Book Look · Church · Eschatology · Hell · Kingdom of God

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Anathema

In oversimplified terms, universal reconciliation speaks of the eventual redemption of every soul ever created through the work of the Messiah and His sacrifice on the cross. This teaching does not remove the existence of hell, or the suffering associated with it, but it does challenge it’s never ending duration, and the purpose of the flames.

This series of posts, on the book “Heaven’s Doors” will be my last on the topic of universal reconciliation (not universalism). I am thankful to my Calvinist friend for directing me to this “heresy”. The teaching of universal reconciliation has more Scriptural support than I imagined and is worth considering if you are of an open mind and willing to consider alternate views to expand your understanding of the Word.

Of course if you are convinced you are completely right, without error, and doctrinally pure, this topic would be a waste of your time. Please move on!

This post will address Anathema

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel
not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:6-9

Wow. False preachers and teachers are doomed to hell. That is the message I understood as I listened to various “non-false” preachers and teachers through the years. But I always came away from these messages full of fear, fear that, even as a believer, I might say something or do something that would constitute false teaching!

A little background to the passage under consideration. Paul won the galations to Christ on his first missionary journey and had suffered terribly on the trip. He had a heart for these believers and wanted only the best for them. But after hearing of their defection from Christ, he was livid! Livid with the gullible galations, and piping hot with the false teachers!

These teachers were adding to the work of Christ for the believer, distracting them from His loving kindness by getting them to focus on themselves. They had come in after Paul’s work in the area, and completely ravaged his message of the gospel of grace through Christ. Adding Jewish requirements to the freedom they had found in Christ, burdening them with sabbath laws, food restrictions, bodily appearances (if your a man – know what I mean?)

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. – Galatians 5:1

So when he declares that any who preach a false gospel be under anathema, that surely means continual, conscious terror in torments and sulfer, suffering under the wrath of God in the Lake of Fire. Surely it means that!

Lets look at the term to justify this teaching, (or to get some clarity!)

The term translated as “accursed” is the Greek term anathema. According to this except from Vines Expository Dictionary, the general meaning of the word is “the disfavor of Jehovah”. The following verses include this term in the New Testament

They went to the chief priests and elders and said, “We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath (anathema) to taste no food till we have killed Paul. – Acts 23:14

These assassin wannabe’s were dead serious in taking Paul out of the equation for the sake of the Jewish religion. They cursed themselves with a curse, calling down God’s disfavor upon their own heads if they did not kill Paul. You know, if they only had listened to Paul, they would have realized they needed not to call God’s disfavor down upon themselves, since they already were condemned, under the wrath of God, until they came to know the very Person they were persecuting!

For I could wish that I myself were accursed (anathema) and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. – Romans 9:3

This verse causes some concern for those who may be committed to the once saved always saved camp, if the term accursed actually means to be sent to hell, to suffer continually in flames and torment. This is Paul’s wish, that he go to hell in order for the sake of his Jewish brethren. But Paul – you are a Christian – you cannot go to hell. But that is the conclusion if anathema actually should be understood to equal hell fire and torment.

But if we look at the term as meaning “to be under Jehovah’s disfavor”, this allows for much room to understand the condition Paul is speaking of here. For Paul to be under God’s disfavor may be a condition he would experience on the earth, prior to his death, while journeying or preaching. We simply do not know the specific scope of Paul’s meaning when he uses this term, other than it is very negative and a claim to the extent of Paul’s love for the Jews.

Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” (anathema) and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:3

The Spirit will never lead anyone to say that Jesus is “under Jehovah’s disfavor”. How could that be, since He pleased the Father in all things, and was obedient to death, even the death of the cross.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (anathema) As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (anathema) Galatians 1:8-9

Back to our original verses under consideration. Can you see that Paul is enraged at the destruction that the church has suffered under these false preachers and teachers. He calls upon them Jehovah’s disfavor, handing them over to God, in order for Him (and not the apostle) to teach them truth, to discipline them, to correct them and if all else fails to destroy them, (physical death?)

To be accursed is a terrible frightful condition to be placed under. Let not the reader take this lightly, or to consider that to be under the disfavor of Jehovah is a minor inconvenience. To be under Jehovah’s disfavor, in my mind, may be likened to being under God’s wrath, as we all have been in our past, (or even the present, if you know not the Lord!)

Both of these conditions require, no – demand that the soul flee to the Savior, for He is the only One who has satisfied the Father. He is completely in union with and in the favor of the One True God.

Seek the Son, and trust Him.

May the Lord of Glory bless you as you seek His favor.


For other books on this same topic, I would refer you to Jesus Undefeated – a 10 part series, and The Inescapable Love of God. One additional book that I have not posted on is by David Artman, Grace Saves All.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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