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 have died without Christ, are they lost forever? When King Jesus comes in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, He will judge the billions who survived Armageddon, dividing 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)

What else did Christians get wrong about the lost? What about the Billions who died without Christ since Adam and Eve? Doesn’t it follow mixed among the “goats” will 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. 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 receive precisely that, by predestining they will 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)

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 was retained by most Protestants since the Reformation. 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). Only the survivors of Armageddon are judged, not the dead. Unlike the Last Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15) no resurrection of the dead occurs in Matthew 25:31-46. Moreover, the “sheep” cannot be Christians because Christ likely points to Christians 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)

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.

Therefore, three classes of humanity appear during this Judgment not just two: 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, 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) justified inviting the sheep into the Kingdom, so also good works (obeying Christ’s voice in the grave John 5:28-29) can justify adding one’s name to the Book of Life.

In other words, its possible people can repent after they physically die. Observe carefully 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)

It follows whether one lives, or dies is determined after physical death. Their final destinies were not determined when they died, it is determined later.

That explains how MANY of those who died for sins and 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]

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)

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)[6]

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)

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)

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)

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)

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 many will be saved, not just few:

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]
It is possible those who died and repented before Christ’s Second Coming rise with the church (Consistent with the precedence set in 1 Pet. 3:18-22; Eph. 4:8 compare 1 Thess. 4:13-18); but its possible they must wait until Judgment Day (Dan. 12:2; John 5:28-29; Rev. 20:11-15; Compare Luke 16:26 but see Mt. 19:26). Perhaps the most likely scenario is a combination, those who repented before Christ’s coming rise with the Church’s dead at His coming, those who repent after rising on Judgment Day. That is consistent with all these scriptures. As for the wicked who die during the Millennial Kingdom, including those with Gog and Magog (Rev. 20:7-9), they die “accursed” (Isa. 65:20) and so rise to a resurrection of condemnation.

[7]

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)

[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:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:3-5 NKJ)

Matthew 25:31–46 is another passage that should be considered. This passage is commonly called the separation or judgment of the sheep and the goats. The sheep and goats refer to righteous and unrighteous Gentiles. Christ will judge the unrighteous Gentiles (goats), and they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). Therefore, no unbelieving Gentile will survive to live on into the millennial kingdom. The righteous Gentiles, or sheep, will live on into the millennial kingdom. They will give birth to children and will populate the Earth. However, these are not the only ones who will be producing children during the millennial kingdom.

The impression is given that when Christ returns, all Israel will trust in Him (Zechariah 12:10). They, too, will not receive glorified bodies (as did those who were raptured prior to the tribulation and those resurrected afterward). They also will produce children during the millennial kingdom.

So, believing Gentiles, Israel, and resurrected/raptured believers (all of whom have glorified bodies) will occupy the Earth. It should be noted, however, that believers with glorified bodies will not be reproducing. There is no marriage after this life (Matthew 22:30).

Children born during the millennial kingdom will have the responsibility of faith in Christ as all people of past ages have (faith in Christ since His coming; faith in God before—Genesis 15:2–6; Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 3:20). Unfortunately, not all of the children that are born during the millennial kingdom will come to faith in Christ. Those that do not will be led away by Satan into rebellion against God at the end of the millennial kingdom when Satan is let loose for a short time (Revelation 20:7–10).

For a further look at this subject (who will live into the millennial kingdom), look also at the following passages: Isaiah 2:2–4; Zechariah 14:8–21; Ezekiel 34:17–24; Daniel 7:13–14; Micah 4:1–5.-Got Questions Ministries. (2002–2013). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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?


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