Although many people do not care to label their belief system with a single word, it is still appropriate to do so when discussing certain doctrinal beliefs. Such is the case with what is called Universalism.
Universalism is the belief that all of humanity is already redeemed. There are various forms of Universalism such as the idea that all religions lead to the same place and also Christian Universalism which believes that Christ's death brought all of humanity back to God in one shot.
There are those who believe that some will experience that reconciliation here while living on the earth and some will experience it after they die at some point in eternity. There are those in the position who believe that faith was only necessary for the final wicked generation that Jesus and the disciples preached to before the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD70. There are numerous beliefs under the Universalist umbrella just like there are numerous beliefs in any other doctrinal position.
In this article I will be addressing mainly what I call Christian Preterist Universalism (CPU)
CPU sees all bible prophecy as already having been fulfilled at the Coming of the Lord at the end of the Old Covenant Age in AD70 to destroy the Temple, to raise the dead out of Hades, and to consummate the Kingdom of God. I am fully in agreement with this. There is no doubt that these events have already been fulfilled based on what scripture says.
For the sake of argument we are going to define "CPU" with the following 4 points....
1) Christ's death redeemed every single person back to God except for that last wicked generation that Jesus and His disciples preached to repent and believe the gospel.
2) Everyone born after the ressurection in AD70 (the start of the New Heaven and New Earth) is already Born of God.
3) There is no more sin in the world because the law is gone.
4) Faith is not required at all and one way or another, God will redeem everyone.
Now of course this definition does not fully define all of the Universalist positions. There are probably CPU's reading this and thinking that they don't believe each of those 4 points. I am not intending to place every Universalist into this 4 point box. However, I do feel it is a good general description of what many CPU's believe. If you are a Universalist and your beliefs differ from what I just listed above, please give the article a chance and I trust that the overwhelming body of evidence will end up addressing any additional beliefs that you may or may not hold to as well.
This article will be lengthy. There is no way that I could have written this in a condensed and short way and cover what I feel is the overwhelming amount of biblical proof against the position. I only included what I thought was necessary even though there is much more that could have been said.
Please only read the article if you have enough time to read it in its entirety. (approx. 15-20 minutes)
Couple things to note before we begin:
The first thing I would like to say is that I am not your typical church going/by the book, Christian. I am a full preterist which as you know means that I affirm that the whole bible and all of prophecy has been fulfilled. I believe it was all fulfilled in AD70 at the Coming of the Lord in judgement upon Jerusalem and upon the Old Covenant system as a whole. That was the end of the Old Heavens and Old Earth aka the Old Covenant. This was when the dead were raised up from Hades and the living remnant of believers were changed to immortal so that both would enter into ONE new eternal unshakeable Kingdom.
I also do not believe in the modern day view of hell. I reject the idea of eternal conscious torment as I do not find it to be a biblical concept. I do not attend a regular church at the moment and have experienced much resistance, rejection, and hostility from orthodox Christians for my views. I do attend a weekly bible study and also a church service on the last Sunday of each month with some fellow full preterist Christians if I am not on the road traveling for my job. The point here is that I am not your run of the mill Christian. I honestly couldn't care less about creeds and traditions. I have no motive to reject Universalism. Accepting the view wouldn't affect my life in any way, shape, or form. The truth is that if I believed it was taught in the bible, I WOULD BELIEVE IT, NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER.
I have come into contact with some Universalist proponents (mainly Christian Preterist Universalists) through social media over the last couple of years and I have to first say that I really like the people who I have met. They have a passion for God and for sharing things about Him. The one thing that I can truly say is that they really love people. Perhaps more than most church folk that I have met over the years. They have a real passion for life and I do admire that. This article is not done for self glorification nor is it done to degrade or belittle any of my Universalist friends. It is my sincere hope that maybe one of them would read the evidence I will present and will take some time to consider if what they are teaching others is actually true.
I also hope that this article helps those who oppose full preterism. There is a false assumption out there that if someone is a full preterist, they also must be a universalist. This is just not true. In fact, out of the roughly 1000 or more full preterists that I am connected with both in the cyber world and personally, I can honestly say less than 5% are universalists. I hope that the evidence I present will help demonstrate why we do not hold to the universalist viewpoint.
Lastly, my aim is to present many different angles and scriptural objections to the CPU position. I will come at it from all sorts of ways using the scriptures. There won't be any specific order to it. I trust that by the end of the article you will see that there is an overwhelming abundance of proof against the position and that the proof used to support the universalist position is actually very small in comparison. I ask that you please take the time to carefully and logically think about each of the points I present. They will be thought provoking and I believe you will see the issues with each and every one when held up to the "Christian Preterist Universalist" (CPU) paradigm.
Please remember that I am a full preterist so my approach comes from this perspective.
"FOR IN ADAM ALL DIE, EVEN SO IN CHRIST ALL SHALL BE MADE ALIVE"
CPU's place high importance on context and audience relevance. However, they seem to miss a crucial point when reading these letters in the New Testament.
WHO WERE THE LETTERS WRITTEN TO?
WERE THEY WRITTEN TO EVERYONE BOTH BELIEVER AND UNBELIEVER? NO!
The epistles were written to BELIEVERS! To those who had already received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as their sign of the coming inheritance which would come when the Lord returned at the end of the Age.
Yes we read about these disciples preaching to unbelievers BUT the actual letters themselves are very exclusive! They are written to BELIEVERS!
When you are speaking to a group of people, you probably use the word "all" a lot. You probably say "all of us" or "everyone" etc. But you are smart enough to know that even though you are using universal terms such as "all" and "everyone" there is still a limitation on who you are speaking about. You aren't speaking about literally "ALL HUMANS EVERYWHERE" but rather you are speaking about "ALL HUMANS WITHIN THE GROUP".
We need to remember this when reading the epistles. These are letters written to BELIEVERS.
For instance when Paul writes...
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." 1 Corinthians 15:22
Is Paul not writing to believers here? Of course he is! Paul is simply saying that anyone in Christ shall be made alive. He is NOT included unbelievers into this group. I could paraphrase what He said by saying...
"Even so all those in Christ shall be made alive."
Same exact thing. There is a distinction there. It is referring to only those IN CHRIST.
Now I know you are probably doubting that but look at the VERY NEXT VERSE....
"But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming." 1 Corinthians 15:23
Now read all of it in one flowing breath....
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming"
THOSE WHO ARE CHRIST'S!
Do you see that? Paul says, "even so in Christ ALL SHALL BE MADE ALIVE BUT EACH IN HIS OWN ORDER...FIRST CHRIST, AND THEN THOSE WHO ARE HIS, AT HIS COMING"
There is NOTHING universal about this passage. At all.
"THOSE WHO ARE CHRIST'S" clearly shows that this is a distinct group separate from the rest.
Furthermore, since this passage is used very often as a proof text for CPU, let's logically consider this a bit more....
I BELIEVE THIS FOLLOWING POINT IS SO POWERFUL THAT I ASK YOU TO PLEASE REALLY THINK THIS ONE THROUGH AND I TRUST YOU'LL SEE THE PROBLEM HERE....
In Daniel chapter 12 we read about the "time of the end" when the great tribulation, resurrection, and judgement would occur. Daniel is looking ahead to these events and look what we read about what would happen at the future resurrection (future to Daniel)....
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2
Now let's think about this...
Clearly here we see a clear separation that was going to take place AT THE RESURRECTION. The just would receive life and the unjust would receive contempt.
When did Paul write the words... "as in Adam all men die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive"?
He wrote this BEFORE the resurrection actually took place did he not? YES HE DID.
Therefore, NOBODY had been brought up out of Hades yet when Paul wrote these words. This separation of the just and unjust HAD NOT YET OCCURRED WHEN PAUL WROTE THIS.
Do you see a HUGE PROBLEM here?
Paul is speaking ABOUT THE RESURRECTION!!
The CPU says that literally "all" humans would be made alive in Christ. But this GOES TOTALLY AGAINST WHAT DANIEL PREDICTED ABOUT THE COMING RESURRECTION!!!
Daniel clearly shows there would be a SEPARATING OF THE JUST AND UNJUST AT THE RESURRECTION!
Therefore, this ABSOLUTELY PROVES that the "ALL" who would be made alive in Christ, was limited to THE RIGHTEOUS. It did NOT include the unrighteous because we are told clearly that they would be sent away to everlasting contempt.
Think about this long and hard. This is absolutely FATAL to a universal salvation argument!
2) Daniel chapter 12
In Daniel chapter 12 we read of the "time of the end". We can clearly see in the first few verses that the great tribulation on Daniels people, the resurrection, the judgement, and the saints inheriting the Kingdom, would all take place during this "time of the end". As we get further down in the chapter we are told that all of these events would be fulfilled when the power of the Jews was shattered over a period of 42 months. This as we know, already took place at the end of the Old Covenant when the Lord returned in Judgement to usher in the new eternal age just like He promised He would (Matt 16:27-28, Matt 10:23, Matt 24:34). It happened exactly as Daniel the prophet predicted over 42 months and it resulted in the total shattering of the Jewish economy and the end of the Old Covenant once and for all. All 4 of the end time events I underlined above were fulfilled at this point.
I want to focus on the resurrection though. CPU believes that everyone is now redeemed. But as we saw in point #1, look what Daniel 12 says about where the unrighteous would go at the time of the resurrection...
"And many of those who sleep inthe dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Daniel 12:2
Where did the unrightous go at the resurrection? Were they given everlasting life? No. They were sent to SHAME AND EVERLASTING CONTEMPT. Big difference in the two destinations.
Now some CPU's might argue that humanity wasn't totally redeemed until Christ came. But this is fatally inconsistent! If we understand the purpose of the Kingdom coming to earth we can start to sort this out.
Jesus told His disciples to pray for the Kingdom to Come. He told them it would come so that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. He was coming to gather the RIGHTEOUS DEAD with the RIGHTEOUS LIVING into ONE NEW EVERLASTING KINGDOM.
Does it make ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER that God would cast away the UNRIGHTEOUS DEAD into eternal contempt but yet accept all of the unrighteous living into His Kingdom?
Again, consistency is key! Why would God raise up the UNRIGHTEOUS DEAD out of Hades and cast them into eternal shame and contempt but yet turn around and redeem all of the UNRIGHTEOUS LIVING and let them enter into His Kingdom?
We are speaking of the SAME KINGDOM! Not two different Kingdoms! The Kingdom members would exist in Heaven and on Earth.
If the reason why the Kingdom was coming to earth was so that HIS WILL would be done ON EARTH JUST AS IT IS ALSO DONE IN HEAVEN, do you see a problem? I sure do.
Who was in heaven after the resurrection took place according to Daniel the prophet? ONLY THE RIGHTEOUS! The unrighteous were not in heaven as I just showed from Daniel chapter 12.
So why would God split the unrighteous away from the righteous of those already dead but yet not split the unrighteous from the righteous on earth IF INDEED the whole point of His Kingdom coming to earth was so that His will would be done on earth THE SAME WAY IT IS DONE IN HEAVEN?
Jesus said He would separate the SHEEP FROM THE GOATS and the WHEAT FROM THE TARES!
3) Isaiah and the New Heaven and New Earth
In Isaiah chapter 65 we read about the coming New Heavens and New Earth. Isaiah is looking ahead and predicting the time when Old Covenant Israel would be suffering and would weep and would starve and thirst. He then compares that to New Covenant Israel who would rejoice and would not be hungry and would not thirst. He plays one off of the other and he says "the former things will be remembered no more....FOR BEHOLD I CREATE A NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH". He is speaking of God's new Covenant and His New Covenant people.
But what do we read will still be present in the New Heaven and the New Earth? Take a look....
"No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed." Isaiah 65:20
Wait a second here. I thought according to CPU there is NO MORE SIN in the New Heaven and New earth? Why would Isaiah say that in the coming New Heaven and New Earth that the "SINNER WOULD BE ACCURSED"?
Clearly life would go on the same way and sin would still be present along with death and regular every day living activities in the New Heaven and New Earth.
I trust I don't need to go any further on this point but let's look just a couple verses later and see what else Isaiah says about life in THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH...
"for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands." Isaiah 65:22
Now why would there be a "chosen people" in this New Heaven and New Earth if everyone is already redeemed? The word used here is "bachiyr"- H972 and it literally means "chosen, choice one, chosen one, elect (of God)". To me, this clearly shows a distinction being made between God's chosen people and all of humanity.
4) Preaching AFTER the cross?
CPU says that the death of Jesus on the cross redeemed all humanity. If this is the case, why would Jesus and the apostles and disciples spend the next 40 years AFTER the cross preaching faith and repentance? If it was already done and secured, what is the point? Why not just forget about it because it was already settled anyway? But on the contrary, they preached unto death. It was their entire life. It was their only focus in life above all things.
CPU would argue that it was only necessary for that last generation of Jews to believe the gospel and repent. I cannot begin to even fathom how anyone could come to such a conclusion. Did not the gospel message go out to Gentiles too? Did it not go to Rome? Did Paul not preach to the tribe on the island of Malta at the end of Acts? This island is 50 miles south of Italy. They had nothing to do with the last generation of Jews! The message of faith went out to all people, not just the last generation of Jews.
A leading proponent of the CPU position on Facebook, who since has blocked me so he can no longer see my posts, wrote the following statement a couple of weeks ago. I copied it down so I could quote it. He wrote....
"The term "born of God" denotes all peoples born after the resurrection (AD70) other than those Jews who rejected Him when He came to the Jews of that last generation."
Does this sound correct? To me it sounds terribly flawed.
He is saying that anyone born after the resurrection (which both he and I agree was in AD70 at the end of the age) is automatically born of God.
But what about the MILLIONS of people on earth who were born before AD70 and were still alive to live through AD70? What about all of the people that Jesus and the disciples preached faith and repentance to that survived the AD70 destruction? What about everyone who was not killed during the destruction? What about the hundreds of thousands of people who were taken captive by the Roman armies? These same people heard the same gospel message in the years leading up to the destruction and they didn't believe. They lived through it though. What about humanity all over the world during that time?
What am I trying to get at?
WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE AND MAKE THE DISTINCTION OF THE STARTING POINT WHEN ALL HUMANITY WAS SAVED? THERE HAD TO BE A STARTING POINT RIGHT?
CPU's say that everyone born after the resurrection in AD70 is already "born of God". Where and when did this exactly start? Would you have to have literally been born from the womb after AD70 in order for this to occur because MILLIONS of people lived during those years and they were born before AD70 and died long after AD70. So where and when did this new process begin?
What about a Roman mother and father who had a 5 year old child at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem? Were all 3 of them redeemed? Technically none of them were born AFTER the resurrection like this proponent of CPU says is needed to be redeemed. According to him, they would NOT be born of God because they weren't literally physically born after AD70. Did we have unredeemed people living along side of redeemed people based solely on when they were born? This seems ridiculous but yet it is what many believe. I trust that you see this MAJOR inconsistency.
5) Only the Jews in Jerusalem needed to be saved from the coming wrath upon their city.
Another CPU leading proponent once said the following:
"Nobody needs to be saved today. Salvation referred to being saved from the destruction of Jerusalem that would come at the end of the Mosaic age."
The word "salvation" or "save" is used a number of ways in scripture. This I will agree with.
It is indeed used in regards to the coming destruction of Jerusalem. For instance when Peter said "save yourselves from this wicked generation!" Clearly here he is speaking of the destruction that was coming upon the Jews.
There was also another usage though. Take for instance Acts chapter 16 where we see Paul and Silas travel to Macedonia which was a Roman province north of Greece. This province would have nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem at the end of the age. Yet look at what we read...
"Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them." Acts 16:10
Also we read about a certain slave girl who was possessed with the spirit of divination also in Macedonia...
"This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” Acts 16:17
Why would a girl far from Jerusalem need to hear the gospel of SALVATION if it was only required that the Jews of that last generation believe and have faith? What was she being "SAVED" from?
Also in the same chapter we read of the Roman prison guard...
"And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31
Why would this Roman prison guard need to be "SAVED" if this "salvation" was only pertaining to escaping the destruction of Jerusalem?
The "salvation" is the reconciliation back to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Eternal reconciliation which prevents eternal death. Those who are "reconciled" or "saved" will forever be in the presence of God. Those who are not, will perish and return to the dust from where they came.
6) The seal of the Holy Spirit only came to SOME!
We have to understand that during the last days when the message of faith and repentance was going forth throughout the land, God was pouring out His Spirit as a seal of promise. Did everyone receive this seal of promise? Absolutely not!
The CPU would say that only the Jews needed to believe the gospel in that last generation but what about the fact that the Holy Spirit was falling on the Gentiles too? God was not only giving the promise to the Jews who believed, but also to the Gentiles who heard and believed too! Did all Gentiles receive this seal of promise? Absolutely not!
At Pentacost, Peter refers back to Joel the prophet and says that what Joel predicted was coming true in Peter's day! Look how Peter words it...
‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh," Acts 2:17
He said "ALL FLESH". Did God pour out His Spirit on literally ALL FLESH? Absolutely not! Only those who believed received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which was a seal of inheritance. It assured them that they would be changed to immortal at the Coming of the Lord at the end of the age. (1 Cor. 15) We MUST understand that the word "ALL" is often times used to represent "the entirety of a specific group" and not literally all as in every single person.
The point here is that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was indeed THE SIGN that you were redeemed and born of God. Not everyone received it! Not even close! A very select number, a remnant received it. BOTH JEW AND GENTILE RECEIVED IT! This told them that they would inherit the promise. That is why Paul said...
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance UNTIL we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
Remember, this letter IS NOT written to everyone. It is written to BELIEVERS who had heard the gospel, BELIEVED THE GOSPEL, and were given the seal of the Holy Spirit as the promise of their coming inheritance.
7) The New Jerusalem
In the end of the book of Revelation we read about the New Jerusalem. As we know, this New Jerusalem represents the bride of Christ. It is a picture of His New Covenant people. It is a picture of God now dwelling with His people. We as believers are the Temple of God now.
The CPU believes that after the New Heaven and New Earth came, there was no more sin. But keeping in mind that this is a picture of the New Heaven and New Earth, look what John writes....
"Then I saw a New Heaven and a New Earth.........To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Revelation 21:1 &6-8
Remember, this is AFTER Jesus says "IT IS DONE!" in verse 6. Clearly we see faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral etc EXISTING AFTER "IT IS DONE".
The CPU says that everyone is part of this New Jerusalem now. There is nobody who is excluded.
If this is true, then why do we read the following when we read about the New Jerusalem...
"But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb'sbook of life." Revelation 21:27
Clearly there are those outside of the New Jerusalem who won't ever enter in!
In the New Jerusalem we see the river of life and the tree of life and we are told that the tree has leaves.
"The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." Revelation 22:2
Why would any nation need healing if all are redeemed? The CPU would say that everyone is already made perfect because of Christ's death. Yet, how could anyone need healing if they are already perfect? This is a picture of broken and alienated humanity in need of restoration with their Creator.
8) The unpardonable sin
CPU says that there is no sin in the New Heaven and New Earth. As I demonstrated above in Isaiah chapter 65, there are clearly still accursed sinners in the New Heaven and New Earth. There are also clearly still "chosen ones" called out from the totality of humanity in the New Heaven and New Earth. But what about the unpardonable sin? Look what Jesus said about that...
"And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" Matthew 12:32
Jesus was speaking during the Mosaic Old Covenant Age. He is speaking about a sin that won't be forgiven both in the Mosaic Age AND in the AGE TO COME. What age is that? That is the New Covenant age. The New Heavens and New Earth. Again, clearly showing that sin still exists. Also showing that "forgiveness" will be ongoing in the New Heaven and New Earth.
9) Romans chapter 3
I actually heard a CPU once say that Romans was written solely to Jews. This couldn't be further from the truth. Clearly Paul is writing to the church of Rome which is made up of both Jew and Gentile. There are numerous references to both groups in the letter. It is obvious in some places Paul is speaking to the Gentiles and also to the Jews in other places. Look what Paul says about all of humanity...
"What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” Romans 3:9-12
Seems abundantly clear that Paul was trying to make the point that both Jew and Gentile are sinners and fall short of the glory of God.
Now remember, Paul is writing to both Jew and Gentile here and take a look at how powerful this next portion of the same chapter is....
"But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26
Paul says three times in this one passage that it is by faith. He also says that there is NO DISTINCTION between Jew and Gentile when it comes to sin. All have sinned and fall short. According to CPU, the only ones that needed to believe and repent were the Jews of the last generation. But yet the gospel went far and wide to Gentiles as well and Paul here tells us there is no distinction. I trust you see how the argument that faith was only needed for the last generation of Jews falls terribly short.
10) Without faith it is impossible to please God
There is no doubt that faith is literally everywhere in the bible. It is the central theme. But have you ever read Hebrews chapter 11 and noticed all the times the word "faith" is used? Perhaps more than other other chapter in the entire bible. The author is speaking about Noah, Abraham, Moses etc and he is detailing their faith. The word "faith" is used 25 times in the chapter. Look what the author says about faith...
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." Hebrews 11:6
The entire chapter is all about FAITH. But look at how the author ended chapter 10...
"But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul" Hebrews 10:39
Now remember, this is just prior to the end of the Old Covenant. The author says that what was growing old and waxing away was ready to vanish and be replaced by something far better. He speaks about the two Covenants.
THE ENTIRE BOOK OF HEBREWS IS COMPARING THE OLD IMPERFECT COVENANT TO THE NEW ETERNAL PERFECT COVENANT!
THE AUTHOR IS INTRODUCING THE REASONS WHY THE NEW COVENANT IS FAR SUPERIOR! HE IS STRESSING OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT FAITH IS THE CENTER OF IT ALL!
It is written within 10 years of the destruction of Jerusalem and yet the author still says that "without FAITH it is IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD."
Why would the author stress this point so much if within a few years, faith was going to be pointless? If faith would become unnecessary at the resurrection which we know occurred in AD70, why wouldn't the author make mention of it? He doesn't. Instead his whole focus is on FAITH.
CPU's will flat out say that faith is not needed today. I personally have read this on social media and even have a screen shot of someone who said it. Clearly the author of Hebrews, along with every other NT author was not in agreement with this concept that faith wouldn't be needed once the Old Covenant Age ended.
11) Behold He is a New Creation
CPU would have us believe that everyone is a new creation and has their part in the New Jerusalem. I have shown above how Revelation makes this view impossible as there are still those outside of the gates of the city. But what about the following passage...
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
If anyone be in Christ he is a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come. Doesn't this represent a change? Doesn't this represent newness of life? Of course it does.
This is what happens when we are brought into the Kingdom of God and given New Life in Christ Jesus. Things change for us. Some people may have a more radical change than others, but the changes are evident indeed. To think that murderers, rapists, terrorists, child molesters, etc are all New Creations in Christ Jesus is just insanity.
We as believers have been given the ministry of reconciliation. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was powerful enough to redeem all who come to Him in faith.
There are many beliefs regarding God's Sovereignty and how a person is actually saved. Some believe that there are a certain number of elect and some believe that anyone can come. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle now even though I once held strictly to the doctrines of Calvinism. Since understanding Full Preterism, my stance on predestination has been challenged slightly. However, whatever your belief on God's Sovereignty is it doesn't matter. The death of Christ was powerful enough to reconcile all men if all men would believe. This is why Paul wrote the following....
"For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." 1 Timothy 4:10
Is there not a distinct advantage to believing shown here? He is the Savior of all men, ESPECIALLY those who believe. If all men are already redeemed, what advantage would believers have over non-believers?
12) Faith comes by hearing
Paul in Romans chapter 10 writes...
"Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him." Romans 10:12
Again, no distinction. Whoever BELIEVES.
He also writes...
"How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:14-17
Do you see how important it is to share the gospel of peace? To exhort people to believe in Jesus and to share the Word of God? It is crucial! This is how people BELIEVE!
As we showed above, "it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without FAITH".
Paul did not say to preach the gospel of peace only up until the Coming of the Lord in AD70.
13) What is the Kingdom of God?
The bible says the following about the Kingdom of God...
"for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" Romans 14:17
If the Kingdom of God is righteousness, joy, and PEACE in the Holy Spirit, then does everyone have these fruits? Does a murderer, rapist, terrorist, child molester, God hating atheist, have these fruits?
But yet the CPU says they are in the same Kingdom as those of us who have experienced the peace from God.
14) Why did the Kingdom of God come to earth?
When the Lord instructed His disciples to pray He told them to pray like this...
"Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven."
Assuming everyone is already in the Kingdom today as the CPU position claims, what does this say about God's will? If the purpose of the Kingdom of God coming to earth was so that HIS WILL would be done ON EARTH the same way it is done in Heaven, what does that say about His Kingdom?
It says that His Kingdom is one of murder, rape, lies, cheating, wickedness, terrorism, pornography, drugs, war, violence, hate, and on and on.
If everyone is already a partaker of His Kingdom then all of those who commit such wicked acts are doing so based on the will of God. Can you truly accept that?
Remember, the Kingdom of God was coming so that His will could be done THROUGH THE KINGDOM on earth. He would bring healing, joy, peace, and righteousness through the Kingdom. People could enter in and find rest. But again, if everyone is already a member of this Kingdom, these Kingdom traits are complete nonsense because wickedness runs rampant today.
"The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23
What fruits do these so called Kingdom members exhibit that match these fruits of the Holy Spirit?
We are told that the man who strapped a bomb to his chest and blew up 100 innocent people is now in heaven because he was redeemed and a member of the Kingdom already. Yet, he exhibited nothing that would show that he was a member of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said you will know them by their fruits.
He did not say "You will know them by their fruits up until AD70".
15) Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess
CPU's like to use this passage as a sort of text proof for an afterlife reconciliation. They say ...
"see it says right here that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess therefore it must mean literally everyone at some point in eternity since clearly people die without bowing and confessing in their lifetime."
This wording is found in a couple places in scripture. In Romans 14 we read the following..
"But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.” Romans 14:10-11
Clearly here we aren't looking at a universal reconciliation scene. Paul is writing about judgement and how we shall all stand before God. It is a picture of God's ultimate authority. It in no way depicts every human being being redeemed to God.
We also read of this same concept in another portion of scripture....
"Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philipians 2:9-10
How is this showing universal reconciliation? To me, it is simply showing again the Authority of Jesus Christ as the name above all names. The judgement of each person occurs at the judgement seat of Christ. To read universal reconciliation into these passages is totally unjustifiable. The knee bowing and the tongue confessing symbolizes that the King is the supreme authority over ALL. It is appointed for men to die once, then comes the judgement.
16) Abraham was a man of faith
We read the following about Abraham...
"For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." Romans 4:3
It was always by faith.
We then read...
"And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised." Romans 4:11-12
Abraham is the father of ALL THOSE WHO BELIEVE both Jew and Gentile. He is the father of all those who walk in the steps of the faith which he (Abraham) walked in.
We then read...
"Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (as it is written,“I have made you a father of many nations") in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did" Romans 4:16-17
Clearly this faith was going to secure the promise to all of Abrahams seed. Not only the Jews but also the Gentiles.
"Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." Romans 4:23-25
Again, the righteousness is imputed to THOSE WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS.
17) Who is blessed?
"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying “In you all the nations shall be blessed." Galatians 3:8
The Gentiles would be justified by faith it says. Look what Paul says right after...
"So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." Galatians 3:9
Those who are of FAITH are blessed.
18) Crying out "Abba Father!"
Paul, writing to both Jews and Gentiles at the church of Rome writes the following....
"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Romans 8:9-10
Paul says that if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, HE IS NOT HIS.
Seems strange that Paul could make such bold statements if only 10-20 years later, EVERYONE would have the Spirit of Christ in them as the CPU position claims. Look what else Paul writes about the promise of the Spirit...
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God," Romans 8:14-16
Why would Paul need to make this distinction if everyone was going to be sons of God anyway? But rather, he says "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THESE are sons of God". Clearly making a distinction.
He says that THEY (not everyone) but THEY (The believers in Rome) received the Spirit of adoption which caused them to cry out "ABBA FATHER!". The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirits telling us that we are one of His Children.
The same thing happens today! There is nothing different!
I lived 27 years mocking Jesus and hating God. Until He knocked me on my knees one morning and I cried out to Him to save me. He answered radically and powerfully and I was changed INSTANTLY.
Guess what else INSTANTLY happened that day? I began crying out "FATHER!" I knew He was my Father and I knew I was His son. But not a moment before that did I know this. Why? Because I had not yet received the Spirit of adoption. I had not yet turned to Him and believed.
Now I am not saying it has to happen that way for everyone. God works His will in our lives differently for each of us. However, I can assure you that there are countless believers who can recognize their lives before and after coming to Christ. There will be drastic differences in their lives before and after they met Him and were adopted into His Kingdom. They were made into "A NEW CREATION".
Are they perfectly sinless in this life? ABSOLUTELY NOT.
But are they perfectly righteous IN CHRIST? ABSOLUTELY
This my friends, still happens all over the world, every minute of every day. The Kingdom grows and has no end. (Isaiah 9)
19) Universalists say that since death has been defeated there is no more death for anyone.
Yet what they fail to recognize again is audience relevance!
For whom is there no more death?
FOR THOSE INSIDE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Who was changed to immortal at the Coming of the Lord? THE BELIEVERS WERE. Those who received the promise of the Holy Spirit as a deposit of their coming inheritance. NOBODY ELSE.
The righteous dead were raised from Hades and brought into the Kingdom of Heaven while the righteous living were changed to immortal to join them in this ONE NEW ETERNAL KINGDOM.
The no more death DOES NOT apply to those outside of the gates of the New Jerusalem.
Jesus said "He who BELIEVES in me SHALL NEVER DIE"
There is your "NO MORE DEATH".
If you are IN Christ, there is NO MORE DEATH.
This is NOT universal.
20) John 3:16
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
1)Those who believe receive eternal life
2)Those who do not believe will perish. Not burn forever in conscious torment, but perish. Cease to exist. Go back to the dust from which they came.
Jesus did not say...
"He who believes in Me up until the resurrection in AD70 will have everlasting life but then after that belief is not required."
Faith was required all the way back in the book of Genesis and it still is today.
21) Such will not inherit the Kingdom of God
Paul says the following...
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" 1 Corinthians 6:9
I don't see any place near or around any of these scriptures which show that this ended in AD70. Paul doesn't say...
"adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God UNLESS it is after AD70 then everyone will inherit it."
NO! Nothing has changed!
Universalists forget the context and the recipients of these letters were ALL BELIEVERS. The benefits that we read that are being given to "ALL MEN" are given only to "ALL MEN IN CHRIST".
22) Proclaiming His name
Why would God give only a remnant of people the desire and passion to proclaim His name if everyone was already a child of God? According to the bible, if we are His, the same Spirit that brought Christ from the dead lives in us. That same Spirit is a Spirit of witness. A Spirit to tell people about Him and to proclaim His goodness. If murderers and workers of wickedness possess this same Spirit, what does that tell you?
God always used men as His voice piece to call other men back to Him. He used men in the days of old to get people to repent and turn. Nothing has changed.
23) Not under the Law anymore
Romans as we discussed earlier was written to both Jew and Gentile believers. There is absolutely no denying this fact. The CPU would say only the Jews had the Law and therefore this is why they needed to repent and believe and be forgiven in that last generation. As I have showed extensively, this view just doesn't hold up to any form of scrutiny both biblically and logically.
If the Gentiles were never under any form of moral law in the first place, why does Paul go to such great lengths to condemn falling back into sin when writing to them in the book of Romans? Notice all the talk of sin here...
"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." Romans 6:1-4
How could one continue to SIN if they were never able to sin in the first place?
Paul and the other NT writers all preached GRACE, yes indeed! They actually preached HEAVILY about grace. HOWEVER, do you notice that they always backed it up with a STERN warning NOT to fall BACK INTO SIN?
He also writes...
"knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, (BELIEVERS) reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:6-11
Again, speaking to Gentiles in his letter he writes that they should no longer be slaves to sin. He also refers to them (BELIEVERS) who have died "with Christ" and he says that since Christ dies no more, they too will live with Him and die no more. Here is again the concept of "no death" for all those IN CHRIST. This has nothing to do with EVERY SINGLE PERSON. This is a limited group and cannot be applied to anyone outside of Christ.
Look what Paul says next...
"What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!" Romans 6:15
Clearly there is still the possibility to sin even though these believers are under grace! Paul tells them that grace is not an excuse to sin! Paul does not say...
"Don't sin up until AD70 because sin is still counted against you but once AD70 comes there will be no more sin."
At the time Paul wrote these letters we must recognize that the Kingdom had already began in its infancy. It was being introduced and would come in its fullness at the end of the age. The "GRACE" that Paul preached and the same "GRACE" that CPU's preach today, WAS ALREADY IN ACTION back when Paul wrote these letters.
Clearly though, there was still SIN running alongside of that Grace that Paul preached about.
Paul CONDEMNS those who say that GRACE IS AN EXCUSE TO SIN! (Romans 6:1)
Paul in his letter to the Romans makes it clear that they were not under a "Law System". However, he makes sure that they know that they DO HAVE A MORAL LAW written on their hearts.
Grace forbids them (and us) to live immoral and sinful lives.
Three times in the letter Paul wants them NOT to become SLAVES OF SIN. He says doing so is "death".
Paul taught that the Roman believers weren't under the Law but that grace condemned immorality.
The CPU position would disagree with Paul because they claim that there is absolutely no law, no sin, and no moral right and wrong under the new age of Grace. What they forget is that Paul was ALREADY IN THE AGE OF GRACE when he taught this. The "already but not yet" period had already well been established and they were in its transition phase.
Whatever Paul was teaching then and there, was a sneak peak into the New Eternal Covenant System that God would fully consummate at the Coming of the Lord.
24) God is the same yesterday, today, and forever
We hear this all the time and we believe it. Yet, the CPU position would have you believe that God has changed and has changed in a dramatic way! Look at what the author of Psalm chapter 5 has to say about Gods character....
"For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness,
Nor shall evil dwell with You.
The boastful shall not stand in Your sight;
You hate all workers of iniquity.
You shall destroy those who speak falsehood;
The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.
But as for me, (BELIEVER) I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy;
In fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple.
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies;
Make Your way straight before my face.
For there is no faithfulness in their mouth;
Their inward part is destruction;
Their throat is an open tomb;
They flatter with their tongue.
Pronounce them guilty, O God!
Let them fall by their own counsels;
Cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions,
For they have rebelled against You.
But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield."
Do we not clearly see a distinction between the righteous and the wicked here? This theme is carried all the way throughout the bible, from cover to cover with no wavering whatsoever.
25) "The Savior of "The Whole World"
1 John 2:2 says...
"And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world."
Now this sounds like a Universal salvation doesn't it? But often times all we have to do is read a little further in the chapter to get the full picture and what we will see is that again Christ's death was sufficient enough to save the whole world but salvation cannot be obtained without faith. Let's read what John writes just after this passage...
"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked." 1 John 2:3-6
We read also in the same chapter...
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him" 1 John 2:15
We also read in the same chapter...
"Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also" 1 John 2:22-23
The question I have for CPU's is this....
Does anyone deny the Son today? Does anyone deny the Father today?
Clearly the answer is a resounding YES.
Do I need to go any further?
WHAT WE READ IN THE NEW TESTAMENT LETTERS IS THE BREAKING FORTH OF THE NEW COVENANT.
IT WAS NOT ONLY THE END OF THE OLD COVENANT BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY IT WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW COVENANT OF GRACE!!
We read extensively about the perfect Grace that is available to all men through faith in Jesus. We also read about the sin that still exists and should not overtake us and should not be excused because of this same Grace.
Remember, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW COVENANT.
Paul and the other authors were giving us a glimpse into this New Covenant.
Can you imagine the reaction of the recipients of these epistles if indeed it was true that at AD70 faith would no longer be required? Basically it would be like saying this....
"You guys have to pick up your cross, believe, deny the flesh etc BUT EVERYONE WHO IS BORN AFTER AD70 CAN JUST EAT DRINK AND BE MERRY BECAUSE IT'S ALL FINISHED FOR EVERYONE! NO WORRIES!"
What would those first century saints have said to this? What a RAW DEAL!
Of course, they understood the epistles the way they were intended to be understood so they would not have had this kind of reaction.
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
Faith has always been the activator of our redemption. Nothing has changed. God is still the same God as He was back in the days of Adam and Eve and right on up to our day today.
The sacrifice of His Son on the cross was sufficient and powerful enough to save all men but that reconciliation cannot be received until we receive His sacrifice and believe in Him.
I do not believe that all Universalists have bad intentions nor do I believe that all Universalists are lost. As stated earlier, I believe many of these people really do love the Lord and have truly been given His Spirit so that they cry out Abba Father. However, I do wholeheartedly believe that their understanding of reconciliation between man and God is flawed.
We have to remember context when reading the scriptures. We have to remember that the letters are written to those ALREADY INSIDE OF CHRIST. The authors speak in a universal sense because of this very fact. When speaking to a limited audience, we don't need to always specify that we are not speaking of every human on the entire planet. It is generally assumed that the context is limited to those whom we are speaking to. Same concept applies in these letters.
I hope that you would receive this in the way it was intended. Sometimes it is hard to make your point without using some direct and often sometimes harsh comparisons.
As I stated earlier, if Universalism was in the bible, I would believe it. Case closed. I do not fear the opinions of men nor do I hold orthodox beliefs to any esteem.
I am fully confident that reconciliation is brought about by one way. His name is Jesus.
Just like the Gentile prison guard in Acts chapter 16 said to Paul...
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved"
Nothing has changed.
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