Billions Now Living May Never Die! Billions Now Dead May Rise To life!

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What about departed Family and Friends who died not believing in Christ? What about those who never heard the gospel of Christ at all? Do they get a chance to repent of their sin, and believe in Christ? “Yes, they do!” according to the New Testament.

16 “For God so loved the world (2889 κόσμος kosmos) 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 (2889 κόσμος kosmos) to condemn the world (2889 κόσμος kosmos) , but that the world (2889 κόσμος kosmos) 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. (John 3:16-18 NKJ)

In John 3:16-18 “world” (2889 κόσμος kosmos) appears four times, contrasting the kosmos from whence God’s Son came with “the kosmos of humanity.” Therefore, it is impossible God sent His Son to save only some in the kosmos — excluding all born before Christ came or didn’t hear the Gospel of Christ after the 1st century. God sent His Son to save the entire kosmos (Jn. 1:9, 29; 4:42; Rm. 5:10; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:19) whether living or dead (Jn. 5:24-25, 28-29; Heb. 9:27-28; 1 Pt. 4:6) , all born into it since the world began. (Col. 1:20; Heb. 9:24-26; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:9-10; 8:32)

 

The writer of the Book of Hebrews explains how God accomplished this. His only begotten Son didn’t offer His sacrifice in the literal Temple in Jerusalem, but in heavenly Temple itself. Moreover, unlike the High Priest who offers sacrifice every year for those alive at that time, Christ appeared once at the “end of the ages” so His sacrifice would “put away sin” for all humanity born on earth since “the foundation of the kosmos“.

24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another–
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world (2889 κόσμος kosmos); but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb. 9:24-26 NKJ)

From God’s timeless perspective, “the Lamb” was “slain from the foundation of the world”, in other words, the moment God began to create “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world was slain” and names of those He saved were written in the Book of Life:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29 NKJ)

From the foundation of the world (kosmos) names either were written in the Book of Life, or not written in:

All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the Antichrist], whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8 NKJ) Compare Phil. 4:3; Rev. 3:5; 13:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27.

Confirming this interpretation is correct, the writer to the Hebrews observes all humanity in the world die once, but then they undergo a “trial,” a “judgment.” Those who pass then “eagerly wait” for Christ’s second coming when He appears apart from sacrificing Himself for sin, to save them from hell [#W]:

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)

But what of the mockers who think it strange Christians quit their former lives of excess, and so refuse to believe the gospel? Will God give them a second chance? The Apostle Peter says “yes”, even those who mocked Christians while alive will hear the gospel preached to them, so they can repent and believe and live according to God in their spirit while still in Hell [#V]:

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles– when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
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.
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 Pt. 4:3-6 NKJ)

Jesus made it clear God is very forgiving, but not for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit:

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)

Acceptance or rejection of the Gospel of Christ are the ONLY grounds for Judgment:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Jn. 14:6 NKJ)

11 “This is the `stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’
12 “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12 NKJ)

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. (Jn. 3:17-18 NKJ)

Therefore, God will judge everyone in the world (kosmos) of human existence, living or dead—only after a definite and formal presentment of the Gospel of Christ enables conscious and deliberate acceptance or rejection of Christ.

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 Pt. 4:6 NKJ)

All in “the graves” who do good after hearing Christ’s voice will rise from Hell to a resurrection of life:

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)

Only those not written in the Book of life will be cast into the Lake of Fire:

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. 20:13-15 NKJ)

The gospel of Christ is preached so all in the kosmos who believe ‘Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God’ pass from spiritual death into spiritual life through His name (John 3:15-16; 20:31).

 

The problem is, some claim this opportunity to believe in Jesus exists only in this life, not the afterlife. Only in part of the kosmos, not all of the kosmos as God said in John 3:16-17. If that is correct, billions of good people will never come to life! Everyone will mourn family and friends eternally lost because they never heard the gospel of Christ or preached in a way that would convince them to believe. Heaven would be a place of eternal mourning, not joy.

This writing will prove by the Holy Scriptures the opportunity to believe in Jesus’ name also exists in the afterlife. For example, Jesus Himself extends the opportunity to believe to everyone who ever lived, even to the dead in their graves:

Everyone who believes the gospel of Christ when physically alive pass from spiritual death into life:

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.
25 “Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. (Jn. 5:24-25 NKJ)

Everyone who believes the gospel of Christ heard preached while in the grave (physically dead) also pass from spiritual death into life, “to the resurrection of life”:

28 “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice [1]
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)

Christ appeared once in the end time so His one sacrifice would apply to everyone in every age since the foundation of the world, unlike the High Priest who sacrificed yearly to keep the sacrifice in force for his generation only:

24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.
25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another–
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
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. 9:24-28 NKJ)

Therefore, those who believe the gospel of Christ preached to them in this life do not come into judgment, in contrast to those who die unbelieving—they are appointed to “die once but after this the judgment” (2920 κρίσις krisis)”, which is a trial or “separation” of believers and unbelievers. Those who obediently “hear” become believers and “eagerly wait” for the Second Coming of Christ who will appear a second time apart from sin for salvation granting them the “resurrection of life” (Rev. 20:11-15; Jn. 5:28-29; 1 Pt. 4:6) which is promised to all who believe in His Name.

But what of the mockers who think it strange Christians quit their former lives of excess, and so refuse to believe the gospel? At death, the gospel is preached to them again, albeit the reality of the afterlife makes it impossible to dismiss as before. Judged as men for sins done in the flesh, those who obey the preaching then “live according to God in the spirit” “eagerly waiting Christ’s return for the resurrection into life” (Heb. 9:28-29) so their “spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5; Rev. 20:11-15):

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles– when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
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.
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 Pt. 4:3-6 NKJ)

Corroborating post-mortem evangelization and salvation, Paul delivers a wicked man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh—which would kill him. That is more severe than delivering Hymenaeus and Alexander to Satan so they learn not to blaspheme (1 Tim. 1:20). The apostles had the authority to inflict harm for evil doing (Ac. 5:1-11; 13:9-11; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10). Paul will do this so “his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus,” on Judgment Day (Rev. 20:11; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1). Therefore, his salvation happens long after his death, in the “day of the Lord Jesus” and not before the destruction of his flesh when still physically alive.

3 For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 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. 5:3-5 NKJ)

It logically follows from God creating such a big universe (cp. Rm. 1:20) that His plan is for many to inhabit it, not just 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)

 

9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. (Rev. 7:9-10 KJV)

Some object, “Didn’t Jesus say only a few would be saved?” Yes He did, but it is wrong to take His words out of context to teach a pretext. Only a few of that evil and wicked generation will be saved (Mt. 12:39; 16:4; Lk. 11:29), although they ate and drank in Jesus’ presence and witnessed the miracles He did, they wickedly demanded more. Jesus refused to dance to their tune (Mt. 11:16-30). Only a few of them would be saved compared to everyone not so unreasonable from the four corners of the earth:

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 fRm. 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. 13:23-29 NKJ)

Why don’t more Christians preach this? Most interpret Christ’s parable “the Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats” is about them and unbelievers. Christians are “the Sheep”, and unbelievers “the Goats”. Therefore, “all the nations” must denote the entire human race and the parable is about the Final Judgment. When those premises are correct, only actions done while alive establish eternal destiny. One is either saved or not saved in this life, there is no place for repentance after death. Wherever scripture implies post-mortem evangelization or salvation, it is interpreted otherwise. 1 Peter 3:18-22; 4:6 are good examples of this.

Therefore, those who deny post-mortem salvation do so because they believe Christ’s parable about the Sheep and the Goats forbids it. The following Catholic interpretation (also believed by most Protestants) does rule out post-mortem salvation:

§ 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.

The above interpretation is impossible. The judgment of the Sheep and the Goats happens at Christ’s return, not after the 1000-year millennial Kingdom. Also, unlike Judgment Day when the dead are raised from the Sea, Death, and Hades (Rev. 20:11-15) , no resurrection occurs in Matthew 25: 31-46.

Furthermore, the Sheep cannot be Christians because this Judgment occurs while they are seated with Christ and His angels, as Kings and Priests. “These my Brethren (Mt. 25:40; Rm. 8:29) 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). Because they believed in Christ when physically alive, they do not “come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24). As Christ’s “Brethren” they have authority to judge the unsaved with Christ (Mt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:3; Rev. 20:4), the “firstborn among many brethren” (Rm. 8:29).

Both the Sheep and the Goats know Christ, they call Him LORD. They know Christ’s disciples but had not joined them in the Faith. King Jesus decrees if they received His disciples (Mt. 12:40) they have received Him. Those who helped His brethren during the Great Tribulation would receive their reward (Mt. 10:42; Mk. 9:41), entry into the Kingdom of God.

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)

The unsaved in Christendom are the theme of this context. The ten virgins know Christ “the bridegroom” but only five reacted in a positive manner. They do not become Christians until the wedding banquet when the door is shut. The unwise Goats are left in the outer darkness, Christ does not know them (Mt. 25:1-13). Same with the Servants of the man on a journey, only those who respond correctly are rewarded upon his return. The wicked Goat servant who clearly didn’t know the Master is cast into the outer darkness (Mt. 25:14-30). The theme is carried over to the time of Christ’s arrival, in Christendom many did not commit to Christ. These Sheep and Goats are now judged. Those who vicariously received Christ by receiving His brethren are deemed to have received Christ (Mt. 25:40), those who did not He does not know so casts them away. As Peter said, Judgment begins first with the house of God (1 Pt. 4;17). Therefore, “all the nations (1484 ἔθνος ethnos)” gathered before Christ and His angels (Mt. 25:32) are not “all humanity” of the earth, they are “all the people” [who heard the gospel of Christ] preached (Mt. 24:14; 28:19) and so were held liable for how they responded to it.

1484 ἔθνος ethnos {eth’-nos}
Meaning: 1) a multitude (whether of men or of beasts) associated or living together 1a) a company, troop, swarm 2) a multitude of individuals of the same nature or genus 2a) the human race 3) a race, nation, people group 4) in the OT, foreign nations not worshipping the true God, pagans, Gentiles 5) Paul uses the term for Gentile Christians-Strong’s Concordance

That the Sheep are “of the elect” is deducible from Jesus inviting them to enter the 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. 1:3-12). They had not actualized their salvation in time by an act of faith (Eph. 2:8).

Christ 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 Pt. 3:13) eternal kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. That Kingdom arrives after Christ’s Millennial Kingdom (Rev. 21:1).

So, nothing here is about the rest of humanity that survived Armageddon and the End Time plagues. We can deduce from the nature of the millennial kingdom those who will populate it are one of two groups. ONE:) Christians are the kings and priests (Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:4) who having supernatural bodies like Christ’s resurrection body (Mt. 28:6; Mk.16:6; Lk. 24:6-7; 1 Jo. 3:2) and do not marry or bear children (Mt. 22:30; Mk. 12:25). TWO:) The rest of unsaved humanity not counted among the sheep or goats. They remain in their bodies of flesh, and enter Christ’s millennial kingdom to marry and birth billions and billions of children for God’s coming Eternal Kingdom that comes after Judgment Day (Isa. 66:22-24; 2 Pt. 3:13; Rev. 21:1-3). Neither the parents or children grow old as aging and disease has ended (Isa. 65:18-20).

 

At the end of Christ’s millennial kingdom, before Judgment Day Satan is released from his prison to tempt humankind one last time (Rev. 20:7-10). Although the context speaks of the wicked as numerous as the “sand of the sea”, one must recall this must be hyperbole for it describes the armies of Gog and Magog surrounding the earthly city of Jerusalem (Rev. 20:8-9) and it is physically impossible for to be more than a few million.

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.
20 “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the LORD, And their offspring with them.
24 “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, The lion shall eat straw like the ox, And dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,” Says the LORD. (Isa. 65:18-25 NKJ)

It is absurd to think Christians are evangelized during the Millennial Kingdom. Christians Do the evangelizing, of the unsaved survivors of Armageddon. Clearly God wanted to give them all a chance to repent and believe the gospel. At the end of the thousand years, Satan released from his prison to deceive the earth once again to rebel against God. All who follow him are called “Gog and Magog.”

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
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. 20:4-10 NKJ)

First the population of the Millennial Kingdom are judged, then death hades and the sea give up the dead in them, and they are judged, everyone according to whether they repented of evil and believed in the LORD Jesus Christ, to have their name transposed from the book of the Middling People to the Book of Life:

[#Y] 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)

Not only are billions alive at the time of Christ’s coming saved and so never die, but all those who died without Christ since the foundation of the earth hear the gospel preached while in the grave, and those who obey it will rise to a resurrection of life during the Great White Throne Judgment that occurs at the End of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. It is called “Judgment Day” not “Sentencing Day” because the dead are JUDGED according to their works up until that time (Rev. 20:12-13), whether they obediently heard obeying the voice of Christ our LORD.

 

In the days of Christ, the School of Hillel taught the Old Testament scriptures revealed a merciful God who forgave repentant sinners, even those in Hades:

The locus classicus on the subject reads: ‘The School of Shammai declared, There are three classes with respect to the Day of Judgment: the perfectly righteous, the completely wicked, and the average people. Those in the first class are forthwith inscribed and sealed for eternal life. Those in the second class are forthwith inscribed and sealed for Gehinnom; as it is said, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. xii. 2). The third class will descend to Gehinnom and cry out (from the pains endured there) and then ascend; as it is said, “I will bring the third part through fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name and I will hear them” (Zech. xiii. 9). Concerning them Hannah said, “The Lord killeth and maketh alive, He bringeth down to Sheol and bringeth up” (1 Sam. ii. 6). The School of Hillel quoted, “He is plenteous in mercy” (Exod. xxxiv. 6); He inclines towards mercy; and concerning them said David, “I love the Lord, because He hath heard my voice and my supplications” (Ps. cxvi. 1). The whole of that Psalm was composed by David about them: “I was brought low and He saved me” (ibid. 6). -Abraham Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud, (Schocken Books, NY, 1949 Reprint) pp. 377-378.

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

Various Scriptures where the text explicitly states or implies repentance in hell exists:

Dt. 32:39 [#A]; 1Sam. 2:6 [#B]; 2Sam. 22:5-7 [#C]; Ps. 16:10-11 [#D]; Ps. 30:3-6 [#E]; Ps. 40:1-3 [#F]; Ps. 49:12-15 [#G]; Ps. 56:13 [#H]; Ps. 68:18-20 [#I]; Ps. 69:13-18 [#J]; Ps. 71:19-23 [#K]; Ps. 86:13; 102:18-22 [#L]; Ps. 103:2-4 [#M]; Ps. 116:1-9 [#N]; Ps. 139:7-10 [#O]; Isa. 4:4-6 [#P]; Hos. 13:14 [#Q]; Jon. 2:2-10 [2]; Mic. 7:7-9 [#R]; Zec. 9:9-11 [#S]; John 5:28-29 [#1]; Rm. 8:28-39 [#T]; Rm. 11:25-36 [#T]; 1 Pt. 3:18-22 [#U]; 1 Pt. 4:6 [#V]; 1 Cor. 5:5 [#V]; Eph. 4:8-10 [#I]; Heb. 9:27-28 [#W]; Rev. 1:18 [#X]; Rev. 20:11-15 [#Y]

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)[2]

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

Therefore, rather than superimpose the bias all raised from Death and Hades are unsaved wicked who are eternally lost, we can accept the 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:

And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:15; 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.

As a former Pharisee Paul was expert in 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).

Our LORD Jesus Christ likened some Pharisee tradition to “treasure”:

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 binary Eschatology. Eternal destinies are decided on Judgment Day. Therefore, the torments in Hades have purpose apart from punishment, it’s a refining fire that brings forth the gold from the dross.

Do You And Family Want Everlasting Life In The Coming Cosmic Paradise?

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. (John 3:16-18 NKJ)

Unlike religions that speak of life in heaven or on paradise earth, the true Gospel of Christ promises believers everlasting life in a cosmic paradise too wonderful to imagine:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2:7-10 NKJ)

The Cosmic Paradise is so unlike the present it is called “the New Heavens and New Earth”:

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. (Isa. 65:17 NKJ)

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.”
6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.
7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Rev. 21:1-7 NKJ)

Imagine exploring everlasting life in a Cosmic paradise filled with delights the human eye has never seen nor ear heard, nor the heart of man ever contemplated!

That is what the original Christian Gospel promises to all who believe in God’s only begotten Son, not nebulous eternal life in heaven or in a agrarian paradise earth:

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pt. 3:13 NKJ)

Our revelation affects the entire creation, it will be prepared to receive us once again:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
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. (Rm. 8:18-22 NKJ)

END NOTES
[1]
Jesus used the same phrase ἀκούσονται τῆς φωνῆς (hear his voice) in both John 5:24, 28. In John 5:24 context it means obedient hearing. Those who obey His voice shall live. John 5:28 shares the context, and the phrase repeats having the same meaning:

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 still physically alive who obey Jesus’ Voice shall spiritually live, in parallel fashion those in the grave who obey Jesus’ voice shall experience the resurrection of life.

Some claim its impossible to “do good” in Hades and so ignore both the context and aorist active tense, ἀγαθὰ ποιήσαντες “practicing good” is a snapshot of action that occurs after “hearing Christ’s voice”.

[2]

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish,
2 and he said, “I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice.
3 “For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
4 “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
5 “Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6 “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.
7 “While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,
9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”
10 Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. (Jon. 2:1-10 NAU)

As Jonah says his experience was like a soul in Sheol, it implies Jonah believed souls can repent in Sheol.

However, its possible Jonah is saying he literally died in the fish’s belly and was in Sheol:

The second prayer is what he made reference to in verse 2: Out of the belly of Sheol. The Hebrew word for belly used in verse 2 is not the same one used in verse 1 for the fish. In verse 2, the Hebrew word used for belly in reference to Sheol is the word that normally means “belly of” or “midst of.” The fact that there are two different Hebrew words used in these two verses points out that they are talking about two different places: the abdomen of the fish in verse 1 and the midst of Sheol in verse 2b. Throughout the Old Testament, Sheol was located in the center of the earth and was the place for both the righteous and the unrighteous departed spirits. Thus Jonah was in Sheol, and the only way one could get to Sheol was by death. Jonah’s soul went down to Sheol, and while he was there, he prayed the second prayer out of the belly of Sheol.

The content of Jonah’s second prayer was to be delivered out of the state of disobedience in which he died; he asked for another chance to fulfill his commission. Because Jonah was a saved man, he was not in the hell portion of Sheol; rather, he was in the righteous portion, known as Abraham’s Bosom or Paradise. While he was there, the verse states: you heard my voice. Jonah’s prayer for a second chance was answered by virtue of his resurrection. The real miracle of Jonah was not that he was kept alive in the abdomen of the fish. Rather, the real miracle is the miracle of resurrection of the dead from the midst of Sheol.-Fruchtenbaum, A. G. (1983). The Messianic Bible Study Collection (Vol. 79, p. 11). Ariel Ministries.

Exegesis of Scriptures
[#A]

38 Which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.
39 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. (Deut. 32:38-39 KJV)

The KJV distinguishes between pronouns, the 2 person plural “you” is God satirically addressing the idolaters among the Israelites. To paraphrase:

“The gods, whom ye entertained so well, and provided so abundantly with sacrifices, let them now arise and help you, and thus make themselves clearly known to you.” The address here takes the form of a direct appeal to the idolaters themselves; and in the last clause the imperative is introduced instead of the optative, to express the thought as sharply as possible, that men need the protection of God, and are warranted in expecting it from the gods they worship: “let there be a shelter over you.” Sithrah for sether, a shelter or defence.-Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 1, p. 1002). Hendrickson.

As it is addressed to a specific group, “I kill and I make alive” is not a general statement of fact, its specifically pertinent to the future well being of these individuals. It is God who has killed them, He alone can resurrect them. That is why the ancients saw in this text “proof of the resurrection”, which by implication then also proves “probation after death”, repentance and redemption exists among the dead in Sheol:

V. II:7: Our rabbis have taught on Tannaite authority: “I kill and I make alive” (Deut. 32:39). Is it possible to suppose that there is death for one person and life for the other, just as the world is accustomed now? Scripture says, “I wound and I heal” (Deut. 32:39). Just as wounding and healing happen to one person, so death and then resurrection happen to one person. From this fact we derive an answer to those who say, “There is no evidence of the resurrection of the dead based on the teachings of the Torah.”-Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 4, p. 622). Hendrickson Publishers.

[#B]

“The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.
(1 Sam. 2:6 NAU)

Compare:

31 As he finished speaking all these words, the ground that was under them split open;
32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men who belonged to Korah with their possessions.
33 So they and all that belonged to them went down alive to Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. (Num. 16:31-33 NAU)

Sanhedrin 10:4…
[D] “The party of Korah is not destined to rise up,
[E] “for it is written, ‘And the earth closed upon them’—in this world.
[F] “ ‘And they perished from among the assembly’—in the world to come,” the words of R. Aqiba.
[G] And R. Eliezer says, “Concerning them it says, ‘The Lord kills and resurrects, brings down to Sheol and brings up again’ (1 Sam. 2:6).”-Neusner, J. (2008). The Jerusalem Talmud: A Translation and Commentary. Hendrickson Publishers.

From Rabbinic exegesis it follows not perishing was ruled out by Num. 16:33, hence probation after death with implicit repentance is deducible from this verse.

[#C]
King David was a Holy Spirit Filled (Ps. 51:11) prophet of God (Ac. 2:29-30) whose song of deliverance from his enemies (2 Sam. 22:1-4) contains a revelation of God’s saving His children from the “cords of Sheol” and “snares of death” that seek to destroy them; via traps set by the human and demonic agents of the Devil, figuratively they constitute the “torrents of Belial” (2 Cor. 6:15).

The imagery is taken from Leviathan that crooked Serpent whom God will slay (Isa. 26:2; 27:1) swims in the Great Sea of Chaos (Jer. 5:22; Dan. 7:2) and Spiritism (Rev. 13:1) that seeks to flood the earth (1 Jo. 5:19).

In the end time The Word of God (Rev. 1:7-8, 11-16) and His Holy Myriads ride through the opening in heaven (Rev. 19:11-16) causing the heavens and earth to tremble and flee from before Him (Rev. 6:14-17), because He is wroth. By grace God the Son rescues His children from the many waters that had ensnared them, that were too powerful for them. Out of Zion the deliverer shall come (Rom. 11:26-36):

5 For the waves of Death compassed me. The floods of Belial assailed me.
6 The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of Death confronted me.
7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, yea, I called unto my God; and out of His temple He heard my voice, and my cry did enter into His ears.
8 Then the earth did shake and quake, the foundations of heaven did tremble; they were shaken, because He was wroth.
9 Smoke arose up in His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth did devour; coals flamed forth from Him.
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and thick darkness was under His feet.
11 And He rode upon a cherub, and did fly; yea, He was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 And He made darkness pavilions round about Him, gathering of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
13 At the brightness before Him coals of fire flamed forth.
14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High gave forth His voice.
15 And He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16 And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils.
17 He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters;
18 He delivered me from mine enemy most strong, from them that hated me, for they were too mighty for me. (2 Sam. 22:5-18 JPS)

See also Psalms 18:4-30

Probation after death is implied by David’s prophecy of deliverance of the Church from the many waters seeking to imprison them in Sheol by causing their spiritual death through various satanic devices and seductions.

Jews of the 1st century interpreted this text similarly in Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture

Thanksgiving Hymns (Hodayot), 11:16–19
Angela Kim Harkins

16For all their wisdom is confused by the roaring of the seas.
When the ocean depths boil up over the freshwater springs,
and waves 17are tossed up to towering heights,
and crashing breakers of waters are (heard) in the tumult of their noise.
And during their churning, Sh[eo]l [and Abaddon] shall open
[along with al]l the arrows of the Pit.
18With their step to the ocean depths, they will make their noise heard.
And the gates [of Sheol] will open [for all] the works of the serpent.
19And they shall shut
the doors of the Pit behind the one pregnant with iniquity,
and the eternal bars behind all the spirits of the serpent. [blank]
11:20–37 (3:19–36)
11:20I give thanks to you, O LORD,
for you have redeemed my soul from the Pit.
And from Sheol Abaddon 21you have lifted me up to an eternal height,
so that I might walk about on an endless plain.
And I know that there is a miqveh for him whom
22you created from dust for the eternal council.
You have cleansed a perverted spirit from a great transgression,
in order to position him in station with 23the host of the holy ones,
in order to come into the yahad with the congregation of the sons of heaven.
And for man, you have cast an eternal lot with the spirits 24of knowledge,
so that he might praise your name together with shouts of rejoicing,
and so that he might recount your wonders before all your creatures.
But I am a creature of 25clay.
What am I? One kneaded with water!
As whom am I to be reckoned?
And what strength do I have?
For I have positioned myself in the domain of wickedness,
26and in lot with the wretched ones.
The soul of the oppressed dwells amidst tumults of the multitude;
destruction (and) disaster accompany my steps.
27When all the traps of the Pit are opened,
and all the wicked traps
and the net of the wretched ones
are spread out upon the surface of the water;
28when all the arrows of the Pit fly out without return
and shoot forth without hope.
When the measuring line falls against judgment
and the lot of wrath 29against those who are forsaken,
and the outpouring of wrath against the deceivers
and the time of anger belongs to all of Belial,
and the snares of death engulf without escape.
30Then the torrents of Belial will flow over all the high river banks,
like a devouring fire (in) all their channels(?),
finishing off every tree, green and dry, from their canals.
31It spreads by tongues of flame, until all who drink from them (are) gone.
It devours the foundations of clay 32and the expanse of dry land.
The bases of the mountains are set aflame
and the roots of flint become torrents of pitch.
And it shall consume as far as the great deep.
33Then the torrents of Belial shall burst forth to Abaddon,
and the schemers of the deep shall roar
with a clamor of those who spew mire.
The earth 34will cry out against the destruction that is coming upon the world,
and all of her schemers will shake.
All who are (live) in her will go insane,
35and they shall melt away in the gr[ea]t destruction.
For God will thunder with the tumult of his power
and his holy dwelling shall roar forth with the truth of his glory!
36And the heavenly hosts shall raise their voice
and the foundations of the world shall melt and tremble.
And the war of the mighty ones 37of heaven shall spread into the world.
And it will not relent until an annihilation.
It has been determined for eternity,
and (there will be) nothing like it! [blank]

Harkins, A. K. (2013). Thanksgiving Hymns. In L. H. Feldman, J. L. Kugel, & L. H. Schiffman (Eds.), Outside the Bible: Ancient Jewish Writings Related to Scripture: Translation (Vol. 2, pp. 2046–2049). The Jewish Publication Society.

[#D]

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Ps. 16:9-11 NKJ)

25 “For David says concerning Him:`I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:25-32 NKJ)

David prophesied the Holy One, which he knew couldn’t be himself after his adultery with Bathsheba and causing the death of her husband Uriah (2 Sam. 11:2-25), would not see corruption.

But David would apply the rest of the Psalm to himself, his heart was glad because God would not abandon his soul to Sheol. Rather, God would show David the path of life and then resurrect him to live again in His presence in fullness and joy.

Therefore, prophet David by Holy Spirit proves there is probation after death in Sheol, and after Divine enlightenment a return to life to live in God’s presence.

[#E]

2 O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
3 O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol (07585 שְׁאוֹל she’owl); You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit (0953 בּוֹר bowr).
4 Sing praise to the LORD, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name.
5 For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
6 Now as for me, I said in my prosperity, “I will never be moved.”
7 O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed.
8 To You, O LORD, I called, And to the Lord I made supplication:
9 “What profit is there in my blood, if I go down to the pit (07845 שַׁחַת shachath)? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your faithfulness?
10 “Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper.”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
12 That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Ps. 30:2-12 NAU)

The psalmist is not speaking figuratively about Sheol, he explicitly states his soul was brought up after being kept out of the “pit” (0953 בּוֹר bowr) which here refers to the world of the dead. This text therefore implies probation after death, a keeping alive those who pass the judgment while putting those who fail the judgment into the pit.

A word study on “pit” confirming these conclusions:

From its five appearances with “Sheol” (07585 שְׁאוֹל she’owl) we deduce the “pit” is a separate region in the lower parts of Sheol reserved for the especially wicked:

NKJ Ps. 30:3 O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
NKJ Isa. 14:15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit.
NKJ Isa. 38:18 For Sheol cannot thank You, Death cannot praise You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your truth.
NKJ Ezek. 31:16 `I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to hell together with those who descend into the Pit; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the depths of the earth.

0953 בּוֹר bowr {bore}
Meaning: 1) pit, well, cistern
Origin: from 0952 (in the sense of 0877); TWOT – 194e; n m
Usage: AV – pit 42, cistern 4, dungeon 11, well 9, dungeon + 01004 2, fountain 1; 69

07845 שַׁחַת shachath {shakh’-ath}
Meaning: 1) pit, destruction, grave 1a) pit (for catching lions) 1b) pit (of Sheol)

Twenty-three times the word “pit” translates (07845 שַׁחַת shachath) which is the main word for this particularly bad region of Sheol and from these uses we can deduce its synonymous with Abbadon denoting the unbelievers side of Sheol or Hades: :

NKJ Job 9:31 Yet You will plunge me into the pit, And my own clothes will abhor me.
NKJ Job 17:14 If I say to corruption,`You are my father,’ And to the worm,`You are my mother and my sister,’
NKJ Job 33:18 He keeps back his soul from the Pit, And his life from perishing by the sword.
NKJ Job 33:22 Yes, his soul draws near the Pit, And his life to the executioners.
NKJ Job 33:24 Then He is gracious to him, and says,`Deliver him from going down to the Pit; I have found a ransom’;
NKJ Job 33:28 He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit, And his life shall see the light.
NKJ Job 33:30 To bring back his soul from the Pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.
NKJ Ps. 7:15 He made a pit and dug it out, And has fallen into the ditch which he made.
NKJ Ps. 9:15 The nations have sunk down in the pit which they made; In the net which they hid, their own foot is caught.
NKJ Ps. 16:10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
NKJ Ps. 30:9 “What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?
NKJ Ps. 35:7 For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit, Which they have dug without cause for my life.
NKJ Ps. 49:9 That he should continue to live eternally, And not see the Pit.
NKJ Ps. 55:23 But You, O God, shall bring them down to the pit of destruction; Bloodthirsty and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; But I will trust in You.
NKJ Ps. 94:13 That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked.
NKJ Ps. 103:4 Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
NKJ Prov. 26:27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, And he who rolls a stone will have it roll back on him.
NKJ Isa. 38:17 Indeed it was for my own peace That I had great bitterness; But You have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.
NKJ Isa. 51:14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail.
NKJ Ezek. 19:4 The nations also heard of him; He was trapped in their pit, And they brought him with chains to the land of Egypt.
NKJ Ezek. 19:8 Then the nations set against him from the provinces on every side, And spread their net over him; He was trapped in their pit.
NKJ Ezek. 28:8 They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.
NKJ Jon. 2:6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.

[#F]

1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. (Ps. 40:1-3 NAU)

“Pit of destruction, miry clay” are names for the “unsaved” region of sheol. That someone is brought up out of that region and given a new song to sing and praise God implies probation after death, the repentance and salvation of the formerly lost soul.

I.19 A. Said R. Joshua b. Levi, “Gehenna has seven names and these are they: Netherworld, destruction, pit, [Slotki:] tumultuous pit, miry clay, shadow of death, and underworld.
B. “ ‘Netherworld’: ‘Out of the belly of the nether world I cried and you heard my voice’ (Jonah. 2:2);
C. “ ‘destruction’: ‘Shall your mercy be declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in destruction’ (Ps. 88:12);
D. “ ‘pit’: ‘For you will not abandon my soul to the nether world nor will you leave your godly one to see the pit’ (Ps. 16:10);
E. “ ‘tumultuous pit’: ‘He brought me up also out of the tumultuous pit, out of the miry clay’ (Ps. 40:3);
F. “ ‘miry clay’: ‘He brought me up also out of the tumultuous pit, out of the miry clay’ (Ps. 40:3);
G. “ ‘shadow of death’: ‘Such as sat in darkness and in the shadow of death’ (Ps. 107:10);
H. “ ‘and underworld’: This is a tradition.
I. And aren’t there any more names? There’s also Gehenna!
J. That means, a valley deep as the valley of Hinnom, into which anyone goes for hellish acts.
K. But what about the name, “Hearth,” as in “For a hearth is ordered of old” (Isa. 30:33)?
L. That means, whoever is inveigled [a word using the same consonants as hearth] by his impulse to do evil will fall in there. -Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 3, pp. 94–95). Hendrickson Publishers.

[#G]

12 But man in his pomp will not endure; He is like the beasts that perish.
13 This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words. Selah.
14 As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning, And their form shall be for Sheol to consume So that they have no habitation.
15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, For He will receive me. Selah. (Ps. 49:12-15 NAU)

Probation after death was implicitly stated. “Sheol consumes the form of the unrepentant wicked; but God will redeem my repentant soul from Sheol”.

Talmud quote proving that is how this verse was interpreted by some in the days of Christ:

[F] Gehenna will be consumed [by fire], but they will not be consumed,
[G] as it says [Ps. 49:14]: “And their form shall waste away; Sheol shall be their habitation.” -Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 6b, p. 84). Hendrickson Publishers.

[#H]

For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God In the light of the living. (Ps. 56:13 NAU)

Opinion was split on this verse, was it about the living or the dead? Note the Aramaic Targum gives both possibilities:

For you have delivered my soul from being killed, indeed, my feet from bruising, to walk before the LORD in the light of life. ANOTHER TARGUM: For you have delivered my soul from the death that the sinful die, indeed, my feet from stumbling through sin, so that I will walk before the LORD in the Garden of Eden to behold the light of the righteous. (Ps. 56:14 PST) =The Psalms Targum: An English Translation by Edward M. Cook (Thomas Nelson Inc., TN, 1982)

[#I]

(Ps. 68:18-20 NAU) 18 You have ascended on high, You have led captive Your captives; You have received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the LORD God may dwell there.
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. Selah.
20 God is to us a God of deliverances; And to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death. (Ps. 68:18-20 NAU)

03947 לָקַח laqach
Meaning: to take
Origin: a prim. root
Usage: accept(8), accepted(3), accepts(2), bring(18), brought(13), buy(1), buys(1), capture(2), captured(2), carry(3), caught(2), exact(1), find(1), flashing(1), flashing forth(1), get(25), gets(1), got(2), has(1), keep(1), married(9), married*(6), marries(1), marry(5), obtain(1), placed(2), procured(2), put(1), raise(3), receive(20), received(12), receives(3), receiving(1), seize(3), seized(2), select(1), selected(1), sent(1), supply(1), take(355), taken(74), takes(15), taking(2), took(352), took away(1), use(1), used(1), wins(1).

Most modern English translations render Ps. 68:18 03947 לָקַח laqach as ‘to take” rather than also possible meaning “to give” which is consistent not only with the New Testament, Seputagint and Aramaic Targums of this verse, but also the context where the “gifts” cause the rebellious to repent so God becomes “our Salvation” who thus provided us “deliverance”, “escapes from [certain] death” if we did not repent.

Therefore, this text implicitly teaches probation after death, deliverance from Sheol by Yahweh God the Son “who is our Salvation”.

8 Therefore it says, “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
9 (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)
11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. (Eph. 4:8-13 NAU)

The Aramaic Targum opines Moses is the Conqueror, but context identifies it is Yahweh God Himself, God the Eternal Son of the Father, Jesus Christ our LORD. It is He who teaches Holy Torah so we can live in God’s Holy Presence unashamed:

19 You ascended to the firmament, O prophet Moses; you captured captives, you taught the words of Torah, you gave gifts to the sons of men, and even the stubborn who are converted turn in repentance, and the glorious presence of the LORD God abides upon them.
20 Blessed be the LORD, every day he weighs us down, adding commandments to commandments; the mighty one, who is our redemption and our helper forever.
21 God is for us might and redemption …(Ps. 68:19-21 PST)

18 Thou art gone up on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for man, yea, for they were rebellious, that thou mightest dwell among them.
19 Blessed be the Lord God, blessed be the Lord daily; and the God of our salvation shall prosper us. Pause.
20 Our God is the God of salvation; and to the Lord belong the issues from death. (Ps. 68:18-20 LXE)

The NT clarifies these gifts were the apostles prophets teachers Christ gifted to the church to bring them into the one faith.

[#J]

13 But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Your lovingkindness, Answer me with Your saving truth.
14 Deliver me from the mire and do not let me sink; May I be delivered from my foes and from the deep waters.
15 May the flood of water not overflow me Nor the deep swallow me up, Nor the pit shut its mouth on me.
16 Answer me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; According to the greatness of Your compassion, turn to me,
17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant, For I am in distress; answer me quickly.
18 Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it; Ransom me because of my enemies! (Ps. 69:13-18 NAU)

“Flood of water…the deep” is an allusion to the “torrents of Belial” that draws souls into Sheol (See [#C]); “pit” to section of Sheol reserved for the unrepentant dammed (See [#E])

Therefore, the prayer God draw near and redeem his soul implies probation after death.

[#K]

19 For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?
20 You who have shown me many troubles and distresses Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
21 May You increase my greatness And turn to comfort me.
22 I will also praise You with a harp, Even Your truth, O my God; To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.
23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You; And my soul, which You have redeemed. (Ps. 71:19-23 NAU)

Probation after death clearly implicit after Divine instruction:

You have shown me….Will revive me again, And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

[#L]

18 This will be written for the generation to come, That a people yet to be created may praise the LORD.
19 For He looked down from His holy height; From heaven the LORD gazed upon the earth,
20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To set free those who were doomed to death,
21 That men may tell of the name of the LORD in Zion And His praise in Jerusalem,
22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. (Ps. 102:18-22 NAU)

Messianic prophecy of deliverance from Sheol prison to life in Zion in God’s Kingdom. Probation after death implicitly taught.

[#M]

2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; (Ps. 103:2-4 NAU)

“Pit” refers to section of Sheol reserved for the unrepentant dammed. Therefore, redemption required repentance and forgiveness occur first. Therefore, probation after death implicitly taught.

[#N]

1 I love the LORD, because He hears My voice and my supplications.
2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death encompassed me And the terrors of Sheol came upon me; I found distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I beseech You, save my life!”
5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate.
6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.
7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
8 For You have rescued my soul from death, My eyes from tears, My feet from stumbling.
9 I shall walk before the LORD In the land of the living. (Ps. 116:1-9 NAU)

II.14 A. [Reverting to II.12.A], R. Nahman bar Isaac said, “It is because it alludes to the deliverance of the souls of the righteous from Gehenna: ‘I beseech you, Lord, deliver my soul’ (Ps. 116:4).”
B. Hezekiah said, “It is because it contains a reference to the descent of the righteous into the fiery furnace and their ascent from it. Their descent: ‘not unto us, Lord, not to us’ was said by Hananiah; ‘but to your name give glory’ was said by Mishael; ‘for your mercy and for truth’s sake’ was said by Azariah; ‘wherefore should the nations say’ was said by all of them. It refers to their ascent: ‘praise the Lord all you nations’ was said by Hananiah; ‘laud him all you peoples’ was said by Mishael; ‘for his mercy is great toward us’ was said by Azariah; ‘and the truth of the Lord endures forever’ was said by all of them.” -Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 4, p. 547). Hendrickson Publishers.

R. Na’hman bar Itz’hak said: The small Hallel is recited for another reason, namely, because it contains the transposition of the souls of the righteous from Gehenna to Heaven, as it is written [Psalms 116:4]: “I beseech thee, O Lord! release any soul” (from Gehenna). -The Babylonian Talmud: Original Text, Edited, Corrected, Formulated, and Translated into English (M. L. Rodkinson, trans.; Vol. 5, pp. 251–252). (1918). The Talmud Society.

“Sheol came upon me…you have rescued my soul from death” imply the distress and sorrow produced a good result in the simple soul. Probation after death implicitly taught.

[#O]

7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
(Ps. 139:7-10 NAU)

Even in Sheol God’s hand leads, lays hold to save. Probation after death is implied.

[#P]

1 For seven women will take hold of one man in that day, saying, “We will eat our own bread and wear our own clothes, only let us be called by your name; take away our reproach!”
2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.
3 It will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy– everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem.
4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning,
5 then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy.
6 There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. (Isa. 4:1-6 NAU)

“Everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem” = Everyone in the Book of life who will live in Jerusalem. Context implies the “spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning” that purged the filth away, occurred in Sheol. Then this telescoped prophecy leaps to the time after Judgment Day to New Jerusalem.

Probation after death is implied by the context.

[#Q]

14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight. (Hos. 13:14 NAU)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 6:23-7:1

NAU)

Immediately after God asks “shall I ransom them” the answer comes with certainty, not only will they be redeemed but Sheol itself will be crushed, showing no compassion for it whatsoever.

Probation after death is implied because these in Sheol were redeemed from death. They died because of sin, the “wages of sin is death.”

[#R]

7 But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.
8 Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the LORD is a light for me.
9 I will bear the indignation of the LORD Because I have sinned against Him, Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, And I will see His righteousness. (Mic. 7:7-9 NAU)

“God of my salvation…God will hear me” implies a reversal, whether in this life, the afterlife or both are equally possible.
[#S]

9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you also, because of the blood of My covenant with you, I have set your prisoners free from the waterless pit. (Zech. 9:9-11 NAU)

The context is prophecy fulfilled by Christ. The unusual wording “blood of my covenant” unnatural in the OT is natural in the NT referencing the New Covenant in Christ’s blood:

Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. (Lk. 22:20 NKJ)

“Pit” is figuratively used in the OT for the part of Sheol/Hades where probation after death occurs. The symbolism of no water in this region of Sheol is also present in the Rich Man and Lazarus parable:

23 “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said,`Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ (Lk. 16:23-24 NKJ)

“So in verse 9 we have recorded the words which Matt. 21:4, 5 and John 12:14, 15 tell us were directly fulfilled when the Lord Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem amid the welcoming cries of the disciples, the children, and of the people. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation: lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Thus He came as the Prince of Peace, only to be eventually despised and set at naught. When He comes the second time, it will be as the Warrior-King on the white horse of victorious judgment (Rev. 19).

Between verse 9 and verse 10 this entire dispensation of grace comes in; for it is evident that the latter part of the chapter has never yet had its fulfilment. The King came, but was refused. His cross becomes the sign of salvation for all who trust Him; while He Himself has taken His seat on the Father’s throne in the heavens. Never for one hour has He occupied the throne of David which is yet to be His. That throne He will take when He descends from the heavens with power and great glory. Then He will cut off all the enemies of Jerusalem, and “He shall speak peace unto the heathen: and His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth” (ver. 10). Only when He appears in person will these words come to pass. There can be no Millennium without Christ.

At His glorious revelation He will deliver Judah’s prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water, through the blood of the covenant confirmed in His death, bringing salvation to these prisoners of hope, who will find in Him a stronghold and a defence from all their enemies—after He has rendered to Israel double for all their iniquities (Isa. 40:2; 61:7). Then shall Judah be as a strong bow in His hand, and Ephraim as a polished shaft, before whom the nations shall bow, owning the excellency of the God of Jacob (vers. 11–13)”.-Ironside, H. A. (1909). Notes on the Minor Prophets. (pp. 393–394). Loizeaux Brothers.

[#T]
Probation after death is implied by Romans 8:28-39 because even Hades itself must work for the good of them that love God. Let’s review the implications of this text:

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 (1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Pet. 4:6).

[#U]

Who are these “spirits in prison“?

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
20 who formerly were disobedient [disbelieving: 544 ἀπειθέω apeitheo], 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)

544 ἀπειθέω apeitheo {ap-i-theh’-o}
Meaning: 1) not to allow one’s self to be persuaded 1a) to refuse or withhold belief 1b) to refuse belief and obedience 2) not to comply with.-Strong’s Concordance

In the Exegetical Summary of 1 Peter appears a list of the different ways modern commentaries answer this question:

QUESTION—Who are the spirits he is referring to?
1. They are the spirits of the people of Noah’s generation [Alf, ICC, TG, TNTC; NJB, TEV].
2. They are supernatural beings.
2.1 They are fallen angels [NTC].
2.2 They are the fallen angels of Genesis 6:1–4 who married human women and had offspring by them [BNTC, EGT, IVP, NCBC, NIBC, NIC, Sel].
2.3 They are evil spirit beings who are the spiritual offspring of the fallen angels of Genesis 6:1–4 who married human women and had offspring by them [WBC].
-Abernathy, D. (2008). An Exegetical Summary of 1 Peter (2nd ed., p. 137). SIL International.

Answer #1 is impossible because Scripture never refers to unregenerate humans as “spirits.” Only Believers who partake of the “divine nature of God” (2 Pet. 1:4) thereby regenerated (Tit. 3:5) have “spirits” that can be grouped with angelic spirits under the heading of what springs from God, the “sons of Elohim” (Gen. 6:2). For example, the “spirits of the prophets” (1 Cor. 14:32) or “spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:23) are children of God (Jn. 1:13; 1 Pt. 1:22. None of the humans Noah preached to could have been classed among this group for if they were they would not have ended up in a prison in hell (Gen. 25:8; Lk. 16:22).

Answer #2 is ruled out by context, Noah preached to these πνεύμασιν therefore they can’t be “unclean spirits” (Mk. 1:27; Lk. 4:36; 1 Ti. 4:1),

Both Answer #2.1 and 2.2 are also ruled out by the context. Christ would not preach to fallen angels. The πνεύμασιν Christ preached to “gave the answer of a good conscience towards God” thus reversing their “disobedience brought on by disbelief (544 ἀπειθέω apeitheo) and so becoming an antitype to how belief manifested during baptism now “saves us”. Moreover, Peter locates the sinning angels of Genesis 6:1-4 as still in hell, in “chains of darkness in Tartarus” (2 Pt. 2:4) . Finally, the context of 1 Peter 3:18-22 implies these are the captives Christ led “in his train” (Eph. 4:8-10) when He “took captivity captive and gave gifts to men” in heaven and on earth. These spirits now having believed went with Christ when He had “gone into heaven” as all “angels and authorities and powers” were made subject to Him (1 Pt. 3:22).

Answer 2.3 is also impossible. Evil spirit beings would not suffer Noah’s preaching.

The Commentaries missed another possibility, the “spirits in prison” are the “good spirit beings” the offspring of both the Nephilim (fallen Ones) and the “sons of God” who were blameless other than refusing to believe Noah’s preaching God would forgive their angel-human nature which defiled the image of God in man, an abomination.

Theses spirits were a “special case” and therefore kept separate from human dead and their angelic fathers and put in a separate “prison.” This is why Christ made a special trip proclaiming the truth of the gospel that God’s Mercy and Forgiveness also applied to them, that God would indeed forgive their nature, a sin they had no control over.

As for the angelic “Sons of God”, because they did not join Satan’s rebellion but sinned leaving their own habitation (Jude 1:6-7), they were seperated from demons who were cast into the tormenting abyss (Lk. 8:31; Rev. 9:1-12); they went to Tartarus and chained in darkness (2 Pet. 2:4)

So the “spirits in prison” are the “men of renown” (Gen. 6:4) also called “Titans” in Greek mythology, who died physically in the Flood—Genesis 7:21-23 thrice emphasizes “all …that was on dry land died”.

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 and the flood with Baptism, where “the like figure” of all who respond with belief are saved, having given the “answer of a good conscience to God”.

[#X]

“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. (Rev. 1:18 NKJ)

Using keys to open the gates of Hades and Death implies probation after death.

END

Lazarus and the Rich Man: Can the Rich Man Repent and be Saved?
The Judgment of the Unsaved Sheep and Goats At Christ’s Return
Predestination unto Salvation: Was Divine Election Conditional or Unconditional?
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
Tell Christians what you believe


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1 thought on “Billions Now Living May Never Die! Billions Now Dead May Rise To life!”

  1. Four Early Church Fathers who were familiar with the concept of God preaching to the unsaved in hell:

    Preaching to the Dead in the Early Church Fathers listed in Chronological Order

    #1
    Hermas 1st or 2d century. Author of an allegorical work entitled The Shepherd, which was widely read and held in great esteem by many early Christian churches. Origen believed the author to be the same person referred to by Paul in Romans 16:14. The Muratorian Fragment asserts that he was the brother of Pius, second century bishop of Rome.
    – Bercot, D. W., ed. (1998). In A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers (p. xvii). Hendrickson Publishers.

    “Because,” he said, “these apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after falling asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached it not only to those who were asleep, but themselves also gave them the seal of the preaching. Accordingly they descended with them into the water, and again ascended. [But these descended alive and rose up again alive; whereas they who had previously fallen asleep descended dead, but rose up again alive.6]

    6 All the translations and Clemens Alexandrinus (Strom., vi. 6, 46) have this passage. It is omitted in Lips.

    The Pastor of Hermas. In F. Crombie (Trans.), Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire) (Vol. 2, p. 49). Christian Literature Company.


    #2

    Irenaeus c. 130–200. Bishop of the church at Lyons (in modern-day France). When he was a boy, Irenaeus had heard Polycarp teach. From this, it is generally supposed that Irenaeus was a native of Smyrna. In 190, Irenaeus wrote to Victor, bishop of Rome, pleading tolerance for the Christians of Asia Minor who celebrated Easter on a different day than did Rome. He is classified herein as both Eastern and Western, since he was from an Eastern background but ministered in the West.
    Bercot, D. W., ed. (1998). In A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers (p. xvii). Hendrickson Publishers.

    Book IV, Chapter XXVII
    2. It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also, and [declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him.5 Now all those believed in Him who had hope towards Him, that is, those who proclaimed His advent, and submitted to His dispensations, the righteous men, the prophets, and the patriarchs, to whom He remitted sins in the same way as He did to us, which sins we should not lay to their charge, if we would not despise the grace of God. For as these men did not impute unto us (the Gentiles) our transgressions, which we wrought before Christ was manifested among us, so also it is not right that we should lay blame upon those who sinned before Christ’s coming. For “all men come short of the glory of God,”6 and are not justified of themselves, but by the advent of the Lord,—they who earnestly direct their eyes towards His light.
    5 [1 Pet. 3:19, 20.] 6 Rom. 3:23. [Another testimony to the mercy of God in the judgment of the unevangelized. There must have been some reason for the secrecy with which “that presbyter’s” name is guarded. Irenæus may have scrupled to draw the wrath of the Gnostics upon any name but his own.]

    Irenaeus of Lyons. (1885). Irenæus against Heresies. In A. Roberts, J. Donaldson, & A. C. Coxe (Eds.), The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (Vol. 1, p. 467). Christian Literature Company.

    #3 
    Clement of Alexandria (KLEM-әnt) c. 150–215. Learned Christian teacher at Alexandria, Egypt, who was in charge of the catechetical school there. Origen was one of his pupils. In his largest extant work, Miscellanies, Clement attempted unsuccessfuly to wrest the term “gnostic” (one who knows) away from the heretics and give it a Christian meaning. To avoid confusion, I have rendered his Christian “gnostic” as “spiritual man” herein. A few of the quotations herein from Clement have been translated from the Latin passages appearing in the Ante-Nicene Fathers
    Bercot, D. W., ed. (1998). In A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers (p. xvi). Hendrickson Publishers.

    Clement argues God’s mercy to the dead parallels what is shown the living.

    CHAP. VI.—THE GOSPEL WAS PREACHED TO JEWS AND GENTILES IN HADES.2
    But as the proclamation [of the Gospel] has come now at the fit time, so also at the fit time were the Law and the Prophets given to the Barbarians, and Philosophy to the Greeks, to fit their ears for the Gospel. “Therefore,” says the Lord who delivered Israel, “in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee. And I have given thee for a Covenant to the nations; that thou mightiest inhabit the earth, and receive the inheritance of the wilderness; saying to those that are in bonds, Come forth; and to those that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” For if the “prisoners” are the Jews, of whom the Lord said, “Come forth, ye that will, from your bonds,”—meaning the voluntary bound, and who have taken on them “the burdens grievous to be borne”3 by human injunction—it is plain that “those in darkness” are they who have the ruling faculty of the soul buried in idolatry.

    For to those who were righteous according to the law, faith was wanting. Wherefore also the Lord, in healing them, said, “Thy faith hath saved thee.”4 But to those that were righteous according to philosophy, not only faith in the Lord, but also the abandonment of idolatry, were necessary. Straightway, on the revelation of the truth, they also repented of their previous conduct.

    Wherefore the Lord preached the Gospel to those in Hades. Accordingly the Scripture says, “Hades says to Destruction. We have not seen His form, but we have heard His voice.”5 It is not plainly the place, which, the words above say, heard the voice, but those who have been put in Hades, and have abandoned themselves to destruction, as persons who have thrown themselves voluntarily from a ship into the sea. They, then, are those that hear the divine power and voice. For who in his senses can suppose the souls of the righteous and those of sinners in the same condemnation, charging Providence with injustice?

    But how? Do not [the Scriptures] show that the Lord preached6 the Gospel to those that perished in the flood, or rather had been chained, and to those kept “in ward and guard”?7 And it has been shown also,8 in the second book of the Stromata, that the apostles, following the Lord, preached the Gospel to those in Hades. For it was requisite, in my opinion, that as here, so also there, the best of the disciples should be imitators of the Master; so that He should bring to repentance those belonging to the Hebrews, and they the Gentiles; that is, those who had lived in righteousness according to the Law and Philosophy, who had ended life not perfectly, but sinfully. For it was suitable to the divine administration, that those possessed of greater worth in righteousness, and whose life had been pre-eminent, on repenting of their transgressions, though found in another place, yet being confessedly of the number of the people of God Almighty, should be saved, each one according to his individual knowledge.

    And, as I think, the Saviour also exerts His might because it is His work to save; which accordingly He also did by drawing to salvation those who became willing, by the preaching [of the Gospel], to believe on Him, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel, as He did descend; it was either to preach the Gospel to all or to the Hebrews only. If, accordingly, to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there; since God’s punishments are saving and disciplinary, leading to conversion, and choosing rather the repentance than the death of a sinner;1 and especially since souls, although darkened by passions, when released from their bodies, are able to perceive more clearly, because of their being no longer obstructed by the paltry flesh.

    If, then, He preached only to the Jews, who wanted the knowledge and faith of the Saviour, it is plain that, since God is no respecter of persons, the apostles also, as here, so there, preached the Gospel to those of the heathen who were ready for conversion. And it is well said by the Shepherd, “They went down with them therefore into the water, and again ascended. But these descended alive, and again ascended alive. But those who had fallen asleep, descended dead, but ascended alive.”2 Further, the Gospel3 says, “that many bodies of those that slept arose,”—plainly as having been translated to a better state.4 There took place, then, a universal movement and translation through the economy of the Saviour.5

    One righteous man, then, differs not, as righteous, from another righteous man, whether he be of the Law or a Greek. For God is not only Lord of the Jews, but of all men, and more nearly the Father of those who know Him. For if to live well and according to the law is to live, also to live rationally according to the law is to live; and those who lived rightly before the Law were classed under faith,6 and judged to be righteous,—it is evident that those, too, who were outside of the Law, having lived rightly, in consequence of the peculiar nature of the voice,7 though they are in Hades and in ward,8 on hearing the voice of the Lord, whether that of His own person or that acting through His apostles, with all speed turned and believed. For we remember that the Lord is “the power of God,”9 and power can never be weak.

    So I think it is demonstrated that the God being good, and the Lord powerful, they save with a righteousness and equality which extend to all that turn to Him, whether here or elsewhere. For it is not here alone that the active power of God is beforehand, but it is everywhere and is always at work. Accordingly, in the Preaching of Peter, the Lord says to the disciples after the resurrection, “I have chosen you twelve disciples, judging you worthy of me,” whom the Lord wished to be apostles, having judged them faithful, sending them into the world to the men on the earth, that they may know that there is one God, showing clearly what would take place by the faith of Christ; that they who heard and believed should be saved; and that those who believed not, after having heard, should bear witness, not having the excuse to allege, We have not heard.

    What then? Did not the same dispensation obtain in Hades, so that even there, all the souls, on hearing the proclamation, might either exhibit repentance, or confess that their punishment was just, because they believed not? And it were the exercise of no ordinary arbitrariness, for those who had departed before the advent of the Lord (not having the Gospel preached to them, and having afforded no ground from themselves, in consequence of believing or not) to obtain either salvation or punishment. For it is not right that these should be condemned without trial, and that those alone who lived after the advent should have the advantage of the divine righteousness. But to all rational souls it was said from above, “Whatever one of you has done in ignorance, without clearly knowing God, if, on becoming conscious, he repent, all his sins will be forgiven him.”10 “For, behold,” it is said, “I have set before your face death and life, that ye may choose life.”11 God says that He set, not that He made both, in order to the comparison of choice. And in another Scripture He says, “If ye hear Me, and be willing, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye hear Me not, and are not willing, the sword shall devour you: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken these things.”12

    Again, David expressly (or rather the Lord in the person of the saint, and the same from the foundation of the world is each one who at different periods is saved, and shall be saved by faith) says, “My heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced, and my flesh shall still rest in hope. For Thou shalt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt Thou give Thine holy one to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the paths of life, Thou wilt make me full of joy in Thy presence.”13 As, then, the people was precious to the Lord, so also is the entire holy people; he also who is converted from the Gentiles, who was prophesied under the name of proselyte, along with the Jew. For rightly the Scripture says, that “the ox and the bear shall come together.”14 For the Jew is designated by the ox, from the animal under the yoke being reckoned clean, according to the law; for the ox both parts the hoof and chews the cud. And the Gentile is designated by the bear, which is an unclean and wild beast. And this animal brings forth a shapeless lump of flesh, which it shapes into the likeness of a beast solely by its tongue. For he who is converted from among the Gentiles is formed from a beastlike life to gentleness by the word; and, when once tamed, is made clean, just as the ox. For example, the prophet says, “The sirens, and the daughters of the sparrows, and all the beasts of the field, shall bless me.”1 Of the number of unclean animals, the wild beasts of the field are known to be, that is, of the world; since those who are wild in respect of faith, and polluted in life, and not purified by the righteousness which is according to the law, are called wild beasts. But changed from wild beasts by the faith of the Lord, they become men of God, advancing from the wish to change to the fact. For some the Lord exhorts, and to those who have already made the attempt he stretches forth His hand, and draws them up. “For the Lord dreads not the face of any one, nor will He regard greatness; for He hath made small and great, and cares alike for all.”2 And David says, “For the heathen are fixed in the destruction they have caused; their foot is taken in the snare which they hid.”3 “But the LORD was a refuge to the poor, a help in season also in affliction.”4 Those, then, that were in affliction had the Gospel seasonably proclaimed. And therefore it said, “Declare among the heathen his pursuits,”5 that they may not be judged unjustly.

    If, then, He preached the Gospel to those in the flesh that they might not be condemned unjustly, how is it conceivable that He did not for the same cause preach the Gospel to those who had departed this life before His advent? “For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness: His countenance beholdeth uprightness.”6 “But he that loveth wickedness hateth his own soul.”7

    If, then, in the deluge all sinful flesh perished, punishment having been inflicted on them for correction, we must first believe that the will of God, which is disciplinary and beneficent,8 saves those who turn to Him. Then, too, the more subtle substance, the soul, could never receive any injury from the grosser element of water, its subtle and simple nature rendering it impalpable, called as it is incorporeal. But whatever is gross, made so in consequence of sin, this is cast away along with the carnal spirit which lusts against the soul.9

    #4
    Hippolytus (hip-ÄL-әt-әs) c. 170–236. A leading presbyter in the church in Rome near the beginning of the third century. He attacked the theology and discipline of two Roman bishops, Zephyrinus and Callistus, and apparently led a schism in the Roman church for awhile. His principal work was the Refutation of All Heresies. Among other works, he also wrote commentaries on Daniel and the Song of Songs. He died as a martyr.
    Bercot, D. W., ed. (1998). In A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs: A Reference Guide to More than 700 Topics Discussed by the Early Church Fathers (p. xvii). Hendrickson Publishers.

    Omnem potestatem ostendit, quæ a Patre data Filio est35, qui cœlestium, terrestrium et infernorum rex36, omniumque judex constitutus est: cœlestium quidem, quod Verbum Patris ante sæcula exstiterit; terrestrium vero, quod homo inter homines natus est, ut a se ipse Adamum reformaret; infernorum autem, quod inter mortuos reputatus, sanctorum animabus prædicans37, morte victor mortis exstitit.
    Migne, J. P. (1857). Patrologia Graeca: Latin Text: Vol. X (p. 747). J. P. Migne

    Logos10 English Translation:
    He shows all the power which is given by the Father to the Son, who is the king of the heavens, the earth, and the hells, and is appointed the judge of all: indeed, of the heavens, because the Word of the Father existed before the ages; but earthly, that man was born among men, that he himself might reform Adam; and of the hells, because he was reckoned among the dead, preaching to the souls of the saints, and by death the conqueror of death existed.-

    Hippolytus, THE DEMONSTRATION OF CHRIST AND THE ANTICHRIST, 37.

    As the Palestinian Jewish influence vanished in the Church the idea God Himself would evangelize all the dead (excepting those who commit eternal sins), morphed into something reserved only for Christians in purgatory to cleanse them of all unrighteousness.

    The conclusion Catholic Purgatory is a corruption of Apostolic Doctrine is obvious.

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