are not Jewish and first fruit is a Jewish term. Your “Gentiles can be firstfruit” lacks support. The two references to the believers of Achaia identifies them as to location, that is, Achaia and not as first fruit Christians. The reference is first converts from Achaia. The only real reference of identification or calling believers first fruit is James 1: 18 and that is a Jewish context referencing Jewish Christians. Also please keep the subject straight: we are arguing first fruit of God’s general harvest field, not a limited location as Achaia is. The term is onlyrarely used as I previously stated and is not widely applied to all Christians. Again you take something that is remote and apply it generally so as to support your heresy of post death redemption.

        • admin December 9, 2011 at 11:46 pm

          I can’t be angry with you for not understanding it, for explaining it away. I can’t open your eyes. It makes me sad for you, all the joy you are missing. If you want to explain away the huge, amazing significance of firstfruit, so be it.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 1:45 am

            Alice, you haven’t offered even the slightest support for first fruit being ALL who believe unto salvation in their mortal life, because there isn’t any. I know where you’re going with your idea. The first fruit parallels the few that enter in at the strait gate and the rest of the harvest is the many who go in the broad way leading to destruction. Your idea fails because first fruit is not so used and besides the Revelation ends with a populated Lake of Fire WITHOUT remedy.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 2:00 am

            The field is the world not the Lake of Fire, Alice. Jesus is the One Who said, “The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;” {Matthew 13: 38} You dispute Jesus’ words? I knew you were of your father, the devil. Haven’t I told you so many times before? Why are you trying to corrupt me from the simplicity in Christ? Because you have been!!! The field is the world and {1 Peter 3: 10} “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” Then comes the judgment and the many are cast into the Lake of Fire without a world: it is gone, burnt up, no more field to harvest. The Lake of Fire is not in the world. No way to harvest the world any more. Your Amazing Hope cannot work. The world is gone.

            But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. {2 Corinthians 11: 3}

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Mary, your reason for the symbolic nature of Scripture seems not at all to come from the actual text of the Scriptures, but from your bias of the Holy Bible as a whole. You speculate it isn’t literal and that has become your conviction because by it you are able to explain away anything with which you choose to disagree. You have absolutely no sound reason, no concrete proof, of the symbolic nature of Scripture when you cannot give discrete reasons for each and every word you think is symbolic. Some one with the agenda of discrediting the Scriptures suggested and taught you this. The “norm” is the acceptance at face value what higher authorities tell or write to us. God is a Higher Authority and His Scriptures He expects us to take at face value. You have been taught otherwise and that persuasion is “from the pit of hell itself.” Credible people don’t treat any other document of literature with such a bias. The document, itself, is the authority upon which such a determination is made. A document’s interpretation is dependent upon its text, not an outside bias divorced from the text as seems your methodology. You believe what you want to believe the Bible says, not what it actually says. To believe the Bible you need to allow each and every word to stand on its own merit. You, three, Mary, Alice, Sarah, agrue about words as if they are literal and yet at the same time calling the whole text symbolic. That isn’t rational argumentation at all. Your Bible is fluid and without substance upon which to hold. I am amazed you three don’t realize this along with the rest of your flock of universalists. Your Bible is nothing but hot air.

    If you ever decide to get serious with God, you need to believe every single word of His Biblical text on its own merit. Simply put, believe a literal Bible. Until then you’re all going to hell on a bunch of hot air. Not nice? Well sure that’s not nice to say, but you’ll never have reason to repent unless you know you’re doomed to the Lake of Fire. Not nice? Sure, because I desire your salvation, not your condemnation. Please get with believing God, He is far more trustworthy than human opinion. Stop saying, “Lord, Lord, and get REAL faith. You believe “about” God, you don’t yet believe God. Pray you might.

    • Mary Vanderplas December 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm

      The fact is that Jesus and the biblical writers use symbolic language to talk about the end of the world and the transcendent world – realities that cannot be expressed using ordinary categories of thought and language. The book of Revelation in particular is apocalyptic literature, one of the defining features of which is the use of symbols to express what cannot be expressed in any other way. In the case of the 1 Peter text under discussion, the author is using imagery – likely borrowed from traditional (perhaps apocalyptic) materials – to convey truth that is beyond all human experience. I don’t interpret such texts literally because they were not intended to be interpreted literally.

      If you ever decide to get serious about interpreting the Bible, you will learn to take into account such “minor details” as literary genre, literary context, use of traditional materials, and the theology and purpose of the very human authors. You will learn also to read the Bible through the lens of the character of God revealed in Jesus Christ – i.e., through the lens of God’s love and mercy. You will stop importing into texts your twisted view of God’s purpose, and will start to see in them the incomparably Good News they in fact proclaim.

      It is, indeed, a testimony to the perverseness of your doctrine and the defectiveness of your “method” of interpreting scripture that, in a text which veritably shouts the message of God’s inclusive grace (Acts 15:14), you find a message of exclusion and damnation.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm

        Mary, you are a rule unto yourself without checks and balances in your view of Scripture. You can call anything you want symbolic and when I ask you to identify symbolic words and supply reasons for your determination, you fail to do that. You readily supply your interpretation, but you have no verifiable reason for it although you claim some general human reason. “Literary genre, literary context, use of traditional materials, and the theology and purpose of the very human authors” are all determined by human judgments by which you again reduce the Holy Bible to a work of man rather than God. Don’t you understand that you degrade God’s product of the centuries to something no better than any other man’s writing?

        • Mary Vanderplas December 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

          The fact that I refuse to abandon common sense or to ignore the intent of the speaker/writer in interpreting scripture hardly makes me a “rule unto myself.” That Jesus and the biblical writers use symbols to speak of the future and of the transcendent world of God is beyond dispute. Tell me, in reading 1 Thessalonians 4:16, are we to imagine that Christ’s coming at the end of history will be announced by God blowing a big horn? In your effort to charge me with playing fast and loose with the biblical text, you end up convicting yourself. Exactly what “verifiable reason” do you have for claiming that Acts 15:14 is about “the intimacy of a Husband calling his bride out from her mother’s family…leaving or forsaking all others”? What indication does Luke give that he expects his readers to see here a symbolic meaning about the exclusiveness of the divine purpose and action? The message Luke proclaims is in plain language and is, in fact, exactly the opposite: that in his mercy God has acted to include those who were formerly excluded.

          “God’s product of the centuries” is a product of both human and divine action. And it is an interpreted book, which means that its meaning is discovered through careful study and thought that takes into account its nature as both a divine and a human book. Not to recognize this is surely to misinterpret it, thereby undermining its value for our lives.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2011 at 3:06 am

            announced by God blowing a big horn? Not just imagine, but believe it to be literally a long awaited actual event. Every true believer will hear that trumpet sound. And it is not at the end of history; it is just at the end of THIS age, the age of the church Jesus started building at the Acts 2 Day of Pentecost. Those “left behind” will next experience the Tribulation described in the Revelation chapters six through nineteen if they survive it. Then comes Armegeddon, after which Christ reigns over the whole earth from His throne in Jerusalem for a thousand literal years while Satan is bound in the abyss. After which Satan is losed a small season to gather unbelievers against God to wage his final war only to be immediated devoured by literal fire from God. Now that is the end of the history of this earth {in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up} which opens to the Great White Throne Judgment of unbelievers and the only fate that can be theirs, being cast into the Lake of Fire without remedy. Both the Great White Throne and the Lake of Fire stand in empty space as does all of unbelieving humanity who are waiting to be individually judged.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

            Jesus and the biblical writers directed by the Holy Spirit only sometimes used symbols to speak of the future and of the transcendent world of God when speaking to the real people of God. What was the purpose of parables? Is wasn’t to help people to understand what Jesus taught. In fact, it was to make it impossible, I say again to make it impossible, for those people to understand His message. Jesus’ disciple were glad when He stopped the parables and taught them plainly. You insist on parables and symbols because you still don’t really want to understand Jesus’ message and that’s what really is beyond dispute.

            Why speakest thou unto them in parables? … to them it is not given {to know the mysteries} … lest at any time they should see … and should understand … and should be converted, and I should heal them. {Matthew 13: 10 – 15} {Isaiah 6: 10 & Ezekiel 12: 2}

            “The message Luke proclaims is in plain language and” it includes ONLY those “upon whom my name is called” as per verse 17; all others are excluded. “To take out of them” verse 14 does NOT mean to take all of them, but the taking of just a few of them: that is plain language which I don’t understand why you refuse such simplicity. The rest are left behind to perish in hell. That’s plain language, so why are you arguing “no”? Your plain language doesn’t even mean plain language and that’s why you are a rule unto yourself.

            Regarding God’s production of the ages, namely, that Holy Bible, how much Bible study is required of a little child before he is able to believe God’s word? Doesn’t you view discredit Jesus’ statement in Luke 18: 17 “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein”?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 10, 2011 at 5:44 am

            By interpreting the pictorial language literally – and by mining the pictures for “information” to use in constructing a precise chronology, an “end-times calendar” – you miss and distort the messages these pictures of the end were intended to communicate.

            The purpose of Jesus’ parables is not the issue here. The issue is the symbolic language Jesus and the biblical writers use to talk about the end of history and the heavenly world – language that expressed what could not be expressed using ordinary language. This language was meant to communicate the divine message to the people of God.

            Acts 15:14 is about the glorious good news of God acting to include the Gentiles in his saving plan. “A people for his name” now includes uncircumcised Gentiles. That is the message. Since this was the beginning of the mission to the Gentiles, it stands to reason that Luke would say that God “first looked favorably…to take from among them.” The point isn’t that God intended to take only some, leaving the others behind for damnation. You bring to the text your own preconceived ideas about God choosing beforehand to damn or to “leave behind” some, making unwarranted inferences to support your ideas. This text says plainly that God chose to include the Gentiles in his plan. That is all it says. The “people of God” is an inclusive community representing and revealing God’s love for all.

            The issue isn’t believing or disbelieving God’s word. It’s interpreting the biblical text, which requires study and reflection. We are called to love God with our whole being, including our minds. Childlike trust in our heavenly Parent doesn’t preclude the use of our minds to discern the meaning of biblical texts.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 12:44 pm

            Mary, you dismiss whatever YOU think is not the point with everything contained. The point IS that God chose some and the other side of the coin is that the rest He did NOT choose and since the destiny of the unchosen is destruction, the result of choosing only some cannot be ignored on those not chosen. Face reality, Mary.

            “Mining” is not at all necessary when the chronology is right on the surface for all to see: it is not even strip mining. It is just reading the plain language, something you view doesn’t allow, as I said even plain language to you isn’t plain even when you call it plain.

            If you loved God you would believe His every word instead of excusing your unbelief by interpretation.

            Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. {Matthew 4: 4}

          • Mary Vanderplas December 11, 2011 at 5:57 am

            The point that James is making here (verses 13ff.) – and the message that Luke is communicating in reporting this watershed event in the life of the early church – is that the door has now been opened for the Gentiles to come in and they are fully accepted by God – i.e., they do not have to become Jews first. Gentile believers are included in the covenant people as they are by God’s grace demonstrated in Jesus Christ. That is the point of this text; and it is unqualified good news. The issue is that you read this text (and every text in the Bible) through the lens of your doctrine – the lens of a vindictive, punitive deity who delights in avenging his wrath against the sinners he hates and has chosen for destruction. And you read into this text in Acts 15 what most certainly neither James nor Luke intended to communicate.

            The language that John and the other biblical writers use to speak of the end is non-literal, pictorial, non-objectifying language. You miss and distort the theological messages the pictures are intended to convey by interpreting them literally and using them to construct a precise chronology of end-time events. Your assertion that “the chronology is right on the surface” is ridiculous. The truth is that it must be constructed by combining references from different scenes and making unwarranted inferences in order to achieve a “logically consistent” program. To talk as though it is perfectly plain is sheer idiocy.

            Your arrogance and blindness in asserting that “His every word” as interpreted by you is The Truth defy belief.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 11:18 pm

            Mary, (12/11/11 5:57 am) try this passage of Holy Writ:

            And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. {Revelation 10: 9 & 10}

            Did the Apostle John literally go to the angel?
            Did John speak literal words to the angel?
            Did John literally tell the angel to give him the book?
            Did the angel literally tell John to take the book?
            Did the angel want John to literally eat the book up?
            Did the angel tell John that the literal result of eating the book?
            Did the angel say the taste would be literally sweet?
            Did the angel say it would nevertheless upset his stomach?
            Did John literally follow the angel’s instructions?
            Did John get the literal results the angel described?

            What do your answers prove about intended meanings?

          • Mary Vanderplas December 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

            So, what are you trying to prove? Is your point that the content of this text proves that John intended it to be taken literally? My answers to your questions are: No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. The text is part of a vision that the prophet John was given, a vision in which he becomes a character. In reporting this vision, he draws on imagery from Ezekiel 2:8-3:3. John sees himself as a prophet in the tradition of Ezekiel. As such, he is called to “devour” the book that contains the plan of God for the world. The message of God is bittersweet; it is a message of judgment and salvation. This picture thus conveys a message about the prophetic ministry of the church before the coming of the end – a ministry which is satisfying as well as often unsettling.

            I’m done discussing this subject. It’s obvious that you and I have radically different views about how to interpret apocalyptic texts. I have nothing more to say about this.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

            Mary, John in heaven literally did what he was told to do and was a literal responder and a real part of the scenes he was shown.

            After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. {Revelation 4: 1 & 2}

            God had called him up into heaven for the Revelation He would give him and John literally participated in that revelation, just the same as Paul did as he reported. The same also did Ezekiel in the passage you referenced quoted below. However you need to heed God’s words to Ezekiel yourself, “be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house”, and stop rebelling against God’s individual words, Mary, even as Jesus said in Matthew 4: 4 using the discrete words “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

            I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) {2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 4}

            But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. And when I looked, behold, an hand [was] sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe. Moreover he said unto me, Son of man, eat that thou findest; eat this roll, and go speak unto the house of Israel. So I opened my mouth, and he caused me to eat that roll. And he said unto me, Son of man, cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels with this roll that I give thee. Then did I eat it; and it was in my mouth as honey for sweetness. And he said unto me, Son of man, go, get thee unto the house of Israel, and speak with my words unto them. { Ezekiel 2:8-3:4}

            So TWICE you read the same sort of thing in the Holy Bible and you believe neither one the way God requires you to believe His very words. You are a rebel for sure, Mary, and as such you have no salvation as of yet and are doomed to burn in the Lake of Fire without remedy if you don’t come to God with child-like faith laying hold of His individual words before death leaves you hopeless as it certainly will.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 12, 2011 at 9:10 pm

            I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. {2 Corinthians 12: 2 – 4}

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Ref: 1 Peter 3: 18 – 20

    Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) {Ephesians 4: 8 – 10}

    Why don’t you argue that having lead the captives out of the prison Jesus’ preaching was 100% successful? Why aren’t these two passages of Scripture harmonious? After all, aren’t captives in prison? Doesn’t Jesus get what He wants?

  • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 2:05 am

    Hey, Alice, why isn’t Trolando’s December 7, 2011 at 9:07 am post listed in the recent comments as soon as it appears?

    • admin December 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

      I have no idea. Maybe it has something to do with the admin default that I approve comments from anyone who has never commented before? After the initial approval, then I don’t need to approve the comments unless they have links in them. It’s a spam protection thing. I delete 15-20 spam comments a day, and every once in a while I inadvertently delete a non-spam comment, realize what I’ve done, and approve it later. Anyway, I’m not sure why his comment is delayed, but it is not intentional.

      • Lanny A. Eichert December 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

        It is possible I might have missed it and it was there. Is there a way of increasing the length of the list of recent comments without endangering other content?

        • admin December 11, 2011 at 1:09 am

          I don’t really understand what “increasing the length of the list of recent comments” means. Can’t people comment as much as they want?

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 2:07 am

            Yes, comments are not limited by the length of the Recent Comments list, but sometimes when numerous comments are posted fast and furious they becomes so numerous that yesterday’s or even today’s comments roll off the bottom of the list. The only way to find them is by scanning all the posts of all the active articles. I seem to have missed Trolando’s December 7, 2011 at 9:07am post by almost three days. Being my fault, I’ll just have to be more aware.

            • admin December 11, 2011 at 10:10 am

              You wouldn’t happen to know how I could fix it, would you? I’m kind of on autopilot with the technical aspects of blogging. I use a free preset theme that has all the cosmetic and technical stuff set up already. I can make changes, but I usually don’t know exactly how to go about it.

          • Lanny A. Eichert December 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm

            Alice, I’m computor illiterate. I just left Windows 95 just a year or two ago for XP because I was forced to have a browser compatible with the bank and credit cards. Debbie had already been into Vista and had left me in the dust. I’m still almost ancient history. Sorry. I only can suggest maybe a better feature, not how to do it.

            • admin December 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm

              Oh well. I’ll figure it out eventually. In the meantime, you will have to make do with the current set-up. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

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