Lee Salisbury writes in his essay (Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?), “The doctrine of ‘eternal punishment’ contradicts the plain statements of scripture.” Mr. Salisbury declares that a man who “…professes it (eternal punishment) is to take ‘away from all the words of the book.’” As a reminder of the seriousness of teaching the truth recall these verses.
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
The consequences for misapplying scripture and creating doctrines not intended to be gleaned from scripture is dire. If only by chance the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is not true, then all those preaching it run the risk of losing their share “in the tree of life and in the holy city….”
If the doctrine of “eternal punishment” is even possibly untrue, it should not be taught. It seems to me a person dedicated to presenting the Gospel of Christ Jesus to others would want to tell only the Truth; that is the Truth that is not doubted.
It is beyond doubt that Christ Jesus is the Gospel of Salvation. He is the Son of God. He is the sacrifice for all mankind. Scriptures cannot be disputed in this regard. There are contradictions to this fact supplied by circles of other religions or circles of atheists, but to the Christian there are no contradictions. God is love. His Son was obedient to His Father’s command. His blood was shed. His body was tortured. His Son gave His life. He resurrected His Son from the grave. He, God Almighty, declares that His Son’s sacrifice is the atonement of all sins.
The traditions of men obfuscate the power of God’s love and the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice to save all. The orthodoxy contradicts God’s all consuming love with a kind of wrath reserved for the fiercest of all kinds of torments.
This essay written by Lee Salisbury demonstrates the contradictions to God’s Holy Word supplied by the orthodoxy concerning eternal conscious torment. We have considered contradictions to the plain meaning of scripture regarding all men, every man, all families, and all flesh. Let’s look now at the contradictions of the plain meaning of scripture regarding “all things.”
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
This is the salvation Gospel of Christ. In Christ Jesus we have redemption. Because His blood was shed for the purpose of atoning for the sins of the world we can claim salvation. His grace is abundant and it is poured out on all.
The orthodoxy limits God’s grace; diminishes the scope of Christ’s sacrifice. They will tell us that Christ died not for all, but only for a few. It just happens their doctrine declares they are among that few.
The mystery is now known. God’s plan from the beginning was to make all things righteous through Christ Jesus. It is Christ Jesus Who is obedient to the point of death. Those of us in Christendom who are blessed to see this mystery in its glory realize Christ’s sacrifice reconciles us to His Father; to our Father in heaven.
Is scripture leading us astray or is the orthodoxy? Did Christ die that terrible death to “unite all things” or just to unite some things? Why add the contradiction?
It is God’s will that “all things unite with Him.” Because we believe that is what brings glory. Are “we” just a few or are “we” all things?
For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Notice Paul declares himself to be a minister of the Gospel of Christ. He never says a word about eternal conscious torment. The orthodoxy has to manufacture that doctrine from thinly veiled assumptions.
God is Christ Jesus. Scripture records here that “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” What was the purpose of that? “To reconcile to Himself all things.” The Father in Christ Jesus. The Father’s plan fulfilled in Christ Jesus. “All things” are reconciled to the Father through Christ Jesus. These verses cannot be contradicted, nevertheless the orthodoxy does strive to contradict them.
We, because of the fallen state of the world, sin. None of us is ever free of sin. We live sin or we feel sin or we think sin. Sin is all around us, but by virtue of these scriptures we can say with confidence we are “reconciled in His body of flesh by His death.” The degree of our sin does not change the fact that “by His death” we will be given to the Father “holy and blameless.” We, all of us, “all things” will be “above reproach before” the Father. Why? Because Christ Jesus reconciles all things.
We must also “…continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven….” Who can claim they have been every moment of every day “stable and steadfast?” I dare say, none. Who among us has not fallen away “…from the hope of the gospel that…” we heard? I dare say “all things” fall short.
The orthodoxy contradicts the plain meaning of scripture. They declare that not “all things” will be reconciled to God. Only a few things will be deemed righteous, blameless and holy. As it happens their doctrine declares they are righteous, blameless and holy therefore they are not subject to the consequences of the doctrine of eternal conscious torment they teach.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
It does not matter if your theology is historical or futurist. It does not matter if you believe Jesus has already come or if He is coming again. No matter your eschatological theology He is “…making all things new.”
What things? All things! The orthodoxy wants us to believe these verses do not apply to all people, but only to people who agree with them.
If you are a pre-tribulation futurist then you believe you will be caught up to heaven all ready. “All things new” would not apply to you, because you have already been made new. So, too, has the mid-tribulationist believer already been made new. The post-tribulation believer will be among those “all things made new.” Not only the believer, but the rebel, too. “All things will be made new.”
The orthodoxy does not want us to believe “these words are trustworthy and true” on their face. The orthodoxy adds that every person during these “end days” will have already been chosen or has already chosen. All others are not among “all things made new.”
It’s convenient for the orthodoxy’s theology they reserve for themselves the eternal life of pleasure in Christ, but for billions of others they assign eternal conscious torment.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.
Peter, by way of the Holy Spirit of God, healed a man. He was being confronted by a number of Jews. He was challenged by the Pharisees. Peter points out their role in the sacrifice of the Lamb. They turned over the “Author of life” and chose to pardon a murderer.
“Repent!,” Peter says. “Repent.” Why? So “that your sins may be blotted out….” Whose sins? The sins of mankind generally, but certainly the sins of Sanhedrin specifically.
Belief in Christ Jesus is a “time of refreshing.” It is a time for a life of peace. Repent and be at peace. For now the Christ is in heaven, but a time will come when He returns “…for the restoring of all things which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets long ago.”
What was spoken by the prophets that speaks to the restoration of all things? There would be One Who comes to restore all things to the Father. It is critical to know He comes to restore all things not a few, but all things.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
Every person, beginning with Adam, has been “consigned to disobedience.” Is there any one person ever created in the wombs of their mothers who has not been disobedient. Not one!
What is it to be consigned? It is to be formally handed over. It is to be committed by another. In this case God formally gave every created being over to disobedience; that is, to sin. Every person has been committed to sin by God. Why? “…That He may have mercy on all.”
Is the number of “all” consigned a different number of all receiving His mercy? The Concordant Literal Version interprets this first verse thus:
For God locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all.
Does this mean God will be merciful to only a few or to all? It’s a serious question. We should be serious when contemplating it.
At the end of this block of scripture we read “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” Is this number of “all” the same number as all committed to disobedience? It is. Then it must be that He will be merciful to the same number of “all.” That is He “should be merciful to all.”
The orthodoxy has to contradict the plain meaning of scripture to enforce their doctrine of eternal conscious torment. Every person is disobedient and God is sovereign over every thing, but not every person will experience His mercy. The orthodoxy diminishes God’s mercy by claiming only a few are saved from eternal conscious torment.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
The power of this verse, to me, is overwhelming evidence that Christ died on a cross for the sins of all men and that He is “the heir of all things.” He is King over the most pious and King over the worst rebel. He owns us all. To Him God gives all and to the Father does Christ give glory.
The orthodoxy has to say that Christ’s inheritance, the greatest majority of all that He created, will be sent to eternal conscious torment. Not only that, but Christ will reign over that eternal torture. The orthodoxy will not tell their followers that Christ inherits all things that includes a place they call “hell.”
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
If there is an eternal end for the rebellious, then “their end is destruction.” These scriptures make the case for annihilation not eternal conscious torment.
Those who believe in Christ Jesus and who are brought into the family of God certainly have reason to rejoice. He “will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body….” That, indeed, is good news. But, greater than that He has the power “…even to subject all things to Himself.”
Do we want to say that His power to save even the most heinous person ever created cannot be made subject to Christ? If so, then His power is not all powerful. Is He love or is His plan to keep only a few as His people? Does He rule over a Kingdom of all or only a few?
If He can subject all things to Himself is it not reasonable to say He will? The orthodoxy have to stretch the plain meaning of scripture to say He will not. The orthodoxy will not allow that Christ will end the spiritual lives of the disobedient by eternal destruction, rather they go another step to say Christ supervises their eternal torment.
Jesus, Who is the Savior of the whole world, really is not according to the orthodoxy.
1 Corinthians 15:27-28
For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
These are not difficult verses to understand. God has placed everything…all things…under the authority of Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus declared Himself that He does nothing that is not the will of the Father. Christ’s authority is under the Father’s authority. For what purpose? So that “God may be all in all.”
What does it mean “that God may be all in all?” Is he wrathful vengeance in the majority of the world and loving kindness in the rest? Does He love some and hate others to the degree He’ll assign some to blessings in heaven and the others to eternal conscious torment?
John Calvin has this to say about the orthodoxy’s view of vs 28:
There would, however, be nothing out of place in understanding it as referring exclusively to believers, in whom God has now begun his kingdom, and will then perfect it, and in such a way that they shall cleave to him wholly. Both meanings sufficiently refute of themselves the wicked frenzies of some who bring forward this passage in proof of them. Some imagine, that God will be all in all in this respect, that all things will vanish and dissolve into nothing. Paul’s words, however, mean nothing but this, that all things will be brought back to God, as their alone beginning and end, that they may be closely bound to him. Others infer from this that the Devil and all the wicked will be saved — as if God would not altogether be better known in the Devil’s destruction, than if he were to associate the Devil with himself, and make him one with himself. We see then, how impudently madmen of this sort wrest this statement of Paul for maintaining their blasphemies.
Dr. Calvin would have the orthodoxy believe that “all in all” is reserved only for believers. Unbelievers are bound to eternal conscious torment. Unbelievers will never experience the mercy of God. They won’t feel the pressure of His love. They will die unrepentant and reap the sorrow they deserve.
Dr. Calvin goes so far as to equate the thought that “all in all” includes a unity with Satan. Scripture is clear on that point when it declares that angel will be cast into the “lake of fire.” But, Calvin isn’t satisfied that “all in all” includes all the Father’s creation. Those of us who disagree are “impudent madmen.”
To Dr. Calvin’s way of thinking and a strong majority of the orthodoxy God’s power is weak. The sacrifice of Christ was insufficient to save the world. Christ did not really die for the sins of the whole world, but only for souls as enlightened as Dr. Calvin.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.“
The angels sing and the Twenty-four Elders cast their crowns. These words are from the mouths of those Twenty-four. “All things” created by His will. It is His will that all be saved.
The orthodoxy has to interpret “all things” are indeed created by His will, but that not “all things” will be reconciled to Him by His will. They preach that His will is that only some be reconciled. The majority of mankind, according to the orthodoxy, must be eternally, consciously tormented. They have to conclude that God the Father and God the Son purposely created some that are not redeemable.
God puts His Spirit into the lives of every person He creates. Somehow, that Spirit of God can be overwhelmed by the will of those He creates.