Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?: Contradictions In Holy Scripture: Regarding The World

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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.

All of this Gospel of Christ Jesus is verifiable in His Holy Word. There is much, much more regarding Christ like living that is clearly written in God’s Word. Men build doctrines based on their interpretations of His Word. Some doctrines bring glory to God. Others do not. The doctrine of “eternal punishment,” in my humble opinion, does not glorify our Father.

We have examined scriptures the orthodox must contradict to keep their doctrine of eternal conscious torment alive. We encourage all persons to read all scripture and to seek the Spirit of God when it comes to understanding. The orthodoxy has to take upon themselves a serious effort to distort the plain and simple meaning of scripture. They do this to maintain their positions of authority. They teach they are only trying to deliver to the Son that which the Son already has been given.

The doctrine of eternal conscious torment is anathema to the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Eternal conscious torment is indicative of a God Who hates in place of God Who is love.

John 8:12-26
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”

Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?”

Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”

So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?”

He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

So they said to him, “Who are you?”

Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.”

These are amazing verses. They are amazing first in that Jesus declares in terms certain that He “…is the light of the world.” His light is not a light for Jews only. His is a light of the world.

Consider the circumstances of this transaction. Christ Jesus is speaking to the leadership of the Jewish people. The Pharisees are a learned fellowship. They fancy themselves above the masses of Jews living at the time. It is not a paradox today. The orthodoxy fancy themselves above all others. Like the Pharisees at the time of Christ, the orthodoxy today challenge God’s Word.

In this exchange with the Pharisees Christ Jesus tells them they do not see the Light. The Pharisees are of the world. They rest in their flesh. They find comfort in what they believe they know. Christ Jesus tells them they “…will die in their sins.”

The orthodoxy has to construe this to mean the Pharisees, at least those attending this exchange, will die and be placed in their graves. They will die and according to the orthodoxy’s doctrine of eternal conscious torment they will forever suffer in a place the orthodoxy calls hell.

Christ Jesus is the authority preaching to these Pharisees on this day. He says nothing to them about eternal conscious torment. He says only that they will die in their sins.

2 Corinthians 5:14-19

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

This is indeed good news. The Pharisees who denied Christ in the previous verses are reconciled to God through Christ Jesus.

The orthodoxy wants us to believe that only those who believe as they believe are reconciled to God. The orthodoxy has to ignore the plain meaning of scripture to satisfy their doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

“One has died for all.” Christ Jesus’s sacrifice is for the whole world; for the whole of humanity. He did not die only for those who believe in Him, but for all flesh; for the whole world.

There is a particularly wonderful blessing when we come to know Him. When we profess our belief in Him we are then a new creation. The old self dies and a new self is born. It is a self that sees He is love and practices what is seen. “Behold the old has passed away. The new has come.”

There is nothing mentioned here about anyone who refuses to believe being condemned to eternal conscious torment. The orthodoxy has to contradict these scripture verses and declare the old has passed away, the new has come, but only for those who believe as they believe.

Is it hard to believe He died and does not count our sins against us? Even not counting sins of those who rebel against Him?

The orthodoxy has to conclude that Christ did not “reconcile the whole world to himself.” He reconciled only a few. They conveniently believe they are among that few.

John 3:16-21

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

These are likely the most famous verses in all of His Holy Word. Please note the very strong word of The Word. The world is loved. That is all of the world is loved. He creates all the world and He loves His creation.

Note that God did not send His Son to condemn the world. His Son came so as to save it. He was not sent to save some as the orthodoxy professes. He saves all.

What is the judgment? The world loves to live in the darkness. The world wants the darkness so as to keep secrets hidden from the light. The Light exposes the darkness of the world. The evil of men is seen clearly because the Light of Christ shines on all men.

The orthodoxy cannot interpret these verses to mean what is plain and simple. The orthodoxy has to compound the truth with a lie. They have become what is darkness in the world. From these scriptures they start to weave the doctrine of eternal conscious torment.

The men who choose to stay in the darkness are condemned. To what? Jesus does not say any man is ever condemned to eternal conscious torment. In fact the Holy Word of God leads us to believe that every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord to the Glory of the Father.

John 1:28-29

These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Is there any other way to understand this scripture? Jesus is the Lamb of God. He “takes away the sin of the world!” He does not take away sin because a prayer was said. He does not take away sin because of any ritual. He came to take away the sin of the world.

These verses simply understood declare that all sin is a matter of the past. All sin of the world is taken away.

I know this is beginning to sound like a redundant sermon. John the Baptist fulfills the prophecy regarding Christ Jesus by this declaration. “Behold! THE LAMB OF GOD takes away the sin of the world.”

No confession, no conditions, nothing other than the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world.

John 4:42

They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.

These words from the mouths of Samaritans. The Samaritans are a people group particularly disdained by the Jews. After a few days with Christ they come to realize that He is the Savior of the Jews, the Savior of the Samaritans…He is the Savior of the world.”

The orthodoxy cannot let these verses stand alone. They are like the Pharisees of yesteryear. They cannot see Christ as their Savior AND as the Savior of the world. The Pharisees hated Jesus. They did all they could to convince others that Jesus is a criminal and a blasphemer. God is their Savior and only they are saved by God. The rest of mankind is to be tormented in a place called hell forever.

Is that too harsh a statement to make? Not if it is true. The orthodoxy find a way to reserve the Savior for themselves, but find eternal conscious torment to be the outcome for everybody else.

John 12:46-50

I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”

Jesus is not the Judge. He says He is not. He tells us He came to save the world. Not just a few that say a prayer or take communion. Not just some in the western world and a few in Asia. He came “…to save the world.”

Jesus addresses those who refuse to believe. Those folks will be judged “in the last day” by the Word that is spoken. What will that word be? God caused these words to be written. “Every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father.”

The Word of God will judge them.

The plain and simple meaning of these verses do not include a caveat that says those who reject His words or continue in rebellion of Him will be condemned to eternal conscious torment.

Jesus says, “And I know that His commandment is eternal life.” We should all reach out to God and in His Spirit sing praises. “His commandment is eternal life.”

The orthodoxy wills that there are two branches of eternal life. They make a second path to eternal conscious torment that does not exist in scripture. And, they are proud of their theology.

John 17:20-21

Yet not concerning these only am I asking, but also concerning those who are believing in Me through their word, that they may all be one, according as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us, that the world should be believing that Thou dost commission Me.

These verses from the Concordant Literal Version (CLV) are remarkably simple to understand. Jesus speaks these words. He is praying first for the Disciples and then for the world. He prays in submission to the Father. Christ Jesus asks the Father to cause unity with Him in those people who believe because of the testimonies given by the Disciples. He asks let them all, that is those who believe, find ourselves in Him. A common purpose in our hearts to tell the world about Christ being the First Born Son of God.

Moreover, “…that the world should be believing that Thou dost commission Me.” Not just the believers believing more, but he the world believing that Christ is the Savior of the world; that Christ Jesus is their Savior.

The orthodoxy does not believe Christ’s atonement is sufficient for all the world. His atoning work on the cross is sufficient only for those who believe as they believe. The orthodoxy has to challenge and contradict the plain meaning of scripture.

Isaiah 45:22-25
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.‘ “Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”

These verses have been appealed to before. Is it possible to conclude these verses apply only to believers?

God says clearly He will send out a Word. That Word will not return. That Word will cause “…every knee…” to bow and “…every tongue…” to confess God is Sovereign. All persons will commit to Him their being and all persons will be His.

Who are the offspring of Israel? All persons ever created are Israel. We are a people created in His image and made righteous through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus.

The orthodoxy contradicts the simple, plain meaning of scripture. They reserve for themselves the title of Israel’s offspring. They declare they are grafted into the vine and all else is rubbish to be burned. There is indeed a blessing for believing Christ is Savior. But, there is not an eternal conscious torment for those who die in rebellion.

I must take you, dear reader, to Ecclesiastes 12:7.

…And the spirit, it |returns to the One, Elohim, Who gave it. (CLV)

All spirits return to God, Who gave it. Not just the spirits of the orthodoxy, but all spirits.

John 16:31-33

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Jesus is explaining to His Disciples and by His Word in scripture explaining to us what He is to take upon Himself for the sake of the world. His friends, His chosen Disciples will abandon Him. Judas betrays Him and all the others run from Him when confronted by the Temple guard.

He is never alone for the Father is always with Him. In death the Father will be with Him. In life and in His ascension the Father is with Him.

It is going to be a terribly frightening thing to see Him persecuted, prosecuted, convicted and hung on a cross. But, He says, “…take heart….” Do not be afraid. Be of courage. Hold on to this: “…I have overcome the world.”

John 19:30

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

To the orthodoxy it is only finished for them and those who agree with them. For all others it is not yet finished. For the unbelievers the orthodoxy would have us believe there remains an eternal conscious torment.

About Jim Barnes

A man seeking to please the Lord. A man striving to abide in Christ Jesus. A man whose hope is to see just one more come into the fold.
This entry was posted in Lee Salisbury - Eternal Punishment: Is It Really Of God, Reconciliation Of All. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Reviewing Lee Salisbury’s Eternal Punishment – Is It Really of God?: Contradictions In Holy Scripture: Regarding The World

  1. Understand what really matters – what it boils down to is that God and His creation matters. Relating to God and relating to His creation matters. Love matters. Awareness that God is everywhere, in my heart and all around me makes me wonder how people run into Him without ever realizing while living on Earth. My mother is such a case. As she is nearing the end of her life I try to imagine how she will end up noticing the Trinity. The dogma of having to accept Jesus before passing has been weighing on me. Hebrews 10:30-31 illustrates what I have been wrestling with: “For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The Lord will judge his own people.” It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” How can God’s hands that hold and comfort me be terrible at the same time? Still, I trust Him, and I leave my mother to God who knows best.

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    • Jim Barnes says:

      For years I was convinced by my orthodox church leaders that eternal conscious torment awaits any and all who continue in rebellion against God. Those men and women, daughters and sons, brothers and sisters who choose to reject the saving grace of Christ Jesus are to be forever tormented is a falsity. It is a doctrine that is used to frighten people into believing a God Who is love. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment is simply a tradition of men and it is harmful. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment diminishes God’s power and His glory.

      Please know this and commit this verse to memory.

      1 Corinthians 15:19-22
      If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

      Remember this verse, too. Ecclesiastes 12:7 “…and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

      God is love. He will right the wrongs. He will set all things into an order He ordains.

      Thank you for the response to this article. May our Lord God bless you, keep you and may His face be made to shine upon you.

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