God’s Plan to Save the Lost: Billions Now Living May Never Die!

God's Plan
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Everyone has family and friends who died without Christ, are they lost forever? No, they won’t be unless that is what they desire. That’s the short answer. If you want the long answer, we must revisit what Judgment Day is, beginning with the Judgment that happens when King Jesus comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, He will judge the billions who survived Armageddon who heard the gospel to some degree, but never committed themselves to it. Christ divides them as a Shepherd does his sheep from the goats.

“And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, `Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom[9] prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Matt. 25:31-34 NKJ)

Christians think they are the “sheep” and non-Christians the “goats”. But that cannot be because Christians are sitting with Christ during this event. Jesus likely gestures to them when saying “these My brethren”:

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, `Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? `When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? `Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’

“And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matt. 25:37-40 NKJ)

For more on this:
The Judgment of the Unsaved Sheep and Goats At Christ’s Return

What else did Christians get wrong about the lost? What about the Billions who died without Christ since Adam and Eve or who never heard the gospel at all to respond to it? Doesn’t it follow mixed among these, some of who are “goats” there will also be “sheep” just like there was during the judgment of survivors of Armageddon?

Humans would not foolishly build a factory that destroyed 90% of production, so by what law of logic can we suppose All-Wise-Omniscient God created a cosmos that destroys most of humanity born into it? Of course, God didn’t do that.

He wouldn’t create an infinite Universe to save only a few:

Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Gen. 15:5 NKJ)

It is revealed in Scripture God has “a fix” that reverses the corrupting influence a “fallen creation” has had on humanity. It is revealed in the Bible’s doctrine of Election. God guarantees everyone He foreknew loved Him who would earnestly desire life with Him in His Kingdom would be conformed to the image of His Son Jesus Christ. [1]

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:28-31 NKJ)

Therefore, even those who “died lost” cannot be separated from God’s love and eventually redeemed:

38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39 KJV)

Predestination accomplishes God’s reason for creating human life, that we live with Him in love as His children in total freedom, liberated from all darkness and sin.[12]

 

This fallen world in bondage to corruption is a necessary evil God endures with much long suffering so His Elect, whom He foreknew before the foundation of the world, would come into existence with truly free will and choose to share eternal life with Him in love. That is the bible’s answer to the question: “What is the meaning of life?” That answer is deducible from the following verses:[11]

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea: “I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,`You are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.” (Rom. 9:22-26 NKJ)

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (Rom. 8:19-22 NKJ)

16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
17 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19 “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (Jn. 3:16-21 NKJ)

Therefore, everything works to the good for God’s Elect, even hell itself whose main purpose is to liberate humankind from slavery to delusion and sin, restoring their ability to dwell in Holiness with their Holy God in perfect love, in pure light that has no “variation or shadow” (Jas.1:17) .

For more on this See:
Predestination unto Salvation: Was Divine Election Conditional or Unconditional or Both?

Why don’t Christians preach this?

To be fair some do but limit salvation only to those who believe in Christ in this life. Whenever Scripture reveals it is possible to confess saving belief in Christ after physical death, they refuse to interpret it that way. Their consistent suppression of truth is a direct consequence of the destruction of Israel in the second century. The Palestinian Jewish context, which our LORD said contained “treasure” when interpreting His teachings (Mt. 13:52) wasn’t available to the Church’s expositors and doctors of the faith. That made parts of the NT dark and obscure. Often phrases implying entire concepts are totally missed or dismissed as corruptions of the text.

After the apostles went to be with the LORD Christian eschatology was set by the Catholic Magisterium and retained by most Protestants even today. It is predicated upon a hasty generalization fallacy, confusing the Judgment of the Nations that survived Armageddon (Matthew 25:31-46) with the Last Judgment of the living and the dead (Revelation 20:11-15). What is said in this Catholic Commentary is materially the same in many Protestant Commentaries:

§ f 25:31–46 The Last Judgement… Our Lord, speaking here of this second and final judgement, shows no trace of nationalism. The judgement by which the kingdom of the Son is purified before becoming the kingdom of the Father is decided exclusively on religious grounds…. Man is fitly judged by the Son of Man and the judgement is universal. The ‘sheep’, for their mild expression and docility, are a suitable image of the faithful followers of Christ the shepherd, Jn 10:3, 4, 27. They are distinguished from the ‘goats’ (cf. Ez 34:17), mistrustful of eye and intractable of conduct, aptly chosen as their wicked counterpart. …The sentence of the wicked, expressed more briefly than the invitation of the just, is a terrible one. Instead of ‘Come!’, ‘Depart!’; in place of the Kingdom, ‘everlasting fire’.-Jones, A. (1953). The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to St Matthew. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (pp. 897–898). Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.

That commentary confuses the judgment that occurs at Christ’s second coming with the End Time judgment of all the dead that occurs after Christ’s 1000 year millennial Kingdom (Rev. 20:5-15).[10] Only the survivors of Armageddon who had heard enough of the Gospel to make them liable to it are judged, nothing is said about raising the dead. That is different than the Last Judgment when Death and Hades are emptied ouit and even the Sea gives up all the dead in it (Rev. 20:11-15). Moreover, the “sheep” cannot be Christians because Christ gestures to His Christian brothers when He refers to “these My brethren” in Mt. 25:40 (Compare Rom. 8:29).

31 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 “And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, `Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 `for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
36 `I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, `Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
38 `When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
39 `Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
40 “And the King will answer and say to them, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, `Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 `for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
43 `I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’
44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, `Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’
45 “Then He will answer them, saying, `Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
46 “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt. 25:31-46 NKJ)

Question: Who are Christ’s Brethren?

“These My Brethren” were “gathered” (2 Thess. 2:1) from the earth during Christ’s coming in glory. They reign with Christ as Kings and Priests (Rev. 1:6; 20:4-6; 1 Thess. 4:14-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-58; Mat. 24:29-31; Rev. 14:14-16). They are not being judged with the survivors of Armageddon because they became Christians before death. He who believes in Christ in this life “shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (Joh. 5:24). As Christ’s “Brethren” they were given authority to judge with Christ (Mt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 20:4), the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). “These My Brethren” were sitting with Christ during this judgment.

QUESTION: Who are ‘all the nations’ in this scene?

In this context, “all the nations” cannot be “all humanity.” The Ten Virgins (Mt. 25:1-13) symbolize only those who heard about Christ, not all virgins. Only five get to “know Him” when He arrived (Mt. 25:10-11) because they responded to the call in a wise way. This distinction is less obvious with the Servants (Mt. 25:14-30), but we cannot confuse them with the Sheep. It’s a different parable, but in this context the overall theme is “many are called and few are chosen (Mt. 22:2-14). The gospel is preached to all the nations (Mt. 24:14; 28:19) but it does not follow everyone in these nations were preached to properly where they understood enough to be liable for not believing it.

The “sheep and the goats” are those of all nations, as a group (1484 ἔθνος ethnos) who were taught the gospel of Christ (Mt. 28:19), and who survived Armageddon and are alive when Jesus comes with His holy angels. They had not consummated their relationship to Jesus. Corroborating this, both sheep and goats call Christ “Lord” (Mt. 25:37, 44). But there is a divide, only the sheep reacted positively. Moreover, only the sheep are called “righteous” (1342 δίκαιος dikaios Mt. 25:37, 46) and only for them was God’s Kingdom prepared “for you from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 25:34). Such things can only be said to the Elect (1588 ἐκλεκτός eklektos Eph. 1:3-15). [The salvation of the Elect is actualized in history when they believe in Jesus’ Name (Jn. 20:31) and confess Jesus is LORD publicly (Rom. 10:8-13).]

Christ then commands the sheep enter the same eternal state of all resurrected believers (1 Cor. 15:51-55) joining those seated with Him to reign as kings and priests while they wait for the “New Heavens and New Earth” (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13) eternal kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. That Kingdom arrives after Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 21:1).

[Therefore, this context does NOT rule out unsaved survivors of Armageddon will enter the Millennial Kingdom to be evangelized by the Kings and Priests reigning with Christ (Rev. 5:10; cp. Zec. 8:23). Judgment begins first with the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17). The Sheep and the Goats are judged separately from those who never heard the Gospel properly stated, because they are more accountable (Lk. 12:48). As for the billions of unsaved who survive Armageddon, if they didn’t commit eternal sins such as blaspheme the Holy Spirit or accept the Mark of the Beast (Mt. 12:31-32; Rev. 14:9-12), they enter Christ’s Millennial Kingdom and procreate repopulating the earth with Billions and Billions of people.

31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
32 “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.
(Matt. 12:31-32 NKJ)

During this time all of God’s promises to Israel and the Church related to this kingdom are fulfilled. Then comes the final test of the survivors and their children, lest any wicked sneak into the eternal kingdom (Rev. 20:7-9; 22:13-14).]

Therefore, three classes of humanity appear during the Sheep and Goat Judgment, not just two. These are: 1) the Church saved by Grace aka “My Brethren”; 2) the “sheep”; 3) the “goats”. That changes the binary construct imposed upon Judgment Day. When the books are opened, Christians are already in the Book of life. Other names can be written in later (Ps. 69:28; 87:6; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16). That means “sheep” as well as “goats” would be rising from Hades because they failed to consummate their relationship to Christ in this life—-to be judged according to their works written in the books (Rev. 20:11-15). Just as good works (vicariously receiving Christ Mt. 25:40) showed free will choice for Christ so also good works (obeying Christ’s voice in the grave John 5:28-29) shows free will choice for Him as their LORD and so God extends unmerited grace adding their names to the Book of Life. Both acts imply one freely chose to receive “Christ as Lord”, which is the only requirement for God’s grace to be given.

In other words, its possible the unsaved repent after they physically die once they learn the truth of their situation (1 Pet. 4:6; Heb. 9:27-28; Ps. 86:11-13; Zech. 9:11).

Whether one lives or dies is determined AFTER physical death, because all physically die regardless of good or bad:

21 “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.
22 “None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.
23 “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord GOD, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
24 “But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and does according to all the abominations that the wicked man does, shall he live? All the righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; because of the unfaithfulness of which he is guilty and the sin which he has committed, because of them he shall die. (Ezek. 18:21-24 NKJ)

Hence it is written a “judgment” occurs after physical death.

27 And inasmuch as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this cometh judgment (2920 κρίσις krisis);
28 so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, unto salvation. (Heb. 9:27-28 ASV)

That repentance after death is possible is the only way to explain how MANY of those who died for sins and who enter “a Judgment” —which is synonymous with “a trial” or “a determination” (2920 κρίσις krisis), can eagerly wait for Christ’s second coming for their salvation:[7]

They learn the truth about God and life after they die, and were ‘judged according to men in the flesh but now live according to God in the Spirit’ (1 Pet. 4:6), “that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5)

For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Pet. 4:6 NKJ) [6]

deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5:5 NKJ) [6a]

The Great White Throne Judgment occurs at the End of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, it is called “Judgment Day” and not “Sentencing Day” because the risen dead are JUDGED according to their works (Rev. 20:12-13). That can include whether they repented in Hades and professed faith in Christ in Hell when they “hear” (= obey John 5:24; Lk. 10:16) Christ’s voice while still in the grave and those who have “done good”[8] rise to a resurrection of life as this “telescoped prophecy” plainly says (John 5:28-29):

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (Jn. 5:28-29 NKJ)

Notice how Christ used the words ἀκούσονται τῆς φωνῆς in this context: those who OBEDIENTLY HEAR, OBEY HIS VOICE shall live.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice (ἀκούσονται τῆς φωνῆς) of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. (John 5:24 KJV)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice (ἀκούσονται τῆς φωνῆς), “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (Jn. 5:28-29 KJV)

Same words, same context = same meaning.

The spiritually dead who repented and believed Jesus’ preaching shall live, rise in the resurrection of life.
The physically dead who repented and believed Jesus’ preaching shall live, rise in the resurrection of life.

That means those IN THE GRAVE (=dead, in hell) can OBEY the voice they hear:

Therefore, Catholic-Protestant confirmation bias that refuses to accept scripture that repentance in Hell is possible must be rejected as unsound.

Scripture where repentance in Hell is presumed, implied or explicitly stated:

(1Sam. 2:6-10; 2Sam. 22:5-7; Ps. 16:10-11; 30:3; 49:15; 56:14; 68:18-20; 71:19-24; 86:13; 88:1-18; 107:10-15; 116:3-9; 118:17-18; 139:8; Isa. 4:4; 26:19-21; Lam. 3:25; Hos. 13:14; Jon. 2:2-6; Mic. 7:7-9; Zec. 9:11; John 5:28-29; 1 Pt. 3:18-22; 4:6; 1 Cor. 5:5; Eph. 4:8-10; Heb. 9:27-28; Rev. 20:11-15 )

And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. (Jon. 2:2 KJV) [Analogy is impossible with things that don’t exist. Therefore, Jonah believed salvation from hell was possible, and he saw his experience is similar to it. Therefore, the analogy proves salvation from hell exists.]

I called on Your name, O LORD, From the lowest pit (0953 בּוֹר bowr). (Lam. 3:55 NKJ)

1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit (0953 בּוֹר bowr), out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. (Ps. 40:1-3 KJV)

As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit (0953 בּוֹר bowr) wherein is no water. (Zec. 9:11 KJV) Compare Luke 16:24

This opens the possibility Billions of people can be saved, not just a few.

For example, rather than impose post-apostolic bias all raised from Death and Hades are unsaved wicked, we can accept the clear implication of John’s negative: ” anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire”—-it implies SOME WERE found written in the Book of Life and therefore NOT cast into the fire: [3]

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15 NKJ) (Compare John 5:28-29; Dan. 7:10)

The names of the Elect are in the Book of Life (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; 17:8) but other names cannot be of the “Elect” because those names can be blotted out (Rev. 3:5; Exod. 32:32; Ps. 69:28) or written in (Ps. 69:28; 87:6; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16). That requires other books exist, one for those who will be written in, and another for those blotted out, so they can be properly listed for judgment.

This is not a new idea. The Pharisees believed there were three classes of People on Judgment Day: The Righteous, the Wicked, and the “Middling” or “To be determined” and this required the existence of multiple “books”:

[I.15 A] Said R. Kruspedai said R. Yohanan, “Three books are opened [by God] on the New Year: one for the thoroughly wicked, one for the thoroughly righteous, and one for middling [people].
[B] “The thoroughly righteous immediately are inscribed and sealed for [continued] life.
[C] “The thoroughly wicked immediately are inscribed and sealed for death.
[D] “Middling [people] are left hanging from New Year until the Day of Atonement.
[E] “If they [are found to have] merit, they are inscribed for life.
[F] “If they [are found] not [to have] merit, they are inscribed for death.”
[G] Said R. Abin, “What is the Scriptural [foundation for this]? [Ps. 69:29 states]: ‘Let them be blotted out of the book of the living. Let them not be inscribed among the righteous.’ ‘Let them be blotted out of the book’—this refers to the book of the thoroughly wicked. ‘[… of the] living’—this refers to the book of the righteous. ‘Let them not be inscribed among the righteous’—this refers to the book of middling [people].”-Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 6b, p. 83). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

Paul a former Pharisee would have been taught this Judgment Day tradition (Ac. 22:3; 23:6; 26:4-5). Moreover, John wrote Revelation 20:12-13 100% consistent with it. It is historical fact many Pharisees became Christians (Ac. 15:5; 23:6; 26:5) in Jesus’ Day; Jesus condemned only those traditions that contradicted God’s Word (Mt. 15:5-6).

It is a fact Christ calls some Pharisee traditions “treasure”: [5]

Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matt. 13:52 NKJ)

The existence of another class of people standing before God on Judgment Day completely upends all post-apostolic Eschatology set by the Catholic Magisterium. It means destinies for some are determined on Judgment Day. This requires Hades has another purpose apart from punishment with possible redemption in view; an idea consistent with God’s just, merciful and loving character revealed everywhere in Scripture.

Let’s review what Scripture reveals, and the wonderful possibilities that exist.

Before creating the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1) Omniscient God knew all things (Isa. 46:9-10) including all who would come into existence (Rom. 4:17), both angels and men. Within His Omniscient knowledge, God chose to “foreknow” those who loved Him, that is He “knew them before” those who did not love Him, somewhat like “bolded text” is “seen before” other text surrounding it. In that special act of “omniscient-foreknowing” God experienced them in a special and unique way, and loved them even more. So God ordained all things will work together for their good (Romans 8:28; 11:2):

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:28-31 KJV)

Therefore, even Hell/Hades itself works for the good of His Elect, even if they died enemies of the Gospel (Rom. 11:26-29).

26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
(Rom. 11:26-33 KJV)

What God promised He would do for the Jews He will also do for the Gentiles “For there is no partiality with God.” (Rom. 2:11 NKJ).

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Gal. 3:28-29 NKJ)

19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell,
20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled
22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight. (Col. 1:19-22 NKJ)

God had to ordain this because He knew the Fall would corrupt billions of them He foreknew in love. A sinful world would compel and seduce billions to die unsaved rebels against God (Mt. 12:32; Rom. 11:28-29), ignorant of the glorious gospel of salvation in His Son Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 4:6; John 5:28-29).

That would be intolerable, losing even one of “His Beloved” to a fallen world He permitted come into existence, would cause Him sorrow for all eternity. So, God does not permit it.

God’s solution was elegantly simple, lest any of these God foreknew be lost because of a sinful world, God predestined those He Foreknew be conformed to the image of His Son, even if they must endure Hades to restore their free will from its bondage to sin (Zech. 13:9; 1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Pet. 4:6).

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Rom. 8:28-32 KJV)

Only then will all written in the Lamb’s book of life be saved (Rev. 20:12-15). Only then can all Israel be saved (Rom. 11:26-36).

33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Rom. 11:33-36 KJV)

So, what of our friends and relatives who died without Christ, some even blaspheming Christ (Rom. 11:28-33; Mt. 12:31; 1 John 2:2) because of some wrong done to them by the Church or the world in general? Don’t worry, if they repent and believe in Christ in Hades they will rise to a resurrection of life. Even if they were not among God’s Elect predestined unto salvation, they have every opportunity to join the elect and have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life (Ps. 69:28; 87:6; Dan. 12:1; Mal. 3:16; Rev. 20:11-15; John 5:28-29; 1 Pt. 4:6; Heb. 9:27-28; . Hades was one of “all things” made to work to their eternal good (Rom. 8:28-29). To Jesus Christ, “God the Lord” belong escapes from death:

18 You have ascended on high, You have led captivity captive; You have received gifts among men, Even from the rebellious, That the LORD God might dwell there.
19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah
20 Our God is the God of salvation; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death. (Ps. 68:18-20 NKJ)

“That is wrong”, someone will say, Christ said “few would be saved”.

Yes, Jesus did say that, but “a verse taken out of context becomes a pretext”:

The gospel of Luke provides the entire context (Lk. 13:22-29). Christ is the narrow door or gate. “Few are saved” (Lk. 13:23) from that generation of unbelieving Jews (Mt. 8:10-12; Lk. 13:26-27) who ate and drank in Christ’s presence but rejected Him (Lk. 13:26-27). They refused to believe Christ despite all the signs He did, they wanted more (Lk. 11:29-32). Apostates against the Law of Moses they demanded the murderer Barabbas be freed and Christ crucified in his place (Mt. 27:21-22). They rejected God’s theocracy, proclaiming they had no King but Caesar (John 19:15).

There is a limit to the patience and longsuffering of God, willful unbelief and spiritual obstinacy shuts the door. They knew the right thing yet did it not. Knowledge of the right thing to do is the universal theme in the parable of the ten virgins (Mt. 25:1-12) and Great Supper guests who declined to attend (Lk. 14:15-24). More is expected from those who know God’s will (Lk. 12:47-48). The shut door requires willful rejection of God’s truth, if one is ignorant the door cannot be shut.

Few were saved who ate and drank in Christ’s presence but remained workers of iniquity (Lk. 13:26-27; Comp. Mt. 7:21-23). But the contrast with the entire earth (Lk. 13:29; Compare Lk. 14:21-24) implies the SAVED will pour into God’s Kingdom from all four corners of the earth:

22 And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem.
23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them,
24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
25 “When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying,`Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you,`I do not know you, where you are from,’
26 “then you will begin to say,`We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’
27 “But He will say,`I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’
28 “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.
29 “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. (Lk. 13:22-29 NKJ)

Therefore, when Jesus said “few are saved” the implication is “many are saved” from the rest of the earth.

That many will be saved was God’s promise to Abraham:

“And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; (Gen. 26:4 NKJ)

The saved will be as “the stars of heaven”. All born of faith in Christ are the descendants Abraham according to Paul, therefore the number of Saved in Christ is billions and billions and billions of people, “as the stars of heaven”:

7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.
8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.”
9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (Gal. 3:7-9 NKJ)

This is no open door to the wicked. Our Holy God cannot abide with sin. Scripture is clear and forthright; the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom. Those who choose evil over holiness (Heb. 12:14), rebellion over repentance and confessing Jesus Christ as LORD, will be lost:

9 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,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10 KJV)

That is the purpose of Hell, to liberate those who are slaves to sin, restoring their free will so they can choose life in Christ rather than eternal death. Having been “judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit” (1 Pet. 4:6), compare the similar wording in 1 Peter 3:18 θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρκί, ζῳοποιηθεὶς δὲ πνεύματι “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit”. This implies the “trial/judgment/torment” in hades ends when sinners repent and “live according to God in the Spirit” (ζῶσιν δὲ κατὰ θεὸν πνεύματι). Their “spirit” quickened and enveloped by Holy Spirit (Compare “in which also” ἐν ᾧ καὶ 1 Pet. 3:19). Their “judgment” finished they eagerly wait for the return of Christ (Heb. 9:27-28) when their “spirit will be saved in the Day of the lord Jesus (cp. 1 Cor. 5:5) rising with all the dead on Judgment Day (Jn. 5:28-29; Rev. 20:13; Da. 12:2).[6]

For more on the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
Lazarus and the Rich Man: Can the Rich Man Repent and be Saved?

END NOTES
[1]

There are six main features involved in election.18 (1) Election is a sovereign, eternal decree of God (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4, 5, 11). (2) Election is necessary because of man’s fall and total depravity. It therefore reflects the grace of God, not human effort (Rom. 9:11). (3) Election is “in Christ.” From eternity past God chose believers to be united to Christ (Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1:4, 5, 11). In election God effects salvation through sending the Savior and effectually calling certain ones to salvation. (4) Election involves the salvation of the elect and the provision for their salvation. God determined to predestine, call, justify, and glorify certain ones (Rom. 8:29–30). This was planned and effected in eternity past. (5) Election and reprobation are individual, personal, specific, and particular. The pronouns in Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 emphasize the individual nature of election. (6) The goal of election is the glory and praise of God (Eph. 1:6, 12). Everything is to ascribe glory and praise to God.-Enns, P. P. (1989). The Moody Handbook Of Theology (pp. 482–483). Chicago, IL: Moody Press.

God’s Election was both “conditional” based on His foreknowledge: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” (Rom. 8:29; 1 Pet. 1:1-2) and “unconditional” “not according to our works” (2 Tim. 1:9) as it occurred before creation of “the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13).

The paradox is easily resolved. Before God created, before the special act of “foreknowledge” God already knew all things, both versions” of angels and men, the unfallen and fallen. He knew which among them loved Him, and would freely choose life with Him over everything else. He also knew those who did not, who freely chose evil over good. In God’s Omniscience those who loved Him stood out, He “foreknew them before” the rest, and in that special knowledge He loved them.

Therefore, lest any of these He foreknew be lost because of a fallen world, He predestined them unto salvation. What these became in this fallen world is irrelevant to God’s Election, it was done before the foundation of the world and therefore not based upon any merit in them now. The version that exists now is not what they were in God’s Omniscience when their ability to choose was truly free. In God’s Omniscience everyone was who they truly are God knew all who were His.

God’s Election is predicated upon His “foreknowing = loving before”, but not based upon what we are now in this fallen world, for then no one would be saved. That disconnect permits both aspects of Election be true without contradiction. It is both “conditional” and “unconditional”.

All things were created to effect their ultimate salvation, including hell itself. The “non-elected” have equal opportunity to be saved, their free will restored to them in Hades where they suffer punishment for sin just as do the Elect who died sinners unsaved by the Gospel of Christ (1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Pet. 4:6; Rom. 11:26-29).

Both can choose to “live according to God in the spirit“, but only the Elect will:

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:13-15 KJV)

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (Jn. 5:28-29 KJV)

[2]
We can conclude from Abraham and Lazarus being in paradise after they died (Luke 16:22) that the righteous dead of all nations enter paradise when they die (Acts 10:34-35; Rom. 2:6-16). They participate in the first resurrection. Among them would be aborted babies and all who are guiltless. The efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice is not limited by space and time (1 John 2:2; Rev. 13:8).

Those saved by the gospel of Christ in this life do not come into the Great White Throne Judgment, they have passed from death into life while yet alive (John 5:24-25). They are raised in the first resurrection to reign as Kings and Priests with Christ (Rev. 20:4-5). This happens when Christ brings them with Him as He arrives with His Holy Myriads (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18), in a twinkling of an eye they will be raised up incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; John 5:24; Mat 24:29-31; Rev 14:14-16).

At Christ’s Arrival, the unsaved billions who survived Armageddon are separated like a shepherd would sheep and goats. These survivors are judged whether they vicariously received Christ by coming to the aid of His brethren during the Great Tribulation. Only these enter the Millennial kingdom the prophets spoke about to live normal lives replenishing the population of the earth.

During the entire 1,000-year reign of Christ those children who turn to sin die “accursed” (Isa. 65:20) reserved in hell for Judgment Day. There is explosive growth in earth’s population and many sinners appear (Isa. 65:20). After 1000 years Satan is released from prison to mislead the earth again:

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.
10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev. 20:7-10 NKJ)

“Gog and Magog” symbolize the enemies of God and His people are in every nation on earth. Hyperbolic language paints a picture of overwhelming odds that came against God’s “camp”, to glorify God’s giving the holy ones the victory. Although the enemy numbers are enormous, “the breadth of the earth” would be the mountains and valleys surrounding Jerusalem. The earth’s population wouldn’t fit. So it is unthinkable the entire earth rebelled against God.

An army of a few hundred thousand surrounding Jerusalem would have been described by John as uncountable as “the sand of the sea”. Therefore, from the analogy of 2/3rds of God’s angels who did not sin (Rev. 12:4), we can deduce the overwhelming majority of mankind loved living in Christ’s kingdom in holiness. As for the millions of Gog and Magog who did not, they are devoured by fire from heaven.

Billions upon billions of people would remain to see New Jerusalem descend from heaven to the earth:

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.
2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” (Rev. 21:1-5 NKJ)

[3]

And if any (εἴ τις) was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15 ASV)

James Boyer incorrectly includes Revelation 20:15 εἴ τις (if any) in his “Corpus of First Class Conditions in the NT” discussing its use in discourse:

If the first class condition states or implies the actual truth, then it could not possibly be used by Christ to say, “If [or according to this view, since] I by Beelzebub cast out demons…(Matt 12:27), nor “Since I do not do the deeds of my father…” (John 10:37), nor “Since I have spoken evil…” (John 18:23). Paul could not have written “Since there is no resurrection…” (1 Cor 15:13), nor “Since Christ is not raised…” (1 Cor 15:14). These are not isolated, peculiar examples; they represent 12% of all the first class conditions in the NT. It is simply not true that first conditions indicate the external objective truth or reality of the condition.-First Class Conditions: What Do They Mean?”(Grace Theological Journal Vol 2, p.75)

Revelation 20:15 isn’t discussion, it is a prose report of what is being seen by John. This is NOT a conditional argument, John is reporting what he saw as a statement of fact. Therefore, when John notices “if any was not found written in the book of life he was cast into the lake of fire” it implies some raised from Hades were written in the book of life and therefore not cast into the lake of fire. Why express it negatively? Whether the multitude of Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:8-9) are judged first (cp. Mt. 20:16) or last, the impression of so many not written in the book of life and cast into the lake of fire would be searing, set the tone for the entire horror. Because humans recall “bad events” with greater intensity than “good events”, it does not follow those cast into the fire outnumber those delivered from it.

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice
29 “and come forth– those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. (Jn. 5:28-29 NKJ)

[4]

According to the Law, a man who divorced his wife wrote her a certificate of divorce; and if another man married her and then divorced her or died, her former husband couldn’t remarry her, “since she has been defiled” by the second marriage (Deuteronomy 24:1–4). Jesus doesn’t abrogate this law. He has just said that the Law will stand forever. But he extends the Old Testament law of divorce and remarriage by inferring from a woman’s defilement in a second marriage that it’s adulterous for a man, whether or not he has been married before, to marry a divorced woman. Despite her divorce, she’ll always belong sexually to her former husband. And adultery defiles. Strikingly, Jesus also infers that a man who divorces his wife and marries another woman, whether or not she has been divorced, commits adultery. For he’ll always belong sexually to his former wife. Thus Jesus dots the i’s and crosses the t’s of the Law. Such is his adherence to and affirmation of the Old Testament, and such is his high standard of morality—a standard that Luke repeatedly holds up as an attraction to prospective converts of moral sensibility.

Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 305). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

[5]

Using the Talmud and other pertinent sources of information shedding light on the context of Scripture is not a repudiation of the true doctrine the Bible is materially sufficient for every good work and doctrine for the Man of God:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NKJ)

sola scriptura. A Protestant Reformation doctrine which says not that all truth is to be found in the Bible nor that the Bible is the only form in which the truth of God has come to us but that all things necessary for salvation are taught in the Bible sufficiently clearly for believers to find it and understand it and that the church (not an individual or even a particular group of individuals) is its interpreter.-Gilmore, A. (2006). sola scriptura. In A Concise Dictionary of Bible Origins and Interpretation (p. 184). London; New York: T&T Clark.

The beliefs of the Pharisees are part of the context in which the New Testament was written, therefore the Talmud does shed light on obscure texts and points of belief. While Our LORD Jesus condemned the Pharisees for their external form of righteousness and traditions that made God’s Word of none effect (Mt. 23:1-39), He also voiced great agreement with them when He commanded His disciples to “do what they say, but not what they do”:

1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. (Matt. 23:1-3 NKJ)

Christ chose the apostle Paul, a former Pharisee to write 13 (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Philemon, Galatians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus) of the 27 books in the New Testament. Or 14 if we include “Hebrews”. Paul also affirms he remained in great agreement with the Pharisees:

1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.”
2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said:
3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. (Acts 22:1-3 NKJ)

6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection– and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” (Acts 23:6-9 NKJ)

Therefore, it is inexplicable Christian scholarship doesn’t access this source of information more often when exegeting obscurity. The Talmud certainly carries much more weight than the apocryphal and pseudepigrapha material, yet these appear to be rising in popularity among scholars today.

[6]

4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead (3498 νεκρός nekros).
6 For this reason (Εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ) the gospel was preached also to those who are dead (3498 νεκρός nekros), that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Pet. 4:4-6 NKJ).

God judges the living and the dead, not the living and the living. “For this reason” (Εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ) these dead are preached to, that they may be judged for their disobedience to the gospel while in the flesh, but [repent and believe the gospel preached] live according to it in the spirit [while in hell].

The gospel is preached so God can judge them according to their response to Christ. A similar thought exists here, where after death there is a trial, a judgment. Those who “pass that trial” eagerly wait for Christ to appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation:

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Heb. 9:27-28 NKJ)

Its likely Peter has in mind Christ’s descent into Hell to preach to the spirits in prison (1 Pet. 3:18-22) who when alive before the Flood refused to believe (544 ἀπειθέω apeitheo 1 Pet. 3:20) Noah’s preaching God would forgive the abomination, the corruption of the image of God in man with the image of angels (Compare Gen. 6:9, 11-13). In similar fashion to the “dead” (3498 νεκρός nekros) in 1 Peter 4:5-6), these must have responded to Christ’s preaching by “giving the answer of a good conscience toward God” for their answer to be considered part of the like figure to how the Church is saved by the preaching of Christ (1 Pet. 3:21).

18 because also 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,
19 in which also to the spirits in prison having gone he did preach (1 Pet. 3:18-19 Young’s Literal Translation)

I interpret Christ’s human spirit was “quickened, strengthened, infused with life” by the Holy Spirit and while “in the Spirit” protecting it from the fires of Hades and the Abyss, He went and preached to the spirits in prison.

Three points to consider.
1) Everything here applies to the human spirit of Christ only, not His Divine Nature.
2) Christ died for sins He did not commit, therefore He didn’t deserve any torment so it is right to shield Him from the fire.
3) Christ is appearing as a conquering preacher of righteousness, His human spirit should be clothed with the Divine Presence, Shekinah Glory.

So, while strengthened/protected/Glorified by the Holy Spirit Christ’s human spirit went and preached to the spirits in prison, which is somewhere in Hades/Sheol.

20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
21 There is also an antitype which now saves us– baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (1 Pet. 3:18-22 NKJ)

LEXICON—a. aorist act. participle of ἀπειθέω (LN 36.23, 31.107) (BAGD 2., 3. p. 82): ‘to disobey’ [BAGD, LN (36.23); CEV, NAB, NIV, NLT], ‘to not obey’ [NRSV, TEV], ‘to be disobedient’ [BAGD, NIC, WBC; KJV], ‘to refuse to obey’ [BNTC; REB, TNT], ‘to refuse to believe’ [LN (31.107); NJB].

QUESTION—What was the reason for God’s patient waiting?
God is slow to judge and was waiting to give people an opportunity to repent [BNTC, NCBC, NIBC, NIC, NTC, Sel, TH, TNTC, WBC; CEV, NJB, TNT]. He was waiting for the people to obey [TG]. He was also waiting on the completion of the ark [TH].

QUESTION—To what does ὅτε ‘when’ refer?
1. It relates ποτε ἀπειθήσασιν ‘the-ones-having-disobeyed long-ago’ to the specific period of time when God waited patiently and the ark was being constructed [Alf, BNTC, NIC, Sel, TG, WBC; all versions].
2. It refers to ἐκήρυξεν ‘preached/proclaimed’, that is, Christ went and preached through Noah to Noah’s contemporaries when they formerly were disobedient [TNTC].-Abernathy, D. (2008). An Exegetical Summary of 1 Peter (2nd ed., p. 138). SIL International.

(3.) A third interpretation, mine: “It relates to those who disobeyed Noah’s preaching because they refused to believe God would forgive the defilement of the image of God in man (Gen. 1:26-27) i.e., their hybrid “Elohim-human” nature. These were the offspring of the “sons of God”, the “men of renown” in Genesis 6:4 possibly referring to the children of Titans in Greek Mythology (See Note* below this). They died during the flood. Genesis 7:21-23 thrice emphasizes “all …that was on dry land died”. Their spirits were segregated both from human souls and their angelic fathers who were cast in Tartarus (2 Pet. 2:4). As they are unique Christ made a special trip to their prison (5438 φυλακή phulake) to proclaim God’s offer of salvation. This time they believed the preaching “giving the answer of a good conscience”. How do we know this? The context. Only obedience to Christ’s preaching could cause Peter associate His preaching with Noah’s preaching during the flood and Baptism, where in “the like figure” all who responded “giving the “answer of a good conscience to God” were saved. Therefore, among the saved by preaching are these “spirits in prison.” Corroborating this is how completely foreign and antithetical to the context a “proclamation of doom to the dammed” would be, like mixing oil and water. It should be obvious Peter associated Christ preaching to His descent into Hell and ascension into heaven where He lead captivity captive gave gifts to men that He might fill all things (1 Pet. 3:18-22; Eph. 4:7-11). Confirmation this interpretation is correct is its 100% consistency with Peter’s teaching angels sinned in Noah’s day (2 Pet. 2:4) having sexually “gone after strange flesh” (Jude 1:6-7)

7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
9 (Now this, “He ascended “– what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
(Eph. 4:7-10 NKJ)

Note *

Those are the heroes (הַגִּבּוֹּרִים) that were of old, the men of fame] (אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם, cf. Nu. 16:2). הֵמָּה has for its antecedent not אֲשֶׁר as obj. to יָֽלְדוּ (We.), but הַנְּפִלִים. There is a touch of euhemerism in the notice (We.), the archaic and mythological נְפִלִים being identified with the more human גִּבּוֹרִים who were renowned in Hebrew story.-Skinner, J., 1851-1925. (1910). A critical and exegetical commentary on Genesis (p. 147). Scribner.

Euhemerism. The theory that the ancient beliefs about the gods originated from the elaboration of traditions of actual historical persons. The name is derived from Euhemerus, a Sicilian writer (c. 315 BC), who developed this thesis in a book, Ἱερὰ Ἀναγραφή. Christian apologists, like *Lactantius, saw in this theory the true explanation of the origins of the Greek gods.-Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A., eds. (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 576). Oxford University Press.

[6a]

To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Cor. 5:5 KJV)

c. ὄλεθρος (LN 20.34) (BAGD p. 563): ‘destruction’ [AB, BAGD, He, HNTC, LN, Lns; all versions except LB, NIV, NJB, TEV], ‘ruin’ [BAGD, Vn], ‘destruction by suffering’ [ICC], ‘death’ [BAGD]. This word is also translated as a verb: ‘to punish’ [LB]. Here it means death and indicates that handing the man over to Satan would result in his death [BAGD]. This noun is also translated by a passive verb: ‘to be destroyed’ [NIV, NJB, TEV]. This word refers to complete destruction [LN]. It signifies the ruin of the man’s physical condition. It is used elsewhere in the NT only in 1 Thess. 4:3; 2 Thess. 1:9; and 1 Tim. 6:9

QUESTION—What is meant by handing the man over to Satan?
1. It means to excommunicate the man from the church…
2. It means to put the person under the power of Satan to harm him [AB, Alf, BAGD, EBC, Ed, EGT, Gdt, Ho, NCBC, NIC, Vn; NJB]. In favor of this interpretation are the following: (1) that in Scripture Satan is seen as inflicting bodily harm; (2) that the apostles were able to supernaturally inflict such evils (Acts 5:1–11; 13:9–11; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10); (3) that Paul does the same thing in 1 Tim. 1:20; (4) that this phrase is never used by the Jews when referring to excommunication; and (5) that excommunication would not destroy the flesh [Ed, Ho]. Paul delegated to the church a special power to inflict bodily death or disease as a punishment for sin [Alf].

in-order-that the spirit may-be-saved b in the day of-the Lord
….
b. aorist pass. subj. of σῴζω (BAGD 2.b. p. 798): ‘to be saved’ [AB, BAGD, HNTC, ICC, Lns; all versions], ‘to be saved spiritually’ [He], ‘to be preserved from eternal death, to attain salvation’ [BAGD]. The punishment, although destructive, was remedial [ICC]. Σῴζω is used of being rescued in the last day [NIC2]. This does not mean that only part of the man will be saved, rather all of him, body, soul, and spirit, will be saved, but the spirit is mentioned as representing the whole [Vn]. See this at 1:18 and 3:15.-Trail, R. (2008). An Exegetical Summary of 1 Corinthians 1–9 (p. 204-206). SIL International.

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27 Καὶ καθ᾽ ὅσον ἀπόκειται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἅπαξ ἀποθανεῖν, μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο κρίσις·
28 οὕτως καὶ ὁ χριστός, ἅπαξ προσενεχθεὶς εἰς τὸ πολλῶν ἀνενεγκεῖν ἁμαρτίας (Heb. 9:27-28
BYZ)

The article doesn’t appear before krisis so this does not refer to “the Judgment” before the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11). The parallel with humans is elegance with a twist. Both Christ and humans were appointed to die once for sins. His death is a sacrifice for our sins, while our death for our sins. The Divine “Judgment” or “determination” is we bear their cost in Hades, but the Divine “determination” for Christ’s sacrifice is He became our Redeemer who takes away the sins of the many who repent and “live according to God in the Spirit” (1 Pet. 4:6). That is why these human dead eagerly wait in Hades for the coming of Christ a second time apart from sins when He will raise them from the dead in Salvation:

so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Heb. 9:28 NKJ)

[8]
Objections have been raised on two grounds. 1) Faith in Christ is a gift and not a “work” (Eph 2:8-9); 2) There is no work possible in Hell (Eccl. 9:10).

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1 NKJ)

1). Faith without “seeing” “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1) is materially different than faith in what one sees (John 20:29). Christ calls those having faith in Him because they saw Him “a work” therefore those obeying Christ’s preaching in Hades can be saved:

28 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” (Jn. 6:28-29 NKJ)

2). No works in the grave like building houses, making money or getting married or any of the other works related to the “vanities of life”. This scripture does NOT rule out all works in the grave:

9 Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going (Eccl. 9:9-10 NKJ)

2a).

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth (191 ἀκούω akouo) my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear (191 ἀκούω akouo) the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear (191 ἀκούω akouo) shall live. (Jn. 5:25 KJV)

28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear (191 ἀκούω akouo) his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. – (Jn. 5:28-29 KJV)

Same word, same theme albeit different audience (living vs dead in grave) = same meaning: ‘hear and . Those who Obediently hear, will live, rise to the resurrection of life. Obedient hearing brings results in life; The parallelism: “hear and believe; hear and done good”. Compare 1 Peter 3:18-22; 4:5-6).

Lexical confirmation “hear” in this context means “to obey”:

191. ἀκούω akoúō …
(IV) To obey (Luke 10:16; 16:29, 31 [cf. John 5:24; 8:47; 18:37; Acts 3:22, 23; 4:19; 1 John 4:5, 6]; Sept.: Gen. 3:17; Ex. 16:20; Deut. 11:27; 2 Chr. 20:14; Is. 48:18). Here belongs the phrase “he who hath ears, let him hear,” i.e., give heed, obey (Matt. 11:15; 13:9, 13 [cf. the phrase, “he who has a mind” in Rev. 13:18 {a.t.}; see also Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9; 17:9, “he who has wisdom” {a.t.}]). In the writings of John as spoken of God, meaning to heed, regard, i.e., to hear and answer prayer (John 9:31; 11:41, 42; 1 John 5:15; Sept.: Ps. 10:17, eisakoúō [1522], to listen to). -Zodhiates, S. (2000). In The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). AMG Publishers.

[9]
Telescoped: These first enter the Messianic Kingdom, inherit the earth and then enter the “new heavens and new earth” when God dwells with man on earth (Rev. 21:1-4). Evidently, they will bear children until the “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Rom. 11:25 NKJ). Then it is implied by the phrase “new heaven and new earth” they will be “changed” likely in a “twinkling of an eye” (1 Cor. 15:50-54); given “supernatural bodies” as fitting the “new earth” that comes into existence at that time.
[10]

Premillennialism. In general the premillennial system may be characterized as follows. Premillennialists believe that theirs is the historic faith of the Church. Holding to a literal interpretation of the Scriptures, they believe that the promises made to Abraham and David are unconditional and have had or will have a literal fulfillment. In no sense have these promises made to Israel been abrogated or fulfilled by the Church, which is a distinct body in this age having promises and a destiny different from Israel’s. At the close of this age, premillennialists believe that Christ will return for His Church, meeting her in the air (this is not the Second Coming of Christ), which event, called the rapture or translation, will usher in a seven-year period of tribulation on the earth. After this, the Lord will return to the earth (this is the Second Coming of Christ) to establish His kingdom on the earth for a thousand years, during which time the promises to Israel will be fulfilled.-Ryrie, C. C. (2005). The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (p. 12). ECS Ministries.

Although the End Time “Week” is seven years, the Great Tribulation for the Church doesn’t begin until after the “man of sin” “False Christ” morphs into the “Son of Destruction”(Seed of Satan Gen. 3:15) at “mid-week” or 1,260 days. He slays God’s Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:3-7) but needed 30 additional days to fully set up the Image of the Beast ushering in the 666 membership only economy. Then Adonikam the Beast persecutes the church in earnest 1,290 days after the Daily Sacrifice was taken away by the Church’s apostasy when they received the “Man of Sin” as “The Christ” (2 Thess. 2:3-4). “Chancelor Adonikam” becomes “the Emperor” somewhat like “Chancellor Palpatine” became an evil Emperor Sith Lord like in the Star Wars franchise. For the next 45 days (Rev. 13:7; 14:12-13) the Beast nearly exterminates the church (Mat. 24:21-22; Rev. 7:14). The 45 day calculation comes from the book of Daniel 1,335-1,290=45 days (Dan. 12:11-12; Mat. 24:30-31; 1 Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 14:14-15). As the Great Tribulation which begins with the slaying of Moses and Elijah and ends with the Rapture is 75 days total. We will not know how literal these numbers are until after fulfilment—if symbolic, they may be approximations. It follows we cannot know the day or hour of the Rapture before the event; but we will know when He is near! (Mt. 24:33-35):

33 “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near– at the doors!
34 “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. (Matt. 24:33-36 NKJ)

[11]
It is implied by the contrary statements “salvation is by grace and not of works” (Eph. 2:8-9) and “Election according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:2) that two versions of every individual exist: a) the “fallen version” that came into existence born into this “fallen world” saved by God’s grace and not works; b) the uncreated “unfallen version” Elected to be saved in God’s Omniscient foreknowledge because they responded to God’s love with love (1 Jn. 4:19), by their own free will choice (Rom. 8:28). For more on resolving the paradox of these contrary statements See Predestination unto Salvation: Was Divine Election Conditional or Unconditional?

God predestined all things will work to the good of the Elect—reverse any evil effects of this fallen world (Rom. 8:28-31) that otherwise would prevent their salvation, according to the good purpose of His will (Eph. 1:4-10) not “a hair of God Elect perish” (Lk. 21:18) because He permitted the Devil to come into existence; Satan separates the wheat from the chaff thereby manifesting God’s Righteous and Just judgments (Rev. 15:4) in the Day when God is judged (Rom. 3:4 [See bracketed explantion after this paragraph]) and the Elect learn all things (Rev. 15:4)—how God’s plan was absolutely necessary for the Eternal Good become real, i.e. that fellowship between God and free will creature in mutual love be real.

[Just as Satan made his case against God’s infallibility (His fitness to be God) by using Job as proof God erred concerning Job (Job 1:6-11); God’s critics will make their case before the sons of God who will judge the soundness of the argument. The facts will vindicate God and prove the critics are liars:

…Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. (Rom. 3:4 KJV)]

Some other deductions:

This fallen world in bondage to corruption is a necessary evil God endures with much long suffering:
It follows from God enduring “vessels of wrath” to obtain the good of making known the riches to “vessels of mercy” that God chose to endure the inevitable corruption of His unfallen world so the “vessels of mercy” would come into existence in the “fallen world” to be given His mercy.

 

His Elect, whom He foreknew before the foundation of the world, would come into existence with truly free will and choose to share eternal life with Him in love.
It follows a loving relationship cannot result from “robotic love”— a farcical and abominable parody of true love, therefore both angels and men must have genuinely free will to choose to love God or not.

 

I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
It follows from the change from “not beloved” to “beloved” the Elect are brought to a place where repentance occurs and a loving relationship with God begins.

 

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Confirming the New Heavens and New Earth God creates are glorious places of freedom and liberty for the Redeemed, in mutual true love without variation or shadow—It is written in the Scripture of Truth:

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom. 8:20-21 NKJ)

17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying. (Isa. 65:17-19 NKJ)

That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us.Jesus (Jn. 17:21 NKJ)

22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.
24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it.
25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).
26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it.
27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Rev. 21:22-22:1 NKJ)

8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
12 “For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; And it shall be to the LORD for a name, For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:8-13 NKJ

 

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him… comes to the light.
Therefore, everything works to the good for God’s Elect, even hell itself whose main purpose is to liberate humankind from slavery to delusion and sin, restoring their ability to dwell in Holiness with their Holy God in perfect love, “come to the light” that has no “variation or shadow” (Jas.1:17).

The Judgment of the Unsaved Sheep and Goats At Christ’s Return
Predestination unto Salvation: Was Divine Election Conditional or Unconditional?
Lazarus and the Rich Man: Can the Rich Man Repent and be Saved?
Preaching to the Dead (Postmortem Evangelism)
Elect Rise From Hell On Judgment Day?
Does the Lake of Fire symbolize Eternal Torment for all?
The Origin of Satan and Demons
The Coming False Christ and His Followers Revealed

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1 thought on “God’s Plan to Save the Lost: Billions Now Living May Never Die!”

  1. Election is love before time existed, before God created.

    Before God created in His Omniscience He knew all who would be born in Creation.

    Only those who (in His Omniscience) freely chose life with Him in Holiness and Light were elected, the others didn’t want life with God.

    BUT God leaves it to them to decide, now after He created.

    As God is impartial, both the non-elect and elect who die unbelieving in Christ end up in Hades to pay for their sins and are given an equal chance to accept the Gospel preached to them and then “live according to God in the Spirit”

    For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. (1 Pet. 4:6 NKJ)

    The torments (931 βάσανος basanos ) in Hades bring the truth of self to the surface, purging away as though by fire all untruth, bondage to sin and self delusion.

    Once free will is restored, then both non-elect and Elect choose if they want a life in God, in Holiness and Truth and Love.

    For God will the Place where the Redeemed live, IN HIM we will live and move and have our being. Hence it is written:

    …As You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (Jn. 17:21 NKJ)

    22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
    23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (Rev. 21:22-23 NKJ)

    There are “children of the Devil” and “children of God”, by their own choice. Their true self is revealed by the BANSANOS Torment and then they choose their eternal destiny.

    It is obvious why God cannot permit wicked vile dark persons continue, He is Holy and nothing can be in Him that is dark and evil. Just as darkness cannot dwell in pure light, neither can evil be in God. Because God cannot change, it is the sinner who must change. There are no other choices. As God is just, He cannot allow the wicked go unpunished.

    Those who will not live in God in Holiness and light will be punished according to deeds.

    Those like the Devil and demons guilty of eternal sin suffer eternally, but those who are not guilty of eternal sin suffer only as is appropriate for their sin and then are annihilated.

    So why did God Elect those who loved Him predestining them unto salvation (Rom. 8:28-39) as both Elect and Non-Elect are given the same chance for salvation?

    If even one of those God communed with in love (in His foreknowledge before creation) would be lost because of the Fall of creation, then God would not have created all things. Because then God would mourn their absence for all eternity.

    Election was an act of love before time, for all time.

    3 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Rom. 11:33 NKJ)

    4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” (Rev. 15:4 NKJ)

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