by Mike Ratliff
24 “And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (Isaiah 66:24 ESV)
Those who espouse Christian Universalism as the true model of God’s Redemption plan for man, must ignore most of Sacred Scripture as well as misinterpret their so-called “proof texts” in order to make their suppositions. The Bible makes it very clear that all Universalist teachings are heretical.
Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post. Currently, the “visible Church” is being inundated with a form of Universalism that is quite different from the old Christian liberal teachings that we see in Unitarianism. This new form is called “Christian Universalism,” which claims to be evangelical. However, it teaches that all people who die, regardless of their religious believes or lack thereof, will be cleansed and cleaned up by God then will enter into paradise or heaven where Jesus is. What does the Bible teach us about the eternal destiny of those who die in their sins, which is another way of saying that they died in their rebellion against God?
Carefully read the passage I placed at the top of this post, Isaiah 66:24. What does it tell us? Who is it whose worm does not die nor is their fire quenched? It is those who have rebelled against God. This would be all those who have not believed the Gospel and repented. They have remained in their sins because they have clung to their sins and rejected God as their Sovereign Lord. Our Lord Jesus quoted this passage in Mark 9.
42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. 43 And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, 48 ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched. ’ 49 For everyone will be salted with fire. 50 Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” (Mark 9:42-50 ESV)
The Greek word used here translated as “hell” is γέεννα or geenna. This word describes the Valley of Hinnom. It was the place of the city dump for Jerusalem and spiritually represented the place or state of the lost and condemned. The reason γέεννα was used to describe “hell” is that as the city garbage dump there were fires constantly burning there. This gave the hearer or reader a graphic image of the nature of eternal torment. The punishment of hell lasts for eternity and it is clearly taught throughout both the Old Testament and New Testament.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2 ESV)
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41 ESV)
5 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— 6 since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ESV)
9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name. (Revelation 14:9-11 ESV)
These 4 passages are just a sampling. Our Lord spoke more of hell than He did of Heaven. Hell is always spoken of as being eternal. There is no end to it. Those in it are there forever. That is terrifying my brethren. No one would want anyone else to go there. No, we must pray for all those we know who do not know Jesus as Lord and Saviour to hear the Gospel, repent, and believe thereby receiving eternal life and justification by our Lord God. This is the only way of escape from God’s Wrath. Look again at Isaiah 66:24. This is a terrifying picture of unending judgment. My brethren, the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is good news to those who obey it, but it is very bad news to those who remain in rebellion. Many believe that God’s judgment is yet future and the Day of the Lord is for the time at the end. The Day of the Lord began when John the Baptist proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand and it became manifest in the world as our Lord Jesus won the victory at the Cross. Each believer is part of our Lord’s Kingdom. When a person rejects the Gospel, they are incurring judgment upon themselves. On the other hand, when a believer is saved they receive righteous judgment in their justification as the Father declares them righteous.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 ESV)
The first death is the passing from physical life unto physical death. However, there is a second death. The second death is the lake of fire. Who is thrown into it? All those whose name was not found written in the book of life is cast into the lake of fire. Those whose names are in the book of life cannot be hurt by the second death.
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty ( but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’ (Revelation 2:8-11 ESV)
Who is not hurt by the second death? We know that those whose names are found in the book of life will not be thrown into the lake of fire. Now we see another attribute of those whose names are in the book of life. What is it? They conquer. This is the Greek word νικάω or nikaō. It literally means, “to get the victory.” Some Bible versions translate this as “overcome.” It carries with it the idea of subduing an enemy or opponent. I used to run in Nike shoes. The company got that name from this Greek word because it means “victory.” In the context of Revelation 2:8-11 it describes Christians persevering or remaining faithful to the end, even if they are killed or persecuted for their faith. This is what marks a genuine Christian. Those who remain faithful even unto death are those who conquer or overcome and they will not be hurt by the second death because their names are written in the book of life. They are not written in the book because they overcome, but overcome because they are regenerate Christians who have the Holy Spirit and God preserves them to the end.
My brethren, our Lord also said that the way unto eternal life is narrow and hard to find. In fact, few actually find it.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14 ESV)
How popular with men are the teachings of those who espouse Christian Universalism? You know this is perceived as good news because then it does not matter how one lives or what one believes because all will end up in the same place in eternity. However, our Lord says that the wide and easy way leads to destruction (the lake of fire, the second death) while the narrow gate, which is hard, leads to life (eternity with the Saviour in the New Heaven and New Earth), but few will find it.
My brethren, do not listen to those who preach this “other gospel” that is nothing more than the manifestation of the doctrines of demons, which says that all it takes to have eternal life with Jesus is to simply be human. No, this is a lie from our enemy and it is also why Christians must learn the truth. They must get into the Bible and get God’s truth into them so that these lies can be seen for what they are and dealt with Biblically.
Soli Deo Gloria!