What About the Scriptures Stating Just a Few Will be Saved?
(A look at: Matt: 10:23, Mark 16:16, 1 Cor. 6:9-10)
Hi. First of all, I am an agnostic, I'm not a Christian, but I would love to have a say on your universalist stance anyway. the arguments on how hell is gehenna are quite interesting, but what about the other passages that say that only a few certain people will be saved, and not all will be saved:
"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matt 10:23) Christians are supposed to endure persecution by those that hate their religion, in order to be saved.
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (mark 16:16) Reject this and you are guilty of picking and choosing the more tasty stuff in the bible while rejecting the less palatable stuff.
oh and what about this?
1Cor 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (This means: no sex before marriage, no false gods, no drinking, no drugs, let alone stealing, if you want to be saved.)
I have probably overlooked other verses as well, but you can see how one can refute the universalist stance. Not that I'm trying to condemn the views entirely, but isn't it all wishful thinking which ignores all the cold hard truth on the contrary?
Erki, you asked some good questions; questions that are not simplistic that can be answered with a simple sentence or two because the entire concept of salvation as taught by the traditional church is false. So, we're dealing with more than just the interpretation of a verse or two, we're dealing with an entire theological doctrine in the church which is false, that is, the doctrine of salvation.
Salvation, from a Biblical Hebrew point of view, never was about whether people went to heaven or hell, salvation meant, to be healed, to be delivered, to be made whole, to be restored, to be made roomy. Many passages dealing with salvation in the New Testament spoke to Jews being "delivered" from the "wrath to come." That was not a final judgment at the end of the world which determined whether one went to heaven or not, it was a final judgment on Israel at the end of the Mosaic Covenant Age. Jesus predicted the destruction of Israel, especially Jerusalem. He said not one stone would stand upon another in the Temple which had recently been rebuilt. Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that over a million people were killed in 70AD. Thousands were sold into slavery. It was a horrible end to the Biblical Hebrew age. Jesus came to usher in the New Covenant. All those who accepted Him would NOT receive the terrible judgment, the Great Tribulation which was right at the door. THAT was the salvation spoken of in Matt. 10:23. Remember, Jesus said, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Jesus spent all His time preaching and warning of the wrath to come ONLY IN ISRAEL. He was sent to give Israel a chance to move from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. If Jesus was interested in saving the whole world at that time, He sure made a big mistake in only coming to the most obstinent and rebellious people on the planet. But that was His mission, to save a remnant from Israel which would be the first fruits from which a "new nation" of priests unto God would come forth from, a nation of priests that WOULD accomplish what Israel failed to do because of its self-righteousness and bigotry. A good resource for understanding that the "ends of the world" which the Bible speaks of is actually the end of the Mosaic covenant age is found at: Prophesy Fulfilled.
Your next verse (Mark 16:16) in some ways falls into the same category as above with a new twist and for that new twist, you'll have to explore some of the word studies found at http://www.tentmaker.org. This verse contains the word "damned." You will not longer find that word in most new translations. Why? Because it should never have been there in the first place. Consider the words of a Canon of the Church of English concerning the word damned:
In "Mercy and Judgment" by F.W. Farrar, a canon of the Anglican Church, he writes on page 369:
The words “damn” and its derivatives do not once occur in the Old Testament. In the New Testament they are the exceptional and arbitrary translation of two Greek verbs or their derivatives; which occur 308 times. These words are “apollumi” and “krino.” “Apolleia” (destruction or waste) is once rendered “damnation” and once “damnable.” (2 Peter 2:3, and 2 Peter 2:1); “krino,” (judge) occurs 114 times, and is only once rendered “damned.” (1 Thess. 2:12). “Krima, (judgment or sentence) occurs 24 time, and is 7 times rendered “damnation.” “KataKrino,” (I condemn) occurs 24 times, and is twice only rendered “be damned.”
Now turn to a modern dictionary, and you will see “damnation” defined as “exclusion from divine mercy; condemnation to eternal punishment.” In common usage the word has no other sense. But to say that such is the necessary meaning of the words which are rendered by “damn” and “damnation,” is to say what is absurdly and even wickedly false. It is to say that a widow who marries again must be damned to endless torments (1 Tim. 5:12, “having damnation,” krima), although St. Paul expressly recommends young widows to do so two verses later on. It is to say that everyone who ever eats the Lord’s Supper unworthily, eats and drinks “eternal punishment” to himself, though St. Paul adds, almost in the next verse, that the judgment (krima) is disciplinary or educational, to save us from condemnation. (1 Cor. 11:29-34) It is to say that “the Day of Judgment” ought to be called “Day of Damnation.” (John 5:29) It is curious that our translators have chosen this most unfortunate variation of “damn” and its cognates only fifteen times out of upwards of two hundred times that krino and its cognates occur; and that they have used it for “krisis” and “krima,” not for the stronger compounds “katakrima,” etc.
The translators, however, may not be to blame. It is probable that “damn” was once a milder word than condemn, and had a far milder meaning than that which modern eschatology has furnished to modern blasphemy. We find from an Act passed when a John Russell was Chancellor (in the reign of Richard III or Henry VII.), that the sanction of an Act against extorted benevolences is called “a damnation”--that is, “the infliction of a loss.” This is the true etymological meaning of the word, as derived from damnum, “a loss”; and this original meaning is still found in such words as “damnify,” “indemnify,” and “indemnity.” In the margin of I Cor. 11:29, we find “judgment” for “damnation”; whereas in verse 32 the “judgment” of the Lord is milder than His” condemnation.” Dr. Hey, in his lecture on the Ninth Article, thinks that the phrase, “it deserveth God’s wrath and damnation,” is used in the milder sense of the word which was originally prevalent. However this may be, the word has, as the Bishop of Chester says, undergone a modification of meaning from the lapse of time, and it is an unmixed gain that both it and its congeners will wholly disappear from the revised version of the English Bible. “Judgment” and “condemnation” are the true representatives of krisis and katakrisis, and they are not steeped, like the word “damnation,” in a mass of associated conceptions which do not naturally or properly belong to them. Equally unfortunate is the word “hell.” Endquote.
There are many words like krima, katakrima, krisis, krino which have been translated according to church theology and not according to the Greek. Judgment in the Bible is not necessarily bad, it is often good, but not the way the King James Bible and many other translations have translated certain key words. Typically, when a Christian reads the word judgment in the Bible, their mind goes to the Great White Throne and Heaven or Hell. But according to the Bible, "When God's judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness." (Isaiah 26:9) Learning about God's righteousness is good, constructive. What's constrictive about burning in Hell for all eternity with no hope of escape?
The world is presently "condemned," and has been so a long time. What does that mean? That God is ticked off? It means the world is in a lower state of being than the best, it has fallen and God has allowed this to happen. God takes credit for it. The buck always stops with him. He is not a blame-shifter like most leaders in the world. Even if it's not His fault, so to speak, He takes the blame because He is the Sovereign Lord of all creation. God, in due season will get us out of this judgment, this condition of sin and death. And the key is Jesus Christ who will conquer (indeed, already has conquered) all death for all mankind. (1 Cor. 15:22-28, 55; Rom. 5:18). But this will happen in due season. In the meantime, the earth is in a state of imperfection, condemned to darkness, ignorance, superstitions, imperfections. That doesn't mean God is angry at the whole world. It simply means it is "in progress." Should we laugh or judge a car on an assembly line as worthless, only fit for the dump because it is still in the process of being manufactured? Of course not. And we shouldn't judge billions of souls still in progress to eternal damnation. God is their Maker and He will complete what he started and it will ALL be good.
Finally to your last verse 1 Cor. 6:9-10. This is again a difficult one because of the false teachings of tradition regarding what the kingdom of God is. Tradition teaches the kingdom of God is a mansion in the skies and golden streets in the heavenlies on the other side of death. That's NOT what Jesus taught about the kingdom of God. He said it was right here on earth. He said one could enter it right now. Paul said that the kingdom of God IS "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Rom. 14:7 Jesus defined "eternal life" as "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3 The kingdom of God is not in space somewhere, the kingdom does NOT come with observation, "the kingdom of God is within you" Luke 17:21 How can one have the peace of God within if they have murder in their hearts? How can you have the righteousness of God within you, if you lust after your neighbor's wife? If we have the things of the world and its lusts within us, we will not have peace. The cares of this world are an obstacle to the things of God. Jesus said unless one puts Him above mother, father, brother, sister, yes, even their own lives, they are not worthy of Him, they can't enter into the peace of His kingdom. To enter the kingdom and its righteousness costs us everything. But Jesus said for those who do lose everything for His sake will find far more than they gave.
And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. Mark 10:17-30
There are many things I could say about this passage, but I don't have the time. Suffice it to say, salvation is IMPOSSIBLE with man, but all things are possible with God. Love never fails. God so loved the world...the entire world. He wants to save it and He will. That's a fact. "It is finished!" Jesus died for the world and He will not give up til He finds the very last sheep and brings it home. And that last sheep may be you. Would you want Him to give up on you?
Consider the prophecies in the Old Covenant and consider the fulfillment through Christ in the New Covenant. The Bible makes it plain that the Word of God through the prophets have indeed been fulfilled through the life of Christ. In Adam all indeed died and equally the very same all shall be made alive in Christ. This is a sure thing... worthy of all acceptance.
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save … but your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you.” (Isaiah 59, 1, 2) “Therefore justice is far from us, nor does righteousness overtake us … We look for justice, but there is none; for salvation is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before you … He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor; therefore His own Arm brought salvation for Him; and His own righteousness, it sustained Him.” (Isaiah 59:11, 12, 16)
One Hundred scriptures pointing to the Salvation of all mankind through the finished work of Jesus Christ, Savior of the world!
50 Old Testament Declarations and Prophecies:
1) Is 46:10: God will do all His pleasure (See 1 Tim. 2:2-6)
2) Dan 4:35: God's will done in heaven & Earth and none can stop Him
3) Prv 16:9: Man devises, but God directs his steps
4) Prv 19:21: Man devises, but God's counsel will stand
5) Prv 16:33: The whole disposing thereof is of the Lord
6) Ps 37:23: The steps of man are ordered of the Lord
7) Ps 33:15: God fashions all hearts
8) Job 5:17-18: God wounds then makes whole
9) Hos 6:1-2: God tears, but in the 3rd day He heals
10) Deut 32:39: God kills & makes alive, He wounds, then heals
11) Ps 90:3: God turns man to destruction, then says...return
12) Jer 18:2-6: God mars vessels & then remakes them
13) Lam 3:31-32: God will not cast off forever
14) Ps 102:18-20: God will loose those appointed to death
15) Is 2:2: All nations will flow to the Lord's house
16) Joel 3:21: God will cleanse blood that has not been cleansed
17) Gen 18:18: All nations of the earth will be blessed
18) Is 45:22: All the earth commanded to look and be saved
19) Is 45:23: Unto God All will bow & every tongue swear
20) Is 40:3-5: Highway of God enables all flesh to see His Glory
21) Ps 138:4: All kings will praise God
22) Ps 72:17: All nations will call Him blessed
23) Ps 86:9: All nations will worship God & All men blessed
24) Is 52:10: All earth will see the salvation of God
25) Ps 65:2-4: All flesh will come to God
26) Is 11:9: Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
27) Ps 66:3-4: Enemies will submit & All earth will worship
28) Is 19:14-25: Egypt and Assyria will be restored
29) Ezk 16:55: Sodom will be restored
30) Ps 68:18: God will lead captivity captive to dwell in man
31) Is 54:5: He will be called the God of the whole earth
32) Ps 22:25-29: All will remember & turn unto the Lord
33) Ps 145:9-10: God is good to all & merciful to His works
34) Ps 145:14: Raises all that fall & All that be bowed down
35) Ps 145:15: Eyes of all wait upon God & He will give them their meat in due season
36) Ps 145:16: Will satisfy desire of all living
37) Ps 145:9: The Lord is good to all
38) Ps 145:10: All thy works shall praise thee
39) Ps 24:1: The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof
40) Is 25:6: The Lord will make unto all people a feast
41) Is 25:7: He will destroy the veil that's cast over All
42) Is 25:8: He will swallow up death in victory
43) Is 25:8: He will wipe away tears from all faces
44) Jer 32:35: it never entered His mind to pass sons & Daughters through the fire of Molech
45) Ps 135:6: The Lord did what pleased Him in heaven/earth/sea that His Father gives Him
46) Is 26:9: When God's judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness
47) Ps 89:2: Mercy shall be built up forever
48) Gen 12:3: All families of the earth will be blessed.
49) Gen 28:14: All families of the earth will be blessed.
50) Psalm 1361-26: His mercy endures forever (stated 42 times in Bible)
50 New Testament Scriptures Showing Christ’s Fulfillment of them
1) Eph 1:11: God works all after the counsel of His will
2) Jn 8:29: Jesus always does which pleases His Father
3) 1Tim 2:4: God will have all to be saved
4) 1Jn4:14: Jesus sent to be the Savior of the World
5) Jn 12:47: Jesus came to save all
6) 1Tim 2:6: Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all
7) Jn5:36: He'll finish the works He was sent to do
8) Jn 4:42: Jesus is the Savior of the world
9) Jn 12:32: Jesus will draw all to Himself
10) Heb 7:25: Jesus is able to save to the uttermost
11) Col 1:15: Jesus the first born of all creation
12) Col 1:16: By Him all things were created
13) Rm 5:15-21: In Adam all condemned, in Christ all live
14) 1Cor 15:22: In Adam all die, in Christ All live
15) Eph 1:10: All come into Him at the fulness of times
16) 1Cor 15:26: Last enemy, death, will be destroyed
17) Phl 2:9-11: Every tongue shall confess Jesus as Lord
18) 1Cor 12:3: Cannot confess except by the Holy Ghost
19) Rm 11:26: All Israel shall be saved
20) Acts 3:20-21: Restitution (reconstitution) of all
21) Lk 2:10: Jesus will be the joy to all people
22) Eph 2:7: His grace to be shown in the ages to come
23) Heb 8:11-12: All will know God
24) Lk 3:6: All flesh shall see the salvation of God
25) Titus 2:11: Grace has appeared to all
26) Rm 8:19-21: Creation freed from corruption
27) Col 1:20: All reconciled unto God
28) 1Cor 4:5: All will have praise of God
29) Jms 5:11: End of the Lord is full of mercy
30) Rev 15:4: All nations worship when judgments seen
31) 11Cor 5:17: New creation in Christ (eph1:10)
32) Rm 11:32: All subjected to unbelief, mercy on all
33) Rm 11:36: All out of God, thru Him, and into Him
34) Eph 4:10: Jesus will fill all things
35) Rev 5:13: All creation seen praising God
36) 1Cor 15:28: God will be all in all
37) Rev 21:4-5: No more tears, all things made new
38) Jn 5:28: All dead who hear will live
39) Jn 5:28: All in the grave will hear and come forth
40) 1Cor 3:15: All saved, yet so as by fire
41) Mk 9:49: Everyone will be salted with fire
42) Rm 11:15: Reconciliation of the world
43) 11Cor 5:15: Jesus died for all
44) Heb 2:2: He is the heir of all things
45) Jn 3:35: All has been given into His hand
46) Jn 17:2: Jesus will give eternal life to all
47) Jn 6:44-45: All to be taught of God and will come
48) 1Tim 4:9-11: Jesus is the Savior of all
49) Acts 13:47: Salvation unto the ends of the earth
50) 1 John 4:14: Jesus Christ, Savior of all
Answered by GA.