Recently I have been in discussions with some friends that read my blog fairly consistently and they have, in an effort to understand my beliefs, have baited me by calling me a universalist.
That is fair, since I may not have defined every specific teaching as they may want, most likely due to the fact I honestly haven’t come to a settled persuasion on some of the teaching they may ask about me.
Initially, as I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of passages that support an evangelical universal reconciliation teaching. Please do not think that this teaching is the same as the “all roads lead to heaven” teaching, which I consider to be blasphemous. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.
With this, I would like to begin delving into some of the New Testament passages Mr. Giles brought to my attention, for your consideration, edification and civil discussion.
Regarding the book itself, I read it in one sitting, not simply because it was under 200 pages, but that it was challenging my thought process and I found it enjoyable reading. If this topic interests you, please pick up a copy. It is well worth your time.
Our sixth blog post will begin with passage 6, Philippians 2:10-11
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
This passage surprised me. Not that every knee should bow and every tongue confess.
No, I have always understood this passage to describe every soul that has ever existed to come to the realization of the Lordship and Deity of Jesus Christ, either joyfully as believers confessing the Lord or grudgingly under compulsion, by those who rejected the Messiah in their lives on earth.
It makes sense and caused no challenge to my general thinking of the afterlife. After all, I was on the “right side” and it wasn’t an issue for me at the time. No cause to research the passage any further, until I picked up Mr. Giles book.
This passage, when considering the translation of the greek word exomologeō within the passage shook my thinking. You see, this greek work is translated as “confess” in our passage, as in
…every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue exomologeō that Jesus Christ is Lord.
This word is not the simple word for confess, as in agreeing, or saying the same thing as another. That would be the Greek word homologeō, and I think it is obvious that the last few letters are similar to the word mentioned above. The difference is the beginning of the word, and Paul used our special word here in Philippians instead of the simple word for confess.
So, what’s the big deal Carl?
This word, exomologeō that we find in our passage in Phillippians has the following definition found in Thayers Greek Lexicon. (underline by author)
….. Philippians 2:11 R G L text Tr text WH]; (ἐξ either forth from the heart, freely, or publicly, openly [cf. Winers Grammar, 102 (97)]); active and deponent middle to confess, to profess;
Notice the difference? It isn’t simply confessing. It’s more than that!
Ok – let’s try The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon
- to confess
- to profess
- acknowledge openly and joyfully
- to one’s honour: to celebrate, give praise to
- to profess that one will do something, to promise, agree, engage
There is a difference in the reason for the confessing. Notice the first sub – bullet above. To acknowledge openly and joyfully.
I have always understood that those who rejected the Messiah would confess Him as Lord, but under compulsion, and grudgingly. If every tongue confesses joyfully of the Lord Jesus Christ, that messes up my nice tidy eschatology.
Why would someone who hated Jesus his whole life, and at the end, when there is no hope of redemption, no hope of love or mercy, but only eternal fire and conscience eternal torment, why would that person joyfully confess Jesus as Lord?
Paul states that every knees will bow and every tongue joyfully confess (exomologeo) that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God.
What are we to make of this finding?
How good is this good news???
Additional study for those interested!
Consider the use of this Greek word in the New Testament, and see if this definition of “joyfully confess”, fits your previous understanding. Let me know if one or more of these verses “pop” for you. I’ll tell you now – Philippians was a surprise, but a couple more below brought some additional light to the message.
Matthew 3:6: “him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Matthew 11:25: “Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven”
Mark 1:5: “the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Luke 10:21: “in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven”
Luke 22:6: “And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them”
Acts 19:18: “many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.”
Romans 14:11: “to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
Romans 15:9: “as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles,”
Philippians 2:11: “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,”
James 5:16: ” Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that”
Revelation 3:5: “book of life, but I will confess his name before my”
Thanks for joining and considering the Bible with me. Your thoughts are always welcome, and I look forward to discussing the Word with you.
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.