End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Laodicea

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our seventh and final letter is to the Church of Laodicea

John reaches back into the last days of Israel for this church. At the risk of being too specific, this may refer to that last generation prior to the fall of Israel in 70 AD.

Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:14-22

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

Consider the following

  • Wealth and self sufficiency was a fitting description for pharisaical Israel of the last days. (Luke 18:9-14)
  • The nation of Israel was about to be “spewed out” of the land in fulfillment of the curse (Lev 18:24-28, Luke 21:24)
  • Israel is urged to repent and accept Jesus as Messiah.
  • Overcomers are promised the blessing of ruling with the Messiah, as the New Covenant promise was originally given to the people of Israel

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Philadelphia

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our sixth letter is to the Church of Philadelphia

John reaches back into the return from exile under Ezra and Nehemiah for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:7-13.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • An imagery of a synagogue / temple is given in this passage
  • The Jews of this period had a “little power”, as the church is described.
  • The open door speaks of the opportunity granted the exilic Jews to follow, along with this churches opportunity.
  • The synagogue of Satan may speak of parallels with the false Jews referred to during the time of Nehemiah’s rebuilding program. (Nehemiah 4, 6 and 13)
  • A coming time of testing, to test those who dwell on the land, may speak of Daniel 8 and 11, and of the tribulation of Antiochus Epiphanes
  • The overcomer will be made a pillar in the temple
  • The overcomer will share the blessings of the New Jerusalem

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Sardis

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fifth letter is to the Church of Sardis

John reaches back into the later prophetic period of Israel’s history for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • The Angel speaks of the seven spirits and seven stars, reaching back to a witness by the prophets speaking by the Spirit of God
  • A remnant is referred to often in the prophets writing during this time (Isaiah 1:5-23, 6:9-13, 65:8-16, Jeremiah 7:1-7, 8:11-12)
  • Imminent judgement on this church is declared, as with the pre-exilic prophets message (Isaiah 1:24-31, 2:12-21, 26:20-21, Jeremiah 4:5-31, 7:12-15, 11:9-13.)

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Thyatira

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fourth letter is to the Church of Thyatira

John reaches back into period of Israelite monarchy for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:18-29

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works,
and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works.
But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden.
Only hold fast what you have until I come.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
And I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is introduced as the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 89:19-37, Jer 30:9, Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24-28, Hos 3:5)
  • Jezebel is referred to and rebuked in both this period and this church (1 Kings 16:29-34, 21:25-26)
  • Tribulation is threated upon both Jezebels (1 Kings 17:1, James 5:17)
  • Both will loose their lives and their offspring (2 Kings 9:22-37)
  • Overcomers, like David, will be granted authority over nations (2 Sam 7:19, 8:14)
  • The final promise for overcomers reaches back to Ps 2:9

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Pergamum

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our third letter is to the Church of Pergamum

John reaches back into the travails of Israel in the wilderness for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:12-17
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’

Consider the following

  • Pergamum dwells amongst demons, reminding us of Israel’s travels passing through the abode of demons (Lev. 16:10, 17:7, Deut 8:15)
  • Pergamum’s enemies are described as Balak and Balaam. (Num 25:1-3, 31:16)
  • Christ will make war against Balaamites with a sword in like manner as the angel of the Lord and Phineas (Numbers 22:31, 24:7-8)
  • To the overcomers, a promise of hidden manna (Heb 9:4) and a new name on a white stone, speaking of the redeemed people represented on the High Priest clothing (Ex 28:9-12). Note the stone for Pergamum is white, speaking of purity.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Smyrna

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our second letter is to the Church of Smyrna

John reaches back into the patriarchs (Abraham – Joseph and the children of Israel) for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:8-11

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’

Consider the following

  • Jesus is as one who was dead and is alive, with the foreshadowing of a number of stories
    • Isaac’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 22:1-14)
    • Joseph’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 37:18-36, 39:20 – 41:45, 45:4-8, 50:20, Heb 11:17-19)
    • Israel’s salvation from bondage of Egypt
  • The church is described as poor yet being rich is similar to Abraham and his family as they lived as aliens in the land of promise
  • Persecution of true Jews by false Jews as Isaac was persecuted by Ismael (Gen 21:9)
  • The threat of imprisonment via slander mirrors Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar (Gen 39:13-20)
  • The blessing of the crown of life for the faithful is pictured (Gen 41:40-44)
  • Aaron wore a crown of life, (Ex 28:36-38) picturing the fully redeemed man
  • Israel’s victory through ten plagues echoes the tribulation of ten days before Israel’s deliverance

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Judas

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 Judas

For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” – Mark 14:21

So many questions about Judas. Was he a believer that apostatized or simply a professor that fooled everyone. Again, some of these questions are for another post, and I will restrict myself to Mr. Sarris verse reference for the sake of brevity.

To have an existence that is worse than nonexistence! Wow. That has got to be terrible.

A number of times in the Scripture, cursing one’s birth is recorded. Think of Jeremiah

Cursed be the day on which I was born! The day when my mother bore me, let it not be blessed! – Jer 20:14

Or Job

“Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ – Job 3:3

You may remember others, but the point is that this is not uncommon for the Word to record this attitude. Jesus actually referred to the attitude towards Judas as being of woe, as in “woe to that man”.

Woe. What an uncommon word. When was the last time you heard this word in a conversation?

Turns out, this word (ouai) is a primary exclamation of grief.

Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)οὐαίouaí, oo-ah’-ee; a primary exclamation of grief; “woe”:—alas, woe.

Sorrow. Grief. Deep heartache. Sadness. Distress. Jesus was referring to sorrow, not anger. He was speaking of the pain of the decision Judas was making and of the resultant deep heartache from this action of betrayal.

So we could read it as “sorrow to this man”. But what man is experiencing the sorrow? I have always associated Judas with the sorrow, the woe.

Mr Sarris brings to our attention that Jesus, in these verses, is speaking of two people, The Son of Man and Judas. Consider the Mark 14:21 with the pronouns identified.

For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man (Judas) by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man (the Son of Man) if he (Judas) had not been born.” – Mark 14:21

Jesus, in this understanding of the verse, is speaking of the grief He would experience concerning Judas, his disciple who was to betray Him.

A Rambling

One other finding that may be of interest to the reader. The last phrase in the verse is translated in the ESV as…

It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.

As I look through the various translations, a number of the literal translations prefer to use “good” as opposed to better.

  • … good were it to him if that man had not been born.’ – Mar 14:21 YLT
  • … good were it for that man if he had never been born. – Mar 14:21 KJV
  • … [It would have been] good for that man if he had not been born.” – Mar 14:21 NASB20
  • … good were it for that man if he had not been born. – Mar 14:21 ASV

As an aside, there is a difference between better (which is a comparative term) and good (which is a qualitative term) So what Carl – this ain’t English class, eh? I know I know – I am not an English major and never have been, but these things sometimes tickle my mind and make think. Ok so here is what I am thinking.

“Good” for Jesus if Judas had not been born is simply a statement of negation on Judas’ life. – No life for Judas, no existence. Jesus would not have had the sorrow of his close friends betrayal

“Better” for Jesus if Judas had not been born is a comparison with something that is worse. This by implication speaks of suffering, regret, pain on top of the betrayal of his disciple.

This rambling is brought to you by a fuzzy headed writer that is offering a concept to be discussed.

Another Rambling

You know, (one more rambling coming – ) when the Lord walked amongst us, the established God ordained religion of Judaism rejected His message of inclusion, of accepting sinners and tax collectors, even non-Jews into the family of God. It was heresy, and beyond accepted religious thinking. And yet out of this “heresy”, a multinational family of saints has erupted and the expansion of the Body of Christ / the Kingdom of God is greater than any first century religious Jew may have ever expected.

Are we moderns possibly of the same ilk in our understanding of God’s wonderful mercy as the first century Jewish religion?

The body of the post is also available for discussion of course, and I would appreciate your thoughts. As this is the last post on this book, I would like to thank all who have travelled with me in this somewhat surprising book of Mr. Sarris. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the challenges it provided my thinking. I can not say I am a convinced Universal Reconciliation adherent, but I have definitely seen reasons why some understand the Scripture to provide this hope to God’s creation.

Something to consider – Ramblings done – Thanks for reading.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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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.

End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Ephesus

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our first letter is to the Church of the Ephesians.

John reaches back into the garden for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:1-7

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false.
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is announced as the Creator.
  • Adam was granted privilege of labor in the garden, and this church has an emphasis on labor in its description
  • Christ walked amongst the lampstands to judge the church, as God had walked amongst His original creation in judgement (Gen 3:8).
  • The angel was commanded to guard the church, in similar fashion to Adam guarding the garden (Gen 2:15)
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church had fallen, failing in their duties.
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church left their first love
  • Christ threatens to remove the lamp from the church, even as God removed the Tree of Life from Adam and Eve’s through restricting their access to the garden
  • The Tree of Life was available to Adam, and now available to all who overcome.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – The Book of Life

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 The Book of Life

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. – Revelation 20:15

But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. – Revelation 21:27

The Book of Life is spoken of in the New Testament in many areas and in many ways, but I would like to restrict myself to the passages Mr. Sarris refers to in his book. After all, we are discussing the book “Heaven’s Doors”, and the topics he brings up.

If the Lake of Fire is a temporary condition, albeit a potentially extremely long period, how can we understand the fact that if a name isn’t found in the Book of Life, they will never enter the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21:9-27 describe the beauty, glory and inhabitants of the New Jerusalem , and the passage ends with verse 27, where we find out that entrance or access to the city will be through inclusion in the Lambs Book of Life. If you name isn’t in it, no access! In the Lake of Fire you shall go!

This seems to be a slam dunk for restriction from the Heavenly City. The Lake of Fire may have a time element to it (see previous posts) but there doesn’t seem to be a time element to the restriction to the city. This must surely be the set of verses that completely negates the teaching of Universal Reconciliation.

By the way, when Abram comes to the entrance to the New Jerusalem, does the Lamb’s Book of Life record his name as Abram, or Abraham? How about Saul? Or Simon, renamed Peter?

Early on in the book of Revelation, a promise is given to the church of Pergamum.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’ – Rev 2:17

The Lambs Book of Life has names in it. A limited number of names. These names represent created ones.

Will you become a new creation, and receive a new name, that is waiting for you in the Lamb’s Book of Life?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2Co 5:17

15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. – Gal 6:15

Trust in the Lord Jesus, receive His love and mercy, His salvation from sin and death, by way of His cruel death and resurrection from the dead.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. – 2Co 6:2 ESV

Become a new creation now, even as you read this short post. Trust in His provision, His grace. Admit your sin before Him, agree that you have been rebellious against His will, and ask for forgiveness, for life and the power to follow after Him. He is good.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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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.

End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Introduction

The book of Revelation in a surprising book.

For the first 20 yrs of my life, I shied away from it due to my upbringing and the mind numbing fears I lived through as a child and young adult. (Check out My Testimony for an explanation)

After I became a believer, I hunted and pecked through the book for key verses that would comfort me. But still the memories haunted me and I generally steered away from it. To my loss!

Occasionally I would hear some preaching on the letters to the churches of Revelation, and was introduced to the teaching that each church in the second and third chapter of the book represented a church age. Some teachers split the ages up into specific dates, identifying each age with a predominant characteristic. Initially this appealed to me, since it was presented in a spreadsheet, and most anything in a spreadsheet is super cool for me!

But after thinking about the breakout, I began to struggle with accepting it. It didn’t ring true, at least in this last few hundred years, where the teaching is that we are in the period of the church of Laodicea. I don’t know if those believers in persecuted lands would identify with this designation of being a lukewarm church.

There may be some general truth to this teaching. After all, it is the book of Revelation, and such a mysterious book, full of layers and meanings.

Ok, with that said, let’s move forward many years in my pilgrimage, and stop at a time during a different study topic.

I have found, much to my utter shock, that the book of Revelation depends on Old Testament teaching more than any other book of the New Testament. This floored me. And it opened up an interest in the Book that I hadn’t expected.

Combining both of these topics never occurred to me until I picked up a book by David Chilton.

You see, he has suggested that the letters to the churches are historical, and represent ages of believers, but not from the standpoint of the apostle John’s future, but of Israel’s past.

Yes – of Israel’s past!

Get out!

Join me as I seek to explain an additional viewpoint of the letters to the churches, and of the wonders of this incredible book.


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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – The Lake of Fire – B

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 continue to address The Lake of Fire

The Purpose of the Lake of Fire.

Ok, so the possibility of the duration of the Lake of Fire has been discussed. Lets take a quick look at the purpose of the lake of fire and see if we can get instruction from the passage

First off, the verses under consideration

and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – Revelation 20:10

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8

According to Revelation 21:8, who is in the Lake of Fire. Read the list again. And what is their “portion”?

Portion, or the Greek word meros, according to Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words is defined as

Part (Noun, a Portion; Verb, to Give or Divide, Partake): denotes (a) “a part, portion,” of the whole, e.g., Jhn 13:8Rev 20:622:19; hence, “a lot” or “destiny,” e.g., Rev 21:8; in Mat 24:51Luk 12:46, “portion;”

This portion, is a part of a whole. A whole what? Is John speaking of the age? Their portion of the age is to suffer? Their portion of the suffering is the age? I’m asking questions, and I am not gonna build an entire thought on this definition, but some of this may supplement the thoughts provided in the previous post on the duration of the age.

On to the description of the Lake of Fire.

Jesus used the same two terms defining the judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah in Luke 17:29

but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all – Luke 17:29

This is the only other instance I can find the terms “fire and sulfur” combined and this judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah is also described by both Moses and Jude.

Moses writes of Abrahams experience.

Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. – Genesis 19:24

And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace. – Genesis 19:28

Moses recites to the the Israelites the history of the doomed cities.

the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath– – Deuteronomy 29:23

Jude speaks of that terrible judgement in verse 7 of his epistle

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. – Jude 1:7

A few items to glean from the above verses

  • Sulfur and fire rained down on Sodom & Gomorrah.
  • Abraham looked back and saw the smoke rising. Smoke is evidence of a fire, but may not include the fire.
  • Moses speaks of the result of the land burned out with brimstone (sulfur) and salt, the utter wastefulness of the land
  • Jude speaks of the punishment of eternal fire.

If hope you noticed what I missed for years. Jude speaks of eternal fire, and yet Moses implies the fire was over, only smoke arising from the ashes, and the result was a wasteland, not a continual fire. So what gives? How can Jude speak of the fire as being eternal?

He isn’t! Two things are going on here, as best as I can tell.

First, the term eternal in Jude is the same term (aiōnios) we tripped over in our last post. This term is often translated as “age” and may not be referring to a never ending condition. This may be helpful, but to describe the fire of Sodom as age long still doesn’t help me with Moses statement of Abraham looking back and seeing smoke (and not fire)

Secondly, the term term (aiōnios) is modifying the punishment, not the fire. The punishment was eternal, or better stated, the punishment was age-long.

Ok, I think we slipped into the duration description again but I’m sure you will forgive me.

Back to the Purpose of the Lake of Fire. Two terms will be addressed for your consideration.

Torment

Torment, in the New Testament, is the translation of the Greek word basanizō, G928 and has the following definition from Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

VerbStrong’s Number: g928Greek: basanizo

Pain (Noun and Verb):primarily signifies “to rub on the touchstone, to put to the test” (from basanos, “a touchstone,” a dark stone used in testing metals); hence, “to examine by torture,” and, in general, “to distress;” in Rev 12:2, “in pain,” RV (AV, “pained”), in connection with parturition.
See TORMENT. (In the Sept., 1Sa 5:3.).

The original meaning of torment was the “action of an inspector who sought to test the quality of gold and silver coins” Heaven’s Doors, George Sarris, page 183. It is interesting that the purpose of the torture is testing, not punishment. Not retribution but testing. There is a difference!

Sulfur

Mr. Sarris referred to a web site describing the purposes of sulfur which I found somewhat interesting, with the following except

Sulphur was used by pagan priests 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. Pre-Roman civilizations used burned brimstone as a medicine and used “bricks” of sulphur as fumigants, bleaching agents, and incense in religious rites. Pliny (23-27 A.D.) Reported that sulphur was a “most singular kind of earth and an agent of great power on other substances,” and had “medicinal [sic] virtues” (Cunningham 1935:17). The Romans used sulphur or fumes from its combustion as an insecticide and to purify a sick room and cleanse its air of evil (Cunningham 1935). The same uses were reported by Homer in the Odyssey in 1000 B.C.

In summary, it appears the ancient reader, whom John was writing to, may have understood the Lake of Fire somewhat differently that us moderns do.

  • The duration of the Lake of Fire may be age-long and not “eternal” as in our current way of thinking
  • The purpose of the Lake of Fire on the one suffering may be of
    • testing
    • purifying
    • a medicinal quality
    • a cleansing agent.

At the very least, some of these findings have provided much to consider in my musings and have been offered to my reader to consider.

If you have comments, please supply below. Thanks for reading and hope to see you again next time.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – The Lake of Fire – A

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 The Lake of Fire

and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. – Revelation 20:10

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” – Revelation 21:8

Much needs to be said on the last few chapters of Revelation in regard to the topic of Universal Reconciliation, but for this post, we will be addressing two questions regarding the Lake of Fire.

  • The Duration – Is it forever and ever? (Carl – the text says it is. Why even ask? Are you gonna twist the Scripture again?)
  • The Purpose – Is it for retribution of past sins? Is it to punish for temporal sin committed in this life?

Let’s consider a few items that Mr. Sarris brought out to discuss in his book.

The Duration of the Lake of Fire

Revelation 20:10 speaks of the Lake of Fire and the duration of the torment of the beast and the false prophet. (Similar descriptions of the torment inflicted upon those who accept the mark of the best may be found in Revelation 14:10 and 14:11.)

Torment day and night, forever and ever. How utterly horrible. No matter how you view this, the experience of torment, in any sane persons mind, is to be avoided at all costs! No matter what we may find in our study, any torment, any destruction, any suffering must be avoided at all costs! Do not continue in your rebellion against the loving Savior, who took the suffering, abandonment and death, in order that you may have joy in knowing the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Note that the term “forever and ever” is the same term we have dealt with earlier in the post Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Unpardonable Sin Within this post I would like to consider forever and ever. The term John uses is aiōn. (we seem to keep running into this term, don’t we!)

Strongs definition

αἰών aiṓn, ahee-ohn’; from the same as G104; properly, an age; by extension, perpetuity (also past); by implication, the world; specially (Jewish) a Messianic period (present or future):—age, course, eternal, (for) ever(-more), (n-)ever, (beginning of the , while the) world (began, without end). Compare G5550.

Find a few verses below to assist in our understanding of this term.

Jesus defined the time He was living in as an age, but used the same term (aiōn) we find in Revelation.

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age (aiōn) marry and are given in marriage, – Luke 20:34

Should we consider the time Jesus was in, as an eternal never ending period of time?

“The sons of this forever and ever period of time?

I suppose it depends how we understand this word.

So it will be at the end of the age (aiōn). The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous – Matthew 13:49
teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age (aiōn).” – Matthew 28:20

First thing to notice that this word allows for the time to be defined with an end. That is definitely not fitting in with my understanding of everlasting or eternal. Also, why wouldn’t this term be translated as the end of “forever and ever” if that is the only correct understanding of aiōn.

Let’s move on

who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. – Mark 10:30
who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” – Luke 18:30

Jesus describes an age to come. What? Another forever and ever? Now I am confused! What in tarnation is going on? Hang on, it gets worse, especially if you are trying to hang on to the idea that aiōn is strictly defining an eternal everlasting state!

far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. – Ephesians 1:21 ESV

Paul speaks of one “forever and ever” following another “forever and ever”, or that a “forever and ever” was yet to come, from his standpoint. So he is referring to one coming “forever and ever” after the one he is in. Got it!

so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:7

Come on Paul. Now there are coming ages, that is more than one age coming after the one you are writing in? This is bonkers! How can I reconcile this with the concept of eternal or everlasting that is embedded in my thoughts?

But to the point, does this teaching allow for the possibility that the “forever and ever” we find in Revelation 20:10 may have an end to it, may be prior to an age after it and may mess my thinking up more that it already has?

I’ll tell you right now, that my thinking about eternity and everlasting is perty messed up right now! But that is alright! Remember the Word is not a cartoon or comic that we simply read for a few seconds and walk away from. It is a message we need to understand and have our minds adjusted to in order to see the Lord and His ways a bit clearer every day.

I have grown a bit long in the tooth with this post and will continue with the Purpose of the Lake of Fire in the next installment. I hope you can join me then.

As always, if you have a comment or question, please take advantage of the comment box below. I look forward to your ideas and thoughts! Thanks for reading and hope to see you again next time.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – No Repentance

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 No Repentance

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,
and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. – Hebrews 6:4-6

This is a tuff one. No matter where you stand in your theology, this passage gives you some heartache. And I am thankful for a passage that ruffles a systematic theology, that upsets a logical progression of thought that we could trust, (instead of God Himself).

I understand that no matter what is presented in this post (little lone every one of my posts), there will be minor (or major) disagreement.

I struggled with this concept for years, until I realized Jesus chose a tax collector and a zealot to follow him. Enemies with completely different world views, that came out of a life that pitted them against each other. Surely some of this difference impacted their impressions and understanding of the gospel.

Another example is James and Paul. Both godly men, with tremendous influence, and seemingly varied viewpoints on fleshing out the gospel for the saints they watched over.

Whoever wrote Hebrews, had a different viewpoint on the gospel that, say, Paul. Same gospel, same Jesus, same core message, yet the presentation was different.

Understanding this, let us consider Hebrews 6. Prior to the writer speaking of the impossibility of repentance in this passage, he writes the following passage.

About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,
for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:11-14

The audience is a bunch of immature, believers that are unskilled in the word of righteousness. He has been addressing this condition throughout the book, but just before he gets to our passage under consideration, he speaks of his limitations of sharing truth based on the audiences maturity level.

They can’t handle the truth! It is impossible for them to handle the truth, to understand and accept the message he wants to present them.

Ok, now that we have set the stage, lets turn the page and consider the authors message in Hebrews 6.

Many may try to say that the one who is being described in chapter 6:4-6 is one who is not yet a believer. So close to trusting, but had turned away and become hardened against the gospel. I personally can not see that for a number of reasons but the primary one is that the author speaks of the one “tasting the heavenly gift”.

Just a few short chapters earlier, the author speaks of Christ “tasting death”. This “tasting” is not a simply a “touch to the tongue”, but a complete experience of the object spoken of. Jesus completely tasted death. This one in Hebrews 6 completely tasted the heavenly gift.

No – me thinks this one in Hebrews is a true disciple.

But the author says it is impossible…. to restore them. Mr. Sarris make note on two points

Impossible

In Matthew 19:25 – 26, we read

When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The disciples were stumped on the truth they were hearing. Who can be saved? This is beyond our understanding, it is unbelievable, over our heads!

Jesus redirected their focus onto God, and claimed it was impossible for men, but not with God. The same Greek word is used here as in Hebrews, and is addressing the same general thought of impossibility to perform a work of salvation.

Note Strong’s definition for impossible

ἀδύνατος adýnatos, ad-oo’-nat-os; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G1415; unable, i.e. weak (literally or figuratively); passively, impossible:—could not do, impossible, impotent, not possible, weak.

The term is relative to the subject. By that I mean, if a challenge is provided to a weak man, the challenge may be “impossible” for the weak man, but the same challenge is of no difficulty for a strong man.

Thought of another way, if my dear brother Blair takes me to a gym, and presents a set of dumb bells with 80 lbs. on it, it is impossible for me to lift it – I am a weak man! But Blair he can lift it be simply thinking about it – He is super massive strong!

Who is doing the restoring?

We may need to consider this same truth for this passage in Hebrews, where those spoken to are described as weak, immature believers. Any repentance granted must surely come from God, and it is impossible for these children in the faith to even join in with the work of restoration.

Might the author be simply putting the believers in their place. A wee bit of shame to challenge them on to maturity?

What think you?

  • Is the passage defining a completely static situation, in which there is no hope of repentance no matter who is involved or when it may occur?
  • Is it an impossible situation, or just something these believers have no skill in joining in with God on the work?

As Jesus mentioned in Matthew 19, the impossibility may not effect God’s ability, simply man’s ability.

After all, He is kinda strong!


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart

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 Pharaoh’s Hardened Heart

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” – Romans 9:17

What purpose? Why was Pharaoh raised up? In order to show His power in the King of Egypt, and that God’s name would be exalted in all the earth.

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. – Exodus 14:4 ESV

God states His purpose in Exodus 14:14, stating He will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host. What is this glory that God is referring to? Is it that Pharaoh and his entire host of Egypt burns in hell? I suppose, if you are looking for this passage to say that, you might find it, but I am not recognizing anything in the verse regarding an afterlife experience. Yup – I just not seeing where this passage would require Pharaoh to be eternally condemned to conscious torment in hell for ever.

Let me suggest an alternative view for my readers to consider. Per Mr. Sarris’ notes, Pharaoh was hardened in order to allow God to exhibit all the plagues, in order that all might see the varied powers of the King of all Kings.

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, – Exodus 10:1

God hardened Pharaohs heart in order to show signs and wonders to the Egyptians. The Egyptians had a multitude of gods and each plague exhibited God’s dominance over the Egyptians gods. He was declaring His power to the Egyptians, and to fully display His power, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to create the conditions for the plagues. Early on, in Exodus 5:2, Pharoah stated

…“Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”

The issue is “knowing the Lord”. That is the intent of the plagues, and the plagues were completed due to the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart. In reality, both the children of Israel and the Egyptians needed to “know the Lord”. The plagues provided an opportunity for the deliverance of God’s people, and for the spreading of the glory of God to all peoples.

But may I ask – Is Pharaoh condemned to hell forever because of the hardening of his heart? The scriptures are clear that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened (by both Pharaoh and the Lord), and the implication is two fold.

  • Pharaoh remained in the hardened condition continually.
  • He is going to burn in hell forever.

It seems there may be some assumptions with the first implication. I have not found any place in the Scripture that clearly states the Pharaoh remained in hardness. Of course this argument is one of silence, but consider.

And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen.
And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” – Exodus 14:17-18 ESV

Does not the Scripture state that the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. Could Pharaoh be considered an Egyptian? Might he have recognized the power and glory of the Lord, since this was God’s purpose, and we know that all things that God purposes is accomplished in His good time.

At the very least, the passage in Romans does not define Pharaoh’s afterlife or the extent of any suffering that he may experience.

Hardening

But, let’s think about this hardening. What does that mean?

You may find it curious that Moses used this same term “harden” for another character during his life. He was a young man, a servant to Moses, by the name of Joshua.

Moses commanded Joshua to…

Be strong (same word as “harden” when referring to Pharaoh) and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.
Only be strong (same word as “harden” when referring to Pharaoh) and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. – Joshua 1:6-7

Of course I am not implying that Moses was telling Joshua to have a hardened heart towards the Master, but to be resolute, have a backbone, stand up to resistance, and to be firm.

God made Pharaoh resolute in refusing to release the Children of Israel, in order to show His glory to the nations. The length of the hardening of Pharaohs heart is not given to us, and to state that Pharaoh has no chance at redemption by the hand of the Messiah seems to be a stretch too far!

In conclusion, I would like to provide a quote from Mr. Sarris’ book

“God made Pharaohs heart firm so he would not buckle under the immense pressure that would come on him when God’s power was being demonstrated”

What are your thoughts? Do you consider Pharaoh unredeemable? Is there scripture that clearly states Pharaohs after life condition?

It is true that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by his own decisions and by the Lord. Might the Lord also have the power to soften Pharaohs heart, by the exhibition of His power and glory? You be the judge.

Thanks for reading along with my post and if you have a comment, please provide below.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated

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 Jacob I Loved, Esau I Hated

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” – Romans 9:13

This passage is one of a few that I have addressed under a series I called “Calvin’s Concerns“. It turns out the series has spawned off a number of posts on Romans 9. If this is of interest, please search within this blog for “Romans 9” to compile the posts available for your consideration.

For the sake of this post, I would like to consider how this verse has been interpreted to understand that Esau is condemned to hell for all eternity. Is this a proper understanding of this passage? I would say no, and Mr. Sarris’ book repeated much of my understanding of this passage.

Paul, in discussing Jacob and Esau, speaks to the choice of God in who to serve Him as the family through whom the Messiah would come. Eternal destiny seems to be imported into this passage by those who are fatalistic and follow after a philosophy that takes away all our responsibility of following after Him, of claiming to believe in Him as our Savior.

During a discussion with a Calvinist, I asked if I am to hate my mother and father. Of course he knew where I was going to take him in the New Testament.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. – Luke 14:26

If God hates Esau in the common understanding of “hate” (i.e. to have an intense hostility towards someone), how is it that we are not to understand this call to discipleship in the same manner? Is Jesus telling us to have an intense hostility towards our parents? This creates confusion and contradiction in the Word and we know that this just ain’t so!

So, let us compare Scripture with Scripture and see if we can find a bit of clarity for Romans 9:13. You see when I read a passage such as Luke 14:26 and consider the overarching message of the Word in relation to our parents, it seems that the command to hate our parents is to be understood as defining priorities.

Consider the following passages that define our obligation to our parents if we are to please God.

We are to honor our parents.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12

“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), – Ephesians 6:2

We are to obey our parents as children.

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. – Colossians 3:20

How can we satisfy these injunctions for the believer, in relation to Luke 14:26? I believe it is in understanding that the term “hate” is a relative term, a term that defines a priority. That is, in relation to the Lord, parents are to be considered the next level of the love commitment for the believer.

This is the same sense we are to understand Romans 9. God’s “hatred” of Esau is relative to His love for Jacob, in the arena of service for the kingdom. To state otherwise causes confusion and conflict.

As we find in Romans 9, the choice of Jacob to be the family bringing the Savior to the world was a tremendous privilege to have bestowed upon them by God. Esau was not granted this privilege, but this does not require that Esau is doomed to eternal torment and suffering.

Service, not salvation is the topic here folks!

The “salvation” interpretation of Romans 9 that some believers preach and teach is possibly revealing more of their desires for the lost than that of the Master’s desires. As a former Calvinist, it disturbs me that I had such a low view of our Heavenly Father, that I viewed Him as One with mixed emotions and desires for His creation.

Why do we sometimes struggle with the good news being really good? Is the possibility of hell not being permanent a difficult concept to accept?

Is not the alternative as difficult to accept?

For myself, I have spent the majority of my Christian life believing in the horrors of an eternal suffering for all that are without Christ. My understanding that the Bible teaches of the eternal never ending conscious suffering and torment of the lost to be without relief is becoming the difficult concept to accept.

Of course, I would appreciate your thoughts and comments.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – The Narrow Door

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 The Narrow Door

Our initial verse to consider is Luke 13:23-24

And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. – Luke 13:23-24 ESV

Notice the question being asked. Does you understand the question as “Lord will those who are saved during the church age be few?” Or maybe, you might read it, understanding the question such as “Lord, will those who are saved in the future be few?”

My point is that the disciple who asked Jesus this question may have been considering the smallness of the current following that Jesus had. Let’s not put words in the disciples mouth, making him say something we assume.

Note the graphic below, with the Greek parsing provided to assist in making the point that the question was regarding their current condition, their present situation

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14 ESV

In our last post, we dealt with the term “perish” and concluded that perish does not define endless suffering in hell, but describes a wasted life, a life of ruin.

Although this passage from the Sermon on the Mount is not expressly answering the question above in Luke 13, it does speak to the “fewness” of those that find life.

The destruction experienced by the many, spoken of in this verse is similar to perishing. The Greek word is ἀπώλεια (apōleia), and has the Strongs number of G684, with the following definition

ἀπώλεια apṓleia, ap-o’-li-a; from a presumed derivative of G622; ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal):—damnable(-nation), destruction, die, perdition, X perish, pernicious ways, waste.

If you have not had the chance to read the previous post on Perishing ( a different but similar Greek word) , I would recommend you spend a few minutes venturing over to it. Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Perishing.

Again, it appears Jesus is speaking of His kingdom being experienced in the here and now, and that my assumptions is that the passage is speaking of my eternal fate. This may not be the focused intent of the verse. And yet destruction at the end of my physical life cannot be entirely discounted, for if my life is wasted, ruined by my choices, I will experience sorrow and regret, suffering and pain.

This is a sad truth, and one that needs to be considered as we seek to know the true God and His Son Jesus Christ. This destruction, this waste or ruin of a life, of becoming useless is a terrible waste, and yet the Lord is the Redeemer of those who realize their state, repent and believe in the Son, and follow after Him.

A few years ago, my wife and I experienced a sadness, a realization of waste that burdened us very much. In our sorrows, I was reading in the book of Joel, and fell on a verse that greatly encouraged me at that time.

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. – Joel 2:25

The Israelites had just experienced a great loss, in that swarms of locusts had ravaged their land, stripping the fields of their produce and future crops.

The Lord speaks to their condition and promises them that He will restore (or pay back) the years that the locusts have taken from them.

To those who are currently taking the wide road to destruction, there will come a time of suffering, of regret and of pain. There is no denying this, and yet in the midst of this destruction (in this life or the next) God’s mercy may be available.

If this is the intent of the Biblical message, this should encourage you to reach out to Him now, for He is a merciful and kind God, One who given His All (in the sacrifice of His Son) and can provide you a life worth living in the here and now, a life that is not useless or that has been wasted.

Trust in the Messiah. You will not regret knowing Him, for He is kind and loving, patient and yet persistent in bringing each believer to a better life, a life more like His!


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Perishing

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 Perishing

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

It’s funny how the Lord pre-teaches a believer something only to teach him the same thing and then have to teach him in the future again. Please understand this is referring to John Doe – not me. No no no!

I have went through multiple understandings of this great verse, and each time I am challenged, and it only opens the Word up to greater blessing and wonder.

One of those times that challenged my thinking was March 15th, 2020, when I studied the term “perish” in the New Testament, to find out what in tarnation is being described by saying something perishes. Does it refer to eternally suffering in flames as I assume in John 3:16?

If you are curious of my methods and findings, consider the post Perishing in Eternal Torment.

For those who have limited time, let me summarize my findings.

For something to perish is for it to experience a lostness, or of destruction. Of death, or to be rendered useless. To be abolished, or to end in ruin.

Although I have provided a list of verses in the post mentioned above, let me supply one or two in order for my reader to consider.

Luke 15 :32

It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was dead, and is found.

In this verse, Luke is recounting the parable of the prodigal son. and the father refers to the son as dead. This is the same Greek word as used in John 3:16, translated as perish.

How about one more verse to consider?

Luke 21 :18
But there shall not an hair of your head perish.

All the time I have read the Bible, it has never occurred to me to apply the idea of endless suffering I associate with “perishing” into this verse. It seems foolish at this point to consider one hair on my head experiencing unending suffering.

So what is the message of John 3:16?

John 3:16 speaks of the great love of the Father in providing His only Son to whomever chooses to believe in Him. The result? The one who believes in Him will experience everlasting life and not be rendered useless. The believing one will not experience a life wasted, ruined by sin and thrown away to satisfy the call of self.

The Father has provided the Son for our salvation from a life of waste and ruin.

Consider your present condition. Believe in the Son that you might experience life today! Trust His way of life, a life that is counter cultural to this present evil world. A life that is energized by the Spirit and guided by the Word.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Forfeiting Your Soul

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 – Forfeiting Your Soul

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.
For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?
For what can a man give in return for his soul? – Mark 8:35-37

I’m confused. I have chatted with my wife a number of times on the difference between soul, spirit and body, and if we are a three part creation or a two part creation, that is if the soul and spirit are the same entity. It is not something that keeps me up at night, but this verse we are looking at has made me consider my priorities on a number of occasions.

Since I have read Mr. Sarris’ book, and even prior to understanding his teaching, I understood life and soul to be two different entities. You know, my life is that which I experience on earth, between birth and death, whereas my soul is understood to go on after death.

Although I am beginning to see a few cracks in this thinking, was Jesus making a difference in these verses above. Notice that the first verse refers to “life”, with verses 36 & 37 referring to a man’s “soul”. Did Jesus intend to use two different words in these three verses?

Lets take a closer look at what the Master said with the following interlinear tool (using Blue Letter Bible – I like it!)

I have circled the term “life” along with the associated Greek word used in the Gospels of Jesus’ speech. Of course, we should have expected consistency in translation and we have it within this verse. Psychē, Strong’s number G5590 is translated as “life” both times. Very good.

Mark 8:35

Ok, let us move onto the next verse, Mark 8:36. I have likewise circled the same Greek word in the following two verses for your convenience.

Mark 8:36

Okay, so the Lord continues his warning in verse 36, but what is going on? Why has the same Greek word, psychē, Strong’s number G5590, been translated as “soul”?

That must be a glitch! (A bit bothersome, no?)

Lets take a look at the next verse!

Mark 8:37

Again, the Greek word is translated as “soul”, instead of “life”. I don’t get it! Why the difference? The audience in Jesus’ day didn’t hear a different word, (and therefore didn’t come away with a possibly different thought.)

So what is it that Jesus was teaching? Was he addressing our destiny in heaven or hell, or something else?

One explanation is that Jesus was speaking of our earthly existence, our lives, that period of time between birth and death. He was bringing the gospel of the kingdom to earth, for His followers to enter into, in this life. When I hear the term soul, I automatically think of the afterlife, but I am not sure Jesus was referring to the afterlife in this passage.

How many people do you know that have sold their lives to gain the world, to gain possessions, prestige, power? They have sacrificed everything in this life that was of any quality. Things that are of infinite worth, such is their integrity, their honesty, their relationships, the love of God and the love of others.

Maybe Jesus was speaking of this life, of a quality of life, of an abundant life in the here and now, and not of eternal torment in hell, of loosing all hope and of gnashing of teeth, of burning forever.

Maybe we have understood something a bit incorrectly.

What think thee? Leave a comment.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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.

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

Book Look – Heaven’s Doors – Unpardonable Sin

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 The Unpardonable Sin

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter,
but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”
for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.” – Mark 3:28-30 ESV

How can an unpardonable sin be pardoned? This is directly from the lips of the Savior and couldn’t be clearer, at least when you do not compare Scripture with Scripture.

Heck, lets see if there are other Scriptures that might shed light on this passage,

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come. – Matthew 12:31-32 ESV

There are a number of items to discuss in the first passage in Mark that have been addressed in an earlier post called A Study of Eternal/Everlasting. I was seriously challenged by taking the word translated as eternal or everlasting, and questioning if the translation was as accurate as I had hoped.

I supplied a table in that post, providing things that were described as eternal, with Scripture passages provided, which showed (at least to me) that eternal is not what I thought.

One example – the Old Covenant, in Isaiah 24:5 is described as “the everlasting covenant”, and yet Hebrews 8:13 claims the Old Covenant is becoming obsolete, ready to vanish away.

The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. – Isaiah 24:5 ESV

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. – Hebrews 8:13 ESV

There are many instances where the Bible terms translated as eternal or everlasting should better be translated as “ages”. Many translation attempt to do this and yet continue in some passages with the word “eternal”.

You will kindly notice that in the Markan passage, the term is translated as an “eternal sin”, and yet Matthew’s gospel clarifies the duration to two different “ages”, that is the current age Jesus was speaking in (i.e. the Old Covenant) and a future age, and age to come (from Jesus’s perspective – possibly the church age.)

This limits the unpardonability (is that a word?) of the particular sin Jesus is referring to, and allows for forgiveness in a future age, if God should so have mercy on His creation.

As a matter of fact, Paul informs us

.. that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:7 ESV

Paul was speaking of the coming ages. Even if he was considering the church age to be an age that was still coming from his standpoint, the passage speaks of multiple ages.

Might God have an opportunity to forgive the unforgivable sin even beyond “the age to come”? Might God desire to forgive sin in a future age, even after a period of suffering and shame, of rejection and refusal? Might God allow an opportunity for rebels to believe in the One who was tortured and sacrificed for our sins?

I am hopeful, and as I study and consider the mercies He has stretched out to me, I am beginning to see God inn a different light, as a very surprising God, One that goes beyond my understanding and comprehension. He is good, and I praise Him for His many mercies and love.

What think you, my gentle reader? Do you have a thought you would like to share? Use the comment box below to begin a discussion.


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.


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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com