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Old 12-15-2012, 08:16 PM   #1
VoiceInWilderness
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Default Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

I would like to address 2 questions:
1. Do all or even most unbelievers go to hell for eternity?
2. Will all who believe in Jesus live eternally in the New Jerusalem?

This question is inspired by a post by ZNP in the "Is WL a False Prophet" thread regarding 2Pet 2:20-22 below:
-----------------------------
Personally I don't think the Bible teaches that those who have not received Christ will "go to hell". It does teach that those who receive Christ will not go to hell. That is different. But it doesn't help explain this verse because according to that understanding the false teachers will not go to hell having known Jesus as Lord and savior.
...
But how could the judgment on a backslider be worse than the judgment on someone who never received Jesus?
-------------------------------------

I will start off with question #1.
Where is there a verse that all unbelievers go to hell for eternity? Clearly there are some who do (Rev 14:11). But this verse does not refer to all unbelievers.
Mat 26:24 and Mark 14:21 say that the punishment on Judas will be so terrible that "it had been better for that man if he had never been born." Yet, most evangelicals say that it would have been better for most human beings if they had never been born. This cannot be. According to the 2 verses above, eternal hell is an exceptional punishment for extreme sinners.

In the Old Testament there is Israel and the nations. Israel is analagous to the church, and the nations to unbelievers. In the Old Testament no one would get the view that all the nations go to hell for eternity. It is clear that they are there in the next age. The righteous among the nations live in the next age as the nations and the righteous of Israel live on as God's people in the next age.

Please fellowship.
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Old 12-15-2012, 09:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

Hi my brother Steve! So good to hear from you.

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I realize that the verse I have quoted above rubs against the grain of our post modern, "I'm ok, you're ok" - "why would God send babies and good people to hell" world view. But it's all I have to present to you as an objective truth. If you choose a different understanding of what the apostle John has given us in the verse I have quoted, more power to you, and even better, more grace, mercy and peace to you.

I would leave you with this...Why didn't the apostle John just leave it at "Whoever has the Son has life"? Why did he go the extra step and write "whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life?"
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

I realize that the verse I have quoted above rubs against the grain of our post modern, "I'm ok, you're ok" - "why would God send babies and good people to hell" world view. But it's all I have to present to you as an objective truth.
After He expired on the cross, apparently Jesus announced good news to those who had already died -- when He descended into the lower parts of the earth. (Eph 4.9, Isa 44.22-23)

Why do you also seem to conclude that God has judged all children who have had no opportunity to "have the Son" while on earth? Are we so sure that they have no opportunity to believe in the after life?

I Peter 4.6 says that the gospel was "preached also to the dead." It seems to me that no one perishes without the opportunity to first believe the good news of the Savior, and "have the Son" for eternity.
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Old 12-16-2012, 10:19 AM   #4
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

Ohio, where in my post did I conclude anything? Please feel free to address what I said, not what I didn't say. We cannot know how babies, or those who never heard the gospel, are going to be dealt with at the Judgment....because the Bible does not address this issue, at least not directly.

And this leads to something that I think is very important when considering issues like VoiceInWiderness has brought up. We Christians can get into a lot of trouble delving deeply into issues that are NOT addressed in the Word of God. Speculation and biblical theology do not make good partners.

Now if we really want to get some clear answers, I think it would behoove us to start off from the beginning. Do we really believe the descriptions of "The Fall" in Genesis? Were Adam and Eve real human beings that really disobeyed God? Did they really receive judgment from that God? Do we really believe that this disobedience caused the entire human race to come under God's judgment? The Lord Jesus believed and taught this, the apostles believed and taught this and orthodox Christians have believed this and taught this for about 2000 years.

To say that some of us will get "a second chance" after death takes us down a very slippery slope...one that Christians have gone down before, and let me tell you, it ain't pretty at the bottom.

Ok, let's get back to the Word - For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.(1 Cor 15:22) This cannot refer to our physical death because those in Christ die a physical death along with everybody else. This is referring to a "transfer" that takes place, and this transfer takes place while we are alive, here on earth. I do not see anywhere in the Word where this transfer can take place after we die our physical death.
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Old 12-16-2012, 01:55 PM   #5
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Ohio, where in my post did I conclude anything? Please feel free to address what I said, not what I didn't say. We cannot know how babies, or those who never heard the gospel, are going to be dealt with at the Judgment....because the Bible does not address this issue, at least not directly.
You can feign shock with some "wow" smiley face, but I did address what you have posted, and only what you posted. I gave you every benefit of the doubt saying you "seem to conclude." Neither was any part of my post "off" topic.

Do I believe the Genesis account of "the fall?" Are you serious? Are you now patronizing me for my last post? And then you provide the "orthodox" view of faith for the last 2,000 years.

OK then. Since none of the Patriarchs nor any the Israelites were ever "in Christ," then by your simplistic theology, all are "judged" by God. Will they all go to hell also? Sounds like your theology is sourced in the dark ages, when the superstitious Catholic priests condemned every Jew for "killing Jesus."
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Old 12-16-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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Why do you also seem to conclude that God has judged all children who have had no opportunity to "have the Son" while on earth? Are we so sure that they have no opportunity to believe in the after life?

John 8:23-24 "And He (Jesus Christ) was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Hebrews 9:27 "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."

John 14:6 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

Those men whom God chose who lived before Christ were accounted righteous by their faith ("Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.") in God and His character, and not by their own goodness or merit (see Hebrews 11).

God is perfect and Holy, He is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all. A perfect and Holy God cannot abide sin, and for this reason Christ commanded us "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48. In fact, Christ said at His sermon on the Mount: "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

How can we be so righteous as to inherit the Kingdom? the Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that there are none who are righteous...

Romans 3:10-18 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes."

So what of men who do not hear the gospel message proclaimed clearly and rightly from Scripture? What of them? Are they then damned simply because no man divided the Word properly for them? The Bible gives us this answer too:

Psalm 19:1-6 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat."

Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

Without excuse. Simply because a tribesman from the deep Amazon does not hear the name of Jesus Christ, does not mean that God cannot reach Him through the testimony of His creation. God can, and has, reached the hearts of men far removed in time and space from the coming of His Son. Their knowledge of Him and His Holiness is shown in the lives they lead:

Romans 2:14 "Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it."

But if only good deeds or decent living were required to gain entrance to the Kingdom, then Christ would have died in vain.

Galatians 3:21b-22 "...For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe."

If there were another way to God the Father, then Christ's death on the cross, the wages of our sins, would not have been neccessary. Being unneccessary, God the Father would prove Himself to be cruel and unjust - for Christ's death would be without meaning and vain.

Does He want any to perish? He commanded us to go forth and preach the Gospel to all Creation (to the ends of the earth - see Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15) - so that all the Father had given Him could be brought to Him. Does that not demonstrate the depth of His commitment to bring home the lost sheep? If we reject these truths and come to believe instead that there must be another way, that simple goodness and decency are all that God might require, then we are willfully disobeying His commands, and showing a lack of faith in the Truth of His Word. This is not a small matter, it is the most important mission of the Church on this Earth, and Christ's final command to her.


For More on the Narrow Way, please watch:

http://www.truthaccordingtoscripture.com/index.php "Why Christ is the Only Way"

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Old 12-16-2012, 04:17 PM   #7
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Personally I don't think the Bible teaches that those who have not received Christ will "go to hell". It does teach that those who receive Christ will not go to hell. That is different.
I'm trying to get a handle on what you actually believe here, so could you explain a little more about what is going to happen to these unbelievers who do not go to hell? For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.(2 Cor 5:10) So when these ones come before the judgement seat of Christ, the Lord is going to say "oh, when the Bible said 'all' it really didn't mean you guys". Also note "for his deeds in the body". This to me clearly indicates that ALL will be judged for what takes place during our days here on earth.

It seems to me that you believe that there is going to be some third dimension apart from heaven and hell. I don't see it in the Word. Maybe there's something there that I'm not seeing. So could you please elaborate a bit on this? I not trying to be argumentative, just seeking some clarification.

Quote:
But it doesn't help explain this verse because according to that understanding the false teachers will not go to hell having known Jesus as Lord and savior.
But how could the judgment on a backslider be worse than the judgment on someone who never received Jesus?
Who said that false teachers are going to hell? I don't think you've heard that from me or anyone else on this forum. Some false teachers will go to hell because they never believed on the Lord Jesus in the first place. Some will no doubt "suffer loss; but ..will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Cor 3:15)

Quote:
I will start off with question #1.
Where is there a verse that all unbelievers go to hell for eternity? Clearly there are some who do (Rev 14:11). But this verse does not refer to all unbelievers.
Nothing in Revelation 14 makes or breaks your case, so I'm not sure why you are bringing it up.

Quote:
Mat 26:24 and Mark 14:21 say that the punishment on Judas will be so terrible that "it had been better for that man if he had never been born." Yet, most evangelicals say that it would have been better for most human beings if they had never been born. This cannot be. According to the 2 verses above, eternal hell is an exceptional punishment for extreme sinners.
Most evangelicals say what? I have never heard any Christian teacher or minister say any such thing. Again the verses you have provided do not make your case, and they certainly do not say that hell is an exceptional punishment for extreme sinners.

Quote:
In the Old Testament there is Israel and the nations. Israel is analagous to the church, and the nations to unbelievers. In the Old Testament no one would get the view that all the nations go to hell for eternity. It is clear that they are there in the next age. The righteous among the nations live in the next age as the nations and the righteous of Israel live on as God's people in the next age.
Yes Israel is analogous to the church, but I don't think that the nations (in the O.T.) are analogous to unbelievers (in this age). Israel was a people chosen and called out by God (as we Christians are), but the nations in the Old Testament were held under God's continual judgment (with a few exceptions) and were not provided any chance of redemption, whereas the unbelievers in this age have been given the opportunity to come out from underneath God's judgment. (I do understand that part of your contention is that some have not been given that opportunity, and we can certainly discuss that on this thread).

The situation with how God's people who lived under that law will be judged is an area of debate and even sharp disagreement among Christians. I have not studied it enough to make an intelligent argument either way. I wish the apostle Paul were here to expound upon what he told the Romans: For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (Rom 2:12) It seems cut and dry, but there are other portions of scripture that seem to make it a little more complicated than this verse seems to indicate.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:33 PM   #8
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John 8:23-24 "And He (Jesus Christ) was saying to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”...
Who said there is another way to God? Who said we could be saved without faith? Who said we could find righteousness apart from Christ? Who said we could be saved apart from His one sacrifice?

For a guy who has accused me of not reading his posts, you sure don't practice what you preach. How does any of these verses apply? As someone once said, "a little knowledge is dangerous." Why don't you stop your chest-thumping and read what I wrote?

Nobody's touching your beloved thread, so why don't you follow the same rules?
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #9
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It seems to me that you believe that there is going to be some third dimension apart from heaven and hell. I don't see it in the Word. Maybe there's something there that I'm not seeing. So could you please elaborate a bit on this? I not trying to be argumentative, just seeking some clarification.
The restored kingdom of David
The city of New Jerusalem
The nations outside the city
The lake that burns with fire and brimstone

Here are at least four "dimensions."
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Old 12-17-2012, 08:23 AM   #10
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I don't know if getting into this will take us off the beaten path, but V.I.W. can steer us back if he wants.

Ohio, I'm not sure if this is what you meant to do, but you are reminding us that there will be "a new heaven and a new earth". In my way of thinking, this new heaven and new earth are just one "dimension", but if you insist, I guess one could consider them as two dimensions. Of course this term dimension is not actually found in the Bible, so I don't want to quibble over it any way.

If I remember correctly, Witness Lee taught that "the nations" are going to consist of the non-Christian, non-Jewish peoples who were alive on the old Earth at the end of the Millennial Kingdom, and will then become "the nations" who populate the new Earth. This is probably something that came from Darby and the Brethren, but somebody out there can probably correct me on this.

Anyway, maybe this idea of the nations is what V.I.W. is thinking about?
VoiceInWilderness, what do you think about what has been posted so far?
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:43 AM   #11
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Rather than using Lee's teachings, it's probably better to use the scripture, and that's what VoiceInWilderness would prefer. "New heavens and new earth" are places referenced in the Bible, but I think it's better to address what scripture says about the future of men and women, since that's what Voice originally referenced, and that's been what I have tried to address.

"The Nations," or the "Gentiles" as the Bible commonly describes them, do not fit into the standard "heaven/hell" paradigm which both you and NFNL have addressed. Rev 21.24 says that "the nations shall walk by the light" of the New Jerusalem, indicating that they are not a part of the city. Rev 22.2 says that "the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations," indicating that they have not passed through the perfection of the Lord's salvation, and have much need here. Who are the nations?

They cannot be those saved ones in "heaven," neither can they be those judged ones in "hell." Since neither the church, nor the believers, nor the nation of Israel has ever been characterized by the phrase, "The Nations," then we must reconsider our simplistic "heaven/hell" paradigm as insufficient and problematic. Coupled with this thought is the matter of the "Sheep and Goats" in Matt. 25. The Bible says that when the "Son of Man comes in His glory all the nations will be gathered before Him," He will separate sheep and goats based on how they have treated His brothers. To the sheep, He says, "you are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you."

It would have been nice if NFNL would have done a little study such as this, or on Judas, or any related topic, rather than question my faith. Remember what Paul told us, "If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know."
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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I would have used different words, but I had the same response to that post by ZNP that VIW has expressed. And this is a very recent controversy in Christianity as a whole. Mostly due to the book Heaven Wins by Rob Bell.

Bell (and others before him) has latched onto the uncertainty of time with respect to the punishment of those who "perish." (The issue is that the Greek/Hebrew/Aramaic words used are not simply some short period, or simply eternity, but rather are said to be of uncertain time period.) On the other side, it is asserted that only the extreme of "eternity" should be understood.

And if you lean toward the "less-than-eternity" side of the debate, then the quote "He is not willing that any should perish" has a different meaning than for those who believe that it is eternal.

And if you believe it is less than eternal, then all punishment takes on a nature that looks something like a Catholic purgatory or Lee's little dark closet. I don't have a problem with discovering that Lee was right on something (if that is the correct view). Having said that, I don't think that any of Lee's teaching that I would accept as correct was uniquely his.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:21 AM   #13
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But, to consider UntoHim's question about what VIW believes about it, if he is anything like me, the answer is that it is being considered, not decided. Like ZNP, I see verses that provide the positive side in clear terms, but they generally are not so clear concerning the negative side. So the question is raised.

And despite the kind of firestorm that surrounded Rob Bell's book, what we believe about it does not affect our core beliefs about God and salvation. Whether God ultimately allows all of mankind "in" does not change our need. And it does not negate salvation.

So . . . . what is "perish"? Is that permanent? It does seem that way. But is that because someone told us it was so even though it is not true?

Not saying. Just asking.
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Old 12-17-2012, 01:15 PM   #14
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Ohio, I don't know what to say. I don't understand why you got so hostile so fast. I was NOT questioning your faith, I was pointing out that what you were suggesting (that people might have the opportunity to come to faith in Christ in the afterlife) is against the teaching of Christ. That's what the quotes from Scripture were about. My fault for not expositing them fully, I suppose. Please let me correct that error and answer your question here:

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How does any of these verses apply?
Ohio, we can't have a second chance at coming to faith in Christ after we die because:

1) John 8:23-24 "unless you believe in Him, you will die in your sins."

So if you die in your sins, then the only way to get a second chance at redemption would be if you got the opportunity to hear the gospel once your dead. What does the Bible say there?

2) Hebrews 9:27 "it is appointed unto men once to die, and after that, the judgement."

So once you die, you're judged. That's it. No chance for a little after-death evangelization. Your court day is due and you stand before the Judge.

So if you are due for judgement, and if you haven't confessed Christ as Savior in this life, then perhaps there's a legal loophole you can use to escape sentencing: Perhaps there's another way out of this whole mess. Do you really need Christ to get off the hook for your sins?

3) John 14:16 "(Jesus said)... there is no way to the Father but by Me."

Nope, no loophole. You are convicted of your sins and you are sentenced.

--------That's what those verses have to do with what you posted------


Next I offered a response to an uncomely remark you made to UntoHim, when you said:

"Since none of the Patriarchs nor any the Israelites were ever "in Christ," then by your simplistic theology, all are "judged" by God. Will they all go to hell also? Sounds like your theology is sourced in the dark ages, when the superstitious Catholic priests condemned every Jew for "killing Jesus."

The answer I offered was this:

"Those men whom God chose who lived before Christ were accounted righteous by their faith ("Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.") in God and His character, and not by their own goodness or merit (see Hebrews 11)."

------- See, I did read what you wrote, and answered your question-----

And then, to prove that simple faith in "a" God or in being good is not enough for those who have lived since Christ came, I offered everything that followed (and not just for you, but for the whole thread, in response to what VIW was asking).


Ohio: Quit being so angry and bitter! I have not attacked you, so why are you taking what I wrote as an attack? Witness Lee was the same way, disagree with or try to correct him, and BAM - the gloves come off and he starts swinging. You're better than that, please don't behave that way. If you take exception to something I write, please give me the benefit of the doubt that I was NOT trying to offend or belittle you - and if I came across that way, I apologize. I am only seeking to edify, and if you want me to butt out of this conversation, so be it - but it was Voice in the Wilderness who started this thread, not you, and he asked for fellowship on the matter. That's what I was offering.
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Old 12-17-2012, 03:06 PM   #15
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Ohio, I don't know what to say. I don't understand why you got so hostile so fast.

Ohio, we can't have a second chance at coming to faith in Christ after we die because:
Sarcastic yes! But hostile, angry, uncomely, and bitter no!

Have you never considered that sarcasm is an effective tool of communication? It was warranted here. But ... here's the question ... did I ever delete your posts or run you off the thread? Of course not! But let's address a few pertinent points ...

When did I ever say that those who reject Christ in this age, have a "second chance" in the next age? It was you who jumped to some false conclusions, and then "heaped it" on top of me. Why did you not ask for clarification? When I said ...
Quote:
Why do you also seem to conclude that God has judged all children who have had no opportunity to "have the Son" while on earth? Are we so sure that they have no opportunity to believe in the after life?
I was referring to those who never had the opportunity to believe or reject the Lord. What about the babies who die before they are able to think? What about the unborn who are stillborn or aborted? Do you have a scripture verse that shows us how God will send these ones to hell?
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Ohio View Post
I was referring to those who never had the opportunity to believe or reject the Lord. What about the babies who die before they are able to think? What about the unborn who are stillborn or aborted? Do you have a scripture verse that shows us how God will send these ones to hell?
And if there isn't an opportunity for some to believe after death, why did Jesus preach to the spirits in prison after His resurrection (1 Pet 3:18-19)? Surely not just to rub it in.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

Sure, sarcasm is an effective tool of communication...but it makes a really bad excuse for flaming other posters. Also, being argumentative just for the sake of being argumentative is a sure fire way to get your posts deleted. And if you keep up at it, you may even get run off of a thread. Such is the fate of someone who has no respect for other people's sensibilities, patience and time.

And this being said....oh VoiceInWilderness...where art thou? Please come back and save this thread from a slow and painful death. I know you're out there. Give us one more chance to discuss this issue without it being a food fight. If you want, just try to start all over again if you want.
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Old 12-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #18
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And if there isn't an opportunity for some to believe after death, why did Jesus preach to the spirits in prison after His resurrection (1 Pet 3:18-19)? Surely not just to rub it in.
An interesting question that has always caused much debate... and this very question highlights why theologians always remind us to "interpret Scripture with Scripture". Single quotes pulled from one of the 66 books of the Bible, when they apparently fly in the face of other quotes from these books, should not be made to stand alone.

I would like to offer one suggestion for the interpretation of this passage, if I may. I feel that Scripture elsewhere DOES support this interpretation (perhaps especially for us Gap-theorists). Allow me to post an excerpt from some articles on the matter here:

"Spirits in Prison"
As mentioned before, this passage in I Peter 3, particularly verses 19-20, is quite difficult to translate from Greek to English. This is so because each of the nine Greek words in verse 19 can be translated in various shades of meaning, making interpretation tricky. We probably do best by translating them in their most basic meanings, thus: "in which also He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison . . ." (author's paraphrase).

The "which" ("whom" in NKJV) in verse 19 probably refers back to "Spirit," its closest antecedent, in verse 18, suggesting that Jesus was no longer in the flesh but by this time had been changed into spirit. This follows the historical chain of events in order from the preceding verse: He suffered, died, was resurrected, and was thus changed to spirit, leading to the next key words, "He went."

What happened next in the gospel record after His resurrection to spirit? What did Jesus do after arising from the dead? Some might suggest that He revealed Himself to His disciples, which He did, but not by any stretch of meaning could it be described as going and proclaiming to imprisoned spirits! No, John tells us through the words of Jesus Himself to Mary Magdalene what the next momentous occurrence was: "[G]o to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God'" (John 20:17). When Jesus "went," He ascended in glory to the right hand of the Father in heaven!

At this point, we will skip to the phrase "spirits in prison." First, let us note that the Bible does not refer to human beings who have died as being imprisoned in any way, not even those who have rebelled against and rejected God. They may be said to be "destroyed" or "killed" or "cut off" or sent to "Sheol," which is a pit or grave, but they are never imprisoned. As we saw, humans who die return to the dust of which they are made (see also Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 3:19-20).
However, the Bible speaks in several places about spirit beings—angels or demons—being imprisoned (see II Peter 2:4-5, where Peter again refers to Noah's time; Jude 6; and Revelation 20:1-3.

Rebellious angels, unlike mortal humans, must be imprisoned because angels or demons, being composed of spirit, do not die as humans do. The "angels who sinned," Peter and Jude say, were cast down to Tartarus ("a place of restraint," a prison) where they are bound until God judges them. This Tartarus, this "hell" where the demons are restrained, is none other than their "first estate," their "proper domain," earth (see Ezekiel 28:17; Revelation 12:7-9)!

Second, Peter's use of "spirits" is consistent with its use in the gospels (see, for instance, Matthew 8:16; 12:45; Mark 3:11; 5:13; 6:7; Luke 11:26; etc.). In the gospels, "spirits" consistently denotes "evil spirits," "demons," "wicked spirits." It is highly likely that Peter refers to demons in I Peter 3:19.
This is confirmed by the first phrase of verse 20, "who formerly were disobedient" (NKJV) or "who disobeyed long ago" (New International Version, [NIV]). Peter is speaking of a time in deep antiquity, a time before the Flood. Perhaps he does not intend us to think of Satan's original sin of rebellion against God (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), although it may be included, but specifically of the demons' corruption of mankind between the Creation and the Flood.

This would explain his time marker in the next phrase, "when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built" (NIV). In Satan's sin, only the demons themselves were affected, but when they corrupted mankind, human beings who were potential sons of God were affected. Once men and women began sinning under the influence of Satan and his demon horde, the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ became necessary.

Peter's point, then, is that, though the wicked spirits seemed to be so successful in corrupting mankind, God patiently waited during Noah's 120-year ministry to save only eight people by bringing them through the Flood, delivering them through a kind of baptism. The demons had failed to destroy mankind. So also, by having Jesus crucified, the demons thought again they had won, but through the resurrection, Jesus had the victory instead. Baptism is a type of this same victory, as it is a symbolic death of the old, wicked man and of his resurrection to newness of life (see Romans 6:4).
Read more: http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseact...#ixzz2FMdK3LBK
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:06 PM   #19
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Hi my brother Steve! So good to hear from you.

Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
...
I would leave you with this...Why didn't the apostle John just leave it at "Whoever has the Son has life"? Why did he go the extra step and write "whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life?"
Hi UntoHim. Thanks for the welcome back! I apologize to all for not replying earlier. I thought that when I subscribed to the thread I'd get emailed that there were replies, but I didn't get any.

The verse says that he who does not have Christ does not have the divine life. But it does not say that he necessarily goes to hell for eternity. He may live forever on the earth as one of the nations. Or he may go to hell for eternity, or he may go out of existence.

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For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.(2 Cor 5:10) So when these ones come before the judgement seat of Christ, the Lord is going to say "oh, when the Bible said 'all' it really didn't mean you guys". Also note "for his deeds in the body". This to me clearly indicates that ALL will be judged for what takes place during our days here on earth.
Surely every man will be judged for his deeds done thru his body as you say. I think the verse you quoted is specifically for Christians, but Heb 9:27 and the Great White Throne Judgement in Rev 20 apply to all men. This does not say the punishment for every unbeliever's sins is enternity in hell. It will be for some like Judas, but not most.

I'll respond more tomorrow. It's my bed time.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:24 AM   #20
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Originally Posted by NeitherFirstnorLast View Post
An interesting question that has always caused much debate... and this very question highlights why theologians always remind us to "interpret Scripture with Scripture". Single quotes pulled from one of the 66 books of the Bible, when they apparently fly in the face of other quotes from these books, should not be made to stand alone.

I would like to offer one suggestion for the interpretation of this passage, if I may. I feel that Scripture elsewhere DOES support this interpretation (perhaps especially for us Gap-theorists). Allow me to post an excerpt from some articles on the matter here:
I considered this, but it still doesn't address the question of why Jesus "preached" to them. Usually you preach to people to influence them. Are we to believe Jesus just went to them to tell them that their side lost?

Also, "spirits" is used in Hebrews 12 to refer to human being in the next life:

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect. Hebrews 12:22-23

Also, 1 Peter 3 seems to be about the righteousness and redemption of people, not angels.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:49 PM   #21
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Who said that false teachers are going to hell? I don't think you've heard that from me or anyone else on this forum. Some false teachers will go to hell because they never believed on the Lord Jesus in the first place. Some will no doubt "suffer loss; but ..will be saved, yet so as through fire." (1 Cor 3:15)
I had quoted ZNP, who, I think, was questioning if 2 Peter 2:21-22 means that these false teachers were going to hell. This is my 2nd question regarding if every believer will be in the New Jerusalem. I would like to discuss that later because there is a lot to fellowship about my question #1.

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Nothing in Revelation 14 makes or breaks your case, so I'm not sure why you are bringing it up.
Rev 14:11 proves that some people do go to hell for eternity. I mentioned it because I wanted to make it clear that I am not a universalist, who says that no one goes to hell for eternity. I think most unbelievers do not go to hell for eternity, but some do.

Universalists use the fact that the Gk ionian, like the Hebrew leOlam, do not necessarily mean "forever", but may just mean "to the age". To unabiguously mean forever, the Bible says "forever and ever" which is what Rev 14:11 says. Besides that, the verses about Judas' judgment require that Judas would never be reconciled to God.

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Most evangelicals say what? I have never heard any Christian teacher or minister say any such thing. Again the verses you have provided do not make your case, and they certainly do not say that hell is an exceptional punishment for extreme sinners.
The 2 verses about Judas, Mat 26:24 & Mk 14:21, say that Judas' punishment is so incredibly terrible that it would have been better for him if he had never been born! Judas, I think, was one of the worst sinners ever. Most Evangelicals say that every unbeliever will suffer eternal torment in hell. If an unbeliever will suffer torment forever and ever, then would it not have been much better for every unbeliever if he had never been born? Unbelievers are the majority of the human race. So that's why I say that Evangelicals say the the majority of the human race would have been better off not to be born. This at odds with Mat 26:24 & Mk 14:21 because Judas' punishment is clearly exceptional.
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Yes Israel is analogous to the church, but I don't think that the nations (in the O.T.) are analogous to unbelievers (in this age). Israel was a people chosen and called out by God (as we Christians are), but the nations in the Old Testament were held under God's continual judgment (with a few exceptions) and were not provided any chance of redemption, whereas the unbelievers in this age have been given the opportunity to come out from underneath God's judgment.

No Old Testament-believing Jew would agree with you about the predicament of the nations in the Old Testament. The Jews have always said that the righteous of all nations will inherit the earth. This is not a verse in the Old Testament, but it is clear in the OT, that in the next age, the nations are there as well as Israel. Their portion is not nearly as close to God as the Jews. They would be judged by their works. There is no hint in the OT that all the nations go to hell for eternity. In the NT, a gentile can become part of Israel. In the OT, it was very rare for a gentile to become part of Israel. I don't think this is a strong argument on my part because it is general. I prefer to stand on specific verses like the ones about Judas. There are others, but I'll bring them up later.
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(I do understand that part of your contention is that some have not been given that opportunity, and we can certainly discuss that on this thread).

This is a big point, and I haven't paid that much attention to it. I've understood that those who never heard the gospel would be judged according to their works. If they never heard the gospel, that is taken into account.

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The situation with how God's people who lived under that law will be judged is an area of debate and even sharp disagreement among Christians. I have not studied it enough to make an intelligent argument either way. I wish the apostle Paul were here to expound upon what he told the Romans: For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law, and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; (Rom 2:12) It seems cut and dry, but there are other portions of scripture that seem to make it a little more complicated than this verse seems to indicate.

I agree, and I have not studied it much either. I'd rather not get into that at 1st because it's a detour from my 2 questions.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:02 PM   #22
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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I considered this, but it still doesn't address the question of why Jesus "preached" to them. Usually you preach to people to influence them. Are we to believe Jesus just went to them to tell them that their side lost?
Yes. He told them that He as a man had overcome their leader, Satan. They were imprisoned in Tartarus, so they would not know otherwise. This would not be "rubbing it in" because they did not already know.

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Also, "spirits" is used in Hebrews 12 to refer to human being in the next life:

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect. Hebrews 12:22-23


The Bible is consistent, that man is a soul who has a spirit. Angels and demons are spirits. Heb 12:23 is no exception. It does not say "righteous spirits", but spirits of righteous men. But regarding angels and demons, the Bible calls them serving, wicked, evil, unclean or deceiving spirits.

Wuest give an superb explanation of this in his Word Studies of NT on 1 Peter 3.

I don't believe in a 2nd chance after one dies. I think the Bible is pretty clear on that.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:13 PM   #23
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

Brothers,
I don't think there's anything else for me to respond to. I agree with NeitherFirstNorLast that there's no 2nd chance after one dies. My point is that most unbelievers do not go to hell for eternity.

I would like some comment on what I wrote on Mat 26:24 & Mk 14:21. The only one who responded directly to what I wrote was UntoHim.

After I get some comment on that, I'd like to discuss other passages that I think show that unbelievers can be the nations in the next age.

Thanks.
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Old 12-24-2012, 11:13 AM   #24
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My point is that most unbelievers do not go to hell for eternity.
Terribly sorry! I missed your point entirely... but now I get it, and this is something that I hadn't personally considered (I guess you might say I was blinded by my paradigm ).

I am very interested in hearing what you have to say on the matter - and will be following along.... thank you brother.
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Old 12-24-2012, 02:30 PM   #25
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The 2 verses about Judas, Mat 26:24 & Mk 14:21, say that Judas' punishment is so incredibly terrible that it would have been better for him if he had never been born! Judas, I think, was one of the worst sinners ever. Most Evangelicals say that every unbeliever will suffer eternal torment in hell. If an unbeliever will suffer torment forever and ever, then would it not have been much better for every unbeliever if he had never been born? Unbelievers are the majority of the human race. So that's why I say that Evangelicals say the the majority of the human race would have been better off not to be born. This at odds with Mat 26:24 & Mk 14:21 because Judas' punishment is clearly exceptional.
Steve,
You have not shown a connection between "Judas' punishment" and your overall contentions/propositions here in this thread. First of all you haven't shown (nor can you show) that this statement "it would have been better for him if he had never been born" is referring to Hell or eternal punishment. The context of this statement places it more in the immediate timeframe of Judas' betrayal of Jesus Christ. "but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!" The result of Judas' betrayal (Jesus being handed over for execution) caused Judas to take steps to "undue" what he had done (cf: he tried to return the 30 pieces of silver), and he eventually committed suicide. Maybe Judas did commit the worst sin ever, but it does not necessarily follow that "he was one of the worst sinners ever", and even if he was, there is no indication in scripture that there are degrees of sinners. We are sinners or we are not sinners.

I have more questions for you but I will pause here and give you a chance to clarify. Please take your time and try to connect with scriptures that make your case. If you cannot find any then maybe that tells you something about your contention/proposition.
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Old 12-29-2012, 09:54 PM   #26
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I'm an unwilling teenage member of the local church. I'm a rather secular guy.

I'm glad that not all Christians believe what I used to believe, which is the idea that all nonbelievers are destined for everlasting torture. That immorality of that idea is part of what pushed me out of Christianity.
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:24 AM   #27
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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I'm an unwilling teenage member of the local church. I'm a rather secular guy.

I'm glad that not all Christians believe what I used to believe, which is the idea that all nonbelievers are destined for everlasting torture. That immorality of that idea is part of what pushed me out of Christianity.
I think a lot of people have been repelled by Christians' "Just So Stories". In his "Just So Stories", Rudyard Kipling wrote fantastical accounts of how things came to be, as fables for children. Many times we Christians present fantastical speculative accounts of 'how things are going to be'. These accounts are not consistent with all the words of the Bible, just a selected few; they are often at least partly illogical, and occasionally even immoral, as Unregistered above has noticed.

I think God is rather bigger than our fables, fantasies, and rationalizations. Did not Jesus portray God in judgment dismissing those who are armed with various rationalizations (i.e. fantasies) and the works they built thereon? See e.g. Matt 7:15-23.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:15 AM   #28
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

The "angels who sinned," Peter and Jude say, were cast down to Tartarus ("a place of restraint," a prison) where they are bound until God judges them. This Tartarus, this "hell" where the demons are restrained, is none other than their "first estate," their "proper domain," earth!

Read more: http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseact...#ixzz2GYUo0KaH


This quote above from VIW is provocative. "!" indeed. It always seemed to me that the angels' "first estate" was God's kingdom in heaven, and that the Genesis 6 story, amplified in Enoch (which was quoted by Jude), showed that the "Watcher" angels were not supposed to interfere with humanity on earth. They were supposed to watch and report back to the Boss. But some of them were deceived, and like bank guards becoming bank robbers, they took on the flesh of humanity and dwelt among them and took wives, which led to perversity and punishment (i.e. "the Flood").

How someone could infer from this that "earth is the first estate of the angels" is a mystery to me. Of course, I may have fundamentally mis-read or mis-interpreted the section quoted above.

A second point about Christ descending into the heart of the earth and "preaching to disobedient spirits": it seemed to be chronologically concurrent with Paul's idea of "taking captivity captive" in Ephesians 4. Both events must have largely occurred simultaneously, no? I have always perceived it as such. There's nothing that I am aware of that joins the two sections; it has just seemed to me that both events must have occurred together: Jesus rescuing one group and refusing another.

When the demons cried out, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, Nazarene? Have you come to destroy us before our time?" it doesn't suggest to me a potential reconciliation in the offing, but rather a complete negation. Just as light cannot co-exist with darkness, neither can God and Jesus reconcile with the demons.

I know this isn't necessarily addressing either of VIW's first two questions. I just thought that the quote from cgg.org was maybe coming from somewhere I wasn't aware of.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:07 PM   #29
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I'm glad that not all Christians believe what I used to believe, which is the idea that all nonbelievers are destined for everlasting torture. That immorality of that idea is part of what pushed me out of Christianity.
This thread, coupled with what I've read about cultural paradigms, really got me thinking. What does the Bible really teach about Hell?

For instance.... we all know that the Devil (Satan) is a real being, but Satan doesn't have goats hooves and red skin and horns and a tail. We might laugh at that ridiculous idea, but it is an idea that was actually propagated for some time amongst Western European Christians. Where did that idea come from? Obviously not the Bible... so could we also harbor wrong ideas about Hell?


Here are some interesting facts, that ought to have us European-stock Christians reconsider:

1) The Old Testament word which our English Bibles translate as Hell, is "Sheol". This word means "the grave". It is the place where the dead (be they righteous or wicked) sleep without thought.

"For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed" (Acts 13:36)

"For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten" (Ecclesiastes 9:5)

"From dust you were made and to dust you shall return" (Genesis 3:19)

2) There are THREE distinctly different New Testament words (translated from Koine Greek) as the one word "Hell". They are:

a) Hades: The Greek equivalent of Sheol.
b) Gehenna: This was a real place, a valley wherein children had been sacrificed to Moloch in burning fire. This was a cursed place.
c) Tartarus: This word appears only once in the entire New Testament, in 1st Peter 3:19. "Tartarus" is considered an equivalent to a Hebrew word found in the book of 1st Enoch, it is the name of the abode of Fallen Angels who have been imprisoned until the time of the end.

...So where does the word "Hell" come from?

3) "Hell" or "Hel" was the name of a Norse goddess, a daughter of Loki - whom Odin sent to rule over the realm of the dead: Helheim. Her abode is where all of those who died (save the most valiant warriors) were taken. Germans, Franks, Angles, Saxons, these are the people familiar with the concept of "Hell".... and the translation of the Bible into English used this word from Norse mythology when translating the words used in the Bible.

....There's a lot to consider, and I'm doing a lot of reading now... but this is something I want to ingest more before I fully put my thoughts out on the matter.

I will say that I am starting my research in the book of John, to hear what Christ said. I find it very interesting that Christ consistently says He "came that we might have life", that "His light is the Life of men", that "whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting Life". It is very interesting that the rich young ruler came to Him to find out what he must do to obtain everlasting life..... Christ did NOT say "you already have everlasting life, I'm only here to ask you where you want to spend it."
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Old 11-02-2019, 09:23 AM   #30
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

I'll wade into this discussion first by sharing this article
It has been helpful for me on this matter
manna-man...

CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN THEOLOGIAN NO LONGER BELIEVES ETERNAL TORMENT
by Babu G. Ranganathan

Excerpts from:
Conserviative Christian Theologian No Longer Believes Eternal Torment

Although I am a conservative Christian (Reformed Baptist), I no longer believe that the Bible teaches or supports the traditional view of hell with its doctrine of eternal torment or suffering.

The Bible does teach eternal punishment, but that eternal punishment ultimately is not eternal suffering.

Although the wicked in hell, for a period, will suffer consciously for their individual sins, the ultimate penalty for sin itself will be the eternal literal death of soul and body and the eternal loss to immortality. That is what the Bible means by their eternal punishment. It is not the "punishing" that is eternal but, rather, the "punishment."

If pain is necessary for punishment then why do some societies have the death penalty? When a murderer is put to death he does not feel pain. If he did then he wouldn't be dead. One thing for sure is that a murderer put to death by society no longer feels pain from society. Does that then mean that society did not punish him?

The fact that pain or loss has been inflicted on a moral being or agent is sufficient to constitute punishment, regardless of whether or not that moral being or agent continues to experience that pain or loss. That is why the eternal loss to life and immortality for the wicked can constitute as eternal punishment.

God's righteous wrath is not an end in itself but a means to an end - that end being the eternal and literal destruction or death of the wicked (Romans 9:22). God will not allow sin to exist for eternity by keeping sinners alive for eternity in hell. Eternal torment is not necessary for God to satisfy His eternal justice.

- - - - - - - -

I encourage all to read my larger article "The Bible Vs. The Traditional View of Hell" at my website http://bgrnathan.blogspot.com/2010/0...w-of-hell.html for more comprehensive and in-depth coverage of this subject. Other questions and arguments, not raised here, are answered thoroughly in my larger article. I also hope that this information will shed new light in reading the New Testament, particularly the Gospels.

The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, has his bachelor's degree with concentrations in theology and biology and has been recognized for his writings on religion and science in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who in The East."
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:14 AM   #31
byHismercy
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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After He expired on the cross, apparently Jesus announced good news to those who had already died -- when He descended into the lower parts of the earth. (Eph 4.9, Isa 44.22-23)

Why do you also seem to conclude that God has judged all children who have had no opportunity to "have the Son" while on earth? Are we so sure that they have no opportunity to believe in the after life?

I Peter 4.6 says that the gospel was "preached also to the dead." It seems to me that no one perishes without the opportunity to first believe the good news of the Savior, and "have the Son" for eternity.
Here is a beautiful testimony I saw the other day that supports this, Ohio.
https://youtu.be/LXz44EZYup0

The young man in this video died at the age of 15, I believe. Jesus spoke to him and he was allowed to choose at that crucial time. His story displays Gods mercy toward us, toward children. According to the boys' testimony, he was not a believer before his accidental death.
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Old 11-02-2019, 11:18 AM   #32
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

Btw, this testimony reminds me so much of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well. The simple mention of her sins to her by the Lord God Almighty was enough to convict her of the fact of her sin, her standing as a sinner. Just being before Jesus is enough to illuminate to us we need a Savior. How awesome He must be.
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Old 11-02-2019, 12:49 PM   #33
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Here is a beautiful testimony I saw the other day that supports this, Ohio.
https://youtu.be/LXz44EZYup0

The young man in this video died at the age of 15, I believe. Jesus spoke to him and he was allowed to choose at that crucial time. His story displays Gods mercy toward us, toward children. According to the boys' testimony, he was not a believer before his accidental death.
Thanks byHisMercy.

Today there are so many of these near death experiences, that the evidences are just overwhelming. This includes both positive and negative stories. These unique and compelling accounts, often told by young children, are far too compelling to dismiss. A few in particular have definitely changed my views.

Recently I posted a youtube interview with Ron Reagan, now a pastor from Tennessee. Perhaps you saw that. He actually saw his old friends in hell who told him to leave.
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Old 11-02-2019, 01:23 PM   #34
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

I don't believe in eternal torment but eternal death which is annihilation.

Death isn't another description of life. There is only one eternal life and that is a reward given at the judgement seat of Christ.

Any separation (which death is)(second death) is great loss for those who recieve it.

To say those who reject The Christ will literally suffer in pain for ever is pure fiction and false teaching.

What say ye saints?
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Old 11-02-2019, 02:35 PM   #35
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

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Thanks byHisMercy.

Today there are so many of these near death experiences, that the evidences are just overwhelming. This includes both positive and negative stories. These unique and compelling accounts, often told by young children, are far too compelling to dismiss. A few in particular have definitely changed my views.

Recently I posted a youtube interview with Ron Reagan, now a pastor from Tennessee. Perhaps you saw that. He actually saw his old friends in hell who told him to leave.
I did not see it, but now I will look for it. I agree, the weight of testimonies coming out thanks to universal access to the internet is awesome. When a person dies and 'comes back' and their testimony is of Jesus, and they return 'converted' to faith in Christ, I know they had a genuine experience of the Lord, and I fully believe the Lord allows such mercy to that one, and also for His testimony to be heard here on earth. I am sure His purpose is being wrought in these circumstances.

I didn't realize when I first posted that this thread was so old, but today I have been considering what you said about Jesus speaking the good news to those when He was in hades for those 3 days. I have always wondered why He went there, because I thought Hades was hell. Why would He go there, I thought, maybe because He had to take possession of the key. But to think of Him announcing Himself as savior to those there....astounding. And I never noticed the verse about the dead hearing the gospel!

I also believe His mercy goes out to every human, including infants, those too young to make such a choice, and those impaired mentally. I'm convinced He is able to witness to every person, in such a way for them to understand, no matter how profoundly impaired in their mind. If that be in spirit after death, He is able to do that in His righteousness.
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Old 11-03-2019, 10:24 AM   #36
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Default Re: Do Most Unbelievers Go to Hell for Eternity?

I found this topic discussed on a different site. It may not be 'believable' to most Christians but it IS food for thought and a ray of hope for those in hell:

Check out the 'HELL SERIES':

www.http://christconnection.net/sitebuil...hellseries.pdf

He argues:
Everyone who is in hell right now CAN STILL (potentially) GET SAVED(Psalm 139:8; Matthew 12:32). While they still CAN get saved, there's NO ASSURANCE that they will.
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