Important Biblical Doctrinal Issues

 
by William E. Dannemeyer

Over the past year, I have studied the Bible in greater depth and for longer periods of time than ever before in my life. This in-depth study by subject has opened my mind to truths in the Bible that I never fully understood before. Studying the Bible by subject requires one to look at all the texts on a certain subject, rather than just a few.  This gives us a much better understanding of what God is trying to tell us in His Word.

Questions I have studied in depth include, but are not limited to, the following:

1) Where does a person go when he or she dies?

 2) Which day has God ordained for us to worship Him? Or are we free to choose a day on our own? Does it matter to God? Are we to keep the Sabbath-day holy? If so, which day is the Sabbath, Saturday or Sunday, and HOW should we "keep" it holy? What does that entail?

3) Have the traditions of some churches altered the Ten Commandments from the way God gave them? Were the Ten Commandments done away with at the Cross? If so, can we break all of them with impunity? If not, which ones are O.K. to break, and why?

4) If God COULD save everybody, would He? If He CAN'T save everyone, then He is not sovereign! If He CAN save everyone, but He chooses NOT to, what does that say about the character of God?

5) Since the Bible says that our body is the temple of God, does God expect us to take proper care of our body? Does that include the way we feed and maintain our body? Does the Bible give specific directions on how we are to eat?

Christian people who necessarily look to the Bible as the authority for the answers to spiritual questions have from time to time struggled with finding answers to these questions.

 
1) Why did God create perfect beings, Adam and Eve, into a Universe already heavily contaminated with sin? (Satan and his angels had been sinning for a long, long time already.) Why didn't God SOLVE the problem with the angels, after all they're the ones who started it all, rather than dragging us, the human race, into this mess?

 2) How can "Death" and "Hell" be thrown into a LITERAL Lake of Fire? (Rev 20:14)

3) Why does God tell US to LOVE our enemies, and do GOOD to those who hate us (Luke 6:27), if God is going to bum up HIS enemies?

4) If Jesus is going to bring "fire down from heaven" to destroy the wicked in the end, why did He say, when He was on earth, that that type of activity was of Satan? (Luke 9:51-56)

5) Why did the Good Shepherd, representing Jesus, search for the lost sheep "until He found it" (Luke 15:4) with NO cut-off time whatsoever, whereas Christians believe that there is a DEFINITE cut-off time when there is no more chance of being found (saved)?

6) If Jesus didn't destroy or even hurt anyone when He was on earth, why is He going to destroy people in the end? After all, He says He "NEVER changes." (Mal 3:6, Heb 13:8)

7) God does not use euphemisms in the Bible, so what does the term "Forever and Ever" mean? (Rev 22:5) How can you add an "Ever" to "Forever?"

8) Why does God tell us, in the Ten Commandments, "Thou shall NOT kill" when it's apparently okay for Him to kill millions of people (the flood, the Assyrian army, etc)? Is God ABOVE His own Commandments? I thought the Ten Commandments were a transcript of God's character!

9) Why did Jesus tell Judas to "Do what you're going to do, and do it QUICKLY" (John 13:27) if Jesus knew that by betraying the Lord, Judas would be eternally lost?

10) How can there be an "Unpardonable Sin" if Psalm 103:3 says that God "forgives ALL our sins?"

11) How is God going "to wipe away ALL our tears" after He's burned up members of our family? Will He give us a lobotomy, or will we just not care that they were burned up? If God put this great love in our heart for our children and other family members, Why would we not be sorrowful and grieve when they are destroyed?

12) The pagan God Molech required "human burning sacrifices" in order to be appeased. How does God differ from Molech if He, too, requires "human burning sacrifices" in the end - to be appeased (to show justice)? If YOU burned up your children, would that be considered a "loving Act?" Why is it "loving" when GOD does it?

13) If God hardened Pharaoh's heart as He claims He did in (Ex 10:20, 27), how, then, is Pharaoh totally responsible for what He did?

14) Why does God say that He (God) killed Saul (1 Chron. 10:13, 14) when the Bible says that Saul killed himself (1 Sam 31:4: 1 Chron 10:4-6)?

15) If we have a "Free Will" then why does God say that He is "operating all things according to the counsel of HIS OWN WILL"? (Eph 1:11) That certainly sounds like we DON'T have "Free Will."

16) Why did God put the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil AND Satan right in Adam and Eve's front yard if He didn't really want them to sin? God's own rules of liability, as found in Exodus 22:5, 6 and Exodus 21:33, 34, tell us that God is responsible for Sin in the world if He could have prevented it and didn't. In fact, God ADMITS He is responsible! (Romans 8:20)

17) Can Satan do ANYTHING that God doesn't allow? If God allows it, is it then "God's WILL"?

18) How can a "Loving" God allow innocent children to be abused?

19) If "God is Love" (1 John 4:16) and "Love NEVER fails" (1 Cor. 13:8) then how can God fail to win ALL of His children back from Satan? Or will Satan be the big winner?

20) Jesus said "Angels Don't Die." (Luke 20:36) If they don't, then how is God going to destroy Satan and the evil angels? How does one "burn up" a Spirit being? If they are going to burn forever, then will sin co-exist with righteousness in the universe FOREVER? If so, then Jesus' death on the Cross did NOT do away with sin! But if wicked people and evil angels are all going to burn up right away, then that's not justice because doesn't a serial killer deserve more punishment than a one-time embezzler?

21 ) If Jesus died the "Second Death" on the Cross so we don't have to die and if the "Second Death" is permanent annihilation or eternal burning, then WHY isn't Jesus either still burning or still dead? Since He's alive, He must not have died the Second Death. So WHY did He die? Or have we misunderstood the "Second Death"?

My study over the past year has, from time to time, sought answers to these foregoing 21 questions. This analysis is at this time limited to the five topics found on page 1 -

 

1) WHERE DOES A PERSON GO WHEN HE OR SHE DIES?

 

There are at least 25 Bible texts that tell us that death is a sleep, and that when a person is dead, he remains in the grave and he has no thoughts. He is in a state of lack of unconsciousness.  He knows nothing.  He is not in heaven nor hell.  He is in the grave and knows nothing.

Jesus, Himself, plainly stated that the dead remain in the grave (John 5:28,29) until either the first resurrection, which occurs at the second coming of Jesus, or the second resurrection, which occurs after the one thousand year millennium.

 A few of these texts make the point:

 For the living know they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, for even the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any share in anything that is done. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. Ecclesiastes 9:5

For David did not ascend into the heaven, but he says himself, the Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand. Acts 2:34

Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the grave will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judging.  John 5:28,29

In My Father's house are many rooms, if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:2,3

The question is, why does Jesus have to come and get them if they are already in heaven?  

Jesus did not go to heaven immediately at death. He reappeared to Mary Magdalene outside the empty tomb "wearing" His body, (He did not separate His "Spirit" from His body) and uttered these words:

"Do not detain Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father, but go to the brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God." John 20:17

There are a few texts that are used to suggest the doctrine of "immortality of the soul," meaning that when you die, you are still really alive, just in a different form, for example, 2 Corinthians 5:6,8:

Verse 6:

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord.

And verse 8:

We are confident, yes, well leased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

What does Paul mean by the expression "absent from the body, and present with the Lord"?

Does the use of the phrase "present with the Lord" mean that Paul inferred that immediately on physical death a believer goes to heaven to be with the Lord? Not likely when we consider these other utterances by Paul relating to this subject.

1) Human beings do not have immortality, only God does (1 Timothy 6:16).

2) We receive immortality when Jesus comes again (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).

3) Paul was waiting for the coming of the Lord for his final reward (1 Timothy 4:7,8).

4) We "seek for immortality" (Romans 2:7). Why do we seek it if we already have it?

The Biblical account of Lazarus is found in John 11:1-44. Mary and Martha's brother, Lazarus, was ill. Word came to Jesus to come to heal him. Jesus called Death - a Sleep! (John 11:11-14) Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep, but Jesus would wake him up. Then the disciples realized that Jesus meant that Lazarus was dead.

Verse 11. These things He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I may go that I may wake him up."

Based on this statement of Jesus, His disciples believed Lazarus would wake up. Then Jesus made the status of Lazarus quite plain in verses 14 and 15.

Verses 14,15. "Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him."

So, Jesus, Himself, characterized DEATH as a sleep, a state of unconsciousness, during which the person knows nothing.

John further related that Jesus went to the tomb where Lazarus had lain for four days and told his friends to "take away the stone," Verse 39. Lazarus obviously did not go to Heaven at his death. He remained in the tomb and was brought back to life by the miraculous healing power of Jesus. When Lazarus was resurrected, he mentioned NOTHING about having been in heaven.

In fact, wouldn't it be cruel of Jesus to bring Lazarus back to earth from heaven, just to live a longer life of sin and then to die, possibly a painful death, once again!

When will a Christian who dies a physical death and sleeps in the grave ascend into Heaven and be with the Lord?

The answer comes from 1 Corinthians 15:23:

But every man in his own order: Christ, the first fruits: afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.

When Jesus returns to earth at His second coming, those who truly know Christ who are asleep in the grave will ascend into Heaven to be with the Lord.

Pastors in Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) congregations have consistently preached that when Christians die, they immediately are in Heaven with the Lord.

 

2) WHICH DAY IS THE SABBATH?

Do we observe the Sabbath on the 7th day, Saturday, or on the first day of the week, Sunday?

Which day has God ordained for us to worship Him? Or are we free to choose a day on our own? Does it matter to God? Are we to keep the Sabbath-day holy? If so, which day is the Sabbath, Saturday or Sunday, and HOW should we "keep" it holy?

Exodus 20:1-18, contains the Ten Commandments. Verses 8-11 contain the reference to the Sabbath.  It is identified in the King James Version of the Bible, and virtually ALL other Bible versions, as the fourth commandment.

Verse 8: Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

Verse 9: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

Verse 10: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

Verse 11: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it (made it Holy).

There are two separate issues presented by the consideration of this question. First, are we Christians directed to observe the Sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday, or on the first day of the week, Sunday?

The second issue is separate from the first. How should the Seventh-day Sabbath be kept? Namely, what type of activity may Christians participate in on the Sabbath? Fortunately, Jesus' life on earth has shown us the specific answers to these questions.

SATURDAY OR SUNDAY, WHICH DAY SHOULD IT BE?

Luke 4:16 describes on what day Jesus observed the Sabbath and helps provide the answer:

"And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read."

 

Initially, it is important to ask the question, what difference does it make whether Christians observe Sabbath on the seventh day, Saturday, or the first day, Sunday?

Deuteronomy 7:11 provides the answer:

Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. Deuteronomy 7:11

First of all, God, Himself, instituted the Seventh-day Sabbath at Creation, as a memorial of His creation of the earth and all else that God has created. It was given to Adam and Eve and ALL their progeny, which includes ALL mankind!

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

And on the Seventh day god ended His work, which he had made; and He rested (stopped) on the Seventh day from all His work that He had made.

And God blessed the Seventh day, and sanctified it (made it Holy) because in it He had rested (stopped) from all His work that God created and made." Genesis 2:1-3

The Sabbath was given to Adam and Eve and their progeny (ALL mankind), at Creation, 2,300 years BEFORE the existence of the "Jews." Therefore, the Seventh-day Sabbath

is NOT Jewish!

The Fourth Commandment says: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do ALL thy work, but the Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt NOT do any work. . . the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it (made it holy). Exodus 20:8-11

God wrote the Ten Commandments Himself, with His own finger, in stone! What more could He have done to show us how important, and how permanent, they are?

If you  love  Me,  keep  My commandments.   John  14:15

The Sabbath was made for mankind (humanity - ALL humanity) . . ." Mark 2:27

On what day did Jesus Christ observe the Sabbath?

"And He came to Nazareth where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read." Luke 4:16

Luke wrote his account several decades after Christ's crucifixion. He reported the Sabbath observance in Luke 23:56:

And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments and rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment."

On what day of the week did the apostles observe the Sabbath after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection? Acts 13:14 provides the answer:

But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. Acts 13:14

On what day did Paul keep the Sabbath?

And on the Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was made: and we sat down and spoke unto the women which met there. Acts 16:13

Which day is the "Lord's Day"?

"For the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day." Matthew 12:8

The "Lord's Day" is the Seventh-day Sabbath!

 

God grants a special blessing to those who keep the Seventh-day Sabbath.

"Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it: that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil."

Isaiah 56:2

When did Sunday come into the picture as the day of worship?

In the second century A.D., in Rome and Alexandria, Egypt, there was a growing anti- Jewish sentiment which resulted in Sunday being selected as the day for Gentile Christians to observe the Sabbath.

The New Testament's silence about the weekly observance of Sunday, in contrast to the recurring statements about the Sabbath, provides convincing evidence that there was no such Sunday observance in New Testament Christianity.

In fact, the words, "first day of the week," and the word "Sunday" NEVER appear in the New Testament in the original Greek. They have been "written in" by the translators.

On March 7, 321 A.D., Constantine made a rest day by the issuance of a Sunday law. It is quite likely that Constantine, on political and social grounds, endeavored to merge together heathen and Christian elements of his constituency by designating Sunday as a day of rest and to observe the "Sabbath." Since that time the Catholic church and most Protestant churches have erroneously observed Sunday as the "Sabbath" to this day.

 

IN OBSERVING THE SABBATH, WHAT TYPE OF ACTIVITY

 IS CONSISTENT WITH ITS OBSERVANCE?

 

Jesus did fifty percent of His recorded healings on one day of the week, the seventh-day Sabbath. From His example we learn that "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Mark 3:4

Jesus healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath - the man had been infirm for 38 years. The Pharisees were angry with the healed man because Jesus had healed him on the seventh-day Sabbath. "The Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, for He did these things on the Sabbath.  Yet, Jesus answered them, My Father is working hitherto, and I am working."  Therefore, then, the Jews sought the more to kill Him, for He not only loosed the Sabbath (from burdensome laws that the Pharisees had placed on it) but said His own Father also is God, making Himself equal to God."

John 5:15-18

  If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord: and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth. . ." Isaiah a58:13,14

In 1932, the LCMS adopted a "Brief Statement" of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod.

Page 19, paragraph 41, is titled "Of Sunday." It provides as follows:

We teach that in the New Testament God has abrogated the Sabbath and II holy- days prescribed for the Church of the Old Covenant, so that neither "the keeping of the Sabbath nor of any other day" nor the observance of at least one specific day of the seven days of the week is ordained or commanded by God. Colossians 2:16; Romans 14:5 (Augsburg Confession; Triglot, p 91, 51-60; M., p. 66).

The observance of Sunday and other church festivals is an ordinance of the Church, made by virtue of Christian liberty. (Augsburg Confession: Triglot, p. 91, 51-53, 60; M., p. 66. Large Catechism; Triglot p. 603, 83,85,89; M. p. 401.) Hence Christians should not regard such ordinances as ordained by God and binding upon the conscience, Col. 2:16; Gal 4:10. However, for the sake of Christian love and peace they should willingly observe them, Rom 14:13; 1 Cor. 14:40. (Augsburg Confession; Triglot, p. 91, 53-56; M., p 67.)

Two Scriptural references are cited as authority for the LCMS to abrogate the direct command of God in the fourth commandment to observe a Seventh-day Sabbath.

Colossians 2:16. Therefore, let no one judge you in food or drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths.

This passage from Colossians, when read in context, relates to a feast day Sabbath, NOT the Seventh day Sabbath. (Reference to the feast day Sabbath is clearly stated in Leviticus 23:11 - "He shall wave his sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.") Observance of a feasts day Sabbath, a ceremonial act, was abrogated by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. However, this passage in Colossians certainly does not negate the clear command of God to observe the Seventh-day Sabbath as revealed in Leviticus 23:3, Exodus 20:8-11, Deut 5:12-15 and Genesis 2:1 -3.

A second verse, Romans 14:5, is also listed as authority to justify the conclusion in paragraph 41. It provides:

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind.

To give understanding to verse 5, it is necessary to read and consider verse 1. Verse 1
through verse 5 relates to "doubtful things." The direct command of God in Leviticus
23:3 and Exodus 20:8-11 and Deut 5:12-1510 observe the Seventh-day Sabbath is not
a "doubtful thing." Verse 5 relates to disputes about what foods to eat and about
fasting.  It certainly is not a direct command from Scripture to absolve mankind from
observing the seventh day Sabbath described in Leviticus 23:3 and the other texts just
mentioned.

 

3) THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

Four versions of the Ten Commandments are set forth: a) The Law of God from the Old Testament, b) the New Testament, c) as changed by the Papacy, and d) as written in Luther's Large Catechism.

Both the Catholic Church and Martin Luther in the Large Catechism have deleted the second commandment from the Ten Commandments. A relevant question is: Who authorized either religious group or person to make the deletion, particularly when one considers that God Himself wrote ALL of the commandments with His own finger in stone?

The fourth commandment as found in the Bible has been substantially? shortened and numbered as the third commandment in the Catholic Catechism and Luther's Large Catechism. Since Martin Luther was a monk in the Catholic Church before he undertook the Reformation in 1517, Luther probably just repeated the accepted erroneous Catholic version of the Ten Commandments in his Large Catechism.

The big question is: What human being could possibly claim the right to CHANGE the Word of God?

It is not a mystery why the Catholic Church and Martin Luther omitted the Second Commandment because the Catholic Church has always worshiped idols.

It is also not too difficult to establish a reason why the Catholic Church retained only the first sentence of the fourth commandment, deleting all the rest.  The Catholic Church worships on Sunday, a day of worship that is nowhere endorsed in the Word of God. In 321 A. D., Constantine gave Christianity a new status in the Roman Empire by recognizing it, and Constantine gave Sunday a "new look." By omitting this language:

"Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work; but the Seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work."


The Catholic Church probably sought to accommodate the recognition extended by Constantine who established Sunday as the rest day even though this contradicted the express will of God in the Bible that the Seventh-day, Saturday, was the choice of God.

Never once, after Jesus was resurrected, did He state that the Seventh-day Sabbath had been abolished. Never once, after Jesus was resurrected, did Jesus say that the Seventh-day Sabbath would no longer be kept.

The Seventh-day Sabbath is a memorial of God's Creation (Genesis 2:1-3). He made it holy as His final crowning act of Creation. In addition, in the fourth Commandment, the Sabbath commandment, in Exodus 20:8-11, God states that we are to keep the Seventh-day Sabbath BECAUSE He is our Creator. (Verses 10,11)

Eusebius, who was Constantine's biographer, in his commentary on Psalm 92, wrote that Christians would fulfill on the "Lord's day" all that in this Psalm was prescribed for the Sabbath, including worship of God early in the morning. He then stated that through this new covenant the Sabbath celebration was transferred to "the first day of light" (Sunday).

Irrespective of how, and or when, the Christian Church came to regard Sunday as the "Sabbath," the relevant question once again is the same as related to the outright omission of the second commandment; Who authorized either the Catholic Church or Martin Luther or the LCMS to make this deletion from the express language of the fourth commandment as written by God?

Whatever the reason for the omission, no human being has been authorized by God to change His express command. Christian people should obey God's express words.

 

4) UNIVERSAL RESTORATION

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY IS THE NATURE OF GOD

WILL ONLY SOME BE SAVED, OR WILL ALL BE SAVED?

"Consider the time-honored theories about God. He is viewed as One who initially seeks the salvation of His creatures. From His position of supreme authority, He calls upon men to repent of their sins, obey His will and worship Him. He demonstrates patience while men play with His appeals, but the time comes when that patience is exhausted. Then He arises to perform His 'strange act.' With terrifying power, wielded in His own hands, He wipes the rebellious from the face of the earth, thus demonstrating that He is not a God to be scorned. He thus asserts His will by the naked use of destructive force, convincing men that they must obey Him or perish. This is the view of the Christian world."

 

This is what we Christians call a God of "love"!

Now let's look at the way Satan works. He appears initially to seek the best for Christ when, in Matthew 4:8,9 after taking Christ to a high mountain and showing Him the world, Satan offers to bless Christ by giving Him the entire world if Christ wilt only worship him. "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." Satan implies that by the act of obeying and worshipping him (Satan), Christ won't have to go through a cruel death on the cross in order to save the world, Satan will give Him the world. Satan demonstrates patience and apparent kindness for a time, but after his offer is spurned, the time comes when, with terrifying vengeance he instigates men to kill Christ by the most vicious and cruel methods known to man.

The question is: If BOTH beings behave in the same way, what is the difference between God and Satan?"

(1) Wright, F.T. Behold Your God.  Pathway Publishers, Clarksville, AR

The Bible contains two groups of texts. One group appears to say that only a small group of people will be saved and the majority of all those who have ever lived will be permanently lost. Another group of texts, equal in number, appears to say that everyone will be saved.

BIBLE TEXTS THAT SAY ONLY A SMALL GROUP WILL BE SAVED

WORDS OF CHRIST HIMSELF:

1) The Lord has "a little flock" Luke 12:32

2) "Many are called, but few are chosen" Matt 20:16, Matt 22:14

3) "strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life and few there be that find it" Matt 7:14

4) "Many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able" Luke 13:24

5) "he that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him" John 3:36

(The word "everlasting" that frequently appears in the English translations of the Bible, is a mistranslation of the word "eonian."  The words "everlasting life" should actually read - - "eonian life.")

For information on "The Eons" as discussed in the Bible, see www.goodnewsaboutgod.com.

6) "the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment" Matt 25:46

(Again, the direct English translation from the Greek, should be "eonian chastening" - NOT "everlasting punishment.")

7) "the resurrection of damnation" John 5:29

(The direct translation from the original Greek is: "the resurrection of judging.")

8) "the damnation of hell" Matt 23:33 (Original Greek: "judging of Gehenna")

9) "where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" Mark 9:44

10) "every word against the Son of Man may be forgiven but the sin against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come"

Matt 12:32

(The Original Greek says: "neither in this eon, nor in the eon to come." An eon is a period of time, not eternity. The Bible speaks of TWO MORE eons after the present eon that we are living in. Therefore, forgiveness, though not available in the next eon, because all the wicked will be dead, will STILL be available in the final eon, when the wicked will be resurrected. This means that there is NO Unpardonable Sin!)

 

WORDS OF THE APOSTLES:

 

1) Paul declares that while some are "saved" by the gospel, others "perish" 2Cor2:15

2) "the Lord Jesus shall be revealed, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power, when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day." 2 Thess. 1:8-10

(The Greek word translated "vengeance" is just as accurately translate "vindication." It does NOT necessarily mean "punishment."  "Everlasting destruction" is actually "eonian ruin" in the original Greek. Remember that an "eon" is a limited period of time, NOT eternity!)

3) "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there re-maineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgement and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries" Heb 10:26,27

4) "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" Heb 10:31

5) "our God is a consuming fire" Heb 12:29

6) Peter says that "judgement must begin at the house of God, and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God; for if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" 1 Pet. 4:17,18

7) "false teachers" who "deny the Lord that bought them" "shall bring upon themselves swift destruction" and, like the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, "shall utterly perish in their own corruption." 2 Peter 2:1,3,6,12

8) "the fearful, and unbelieving, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, shall have their place in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" Rev 21:8

9) "those who worship the beast, and his image, shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and the presence of the Lamb, and they have no rest day nor night, and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever." Rev 14:9, 10. ( In Greek: "for the eons of the eons." A specific and limited period of time.)

 

THE OTHER SIDE:

These texts appear to say that EVERYONE will be saved!

READ THEM CAREFULLY!!!

1) "in Abraham's seed ALL the kindreds of the earth shall be blessed." Gen 12:3, Gen 22:18, Acts 3:25, Gal 3:8

2) there shall be "a restitution of ALL things" "God hath spoken of this by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."  Acts 3:21

3) Paul declares this wondrous "mystery of God's WILL, that He hath purposed in Himself, according to His good pleasure, to rehead and RECONCILE unto Himself, in 

and by Christ, ALL things, whether they be things in heaven (that is the spirit-world where the conflict with Satan yet is - Rev 12:7) "or things on earth", (where death now reigns.) Eph 1:9,10, Col 1:20

4) "ALL creation, which now groans, shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into glorious liberty of the children of God" Rom 8:19-23.

5) "God was in Christ reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself" 2 Cor. 5:19

6) "Therefore as by the offense of one, or by one offense, judgment came on ALL to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of One, or by one righteousness, the free gift should come on ALL unto justification of life" while" they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" Rom 5:17,18.

7) "As in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive (vivified)" 1 Cor. 15:22

8) "the end" shall not come, "till ALL are subject to Him", that "God may be", not all in some, but "ALL in ALL; for He must reign till He hath put ALL enemies under His feet: the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" 1 Cor. 15:24-28

9) "that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one ALL things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even in Him." Eph 1:3-10

10) "that at the name of Jesus, (that is Saviour) EVERY knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER." Phil 2:10,11  (It doesn't bring "glory to God", if this is a forced, superficial acknowledgement that God's way is right.)

11) "for this sake he suffers reproach, because he hopes in the living God, who is the Saviour of ALL men (mankind), SPECIALLY OF THOSE WHO BELIEVE." 1 Tim 4:10 ("Believe" is the same word as "faith," meaning those who believe without seeing.)

12) God "WILL have ALL men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth" that therefore "thanksgivings as well as prayers should be made for ALL," because there is "a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim 2:1-6 (If it is God's WILL that ALL men be saved, is our "will" stronger than God's will?)

13) "the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" 1 John 4:14 (Remember, you CAN'T be someone's Saviour, unless you actually SAVE him!)

14) "for God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the WORLD through Him MIGHT BE SAVED." John 3:17

15) the Only-Begotten Son "is the propitiation, not for our sins only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD" 1 John 2:2

16) "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of THE WORLD" John 1:29 (He doesn't "offer" to take away the sin, nor does He take away "some of the sin" from "some" people in the world.)

17) "was revealed for this very purpose, that He might DESTROY THE WORKS OF THE DEVIL" 1 John 3:8 (God created human beings, Satan didn't. When the "works of the devil" are destroyed, that means the SIN, NOT the sinner.)

18) "there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor pain, because ALL THINGS are made new, and the former things are passed away." Rev 21:4,5

19) For "the Father loveth the Son, and hath given ALL THINGS into His hand" (John 3:35) and Jesus declares "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me and him that cometh tome I will in no wise cast out.... And this is the Father WILL, which hath sent me, that of ALL which He hath given me I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day."  John 6:37-39

20) "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL unto me" John 12:32

INTERPRETATION

How can we interpret this apparent contradiction, — "few finding the way of life", and yet "in Christ shall all be made alive"?

God's elect is "a little flock", and yet "ALL the kindred of the earth blessed in Abraham's seed"?

"Eternal destruction'' and yet "restitution of ALL things"?

The standard answer is, that these opposing words only mean that some are saved and some are lost forever; that the saved are the elect of this and previous periods of time, who as compared with the world have been just a little flock;

"In Christ shall all be made alive" only means that all who are HERE in Christ shall be made alive; that the Lamb of God, though willing to be, is not really the Saviour of the world.  He only appears to be. It is presumed that Christ is the Saviour of ONLY some of the people in the world.

That instead of taking away the sin of the WORLD, Jesus only takes away the sin of some of the people in the world.

This is the accepted teaching of the Christian World: this is orthodox theological solution of the mystery, we are told.

BUT: In asserting one side of Scripture (that some will be saved, but the majority will be lost), one is obliged, not only to ignore and deny the other side (the more than 20 texts that say that ALL will be saved), but to represent God in a character absolutely the opposite to that in which the gospel portrays Him.

What this says is that if evil is allowed to have equal time with good, then evil will triumph over all that God can do to meet and remedy it.

Is this the Glad Tidings of great joy?

Is this the glorious gospel of our Creator?

This is NOT good news!

Is there sufficient light found in God's Word to solve this mystery?  If so, what is the key to the solution?

 

THE ANSWER

The answer to these two seemingly contradictory groups of texts is found in 1 Cor 15: 22-28. Let's read this passage, then closely analyze what it says.

vs 22: "For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.

Analysis: "For as in Adam ALL die" includes the ENTIRE human race. "Even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive." Again this refers to the ENTIRE human race. If not, then why is the illustration of "in ADAM" given?

Also the Greek word for "alive" here is zoopoieo, #2227 in Strong's Concordance which comes from the root that means to be made alive FOREVER, the Greek word zoe, #2222 in Strong's Concordance. This is the form of the word "life" that is ALWAYS used in the Bible when eternal life is spoken of, such as in Matt 19:16, "that I may have eternal life", Matt 19:29, "shall inherit everlasting life", John 3:15 "not perish, but have everlasting life."

When this earthly life is referred to in the Greek, the word psuche is used, #5590 in Strong's Concordance, which means "breath." Some illustrations are: Matt 6:25 "Take no thought for your life," Mark 8:35, "whosoever shall lose his life for my sake, John

15:13 "lay down his life for his friends."

vs 23: But every man in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits: afterward they that are Christ's at His coming.

Analysis: "But every man in his own order" means that not everyone will be saved at once. Salvation of the world will occur in stages (different groups at different times) - just like creation occurred in stages Group #1: "Christ, the firstfruits" - Jesus was resurrected - 2000 years ago. Group #2: "afterward they that are Christ's at His coming" refers to the group that will be saved at the Second coming of Jesus.

vs. 24: Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

vs. 25: For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.

vs 26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

"Then cometh the end" - what "end" does that mean? Does it mean the 2nd coming of Jesus, or after the millennium and the judgement? Let's read on and we will see that the Bible will give us the answer. "Then cometh the end when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power...and put ALL enemies under His feet," including the enemy of death! That clearly means the "end " that is spoken of here, is AFTER the millennium and the judgement.

Now let's see what God is going to do at the very "end."

 

vs. 27 For He hath put ALL things under His feet. But when He saith ALL things are put under Him, it is manifest (evident) that He (Jesus Christ) is excepted, which did put all things under Him (God).

vs 28: And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (God) that put all things under Him, that God may be ALL in ALL. (This is Group #3 and includes EVERYONE who was not included in Groups #1 and #2.)

Jesus will reign until He has put all enemies under His feet - including the last enemy to be destroyed - which is DEATH!


Then in verse 28 it says that when ALL things shall be subdued, then even the Son (Jesus) will be subject unto Him (God) (because we won't need a Saviour anymore) because God will be ALL in ALL! Not ALL in some - but ALL in All! Everyone will be saved!

However, NO ONE will be saved IN their sins. ALL will be saved FROM their sins. No one will make it into the Holy City without first having learned to live like Christ. This is called Universal RESTORATION (being saved FROM your sins), which is vastly different from Universalism (being saved IN your sins).

During the first five centuries of the Christian era, Universal Restoration was accepted doctrine. Early church leaders including Clement of Alexandria, Origen, the Gregorian, Basil the Great, all taught the doctrine of Universal Restoration - the doctrine that God will save Everyone!  But God will NOT save them IN their sin, only FROM their sin.

The Pharisees, according to Josephus, regarded the penalty for sin as torment without end. Jesus on the other hand called the punishment for sin age-long chastening - a limited time of reaping what one has sown.

The word "eon", often mistranslated eternity or forever, means a temporary duration precisely as Christ used the word in Matthew 25:46:

"And these shall go away into eonian (a limited period of time) chastening."

Where did the early Christian church find the concept of endless punishment? The Old Testament did not contain the doctrine and the New Testament was not yet in written form. Scholars have concluded that it came from the Pagan and Jewish religions.

Classic scholars know that the doctrine of endless punishment was invented to scare and control the multitude. Polybius wrote "Since the multitude is ever fickle there is no other way to keep them in order but by fear of the invisible world."

Some in the early Christian era, up until the 4"" century AD, preached the doctrine of eternal punishment, even though they did not believe it. They dared not entrust the truth to the masses, and so held it in reserve, to deter men from sin.

The first clear and definite statement of human destiny by any Christian writer after the days of the apostles, includes Universal Restoration, and the doctrine was advocated by most of the greatest and best of the Christian fathers for the first five hundred years of the Christian era.

The LCMS rejects the concept of Universal Restoration, as stated in the 1932 "Brief Statement" of the Doctrinal Position of the Missouri Synod, Article 42, page 20.

 

5) HEALTH - FOOD - HEALING

Since the Bible says that our body is the temple of God, does God expect us to take proper care of our body? Does that include the way we feed and maintain our body? Or what we are to eat? Does God promise to heal our diseases?

 

1 Corinthians 6:19,20 makes very clear that our body is not our own. It belongs to God:

"Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own; for you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God's."

 

Food and water are essential to maintain life. God's word is clear as to what foods we are to eat. Genesis 1:29 provides:

 

And God said, "See, I have given you every herb that yields seed, which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food."

The two foods described here are grains and fruits.

Genesis 3:18 adds a third food, vegetables:

"Both thorn and thistles it shall bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herb of the field."

Eating these three foods, grains, fruits and vegetables, men lived much longer lives than we currently experience. Indeed, Methuselah lived until the age of 969. His name means - the great flood - (literally "when he dies, it will be sent") - which began at his death at the time of Noah.

 

After the flood, God altered the diet He allowed man to eat meat , which after several generations resulted in a markedly decreased life span of 200 years and eventually a current life span of three score and ten, or 70 years. Today, people who adhere to a vegan diet live an average of ten years longer than those who continue to eat flesh food (meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs).

 

The American Medical Association now admits that there is a correlation between diet and the incidence of cancer in Americans. The admission was contained in a published report staling that one hundred years ago, the incidence of cancer in Americans was 1 in 33.  In 1985, it was 1 in 3. Today, it is 1 in 2. A major factor that has produced this huge increase in the incidence of cancer is the current diet we Americans follow, a diet high in animal products, compared with our diet 100 years ago, mainly a plant-based diet of fruits, grains and vegetables,.

 
In the last one hundred years, we Americans have substantially increased our consumption of meat, chicken and fish and by a similar margin have significantly decreased our consumption of grains, vegetables and fruits.

Of interest in the causal relationship between diet and the incidence of cancer is the fact that during World War II, we Americans enjoyed one of the healthiest periods in decades. Why? Because sugar and meat were rationed, and many Americans had a Victory garden where we grew our own vegetables.


When our body is afflicted with a disease, we Americans most often choose to ignore that Jesus never sent persons He encountered with a disease to a doctor, He healed them directly in one of two ways: 1) by speaking His Word (which we have today - the Bible) or 2) by Natural methods, such as clay and water.

 

We need to remember God's Word in Deuteronomy 7:11-15, which tells us HOW we can be healed:

"Therefore you shall keep the commandments (God's Ten Commandments), the statutes (including His Ten Natural Health statues or laws), and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.

"Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers.

"And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.

"You shall be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be a male or female barren among you, or among your livestock.

"And the Lord will take away from you ALL sickness, and will afflict you with none of the terrible diseases of Egypt which you have known, but will lay them on all those who hate you."

cannot recall ever hearing a sermon or a discussion in a Bible class in the years I have attended church, mostly in the LCMS, where God's health plan as set forth in Genesis and God's promise to heal our disease was discussed and explained.

Considering the incidence of disease in America and the huge quantity of American people who have a weight problem, it certainly would be appropriate for our Seminaries in the LCMS to consider the issue as a part of the training of Pastors. Where the Bible speaks with clarity on an issue as important to human beings as health, it is most appropriate to be addressed from the pulpit.

 

 

 



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