Everyone Is Going to Heaven

Yes, everyone is going to heaven.  This is not a clever statement that means something other than what it seems to say.  Everyone who dies is going to heaven.  I say this on the authority of the Bible, and of Jesus Christ to whom the Bible faithfully points.

The most common objection people offer to this idea is that they cannot imagine God letting bad people into heaven.  But if He denies heaven to bad people, how would any of us get in?  It’s as if people think God grades on a curve and all they have to do is be able to find someone worse than themselves.  Yet God hates this kind of thinking because it makes us judges who look down our noses at other people.  If anyone was ever entitled to a holier-than-thou attitude it would be Jesus.  Since He doesn’t think that way, He doesn’t want us to think that way either.

The first reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven are the promises made in the Bible.  For example, we’re told there would be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.  Well, Jesus was deemed the only truly righteous human ever to have lived (at least the only one who met God’s standard – that is, perfection).  Therefore, He is “the righteous” that gets resurrected and the rest of us are “the wicked.”  We’re also told in the Bible that He’s the Savior of the world; and that He died not just for the sins of believers but for those of the whole world; and that as in Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive; and so on the promises go.

The second reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven is the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ.  Assuming you know something of the life Jesus lived on earth, can you imagine Him consigning people to an eternity of fiery torment?  Yes, there is judgment for sin in the earth and Jesus took pains to warn us of it graphically, but even the worst life on earth eventually comes to a merciful end.  It would be entirely inconsistent with Jesus’ nature to put us in a place where repentance was impossible.  Repenting is the thing He most wants us to do.

The third reason we have for believing this truth is that God’s message of Jesus Christ is called good news.  It would not be good news if some of our fellow human beings had to spend eternity separated from us and punished mercilessly.  Don’t feel that way?  Then you’re not loving your brother as Jesus told us to.

Lastly, according to the way the Bible describes the construction and reconstruction of the universe, there’s now nowhere else for folks to go but heaven.  The original universe had people dying and going below to a place called Sheol in Hebrew (called Hades in Greek).  This was the place to which all the dead went – good and bad.  Even Jesus went there.  (After all, how could the dead be raised unless they were below to start with?)  So when Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended in to heaven, saying we would one day join Him there, well, that was stunningly good news that none of His disciples had ever expected.  They were thrilled with the notion of resurrection – to find out that they’d be raised not just to earth but all the way to heaven, where God lived – well, that was more than any of them would have asked for.  At the coming of the kingdom of God, and the consummation of that age, Sheol was done away and dead from that point began going up to heaven instead of down to Sheol.  Don’t think that happened?  Then you must believe everyone is still going below to Sheol when they die.  In that case, no one but Jesus would be in heaven at this point.  But don’t fear, the reconstruction of the spiritual side of the universe occurred on exactly the timetable that Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles said it would ().  There is no more Sheol; there is only heaven for those who die. 

Since we know we’re all going to be with God in heaven one day, what sort of people ought we to be while on earth?  When you’re there in heaven with God, what do you want your memories of your time on earth to be like?   He indicated to us in the gospels that it will matter very much to us how we lived on earth once we’re finally in heaven.  Live in such a way that you won’t have to hang your head in shame when you see Him.  Repent.

For more context, see this overview.

For those who would like a fuller explanation from the Bible that everyone is going to heaven, I have posted online a book:  The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

For those who would like to reflect what everyone going to heaven means for life here on earth, I have posted a series of Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven.

See also these related posts:  Judgment Is Upon Us  

                                                            Why the Bible Can Be Trusted

                                                            Spiritual Christianity Versus Social Christianity

                                                            Does It Bother You That Everyone Is Going to Heaven?

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476 Responses to Everyone Is Going to Heaven

  1. MIKE:
    “Yes, everyone is going to heaven. This is not a clever statement that means something other than what it seems to say. Everyone who dies is going to heaven. I say this on the authority of the Bible, and of Jesus Christ to whom the Bible faithfully points.

    “The most common objection people offer to this idea is that they cannot imagine God letting bad people into heaven. But if He denies heaven to bad people, how would any of us get in? It’s as if people think God grades on a curve and all they have to do is be able to find someone worse than themselves. Yet God hates this kind of thinking because it makes us judges who look down our noses at other people. If anyone was ever entitled to a holier-than-thou attitude it would be Jesus. Since He doesn’t think that way, He doesn’t want us to think that way either.

    “The first reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven are the promises made in the Bible. For example, we’re told there would be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. Well, Jesus was deemed the only truly righteous human ever to have lived (at least the only one who met God’s standard – that is, perfection). Therefore, He is “the righteous” that gets resurrected and the rest of us are “the wicked.” We’re also told in the Bible that He’s the Savior of the world; and that He died not just for the sins of believers but for those of the whole world; and that as in Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive; and so on the promises go.”

    ME:
    True, there is none righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10). All have sinned (Romans 3:23). But is Jesus the ONLY one deemed righteous? I ask you what is the meaning of the following verses.

    Romans 5:19 — For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteou.

    MANY shall be made righteous — Jesus’ sacrifice makes us righteous. Therefore, Jesus is not the only one made righteous. Does Jesus’ sacrifice give a blanket salvation to everyone, whether they obey Him or not? Let’s look at this verse:

    John 5:29 — [Jesus speaking of the Last Day, when the dead arise] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

    What is the definition of damnation? Is it a brief judgment before we go to heaven, or something eternal? Let’s look at the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar.

    Luke 16:23-26 — And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: SO THAT THEY WHICH WOULD PASS FROM HENCE TO YOU CANNOT; NEITHER CAN THEY PASS TO US, THAT WOULD COME FROM THENCE. [emphasis mine]

    Once Lazarus was in hell and suffering the torment of judgment, he could not leave. He was stuck. This is further confirmed by the following verses:

    Mark 3:29 — But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of ETERNAL DAMNATION. [emphasis mine]

    Hebrews 6:1-2 — Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of ETERNAL JUDGMENT. [emphasis mine]

    Reading the above passage from Hebrews, we find that eternal judgment is a principle of the doctrine of Christ, a foundation.

    Jude 1:7 — Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE. [emphasis mine]

    MIKE:
    “The second reason we have for believing that everyone is going to heaven is the nature of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Assuming you know something of the life Jesus lived on earth, can you imagine Him consigning people to an eternity of fiery torment? Yes, there is judgment for sin in the earth and Jesus took pains to warn us of it graphically, but even the worst life on earth eventually comes to a merciful end. It would be entirely inconsistent with Jesus’ nature to put us in a place where repentance was impossible. Repenting is the thing He most wants us to do.”

    ME:
    Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus. Now, look at John 3:18 (“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”). If we want to be condemned to eternal judgment, all we have to do is not believe. If we believe in Jesus and obey, we will not suffer that condemnation. If Jesus came to save us, and everyone is going to heaven, then from what did He come to save us? Ultimately, you are saying all roads lead to heaven. But Jesus Himself said,

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. — John 14:6

    There is no possible way to come to God unless we come to Him through Jesus. The way Jesus laid out for us is the path of salvation — salvation from eternal condemnation.

    MIKE:
    “The third reason we have for believing this truth is that God’s message of Jesus Christ is called good news. It would not be good news if some of our fellow human beings had to spend eternity separated from us and punished mercilessly. Don’t feel that way? Then you’re not loving your brother as Jesus told us to.”

    ME:
    The good news, Mike, is that WE DON’T HAVE TO SUFFER ANY JUDGMENT AT ALL! The good news is that Jesus provided a way for us to blot our sins away so we could receive eternal life. It’s up to us whether we take Him up on His offer or not. I personally know people who have said they WANT to go to Hell, “because that’s where the fun people are.” That’s their decision. If they are going to heaven anyway, there is no free will, and God is forcing His desire on them. God doesn’t SEND people to hell — He honors their decision. That is why we go out to spread the good news, to tell them the offer still stands. That is where the love comes in.

    MIKE:
    “Lastly, according to the way the Bible describes the construction and reconstruction of the universe, there’s now nowhere else for folks to go but heaven. The original universe had people dying and going below to a place called Sheol in Hebrew (called Hades in Greek). This was the place to which all the dead went – good and bad. Even Jesus went there. (After all, how could the dead be raised unless they were below to start with?) So when Jesus was raised from the dead and ascended in to heaven, saying we would one day join Him there, well, that was stunningly good news that none of His disciples had ever expected. They were thrilled with the notion of resurrection – to find out that they’d be raised not just to earth but all the way to heaven, where God lived – well, that was more than any of them would have asked for. At the coming of the kingdom of God, and the consummation of that age, Sheol was done away and dead from that point began going up to heaven instead of down to Sheol. Don’t think that happened? Then you must believe everyone is still going below to Sheol when they die. In that case, no one but Jesus would be in heaven at this point. But don’t fear, the reconstruction of the spiritual side of the universe occurred on exactly the timetable that Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles said it would. There is no more Sheol; there is only heaven for those who die.”

    ME:
    Sheol and Hades are words that were transliterated into the English. The translators of the King James Version took liberty with the Bible and inserted their own ideas. The words used by the original texts do not indicate places. They merely meant “the grave”. The grave had no power of Jesus — which is obvious, since He rose again. Yes, all, good and bad go to the grave. That is the curse of mortality.

    MIKE:
    “Since we know we’re all going to be with God in heaven one day, what sort of people ought we to be while on earth? When you’re there in heaven with God, what do you want your memories of your time on earth to be like? He indicated to us in the gospels that it will matter very much to us how we lived on earth once we’re finally in heaven. Live in such a way that you won’t have to hang your head in shame when you see Him. Repent.”

    ME:
    If we are in heaven at the end, we are saved. Our sins have been forgiven and wiped away. We will have no reason at all to hang our heads.

    http://www.traditionortruth.wordpress.com

    • Mike says:

      By what logic do you say that Sheol (Hades) is not a place while saying that Hell (Gehenna) is?

      Moreover, the Luke 16 passage which you quote as referring to Hell (Gehenna) is actually a reference to Hades (Sheol). (A Strong’s concordance will reveal this; the NASB and ESV accurately transliterate as “Hades.”)

      Those of us who read the Bible need to take the concept of Sheol (Hades) as seriously as the prophets and the apostles did.

      • TruthOverfaith says:

        “Those of us who read the Bible need to take the concept of Sheol (Hades) as seriously as the prophets and the apostles did.”

        And as seriously as you take the talking donkey, stoning people to death, slave trading, genocide, infanticide, animal sacrifices, penis skins for covenants, etc.,etc.,etc.,etc.,etc.,

        Right, Mike?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Your comment implies that you consider yourself more moral than the prophets and the apostles. You will one day have the opportunity to make this claim to God. I don’t think that will go well for you.

          I urge you to reconsider Jesus Christ. He is the main point of the Bible. As you begin to understand Him better, you will find your attitude about the Bible changing and you will come to better appreciate why Jesus could live so moral a life by following – rather than criticizing – the Scriptures.

      • Oliander Leaves says:

        Luke 16:19-31 is a parable about the dispensation.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I don’t understand what point you’re trying to make.

          • Oliander Leaves says:

            I am not a universalist but I am an annihilationist.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Then I am happy to report to you that, contrary to your current belief system, God is able to redeem those you are considering unredeemable.

              • Oliander Leaves says:

                I do believe what you have just stated. The problem is that if a man wants a woman does he just go and put her to sleep? God would not be loving if he forced everyone to go to heaven. There ARE people that would rather prefer hell quite truthfully.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  No one in his right mind would prefer hell for the same reason that no one in his right mind wants to burn alive.

                  God would only be coercive if he forced a person to live closer to Him than he wanted. It’s obvious God doesn’t force that on earth, so why would He do so in heaven?

                  I suggest you read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

                  • Oliander Leaves says:

                    I am not contesting against your view. I am only addressing reality. Yes, sadly there are going to be people who do not make it to heaven and I think a LOT of Christians are going to miss out on heaven as well.

                  • Oliander Leaves says:

                    John 3:36 – Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

                    Amen, only Jesus is right and he says whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life. Therefore, while it is God’s intention that everyone is saved, only those who truly obey him will make it to Heaven. Also see Matthew 7:13-14.

                  • Oliander Leaves says:

                    I disagree. I think evidence suggests that universalism appeals to feelings but is false. However, I do NOT hold to the sadistic viewpoint of Hell as most Christians do.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      I’m glad you’re not sadistic where the lost are concerned, but your lack of hope where they’re concerned is nonetheless disappointing. Are you not aware that “God is able from stones to raise up sons of Abraham”?

                • Mike says:

                  Oliander is right, we are creators with Jesus and there are those who would prefer hell, thus they create it. It doesn’t mean that God is idle to help, that’s what angels are for.

      • Anonymous says:

        To those who actually believe that everyone is going to Heaven — you claim to know and read your Bible.
        What is your explanation of why Jesus died on the cross? If everyone is going to heaven, didn’t God make
        a big mistake sending His one and only perfect Son to earth to suffer in utter agony all for nothing????? After
        all everyone is going to Heaven anyway!! You are very selectively reading your Bible – throwing out what you
        find too difficult for yourselves, so that you can live free and guilt free. What you are saying is totally against
        what the Bible says. “He that BELIEVES AND IS BAPTIZED shall be saved” How can you alter that in your minds? Do you actually think you will see Muslim terrorists — any terrorists, those that killed 3000 Americans when diving into the World Trade Centre??? Those that prey sexually on innocent little children???
        Tell me how you reconcile yourselves to all of that? You can’t believe that they believe in Jesus Christ and
        are baptized do you???? You people need to make sense — not to me — but to your Creator.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          You are judging things outwardly, and seeking to justify yourself. God looks on the heart and judges with true judgment. In the totality of God’s judgment we will each receive exactly what we deserve. Therefore, it behooves us to rid our own hearts of sin before trying to rid the world of it.

    • mai hoffrichter says:

      What happen to those that deny HIM?

      • Mike Gantt says:

        They will be ashamed when they stand before Him after they die. He will judge them, but mercy will triumph over judgment (James 2:13). Knowing this, we must be sure to rid ourselves of sin and faithlessness lest we, too, be ashamed in that day.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mai, the Greek word that God used is katakrisesthetai, which literally means they-shall-be-down-judged. There is no mention of the sentence, but the refusal of the Jew to comply meant being cut off from the Kingdom to come. This kingdom is on earth. It is not the heavenly kingdom in view here.

        While it is true certain Jews will be cut off (Mt 8:11-12, Mt 13:41-42, Mt 13:50, Lk 13:28), this judgment concerns Israel alone. It is not the White Throne judgment of Revelation 20. It is the former resurrection (Re 20:5) which Daniel (12:13) was promised, seen in Abraham and Isaac, and in which all who were under the Law of Moses will experience on the earth. We will not be particpants, since we will have been changed into His image (1Co 15:52) at that time. They will be “born-again” on the earth through water and spirit, raised out from among the dead, to inherit the land as promised. Those Hebrews who did not believe and were not baptized will be left out of the coming earthly Kingdom as per Mark 16:16.

        Yes, His word is true and this will come to pass. But what He said while on earth concerning His own disciples should not be moved into our sphere. Ours is a heavenly destiny as the Body of Christ, not the Bride on earth. We, the believers in the cross of Christ, are justified by faith (Eph 2:8-9). They will be required in the next age to have faith and works as proof of the fidelity (Ja 2:20). What a blessing we truly have in Christ!

  2. I never said Hades or Sheol is not a place. That much is obvious because the Bible makes it clear that people go there after death. What I am saying is, the term “Hades” comes from Greek myth, and was so prevalent in Greek culture that it was incorporated into their language to mean “the place where people go when they die.” Hades is NOT the proper name given by God to any location. It is a term from Greek myth that became a noun in the Greek through sheer usage. In Matt. 16:18, “Hades” is not simply a place of the dead but represents the power of death. Jesus said the gates of hades would not prevail against His church. We find this to be true because Christians have the gift of eternal life, and upon His return the dead in Christ shall rise.

    Sheol is synonymous with Hades. It, on the other hand, was a Hebrew noun that, through usage, became a proper noun — a name. Again, there is no place with NAME of Sheol. “Sheol” is a term that meant, “the place where people go when they die”. In Numbers 16:30, God tells Moses that the earth will open up and swallow Korah and his rebels — that they will “go down alive into Sheol”. Now, unless you believe that the souls’ place of punishment is literally underground (as ancient Greek myth had it), then Korah couldn’t have gone straight to that punishment alive (verse 33). No doubt they died. In Psalms and Proverbs, going alive into Sheol is a rare punishment that the writers call upon the wicked. Nine times the term “Sheol” is parallel with death (2 Sam. 22:6; Ps. 18:4-5; 49:14; 89:48; 116:3; Prov. 5:5; Isa. 28:15, 18; Hos. 13:14; Hab. 2:5). Jonah referred to his position in the belly of the fish as “Sheol” (Jonah 2:2) — if “Sheol” is synonymous with the grave this makes sense, since his predicament of spending three days and nights in the watery grave, so to speak, was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ three days and nights in the grave.

    Thus, “Sheol” is a transliterated term that refers to the grave; “Hades” is a term borrowed from Greek myth to be synonymous with death.

    As for Gehenna, that is the Greek form of two Hebrew words, “ge hinnom”, which means “valley of Hinnom.” The term originally referred to a ravine on the south side of Jerusalem where pagan deities were worshiped (2 Kings 23:10; Jer. 7:32; 2 Chron. 28:3; 33:6). It became a garbage dump and a place of abomination where fire burned continuously (2 Kings 23:10; compare Matt. 18:9; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Jas. 3:6). The name Gehenna became synonymous with “a place of burning.” Now this makes sense when held up in comparison to Mat. 13:40, Heb. 6:8, Luke 3:17, John 15:6, Jud 1:7, Rev 20:15. In Luke 16, the rich man had died, and was now suffering eternal torment. He was in the grave, and his soul was suffering the torment of Gehenna, a place of burning, AFTER DEATH — not while he was here and alive. And he was there to stay.

    • Mike says:

      Your research is generally true but you are overlooking that the Septuagint used the word Hades in place of Sheol. Thus when Jesus spoke of the gates of Hades we could substitute Sheol and have no change in meaning. Neither Jesus nor the apostles nor the translators of the Septuagint were supporting Greek mythology when they used the term Hades; they were simply speaking of the dead (all the dead) being below – on this point the Greeks and Hebrews agreed. Remember that Jesus said no one had ascended into heaven (John 3:13); He was the first (Hebrews 6:20; John 14:2). The question for you to pursue is, “If all the dead were going to Sheol, when and how did they get redirected to heaven?” You can set aside for the moment whether it’s some or all who get to heaven; just figure out how any of the dead got there. The Scriptures will show you.

      By the way, I am glad you acknowledge Sheol (Hades) as a place, and you are right that is also is a synonym for death or grave. You are also right when you give the etymology of Gehenna which is distinct and different from Sheol (Hades). You err, however, when you again quote Luke 16 and say that the rich man’s torment was in Gehenna for the scripture plainly says it was Hades.

  3. When we die, our corpses are consigned to the grave (Sheol, Hades). We return to the ground from which we were created.

    Our souls, on the other hand, are separate from our bodies. This is the cause of death, when our souls part ways with the fragile vessel which is our mortal self. The soul goes to a different place than Sheol or Hades. Some end up, as Luke puts it, “in Abraham’s bosom” (which admittedly I am still searching out to find the exact meaning), and some end up in Gahenna, “a place of burning.” In the case of the rich man — “And in hell [Hades — death, the grave, apart from the world of the living] he lift up his eyes, being in torments [only Gahenna is identified in Scripture as being a place of torment/fire], and seeth Abraham afar off.” I am not saying that his torment was in Hades. He was dead (in Hades). His torment began AFTER his death, and Scripture gives us only one single place where torment is dealt out.

    It’s not a matter of redirection, but rather separation. Our fleshly bodies go one way, our souls another way. Of course, there remains the debate over whether the saved will spend eternity in heaven or in a “new heaven and new earth” (i.e., a cleansed and remodeled earth, so to speak), but for now, I find it plain that the body goes to the grave (Sheol, Hades), while the soul, if unsaved, is lost to Gahenna, otherwise known as Hell.

    • Mike says:

      You are right to say that death is the separation of our spirit from our body, but as for the body, it does not go to Sheol (Hades). Haven’t you noticed that the body stays right where it was until someone else buries, cremates, or otherwise disposes of it? (And even then, it never leaves the earth.) It is the spirit that goes somewhere and according to the Old Testament, it descends to Sheol (Hades). There were comfortable parts of Sheol for the righteous(“Abraham’s bosom”) and uncomfortable parts for the unrighteous (the rich man’s place of torment). Thus, when Saul wanted to communicate with the deceased Samuel, the Scripture says Samuel was brought up (because his spirit was in Sheol/Hades below) not brought down (as if his spirit was in heaven above). Again, Sheol (Hades) was the abode of all the dead according to the Old Testament. And, as I mentioned before, Jesus made clear that He was the first to go to heaven – He did so to make a place for us. If you believe as I do that Samuel’s spirit is now in heaven, my question for you is, “How and when did he get there?” (The Scriptures will tell you, but I have also made it plain in the fifteen posts of the Introduction and in various posts on The Bible Reader’s Guide to Jesus. Here is the key to understanding: Keep focusing on Jesus; with simplicity and purity, be devoted to Him. There are many distractions; cling to the Lord Jesus!)

      • Mike says:

        Let me be quick to add that I am making no judgment about your own devotion to the Lord. I am simply emphasizing to all what I say to myself. That is, we must press ourselves beyond what is called “devotion to the Lord” in our day for there is much lip service, but not much obedience.

        I love the Scriptures, but if I am to fully understand them I must press myself to fully trust the Lord Jesus Christ and fully obey His words in my life. The more I understand, the more obedience that is required of me. True wisdom is to fear Him who died for us and released us from our sins by His blood.

        • TruthOverfaith says:

          “True wisdom is to fear Him who died for us and released us from our sins by His blood.”

          How many revolting, barbaric, superstitious beliefs are contained in this one sentence.
          To equate wisdom with fear. A savage act of wicked cruelty equals forgiveness. Blood is necessary for forgiveness. Christian doctrine is truly the most ridiculous, irrational, immoral and stupefyingly absurd piece of Neanderthal buffoonery that the human mind has ever concocted in our history on this planet.

          How does anyone look at themselves in the mirror without unadulterated embarrassment while having this Stone Age lunacy occupying their brain?

          • Mike Gantt says:

            I am an American. There are American soldiers who have fought and died for the freedom and security I enjoy. I do not consider it “revolting, barbaric, or superstitious” to honor them for their sacrifices of blood and life. On the contrary, it is my duty and privilege to do so.

            How much more as a human being is it my duty and privilege to honor Christ for that which He has done to secure spiritual freedom and security for us all.

  4. As to your second comment:

    I totally understand, Mike. We need discussions like this to grow. It’s all good. I’m enjoying our discussion. Let me assure you I am taking nothing personally, and I’m sure it’s the same on your end.

    Onward and upward!

  5. jonsreality says:

    Sir,

    People will go to hell. If God doesn’t send people to hell, then he is not a just God. His perfect mercy is balanced with his perfect justice. A good God must send people to hell. Read Romans.

    You’re taking “righteous” out of context. We are counted as righteous because of the sacrificial atonement of Christ’s death. Therefore, we are considered righteous in God’s eyes.

    If you truly believe this doctrine that you are preaching, then I fear for those who read this blog and believe what you teach.

    We must preach truth. If we are not saved by Jesus Christ, make no mistake, we will go to hell.

    • Mike says:

      You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. Jesus did not come to make our lives worse; He came to make them better. Before Him, all the dead descended below to Sheol. Since Him, all the dead arise to heaven. Blessed be the name of Him who has saved us by His blood.

      I have read Romans. That’s why I believe these things.

      You are right to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and to say that we must preach truth. If you will abide in His word, you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.

    • TruthOverfaith says:

      “If god doesn’t send people to hell, then he is not a just God.”

      Well, there ya’ go. What a loving tribute to the invisible man in the sky! I’m sure god is mighty proud to be depicted this way. Which is accurate according the bible, of course.
      At least jonsreality is true to his inane, deluded religion.

    • thetruthonly says:

      Amen. The Lord is merciful in His judgments. While it is true that all will acknowledge the Lord (Romans 14:11), James 2:19 says that even the demons know who God is and believe. Read Revelation. There is evil in the world and there are those who are purposely deceiving people for the wrong side. They will be punished and they will know that their punishment is just. Read it. Please don’t tell people that God is just to allow all into heaven. He knows that not all want his love and mercy and forgiveness. Few will accept what He has to offer. Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 20 read it. Those who follow Him are His. Spreading false doctrine is dangerous business. Read it –

      Revelation 20:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.

      20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

      Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

      21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

      The enemy is at work and many are unknowingly following. Don’t be deceived. Pray for wisdom.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        I am happy to leave my fate in the Lord’s hands. He knows the truth and He knows me. His judgments are righteous altogether. Just because everyone is going to heaven does not mean that anyone escapes judgment. No one will.

  6. Paul says:

    Mike, if everyone is going to Heaven, please answer this: What is God speaking about when He refers to “eternal damnation” and says that the end (not the way) of the wicked is to be burned?

    • Mike says:

      What is “eternal” is “constant.” “Burning” usually refers to God’s judgments of sin in the earth. How does it read to you?

  7. Paul says:

    What is eternal is neverending — lasting forever — hence the word “eternity”. This means there is NO END. Eternity with God is forever. Damnation is eternal — forever. Eternity as it relates to heaven holds no different meaning as it relates to hell.

    • Mike says:

      We have no disagreement between us about the meaning of the word “eternity.” However, you are cutting and pasting scriptural words into a man-made doctrine. Your argument is not scriptural. Study the Scriptures and understand that whereas everyone who died used to go to Sheol, they now go to heaven.

      • So that is why in 1 Thessalonians Paul pointed out that our hope is resurrection? If people, go to heaven when they die, what is the exciting part about resurrection? Why would that be our hope? Paul should of just said, don’t worry, they are in a better place. He didn’t. Why?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          People did not go to heaven until the resurrection Paul spoke about in 1 Thessalonians. Prior to that time, the Bible taught that at death everyone descended to Sheol (Hades). That was what was so exciting: people were going to stop descending at death and start ascending. The resurrection took human beings to the better place (heaven). This is what made the good news so thrilling to them. We’ve lost that thrill because we’ve lost the knowledge what the Bible had taught about Sheol (Hades).

          • thetruthonly says:

            I believe we might agree on this point. Genesis 2 talks about God bringing Adam to life only after He gave him breath. Take the breath away and you have death. One or the other. Chapter 3 brings the father of lies into the scene and the first one he tells is that Eve will not die. And many have grabbed ahold of this lie, even Christians. For Satan this opens up so many doors. The Bible doesn’t teach this. Luke 23:43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Is a slip of the comma. The original writing didn’t use them. Read in John 20:17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Jesus states that He hadn’t gone to heaven. Move the comma -“Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise.” And the thief is promised a place in heaven someday. But from many a pulpit is preached the lies of Satan. The Bible only will give the truth. Read it. God loved us enough to give it to us. His word.

    • Jenny says:

      Erm, it’s not eternity, it’s age during. It’s a mistranslation.

  8. Paul says:

    So if I’m going to heaven no matter what I do, I might as well continue to sin so grace may abound. No accountability. Nice! Sounds like a “feel-good” doctrine to me. Thank you. My ears are itching much less now.

  9. tinaf07 says:

    Since your first post appeared on my tag surfer, I sensed the Holy Spirit teaching me how to discerne the truth from the false. If we listen to the voice of the Most High we will inevitably be able to sense when someone is misquoting the scriptures. It is not up to our interpretations what the scriptures mean: it is what it is. My question to this post is: If an innocent child is murdered is that “eternal damnation” punishing that child who has done nothing to deserve it. Did God impose that “judgement” on the innocent child to show them what hell is like? Because according to your doctrine this is truth.

    • Mike says:

      I am completely perplexed by your comment, but I will try to respond.

      If an innocent child is murdered, it is not “eternal damnation” and it is not “imposed by God to show them what hell is like.” As I say, I am completely perplexed as to how you think my doctrine leads you to this conclusion.

  10. tinaf07 says:

    YOUR WORDS: What is “eternal” is “constant.” “Burning” usually refers to God’s judgments of sin in the earth. How does it read to you?
    NOW: According to you when this man dies and never accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. He runs around Scott free in heaven. Well if this is just the judgment time now God would be Judging this man on earth nor in heaven for what the man has done. Both people died, so the wages of one man’s sin means both of their deaths. This can go on and on, injustice after injustice, God on standby letting the innocent suffer and the guilty go unpunished. Where’s the “Just” quality in that? Love has no justice in it and all else is just a waste of time. And if we all belonged in Heaven, Jesus would’ve been here last week to take us there, why suffer and toil on earth, life has no meaning; goodness and wickedness no difference. Let’s all kill ourselves tomorrow and have a bonanza in Heaven;okay?

    • Mike says:

      Judgment occurs both in the earth and in heaven. I certainly do not think that a man who murders an innocent child will “run around scott free” on earth or in heaven. I have written a series of essays which explain this. I think these essays will give you a much better handle on the morality that you rightly seek. For your current view that all the murderer has to do is “accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior” before he dies cannot truly satisfy your moral senses.

      Life is full of meaning. The reason we don’t kill ourselves is so that we can live for Jesus and show love to everyone around us in His name. This is our chance to glorify Him who loved us and released us from our sins by His blood. For this we will be persecuted, but it is worth it because He is worthy!

      • Nairobi says:

        This is ridiculous. I believe you are a reprobate. Saying that everyone goes to heaven is absolutely absurd. Plenty of people have already clearly proved this to be false through the scriptures, but you haven’t been given ears to hear, so you can’t hear. You are a master at twisting the scriptures. Revelations 20:15 says, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Which is same place the devil and his demons will be cast, which place is eternal, and is hell.

  11. tinaf07 says:

    I think I’m getting the run around. I don’t need a series of essays when I got the entire bible which I have already read from entirely (from Genesis to Revelation) last year. I just wanted to see if that innocent baby will ever see justice since according to you there is no hell for sinners who deny Christ and die, but instead they run around in Heaven punishment free. Because “EVERYONE GOES TO HEAVEN”. Some killers never repent and are never arrested, you know who’s going to arrest them when they die? Satan himself that’s who. The bible which I not only have read but read from daily, and commit to memory in my heart tells me so. That is the Just God I serve way of dealing with it.

    • Mike says:

      Yes, the innocent baby you describe will see justice and will glorify God for it. So, too, will the perpetrator see justice and glorify God for it.

      There is order in heaven and there is judgment on earth and in heaven for every act. Some judgment occurs on earth, and some waits until heaven. As Jesus said, some who are first in this life will be last in that one. Just because no one will be consigned to an eternity of physical and emotional torture (what people call hell) does not mean that everyone’s experience in heaven will be equally joyful and blessed. Though I am not wise enough to understand or explain exactly how God will distribute His justice to each person, I trust Him completely that He will.

      You act as if my doctrine allows the murderer to go free. On the contrary, I have been clear that he will be judged. You, on the other hand, seem to say that if he murders the child but then repents on his deathbed that he goes to heaven enjoying the same experience as the innocent child. You seem to be the one letting him off scott free.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mike, I am grateful that you have invited me to share viewpoints on your blog.
    Just a quick question, if you have indeed read the entire “why won’t god heal amputees”.
    Then what would be your explanation for why indeed we have never seen an amputee healed by God or Jesus through prayer?
    P.S. Although our views differ, I do find you to be an intellectual rarity amongst the throngs of uneducated or thoughtless throngs of “Christians”. And I do very much agree with your approach to Christianity (nobody likes Christians who shout with megaphones on street corners about going to hell) So I applaud you for that.
    Therefore I do not wish to come across as an evil atheist bent on ridiculing you or belittling you. However I do hope that you feel like responding to a few of my queries, and I will gladly return the favor if you desire to challenge my train of thought.
    Cheers: Ken

    • Mike says:

      I have responded to Ken’s comment at the post Dialogue with Ken. I have also incorporated our prior comment exchange on that post as well. And, of course, his reply and ongoing exchanges with him on this subject will be found there.

  13. Celal says:

    What a deluded person you are, sir. Jesus spoke more about Hell than anyone else in the Bible and clearly stated people will be going there. And, don’t try to tell me they willl be there just for a while and annihilated. Hell is eternal. Stop deceiving yourself and others.

    • Mike says:

      The hell Jesus spoke about was not a place of afterlife, but rather the destruction we bring on ourselves in this life by sinning and ignoring God.

      I am not deceiving you; I am telling you the truth that I have read in the Bible. The links at the end of the post above will show you where in the Bible so that you can read it for yourself.

  14. Celal says:

    “The hell Jesus spoke about was not a place of afterlife,”

    like i said, you are deluded.

  15. If we are all in heaven together, some entering with no diliberate desire to serve God and accept our unholiness, how will heaven be different than earth? Will God take away our free will and evoke a rule where our minds and actions are controlled by Him regardless of how we feel about it. Will meeting Him simply make us the people we are supposed to be, so we will all get along and never sin again?

    • Mike says:

      All of us will have free will in heaven just as we have it here. The difference is that there will be no temptation in heaven as there is here. The heavens have been cleansed through the work of Jesus Christ. Everyone who dies is freed from sin (Romans 6:7).

      • What is the definition of “temptation”.

      • Why didn’t God make it that way from the beginning. A lot of suffering has come from sin. Why could we not have had the absence of tempatation from the time the world began. Then Jesus would not have had to suffered on the cross.
        If there is a way to have made us with free will yet have no way to sin – that seems like the more loving thing for God to do from the beginning.

        • Mike says:

          Your point is a good one and would be correct except for the fact that evil pre-dated the creation. In fact, the whole reason that God created the world and us was to solve the problem of evil in the heavens.

          Remember that Jesus cleansed the heavens when He ascended. How had they become defiled? Sin on earth wouldn’t have defiled heaven. Heaven was defiled when sin was committed there – before our world was created.

          Sin preexisted the creation as the temptation in the Garden of Eden proves. If it was evil for Eve to sin, how much more evil was the one who tempted her to sin. (Isn’t the one who tempts committing a greater evil than the one who gives in to the temptation?) Angels had sinned. For this reason, God created humanity so it could be raised from the dead higher than the angels.

          The purpose of this life and our free will is to determine what sort of responsibility we are worthy to bear in heaven. That is why Jesus said many who are first here will be last there, and vice versa. Goodness that overcomes evil is infinitely stronger than goodness that has never encountered evil. God wants His heavens populated with servants who have proven themselves faithful in difficult circumstances. The orginal crew of angels – at least some of them – had proven unworthy.

      • Matt says:

        Hi Mike, in the context of Galatians, Paul says “All who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and evil desires” Paul seems to say that if you don’t lay down your arms against your king now, there is no hope for you. Elsewhere he tells the Corinthians “I warn you as I warned you before, that those who do such things will NOT inherit the kingdom of heaven (i.e. sexual immorality, idolatry, anger, malice, rage, drunkeness.) Jesus said in John in response to the unbelieving and wicked Jews, “the reason you do not believe (that I am the Christ) is because YOUR ARE NOT of my flock” My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they know me and they follow me”. The imagery of goats and sheep throughout all the NT signals that Christ has a flock, he has come to call those who are truly his that are written in the book of life before the ages began. “Those whom he calls, he justifies, those whom he justifies, he will glorify” Revelation 20:13-15 says that those whose names were not found written in the book of life, they were cast into the lake of fire. There death and hades were also thrown, which is the 2nd death. I believe your use of hades and death or sheol could use some spice of revelation 20 vs 13-15 to complete it. There is a final day of reckoning and the Lord will separate his Sheep from the goats. Romans 9, also says that he made some vessels for noble use and some for ignoble use…
        Dear Mike, using the context of the books in which you receive your beliefs, I believe you will find Paul, Peter, Hebrews, Jesus all agree that those that are not born of the spirit from above cannot see the Kingdom of God (like he told Nicodemus), are still dead in their trespasses and sins and have not been made alive and therefore still hate their maker and have no desire to be with him. That is the way we are all consigned to remain had the LORD of Glory not broken in with his perfect Righteousness and death and resurrection and united His sheep to Him by FAITH ALONE by the power of His Holy Spirit (Romans 3-5:6)

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Matt, as I said in my other response, you are confusing the kingdom of God with going to heaven when you die. The kingdom of God is the way Jesus taught us that we should live in this life, because it’s the way He lived.

          Sheol and Hades have to do with afterlife. Hell and Gehenna have to do with this life and speak of God’s judgment, His wrath that comes as consequence to our sins.

          You are also reading the New Testament as if the Lord did not keep His promise to return (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again). The Lord has kept His promises and all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled. We serve a faithful Lord!

          The sheep and goats are already separated and the Lord knows those who walk according to His ways. There are many today who profess to know Him but who don’t live for Him at all. It’s not whether you’re a Christian or not that matters; it’s whether you live for Christ. Being a Christian has to do with walking in the fear of man; living for Christ has to do with walking in the fear of God. God doesn’t care about our labels; He wants us to walk in faith and righteousness.

      • thetruthonly says:

        But we must remember that sin originated in heaven by a perfect being. One who guarded the law of God and has been trampling it underfoot ever since. When Christ comes, all will have seen the results of sin and selfishness. The result will be that all will acknowledge that God is just. If sin had not been allowed to be played out, God would have been served out of fear and not love. Those who hold onto sin will deserve and know they deserve their judgment. A hell with pitchforks and horned demons is a Catholic/Hollywood picture. One can not burn forever – even a forest only burns so long. Their punishment is not crystal clear to me, but I believe God will be just and merciful at the same time however it goes.

    • We we created to make the devil see how wrong he was and put him in his place? I find that a little unsettling. He seems not to be getting the picture. Why do so many humans have to suffer to get the point across to an unworthy angel or group of angels?

      Do we have to make any decision about Jesus during life or just try to do good things while we are here on earth?
      If angels were able to prove themselves unworthy, could there be things I will do that will make me as bad as the angels?

      • Mike says:

        Of course, none of us were present when angels sinned and therefore would have trouble imagining the context. It is similarly impossible for us to imagine all the spiritual dynamics that occur in the life of angels in general or of the devil in particular. It is hard enough for us to know how to be human.

        Our responsibility on this earth is to fear God and keep His commandments. This means, as you know, to love Him supremely, and our neighbors as ourselves. As for knowledge, we know what He reveals to us; in what we don’t know, we should trust Him for He has certainly proven Himself worthy of trust.

        The most effective way to reduce suffering in the earth is to reduce sin. Unfortunately, far more people are interested in reducing the former than the latter.

        There are two kinds of suffering: that which we deserve and that which we do not deserve. The first needs no explanation, the second defies explanation (at least while we live on earth). The book of Job wrestles with this very issue. Job never did get an answer to his question about why he suffered, but his life improved when he stopped asking and returned to the faith that marked his earlier life (that is, as he prayed for his friends just as he had previously prayed for his family).

        Jesus is tender and kind and would never judge harshly a person who was sincerely trying please Him. Trying to please people is a hard life. That’s why Jesus His yoke was easy.

        Lastly, it is through Jesus that God demonstrates to us how we should live in this life. As He bore up while suffering unjustly, so should we. He has commanded us to do only that which He Himself has done.

  16. tinaf07 says:

    Mike said 6 days ago:
    Yes, the innocent baby you describe will see justice and will glorify God for it. So, too, will the perpetrator see justice and glorify God for it.

    There is order in heaven and there is judgment on earth and in heaven for every act. Some judgment occurs on earth, and some waits until heaven. As Jesus said, some who are first in this life will be last in that one. Just because no one will be consigned to an eternity of physical and emotional torture (what people call hell) does not mean that everyone’s experience in heaven will be equally joyful and blessed. Though I am not wise enough to understand or explain exactly how God will distribute His justice to each person, I trust Him completely that He will.

    ME
    If you are not wise enough to understand or explain how God will distribute His justice to each person, as you said, then it is evident that you are NOT wise enough to Assume that EVERYONE IS GOING TO HEAVEN in the first place. Just a little something called LOGIC that people refuse to use.

    • Mike says:

      I acknowledge again the limitations of my wisdom. However, as for the fact that everyone is going to heaven, I am merely reporting to you what the Bible says.

    • Steven says:

      But you are wise enough to judge him as a fool. Because you KNOW your way is correct. Talk about pride?

      How about a little “christian” love and say something like “Mike I am still not getting where you are getting this doctrine from the Bible, but I will pray for you and for myself, if I am not seeing it correctly”.

  17. tinaf07 says:

    No matter how much you try to twist the Word of God there’s no escaping the meaning of the Gospel. Everyone is not waltzing into heaven, sin cannot live there, and in order to be redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice you need FAITH in him. It’s an individual responsibility for everyone to accept Christ in their own hearts as there Lord and Savior. The Word of God says: Galatians 3:22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

    Jesus mentioned the consequence for nonbelievers here here: Matthew 25:41 (New International Version, ©2010) 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

    Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
    Revelation 20:13-15 (in Context) Revelation 20 (Whole Chapter)
    Revelation 20:15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

    • Mike says:

      I share your acknowledgement of, and disdain for, sin. The Lord hates it and so should we.

      I likewise share your appreciation for faith and how it opens our hearts to God’s flow, according to the Galatians passage.

      And you are absolutely right to appeal to the word of God as the authority in all such matters. However, the Matthew and Revelation verses you quote refer to life in or out of the kingdom of God, which is an issue for this life – not the next one.

      The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now or Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church.

      • Without faith it is impossible to please God. Meeting Him face to face after we have died and seeing ourselves as we are in His eyes is not faith. A man who had no faith in God’s plan of salvation through Jesus here on earth during this age will not have faith when he meets God. He will have all the facts and understanding of God’s plan – but not faith.

        • Mike says:

          You are absolutely right about the importance that our faith holds in God’s eyes. Would that we all exercised more of it! It would bless His heart and strengthen our souls. We must summon our faith if we are to stand firm against the evils of this world and please our Heavenly Father.

          Even hearing a message like “Everyone is going to heaven” will not bless a person’s soul if he or she doesn’t believe the message. However, when such a person dies we have to remember what Paul wrote to Timothy: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

          • It takes a lot of faith to believe that Jesus and disciples were hated and killed for their message of “stop sinning, but you are going to heaven anyway”.

            • Mike says:

              The apostles were indeed hated and killed. They experienced the same fate as their Master, just as He said they would. The pages of the New Testament we turn in our hands today came to us through their blood. For they had seen the depths of His love for all mankind and were determined to imitate and please Him. We owe them so much!

              We must remind ourselves that when the apostles preached about heaven, no one in that age thought that any of the dead went to heaven. Everyone thought that the dead went below (the Hebrews called it Sheol, the Greeks called it Hades). Therefore, to the unbelieving, the whole message sounded preposterous. What they most objected to was the apostles insistence that this resurrected Jesus was Lord and should be obeyed, that people should repent and live holy lives out of gratitude to Him.

              The message of Jesus and the apostles has not changed: the resurrected Jesus is still Lord, He should be obeyed, and we should repent and live holy lives out of gratitude to Him. Some people today will say, “Why should I do that if I’m going to heaven anyway?” Such a question indicates a hardened heart and that person will experience judgment in the earth and regret in heaven for this attitude and the behavior which results from it. So live your life that you will not need to regret anything in heaven, and so that you may receive honor from the Lord for your trust in Him. As He said, many who are first here will be last there, and many who are last here will be first there.

              Fear God. Do not be like those who take the Lord lightly for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

              I hope you will read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven and the 33 Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven.

        • sorentmd says:

          Mike, this is so not true.

          31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

          34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

          37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

          40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

          41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

          44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

          45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

          46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

          I post the whole thing for context purposes so that we don’t take things out of context and the way they were intended to be interpreted.

          So in 46, we have eternal punishment as the penalty for the unrighteous. Also, in 37, we see “the righteous” asking “the Lord” a question. So clearly “the righteous” means something other than Jesus, since Jesus is “the Lord.” I am not sure how you would interpret this passage as to say that everybody is going to heaven. Its clearly not talking about Kingdom of Heaven(on earth) stuff, since this is The Judgment, which is after the general resurrection(at least how it is usually seen as, I think you may agree). Second, this is even different from “the wicked” and “the righteous” that you mentioned earlier. These are people that all claimed to be Christians during their life, for they call Jesus Lord. This is one of my biggest fears, that people I know that are “Christians” will fall into this group of people that thinks they are doing the right things, but aren’t.

          Also, check Luke 13
          22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”

          He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

          “But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

          26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

          27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

          Again, people who consider themselves Christians(26), yet Jesus says he does not know them.

          There are other passages that are similar, yet refer to the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. I don’t know if you view these as different things, but I will not mention them to much here since you distinguish between the Kingdom of God on earth and who gets to heaven, though I think this is a distinction without a difference. Meaning that I think most of the parables of feasts and such that are for the Kingdom of God/Heaven are in reference to Heaven.

          • Mike Gantt says:

            “The kingdom of God” and “the kingdom of heaven” are synonymous terms, as is often the shortened term “the kingdom.”

            The Matthew 25 passage and the Luke 13 passage you quote both speak of the time when Jesus would return to earth in “the glory of His Father.” That is, He left the earth as a man; He would return as God Almighty. This return occurred sometime late in the 1st Century, just when Jesus and His apostles said it would (See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again, and the extended biblical case for this: Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?).

            The kingdom is a reality God wants us to experience in this life. Here and now is where and when we need it. What happens when we die will take care of itself.

            “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Most Christians are vainly pursuing church and aren’t even aware that they’re not seeking the kingdom of God. (See Seeking the Kingdom of God Instead of Church.)

            • sorentmd says:

              I will grant you the Luke passage, Matthew 25 is not. This is a depiction of The Judgment. In fact, that’s the title of that particular passage in the NASB. Hence the separation of the people. If Jesus “returned” in the late first century, which I disagree here as you may know haha, he did not do any judging or separating at that time of this nature. So I guess I should ask what you see the Judgment as, or if there even is one since everyone goes to everyone goes to heaven. I think it is impossible to deny a Judgment since it seems so prevalent throughout the NT.

              Second, you did not address my comments on “the righteous” vs. “the wicked” and “the Lord,” and how they relate to this passage and your comments before.

              Finally, do you think that Jesus will come a third time to usher in the resurrection of all? Paul seemed pretty adamant about some sort of visible, tangible resurrection in his letters, just as the Matthew 25 passage seems to refer(though not as explicitly) to when it says He will come in His glory with His angels.

              • Mike Gantt says:

                I will grant you the Luke passage, Matthew 25 is not. This is a depiction of The Judgment. In fact, that’s the title of that particular passage in the NASB.

                I agree that Matthew 25 is a depiction of the judgment. But remember that the chapter and verse divisions were added hundreds of years after the Bible documents were written. Matthew 24 and 25 are one continuous discourse that began when Jesus’ disciples asked Him in Matthew 24:3, “Tell, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

                So I guess I should ask what you see the Judgment as, or if there even is one since everyone goes to everyone goes to heaven. I think it is impossible to deny a Judgment since it seems so prevalent throughout the NT.

                I don’t deny judgment at all. On the contrary, I affirm it (see Judgment Is Upon Us and We Must Repent!).

                Second, you did not address my comments on “the righteous” vs. “the wicked” and “the Lord,” and how they relate to this passage and your comments before.

                If I undertand your question, the righteous in this passage are those human beings He deems to be righteous and the wicked are those He deems to be wicked. And in the passage He makes clear to us the standard by which He distinguishes. Jesus’ kingdom is, of course, still with us (The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now), for it is a kingdom that has no end (Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus is the Lord, and He is still making this distinction.

                Finally, do you think that Jesus will come a third time to usher in the resurrection of all? Paul seemed pretty adamant about some sort of visible, tangible resurrection in his letters, just as the Matthew 25 passage seems to refer(though not as explicitly) to when it says He will come in His glory with His angels.

                I see nothing in Scripture to lead us to expect another coming of the Lord beyond the one He has already fulfilled. That was the one to which Paul was looking forward. If you would read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, you would see me deal with Paul’s writings about this (including 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4).

                • sorentmd says:

                  Very true, this was probably still part of his discourse that started in 24. But that does not explain how this is to be taken. This, the judgment, to me, has not happened yet. For the sake of argument, I will grant that He returned when you say He did. But that does not explain this judgment because I see absolutely no reason to say that this has happened, since the judgment is not said to be simply at the return, as it is often interpreted, but after the general resurrection, which I think you would agree has not happened yet. Which would mean that this event spoken of in Matthew 25 has not happened yet though it was referenced with other Kingdom passages simply due to its nature.

                  If that is the case, then what is this describing? It seems to me that some are going to heaven and some to hell/Gehenna.

                  Also, in the Luke 13 passage, the question posed is “Will only a few be saved…” that is, will only a few make it to heaven. Jesus answer seems to be an affirmative, saying many will knock but many will not get in.

                  In light of these two passages alone, when seeing other passages in light of these, I find it nearly impossible to say that the Bible affirms universal salvation even for non-Christians, yet alone all who claim to be Christians. To me, this is the reason for all of the warnings about living the right way, staying away from questionable teachings, living purely, repentance, etc. because that is the only way to get to heaven. The reason it is still good news is because all it takes is acceptance of this, repentance, and you are in. But with the emphasis so much on repentance, which was spoken of by the prophets, John the Baptist, throughout Jesus ministry, Paul’s ministry, the Early Church, I cannot bring myself to believe that this is mere rhetoric and not meaningful in the sense that in the absence of this, one could be saved and go to heaven.

                  Finally, I was wondering if you knew of any current theologians that endorse the view that you have, viz. Jesus returned in first century, universal salvation, etc.

                  • Mike Gantt says:

                    For the sake of argument, I will grant that He returned when you say He did. But that does not explain this judgment because I see absolutely no reason to say that this has happened, since the judgment is not said to be simply at the return, as it is often interpreted, but after the general resurrection, which I think you would agree has not happened yet. Which would mean that this event spoken of in Matthew 25 has not happened yet though it was referenced with other Kingdom passages simply due to its nature. If that is the case, then what is this describing?

                    The resurrection occurred at the Second Coming, just when it was scheduled to occur (1 Thessalonians 4:14-18). Eternal judgment is constant, ongoing, never-ending judgment. This judgment did not so much occur at the Second Coming as it began at the Second Coming. It never ends. It is the wrath of God poured out as a consequence of sin (see Deuteronomy 28). The kingdom of God is a place of refuge in the midst of this continual burning of judgment and all those who believe and obey Jesus can find its refuge in this life. We must look to Him who is unseen, however, in order to find it.

                    It seems to me that some are going to heaven and some to hell/Gehenna.

                    Hell/Gehenna is the place of judgment on earth outside the kingdom of God. Gehenna comes from the Old Testament term “Ben-Hinnom” which was the valley (trash dump) outside Jerusalem. Study the Old Testament where you will see that Sheol (Hades) was the place of death below the earth for all the dead. Sheol/Hades has nothing to do with Hell/Gehenna…even though many people confuse them. If you don’t know Greek or Hebrew (like me) get out your exhaustive concordance, trace these words, and see that they point in different directions.

                    Also, in the Luke 13 passage, the question posed is “Will only a few be saved…” that is, will only a few make it to heaven. Jesus answer seems to be an affirmative, saying many will knock but many will not get in.

                    He means only a few will experience the salvation of the kingdom of God and indeed if you look around, you do not see many people living wholeheartedly for Jesus. Most of the world today is living under judgment – not the bliss of the kingdom of God. This is true even of the majority of Christians (who divorce, and sue in court, and do all the same things that non-Christians do).

                    In light of these two passages alone, when seeing other passages in light of these, I find it nearly impossible to say that the Bible affirms universal salvation even for non-Christians, yet alone all who claim to be Christians. To me, this is the reason for all of the warnings about living the right way, staying away from questionable teachings, living purely, repentance, etc. because that is the only way to get to heaven. The reason it is still good news is because all it takes is acceptance of this, repentance, and you are in. But with the emphasis so much on repentance, which was spoken of by the prophets, John the Baptist, throughout Jesus ministry, Paul’s ministry, the Early Church, I cannot bring myself to believe that this is mere rhetoric and not meaningful in the sense that in the absence of this, one could be saved and go to heaven.

                    The good news is that everyone is going to heaven and that while we are here we can be protected from the wrath of God that falls all around us – but we must repent! “The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9).

                    Finally, I was wondering if you knew of any current theologians that endorse the view that you have, viz. Jesus returned in first century, universal salvation, etc.

                    The idea that everyone goes to heaven was much more common in the early church that it is in today’s evangelical Christianity. (Look up “universalism” on Wikipedia to find some references.) How many current theologians hold this view? I don’t know, but I hear hardly any churches, pastors, or theologians warning people about going to hell. I’m sure you don’t either. Oh, Christians will still say privately to each other that they believe it, but turn on any Christian radio or TV station and see how long it takes before someone spends any signficant time warning the majority of human beings that they’re on the verge of facing a fate infintely worse than death.

                    The idea that Jesus returned in the 1st Century has come to be called Preterism. There are different varieties of this belief (and, again, you can begin research with a quick check of Wikipedia). Parousia: A Careful Look at Our Lord’s Second Coming by James Stuart Russell (its outline can be found here), written in the 19th Century, has received a favorable note from R.C. Sproul. The idea, however, has been around much, much longer than that. In fact, most of what is taught generally today about the Second Coming of Christ originated after, not before, the Reformation (such as Dispensationalism). You do hear more teaching today about the future Second Coming than you do about hell, but not a whole lot more. The reason is that churches, pastors, and theologians know people are tired of hearing them cry “Wolf!” If you read the New Testament honestly, you have to admit its writers expected the Second Coming in their generation. Thus, there is a credibility gap if it didn’t occur then. Moreover, it would mean that the prophecies about its timing were false prophecies.

                    I hasten to say, however, that while Universalism and Preterism are not new concepts, there are varieties of view in each camp. More importantly, I did not derive my views from studying either of these schools of thought. Rather, I came to my point of view by reading the Bible. Over and over, divesting myself of preconceived notions over time…and just letting the Bible speak for itself.

                    • sorentmd says:

                      Well, I did study Greek for a couple years. And from my understanding, the root of the word Gehenna was exactly as you say. And from my studies, Sheol/Hades was where the dead awaited the general resurrection, and that even this had a barrier between the righteous and unrighteous, as in Lazarus and the rich man. This is often confused with heaven and hell/Gehenna, even though it is actually Sheol/Hades. It is a spiritual place, kind of a waiting place for souls before they are raised in “new” bodies. So you are definitely right in making a distinction from Sheol/Hades and Gehenna. And you are also right about the roots of Gehenna, it was a Hebrew phrase that was simply transliterated into the Greek. But what it is is not just outside of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, for that is temporary. But every time we see Gehenna mentioned, it is in reference to eternality, eternal fire and damnation, weeping and gnashing of teeth forever. So it cannot be merely just the place on earth outside the kingdom of God, it is the “place” “in” eternity apart from God and His Kingdom.

                      You say that in Jesus meant only salvation on earth, but how does this make sense? Given the context, I personally do not see how what He says can be interpreted in that way. Would you mind explaining how the context requires us to take it in the sense that you do?

                      Also, I think your notion of judgment is off a little. If there is judgment, there is a punishment involved that is handed out to the judged. What punishment is there on earth is there for those that, according to you, are living in judgment? It seems that Jesus cleared up the idea that God inflicts harm and such upon evil people as their punishment, the story of Job does the same. What I mean here is not to say that it never happens like that, but that that is not the norm.

                      As for repentance, what about those who never repent? On what grounds do they get into heaven? What if they don’t want to be there? The latter is a hypothetical that has to be answered by a universalist. For some more thoughts here, check out the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Heaven and Hell

                      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/heaven-hell/

                      Finally, of course people don’t shout that everybody who is not a Christian is going to Hell, that would be counter-productive to the Gospel, for that is not the Good News. The Good News is that you can be saved from what we deserve, which is Hell, I think you would agree here. Also, it is unfortunate that many Christians have succumbed to the world and blend in so easily as to hardly tell a difference. Along with that, many churches try to be politically correct as well as not just tolerant of other beliefs (which means to disagree yet allow for the existence of opposing beliefs) but to accept other beliefs as just as good. Given this, churches are often not as biblical as they should be, which I am sure is one of your criticisms of them. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any out there. And if it is your argument that because nobody endorses the view of Hell that I do out loud, or that not enough do, that is fallacious reasoning. It has no bearing on the truth value of the proposition, whether it is held, endorsed, or taught.

                      In closing, I have taught on Preterism at church for our youth group, as well as the other parousia positions like Future Preterism, Historical Preterism(you), Partial vs. Full Preterism, along with Millenialism, Amillenialism, Premillenialism, and Post-Millenialism. So the views themselves are not new to me. However, that preterism was the dominant view of the early church was not something I found in my research. Many did think Jesus would return within their generation, maybe even Paul for a time. But as people began to die and stuff, they realized that they must have been wrong. The majority of early church fathers, according the stuff I read up on, believed that the general resurrection would occur at the second coming, the judgment would follow that, and then the “New Heaven/New Earth.” This is not Full Preterism as you endorse. They seemed to think that He had not come back yet, though some thought that they were indeed in the “end times” based upon Jesus prediction about the destruction of the Temple, but many of the other things that were supposed to pass didn’t/haven’t. Along these lines, and you may discuss it elsewhere and if so you could point me to it, Paul addresses the question of what will happen to the dead when Jesus returns. The worry here seems to be that the bodies may be beyond repair for a resurrection due to deterioration. Paul assures them saying that the dead will rise first after the Lord returns accompanied by a loud voice and the trumpet of the archangel, and only after that will those who are still living be called to meet them in the clouds. First, this is evidence for the belief that Paul recognized that Jesus was not coming ASAP since he was addressing what would happened to the dead in Christ. Second, it seems to be in opposition to Preterism in that the Second Coming always seems to be talked of as if there will be great fanfare, and that all will see Him coming on the clouds and it will be glaringly obvious. If His return was glaringly obvious, why is Full Preterism such a minority view? Not to mention, there is no literature in the late first, early second centuries endorsing the idea that Christ had returned. If they didn’t know/think that He had at that time, why should we? The view that He was coming back that early was mostly abandoned even by the time the Gospel of John was written it seems.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      Your reponse was so substantive and dealt with so many different issues that I broke it out and continue this dialogue on a related venue. I hope you will want to continue this dialogue there. Here is the link.

      • eag says:

        Church is Kingdom (Matthew 16:17-19 speaks of the kingdom of the heavens. The words “the kingdom of the heavens” here are interchangeably used for the word “church” in the previous verse. This is a strong proof that the genuine church is the kingdom of the heavens in this age. This is confirmed by Romans 14:17, which refers to the proper church life.)

        The Bible teach us that church is Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14). Actually, denominations is not church. Denomination is not CHURCH!

  18. tinaf07 says:

    The word of God is made plain for all to see. The Church is the bride of Christ, the new testament is all about the church and how we should continue to meet and encourage each other. The Lamb’s book of life will be read at the Judgement in Heaven that you claim to not have enough understanding to know about. I pray to God that you put your faith in Christ and not in your own essays because he’s the only way. I also hope and pray that you don’t close your eyes to the Word any longer. This is my last comment Mike. Re-read Revalations 20 and the other verses I posted and understand the the Judgment is just as real as hell, there’s no way around the Word of God.

    • Mike says:

      Tina, I appreciate your zeal and I appreciate your engaging with me. I assure you that I would not know enough to write the essays, and I certainly would not have enough courage to write them, unless I was putting my faith in Christ and keeping my eyes open to His word. I know it seems to you that I am declaring error and for that reason I respect the fact that you are attempting to correct me. However, if you will go through all the chapters of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, you will see how all I have written has come to me from the Bible. Judgment is very, very real – and I write on that as well (Judgment Is Upon Us). But God is wise enough to be able to judge us without condemning people to a literal eternity of physical and emotional torture.

      I wish you the very best.

  19. Where is the role of the Holy Spirit as the third person of the trinity?

    • Mike says:

      We live in the day of the Lord, the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit does just what Jesus said He would do: that is, He leads and guides us into all the truth (John 16:13; Romans 14:17). Though He is given to all human beings, this is not to say we all listen to Him as closely. In fact, some of us grieve Him greatly. In addition to leading us, the Holy Spirit does all the other things in this age that He did in Old Testament and New Testament times – as God wills. The difference is that in Old Testament times He was given among Jews, in New Testament times among Jews and Gentiles, and in this age among all persons. Thus the Holy Spirit is the inheritance Jesus left the human race. The Bible is part of that inheritance since the Holy Spirit inspired all its words. Throughout all these ages – and for all eternity – the Holy Spirit is the active presence of God.

      As for the Trinity, I can find no evidence for it in the Bible. Jesus Christ was the Son, and He is the Father. Remember that the Holy Spirit, unlike Jesus of Nazareth, was revealed in the Old Testament…yet there was no teaching of a “binity.” God was one – and this point the Bible emphatically taught. There is a search box on this page to the right that searches this site. Enter “trinity” and you will find at least five posts which deal with this subject.

      • Matt says:

        Hey Mike, I have a question. In this post that I am replying to, you said regarding the Holy Spirit “He is given to all human beings” Can you show me in the scriptures where you find this? Romans 8 is ripe with language that only those who have the Spirit of Christ can walk according to the Spirit and therefore please God. Those that don’t have the Spirit cannot please God. Further in vs11 “IF the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies. Paul goes on in vs 13 to say that “those who live according to the flesh will die but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live, FOR (or because) all who led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” According to your belief, people who live in the flesh and set their minds on the flesh, will still inherit eternal life and joy with the King though they may experience temporary pain and judgement. This text announces that only those with the Spirit of God inside of them will inherit eternal life. Paul knows that all men physically die so he doesn’t mean that if you put to death the deeds of the body that you will never physically die. He means that in this life if you crucify the flesh with its desires, you will live eternally and if you don’t then you will die eternally. I really am trying to figure out how you deduce that those who hate Christ and live completely contrary to His glory and justice will spend eternal life with him. please help me understand where you are coming from.

        Further on the issue of children, i.e. Sons of God and sons of the devil, Christ uses it in John when he says that the Jews were doing the will of their father the devil because they were seeking to kill him. So I seem to deduce that their are sons of the devil and sons of the Father. We all were once sons of the devil (Eph 2), and that Christ gives his Spirit to those whom he has eternally selected (Eze 34:15-16). It just seems that the Scriptures are ripe with references to God pouring out his wrath on the last day against all wicked and the wickedness they do. I can’t seem to get over this language of eternal fire and damnation that John refers to in Revelation. “And the smoke of their torment went up day and night forever and ever”
        Grace and Peace,
        Matt

        • Mike Gantt says:

          you said regarding the Holy Spirit “He is given to all human beings” Can you show me in the scriptures where you find this?

          Acts 2:17 “…I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh…”

          Romans 8

          In Romans 8 Paul is not talking about going to heaven when you die. He’s talking about how you live in this earth.

          According to your belief, people who live in the flesh and set their minds on the flesh, will still inherit eternal life and joy with the King though they may experience temporary pain and judgement. This text announces that only those with the Spirit of God inside of them will inherit eternal life. Paul knows that all men physically die so he doesn’t mean that if you put to death the deeds of the body that you will never physically die. He means that in this life if you crucify the flesh with its desires, you will live eternally and if you don’t then you will die eternally.

          You are confusing eternal life with going to heaven when you die. God intends that we experience eternal life here and now. This is the kingdom of God (which is living in fellowship with Jesus).

          I really am trying to figure out how you deduce that those who hate Christ and live completely contrary to His glory and justice will spend eternal life with him. please help me understand where you are coming from.

          No one who hates Christ can experience eternal life. No one disobedient to Christ can experience eternal life. The kingdom of God is for those who obey Him. Once someone dies, however, he is freed from sin.

          It just seems that the Scriptures are ripe with references to God pouring out his wrath on the last day against all wicked and the wickedness they do.

          We live in the day of the wrath of God, the day of His judgment, the day of the Lord, the day of Christ (the Scripture uses all these terms). This is why we must repent! Turn from our evil ways and live for Him.

  20. Mike … I commend you on being a student of scripture and trying to arrive at the correct interpretation of scripture. But I am curious why so many other “Bible scholars” haven’t arrived at the same conclusion you have? Why would God illuminate your mind with these truths and so many others would not see it the same way?

    I’ll be honest and say, I haven’t read through all your reasonings, but I will.

    Also, how do you account for election? Don’t want to open a new can of worms, but based on your conclusion are we ALL elected? If some are elected and some aren’t elected, what does that mean? Do you have a different view of election than most others do?

    Again, thanks for creating this discussion. I believe it has been a good learning experience, even though not everyone accepts your position / interpretation.

    thanks,
    Scott

    • Mike says:

      Scott, your first question is quite appropriate and I’m glad you asked it. The simple answer is that I cannot account for why more people haven’t reached these conclusions. Maybe some have, yet for various reasons we don’t know about it yet. We do know that some people have reached some of these conclusions but not all of them, for as I write in the About section of this blog, “You will read many things on this blog that can rightly be called orthodox Judaism or traditional Christianity; other things may sound new and different to you.” What I can say definitively is that there is nothing special about me that qualifies me, except that I have had the opportunity in life to do a great deal of reading and study of the Scriptures. I am simply reporting what I have read and understood. While I have studied other sources as well, my primary focus has been to simply read the Scriptures themselves and try to obey them as best I can. My success in this has been nothing to brag about, but I have as a result had my eyes open to things that were plainly in the Scriptures all along but that I had previously overlooked or misunderstood. I still have much, much to learn.

      As for election, we are all elect when it comes to what happens when we die. That is, God predestined human beings (all of them, not some of them) to be the sons of God (that is, to live forever in heaven with Him above the angels).

      • Jason says:

        I feel like this doctrine is pretty dangerous. Like, I can follow most of your arguments and logic, but some of pretty boldly and plainly contradicts Scripture. Case in point:
        You said, “God predestined human beings (all of them, not some of them) to be the sons of God (that is, to live forever in heaven with Him above the angels).”
        The Bible says in John 1:12 “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…” In context, John is saying that there were some who did not receive Him, but the ones who did/do receive Him are the children of God. What could that mean except that the inverse is true – that the ones who did not receive Him are not the children of God?
        And again, in 1 John 5:12-13 “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.” So it’s the ones who believe in the Son of God that can know that they have eternal life because whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Meaning not all people have eternal life.
        And again, in Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” True – salvation comes by the grace of God. Praise Him!!! But it comes, to quote Scripture, “through faith.”
        And again, in Hebrews 7:25 “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Christ saves those who draw near to God through Him… So the inverse must also be true – those who do not draw near to God through Him are not saved.
        I don’t understand how you don’t feel your doctrine violates what these verses are plainly saying… Do you feel that objectively, apart from all the research and writing and defending you’ve done on your doctrine, that what you’ve said and the Scriptures I’ve posted are in full accord?
        The biggest issue to me, though, is the fact that you’re saying that people can have absolutely no appreciation of Christ in this life and still enjoy eternal life. (You say that we all go to heaven, but some experience regret. Psalm 16:11 says that in His presence there is fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures evermore. Fullness of joy and regret don’t coexist. How can your joy be full if you’re experiencing regret?) The reason this is such a huge issue is because of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-24 that “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'” (Romans 8 says that the ones who will receive glorified bodies have been justified by God and those justified and those called have been predestined and those predestined have been foreknown… So some have been foreknown – that is, known from eternity past; yet others He NEVER KNEW. Can this departure from Him, using such eternal words as “never” coming from God Who existed in eternity past, only be seen as something temporary, or an eternal separation?) Then in John 6:28-29, the Jews ask what are the works of God and Jesus answered that doing the work of God is believing in the Son. So, the only ones in the Kingdom of heaven are the ones who do His work, and that work is to believe in the Son. So, the ones who do NOT believe in the Son do NOT enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

        John 6:40 “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” It’s the will of the Father that the ones who look on the Son be raised. So then, inversely, it must be His will that everyone who doesn’t look on the Son and believe in Him will not be raised.

        How does the idea that everyone goes to heaven even seem like anything but blatant opposition to these Scriptures?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Faith makes all the difference in this life. If I tell George and Herman that the Bible teaches everyone is going to heaven, and George believes this but Herman doesn’t, then George is going to benefit in this life from that knowledge while Herman doesn’t. Therefore, faith makes all the difference in George receiving the blessings of God. This doesn’t mean that Herman is going to hell, but it does mean that he walks without God in this life – and that’s not good news for Herman!

          The big mistake you are making with all these scriptures is to confuse going to heaven when you die with entering the kingdom of heaven during this life. They are not the same thing. Jesus spoke of the kingdom of God more than any other single topic in the Gospels. He told us to seek it above all else. The kingdom of God is the rule of God over our lives. When you are living completely for Jesus and His righteousness you are enjoying the kingdom of God. Jesus did not give all that teaching so that we could know what to do after we die – that will take care of itself. He taught us about the kingdom so we could live for Him in this life.

          As far as believing that there will be differences in our experiences in heaven, don’t you remember how Jesus said many who are first here will be last there, and vice versa? You know there are differences of experience in this life; there will be in the next one as well, only it won’t be according to the pecking order of the world. It will be entirely according to God’s decision who sits at the head of the table and who is told to move lower.

          I know that what you read here is different from what you have heard. However, if you will read all the explanation I have provided (including The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven and the 33 Essays on the Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven) you will have a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches. Most importantly, you will be able to read and decide about the Scriptures for yourself – not according to me and not according to anyone else.

          You have to ask yourself, as I had to ask myself: do I want to know Jesus’ truth from the Scripture or do I want to take refuge in the teachings of men’s ideas? Jesus had to throw off the yoke of tradition in His day, and He’s still having to throw it off in ours.

          Serve Jesus. He is the King!

  21. Jason says:

    1) But you didn’t address the Ephesians 2 and John 6 verses. These verses mention salvation through faith in/looking to/believing on the Son of God.

    Do you think that salvation is only talking about this life?

    2) Romans 2:5-8
    “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are STORING UP WRATH for yourself on the DAY OF WRATH when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be WRATH AND FURY.” So… do you read a passage like this referring to the wrath of God to be revealed on a future day (as Paul says “WILL BE revealed,” implying that this day has not come about yet) and interpret it to mean that some people will have regret in heaven? He mentions wrath three times. You believe that the wrath of a holy God (so holy, in fact, that angels who haven’t sinned have to cover their face and call out to each other how holy He is [Isaiah 6] and so holy that just looking at the ark of His covenant was the cause of death for 70 men – 1 Samuel 6:19-20) against all that is evil and all that is violently, rebelliously, disrespectfully, and ungratefully opposed to Him – the just punishment for intentionally suppressing His truth in wickedness choosing to give the glory that the Creator King of the universe deserves to things He’s created while refusing to acknowledge and repent because of the fact that His Son died as a sin offering to make peace between us and God – is a lesser position in the place of fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore?

    3) Matthew 10:28 says “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Why should I fear the one can destroy both soul and body in hell if He’s never gonna do it. If we’re all going to heaven, then He can’t destroy my soul in hell because no one’s going there, right? In that light, He’s no different from the one who is killing the body because in both instances, only my body is being destroyed. Why would Jesus even mention the destruction of the soul (and not mere regret or lesser position) if God would never do such a thing? Jesus would then be making an empty bluff.

    4) Your claim that all are predestined to be the sons of God is in direct opposition to John 1:12.

    5) My final point: Matthew 25:31-46
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
    Jesus just PLAINLY said that He will (again, future tense, meaning that this day of judgment is still yet to come) say “Depart from me, you cursed, into the ETERNAL FIRE prepared for the devil and his angels.” And again, “These will go into ETERNAL PUNISHMENT.” You challenge me to break away from traditions taught by men, but all I have done is quote Scripture. Show me through Scripture, and not someone’s interpretation of Scripture, where I have erred.
    Scripture says salvation comes through (Ephesians 2:8-9). You have said everyone will be saved.
    Scripture says the ones who receive Him are the sons of God. You have said all of humanity are the sons of God.
    Scripture says God can destroy the soul in hell, which (unless our Lord was in the habit of using empty words to make pointless threats to instill a fear of something that will never happen) means He will destroy the soul in hell. You have said that no one will go to hell.
    Scripture says He will tell some to depart into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels into eternal punishment, which is not heaven (eternal fire and eternal punishment cannot be synonymous with heaven in anyone’s mind). You have said that everyone will go to heaven.
    Which of us is taking refuge in the teachings of men’s ideas?

    Please consider and address/refute every point that the Scriptures have made and that I have presented with an open, objective heart. And if I have erred, PLEASE show me ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE how I have erred. But if all I have said is in accord with the Scripture and you still disagree, then please repent from teaching this false doctrine.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      1) Yes, Ephesians 2 and John 6 speak of benefits God brings us in this life due to our faith in Him. These benefits spill over into the next life as well.

      2) What was future tense for Paul is past tense for us, because the day of the Lord (i.e. the day of Christ) which Paul foresaw came to pass in the late 1st Century A.D. (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).

      3) Jesus’ words were not empty. This destruction is upon us now in this earth. The word translated as “hell” in this verse is “Gehenna” – the trash dump outside Jerusalem, which is a metaphor for the place of God’s judgment and destruction. He is not here speaking of the afterlife; He is speaking of this life. See Judgment Is Upon Us.

      4) Even though every human being has inherited from Jesus the right to become a child of God, a human being will not enjoy this inheritance in this life if he does not believe in this life. Nevertheless, death brings freedom from sin (Romans 6:7) and thus there will ultimately come a redemption of all for whom Christ died.

      5) You are quoting Matthew 25 which says nothing about hell – or even heaven, for that matter. Instead, it speaks of the kingdom of God (see The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now). This is what happened when Jesus returned in the glory of His Father. Today we are still invited to enter this kingdom, which involves faith and living a life of moral purity before God. Most people don’t enter because the way is broad that leads to destruction. Narrow is the path to life and few are those who find it. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. and you will pass out of judgment into life.

      The kingdom of God (that is, eternal life) in our inheritance for this life. Now is when we ought to be seeking it – not deferring it until we die.

  22. Jason says:

    Preface: I was trying to post another comment but I think it got deleted before actually being submitted. If there is another argument of mine that looks a lot like this, then ignore this one because everything I wanted to say was in that. Sorry for the confusion if there is any!

    1) 2 Peter 1:11 “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In saying that there “will be,” is he not saying what John the Baptist and Jesus Himself said, that the kingdom of heaven is “near” or “at hand?” Jesus came to inaugurate the kingdom, but it has not been consummated yet. We are still waiting to enter the kingdom. Isn’t that what Peter’s words “there will be richly provided for you an entrance” means?

    2) You still did not address the truths of the Ephesians 2:8 as well as the John 6:40 passages, namely the truth that faith in/looking to/believing on the Son of God is the only way to be saved. Do you think that salvation refers only to this life? What does salvation mean to you?

    3) Your claim that all humans were predestined to be children of God is in DIRECT opposition to John 1:12.

    4) Romans 2:5-10
    “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up WRATH for yourself on the DAY OF WRATH, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one accoding to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, He will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be WRATH AND FURY. There will be TRIBULATION AND DISTRESS for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.”
    Paul speaks of a future judgment and calls it a day of wrath. Is the day of wrath and fury bringing tribulation and distress for all who do evil (in other words, the just punishment of a holy God against all that is opposed to Him and blatantly suppresses His truth in wickedness and gives the glory that the Creator King deserves to His creation with hostility by men who are infinitely insignificant compared to Him while refusing to acknowledge and repent because of the truth that He initiated peace by giving up His perfect, Beloved Son as a sin offering) the same as regret or a lesser position in heaven?
    Also, Matthew 25:31-46 says:
    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
    Do Jesus’ words like “depart,” “eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels,” and “eternal punishment” that He says to the impenitent communicate to you that they won’t suffer for all eternity? Or do you think that being separated from Him and experiencing eternal fire and eternal punishment are a part of heaven?
    Also, Jesus says in Matthew 10:28 “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Now, if as you say, everyone is going to heaven, how could he destroy the soul in hell? If no one is in danger of going to hell, why would Jesus tell us to fear a God Who could destroy our souls more than men who can only destroy our bodies when, in both cases, the worst thing that can happen is our bodies being destroyed? He could have said to fear the One Who is so powerful that He made all things, Who could have you eaten alive by worms like Herod, swallow you up in a big fish like Jonah, etc. But the reason for the disciples’ fear is the threat of the destruction of our souls. Is our Lord making an empty threat, since no one is going to hell?

    5) You challenged me to consider if I was taking refuge in the teachings of men. But all I’ve done is quoted Scriptures. Whose teaching sounds more like the teachings of man when:
    The Scriptures say those who believe are the children of God. You have said that all people are the children of God.
    The Scriptures say God can destroy the soul in hell. You have said that He can’t because we’re all going to heaven.
    The Scriptures say that Jesus will tell some to go into eternal fire and eternal punishment. You have said that no one will go to hell.

    Please consider and address/refute every point that I have gained and posted from the Scriptures with an open, objective heart. If I have erred ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, then PLEASE show me how I have erred. But if there is no contradiction between my words and the Scriptures, if the things I have said have the backing up and therefore authority of the Holy Bible and you still disagree, then it is you who have erred. And if you still disagree though without highlighting a Biblical error of mine based on my words contradicting Scripture, then PLEASE repent of teaching this doctrine.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is next to impossible to argue these points as Mike believes the events of revelation are completed. I totally see where he is coming from in the light of that assumption. There is no need of church or christian in this age. A preterist believes all prophecy is fulfilled. It is a very interesting topic and makes almost everything Christians have done since 70 AD very foolish.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        I would modify your last sentence in this way: that which has been done since the 1st Century for Jesus has been good for humanity and honored by God while that which has been done for church has been foolish and it has received no blessing or honor from God.

        In other words you’re better off to give a cup of cold water to a thirsty person in Jesus’ name than to build Him the grandest cathedral or megachurch – but then this is the sort of thing He was telling us from the beginning (see His closing words in the Sermon on the Mount: Matthew 7:21-27).

        The church of the New Testament proclaimed Jesus and this is their glory. The church since that generation has proclaimed itself and this is its shame.

        Proclaim Jesus…for He is the light of the world!

  23. Mike Gantt says:

    I think I’ve already answered all your questions here which were on your previous post, except for your question about 2 Peter 1:11 which I will answer here:

    This scripture is not about going to heaven when you die, it’s about entering the kingdom of God while you live. And we can only enter the kingdom by practicing the moral excellence which Peter talks about in the preceding verses. The kingdom has been consummated and it is waiting for us to enter. How can you say that the kingdom of God has not yet come if you acknowledge that Jesus and John the Baptist said it was “near” and “at hand” in their day?

    (See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)

  24. Anonymous says:

    With the belief that the prophecies of revelation being fulfilled (preterist view), it is impossible to have a true discussion with those who believe they are yet to be fulfilled.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      How is it that anyone can believe the prophecies will yet be fulfilled? For if they are not fulfilled by now, they are by definition false since the prophecies included a timetable which called for them to be fulfilled long ago.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I did…and found it tedious and unhelpful. I don’t subscribe to preterism; I take a much simpler view of the Scriptures. The New Testament documents are consistent in declaring that the coming of the Lord in His kingdom was near. If it was near future to them, it must be distant past to us. Our Lord is faithful to His promises.

          See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again, including the link near the end which leads to Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? which is a book-length treatment of the Second Coming of Christ.

          • Anonymous says:

            Revelation has to be taken very figuratively if we are to believe it has past. Who the antichrist was, the beast, what 1000 years means, how local destruction could affect the 7 churches which were far away… the list goes on. Yet, near meant right then. Near is taken literally, soon is taken literally, quickly is taken literally. Most other events seem to be taken in a figurative manner. How can the two co exist?
            With the occurrence of the prophecy and the last days come and gone, we do not need to heed the warnings that the Devil is seeking to devour us. The Bible is not profitable to us if the words were intended to those who were of an age to end within 40 years of Christ’s death. We only have our own selfish desires to deal with. The world should be lessened from pain. The Jews are not God’s people and have received all they were intended to by 70 AD. Yet verses say that those who pierced Him will see his coming the Jews were not the only ones who pierced Him, the Romans had their part.
            There is a mystery to revelation that does not allow for minds to simply comprehend. If it has occurred everything should be recorded in history and life should be peachy with God’s righteousness reigning over all and sin diminishing. The falling away of people and apostasy from thinking the way you are thinking, should not be happening. It is fine to say the prophecies have been fulfilled , but that which follows the prophecies seems to be in error and not happening in this day.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              The non sequiturs in your comment are too many to count.

              Like the rest of the New Testament, Revelation prophesies that the coming of the Lord was near. While such a statement may lack the precision of a calendar date, there are not multiple ways to understand it. And though one might stretch it’s meaning to cover an extended period of time, it could never be extended to to a hundred years…much less two thousand years!

              Even though the kingdom of God has come just as He promised us, we do need to heed God’s warnings that the devil seeks to devour us. The words of the Bible are more profitable than those of any other book because it is the word of God. Our selfish desires will consume us and we should deny them. The Jews were God’s people but since the Second Coming all humanity are God’s people.

              Yes, there are mysteries in Revelation but one will never come to understand them by ignoring the plain and simple statements in the book (e.g. “the time is near” and “I am coming quickly”). The kingdom of God and His righteousness rules in the midst of the earth, yet many live outside its protective confines where sin still prevails. Therefore, seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness for His kingdom endures forever.

              • Anonymous says:

                I doubt there are too many non sequitur to count. Others who write may just make things too tedious.
                There are lots of books,art and the like, recounting that dreadful time for Jerusalem. There is reported to be around 1 million people killed during the Jerusalem siege. But the book of Revelation is more severe than any of the historical accounts of the siege. Revelation 6 tells of those who had power over a quarter of the EARTH, to kill man and beast. To be taken literally, a third of the EARTH was burned up.
                One can not apply the desire to believe that quickly must mean less than 2000 years and then ignore all the other factors. God invented time. He has no need to hurry things up according to our finite views.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  God invented time. He has no need to hurry things up according to our finite views.

                  Yes, God invented time. And, yes, He has no need to hurry things up according to our finite views. However, He was the one who instructed His apostles about the timetable or His return – not us. If He had wanted the timing of His return to be indefinite and undetermined, He could have made it that way and taught it that way. But He didn’t. He specified the timetable. It was within the generation of His contemporaries. Since He’s the one who proclaimed it, we are on solid ground who believe it.

                  • “It is clear from Acts (3) that Moses’ prophecy of “the Prophet like himself” did not come to pass until thousands of years later when Jesus was born and came ministering to the people of Israel. Moses addressed his prophecy to his immediate audience assigning the timing of its fulfillment to their generation by use of the pronoun “you” coupled with direct identification that his audience was the Israelites who entered and captured the Promised Land and who, having heard God speak, asked not to hear him speak again. These same Israelites were identified by Moses as the “you” to whom God would raise up and send a Prophet like Moses, yet Jesus did not come to their generation but their successors many centuries later.”
                    If Moses can be taken seriously and not considered a false prophet for predicting Jesus’ first coming, why can we not also conclude the same when Jesus spoke of the generation that would see His second coming?

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      Moses’ prophecy was initially fulfilled in the raising up of Joshua who led that generation into the promised land. Joshua was a type of Christ, for even the names “Jesus” and “Joshua” are the same in Hebrew. Thus Joshua was the fulfillment of Moses’ words to that generation, who foreshadowed the greater One to come.

                      When Jesus spoke of His Second Coming He was speaking of Himself. He was not a foreshadowing of anyone else for there is no one greater than Him. He was the only one who could fulfill the prophecy of His Second Coming – and He did fulfill it. (See Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and the supporting biblical case Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?)

  25. Jason says:

    So, when you see Jesus use the words eternal punishment and eternal fire in Matthew 25:31-46, how do you interpret them? Granted, as you said, he didn’t say the words heaven or hell. I only brought up this verse to show that (according to Jesus’ words) some people will endure eternal punishment in eternal fire. But we know that the kingdom of heaven is eternal (as 2 Peter 1:11 points out). So then, we have two eternal truths running forever – heaven and punishment/fire. Since you say that all are going to heaven, can you say that a person in heaven will experience eternal punishment/fire? Or will their “eternal” punishment end and they be allowed into heaven?

    Now, I’ll address the comments on the Kingdom being “near” and “at hand.” Since we’re still in 2 Peter, let’s flip back to chapter 3 and look at verses 8-13:

    “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

    There’s a lot to be said here, but I’ll stay as concise and relevant as possible.

    1) Your statement that saying “near” couldn’t possibly account for hundreds or thousands of years. NT writers often referred to the time as the “last days.” If a day with the Lord is as 1,000 years, then the Earth hasn’t yet seen two “days” since Jesus walked the Earth. 2 or 3 days is pretty near to me, which apparently corresponds to more or less 2,000-3,000 years with God. I do believe that Peter’s words weren’t meant to be exact, but just to show that what’s soon with God isn’t necessarily soon with us.
    2) It sounds like He’s saying God is waiting to bring about “the day of the Lord” because He doesn’t want any to perish, but the way to escape perishing is to repent. But we’re all going to die, regardless of who repents, so perishing can’t be taken in its most literal sense of physical death. So what perishing are we saved from through repentance. You have said the judgment in this life. But David and Asaph often testify that the wicked often seem to enjoy this life more than the righteous do (as Psalms 37 and 73 point out). And even Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:19 says that “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” So those who repent and pursue righteousness wholeheartedly often have harder lives than those who don’t. It seems to me that the experience of the righteous is more closely connected to judgment if the judgment is only in this life. The only consequence that David and Asaph point out as the punishment for the prospering wicked is that they die soon, or perish. But we’re all going to perish, if it’s only speaking of the physical death. So how does repenting save anyone from perishing, as the 2 Peter passage implies, if we’re all going to die and the unrepentant wicked enjoy this life more than the righteous? What perishing do the wicked experience more than the righteous who are to be pitied most among all people in this life?
    3) I agree with the above comment about the scope of Revelation being too grand to have been fully fulfilled in the 1st Century. Jesus’ predictions in Matthew 24 that His Second Coming will be so momentous that “the tribes of the earth will mourn” and that there will be no question about whether or not He has come back (“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man”). There’s no way the Son of God, Creator of all things for His own infinite glory, would have accomplished the most significant event in recorded history to which all of the prophecies point, and we would be able to debate whether or not it happened. If this is the God Whose footstool is the Earth, as big and powerful and glorious as He must be, then how could He have come back and even His disciples, His children, His redeemed whom He has sent His Spirit to indwell, aren’t aware of it when He said that no one will doubt it? “All tribes will mourn.” When did that happen? He said don’t believe it when people say “Here He is,” or “There He is” because there will be no doubt when He comes – and rightfully so, for when the King of glory returns to judge and put an end to sin , why would He do it so obscurely that others may even be able to question it? Going back to the 2 Peter passage, then, have the heavens already passed away with a roar and the heavenly bodies melted and dissolved already? Are we now living in the new earth in which righteousness dwells? There is some righteousness in the earth, but there is far more wickedness as there was in Peter’s day, so does it make sense for him to call what we’re in the new earth in which righteousness dwells?
    Also, Jesus says that before “the end” (which, in context, must still be referring to the Day of the Lord) comes, the Gospel must be preached throughout the whole world to all nations. Statistically, there are still about 3 billion people and countless tribes/nations that have never heard the Gospel. So if this prophecy hasn’t been fulfilled, and it precedes the other prophecies, how can the other prophecies been fulfilled?
    You have to ignore A LOT about Revelations 21 and 22 to believe that it has been totally fulfilled…
    But this has digressed apart from the original topic of discussion.

    Going back to and closing with Revelation, though, to address the main issue, how does the idea that everyone is going to heaven reconcile with Revelation 20:15 (“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”) and 21:8 (“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.”)? The Bible plainly says there is a second death that many will experience. You say everyone will go to heaven. Scripture says that those who don’t conquer (and we only conquer through our faith in Christ as 1 John 5:4-5 points out implying that not all will conquer or have this heritage of being His sons and Him being our God) will die TWICE. So, after the physical death, they die again. Eternal life and a second death, along with “eternal punishment and eternal fire” to quote Jesus again, can’t be the simultaneous experience of a single individual in heaven. How does “everyone is going to heaven” even make sense anymore with what the Scripture has already established?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      So, when you see Jesus use the words eternal punishment and eternal fire in Matthew 25:31-46, how do you interpret them?

      In this passage Jesus is teaching about His kingdom, not about what happens when we die. This kingdom came in the late 1st Century A.D. and will endure forever. Today we are either living in the refuge of His kingdom or living outside under His judgments.

      Since you say that all are going to heaven, can you say that a person in heaven will experience eternal punishment/fire? Or will their “eternal” punishment end and they be allowed into heaven?

      Eternal punishment occurs on earth in this life as a consequence of our sins. Once we die, we are freed from sin and ascend to heaven…in the twinkling of an eye.

      1) Your statement that saying “near” couldn’t possibly account for hundreds or thousands of years. NT writers often referred to the time as the “last days.” If a day with the Lord is as 1,000 years, then the Earth hasn’t yet seen two “days” since Jesus walked the Earth. 2 or 3 days is pretty near to me, which apparently corresponds to more or less 2,000-3,000 years with God. I do believe that Peter’s words weren’t meant to be exact, but just to show that what’s soon with God isn’t necessarily soon with us.

      Then what is the point of all those admonitions in the New Testament that the time was near? Taken by itself, yes, 2 Peter could argue for an indefinite delay from a human standpoint. However, there is no need to take 2 Peter 3 by itself because there are so many other passages which speak definitely of the Lord’s coming. 2 Peter 3 must be understood in the context of all these other instructions from the Lord that the time of His coming was soon. 2 Peter 3 speaks to no man knowing the day or hour and trying to measure it exactly could make it seem like the Lord was delaying – especially if you were living in their day and time and not looking back on it almost two thousands years after the fact like we are.

      So how does repenting save anyone from perishing, as the 2 Peter passage implies, if we’re all going to die and the unrepentant wicked enjoy this life more than the righteous? What perishing do the wicked experience more than the righteous who are to be pitied most among all people in this life?

      You are forgetting that judgment extends into the life to come, for many who are first here will be last there and many who are last here will be first there.

      3) I agree with the above comment about the scope of Revelation being too grand to have been fully fulfilled in the 1st Century.

      What then do you do with the repeated message in the first and last chapters of Revelation (seven times altogether) that the time was near?

      Going back to and closing with Revelation, though, to address the main issue, how does the idea that everyone is going to heaven reconcile with Revelation 20:15 (“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”) and 21:8 (“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.”)?

      This passage is similar to the Matthew 25 passage above. God is contrasting the experience of eternal ife (living in the kingdom) to eternal punishment (living outside the kingdom).

      How does “everyone is going to heaven” even make sense anymore with what the Scripture has already established?

      You need to seek the kingdom of God. You are equating it with going to heaven when you die and thus making it of no effect in this life.

      See Judgment Is Upon Us and The Kingdom of God Is Here and Now.

      • Jason says:

        1) “Eternal punishment occurs on earth in this life as a consequence of our sins. Once we die, we are freed from sin and ascend to heaven…in the twinkling of an eye.”
        In other words, eternal punishment ends…? How is anything that ends rightly called eternal? Paul says that it is what is unseen that is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). So eternal punishment can’t be in this life because this life is seen. If the punishment ends and it is seen, how then is it eternal?

        2) “This passage is similar to the Matthew 25 passage above. God is contrasting the experience of eternal ife (living in the kingdom) to eternal punishment (living outside the kingdom).”
        But you’ve completely ignored the biggest Biblical contradiction to your argument that everyone is going to heaven, the fact that Revelation says of the unrepentant that “their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the SECOND DEATH.”
        a) What’s the first death that this lake of fire (the second death) is preceded by?
        b) You’re saying that people die twice and then end up in heaven? Hebrews 9:27 says “it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.” Timeline of our lives – birth in sin and separation from God (Psalm 51:5); death, resurrection and judgment (John 5:29 and Hebrews 9:27); second death for the unrepentant or eternal life to the ones who conquers (Revelation 21:8). Either my Biblical timeline is unbiblical, or the Bible is teaching that the order for the unrepentant is death->judgment->second death. Can you Biblically show me how my timeline is off?

        3) “You are forgetting that judgment extends into the life to come, for many who are first here will be last there and many who are last here will be first there.”
        And you are forgetting that the whole reason I brought up that passage was because it uses the word “perish.” Is perishing equivalent to being last in heaven? Being in the lowest position in heaven CANNOT be called perishing because it is still HEAVEN, the very presence of the Most High God, where there is fullness of joy and eternal pleasures (Psalm 16:11). Do not forget that the base of my argument is that 2 Peter teaches us that repentance saves us from perishing. So what is this perishing that repentance saves us from (especially since we will all perish physically and, as stated, Psalm 37 and 73 show that the wicked often enjoy this life – where you say all of God’s “eternal” judgment is executed – more than the righteous)? Being last in heaven? Is that what you call perishing?

        4) “However, there is no need to take 2 Peter 3 by itself because there are so many other passages which speak definitely of the Lord’s coming. 2 Peter 3 must be understood in the context of all these other instructions from the Lord that the time of His coming was soon.”
        Agreed, it’s dangerous to take any one passage by itself. Concurrently, however, any one passage should also never be negated. Taken together, all these other instructions from the Lord that His coming was soon in addition to 2 Peter 3 means it’s soon, but not as humans use/understand the word soon. Soon with God could be one hour or 3,000 years. If Jesus could say, “Before Abraham was, I am,” that means He transcends time. So God can say soon in reference to 4,000 years later, but since He is both the beginning and the end at the same time (not was the beginning and will be the end), He still would not be lying. The word soon then means to us “at any moment” in light of Peter quoting the Psalms to explicitly tell us that one day is like 1,000 years.
        To reference this, I consider Revelation 6:9-11
        “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
        Since men and women are still losing their lives every day for the sake of the Gospel (praise God for brothers and sisters defending, spreading, and clinging to the true Word of God!), then this number must not be complete. So how then could the subsequent seals have already been opened and the entire prophecy of Revelation fulfilled when this part of it is still incomplete?
        Unless the new Jerusalem has already descended from heaven into Earth and there has been an end to death, mourning, crying, and pain (Revelation 21), then Revelation still stands unfulfilled, the Kingdom has not been consummated, and we like the NT writers should continue to patiently yet eagerly await our Lord’s return because He will come back and destroy those who remain under God’s wrath as Revelation 19:11-21.

        5) In conclusion, the fundamental disconnect between your doctrine and the Gospel is that you assume that judgment still falls upon one for whom Christ died. Either the wrath of God for a person’s sins was satisfied in Christ, or it will be satisfied on that person. If Jesus died to pay the price and suffer all of God’s wrath for a person’s sins, why then are they still under judgment? Was the cross insufficient? How could I still be under judgment (if I was one who chose not to believe and live outside the Kingdom) if the WHOLE POINT of Jesus’ death was to receive in Himself God’s judgment for sinners? If Christ died to satisfy God’s holy requirements for sins to be atoned for, why are some still being judged? Were these sins not atoned for? Indeed they weren’t, and that is why some will experience “eternal punishment.” God wouldn’t punish the same sins twice, would He? If Jesus died for everybody’s sins and all are going to heaven because all sins are perfectly atoned for through His sacrifice, then God should be looking down on everyone with love, favor, and grace just as He looks at His Own Son. After all, we’re just as righteous as He is since all our sins have been washed away. Where then does “eternal punishment” and this “second death” come from if all sins have been punished in Christ? Unless all sins haven’t been punished. Either by faith in Christ we acknowledge, accept, and are freed by the fact that Christ took the punishment for all our sins, or we will take the punishment for all our sins. If God is punishing us (not to be confused with disciplining as Hebrews 12 elaborates on), then that means that either Christ didn’t take our punishment at all or the cross was insufficient and there is still some of God’s wrath for some of our sins that has not yet been satisfied and therefore falls on us. Anyone who argues that the cross of Christ wasn’t sufficient deserves to be accursed for minimizing the once-for-all sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. But if indeed His sacrifice was once-for-all, a fact to which Romans 6:10 and Hebrews 7:27 attest, then no more punishment is needed. If according to your argument Christ died for all sins, why then are some still to experience “eternal punishment?” Was the punishment He received insufficient for some and thus their sins need to be punished twice for God’s holiness to be satisfied, or is the punishment He received sufficient yet not applicable to them? It has to be one or the other.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I’ll answer these in chunks.

          1) Eternal punishment doesn’t end. Rather, the person is removed from it. This life is both seen and unseen, for you have a body (seen) and and spirit (unseen). Eternal punishment does exist in this life, just as eternal life does. Jesus said these forces would be set in motion when He came in His glory, which was, of course, His Second Coming (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)

        • Mike Gantt says:

          2.

          a) The first death is the death we already know about. The death that has been with us since the beginning and since the first sin.

          b) No, I’m not saying people die twice. I’m saying there are two kinds of death. Both involve separation from God. The first death removed us from life on earth and took us to Sheol below (see the first six chapters of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven which explain Sheol and its place in the creation. This death was overcome through the triumph of Jesus Christ our Savior (for this explanation see the remaining six chapters of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.) The second death is living outside the kingdom of God, outside the presence of God in this earth. It is synonymous with experiencing God’s judgment, His wrath.

          • Jason says:

            Your first and second deaths are chronologically out of order. You’re saying that the second death is living on this earth apart from God’s presence and the first death is the physical death after which all people go to heaven. Does it make sense to argue that the second death happens before the first?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          3. “Perish” in this verse refers to dying in judgment (wrath) or dying prematurely. Citizens of Jerusalem who believed Jesus fled it before 70 A.D. and therefore did not perish when the Romans destroyed it. Likewise, we today can survive God’s judgment if we lived holy for Him – though there will still come a time when we must leave this life for the next one. Judgment will occur then to determine our place in heaven based on how we have lived on earth.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          4. I don’t negate 2 Peter 3. I say it must be understood in the light of all the other passages about the timing of the Lord’s coming. Therefore, it would seem to some that the Lord was delaying, because, for example, He made clear in Matthew 24 that even the destruction of Jerusalem would not be the end…though it would not be too long after.

          Your contention that we should use 2 Peter 3 to eviscerate the meaning of all the other time passages by saying that the Lord’s sense of timing is so different from ours is completely inappropriate. You don’t warn someone that a wolf is nearby if there is no wolf nearby. If the Lord did not want to commit Himself to an imminent return, He would have used different language. He made absolutely clear and in numerous different ways that His return would occur in the generation of His contemporaries. To take just one example, our Lord said, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34). There is no way to wiggle out of that my saying that the Lord’s sense of time transcends ours. He doesn’t want to wiggle out of it. He is faithful; He kept His word.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          5. You need to revise your understanding of God’s wrath and judgment. As you see it depicted in the Old Testament, so it continues to occur in our age. Wrath comes as a consequence of our sins. We are only delivered from that wrath to the extent that we are walking with Him. Most Christians do not walk in His light but rather in the darkness of the world. Thus wrath generally comes on Christians to the same extent it comes on everyone else.

          You have in your mind that wrath and judgment come only after this life is over. Go to your Bible and see that there is no reason for believing this.

          • Jason says:

            Why would God’s wrath continue the exact same way if the purpose of Jesus’ death was to deal with God’s wrath and judgment so that His chosen people wouldn’t have to? Either Christ suffered all of God’s wrath or He didn’t. Which is it?

            • Mike Gantt says:

              The purpose of Jesus’ death was to redeem us from the power of death. Every human being was descending to Sheol (Hades) at death (see The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven). Jesus died so that He might be Lord of both the living and the dead, and that He might redeem us who through fear of death were subject to slavery all our lives. That is the judgment from which His sacrifice redeemed us. However, we are still judged even for every idle word that comes out of our mouths. Therefore, we should fear God and keep His commandments.

  26. A. C. Baker says:

    Wow! I’ve got it made! I am going to heaven when I die, so I’ve got that covered. I did make Jesus my Lord, even though I don’t know why, now, since being my own lord would still allow me into heaven. I don’t have to fear hell. I don’t have to fear REAL judgment, like what the Bible said Satan and the False Prophet would receive. I think I am ready for some real sinning…why should I care about God’s law (I don’t need a schoolmaster anymore). Anyone for an affair?

    Well, I pastor a church (not necessary, evidently), but now I don’t have to worry about that any more. I don’t need to think about all that stuff Paul told Timothy about training others…what does it matter? Hey, even atheists live “godly.” I think I am going to go manage a few brothels, instead….a lot more money, you know. Why not? If all I have to worry about is what level of Heaven I’m on, as long as it is heaven, what’s the problem?

    Forget the fact that the love of Christ used to constrain me from sinning. Even though I used to think that I became a child of God through the sacrificial atonement of the Lamb of God, adopted into His family, and all that stuff. Dang! Who knew? I was in the family all along! I could have been gratifying the flesh (although I never had that much of a desire to do so because of my love for Jesus and what He did for me on the cross). Hell, I might even start cussing! No more worry about the sin that separates.

    And to think, I used to believe that John 3:16 stuff….”whosoever”….”saved”….”not perish”….and all that rot! I am going to heaven and Jesus died for no reason. Boy, was he a FOOL!

    God help you if you think for one moment I am serious, but I might as well be an atheist who does good works if your interpretation of salvation is for real. I think I will continue to read the letter to the “churches” and stick to saved=heaven/lost=damned.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      That everyone is going to heaven is not a reason to sin. On the contrary, it is a reason to be even more grateful to Him than you were when you thought only some were going to heaven.

      God is holy, and our deepest desire should be to please Him by imitating Him. Just as He forgives everyone, so should we.

      We mustn’t think, however, that we will not be judged for our sins. Indeed, we are judged for them and should fear God in all that we think, say, and do.

      See Judgment Is Upon Us.

      • Anonymous says:

        Human nature without the devil’s influence does not preclude we will want to obey. To put to someone that it makes you a better person to choose to follow the good Lord does not preclude they will want to follow that way. There are the majority of people who do not want to be in God’s presence even with full knowledge of what He has done for us and knowing what He has done is best. Telling people they are foolish to keep sinning yet you tell them the consequence is still the presence of God with punishment that will be over , appeals to the basest of our human nature to say “I’ll wait for it and enjoy the now.” That is the human thing to do. Appealing to a better side of the human nature precludes that we actually have no real choice in our future, as it will all come out “God’s way in the end” .
        Choice, choosing God or not, is a gift we are given. Taking away free will so we can be in heaven is not a choice. Saying temptation will be gone and thus we can’t sin is taking away free choice.
        Choosing Christ in the world we now live in by being reborn by the Spirit (as opposed to everyone having the spirit and just not always doing the right thing) is the true fair way. Telling me I possess God’s spirit when I had no choice in the matter is not a true, good option, no matter how “good” it may be for me.
        Saying people should want to live for God because He is God and has done wonderful things does not give anyone the right to tell me I have to live for Him or with Him. That may seem foolish, but that is how our love relationship is truly special when I come to Him and receive Him. And the consequence for not receiving is not hell on earth, or a longer rap sheet than yours at the judgement. To take away my ability to reject and not have faith is a miscalculation of who we are.
        Saying I already have his spirit and will live a lesser heaven experience if I don’t live right here on earth, is no choice.
        “…aspiring to live a life of character and virtue” is not of human origin. We are made in God’s image but we do not all belong to Him. Adoption, rebirth, walking in light, being the bride all come from God’s election and we must receive it of free will, not just acknowledge it.
        The angels who followed Satan did not measure up and are destined for destruction. You can not enlighten me on what they did to place them in that state, so there is the probability that we too can possess that same state. The devil is the real culprit, you believe, and we were created to make a point that God can make servants who will follow him. A servant we are, if we choose to be. God does nor force us to be His children. “God wants his heavens full of servants who have proven themselves faithful in difficult circumstances.” I believe God wants people who want Him, regardless of how much crap we go through. The one thief on the cross that Jesus turned to (and said would be with Him) had a short chance to be faithful. The other was not addressed by Jesus at all. Why did Jesus not tell the” badder” guy that he would see him too?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Those who say, “Since I am going to heaven anyway, I will sin and enjoy myself on earth,” will live to regret it.

          Jesus had words of comfort for the penitent thief on the cross because He always comforts the penitent.

          • Anonymous says:

            That Jesus comforts the penitent does not explain why He did not say to the other guy – “I’ll see you later too.” (I can see you answering that not talking to the other thief was part of the live to regret it“suffering the unfaithful go through.) You have developed a premise of finding an answer that suits your previous belief instead of letting the simple truth speak.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              It is “letting the simple truth speak” that has gotten me to the position I hold. I used to hold the belief that some when to heaven and some went to hell, but “letting the simple truth speak” challenged my view. You should let it do the same for you.

              As for your desire to see Jesus saying the same thing to each of the thieves, you are acting as if going to heaven represents the totality of God’s message. There is more to it than that. For example, God’s wrath is as relevant today as it was in Old Testament times, and repentance is the only appropriate and practical response (see Judgment Is Upon Us).

      • Dave says:

        Don’t know about you Mike, but when people view what you are saying as “Let’s sin if we are all going to heaven” is revealing a very sorry heart. What they are saying is that if God did not threaten them with hell flames or annihilationism then this is how they would live, as their motivation is fear and not love. It is equally disturbing if I told my parents, “I appreciate all of your love, but if there was not a law prohibiting abuse and murder then I would probably beat and kill you.” I guess mankind prefers judgment and not mercy. No wonder we are so unforgiving, as the god of tradition is such a monster.

        I might not agree with everything you say, but what some are saying against your beliefs makes me fear them, as their god has some serious issues, and their Jesus did not do His work very well, as we are stronger than Him. It does amaze me how we are not moaning and groaning how the first Adam brought death and condemnation to all without our decision in the matter, but the glorious work of the second Adam (Jesus Christ) bothers the mind to think that He would make us righteous apart from our decision in the matter. We can either enjoy what He had done, or we can frequent blogs and show our disgust for anyone believing that God can be too good to be true.

        Dave

  27. A. C. Baker says:

    You know, looking back, maybe I was a little too sarcastic. I have looked at your “about” page. You seem sincere in your belief. You even seem to truly love Jesus. My indignation, however, is aimed at your unbelievable, albeit well-meaning and maybe unintentional, belittling of the cross of Christ Jesus. It would be one thing to believe that Jesus came and died to “save” the world (the WHOLE, even unbelieving world), but you seem to teach that He just came and died to show us He loved us. That’s all?! What was the point? What about redemption? Why even repent if there is no separation from God or hell? Sorry, but everything that I have read and learned and preached yells out to me, “red flag”

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Far from belittling the cross of Christ, I am magnifying it. Truly nothing shall separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).

      Separation from God is an awful thing and for this reason we should seek fellowship with Him every moment of every day. He has given Himself to us that we might enjoy Him forever. Why do people postpone walking with Him until they die?

      What I am saying in these pages may seem to have a red flag for you, but if you are truly devoted to Jesus above everyone and everything else you will come to see that I am honoring Him.

  28. Everything originating in the blog author`s writing hinges on the belief that Christ has returned the 2nd time.
    We are in a new age. The Bible is God’s word but its actual directives have been fulfilled. We don’t need the discipline of the church and attendence and pastors and the organization of elders and deacons.
    Our works of righteousness are what count in this time. The Spirit of God is in EVERYONE. Some of us heed it more, so our rewards will be greater. We are to do good because of what God has done for us. That is very important. Christ reigns. The devil is bound. We are free to choose God without restraint and with full knowledge that He has done all He said He would.
    All good beliefs and easily derived from the Bible.
    Very dangerous if the book of Revelation was written after the Jerusalem siege of 70 AD. Very dangerous if quickly and nigh and near mean how He comes and not when He comes.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Let me take exception to a few of your statements:

      Everything originating in the blog author`s writing hinges on the belief that Christ has returned the 2nd time.

      While this is an important teaching (mainly because it demonstrates and emphasizes the faithfulness of God), I would not say that everything written on this blog hinges on it.

      Our works of righteousness are what count in this time.

      If so, the most important “work” of righteousness is faith. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

      Very dangerous if the book of Revelation was written after the Jerusalem siege of 70 AD.

      It doesn’t matter to the teaching whether or not the book of Revelation was written before or after 70 A.D. While the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem was indeed a notable sign associated with the Lord’s coming, it was not the only sign, and it was not the immediate sign. That is, the Second Coming of Christ was subsequent to, not as part and parcel of, the destruction of Jerusalem. (See the fullness of the timeline laid out in Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? which is the biblical case for the fulfilled Second Coming.) The destruction of Jerusalem was rather a sign that the coming of the Lord was near. I would not be surprised if Revelation was written after 70 A.D., but either way, its promises have been fulfilled – and that is the main point: the Lord is faithful to His word.

      Very dangerous if “quickly” and “nigh” and “near” mean how He comes and not when He comes.

      The New Testament says in many places and in many ways – not just in the book of Revelation – that the coming of the Lord was imminent. Even if all we had was the book of Revelation, however, it’s hard to imagine words like “nigh,” “near,” “soon,” and “shortly” as not having anything to do with when.

      “Very dangerous”

      The only thing that is very dangerous is not believing God, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).

  29. Bill Peterson says:

    Why would I want to follow the example of someone who was crucified?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Because He bore up under this unjust suffering through the nobility of His character which was sustained by His love for all of humanity. In other words, through enduring the crucifixion He demonstrated the very best virtues of humanity and God. If you aspire to such character and virtue, you will never find a better person to follow. He was God in the flesh.

      • Bill Peterson says:

        But why choose to be persecuted when I’m going to heaven either way?

          • Bill Peterson says:

            Mind elaborating?

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Jesus said the greatest commandment was to love God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength…and our neighbor as ourselves. He said this while in the process of obeying these two commandments Himself by the way He lived His life. In other words, He fully practiced what He preached. He was God in the flesh, giving us an example of how to live. If you are moved by His love, then you want to reciprocate it. In reciprocating it, you will be willing to endure persecution because that is what tests the limits of your love. The more you know and understand His love, the more you want to reciprocate and imitate it. Love is the greatest motivation…of God and of humanity. Therefore, as the Scripture says, we love because He first loved us.

  30. Bill says:

    Mike, your doctrine is as perverted as they come. The Bible clearly teaches all over the place that not everyone will be saved. To deny this is to practice the most complicated hermeneutical gymnastics that I have just about ever seen. Every time someone on this thread points to an obvious verse that claims that some will be damned, you dance and slither and try to use Greek that no one else realizes to explain it away. Simply, you are wrong. There is not a single verse in the Bible that justifies your claim, and there are scads that refute it. I honestly can’t see how anyone could walk themselves into such an untenable position.

    The horrible thing is that your heresy (for that is what it is) destroys the foundation that you so desperately want, which is a foundation that enables you to tell people to repent and love.

    More importantly, your heresy belittles the work of Christ on the cross.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      There is not a single verse in the Bible that justifies your claim, and there are scads that refute it.

      Bill, what do you believe the Bible teaches about Sheol? If your understanding of the afterlife doesn’t not include an explanation of Sheol and what has happened to it, then it cannot be be biblical.

      The horrible thing is that your heresy (for that is what it is) destroys the foundation that you so desperately want, which is a foundation that enables you to tell people to repent and love.

      When I learned this truth, it increased my incentive to repent and to love. I don’t see why it should affect anyone else any differently. “We love because He first loved us.” The greater His love for us, the greater our love for Him. The more we understand and appreciate the dimensions of His love for us, the more we can extend our love toward those great dimensions. To learn that everyone is going to heaven should cause a person to fall on his face and worship God.

      More importantly, your heresy belittles the work of Christ on the cross.

      On the contrary! To say that Christ’s sacrifice was insufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world belittles His work on the cross – neither is it biblical to say that His propitiation was insufficient (see 1 John 2:1-2).

      • Bill says:

        Blah, blah, blah, Sheol…Hades, blah – Mike, you are trying to craft definite doctrines out of things that are not definite. This is an example of the gymnastics I referenced. You are grasping at straws. I am a classicist – I study this stuff daily, and your interpretative spins on these words are supremely forced.

        You belittle the work of Christ on the cross because you destroy the concept of man’s faith. If all are saved, faith has no value, for we are saved through it. If faith has no value, man’s decision to sin has no value, for the original sin was a refusal to have faith in God’s established order. If original sin has no meaning, Christ’s work on the cross was a meaningless waste, because they was no reason for Him to die.

        Your theology is a pipe dream that destroys the work of Christ. I hope that you wake up from your heresy, because the damage you do to the proclamation of the gospel (which ceases to be a gospel if it is forced upon us) is profound.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Blah, blah, blah, Sheol…Hades, blah – Mike, you are trying to craft definite doctrines out of things that are not definite. This is an example of the gymnastics I referenced. You are grasping at straws. I am a classicist – I study this stuff daily, and your interpretative spins on these words are supremely forced.

          You have no more response to my question about your biblical understanding of Sheol than that, and yet you describe yourself as a classicist who studies this stuff daily? Seems to me that somone who knew the Old Testament teaching about Sheol could give me a biblical explanation of how and when that changed – especially if he’s confidently saying that people are going to heaven or hell instead of there.

          You belittle the work of Christ on the cross because you destroy the concept of man’s faith.

          On the contrary! It is you belittle the work of Christ by saying it’s not enough and that man’s faith must be added to it before it becomes effective.

          If all are saved, faith has no value, for we are saved through it.

          On the contrary, faith has enormous value with positive consequences both here on earth and later in heaven. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God!”

          Your theology is a pipe dream that destroys the work of Christ. I hope that you wake up from your heresy, because the damage you do to the proclamation of the gospel (which ceases to be a gospel if it is forced upon us) is profound.

          I am proclaiming the work of Christ. Moreover, because of it I am calling on everyone – including myself – to repent and to live for Him! The gospel is by no means being forced on anyone. That is why so many are suffering and perishing all around us in this world.

          Repent, and follow Jesus Christ our Lord! (That is my message in a nutshell.)

          • Bill says:

            Mike, after rereading your original article, your entire argument resides on circular reasoning. You claim that Jesus wouldn’t do something, or else He would be loving (or the gospel wouldn’t be good news). Well, how do you know He loves the way you envision that He does? Because He wouldn’t damn people. You have got no argument, other than a confused notion about the resurrection of the righteous and wicked, which rests on the assumption that there is only one righteous.

            But there’s not only one anymore! We have been told that Christ’s righteousness is credited to us because of faith! That we have become (not just possess!) the righteousness of Christ! But not everyone has become this righteousness, because not everyone has faith. Do you realize how many verses to this effect you have to deny to uphold your doctrine?

            The resurrection of the righteous and the wicked is the resurrection of their physical bodies from the grave, but you can’t see this, because you believe that Jesus has already returned.

            An explanation of Sheol and Hades won’t help you, because a.) they aren’t as simple as you want them to be, and b.) because you have thrown away the fact that faith is necessary for salvation.

            Thoroughly, thoroughly confused.

            Why repent, if I will be saved anyway?
            Why have faith, if I will be saved anyway?

            The weird thing is you present a gospel of all grace (which nullifies the Law, thus the sacrifice of Christ), but them urge them to do the works of the Law, because that is the right thing to do.
            In other words, you have it backwards. The Law comes first, to show that we are sinners, to push us to the point of accepting Christ’s atonement in faith. Only then are we given the righteousness of Christ, which is necessary to enter heaven.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              The weird thing is you present a gospel of all grace (which nullifies the Law, thus the sacrifice of Christ), but them urge them to do the works of the Law, because that is the right thing to do.

              This gospel of grace rests on the sacrifice of Christ.

              In other words, you have it backwards. The Law comes first, to show that we are sinners, to push us to the point of accepting Christ’s atonement in faith. Only then are we given the righteousness of Christ, which is necessary to enter heaven.

              I don’t need the law to tell me I’m a sinner. My own conscience tells me that. What I need is grace that will stop me from sinning. The grace of Christ enables me to stop sinning and become obedient.

              Why repent, if I will be saved anyway?

              Because if you don’t repent, you keep sinning which displeases God.

              Why have faith, if I will be saved anyway?

              Because God deserves our faith, and without faith we cannot please Him.

              An explanation of Sheol and Hades won’t help you, because a.) they aren’t as simple as you want them to be, and b.) because you have thrown away the fact that faith is necessary for salvation.

              a) Try me.
              b) Faith is not necessary to get into heaven but it is necessary to stop sinning, to please God, and to avoid wrath.

  31. Bill says:

    Read Romans 3

  32. Bill says:

    The relationship of faith and salvation.

  33. Bill says:

    Mike, you are just making stuff up. The Bible doesn’t say what you want it to say. Can you point to a single passage in the Bible which indicates that all will be saved (especially without lifting the phrase or verse out of its context)?

    Your argument in the article above makes four points:

    1.) The Bible promises all will be saved. Really? Where? By referencing the resurrection of the righteous and wicked? One major misunderstanding about Christ’s righteousness and you are off running.

    2.)Jesus just wouldn’t do that! Presumptuous and circular reasoning. A logical fallacy. Evidence or a poorly thought through argument.

    3.) It wouldn’t be the gospel if some weren’t saved. See #2 above. It also wouldn’t be the gospel if people weren’t given freedom to reject Christ. It also wouldn’t be the gospel if God created the world to save everyone but allowed in free will just to torment us suckers.

    4.) The Bible doesn’t give us the architectural structure of hell. Well, damn, I guess that settles it. Mike, building doctrine off of Revelation is a bad practice. Didn’t you study hermeneutics? It seems to me that Jesus mentioned a place where the fire never dies.

    Mike, faith and salvation are for this life? Where did you dream that up? The Second Gospel of Mary Magdalene?

    The bottom line is that you cannot build a case from Scripture for what you are arguing.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Can you point to a single passage in the Bible which indicates that all will be saved (especially without lifting the phrase or verse out of its context)?

      I’ll give you three (though I could give you more):

      1 Cor 15:22

      1 Tim 4:10

      1 John 2:1-2

      1.) The Bible promises all will be saved. Really? Where?

      See above.

      2.)Jesus just wouldn’t do that! Presumptuous and circular reasoning. A logical fallacy. Evidence or a poorly thought through argument.

      I think it’s the conclusion that’s bothering you more than the argument. You say it’s circular but you don’t point out where. You say it’s a logical fallacy but you don’t point out how. You say it’s a poorly thought through argument but you offer none in response. Are people just supposed to take your pronouncements as the truth of God?

      3.) It wouldn’t be the gospel if some weren’t saved. See #2 above. It also wouldn’t be the gospel if people weren’t given freedom to reject Christ. It also wouldn’t be the gospel if God created the world to save everyone but allowed in free will just to torment us suckers.

      So you would feel like a “sucker” for believing when other people got into heaven without believing? That’s sad. Believing is how we please God. It’s also how we avoid wrath in this life. It’s also what grants us a greater responsibility in the world to come. You are thinking very much like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son.

      4.) The Bible doesn’t give us the architectural structure of hell. Well, damn, I guess that settles it. Mike, building doctrine off of Revelation is a bad practice. Didn’t you study hermeneutics? It seems to me that Jesus mentioned a place where the fire never dies.

      Your doctrine should be built on the entire Bible, not one verse or one book. Yes, there is a place where fire never dies and we are living in it, but even Isaiah promised on behalf of God that we could walk in it (see Isaiah 33:14-15, and also Revelation 20-22 which describes the new Jerusalem as the tabernacle of God among men coming down in the midst of the lake of fire: this is the kingdom of God in our midst).

      The bottom line is that you cannot build a case from Scripture for what you are arguing.

      That’s exactly what I have done. See The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

      • Bill says:

        Mike, one last reply.

        First, I Cor. 15 is about one thing and one thing only. The physical resurrection of the body. Indeed all are raised, but some to a resurrection of judgment and some to a resurrection of salvation. This is why Christ can say to the goats, “Depart from me.” You have lifted this verse right out of its context, which is what I assumed you would do.

        I Tim 4:10 is a strange choice, because Paul separates those who believe from those who don’t, which argues against your point. Christ is the Savior of all men, but He doesn’t force the salvation on people, thus Paul can say “especially for those who believe.” In other words, Christ is the Savior for everyone, but His salvation is actually accomplished for the believers.

        I John is merely speaking of the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for the sins of the whole world. It makes no claim that it is enjoyed (in the older sense of the world) by the whole world. Much like I Tim, Christ is the only Savior – thus His salvation is all mankind’s salvation, but not all men profit from it. None of these passages make the claim that all profit from His work, they merely claim that He is the only salvation, and thus the salvation for any man. Just as if I were drowning, and you through me a buoy, you would call it my salvation, although I could still reject it.

        Your conclusion bothers me, but the circular reasoning I reference is still circular reasoning. You say that Christ would damn people, because it wouldn’t be like Him. How do you know that it wouldn’t be like Him? Well, you say, because He wouldn’t be the sort who damned people. The same logic is what drives your statement that it wouldn’t be the gospel if it didn’t accomplish salvation for everyone. If you can’t see that this is circular reasoning (and a logical fallacy – begging the question), we won’t be able to communicate clearly with each other.

        You can’t look at Christ in the NT and claim He was always apparently kind or friendly. In fact, He seems to reject the Pharisees every time they meet. He speak of people being cast into judgment for ever (where the worm and fire never die). The only people that He shows unremitting compassion for are those who have faith in Him. When He encounters no faith, He refuses to do miracles and leaves.

        The reason why I used “sucker” is not because I am bothered by free grace given to people. I don’t think I would be bothered by that, because I know that the only thing that I have and am is by free grace. And so you have misunderstood me. The reason why I called us suckers is because if Christ were going to accomplish universal salvation, free will (or the experience of it) is a mockery and torment. If Christ were to accomplish universal salvation, letting us sin while we wait for His salvation is leading us on to believe that we are something other than biological robots. I know that you believe our decisions matter, because we will be given greater responsibility, but that is a question of degree, not nature. In other words, we are given the opportunity to cause unspeakable pain and harm just so Christ could see how we rank against one another. This is a horrific doctrine.

        On the other hand, if we can freely choose Him, what Christ accomplishes is the most glorious thing in the world, because our faith has meaning that is not just degree, but instead of difference in nature. In other words, love matters.In your vision, everything is more or less the same (except for your status in heaven), and so faith and love have very little meaning. I know that you won’t understand this argument, because you are a legalist.

        My reference to the “fire never dies” was not to build a doctrine off one verse. It was merely to reference a verse that your doctrine cannot explain. To simply claim that we are already living in it is silly and overly simplistic. I guess if you believe Christ has already come, it is a possible conclusion to draw, but goodness, you have to ignore the vast majority of the Bible to believe what you do. When you claim you have built a case from Scripture, I don’t think you realize how colored your view of the entire Bible is. You are not letting the Bible interpret itself. Instead, you believe Christ has already come (because you think He lied if He hasn’t) and let this mistaken notion guide your interpretation, rather than other Scripture.

        So long Mike. I hope you get shaken by something somebody says and rethink your views.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          First, I Cor. 15 is about one thing and one thing only. The physical resurrection of the body. Indeed all are raised, but some to a resurrection of judgment and some to a resurrection of salvation. This is why Christ can say to the goats, “Depart from me.” You have lifted this verse right out of its context, which is what I assumed you would do.

          Paul, who wrote the passage, says the subject was the gospel. When you say it is only about the physical resurrection of the body you are the one changing the context. Paul’s statement in verse 22 stands as a clear and unequivocal declaration of good news for everyone born of Adam: just as surely as everyone dies, everyone will be made alive.

          I Tim 4:10 is a strange choice, because Paul separates those who believe from those who don’t, which argues against your point. Christ is the Savior of all men, but He doesn’t force the salvation on people, thus Paul can say “especially for those who believe.” In other words, Christ is the Savior for everyone, but His salvation is actually accomplished for the believers.

          Nothing strange about this choice. If the town fire department says, “We are the rescuers of all homeowners, especially of taxpayers,” does this mean that firemen intend to set fire to the homes of those delinquent on their taxes and watch them burn? As far as I know, when you dial 911 the fire department comes without checking the tax rolls first.

          I John is merely speaking of the sufficiency of Christ’s atoning work for the sins of the whole world. It makes no claim that it is enjoyed (in the older sense of the world) by the whole world.

          A declaration of its sufficiency is meaningless if in the end it’s declared insufficient. By saying that some of sins of the world cannot be forgiven and that eternal torment will prevail over the sinners who committed them, you are making the apostle John’s words of no effect.

          Your conclusion bothers me, but the circular reasoning I reference is still circular reasoning. You say that Christ would damn people, because it wouldn’t be like Him. How do you know that it wouldn’t be like Him?

          Because He’d be a hypocrite if He told us to forgive everyone who sins against us while He wasn’t willing to forgive everyone who had sinned against Him. There’s nothing circular about saying Jesus isn’t a hypocrite.

          The same logic is what drives your statement that it wouldn’t be the gospel if it didn’t accomplish salvation for everyone. If you can’t see that this is circular reasoning (and a logical fallacy – begging the question), we won’t be able to communicate clearly with each other.

          God implores us to love not only Him, but each other. To respond positively to that command, to then go to heaven and spend eternity knowing that any of your fellow human beings (that could be your spouse, children, parents, friends, innocents) were shrieking in pain and begging in vain to repent…would not be good news. A loving person would rather say, “God, just leave us all dead if it means eternal torment for some.” I see no circularity in any of this. Assuming you love people, any failure of logic is on your end. If you don’t love people, you should.

          You can’t look at Christ in the NT and claim He was always apparently kind or friendly. In fact, He seems to reject the Pharisees every time they meet. He speak of people being cast into judgment for ever (where the worm and fire never die). The only people that He shows unremitting compassion for are those who have faith in Him. When He encounters no faith, He refuses to do miracles and leaves.

          You are right that Jesus condemned the Pharisees and extolled faith wherever He found it, but that’s different from saying He’d consign people to a fiery torture of unremitting psychological and physical pain. Jesus never showed vindictiveness or revenge. Yes, He wants faith from us but as Paul says, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 NASB).

          In other words, we are given the opportunity to cause unspeakable pain and harm just so Christ could see how we rank against one another. This is a horrific doctrine.

          Not that I agree with your logic here, but using your logic you seem to be saying that you’d be disappointed to have experienced the”unspeakable pain and harm” of this life if even unbelievers are going to heaven, but you are quite content for them to experience pain and harm infinitely worse because that satisfies your definition of free will. I’m surprised you feel comfortable with that – and even more so that you consider the former a “horrific doctrine” but the latter orthodox doctrine.

          On the other hand, if we can freely choose Him, what Christ accomplishes is the most glorious thing in the world, because our faith has meaning that is not just degree, but instead of difference in nature. In other words, love matters.In your vision, everything is more or less the same (except for your status in heaven), and so faith and love have very little meaning. I know that you won’t understand this argument, because you are a legalist.

          I’ve been called a lot of things for believing that everyone is going to heaven, but I think this is the first time someone’s called me a “legalist” for believing so. In your worldview, faith and love matter…but not near enough! In the worldview of the Bible faith and love make all the difference in the world. God’s faith and love set the outer boundaries of our decision making. He will let us make decisions that will bring us harm, but He will not go so far as to allow us to make a decision that is eternally irrevocable. Within those boundaries (and they are great indeed for consider all the awful things that people can do in this life), our faith and love make enormous difference for us…both in this life and in the one to come. Dramatic differences! Never let go of faith and love…or hope either.

          My reference to the “fire never dies” was not to build a doctrine off one verse. It was merely to reference a verse that your doctrine cannot explain. To simply claim that we are already living in it is silly and overly simplistic. I guess if you believe Christ has already come, it is a possible conclusion to draw, but goodness, you have to ignore the vast majority of the Bible to believe what you do. When you claim you have built a case from Scripture, I don’t think you realize how colored your view of the entire Bible is. You are not letting the Bible interpret itself. Instead, you believe Christ has already come (because you think He lied if He hasn’t) and let this mistaken notion guide your interpretation, rather than other Scripture.

          The “fire that never dies” is the Bible’s metaphor for the eternal judgment that came with the day of the Lord (see Judgment Is Upon Us). There are indeed many verses in the Bible about God’s judgment and wrath and we must give much more heed to them than we have been (We Must Repent!). Letting the Bible interpret itself is exactly how I got to the views that I have. If the Bible didn’t teach these things, I wouldn’t have enough nerve to declare them.

          So long Mike. I hope you get shaken by something somebody says and rethink your views.

          See you later, Bill. And I hope the same for you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mike is living in the kingdom of God (which is different from the kingdom of heaven)- the 2nd coming of Christ has happened, all Revelation is fulfilled. Satan is bound. Churches are irrelevant, if not disruptive and deceitful. The Jews are not a chosen nation.
      Some circular reasoning comes from the belief that all prophecy has been fulfilled and we are living in a new age that is not subject any past age. He uses the Bible well. He does not deny the power of God. He believes in the power of the cross. (He does not believe the Spirit is a person or that there is a trinity and he believes every human being now possesses the spirit of God.) He does apply attributes to this present age that do not belong to it – again, based on the belief that all things have been fulfilled. It has to have been fulfilled or God looks like a liar because He would be moving too slow.
      A counterfeit $20 is not purple with Porky Pig on it. If it were, everyone would avoid it.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        You are quite perceptive on some things…but not all.

        (which is different from the kingdom of heaven)

        The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven are synonymous terms. There is no difference in meaning. The difference in terms helps us appreciate the richness of meaning. The kingdom is the rule of God in our individual lives, as it ruled Jesus’ life. Beyond that, it is now the governing force of the entire universe so that all peoples and nations, as well as angelic and all other powers, are subject to it. When Jesus told us to seek the kingdom of God, it was to be obedient to it. That is what brings the blessing.

        Some circular reasoning comes from the belief that all prophecy has been fulfilled and we are living in a new age that is not subject any past age.

        Where’s the circularity?

        He does apply attributes to this present age that do not belong to it

        And those are?

        A counterfeit $20 is not purple with Porky Pig on it. If it were, everyone would avoid it.

        Jesus said that if we would abide in His word, then we would know the truth and it would set us free. I am perfectly content with His judgment. His kingdom is no counterfeit.

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    • Jon says:

      Mike,

      It seems as though your views are taken from extractions of the biblical text, without regarding the message of the whole. What do you make of Jesus’ message in Luke 13 where Jesus clearly says “repent, your you will perish?” or the Parable of the Great Banquet later in Luke 13 where the King says “surely you will not taste my banquet?” or of the passages in Matthew and Luke that talk of the “weeping and gnashing of teeth?”

      Grace, Mercy, and Faithfulness are all Cornerstones of salvation, and without God we would have nothing. While Christ does say in Matthew 18 that “it is not the desire of the Father that any of these should perish,” he never promises us that life will be easier in this life or that everyone will be saved.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        It seems as though your views are taken from extractions of the biblical text, without regarding the message of the whole.

        It seems just the opposite to me. That is, the doctrine of a heaven-or-hell afterlife is build on verses chopped from here or there without regarding the message of the whole Bible. Please take a look at The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven where I lay out the broader biblical view of afterlife outlined out in the Old Testament and then show how Jesus described that would change.

        What do you make of Jesus’ message in Luke 13 where Jesus clearly says “repent, your you will perish?” or the Parable of the Great Banquet later in Luke 13 where the King says “surely you will not taste my banquet?” or of the passages in Matthew and Luke that talk of the “weeping and gnashing of teeth?”

        Jesus is speaking about the kingdom of God for which hell is the alternative – realities for this life, not the one to come. Look around the earth: do you not see a great deal of weeping and gnashing of teeth? And where do you do see righteousness, peace, and joy in any and every circumstance? In the one who follows Jesus.

        Grace, Mercy, and Faithfulness are all Cornerstones of salvation, and without God we would have nothing.

        Yes, but salvation is much more than just going to heaven when we die. It’s living with God in the here and now. It’s being redeemed from our sinning. It’s living in constant fellowship with our loving and almighty Creator.

        While Christ does say in Matthew 18 that “it is not the desire of the Father that any of these should perish,” he never promises us that life will be easier in this life or that everyone will be saved.

        Indeed He does not promise that life will be easy, for it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved (1 Peter 4:18). However, that we will all be with Him in heaven was the point of His dying on the cross for the sins not of a few but of the whole world (1 John 2:1-2). If we don’t come to Him before we die, we certainly all come to Him when we die. For this reason He says, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself” (John 12:32). And for this reason some say “Prepare to meet your Maker” when death is in view. No one who dies fails to meet our Maker, for at the moment we die we are freed from the blinding distractions of this world.

  35. Brad says:

    Mike, I have read the majority of the comments and can’t find one person who agrees with you; except maybe an atheist. If there are others who believe what you do I can’t believe they haven’t found your blog and commented on it. It is unfortunate that you have spent so many days defending your views with no one coming to your aid. I would love to join the discussion, but it seems useless since everyone has been pointing you to Scripture and it hasn’t made one difference in you.

    The good thing is that you have strengthened everyone else’s original view on God and where we go after this life on earth. Well done!

    It sounds like you might be another Joseph Smith. That is unfortunate…

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Brad, there are over a thousand separate pages published on my blogs and available for comments. Therefore, you have simply not had time to find the positive comments. They are there. Nonetheless, I don’t seek positive comments; I discourage them. In fact, here’s what I say in the comment policy on the About page of this blog: “If you like what I write, just practice it – you don’t need say anything to me about it or make yourself known to me. Walk before God and walk with God.”

      Joseph Smith sought followers for himself. Churches seek followers for themselves. I used to seek followers for my church when I was a pastor. Now I seek followers only for Jesus Christ.

      The truth is the truth no matter how few people, or how many people, believe it. If you judge truth by the number of positive comments on a blog then you are not fearing God or following God, you are fearing man and following man. Jesus wants us to stand up for Him. He stood alone for us; therefore, we should be willing to stand alone for Him. Even so, the day will come when everyone stands for Him. And He will be worthy of it!

  36. odddisciple says:

    Mike, I see you’re getting blasted enough on here, I truly do not see a need to dismantle you or anyone else commenting on your blog, I will instead post my own blog on Hell, who goes there, what the Bible says, and why. I extend to you to read it as you wish and comment. May be learn in Christ what is true and be willing to throw away anything that will take us to hell or give Satan a foothold in our hearts and minds.
    Brandyn

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Brandyn, I read your blog post on “Hell.” You have misunderstood the Scriptures you have quoted. They refer to the wrath of God in this earth which comes in response to our sins. It is a fearful thing and it is all the more reason we should turn from our sins and live for Jesus Christ. However, they do not speak of the afterlife. If you will read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, you will understand this.

  37. robert verwindt says:

    the reason you and so many others refuse to believe the scriptures teaching on hell is because you don’t want to believe that God would judge us for our sins and send us to hell. God himself states in scripture that sin can not enter into heaven because he is a holy and just and perfect God.

    to put it in simple terms oil and water can’t co-exist in the same space because when oil hits water the water becomes contaminated and that is how it is with God and us Jesus became the perfect sacrifice that if we believe and except him as Lord and Savior we would be saved and have eternal life

    john 3:16 for God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son to die for us so that whoever believed in him would not perish but have eternal life

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Robert, indeed God does judge us for our sins. We are subject to His wrath, which we have brought on ourselves. However, this wrath is a matter of this life. We will also be judged in the life to come but that coming final judgment will not include a pit of flames. Rather, it will be a proper placement in heaven according to the way we have lived on earth. If you will read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, these matters will become clearer to you.

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  40. Sue says:

    It is such ‘good news’ to hear the many voices of the saints who contend for the faith once delivered. My heart rejoices to hear the beloved of the Lord stand in the gap for the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ with such fervor. I love the old, old story of Jesus and His love..I love to tell the story, For those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest, And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, ‘Twill be the old, old story That I have loved so long. Twill be my theme in glory. to tell the old, old story. -My thirsty soul rests in the Lord–I find peace in telling how I once was deep in sin and darkness, unable to save myself from destruction, then that wonderful Savior came to me, rescued me, and I rejoiced in my salvation. There Is no doubt in my mind, Jesus rescued me from ‘hell’–I know beyond a shadow of doubt I was slipping down into such black darkness–eternal damnation awaited me. A fear was put in my heart–I know that I know there is a ‘hell’–nobody has to quote any scriptures for me to believe! I feel very blessed for the Lord opening my eyes to the reality of ‘eternal hell’. Afterwards, Satan became very, very real to me, as well. I understood that I wasn’t ‘playing church’ anymore! I have an ‘enemy’ that I must fight and resist his cunning twisting of the scriptures–as he deceived Eve–! So clever and evil, who even wraps himself in the cloak of ‘ministry’! Beware!
    How many souls are tonight being deceived–Satan is really working the churches! He’s got so many souls thinking he cannot harm them, cannot make the stumble and fall back into perdition. So many naive and precious saints are being swallowed up in unbelief. I feel so totally blessed having escaped the lies of the ‘Jesus won’t send you to hell’ seducing spirits. People are simply unaware–‘playing church’!! being lulled to sleep with a Santa Claus gospel. I pray the Lord will send the Holy Spirit to waken this sleeping church age! You just have no idea that Satan doesn’t plan on going to the pit ‘alone’!!

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Satan’s biggest surprise and greatest disappointment was to learn that everyone is going to heaven.  He still wreaks havoc on the earth through temptations, and so we must repent because judgment is upon us for our capitulation to those temptations.  Therefore, resist the devil and and be strong in the Lord so that you may stand before Him blameless when you go to heaven.

      Know and obey Jesus Christ – this is what it’s all about.  This means loving God above all, and your neighbor as yourself.  Satan can’t stop you from going to heaven but he can tempt you to live a life of self-indulgence so that when you die you’ll be ashamed to face your Savior.  Do not capitulate to him.  Live a selfless life – one that is devoted to Christ.

      The more you see of Christ, the less power Satan will have.

  41. Sammi says:

    I am not even going to read other people’s responses because I absolutely love your view and truly makes me feel great. I love your last line too…Live in such a way that you won’t have to hang your head in shame when you see Him. Repent. Beautiful view!

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  43. Pat Cox says:

    Mike

    Universalism is heresy.

  44. Jes says:

    A TEXT TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT IS A PRETEXT

    1) If “Everyone is going to heaven” then what is the point to repent?

    2) And what about those who DO NOT repent? Will they go to heaven too? or Where would they go?

    3) If “Everyone is going to heaven” then why was hell ever created by GOD? Just for the satan and all his demons?

    4) What about all the dictators who carried out the Inquisitions and other genocides against innocent peoples in the past? And Hitler who murdered more than 10Million Jews including a lot of other good people with them? Will these wicked ones go to heaven too?

    5) If the wicked and the good are all taken up to Heaven – will there be peace up there? Isn’t it going to be the same as what we are facing on earth with the wicked? Just to refresh your memory, satan got his butt kicked and thrown out of Heaven along with his minions for his wickedness – so since GOD is HOLY of holies, and the PERFECT above all, then will HE make a mistake in taking the sinners into HIS Kingdom? Something to ponder on very seriously!!

    Mike, You are taking the teachings of the Holy Bible and twisting them to suit your own fancy in playing god and all per the instructions of satan thereby drawing thousands into hell with you like all other FALSE PROPHETS to be roasted and toasted for eternity into the LAKE OF FIRE.

    Mike, the time between LIFE and ETERNITY is just a second, you better go down on your face and repent before the KING of kings & GOD of gods, the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL. Repent before the LAMB now and worship HIM only and follow HIS instructions or face the soon to arrive FEROCIOUS LION of JUDAH and be torn to pieces and thrown into the LAKE OF FIRE.

    Just in case you are not aware that, there are only two destinations, that is: Following or Not Following ALL of the INSTRUCTIONS of GOD, will determine whether we will ASCEND into Heaven or DESCEND into Hell…. Therefore, whether you like it or not – YOUR ARE HEADING FOR HELL where even your worm will never die but continue to burn for eternity.

    BEWARE!! All who agree and live by Mike Gantt’s theory of “EVERYONE IS GOING TO HEAVEN” are actually on their way to hell. So I repeat … Follow the LAMB or face the LION .. the choice is yours.

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  46. Doug P says:

    Mike, you seem to have given a lot of thought to your beliefs and you seem to be well versed in the Bible. To be honest, I didn’t look at much of your other information, although you seem to be sincere in your pursuit of Jesus, while allowing Him to pursue you.

    I came across this article while reading a post of yours on the ChurchLeaders website. I applaud your effort and desire to proclaim truth as you understand it. I would gather you rightly believe that there is only one truth. What’s true is true for you and me, without question. It is the pursuit of truth that the Christian must always be about, and truth is only found in the God of bible.

    However, I do find some issues with your method. First of all, you claim in your first paragraph that what you say, you say on the authority of scripture, yet I do not find a single bible passage referenced or quoted in this article (I see that you have an article on the biblical basis from your beliefs). It would lend more credibility to your words in this article if you would include some of God’s in the process. I know most, if not all, bible passages can be taken out of context, and a proper contextual understand is necessary to properly interpret the passage, and this cannot be shown in detail in every article. However, including some reference allows the reader to go back to the source to properly examine your claims.

    Secondly, and almost more importantly, you seem to make connections between points that do not really connect. Your third reason seems to be the most blatant.

    Quote: “The third reason we have for believing this truth is that God’s message of Jesus Christ is called good news. It would not be good news if some of our fellow human beings had to spend eternity separated from us and punished mercilessly. Don’t feel that way? Then you’re not loving your brother as Jesus told us to.”

    So, you’re saying that if I believe a sinner is going to hell, I am not showing love to that person? That is a logical fallacy, a type of red herring. My beliefs about where a person is going to spend eternity have nothing to do with my ability to show love to them. Should the result of someone else’s action have any bearing on how much you love them?

    An example: You have a brother who is a thief and you love him very much. You truly believe (rightly so) that stealing is wrong and will most likely result in his eventual arrest or jail time. Does this belief make you love him any less? No, rather it will probably help you show your brother love all the more. You will work hard to try and convince him that stealing is wrong.

    You can love someone and still believe that unless they put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save them from eternal separation from God (which is much, much worse than eternal separation from other men), they are going to hell.

    Please take a look at these scripture passages and look at them with fresh eyes: Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 22:14, Luke 13:22-27, Romans 9:27. They give a clear view that although many (all in fact) are offered salvation, some (most) will choose to reject it. Only a small percentage will truly believe and receive salvation…not from a hard life, but from eternal separation from God.

    I take no comfort in the fact many of the people I know and love are going to hell; however, the bible teaches the reality of hell, and that is the end of it.

    I urge you to look at the bible as a whole from a fresh perspective. Set aside all of your preconceived notions and beliefs and take it as it is. Also, I would urge to get involved with a good bible-teaching church. The bible clearly states the importance of being involved in a local body of believer. The community that only a church family can give is one of the blessings of salvation here and now.

    Feel free to respond if you wish. Keep pursuing God.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Doug P, thanks for the thoughtful comment. Here are my responses to your objections.

      However, I do find some issues with your method. First of all, you claim in your first paragraph that what you say, you say on the authority of scripture, yet I do not find a single bible passage referenced or quoted in this article (I see that you have an article on the biblical basis from your beliefs). It would lend more credibility to your words in this article if you would include some of God’s in the process. I know most, if not all, bible passages can be taken out of context, and a proper contextual understand is necessary to properly interpret the passage, and this cannot be shown in detail in every article. However, including some reference allows the reader to go back to the source to properly examine your claims.

      What you acknowledge within your parentheses is more significant than you grant me.  The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven is a book of over 50,000 words, and it lays out the scriptural basis for my declaration in clear and comprehensive terms.  I would not expect anyone to believe me if the Bible didn’t back me up.

      Secondly, and almost more importantly, you seem to make connections between points that do not really connect. Your third reason seems to be the most blatant.

      Quote: “The third reason we have for believing this truth is that God’s message of Jesus Christ is called good news. It would not be good news if some of our fellow human beings had to spend eternity separated from us and punished mercilessly. Don’t feel that way? Then you’re not loving your brother as Jesus told us to.”

      So, you’re saying that if I believe a sinner is going to hell, I am not showing love to that person? That is a logical fallacy, a type of red herring. My beliefs about where a person is going to spend eternity have nothing to do with my ability to show love to them. Should the result of someone else’s action have any bearing on how much you love them?

      I’m not just talking about this life, but also the one to come.  The Lord’s mercy endureth forever.  If we have an eternity in heaven, wouldn’t God want us to be using that unlimited time to figure out how to recover our lost brothers and sisters – His lost children?

      How could we enjoy heaven knowing that the people Jesus taught us to love were suffering terribly?

      An example: You have a brother who is a thief and you love him very much. You truly believe (rightly so) that stealing is wrong and will most likely result in his eventual arrest or jail time. Does this belief make you love him any less? No, rather it will probably help you show your brother love all the more. You will work hard to try and convince him that stealing is wrong.

      Yes, you and I agree about this.  We want to protect the erring brother from the harm that will come to others and the judgment that will come to him.

      You can love someone and still believe that unless they put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to save them from eternal separation from God (which is much, much worse than eternal separation from other men), they are going to hell.

      See my comment about hell further below.

      Please take a look at these scripture passages and look at them with fresh eyes: Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 22:14, Luke 13:22-27, Romans 9:27. They give a clear view that although many (all in fact) are offered salvation, some (most) will choose to reject it. Only a small percentage will truly believe and receive salvation…not from a hard life, but from eternal separation from God.

      The scriptures you reference do not refer to what happens when we die.  You are reading them through the tired old eyes of church theology.  Rather, they refer to the separation from God we experience in this life when we do not enter His kingdom.  The kingdom of God was the central theme of Jesus’ teaching.  The church today shuts people off from the kingdom of God by getting them to seek church instead of the kingdom.  Jesus said we should “seek first the kingdom of God”  (Matthew 6:33).

      I take no comfort in the fact many of the people I know and love are going to hell; however, the bible teaches the reality of hell, and that is the end of it.

      The Bible teaches the reality of judgment, for which hell (i.e. “Gehenna” in Greek; “Ben-hinnom” in Hebrew) is the metaphor.  Hell has nothing to do with afterlife, but rather everything to do with this life.  To understand what the Bible teaches about afterlife you must start with its teaching about Sheol (which is “Hades” in Greek), beginning in Genesis.   This appendix to the book I mentioned above will list the over 70 occurrences in the Bible of this word.  I encourage you to study them and let the Scriptures have their say.

      Even though judgment is a reality, and it can be terribly difficult, remember that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

      I urge you to look at the bible as a whole from a fresh perspective. Set aside all of your preconceived notions and beliefs and take it as it is.

      It was by doing this that I came to the conclusions I hold.

      Also, I would urge to get involved with a good bible-teaching church. The bible clearly states the importance of being involved in a local body of believer. The community that only a church family can give is one of the blessings of salvation here and now.

      I used to pastor a church (To My Pastor and Minister Friends).  When I began preaching this message, most of the people left.  I don’t blame them, because I also learned from my study of the Bible that churchgoing is in our age an idolatrous substitution for seeking the kingdom of God.  Jesus is present everywhere and at all times.  We should think and act like it.  Only with a purified heart can we see the Lord.

      I recognize that what I write sounds very strange to your ears.  I only ask you to consider what I say, and the scriptures I use to support what I say.  If you do, the Lord will give you understanding.  I don’t care what you think of me, but I want you to see more of His glory.

  47. Phil Nickel says:

    Wow! 162 (+1) comments. The interest in this subject, that all will be saved, often is caused by anguish. Orthodoxy and its casualties seldom relent in the pitiable doctrine of eternal torment. It is a Romanish can of filth that even the reformation could not deal a blow to. I appreciate your gravity, Mike, and your resolve to believe the word of God in the face of confrontation and ably defend it. Perhaps this is one reason I was led to your site. I am encouraged much.

    Regards,
    Phil

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  51. cameron says:

    You talk a lot about sheol but how do you interpret Elijah going “up by a whirlwind into heaven”? You say somewhere that if I think the old testament mentions any other after-life place besides sheol than I don’t know my scriptures very well. .. Except it uses the words “up” and “heaven” and not “down” and “sheol”. Also, Enoch was “taken by God” and not “sent” which would imply (since you seem to imply and infer a lot) that he went to be with God. No word here for heaven or sheol tho.
    Also, if you want to know how thinking that everyone is going to heaven makes me want to live, it makes me lose my heart for the lost and for reaching the world since we are all going to be in heaven anyway.. Just let them have there fun and don’t try to get anyone to believe. It also makes me question the difference between a believer and non believer and what the purpose is for accepting Christ as my savior when, if all I have to worry about is physical consequences for sin, I can just live well to escape harm and wind up in heaven anyway! What would be the purpose of all the verses talking about believing in order to be saved if everyone already is? A friend of mine pointed out that not everyone wants to be saved anyway. We as people want to do our own thing and spit in the face of God and going to a place where He is the Center and constantly worshipped would not define “heaven” for those who are intrenched in pride and sin. I desperately wish all people were going to heaven and my heart aches at times because the Bible shows that that can’t be. Christ died for all men, yes! It is a gift! But I can’t make you accept a gift if you won’t take it out of my hand, even if i really want you to have it. The essence of the sinful nature says “no thanks, I can do this on my own”. We have to accept His goidt in order to be made clean and righteous in Gods eyes as Jesus was- fit for heaven. And THAT makes me want to go out and reach a lost and dying world. Whether everyone is saved or not should have no bearing on my striving to be like Christ anyway.. I can tell you have a lot of passion for the scriptures but please don’t use it to fight against those with whom we should be fighting with.. All these dabates below are between brothers in Christ and if we disagree, we are fighting the wrong side. So satan is getting an upperhand by confusing us about the Scriptures. We need to fight together in pressing back the darkness and storming the gates of hell, which shall not prevail against us! Praise God for that promise! Show Christ to the world cuz without Him it is all lost

    • Phil Nickel says:

      Cameron,

      I fully appreciate the inequity of non-repentent sinners being able to enjoy “heaven” alongside all those whom have suffered for their faith in God and His
      Christ. The struggle within believers, to separate from the world and be consecrated unto God alone, is a monumental task that can only be accomplished with Divine assistance. This great activity within us is real and undeniable. It has the promise of rewards for eonian life and blessing. But those blessings will not be given to those who are not sealed with Holy Spirit. Those who are not Christ’s will not enjoy the eonian expectation that we have, and they will be “judged” for their sins.

      In the thousand year reign of Christ, the unrepent dead shall remain in the sleep of death until they are resurrected unto condemnation, along with all who were not called and chosen of the Father. This does not take place until after the thousand year reign of Christ on earth. While the faithful and elect of Israel engage in evangelizing the earth in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we shall abide with Christ in transformed bodies, like His own, reigning with Him in the celestials

      1C 15:48 As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.
      1C 15:49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
      1C 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
      1C 15:51 . Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

      Our future is not to inhabit the earth, but to dwell amongst the celestial being in the Heavens, reconciling and bringing them unto subjection to the Lord, we shall do as He is doing. That which the Lord started to do on the earth will be carried on by Israel, as at the first, going to all the nations with the Gospel of the kingdom and healing the nations with the powerful gifts of the Holy Spirit. Our place, according to Paul the Apostle, will be in the heavens.

      Now, not being a participant in either of those future dispensations, and being outside the Kingdom of God, means you are either dead or of the goats of Matthew 25. The eonion chastening ( outer darkness) pertains to those outside the New Jerusalem, who dwell in darkness and are separated from the Lord and His people. The glory of that place, the holy City, will be incredible and cut off from anything that defiles or makes corrupted. It is only for the saints of Israel and the chosen of God.

      Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
      Eph 2:6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:
      Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

      He “hath” raised us up. We are citizens of a different realm, awaiting our Saviour out of heaven, and the transformation of our bodies into the likeness and image of Jesus Christ. It is a done deal, and you and I had no part in it other that by having our eyes and heart opened by God to receive the message of salvation through the cross of Christ. The rest of humanity will be dealt with at another time, under different conditions, as prescribed in the Scriptures.

  52. Mike Gantt says:

    cameron,  you said:

    You talk a lot about sheol but how do you interpret Elijah going “up by a whirlwind into heaven”? You say somewhere that if I think the old testament mentions any other after-life place besides sheol than I don’t know my scriptures very well. .. Except it uses the words “up” and “heaven” and not “down” and “sheol”. Also, Enoch was “taken by God” and not “sent” which would imply (since you seem to imply and infer a lot) that he went to be with God. No word here for heaven or sheol tho.

    You are right that Enoch and Elijah are two accounts that seem to be exceptions to people dying and descending to Sheol.  In both cases, they are portrayed as going up at death.  However, in John 3:13 Jesus explicitly says, “No one has ascended into heaven.”  Considering Enoch and Elijah in this light and re-reading the respective passages, we can conclude that deaths were written about in this way as to foreshadow the resurrection of Christ, and were not intended to indicate that these two went somewhere different in the afterlife than everyone else.

    Also, if you want to know how thinking that everyone is going to heaven makes me want to live, it makes me lose my heart for the lost and for reaching the world since we are all going to be in heaven anyway.. Just let them have there fun and don’t try to get anyone to believe.

    “Fun?”  Look at the ravages of sin in our society.  Look at the pain that human selfishness causes, most of all in families.  There is enormous suffering in the world.  Jesus went about doing good, healing all the suffering that He could.  We should imitate Him.

    It also makes me question the difference between a believer and non believer and what the purpose is for accepting Christ as my savior when, if all I have to worry about is physical consequences for sin, I can just live well to escape harm and wind up in heaven anyway!

    You can’t be free from sin without walking in communion with Christ.  Just praying a sinner’s prayer won’t keep you from sinning.  The sinner’s prayer just launches or restores your relationship with Him.  The purpose of accepting Christ is not to go to heaven but rather so that you can be freed from slavery to sin and spend your life in righteousness – the way God intended us all to live.

    What would be the purpose of all the verses talking about believing in order to be saved if everyone already is?

    Those verses about being saved are not about going to heaven – they are about being saved from the power of sin.  Believing is how you overcome your inherently selfish nature.  Being saved is having your soul healed so that you can walk hand in hand with your Creator every day.

    A friend of mine pointed out that not everyone wants to be saved anyway. We as people want to do our own thing and spit in the face of God and going to a place where He is the Center and constantly worshiped would not define “heaven” for those who are intrenched in pride and sin. I desperately wish all people were going to heaven and my heart aches at times because the Bible shows that that can’t be. Christ died for all men, yes! It is a gift! But I can’t make you accept a gift if you won’t take it out of my hand, even if i really want you to have it. The essence of the sinful nature says “no thanks, I can do this on my own”.

    Those people who walk closest to God on earth will walk closest to Him in heaven.  We are not going to heaven to rest, we are going there to serve God.  Draw near to Him on earth so that you can be near to Him in heaven.  Those who do not want to be close to Him here will not be close to Him there.

    We have to accept His gift in order to be made clean and righteous in Gods eyes as Jesus was- fit for heaven. And THAT makes me want to go out and reach a lost and dying world.

    Good.

    Whether everyone is saved or not should have no bearing on my striving to be like Christ anyway.

    That’s true.

    I can tell you have a lot of passion for the scriptures but please don’t use it to fight against those with whom we should be fighting with.

    I am not seeking a fight with anyone.  I am proclaiming the love of Christ that has been revealed to me in the Scriptures.

    All these dabates below are between brothers in Christ and if we disagree, we are fighting the wrong side. So satan is getting an upperhand by confusing us about the Scriptures. We need to fight together in pressing back the darkness and storming the gates of hell, which shall not prevail against us! Praise God for that promise! Show Christ to the world cuz without Him it is all lost.

    Yes, let us show Christ to the world.  If people disagree with us, let us love them anyway.  If they insult us, let us not insult them in return.  Let the way of Christ rule in our hearts…and ultimately in all hearts.

    • Phil Nickel says:

      cameron said, on December 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Cam: “You talk a lot about sheol but how do you interpret Elijah going “up by a whirlwind into heaven”?”

      Cameron, a word study with a concordance of the “Old Testament” will aid you to understand that “heaven, or heavens” in the Hebrew speaks most often of the atmosphere, not God’s dwelling place. (H8064 shamayim shaw-mah’-yim). The fact that a tempest or “whirlwind” is mentioned aught to shed light on this passage (2 Kings 2:1), as a tempest or whirlwind is atmospheric, not supernatural.

      2Ki 2:11 And it cometh to pass, they are going, going on and speaking, and lo, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and they separate between them both, and Elijah goeth up in a whirlwind, to the heavens. (YLT)

      Cam: “Also, Enoch was “taken by God” and not “sent” which would imply (since you seem to imply and infer a lot) that he went to be with God.”

      We are not told where Enoch was taken, or transferred to. But we are informed that God’s purpose in transferring him was in consideration of his having pleased Him well, and so that he might not be being acquainted with death (Heb.11:5; cp Gen.5:22b). It may be that God transferred Enoch from one place to another so as to put him beyond the reach of wicked men who were seeking his soul. (G3346 metatithemi met-at-ith’-ay-mee, transfer, to transport)

      Gn 5:23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
      Enoch died in faith, not having received the promise.
      These all died in faith, By faith Abel, By faith Enoch, By faith Noah, By faith Abraham,
      By faith Sarah These all died in faith, not having received the promises Hb 11:13
      Enoch is in sheol awaiting the resurrection to life, along with all those who also pleased God and died in expectation of the promise of God.

      It does not say he died, nor does it say where God transferred him to. The Word of God does say He died though, does it not?
      And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years.

      As Mike G. has said, and I concur, that it is set in stone, so to speak, and if what Jesus has spoken is not true then we are in very, very serious trouble”
      “John 3:13 Jesus explicitly says, ‘No one has ascended into heaven.’ ”
      Think hard on this. If you would argue against such a direct and explicit pronouncement against what is in the Holy Writings, what else may you be discounting of His words that do not align with your personal beliefs? Just asking…
      Cam: “Also, if you want to know how thinking that everyone is going to heaven makes me want to live, it makes me lose my heart for the lost and for reaching the world since we are all going to be in heaven anyway..”
      I have heard this said before, and though I have not felt that I should “let ‘er rip” since we’re all going to get there anyway, the truth is there are other ages, or eons as the Scriptures state, and those who do not have the life of Christ dwelling in them will not experience those periods. It could number in the thousands of years being at the Lord’s side in power and glory with rest of the Body of Christ .To be a partaker of the second death will preclude that indescribable glory for those who have believed. For the saints, advancement in God and Christ as spiritual beings during the eons to come will most assuredly become brighter and brighter beyond our fantasies and comprehensions, in order to become more like the One Who died for us while we are yet sinners.
      Eph 2:7 That in the ages (G165 aion ahee-ohn’,properly, an age[s]), to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
      I am not attempting to disparage you, Cameron, but if you are entertaining such thoughts as departing from the faith and pursuing sin as does the rest of this world, I should think you harbor something in your heart that has not been captured and surrendered to God. It is questionable how deep our belief really is if we look upon the lost with envy, and fail to press into God for the reward of faith that has been given to us. God will take care of the unsaved lost, He has not forgotten them and He is totally responsible for their salvation, not you and I. Should you be given opportunity to witness to someone that sees you have a different good works and peace, then as an ambassador for Christ speak of your country, your home in the heavens, where you dwell with Christ, your Saviour.
      For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;
      And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him
      to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.Col 1:19-20
      “to reconcile all things unto himself”

      Now, Cameron, which part of “all” do you believe is not going to be reconciled? If not all, then how much?

      When the Holy Spirit speaks “all”, does that not mean all? God did not make a mistake by using the word all. If He did, where else in Scripture did He err? Perhaps, if God was really to be truthful, He should have said,”by Him to reconcile “some” things…in earth and heaven…” I speak foolishly, I know.

      Cam: “Christ died for all men, yes! It is a gift! But I can’t make you accept a gift if you won’t take it out of my hand, even if i really want you to have it. The essence of the sinful nature says “no thanks, I can do this on my own”. “I desperately wish all people were going to heaven and my heart aches at times because the Bible shows that that can’t be.”
      You are so correct here, Cameron. No one can “accept Christ”, none of has. It has always been God, not us. If you “chose Christ”, I would have to correct you. It is impossible to get saved by “free-will” choice.
      No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: Jn 6:44
      ..whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand, also, to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be Firstborn among many brethren.
      Now whom He designates beforehand, these He calls also, and whom He calls, these He justifies also; now whom He justifies, these He glorifies also .Ro 8:28-30

      The Scriptures are unequivocal about the absolute and utter hopelessness and helplessness of all men in choosing between serving God, and serving the flesh. None seeks God, none are righteous, and there has never been any man, other than the man Christ Jesus, who could turn to God and away from sin. Accepting Christ is impossible without God. Believing the Gospel is impossible without God. Choosing to be saved to avoid going to “hell” is impossible without God.
      We are all completely useless and feeble without God helping us every step of the way. It is not a choice, it is an act of God on our behalf.
      All the glory and honor and blessing and our salvation comes from His hand, and not our own.

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    • mai hoffrichter says:

      What does this scripture mean when you said everybody going to heaven?
      Mar 16:16 The one believing and being baptized will be saved. And the one not believing will be condemned. Is His word true

      • Anonymous says:

        Mai, the Greek word that God used is katakrisesthetai, which literally means they-shall-be-down-judged. There is no mention of the sentence, but the refusal of the Jew to comply meant being cut off from the Kingdom to come. This kingdom is on earth. It is not the heavenly kingdom in view here.

        While it is true certain Jews will be cut off (Mt 8:11-12, Mt 13:41-42, Mt 13:50, Lk 13:28), this judgment concerns Israel alone. It is not the White Throne judgment of Revelation 20. It is the former resurrection (Re 20:5) which Daniel (12:13) was promised, seen in Abraham and Isaac, and in which all who were under the Law of Moses will experience on the earth. We will not be particpants, since we will have been changed into His image (1Co 15:52) at that time. They will be “born-again” on the earth through water and spirit, raised out from among the dead, to inherit the land as promised. Those Hebrews who did not believe and were not baptized will be left out of the coming earthly Kingdom as per Mark 16:16.

        Yes, His word is true and this will come to pass. But what He said while on earth concerning His own disciples should not be moved into our sphere. Ours is a heavenly destiny as the Body of Christ, not the Bride on earth. We, the believers in the cross of Christ, are justified by faith (Eph 2:8-9). They will be required in the next age to have faith and works as proof of the fidelity (Ja 2:20). What a blessing we truly have in Christ!

        P Nickel

  55. Mike Gantt says:

    Yes, His word is forever and always true. Those who do not believe Him are walking in darkness. Those of us who do believe in Him must therefore stand firm in our faith so we can draw them to Him (Matthew 5:16) and snatch them from the fire (Jude 1:22-23). We who have turned from our sins should give our lives to help others turn from theirs (James 5:19-20).

  56. Cjane says:

    As a new believer in universalism, how do we define/explain what is going on with the hype of the illuminati? could it be just another man made scare tactic to impose dark force upon those who aren’t powerful like them? how they use literalism in the bible to support their dark agenda to control different industries and us? doesn’t god warn of these type of schemes to be laid upon the world? I was studying how many who are fearful of this illuminati take over, they seem to think that satan is a real person and hell is real and that the illuminati are real in the flesh demons to do satans work. This made me think that many who see the illuminati this way, have been brainwashed to interpret the literalism in the bible and not the spiritual meanings in the bible.

    If this illuminati is indeed a scare tactic on the world, then it is definitely a very effective one, and many people are starting to become god fearing/satan fearing and believing the literalism of the bible when it comes to satan, hell, 666, etc.

    How does one believing in unviversalism/unviversal salvation, explain the numerology in the bible when it comes to satan, and how the illuminati use numerology/symbolism 13,12,666, the eye etc. to support their agenda?

    What is anyone’s take on this?

    cheers!

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Cjane,

      You don’t need to be concerned with secret societies, whether fictitious or real. Rather, love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, laying down your life in sacrificial love for those around you. If you are a father, this means loving your wife and children, and seeking their interests over your own. If you are a wife, this means loving your husband and children, and seeking their interests over your own. And so on. There’s nothing magical or mystical about living for Christ. It’s living as Jesus did.

      As for the Bible, it is the word of God and can be trusted to tell the truth about Him and His ways. Note however that your conscience must always be your guide. This is where God speaks and resides. That is to say, what matters most to God is that we do what is right…for the right reasons…and with the right attitude. Love is right.

      • Cjane says:

        Thanks mike your well appreciated response, as a former churchgoer and being brought up on man made christianity laws, it has been a full 360 turn around for me as to discovering my renewed faith in god, and much of my revelations agreed and made sense with the universal stance of being christian. It’s like you really have to rethink everything you were brought up on in a nation like america, and really do your homework , which many christian/religious americans have failed to do when it comes to the bible, and what god is really telling us. It almost feels like i have to have my guard up on everything now after being brainwashed most of my younger life by man made laws here in america. It is terribly easy to get caught up in the ways of man to a point where you lose sight of god and the holy spirit and what its all about. It’s so easy to be bible illiterate because many of us tend to rely on preachers and churches and people to tell us what is right and wrong and what the bible says. It took me a while to realize that the bible made it clear for the individual to read and know the word, the word is jesus christ, he was the greatest example of everything love and good in the eyes of god.

        I’m still in the process of studying the bible more and the histories of christianity, and doing it for myself, and not so much taking word for word in the bible, but considering all the aspects of the bible , the spiritual teachings. I think many of us focus too much on the literal sense, which can dangerously be taken out of context , and misinterpreted, as i’ve witnessed such myself. There’s just so much to rethink! can be quite overwhelming for the human mind=0

    • Anonymous says:

      Cjane,
      I am unfamiliar with the Illuminati’s use of biblical literalism to uphold their agenda. A link would be helpful to me so I can better understand this. I have never heard of such a contention, that they use Scripture to advance their designs, but I am open to finding out more. If this is so, I would be interested in what ways they do it.

      AV Jn 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil (Adversary), and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

      AV 1Jn 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil (Adversary); for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

      God created Satan, the Serpent, the Adverary, for His purposes. He was created to oppose God in all His plans, in order for God to reveal Himself to His creation. The Adversary is God’s slave, and does exactly what God the Father ordains. He is not free to rule over men unconstrained. He is powerful and rules this world system through deception, fear and enslavement.

      After the crucifixion of our Lord, his operations turned from merely being able to persuade men to murder, lie and commit sins against nature, he was allowed to take upon himself the power to deceive through mishandled truth and light, and masquerade as God’s ministers as well.

      For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
      And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
      Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. AV 2C 11:13-5.

      The Iluminati are who they are, God’s appointed vessels for wrath, in order to show forth His future mercies and judgments. All the works of the Adversary are for this purpose, to contrast the blessings and abundances found in God alone.

      Men, ourselves included, need these contrasting elements of Societies such as the Illuminati, to prepare mankind for the Savior of all. They have their role in this tragedy of human folly, and we as believers have our place as ambassadors for Christ.

      As Mike G. says, it’s enough to apply yourself to the things he has suggested, needing all grace and help from God to remain faithful to those things. If you do all you can, with the help of God, to excel in the doctrines and teachings of Paul the apostle, who only taught the salvation of all men, you will be sufficient unto God for service to Him in anything and everthing. Do not judge yourself or others for falling short of the glory of God, but be filled with the grace that saved you, and bestow the same unto others, believer and unbeliever alike.
      P. Nickel

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  58. Ken says:

    God wrote the Bible in language that we could understand.You either believe it or you don’t.He knew exactly what our understanding of hell would be from exactly what He wrote about it in the Bible.You don’t need a new version Bible or a Greek concordance to tell you hell means something that’s different then what it means.I was born in an english speaking country not Greece.I’m sure that the King James Bible was inspired by God every word.God is the one who created words to form our understanding.If He wanted us to know what sheol means then He would give us an understanding of that.In the mean time I’m going to just believe that where it says hell it means hell and where it says grave it means grave.According to my understanding.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ken, your desire to defend the Bible is a good thing, and your exhortation to believe it is sane and sound advice. It is another thing to think that “God wrote” it.
      The Scriptures were written by men of God, under inspiration of Holy Spirit.

      AV 2Pt 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.

      AV 2Ti 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

      God the Father has not revealed Himself in any other way. He will never be seen, heard or felt by the flesh, He is Spirit.

      Jn 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared [him].

      AV 1Ti 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

      So, He uses men to speak to us, as the direct channel to express Himself. He uses the Logos, both written and Incarnate (Jesus Christ), to reveal His will.

      It is noteworthy that this Almighty God, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth, chose certain times and languages to do this. Please do not ignore the significance of His choosing Hebrew and Greek as the Original languages. He had specific reasons for this. Greek is a very precise language, and dominated the world at the time of the Lord’s ministry.

      In the course of translating Scriptures into languages other than the Originals, the sense of many words can and have changed, seeing that translators are not inspired by God as were the Apostles and Prophets of the past.

      It is important that you cleave to that which you understand of the Bible, and what Jesus Christ means to you as you read the word of God. Not many are strong in the faith to endure the deep things of God when they are brought up, still, the fact that you entered this site may show that God wants to give you “meat” instead of “milk”, and be careful to not let your personal prejudices and biases prevent you from moving to a greater blessing in Christ.
      P Nickel

  59. Mike Gantt says:

    Ken, even the King James Bible says “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).

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  62. Tiffany says:

    Um… so if everyone is going to heaven, why did Jesus have to come die for us? Why do we have to evangelize and send missionaries to Africa and other places who have never heard about Jesus? Why do we have to live any different than the drunk wife-beater down the street? If we’re all going to heaven, we should be able to just act like sinners.

    • Phil says:

      Tiffany, missionary efforts are a good thing. Many people need love and care that is otherwise uknown to them. Howerver, the call to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom was not given to us, the Gentiles.

      Paul the Apostle, our apostle, never gives us the injunction to imitate the commission of the Lord’s disciples.

      The evangel to the nations does not come out of the nations, it comes out from Jerusalem, through Israel. We are gentiles called to faith obedience, not works, as the Sermon on the Mount demands. Ours is a position of faith through grace, a gift from God the Father.

      The Gospel of the kIngdom will once again be taken up by Israel’s elect saints, before the terrible Day of the Lord and His advent to Olivet for judging Israel and the nations. Until that time, we are ambassadors for Christ’s sake, and citizens of the heavenlies, not the earth. It is election, not choice, that determines salvation in this present wicked era. The Body of Christ is being called out by God, not by men, and He knows those are HIs. I believe the efforts of most missionaries are futile, as statistics will show, and that is because no gentile is commissioned by God or His Christ to preach it. It belongs to the Jew. That they failed to do that during Paul’s time is evident in Acts, but that will change once more as this present eon comes to its consummation.

      Do you believe in eternal torment of the unsaved? If that is the case, then I can understand the urgency of your position. The false doctrine of everlasting torment creates an evil slander against God and His goal of becoming All in all. Be assured that He is the saviour of all men, specially them that believe, and that He will reconcile ALL things unto Himself through His Beloved Son, whether on earth or in heaven, just as the Scriptures declare.

      Do not believe that God is not just to judge those who are unbelieving. He will judge all, believer and unbeliever alike, and everyone will recieve the reward of what they did in their bodies, whether good or evil. But only those whose faith is in His work on the cross will live incorruptable for the ages to come. The rest will not be a part of that glory. There is indeed a second death, the Lake of Fire. And just as death precedes resurrection, so also the second death precedes being made alive in Christ. Death is death. It is not life.

      But the Bible does not say how long it last, it only says that it is abolished in the end of the ages. Those who were cast into it will be made alive in Christ, and just as all men died in Adam, all shall be made alive in Christ. This is the declared Word of God.

      I will remind you that the sacrifice of Christ was either imperfect to save, or it was not. Should uncertainty about the power of the cross and God to save all of His creation be entertained, it can only destroy the faith that leads to an appreciation of God, our Father.

  63. Mike Gantt says:

    Tiffany, I encourage you to read some of the others posts for which I showed links at the end of the post above. In short, if Jesus had not come and died for us, none of us could go to heaven. We try to live better than the drunk wife-beater down the street because 1) it’s the right thing to do, 2) it’s a way of expressing our gratitude to the One who died for us, 3) it’s an opportunity to set and example for, and pray for, the drunk wife-beater down the street, and 4) even though that guy gets to heaven, his actions on earth will be judged; we are all being judged for everything we think, say, and do. (See especially the link “Judgment Is Upon Us.”)

  64. Jenny says:

    Jesus has redeemed us all. He paid the full price. All people will come back to God one day. The idea of eternal hell is from Greek mythology and it has been added to the bible too. There’s no mention of hell in the old testament. There is sheol (the grave) but it’s not a fiery place. Even jewish people know most of the old testament than christians, and jewish people don’t believe in eternal hell. God said to adam and eve, if you eat that fruit you will die. He didn’t say if you eat the fruit you will go to eternal hell. If it was that serious, then God would have that. People, please research and pray to God about this. I prayed to God and the answer I get is God will save everyone. The more I pray, the more truth is revealed. I said to God “please, save everyone, please save everyone”. In a instance I got a answer “That’s my plan”. No man can defeat God’s plan. God will have everyone saved. It’s His will. And another thing us humans don’t actually have free will too.

    All came from the light and all will return to the God.

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  67. Sean says:

    I don’t think anyone is going to heaven. Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle; they will inherit the earth.”

    • Mike Gantt says:

      In that statement He was referring to this life.

      Remember Matthew 11:28-30 where He described Himself as meek, and 2 Corinthians 10:1 where Paul spoke of imitating Him in this regard, and know that these are the steps in which we are to walk while we are on the earth. Then, when our time here is done, we ascend to be with the Lord as Paul did.

      To say that earth is our final destination is to make the mistake of the Sadducees.

      • Sean says:

        Wow. I’ve never heard that interpretation before. The beatitudes all follow the same format. Blessings are pronounced on someone in the present for a particular attitude/behavior and then a promise is given (in the future) for what they will receive. The last people to inherit the earth are the meek (in this present evil age). The gentle are the ones who refuse to coerce others to do their will. How would such people ever take possession of the earth–that is, until Christ returns. Do you believe Christ will return? Also, what’s this business about the Sadducees?

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Christ returned just when He said He would. (See All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ and Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again.)

          As for the Sadducees, I was referring to their fixation on earth as accounting for their inability to grasp the spiritual solution God was granting through resurrection of the dead (see Matthew 22:23-33).

          As for my interpretation of that beatitude as novel, I don’t think I was being original at all. As you know, the Beatitudes are part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), which is about entering the kingdom of God. Do you believe that the kingdom of God is only accessible to people once they die, or do you think Jesus was teaching us how to live while we’re here?

          If I could fully live the life of love and power that Jesus of Nazareth lived, I would certainly feel that I had inherited the earth. No one could stop Jesus from doing anything He wanted to do for others. Only His submission to the divine plan led to His end.

          To live in the Kingdom of God is to live as Jesus did. May we all be so blessed.

  68. Mike, I think you are confused. There is a lot of confusion in the body of Christ. People do not have to go to hell, that is the good news of the Gospel. Jesus is a stumbling block for many. They do not want to go the narrow way, but the broad way. God does not want people suffering, that is why He sent Jesus. Jesus is the only righteous one and we in Him if we get saved. If and only if. Not everyone is going to heaven because not everyone is saved. That is your ticket into heaven. The righteousness we have is Jesus’s righteousness, not our own.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Robin, I used to hold your view but reading the Scriptures more carefully, and paying more attention to them than to human traditions and opinions, convinced me otherwise. Please read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

    • Dave says:

      I would love to see one bible verse that says the “Good News is that people do not have to go to hell.” I fail to see Paul preaching a turn or burn gospel anywhere. To me, Acts 13:38-39 is wonderful news, but I fail to see that hell was being addressed as good news. I always wonder where the Gentiles would have learned about hell in the next life when Paul never taught it. I know none of them had a bible back then, so they relied on Paul’s letters, so where would a Gentile have learned hell forever in the next life?

      • Mike Gantt says:

        Dave,

        Well-meaning – but mistaken – church people told them.

        • Dave says:

          Mike,

          I too was mistaken once. I grew up in fundamentalism and even bought books on hell to strengthen my position on it. It all began to change when I noticed Gehenna was never said to be a final resting/torture place in the afterlife. It was never spoken as some future place where all the wicked would be raised and then thrown in it. I confused the lake of fire with Gehenna, but I realized that Gehenna consumed/destroyed flesh but the lake of fire did not. Gehenna destroyed the living, but lake of fire was not said to destroy flesh.

          I also could not understand why Paul never preached on it if it were as important as my church claimed. My church always warned people about hell and claimed it was a loving thing to do, but if my warning of hell was a loving thing to do then why did Paul fail to be loving was my thinking. I did not find a huge soul-winning team being formed by Paul with the Gentiles to get the warning out about hell anywhere.

          I thought of my child and if he were facing execution by lethal injection. Back when I believed the penal substitution theory, I pictured the judge agreeing to allow the death of an innocent man to die on behalf of my son to free him. I then thought how crazy it would be if this innocent man died on behalf of my son but the judge still ordered my son to die because my son did not accept the death of the innocent man on his behalf. I would not even care if my son rejected that man dying on his behalf because that man’s death was still a real action that took place on behalf of my child, as I love my son and that death was to free my son. I also imagined what a horror it would have been of the family of the slain innocent man to know that the death of their innocent child for my son was in vain. I then pictured how much more value does the shedding of His blood (savior of all, savior of the world, propitiation for the sins of the whole world, ransom for all, all shall be made alive) have in comparison to some ordinary sinful man dying, and it bothered my hellish beliefs very much.

          The god of hell clearly has a love that fails, and his mercy endureth not. It bothered me that I could love people far more than this god, but I would push it out of my mind back then as bordering blasphemy for questioning this god of tradition. The one comment that really got to me was when I read a comment by a mother who said, and I am paraphrasing, “If God sent my child to hell then I would rather go to hell comforting my child forever than live with such a God.” This mother was demonstrating a love that fails not better than God Himself.

          Love is said to beget love, but my hellish beliefs did not breed love. I thought that if there was no hell then all hell would break loose on the earth. I once believed the fear of hell curbed sin in the life of people, but I started seeing that murderers, drunkards, fornicators, and so on believed in hell, but their belief in hell did not stop them. How could I claim that I loved God when I knew deep down that I was only serving Him to the best of my ability because I did not want to sin it up and prove I was never saved to begin with that would only produce fear of eternity in hell? This was not love I had but a fear, as I was a slave to my fear. Every day was a routine of religious duties (bible reading, prayer, church, witnessing, etc.) to appease this god, as failing to do any of those things brought guilt and a condemning conscience that I once claimed was the Holy Spirit. How could I claim to love God when I knew the fear was keeping the real wicked me in a cage? I always thought that if universalism was true then that beast within would come roaring out devouring in pleasure every sin possible.

          This god was angry, so I was angry too, but I called it righteous indignation when I would find faults with others. I was only a friend to sinners when the sinner did exactly as I instructed him or her to do concerning my version of the gospel. Otherwise, the sinner who resists my god of vengeance was nothing more than a pitiful piece of trash ready for the flames of hell.

          When I beheld a loving and forgiving God did not have the effects my old religion said would happen (this actually happened before my hell beliefs fully dropped). I actually relaxed. I was no longer looking to point out people their sins but rather God’s magnificent grace, and I had a heart for those suffering from the despair and depression that came from religious teaching. When I dropped the hell beliefs was the absolute icing on the cake, as my life was changed for the better. It was as though the scriptures cleared up when I thought I saw them clearly before. Before, the bible looked like a bunch of “Do this or I will get you,” but that happens when scriptures are read through religious eyes. God removed my religious eyes and His lavishing love became an absolute reality to me.

          Sorry for the long post.

          Dave

  69. anonymous1 says:

    i’ve been a devout christian during my high school years. When i got to college, my eyes were opened to the worldly things. In christ terms, i’ve ”backslided.” Following my graduation from college, i’ve been focused to look into my identity and I realized I do want to live for Christ. However, my heart is struggling with the idea of people I know is going to hell. My boyfriend of four years is agnostic…He does not believe in Jesus so I could not bear the idea of him possibly going to hell. I’ve been wrestling with the idea of a loving God sending my mother, my roommates, and my boyfriend to hell. They’re my world. My sister believes in that kind of stuff. It’s been hard for me. Until i found your blog and i find your view so refreshing. It encourages me even more to believe in God’s live and to live for Him. I do feel it is wrong to believe that some will go to heaven, some will not. Just believing in that WILL encourage us to be judgmental of others, which Jesus does not want. Thank you for writing this blog.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Yes, living for God and His love is the most important thing. It is the only way of life that makes sense in this corrupt and mixed-up world.

      Jesus Christ showed us all how to live – serve others in humble love, and love Him most of all. If this is the way you truly want to live, He will guide you in it day by day.

      • “It is the only way of life that makes sense in this corrupt and mixed-up world.” That statement sounds just like how every other religion in the world thinks.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          I am unaware of any religion that has a story like that of Jesus Christ.

          • That statement reveals that you have searched the scriptures until you have discovered what you wanted to discover.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              That’s not the case. When i say that I am unaware of any religion that has a story like that of Jesus Christ I am meaning the story of Christ as almost everyone who has read the Bible understands it. God comes to earth as a human being, demonstrates His love but is rejected and crucified, then raised from the dead to show mercy to all. What religion thinks like that?

              • “That statement” refers to the first one I quoted from you- you want the scriptures to make sense to YOU,so you say it reveals to you that everyone goes to heaven. You are no different in your method of thinking than those people you say are wrong.

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  We are all human beings. We are all using thought. Yes, in that sense I am no different from my opponents, you, or anyone else. Christ’s thoughts are more important than ours, yet we have to use thought to apprehend Him. If you fault me for using my mind, you have to fault yourself for using your mind to decide that.

                  • I am not faulting you for what you think, but how you think. You have chosen to believe scripture so that it makes sense to you. That is not how I use my brain.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      I am reading the Scriptures in the same way any human being reads any document – that is, trying to understand the author’s intention. Is it my fault if it makes sense?

                    • The more you reply, the more you reveal that you interpret scripture for yourself. Using your logic, everyone else is just as correct as you by trying understanding the author’s intent, but they do not believe what you believe. And they don’t have to, because, your logic allows for that. Yet, you say others ARE wrong. You can’t have it both ways.

                    • Mike Gantt says:

                      Many people read the Bible. Those many people come to different conclusions. Not all are right. God knows which ones are correct conclusions and which are not.

                      If I say that people can read the Bible, come to the wrong conclusion, and still go to heaven, does that mean I am trying to have it both ways? Not at all. God is not going to send people to hell for reading the Bible and coming to the wrong conclusion. However, He is judging us and will judge us for how well we lived up to the truth that we knew in life.

                      I am heeding my conscience by writing these blogs. I am testifying to what I have read and understood from the Bible. God knows whether I am right or not. If you think I am wrong then so be it. But know that both you and I are being judged by God. May His will be done.

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  80. Curt Russell says:

    Mike… your theology is so… so partial. Everyone is not going to heaven if you believe Matthew 25…

    31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

    41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    “These will go away into eternal punishment” … refers to someone. So, if Scripture is trustworthy, there are some who will be sent “into the eternal fire”.

    We should also be careful what we teach to others as indicated in Mark 9…

    42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. 43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, 44 where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

    Blessings
    Curt

  81. Mike Gantt says:

    Curt,

    Take note that in the Matthew 25 passage from which you quote, the text says it is describing not what happens when we die, but rather what happens when Christ comes in His kingdom. That happened in the first century (see Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again and All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled in Christ).

    As for the Mark 9 warning, I agree that it is important to keep it in mind.  It is the responsibility of those of us who know about the kingdom of God to not only seek it, but to lead others – even children – to it.  Woe to us if we mislead others – and especially if we mislead children.

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  83. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    I am anything but a “heaven and hell“ expert. Regarding the aforementioned Scriptures from Mt 25 as to the Final Judgment, there are only two things that caught my eye.

    (1) The sheep were called “the righteous” (Mt 25:37, Mt 25:46) who cared unknowingly for their brothers in Christ (Mt 25:40).

    (2) The goats were not called to come to the Lord as the righteous were called to (Mt 25:34); and they couldn’t believe that Christ accused them of not having served Him in life, since they replied,

    “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?” (Mt 25:44)

    The second group seems to me being very self-assured as for their ministry. Somehow this comparison between goats and sheep reminds me of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (Lk 18:9-14).
    Which one of both men there was the righteous man after having been justified by God? It was the tax collector, the sinner, who saw nothing good in himself, and who neither had any faith in himself, that is, any “good works” of the law comparable to the Pharisee’s. For everyone who relies on works of the law is under a curse (Gal 3:10), since justification in the New Covenant “is the gift of God” who saves us “by grace […] through faith” in Christ alone (Gal 2:16, Eph 2:8) “so that no one may boast“ (Eph 2:9) as the Pharisee clearly did.

    I am convinced that anyone who fears hell because he is aware of his sins will be the one Jesus will call to come to Him, since that was the very reason why God became man:

    “And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”” (Mk 2:16-17)

    It is comforting to know that we don’t need to have any righteousness on our own:

    “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Rom 5:19)

    ————————————————–

    Excursus:

    We are all born into a world of which we are unaware in the very beginning. Growing up, one might make the experience that it is better to acquire more and more knowledge because thus it is easier to find the right way in life (So you are told it’s best to be the one who knows the most).
    But is it really easier then? Wouldn’t it be better to know “someone” who knows everything about life for He is life itself (Jn 14:6)?

    Looking back, I remember that I was always eager to learn new things, yet not always the things I was told. 😉 During college days, I pinned the following saying on my notice board (in the English language which I already loved):

    The more we study, the more we understand
    The more we understand, the more we learn
    The more we learn, the more we know
    The more we know, the more we forget
    So, why study?

    It was very helpful when I was really fed up with learning boring stuff. :) Or in other words:
    Hope is love that brought me through when ‘eat-sleep-think’ was all I knew…

    ————————————————-

    My intention behind this excursus was to point to the fact that we learn good things and bad things in life, truth and lies, helpful and harmful things. This applies to religion as well. In my experience, people who were raised with strict religious “black and white” pictures, and rigorous “heaven and hell” thinking may tend to project what they have learned onto their image of God; a fact which causes confusion, fear, and pain.

    There is a good kind of fear – the fear of God – which is the reason for shame about our sins (Rom 6:21), but finally pushes us nearer to God’s loving heart. However, there is a bad kind of fear as well, that is, the fear caused by our accuser – Satan – which seems to show us quite plainly that we are irretrievably lost because of our sins past and present. In the latter case of fear, our view gets mindcuffs since it is captured by our own sins, and we are more and more tempted to hide before God – like Adam. Yet God is always calling us to come out of our hiding in the darkness, asking, “Where are you?” (Gen 3:9) in order to draw us into Jesus’ wonderful light. Whoever loves can be sure that he knows the light (1 Jn 2:10), even though it might be covered by dark clouds from time to time.

    Indeed, I must admit that one needs a rough and tough attitude – at least concerning struggles with Satan (referring to James 4:7). As for me, I couldn’t get rid of my inner monstrous picture of God [which actually was Satan’s, not God’s] as long as Jesus didn’t free me from it with His patient and tender love.
    God’s patience is not comparable to any patience we know from other human beings; it is unimaginably greater and better, and it lasts longer (longer than there have been stars up in the heavens). Alas, I have no words for the feeling that fills my heart…
    But the Bible has them:

    “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.” (Ps 103:8-14)

  84. Judy says:

    Yes everyone does go to heaven…however there are two roads that lead there. Depending on which road you take determines your fate. Few will find the right way.

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  88. Jeff says:

    I have a friend who recently has came to the same conclusion that you have but I would like to have you address the following passages from the Bible, then after, I have an alternative theological theory on the topic of “Hell” I’d like to run by you.

    Daniel 12:2
    Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace.

    Matthew 25:46
    “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    2 Thessalonians 1:9
    They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.

    Psalm 9:17
    The wicked shall return to Sheol, all the nations that forget God.

    Matthew 25:41
    “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.’ ”

    Matthew 10:28
    And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

    2 Thessalonians 1:9
    They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

    Acts 3:23
    And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.

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

    If you read each of those verses there is substantial proof and little wiggle room to make the claim “everyone is going to heaven”. I don’t see the same supporting verses for your position. Now I do understand your position when it comes to God sending any of His children into an eternal firey tourmented Hell. That doesn’t seem like the punishment fits the crime and eternity is a LOOOOOOOONG time to burn, but I don’t think “Hell” is an eternity of fire and damnation. Like Mike states, the translation of Sheol and Hades was altered and it does infact refer to “the grave” or “sleep of the dead”.

    If you re-read the passages above and rather than think of Hell (Sheol and Hades) not as a lake of fire but instead as being absent from God therefore you no longer exist, it fits perfectly with each and every one of those verses. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 even says, “eternal destruction”, Acts 3:23 says “shall be destroyed”, John 3:16 says “should not perish”, Psalm 9:17 says “the wicked shall return to Sheol, or the grave, sleep… Do you see how that fits no matter what verse you use? Still, it’s not a that great, to be non-existent is a far better ending than burning forever and if you think about it there is justice for the truely wicked who reject Christ but there isn’t this sense of going eternally overboard with a punishment so horrific it does fit the traits of a loving, compassionate God.

    My religion professor whose oppinion I value greatly taught that because God breathed life into man, that man cannot exist without God. God is omnipresent so if there is a place called hell then God would have to be there too. He also talks about parts of Greek religion leaking into the Church as was evident in Pauls writings to the Corinthians. The Corinthian Church was taking practices from the Greek religions at the time and adding them to their own practices. The concept of eternal punishment was part of Greek religions and the underworld is described as having different regions much like Dante’s interpretation of “levels” of hell. We have practices even today were we have taken rituals from other religions and incorporate them in how we celebrate Christmas and Easter. There is a strong possibility that this concept of eternal damnation and punishment worked it’s way into our current translation of the Bible.

    With that being said, it seems much more likely that hell is being absent from God and basically being non-existant. This also fits with the above verses while I am not able to see how you could translate the verses to mean everyone is going to heaven as the verses are written. I also want to point out that though God is loving and merciful, he is also just and there are other passages that talk about punishing the wicked. “Vengance is mine sayeth the Lord”. Well, if Hitler is in heaven I won’t be the only one surprised.

    I find this teaching to be dangerous as it potentially installs a sense of “don’t sweat it, everyone is going to heaven so why bother spreading God’s message”. Honestly, if you are correct, there was no reason at all for any of the people killed in the name of Christ to have done so. Why spread God’s message of salvation? It’s time consuming and everyone’s going to heaven anyway, plus what can one person really do, and I would DEFINATELY not minister in any ghettos or shady parts of town, that’s too dangerous.

  89. Mike Gantt says:

    Most, if not all, the questions you ask will be answered when you read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

    There’s a place at the end of every chapter for you to pose questions or make challenges.

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  112. Anonymous says:

    BLASPHEMY! Everyone, be careful of what you read here as satan is very smart and will try ANYTHING, even websites like this, to lead you away from the truth! BE CAREFUL! THIS WEBSITE IS BLASPHEMY!!!!!!! Don’t let this guy trick you into believing EVERYONE goes to heaven.

    “Enter through the narrow gate;(of heaven), for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. Matthew 7:13

    How can this mean, everyone goes to heaven?!!! BE CAREFUL OF THIS DECEIVER!

    • Dave says:

      “satan is very smart and will try ANYTHING, even websites like this”

      Thanks! I did not know Satan had a laptop computer to write blogs on the Internet. For a second, I actually thought Mike Gantt had written these blogs.

      BTW Anon, what is the Kingdom of Heaven? Please give scriptural support if you believe it is literally heaven after death as I would love to read it.

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  115. Josef Sefton says:

    Jesus taught in Matthew 7:14

    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    In Revelation 20:15 we learn that whosoever was not found in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 21:8 describes those who are not in the book of life.

    The witness of Jesus is that few are saved by the Lord God! lord jesus weblog

  116. Josef Sefton says:

    Do you realise that you are disagreeing with the faithful and true witness of Lord Jesus? He says few find the way and you say all find the way. God says the pure in heart will see Him but you say those who have died in their sins will also see him?

    • Mike Gantt says:

      The words you quote are from the Bible which is given to help guide us through this life on the earth. We will not need the Bible when we get to heaven.

      As Isaiah says, some sins are not forgiven until we die (Isaiah 22:14). Therefore, death means freedom from sin, and Paul confirms this (“for he who has died is freed from sin” – Romans 6:7). If the dead are forgiven and freed from sin, why would God then torment them forever?

      Read the book linked above and see the biblical explanation for what I am saying. God is love. Yes, there will be judgment for our sins, both in this life and in heaven to come (for heaven is a big place with plenty of room for God to give and withhold rewards as He sees fit), but through it all and in the end…God is love.

      The Lord Jesus knows that I am speaking faithfully and truly for Him.

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  118. So, Jesus and his disciples died because they preached that everyone would go to heaven. They preached that you should live better but if you don’t you will receive punishment and not be a leader in the kingdom. They were killed for that.

  119. Josef Sefton says:

    Neither Jesus nor his disciples ever taught that everyone is going to heaven and that no one is going to hell. God is love but let’s not overlook the teaching in the Bible that the wages of sin is death. Jesus died because it was God’s will that he died and not because of his trustworthy teaching!

    Enjoy your bible studies!

    Josef

  120. Josef Sefton says:

    Death doesn’t mean freedom from sin for those who have died in their sins. Death means the body has died. Death means the spirit will return to God who gave it. ( See Eccl. 12:7)

    “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, 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)

    “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30,31)

    There will be a thorough judgment of all sinners based on all their sins. “And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Rev. 20:12)

  121. Mike Gantt says:

    Josef,

    Your understanding of these scriptures is handicapped by the fact that you seem to think, like most evangelicals, that judgment is something that only happens after we die. The world is now under the eternal judgment of Jesus Christ. There will be a final judgment when you die, but there is plenty of it before you ever reach that point.

    Go back and study judgment in the Scriptures, and see that it is something that happens extensively in this life. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed on this earth in this life. Judgment brings the wrath of God against sin, but simultaneously brings salvation to the righteous. That’s what Passover typified.

    God is an ever-present help in time of trouble – not just a refuge for when we die.

  122. James says:

    God’s great desire, above all, is for me to teach Christ and Him crucified. The great need of an unrepentant sinner is to know that he/she needs rescuing from being enslaved to Satan. They need to know that God can forgive but will not forgive a sinner unless He deems it is fitting to do so.

    When someone who is dead in their trespasses and sins appears before the righteous Judge on Judgment Day they will not take refuge in Him but they will be informed that they refused to take refuge in Him during the course of their entire life!

    Dear readers, are you preparing to meet the righteous Judge? Are you hungering and thirsting after righteousness? Have you studied Psalm 1? Have you read the warnings of Jesus? Are you seeking to find the true Jesus?

    Enjoy your bible studies!

    James

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    • Dale says:

      Mike,

      How dare you believe that God forgives sinners.

      How dare you believe that God asks us to forgive our enemies unconditionally but then claim that God is not a hypocrite and forgives His enemies unconditionally as well.

      How dare you believe that God will allow those in heaven those who hate Him even though He tells us to love them and do good to them.

      How dare you believe that Jesus has taken away the sin of the world.

      How dare you believe that every knee will bow and confess Jesus is Lord.

      How dare you believe that we all died in Adam apart from having a choice in the matter but then claim that the second Adam (Jesus Christ) brought life to the same all apart from choice. It is almost as though you believe the creator has the power to do whatever He wants with the same lump of clay according to Romans 9.

      How dare you believe Jesus gave His life for the world.

      How dare you believe Jesus will draw all unto Himself.

      How dare you believe Jesus “is” the propitiation for the sins of the whole world.

      How dare you believe God’s love fails not.

      How dare you believe that our unbelief does not make the faithfulness of God without effect.

      How dare you believe that unbelief still causes Jesus to abide faithful.

      How dare you take the word “all” literally when it says “in Adam all die but in Christ all shall be made alive.”
      How dare you believe Jesus is the savior of the world.

      How dare you believe that God can be that good.

      How dare you believe that God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD unto Himself.

      How dare you believe that God removed the alienation through the cross of Christ according to Colossians 1.

      How dare you believe that “saved” implies that one is saved from hell in the next life even though no verse teaches that?

      How dare you believe that religious history could have been wrong on this matter.

      How dare you believe the word “saved” can have more than one meaning when religion makes it all about being saved from gehenna when you die though no verse says that.

      May you see the errors of your way and become judgmental, critical, and angry of believing in a God of all grace who would simply pardon sinners. It is an absolute shame that you could accept such a Person who loves sinners beyond what our minds could imagine. May your understanding be corrected soon so that you can stop enjoying a God who bathes sinners in love as the thought is so repulsive. Doubt and uncertainty is key to growth spiritually because it keeps you on your toes since you are not sure if you saved. It makes you try harder to hopefully die knowing you belong to Him. Believing that God throws people into literal fire breeds such love on our part and it is a shame you cannot see that. Fear and not love compels us. It is a shame you believe in a God who absolutely adores you to the point you can put your head on your pillow at night without a shred of fear. Shame on you!

      I’m sure you are under deep conviction right now. Repent Mike!

      • Dale says:

        Messed up one sentence:

        “How dare you believe that “saved” implies that one is saved from hell in the next life even though no verse teaches that?”

        It should have been:

        How dare you believe that “saved” implies that one is NOT saved from hell (Gehenna) in the next life even though no verse teaches that?

  124. tyler says:

    Dale, how dare you think for yourself and actually understand the scriptures! You should head straight to the nearest church, go down at invitation time and get resaved. Get completely baptized in water also, and then go to some of the basic fundamental classes and learn how only a small percentage of people will make it into heaven. Repeat 3 times and you’ll be good to go.

    • Dale says:

      Tyler, thank you for the advice but Mike needs that advice more than I do. His boldness to declare such a message of grace as a universal hope is just plain awful. It makes me so mad that anyone could be so bold to make God that good, forgiving, and loving. Why have peace that passes all understanding when you could embrace uncertainty and fear!!

      I think we should just leave nothing but argumentative comments here to show Mike that God is very ticked off by how we address him in our comments but we will call it righteous indignation to make it sound good. We should belittle him and talk bad about him because that actually attracts people to our religion. People love anger!

      We should at times misconstrue what Mike said as it might help our cause. Let’s leave repeating argumentative comments here and pretend Mike never really answered them. Let’s ignore his replies and act as though he did not answer our questions. Let’s just keep throwing out the word “saved” as though it actually means being saved in the world to come from some flaming pit of fire but ignore how many times it referred to physical salvation in this world. Let’s keep questioning Mike and not our religion. Embrace anger and not love!!!!

      Tyler, I am sure you are noticing by now but Mike is teaching that sinners are pardoned purely by grace. You have to be insane to believe that. This would imply that Mike is most likely a forgiving person because that is how he views God. Disturbing!!! I know I would not forgive a person who terribly wronged me so God must be like me.

      Let’s use some common sense here to refute Mike. Jesus left His throne in heaven to come to earth in bodily form to forgive those who hated Him, spit on Him, punched Him, pulled the hairs out of His beard, and even nailed Him to the cross to make life merely possible. Make sense?

      Makes sense to forgive those who you know you will throw into fire forever. I remember being in a fight years ago and I told the guy that I was about to beat up, “I forgive you for what you have done to me” and then I unleashed an absolute fury upon him. I actually ‘so loved’ that guy that I beat the living tar out of him. I could not simply forgive him because if I did then he would think that it was alright to do what he had done. I forgave him but he failed to meet some conditions I placed upon that forgiveness so I beat him severely.

      My wife knows that I love her but if she messes up and fails to confess then I will beat her to a pulp. My beating her up makes her love me so much more as you can imagine. I even tell her that I forgive her just before slapping her silly.

      Let’s face it, we had no choice in dying in Adam but God was nice enough to allow only around 10% of the worlds population to hear the gospel and make some freewill choice that none of us had in the first Adam. Makes sense to say that we did not have a freewill in choosing the sin of the garden that brought death to all mankind but now the second Adam came along and allowed us to use our freewill to decide if we would like to live even though 10% (rough estimate online source gave) will be given that opportunity.

      It just makes sense when God says, “Forgive your enemies” that God does not do the same. Do as I say and not as I do is very plausible when you think about it. It makes sense for God to tell us to do good to those who hate us and spitefully use us but God will not do the same once they die.

      It makes perfect sense to that God’s mercy endures forever as well as His love failing not to apply only to individuals in this life only. Once dead that love fails. Once dead mercy ceases. I believe the prophets made an error as they should have worded it to convey that you only have a shot at love and mercy in this life only.

      It makes sense to say Jesus paid sins wages for those only who believe. It makes even more sense to say that the wages is eternal separation but Jesus paid that very wage by spending only 3 days in the grave. As you know, 3 days is actually eternity (look it up).

      I wish Mike would repent and come and enjoy a life of religious chores to maintain God’s blessings. It is awesome holding in so much anger and criticism where we can spend our days looking for articles and blogs that we can leave angry comments. The joy of a up and down assurance of life with God where you are never fully certain gives me goosebumps. Mike is missing out on the fact that I pretty much know that everyone over at that “other” church is going to hellfire forever. Catholics have no hope and neither do others who do not hold to the gospel my denomination teaches.

      Mike, will you throw away your gospel and embrace the one that will cause you to sweat with fear at times? Will you throw away your gospel and embrace the one that makes you feel God is miles away from you? Will you throw away your gospel and embrace the one that makes you cry fearing you sinned God away?

      Throw away your peace and accept the religious peace that you will hope to experience by listening to Christian music, avoiding all sin the best possible (yes, be sin conscious), obeying religious duties, and so on? It is so awesome to have peace on rare occasions rather than yours that appears to be all the time. Peace all the time is not good for you Mike. If you disagree with this Mike then give one good reason why! Repent!

      Sorry Mike, I will cease with my comments. I kept seeing so many repetitive comments and some mean-spirited that I grew sick of it. Let the insanity of it all strengthen your heart! Trust me, you are reaching not those who think they are whole but those who are sick and tired of it all. I’m glad that God brought me to an end of my religion as I grew sick of it all. I grew tired of the god who never could be pleased.

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  130. Glenn says:

    I came across this good article which I believe is the proper scriptural interpretation of Luke 16:19-21 in regards to second chances after death to accept Jesus Christ.

    This is evidenced clearly in the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. If ever someone should have repented when given a second chance to see clearly the truth, it was the rich man. But although he was in torment in hell, he only asked that Abraham send Lazarus back to earth to warn his brothers so they didn’t have to suffer the same fate. There was no repentance in his heart, only regret for where he found himself. Abraham’s answer says it all: “And he said to him, If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31). Here we see that the witness of the Scriptures is sufficient for salvation for those who believe it, and no other revelation will bring about salvation to those who do not. No second, third or fourth chances would be enough to turn the heart of stone into a heart of flesh.

    And in Revelation 20:11-15 it speaks of the Great White Throne of Judgment. This is not what takes place here on Earth in this life, but rather after the first death. For those who are not believers will be judged by the book of works and will face a second death. For those who are believers and had a second Birth, won’t have a second death for they are born again in the spirit. Those who are believers won’t be judged by the books of works, but rather their names are found in the Lambs book of life.
    Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/second-chance-salvation.html#ixzz2rNxnt2bK

  131. Glenn says:

    Is there judgement from God in the world today? For those standing inside Christ in the New Covenant, absolutely not. For the unbeliever and those who live by the Old Covenant, I’m not too sure. We can look back to the first century for some answers. “For those in the First Century that were not willing to enter into the New Covenant and in fact killed Jesus and persecuted the early church, there was wrath building up against them. “The law worketh wrath…” and the first century Pharisees clung to the law and built wrath up against themselves.” This wrath took place 70AD with the destruction of Jerusalem. Those that turned to the New Covenant of Christ were saved from the Day of Wrath. Josephus records that out of the 1.1 million Jews that were killed in the slaughter of 70AD, not one Christian died. So there was no judgment nor wrath upon those who live in the New Covenant, but wrath and judgement was reserved for those who lived by the law. So The context of Scripture says The New covenant arrived at the cross and the Old Covenant, “the law” which brings forth wrath and judgement in this world hung around till the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. This judgment is not the Great White Throne of Judgment. That comes after the first death and those who don’t repent in this life won’t repent during the final judgment as Sxripture says. They will regret, but they will not repent. Hell will be an eternity of regret. Will there be regrets for the believer from our past life when we go Heaven. I don’t know, I may regret that I could have witnessed more, I could have prayed more, could I have read the Bible more, could I have given more time to God, could I have helped my neighbor, so on and so on. I know I will have plenty of regrets from my former life, but I also know there will be no more sorrows or tears in heaven.

    In this life for the believer while in this world, God will discipline the believer for sins that they commit, but I would not call it judgment, condemnation, punishment, or wrath. As a Christian, we will never be punished for sin even in this world, but like a good loving father, we will be disciplined. Why does God disipline the believer? Discipline is how God lovingly turns His children from rebellion to obedience. Through discipline our eyes are opened more clearly to God’s perspective on our lives. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, God sees only the righteousness of Christ for the born again when He looks at us. How amazing is that? All our sin has been nailed to the cross along with the Old Covenant with Jesus and we are forgiven with the new covenant and that grace is available to all who surrender their lives to Christ in this life. So when we sin, it is not being counted against us and building up wrath. We are not now and never will be subjects of God’s wrath. Many have a misinterpretation that God’s wrath was poured out on Jesus. Jesus shed His blood to cut a New Covenant with the Father to Forgive our sins and remember them no more.

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  138. Jet Lag says:

    I’m not a Christian, nor am I a Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, or atheist (unless you just define that as someone who does not believe a god or gods, then yes. Though I do think there is sort of this universal energy that bids us all together, but I would not call it god.) I am not sure if I would qualify with agnostic either. I honestly just don’t have a word I can use to describe my beliefs.

    I do like what you said in the blog post though. When I was little and went to an Episcopal church we did not talk of hell. There was talk of god’s love, seeing the good in humanity, helping others, and other positive aspects of the bible. I like that you think everyone goes into heaven and understands what a horrible thing it would be if fellow human beings suffered in hell for all eternity. That has always been the thing that made me uneasy about Christianity. It does not seem like something a loving god would ever do, even to the cruelest human on the planet.

    Anyways, I like Christians like you. I think what you take out of the bible or any book for that matter says a lot about you as person. What you take away is a reflection of the kind of person you are. I hope more Christians follow your example.

  139. Mike Gantt says:

    Jet Lag,

    I hope to take away from the Bible no more and no less than what the prophets and apostles of God put into it. They were truly men of whom the world was not worthy – and still is not worthy. God chose these people to document His thoughts and, through that documentation, to make those thoughts available to all generations. It is the privilege of our lives to be able to read them…and to act upon what we have read.

    The preeminent message of the Bible is not that everyone is going to heaven – as wonderful and as important as that message is – rather the supreme truth of the Bible is that God is revealed in Jesus of Nazareth. And there is much more to learn about Him than anyone has yet reckoned.

  140. Ean Gdaniec says:

    Alright, I believe everyone one day will go to the Final Heaven, but there is Hell, and NDE’s prove that. The thing is, sheol no longer exists, and neither were we go now isn’t Heaven, but there will be a Heaven. (I’m might be wrong)

  141. Mike Gantt says:

    Ean,

    We may be wrong, but God can never be wrong. Regarding heaven, Jesus Himself said, “If it were not so, I would have told you” (John 14:2).

    • Ean Gdaniec says:

      Well actually, I believe the wicked and condemned (those forcefully rejecting Christ) Will stay in Hell. However, Jews (Christ isn’t the savior to them, but they obey laws) and those who haven’t heard of Christ for salvation will be judged on judgement. All we truly know is that God is fair and will judge that way.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        We can know that, but we can know more as well. For we can know whatever the Scriptures teach us. God didn’t want to leave us to our own imaginations. That’s why He gave the prophets and apostles – to produce a set of writings upon which we could base our faith.

  142. Dustin says:

    Mike, I am not going to discredit your theory or belief but I do have some questions.

    1. How can you explain people that are possessed by demons in this earth life?

    2. Why have a book of life if everyone is going to be in it?

    3. What does God mean by talking about eternal destruction?

    4. Why is it some people are the worst of sinners and do not follow God’s word and yet do not face destruction in this life? Look at the rich. Ask how they got there. Self-centered, greed, self-ambition – all things Jesus spoke against.

    Please explain these things.

    Thanks for your time and God bless.

  143. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    1. How can you explain people that are possessed by demons in this earth life?

    I don’t see this as any different today than it was in biblical times.

    2. Why have a book of life if everyone is going to be in it?

    The closer we walk with Christ on earth, the closer we will find ourselves to Him in heaven. Given how wonderful He is, who would not want to be as close to Him as possible?

    3. What does God mean by talking about eternal destruction?

    Generally speaking, it is constant destruction. It is the opposite of eternal life. Eternal destruction is existence away from God; eternal life is walking with Him.

    4. Why is it some people are the worst of sinners and do not follow God’s word and yet do not face destruction in this life? Look at the rich. Ask how they got there. Self-centered, greed, self-ambition – all things Jesus spoke against.

    Psalm 73 asks the same questions…and answers them. Justice is only partial on earth; complete justice comes in heaven.

    • Dustin says:

      Thanks for your response. I was just hoping to get a little more clarification to the question on the demons. If Jesus has already returned then He has defeated satan and the fallen angels and thus there should no longer be demons here anymore. What do you make of that?

      Also, God warns of false religions. However, some religions follow the same mindset as Christ but they just do not see Christ as the way. Buddhism is very close to this. Why would God put emphasis on false religions if this was the case?

      Can you please put emphasis on the first question. I am not knocking your belief or trying to attack your beliefs. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I am not going to be one to come on here and tell you that you are preaching something wrong just because I do not believe in it. That wouldn’t be right. However, I do want to understand for myself so I can make sense of everything so I can come to a conclusion on my own. Does that make sense?

      Thanks

  144. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    That Jesus has returned means that Satan and his demons have been cast out of heaven, down to earth (Revelation 12:7-9) – which is why we still face them here. However, the kingdom of God has prevailed and their time is short. For once we die, we ascend to heaven and are above them forevermore. If you have read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven, you know that at death all humans used to go below to Sheol (Hades) and there remained under Satan’s authority.

    Not just do some religions have some good ideas, but every single human being has a God-given conscience with good ideas. However, Jesus Christ is the only infallible light for truth. Every other light dims into insignificance beside Him.

    Your questions seem sincere. I am happy to answer them as long as you want to ask them.

    • Dustin says:

      Thank you for your response. Can I ask one last thing? I struggle with 1 John 2:15-17 “Do Not Love the World”. What does this verse mean to you? I know this is outside of what this blog is about but I have been struggling with this verse for a while.

      Thanks again.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        Turn on the tv. Walk the halls of government. Go to a college campus. Check out the most popular websites. In all these places and more, you will find “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life.” You will not find the name of Jesus Christ magnified and honored.

        Are there exceptions to this generation description I have given? Yes, the disciples of Jesus are to be exceptions. For this reason Paul described believers as “blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

        Think of it as an equation:

        The world = Creation minus God

        This is what Satan wants. He wants people to navigate their existence on this planet as if God is absent. However, the truth is God is present. When we believe that we cease to be conformed to the world and begin to be conformed to Jesus (Romans 12:1-2).

        If you want to study this further, here is a Bible study on “world” from one of my other blogs.

        • Dustin says:

          Thanks for that as well. I really do appreciate all the responses. They were very helpful. I will read the blog. Thanks. God bless!

  145. Dustin says:

    Sorry one last thing. I just read Psalm 73 and I cannot see where someone is punished in the next life as well (as to your belief). I look at tons of people in my own life and see that they do not follow Jesus and yet it seems they are blessed: families, a nice house. a nice vehicle, always food on the table, going on trips. Why is this? I don’t understand. Can you explain what in Psalm 73 indicates that there is punishment in the life after for people who did not follow Christ but that they still go to Heaven? I mean, I myself would love if everyone goes, do not get me wrong there. However, I see it as problematic if that is the case and yet people here who devote their lives to Christ are the ones getting sick, having troubles making ends meet, etc., well those who take advantage of the world get to indulge in it. That makes no sense to me. Can you please explain this as well.

  146. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    Psalm 73 was written about a thousand years before Christ came, so, yes, its perception of how God’s justice will work out was limited. Nevertheless, the psalmist expressed confidence in God’s ability to do right.

    This trust was vindicated with the coming of Jesus, including His teaching. For example, the story of Lazarus and the rich man (who would exchange places in the afterlife) told in Luke 16:19-31. Consider also the story of the rich man brought short in Luke 12:16-21. And then there’s the story of the poor widow whom Jesus said had put more into the treasury than everyone else (Mark 12:41-44). The implication is that she will enjoy a far greater reward for that contribution in heaven than any other contributor to that treasury would receive. There are stories and teachings like this all over the New Testament.

    Most of all, consider Jesus Himself who suffered rejection, torture, and murder in this life. From an earthly standpoint, He received no justice at all. Yet He was raised to the highest place in heaven. The implication for us is that to the degree justice is denied us in this life, to that degree we shall receive it in the life to come. For this reason, Paul could say “Why not rather be wronged?” (1 Corinthians 6:7). Such a question only makes sense if all wrongs are ultimately going to be made right.

    Remember that our Lord said, “many who are first will be last; and the last, first” (Matthew 19:30). In other words, many of those who are “big shots” on earth will be “small fry” in heaven, and vice versa. This is where we apply our faith, for if we don’t believe this how can we ever live the sort of loving, sacrificial life that Jesus lived?

    • Dustin says:

      Thank you for your response. That makes sense. Very good response. I am impressed. I mean, I don’t know the bible inside and out or even close to it but it made sense the way you described it so thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to do that.

  147. Dustin says:

    Hi Mike,

    Sorry to bother you again. I was hoping to develop a deeper understanding. I don’t have the background in the bible I would desire as I am still young and am a new believer but I do want to understand your philosophy on the bible. I was wondering if you could explain to me what is meant by the following scripture found in 2 Peter 3:9:

    9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    Sorry again to be a bother but I am just trying to understand what this means in regards to your belief.

    Thank you and God bless.

  148. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    When Peter says “as some understand slowness,” he’s referring to the fact that God does not operate according to a calendar or clock. Rather, He operates according to His own sense of justice – which is utterly just.

    Therefore, when it seems that God is delaying His justice, He is actually giving adequate time for people to repent. When that adequate time is past, judgment comes and there is no avoiding it.

    People often think God is waiting too long to act, but He is never late. For example, when Jesus prayed in Gethsemane with loud crying and tears (Hebrews 5:7), His disciples came to think that God had waited too long to help once Jesus died on the cross. However, the third day – which would have been three days too late to save someone from death according to human standards – God raised Jesus from the grave…to never die again!

    Therefore, let us never think that God is slow (or, worse yet, think that He doesn’t care or doesn’t even exist), but rather let us realize that at the right time He will do what is right. He always does.

    • Dustin says:

      Thanks for your response.

      Two more questions if that is okay.

      What does he mean when he says that the Lord does not want anyone to perish? Perish in what way in this world? Like from your belief you say that destruction is what we go through here on earth. I am just curious as to what is meant by perish then?

      The other question I have is this: How do I completely serve God? For example, I grew up in North America and I have grown accustom to watching television and occupying my time in sports or other selfish desires (going to movies, playing pool, etc.). I would like to give up these things for the Lord and give my life to Him completely but than I worry about how I am going to fill that time void. What can I do in place of those activities. Thanks again.

      God bless.

  149. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    Peter had in view (as did all the writers of the New Testament) the wrath that was coming in connection with the coming of the kingdom of God. It would be a time of destruction for sinners but salvation for those living for the Lord. Therefore, Peter did not want the recipients of his letter to perish along with the sinners. He wanted them to practice the sort of righteousness he had described in the first part of the letter ( 2 Peter 1:1-11). We all will pass from this life, but our desire is to pass as saints not as sinners.

    As for converting the time you are accustomed to use for pleasing yourself into time you can spend serving the Lord and others, consider these verses: 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Titus 3:14. There are many verses like these in the New Testament.

    When you pray, seek the will of the Lord (Matthew 6:9-13). He will guide you by your sense of what is right (i.e., your conscience) and the peace that attends it. Confess your sins when you fall short. Seek forgiveness for others as well as yourself. Do not be answerable for your life to anyone but Him. That is, seek no one’s approval but His. A peaceful conscience before God is your guide and resting place. Never give it up (Romans 14:17).

    Living for Christ is not easy in this world (because there are so many temptations), but it is simple (2 Corintians 11:3).

    • Dustin says:

      Thanks again for your response. Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. Everything you are saying is making sense and I am actually leaning towards your beliefs. I do have one question though. It seems that if we are all going to Heaven than this life is kind of pointless. Why doesn’t God just taken us into His kingdom now? Why even bother with us here? I would appreciate your insight on this! Thanks!

  150. Dustin says:

    Hey Mike,

    So I am on Chapter 5 of your book now. I have to say that you did an amazing job. It all makes sense to me and I usually have trouble comprehending somethings. Thank you for doing that. That helped lots with understanding what “hell” really is. Still have 8 chapters to read though. I did have one question regarding the “Do not love the world” passage. I am kind of confused. Like I can understand not deliberately sinning and trying my best, tht makes sense to me. However, you say that creation = God and everything outside of creation is part of the world. So what am I to do with myself in the world then? Can I not watch a football game on Sunday? Like I mean I just want to understand the depths of it all if that is okay.

    Thanks very much,

    Dustin

  151. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    The purpose of creation is that we would learn from experience the character of God – the heights of His wisdom, the breadth of His justice, and the depths of His love. To take us straight to heaven would deprive us of learning about Him and about how He overcomes evil with good. I elaborate on this in the book The Implications of Everyone Going to Heaven (it’s a sequel to the book you’re reading now). If nothing else, just read the chapter titles and you’ll get a sense of what I mean.

    As for loving God instead of the world, you just take one day at a time and follow your conscience in the light of Jesus. Whatever you can picture Jesus doing if he were in your shoes is a good way to think about it. Another instrument of guidance is to read 1 Corinthians 13, which is a description of love.

    Notice that when you do His will, His peace will come into your heart; and when you don’t do His will, agitation will take its place.

    • Dustin says:

      Thanks Mike. I really appreciate you taking the time to help me grow. I plan to try and finish your book this evening. Thank you for that. It was very eye opening. God bless.

  152. Dustin says:

    Hey Mike,

    I am officially on chapter 8 now. Finished your sections on hell. I had a quick question. You didn’t address Luke 16 in there (unless I accidently missed it), the rich man and Lazarus, I was just wondering what you make of that parable? Thanks very much.

  153. Mike Gantt says:

    Covered in chapter 12.

  154. Dustin says:

    Hey Mike,

    I was just wondering if you could explaina verse to me that I am stuck on.

    Matthew 27: 52 – 53:

    “And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”

    Why only “many” bodies of the saints that slept? Why not all?

    Thanks

  155. Mike Gantt says:

    Dustin,

    I find this sentence enigmatic. It comes without explanation or elaboration, nor is such an event described or even mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament. Therefore, there is very little upon which to base an understanding.

    I take Matthew to mean that God granted some people to rise as a further sign of His vindication of Jesus, but that – like Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, and others – their resurrection was only temporary and that they died again, not to be permanently raised until the raising of all the dead that occurred at the Second Coming of Christ.

    That said, I don’t think much about it, or about any truth from Scripture that I cannot confirm with “two or three” passages (Multiple Witnesses Make Us Sure). If something is critical for us to know, God is going to repeat it in Scripture (Philippians 3:1).

  156. Mike Gantt says:

    I see nothing in the Scriptures that would make me think that reincarnation is true. However, that human beings are spirits made flesh seems possible. That is, just as Jesus had a preexistence before being made a human being so we might have existed as angels before becoming human beings. But even if that’s the case, we still have to live this life according to the commands the Lord has given us in His grace through the Scriptures (Hebrews 5:9).

  157. michael says:

    You lost me on this one. You seem to have such a clear understanding without added opinion on other topics but, WOW. Talk about a house divided. Jesus spoke, well you know what he spoke. All the way to the very last chapter of the Bible. And you are right about we don’t deserve Heaven, that’s were faith comes in. And grace, but we must receive it. It would be wrong for our Lord to force people to a place they despise.

  158. Mike Gantt says:

    Michael,

    They won’t despise it when they die. Rather, they will fully regret their foolishness. Death is a wake-up call like no other – but that fact, too, is a consequence of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  159. S Brewer says:

    The Author of this site ….in my opinon and according to Gods word id a false prophet,and a deciever, which the scripture warns us about..If everybody is going to heaven then John 3,16 is null and void,,everybody is not going to heaven, and there is a very well established salvation plan laid out in the scripture, !!! that teaches repeatedly that there is only one way to heaven, and if you do not accept or choose that one way you will be cast into the lake of fire..HELL..at the judgement…any body can do a quick search ,,,google etc,,, to see for them selves,,,Those who spin this web of deciet are the wolves dressed in sheeps clothing that God warns us about..!

  160. Mike Gantt says:

    S. Brewer,

    I am the author of this site and I am not speaking falsely. I am making known what the Bible says. What you think are biblical warnings about hell in the afterlife are primarily warnings about judgment in this life. Yes, there will be judgment in the afterlife, too, but it will not result in anyone being beyond the mercy of our God for He Himself told us through His servants that “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).

    • S Brewer says:

      Your debate is not with me, but with God and his word!
      John 3,16
      So by your definition,,,One could rob, steal, rape, murder, etc..and have no fear of cosequence

  161. Mike Gantt says:

    God had His debate with me…and won. For I used to believe as you do.

    As for consequences, woe to him who has no fear of consequences. Blessed is he who loves the Lord with an incorruptible love.

    • S Brewer says:

      To deny that there will be those that go to both heaven and Hell is to deny Gods word
      John 3,1 thru 21
      Hell is mentioned 167 times thru out Gods word..
      John 3,18
      Matthew 25,46
      2nd Thess, 1, 8and 9
      explain these away to God !

  162. Mike Gantt says:

    S. Brewer,

    I’m sure that you sincerely believe that I have departed from God, but I assure you that I have not. Seek God, study the Scriptures, humble yourself before Him, and He will show you.

    Read Mark 7:1-23 and see that just because something has been traditionally taught as scriptural does not necessarily mean that it is truly scriptural. Jesus was rejected in the first century because he taught things from the Scriptures that had not previously been taught. Let’s not reject Him in the twenty-first century for the same reason.

  163. BelieverInChrist says:

    Mike you are very determined about this topic. Not sure why. What is the application? You are saying that everyone is going to go to be saved as if your whole entire life depends on this. This life is a vapor, yet somehow it is all important? Somehow it is important to be motivated to serve God, because of fear of punishment that lasts for only a second and then eternal gratification. Paul speaks of a remnant that will be saved. Jesus says unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have NO part of me. You should reconsider the definition of heaven. God is eternal life. So heaven is fellowship with God. Do not assume that God is only loving if He saves everyone from hell. If a man comes into your house begins to kill your children do you offer him dinner? So evil men have no fellowship with God. That is why there must be a new birth. A transformation. A new nature. Otherwise your message is inconsistent. Your message is: God is love and men are evil, so stay the same don’t change God loves when you continue to be evil cause you can’t do anything about it.

    God’s message has always been repent and be saved.
    You will tell me then, yes repent, yes don’t do evil, yes be born again, but God will save everyone. How should we learn this message? It is not cohesive. I cannot understand it. The Holy Spirit has shown me differently. How can we come to understand you? Examine your message. You are certain that you are defending “God is love.” Therefore, you cannot back down. Consider though that He tells us what love is. We do not first determine what love is and then say that is How He is. That is one way in which we fear God. We do not say a loving God does this or that. We say He is God and He will do what He wants. I am only clay.

    • s brewer says:

      Do not cast your pearls among the. Swine….false prophets…and teachers..wolves in sheep’s clothing. ..be not decieved..
      This is the guy God’s word is warning about…

      • BelieverInChrist says:

        S Brewer,

        How much endurance does God have? How long does he preach the His word to us? Does His endurance not supersede all of ours. He scatters seed everywhere, and gives forgiveness over and over. Surely there is more endurance in God, and He expects that same endurance from us. We have not come to know God because of some special quality or because of some special doctrine. Only by His mercy and grace.

  164. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverinChrist,

    I’m intrigued by your questioning, but I do not understand it.

    When you say there “there must be a new birth,” I agree.
    When you say there must be “a transformation,” I agree.
    When you say there must be “a new nature,” I agree.

    I do not encourage people to “stay the same.” Rather, I say we must live lives of ongoing repentance, humility, and gratitude.

    Yes, God is love…but He calls us to reciprocate and imitate that love. We love because He first loved us. And to the degree that He loves, so we should love.

    Some people think “everyone is going to heaven” means “God doesn’t judge us.” On the contrary, God’s judgments are exacting. Everything we think, say, and do in life matters. Jesus is the standard and the judge of all men.

    We do not repent so that we will go to heaven, we repent because we are doing to heaven and don’t want to be ashamed when we get there.

    There is much more to fellowship with God than knowing that everyone going to heaven when we die, but that He wants us to have that comfort as part of our relationship with Him is absolutely clear from the Scriptures.

    All I am doing is reporting what the Bible says. There is no other authority to which I appeal.

    I am willing to work with you and respond to your objections, but you must help me better understand what they are.

  165. BelieverInChrist says:

    Because you are interested in discussion, let us continue down the thought process.

    Consider eternal life. Our discussion is not about heaven but about eternal life.

    [Mat 25:46 NASB] 46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
    [Jhn 17:3 NASB] 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
    [1Jo 1:2 NASB] 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–

    From the above verses we can learn something about eternal life. Eternal life was manifested. Eternal punishment is different than eternal life. Eternal life is knowing God and His Son. What we are able to learn then is that Eternal life is a kind of life. It is not a quantity of life, but a kind of life. This life is God’s life. That means the character of God is eternal life. Eternal life is the kind of life that God has. A righteous life is eternal life. Heaven is a place that is not earth. All that is earthly, natural, carnal and evil is excluded from heaven. So eternal life is a kind of life that is not a natural one.

    So now what does Christ require of Nicodemus in order to be saved?

    [Jhn 3:3 NASB] 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

    So what is the problem? The natural man cannot enter nor can it see the kingdom of God. So our first birth will not do. It is still natural, so then when our body fails we will have a problem. Our life was being supported by our body but:

    [Rom 1:17 NASB] 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

    So what does that mean? That says that the righteous man (the man of eternal life) will live by faith (in God)” So the Word of God sustains a man. It literally gives Him life. So that means that if you don’t have food then you live because He has said “you shall live.” So food, water, clothes, heart, body, none of that keeps the righteous alive. It is only by faith that He lives. So the righteous man must live in faith in order to keep living when His body fails. A dead man, a natural man, will resume dying a second death when He dies. So death is a test of what kind of life was in you…Christ proves that in Him there is resurrection life…the eternal kind of life.

    So How does a man get the eternal life?

    [Rom 9:16 NASB] 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

    It depends upon God showing us mercy. Now we know we have a merciful God, and he is moving all things out of the way to have mercy and give a us a new birth. He must do all the work, a man cannot help. The best a man can do is submit to whatever He says, because His activity is love. It is a work to save each of us.

    [Phl 2:12 NASB] 12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;
    [Phl 2:13 NASB] 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

    So God is working to save us. He command is submit.
    So we are in faith, believing God will save us. By submitting ourselves to everything he is doing in our lives. Now there are some that will fall away and what will be the cause of their falling away:

    [1Ti 4:1 NASB] 1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

    … No faith.

    Abraham believed in God who raises the dead and creates something from nothing.
    The righteous live by that merciful hand of God.

    So we should therefore submit ourselves to His hand that He might save us from ourselves.

    [Heb 4:1 NASB] 1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

    So the issue is this: Man must come into the Rest of the Lord. He must be saved from His working and striving. If man continues to work and strive he will only have a natural life and he will be burned up in the end. His body can’t keep him alive and He was depending on it.

    So this is the issue we must walk by faith in God in order to be saved and have the eternal kind of life.

    Otherwise there will be the wrong kind of life.

    Your concern for being able to rest in that confidence is very good. We should rest in that confidence. But there is a real God here at work and men must “honor Him as God and give thanks” if they want any part of him. There is no separation. A man cannot be assured of life in heaven, if He does not have that life now on earth. There is no way for Him to be saved. It is a real work God is doing. Saving men is difficult as He says in 1 Peter. It cost Him a great deal. So He tells us respond respond respond. If we do not respond by believing in Him and trusting Him we are relying on ourselves. We need a supernatural life. We need to be transformed in order to be saved from ourselves. You cannot have both a natural man and His salvation for life. It is not cohesive.

  166. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverinChrist,

    You are quite right that “eternal life” is more a qualitative term than a quantitative one. It is, among other things, the antithesis of the death brought into the world through Adam’s sin. It is a life we are to live now – not something to commence once we die.

    What you may be overlooking is that the way to inherit this life is to go ahead and die while still on earth. That is, we die to the world and live to Christ. Thus believers receive this eternal life by virtue of dying “prematurely” – unbelievers, being unwilling to die now, postpone it until they leave this earth.

    I should add that “salvation” and “save” – like “eternal life” – are terms that many relegate to something occurring after life on earth. Yet salvation (wholeness of soul) is our inheritance every day…if we but believe in He who grants it. Eternal punishment is being meted out all around us (i.e. judgment is upon us), but salvation is available to those who are calling upon His name in sincerity and truth – like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace.

  167. BelieverInChrist says:

    “Thus believers receive this eternal life by virtue of dying “prematurely” – unbelievers, being unwilling to die now, postpone it until they leave this earth.”

    How do you know eternal life is reserved for even “the antichrist” the “man of lawlessness” after he dies? How can you be assured of such a truth.

    How do you think it is possible for anyone to die now and yet still live? How did you die?

  168. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverinChrist,

    I have laid out a full case of how the Bible teaches that everyone goes to heaven. He who sins, dies. He who dies will be raised. That is the promise. If you have specific questions about specific parts of the book, I will answer them; but if you’re asking me how I can say that everyone is going to heaven, that’s what the 60,000-word book is for. As you can see, I’ve provided it in both audio and written form. In it’s written form, there is space at the end of each chapter to ask whatever questions you have that apply to points made in that chapter. It’s a simply and straightforward case.

    As for how we die now, you seem familiar enough with Scripture to know that “he who loses his life for my sake find it” and the many other verses which speak of dying to the world that we might live to God. The flesh profits nothing; it is the spirit that gives life.

  169. BelieverInChrist says:

    You are a man who has built his whole house on a foundation of “everyone is going to heaven.” A statement which God did not say. I am not sure that it is worth going further. Let us consider then only the ramifications of the belief and not whether it is correct. Let us consider it as though God has spoken it, because He has either spoken it or man has spoken it and you are saying that God has spoken it.

    Then faith is irrelevant.
    It is then possible to please God without faith.
    You do not need faith? In fact you do not need anything.
    Abraham would have received righteousness regardless of anything he believed.
    Then you being evil are going to be evil all your days, and there is no difference.

    It is an equivalent belief to Universalism. No distinction need be made.
    In fact any religion you chose is adequate.

    Why did God bother sending Jesus.
    God sacrificed his own son? Yes he lived in the spirit, but still He sacrificed His own son and He makes a big deal about it. And so now He did that people are saved by a mystical reason? Or that made no bearing on salvation?

    So there is no power for life and holiness available to me. There is no way to bring me to a death of self. There is no motivation. There is no hope for life. Why not all die. Why not give up except for a fleeting sense of I want to be happy or make God happy by living a bit longer.

    There is no real punishment for anything, only a slap on the wrist.

    God will eventually get his way. Even though pharaoh resisted every attempt to be saved, God will eventually soften Him and save Him. (This is contrary to the scripture)

    You infer all of these things but seek to infer none of them. You seek to infer a powerful changed life with a loving God and yet advocate eternal life in heaven with God for all. There is no benefit for me to accept this. You have not brought my attention to the scriptures and shown it as a clear revelation. Rather lines are being made where they do not need to be. Defense is being made of an idea that adds no benefit. This is not good news at all. This is news that God and His purposes are vain. And that really there is no salvation for me at all. If the unbelieving will be saved, I can be certain that God speaks pointless words. If some of His words are in vain, I can be sure there is no point in any of the rest of them.

  170. Mike Gantt says:

    You have misread my foundation. It is certainly not that everyone is going to heaven. (In fact, I’ve never read anything from a universalist that resonated well with me; I think this is largely because they usually think mercy eliminates judgment when the truth is that it triumphs over judgment – both are realities.)

    Rather, my foundation is that Jesus is Lord and that the Bible is the word of God. And it is the foundation in precisely that order. That is, I believe first and foremost that Jesus is Lord, and, because of what He taught, that the Bible is the word of God.

    This is where I take my stand. Every other truth we know is subordinate to these two.

  171. BelieverInChrist says:

    And what about in regard to faith in Christ? What is the relevance?

    Even the demons know that Christ is Lord and that the Bible is true.

  172. Mike Gantt says:

    Faith in Christ is our foundational and ongoing response to His lordship. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him. With faith, we actualize His lordship in our lives. The righteous live by faith. Otherwise we’re just pretending and offering lip service when we call Him “Lord.”

  173. William says:

    People, run from this false teaching!! Why would we be leading others to Christ if we are (All) going to heaven? Why would God tell us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest and ask Him to raise up workers to go out into His fields? Matthew 9:38.
    Or why would Jesus say (written in red) Matthew 7:21 NOT EVERYONE WHO CALLS OUT TO ME, LORD, LORD, will enter the kingdom of heaven, ONLY those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter?
    Why would scripture say in Galatians 5:19-21 when you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I gave before, that anyone living that sort of life WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
    Bible is plain and to the point on this. I say again RUN FROM THIS DALSE TEACHINGS!!

    And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people Matthew 24:11

  174. Mike Gantt says:

    William, there are three reasons we would do all these things even though everyone is going to heaven.

    1. The Lord has commanded that we do them. If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.

    2. There is judgment for our sins in the earth. If we go on sinning we are going to experience the wrath that rightly comes from the judgments of God.

    3. There is judgment for our sins in heaven. In the final judgment of our lives, God will take our measure and determine our place in heaven, and the precise degree of honor or shame we are due. Woe to those who live a life here that they will regret there. In an of itself, regret can be quite painful.

  175. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    As for Galatians 5, it sounds like you think entering the kingdom of heaven is something that can only happen after a person dies.

    As for Hitler and every other evil person who ever lived, please see Chapter 11 of my book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

    • William says:

      Yes, exactly what I believe.

      No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬ NLT)

      You won’t go before you die..

      I’d rather read the true 66 books.

  176. Mike Gantt says:

    The kingdom of heaven is on earth available for us to enter in this life, but we cannot do so if we practice the deeds of the flesh. Only by sanctification by the Spirit will we see Him in this life.

    You’re devoted to the true 66 books? Me, too!

    • William says:

      Heaven is absolutely not on this earth.

      Jesus says in John 14. I GO and prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be also.

      In heaven there is NO crying, no pain, etc…

  177. Anonymous says:

    So you teach that there is no hell? When what I boils down to is that you want sin and heaven at the same time. If there is no hell then you are calling God a liar. The bible talks more about hell than heaven.
    About 7 1/2 minutes to 8 min into your teaching, (false teaching) you say we will all be raised to life, by which you say this is life-and then say how can anyone say then that not all will go to heaven?
    Life does not mean only life in heaven! Life can be in hell! Matthew 18:8-9.
    Romans 9:22 bodies fitted for destruction!
    Why then after Christ returnes ( no this earth is not heaven ) Rev. 21 why would he need to separate the sheep from the goats ( saved from unsaved) Matthew 25:31-46.
    People, there is a judgement day coming and it coul happen at any moment!!! Death could cease you or Christ could return at any moment!! Repent and turn from your sin and put your faith in Christ and Christ alone! No other way to be saved!!

    If all are going to heaven them Christs death, burial and resurrection was not needed because God could have just said all are permitted. There would be no need to share our faith with others because it wouldn’t matter if you believed or not ( we would all be going to heaven, right?) that is if you believe this false teaching. If this is heaven that we are in now then why is there tears and death and pain? The bible says there will be none of that in heaven! Rev. 21:4
    Run from this false teaching!

    2 Timothy 4:3-4
    Time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound in Osem teacher. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers what ever they’re itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      God can create anything He wants.

      • William says:

        But he cannot lie and if he cannot lie then passages such as depart from me you workers of iniquity should not be in the bible but they are, so there is judgement and consequences for sin and not accepting Christ and repentance.

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Passages such as “Depart from Me, you workers of iniquity” are true but your mistake is thinking that they only apply when we die.

          The Lord has nothing to do with sin. If we indulge our sins, He will not walk with us and we bring judgment on ourselves.

          Judgment is very real. Every act – every act – has consequences.

          I hope you will read Whatever Became of Jesus Christ? The Biblical Case for the Second Coming as Accomplished Fact.

          • William says:

            So Revelations 21:27 is while we are still alive?

              • William says:

                So according to your false teachings, I should not be concerned with abortion, or any other murder?
                I should not waste my time praying for lost souls?
                Nor should I be concerned about any other kind of evil, because we will all end up in the same place, heaven?
                No one will go to hell? Even though the Bible plainly says many will not enter?
                All rapist, thieves, liars, idolaters, murderers will go to heaven and be with Jesus Christ?

                Don’t waste my time witnessing as I do because I am told to by my Lord Jesus Christ and it is a pleasure doing so because I love my Savior!
                But according to your false teachings it is a waste of time?

  178. William says:

    If you want truth, go to NeedGod.com

    • Mike Gantt says:

      If you want truth, go the Bible.

      • William says:

        I have I will and will continue.

        Repent and accept what it says about, You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The Highway to hell is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gate to life is very narrow and the road is difficult and only a few ever find It. (Matthew7:13-14)

        • Mike Gantt says:

          Yes, this verse is important. We cannot enter God’s kingdom with a loose attitude toward sin. “Easy-believism” will not get you into the kingdom. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).

          We seek the kingdom so that we may find salvation in the midst of judgment’s fires. We are seeking to be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego – with Jesus standing with us and protecting us in the fire.

          • William says:

            So if this is heaven? Where is Paul, Peter, Matthew, Luke etc…. Jesus, my parents etc…
            I go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be also.

            • Mike Gantt says:

              Heaven is above, but remember that we live in the new heavens and new earth.

              Satan has been cast out of heaven. That what Jesus meant when He said He’d make a place for us.

              The two books I recommended will explain this.

              • William says:

                Sorry, I’ve no interest in the two books. Bible is plain enough.

                There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭14‬:‭12‬ NLT)

                • Mike Gantt says:

                  The path I follow is the path of the Bible, and the books demonstrate that. If, however, you choose not to read them, so be it.

                  You should consider, however, whether your quotation of Proverbs 14:12 applies more to you than to me.

                  • William says:

                    Wouldn’t matter I guess if I’m going to heaven anyhow?

                    Yes I am going because I put my faith in Christ and have repented and turned from my sin.

                  • William says:

                    Gods judgement is all through the bible. Global flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Ananias and Saphira. But I suppose He was just ready to bring these sinners closer to Himself?
                    Yes heaven will be filled with “bad” people but bad people who are covered by the blood of Christ.
                    Bad people not covered by the precious blood of Christ ( those who do not repent and trust in Christ) will end up in hell.
                    My prayer is that blind eyes and deaf ears be opened to this.

  179. Mike Gantt says:

    You need to understand how the Bible uses the words Sheol, Hades, and hell. See Appendix I of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven. It lists every occurrence of these words in the Bible and thus allows you to see for yourself that Sheol = Hades, but that Hell is something quite different.

  180. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    You sound like you would not obey Jesus if you thought everyone was going to heaven. Why is that? Don’t you love Him? If you love Him, you will keep His commandments.

    • William says:

      i obey His commandments, yes I love Him, if you love Him and your neighbor then stop leading others in false teachings and warn them of the wrath that is to come, that is a commandment.

  181. Mike Gantt says:

    I do warn people of the wrath to come. If you don’t think so, it only means that you have not read very much of what I have written.

    Judgment is upon us, and America is descending to disaster. Abortion, divorce, sexual promiscuity, and now same-sex “marriage” – disastrous for America. Yet it is the church that must repent first. For unless the church repents, the world has no reason to repent.

    The church must return to its first love. Jesus must be Lord in actuality and not just in honorific terms. Find where the lordship of Christ is truly practiced and you will find the kingdom of God; everything else is just lip service and pretense.

  182. Mike Gantt says:

    By God’s grace, I will still be writing on the day I die.

  183. William says:

    Mike, is there someone close to you that is living a life of sin and unrepentance that you cannot bear the thought of not making it to heaven? Or someone who has already passed that to your knowledge never repented and accepted Christ? This is the only way I could see anyone trying to manipulate scripture to this extent.
    If so, do share if you would. Whomever it is that is living unrepented can be prayed for daily and faith put into Christ that He will intervene in their life.
    I have committed to praying for you daily.

  184. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    God forbid that I should ever attempt to compromise His word to satisfy some desire of my own – no matter how noble or understandable I or someone else might consider that desire to be.

    In a related example, I see some people today weakening in their conviction that homosexuality is a sin because someone close to them is a homosexual, and it saddens me deeply. God’s word is true and it is shameful to subordinate His interests to ours.

    God’s word is true and cannot be broken.

    I once believed as you do about the heaven-or-hell scenario of afterlife. However, when God showed me that way of believing was not the word of God but rather a tradition of men, I had no choice but to shed the tradition and cling ever more tightly to the Bible.

    Some traditions are easy to detect. Others are like vines that have been wrapped around the tree of truth for so long that people think they are part of the tree – but they are not. They are choking the tree!

    There were many Jews in the first century who thought Jesus and His apostles were heretical Jews who were destroying the work of God. The truth was that they were doing the work of God.

    I am not ascribing less authority to God’s word; I am ascribing more authority to it. Let God’s word be true and let the traditions of men fail.

    • William says:

      Tell you what, I’m going to continue to pray for you.
      If I’m wrong (not saying there is a chance I’m wrong) then I will be in heaven anyhow.
      On the other hand, if you are wrong (100% probability) then you have led as many as have listened to you to hell. Because they have put their hope in the wrong places. We know what the bible says about false teachers.

      Heaven and hell scenarios are not traditions, the way we dress, worship, sing is traditions.
      The teachings about heaven and hell are not tradition.
      Why would the bible say that you don’t want to be in the second judgement?
      Anyway, we are not getting anywhere here, I’ll be in prayer for your inlightenment

      to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ (‭Acts‬ ‭26‬:‭18‬ ESV)

  185. BelieverInChrist says:

    Faith in Christ is a matter of life and death.

    You are redefining death and eternal death as temporary judgement and temporary punishment.

    The Lord makes it clear in the book of Romans that all men are without excuse.

    So if He has removed every excuse for not trusting Him, then He is just in letting the sentence of death be carried out.

    If after death God plans to keep open the opportunity for living in heaven with Him, then the people will be in the same circumstance. They who rejected Him while living were not lacking some element of motivation. They were without excuse. So now being motivated by fires of torment will not change their tone. It is a false motivation. It would be saying God did leave one excuse for men, that is that they were not given proper motivation while they were alive by the fires on earth.

    So regardless of the theories about how the universe looks and its structure. He made a promise. That is that he gave them no excuse. He is not going to say then that now there is an excuse. Nor will they change their tune even with fire and torment.

    Do men have the power to change themselves? Do men save themselves? No it is the grace of God. And Pharaoh was hardened and hardened more by every attempt God made to change his heart. Now after dying if pharaoh is approached by God he is not going to soften, he will only harden. This is what God said about pharaoh as an example. So fires of hell will not be enough to change pharaoh in this life or in the next one.

    Functionally, I guess it doesn’t matter that you believe all men are going to heaven and I do not. You simply redefine the terms. As far as I am concerned it is too difficult for me to make the mental gymnastics to redefine the terms and believe severity is judgement and not death. You are going to seek to be obedient to the Lord in order to that men would submit to Him as Lord. I am seeking the same. I believe the Lord is severe. You believe He is severe. I do not see the severity in your teaching, but I see that you think so. I think it is beneficial for us to meditate on the reality of judgement. You think it as severe as I but you think it makes God out to be evil to condemn a man to death. I expect that He is able to do it and I will fear. You have some kind of similar fear of being condemned for a bit or making Him unhappy for awhile. We are not really motivated by a fear of punishment, but if I adopt your teaching I find myself unable to preach that Christ offers life and eternal life. It would only sound like he offers an improved version of life. To each his own I suppose, but you will fear God and I will fear God.

    • William says:

      If after death God plans to keep open the opportunity for living in heaven with Him, then the people will be in the same circumstance. They who rejected Him while living were not lacking some element of motivation. They were without excuse. So now being motivated by fires of torment will not change their tone. It is a false motivation. It would be saying God did leave one excuse for men, that is that they were not given proper motivation while they were alive by the fires on earth.

      Listen to what you are saying Mike! (IF) as my dad always said “if is the biggest little word there is”. Your whole beliefs are built on “IF”.
      There is no “IF” on judgement day!!
      How terrible to stand in front of a congregation and use the words IF in that way!!!
      I hope when using the word “IF” you will say “IF you do not repent and turn from your sin and put your faith in Christ you WILL. Burn in hell!!
      I don’t use IF or maybe’s!!
      Nor does my pastor!!

      Let me go through a witnessing scenario your way and then mine.

      You– hello sir, how are you? Beautiful day isn’t it?
      Can I ask you a question sir? Sure he replies.
      Do you have a church home? (Him) no, I don’t believe in Christ and don’t like religion.
      You– oh, I see. Well I would like to tell you about Jesus Christ.
      He is Gods son, sent to live an example for us, obeyed His Father, God, perfectly therefore He was the perfect sacrifice. He willingly went to the Cross of Calvary, was wrongly accused of sin and blasphemy. Yet went willingly without fault, never spoke a word in His own defense. He died, was buried and God raised Him on the third day.
      He died for you and He is the way God wants to reconcile you to Himself.
      Do you understand this sir?
      Him– yea, I guess but I like my life of lying, drinking, partying, adultery, cheating, stealing and really don’t have time for it and don’t care for it.
      You– oh, well that’s ok, you will go to heaven anyway, regardless of your decision. I was just out and thought I’d waste my time since you we are all going anyway.

      Mike, this would be music to a sinners ears, especially a young teenager!! This will lead many to hell!! I would have loved to heard this as a youth!! But then I would have never changed and been on that broad road to hell!!!

      Me– Hello sir, how are you today? Beautiful day isn’t it? Mind if I ask you a few questions? (Him) sure, go ahead. (Me) Do you have a church home? (Him) no, I don’t believe that stuff, besides I’m comfortable the way I am. I’m well off and don’t have time for church.
      Me– oh, I see. You know you feel the same way as many do. I used to as well. Then God opened my eyes to the fact that everyone will some day die, everyone means me, you, my family even and I want them, you and everyone to make it there but fact is many reject this truth. Bible says it is appointed for each person once to die and after this the judgement.
      Him– never thought much about it. But I think I will go if others go.
      Me– How do you think you get into heaven?
      Him– oh, just be a good person and I think He will let you in, you know if your good outweighs your bad.
      Me– Do you think you are a good person?
      Him– yea I think so.
      Me– (using Romans 3:19-20 The Law leaves us without excuse– the law shows us how sinful we are). Also Psalms 19:7–Have you ever told a lie?
      Him– yea, who hasn’t?
      Me– What do you call someone who lies?
      Him– a liar.
      Me– Have you ever stolen anything?
      Him – yep
      Me– what do you call someone who steals
      Him– A thief
      Me– have you ever committed adultery? Jesus said that if you even look with lust you have committed adultery in your heart.
      Him– yes,
      Me– have you ever murdered- again Jesus said if you hate someone you are a murderer at heart
      Him– yes.
      Me– well then sir, by your own admission you are a Lying, thief, and an adulterer and mutde reported at heart. On judgement day you have to face God. Do you think you will be innocent or guilty?
      Him– I think innocent because in my mind God is loving and will forgive me.
      Me– try that in the court of law. You have committed murder and all the evidence is before you. The judge is about to send you to prison but ask if you have anything to say first. You say yes, I think you are a good judge and loving judge and will let me go because of that fact.
      Judge says, you are right, I am a good judge and a loving judge and because of that fact I must see that justice is served, you are going away for a long, long time. Life in prison.

      Your views causes no one to have desire for change. No reason to seek God. No reason for a personal relationship with Christ. No reason to want to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
      Your solution is, no worries, we all go to heaven.
      The correct view is Jesus paid our fine, trust in Him and not your own goodness. Obey Him and lead others to His saving grace.

      If you truly believe your claims, your (IF’s) then God would have to pardon satan and his demons as well, why, because God does not show favoritism. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
      If His pardon is for all His creation then satan was His creation as well.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        William, if you think my message gives a person no reason to follow Him why does it give me reason to follow Him?

        • William says:

          Because you have been blinded. 2 Corinthians 4:4

        • William says:

          You did not answer the questions. Will not God have to apologize to satan and allow him into heaven if Gid will forgive all?

          • Mike Gantt says:

            I am not privvy to God’s ultimate plans for Satan. However, he is far more culpable for evil than any human being, for it was he who has tempted every one of us. Adam and Eve did not concoct their rebellion – they were lured into it by Satan. As long as Satan is an enemy of God, he will be an enemy of mine.

            My concern is for my fellow human beings. My wish is for as many as possible to receive their inheritance in this life and glorify the Lord who made us and redeemed us.

            • William says:

              Your not reading your bible if you aren’t aware of Gids plan for satan. I’ll tell you Gods ultimate plan for satan. Eternal torment in hell, just like anyone else that refuses Christ.

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

              And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if ((ANYONE’S ))name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (‭Revelation‬ ‭20‬:‭12-15‬ ESV)

              Or do you not know that the unrighteous ((((will not inherit the kingdom of God?)) Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, (((nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. )))(‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭9-10‬ ESV)

            • William says:

              By the way it is good to hear you say (I don’t know) by the way.

    • William says:

      I apologize, I read your statement and thought I was reading Mikes.

  186. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverinChrist,

    This I will say for you: even though you disagree with me, you have given some serious thought to what I have said. You deserve credit for that.

    As for what to do about our disagreement, let me suggest that you think further about the dramatic change that death brings about in a person’s attitude. Consider, for example, the rich man in Luke 16. Why does death dissolve such hardened hearts? Because in death our spirits are freed and the veil of flesh is removed. The veil of flesh is what Satan uses to cloak all his schemes. Without that veil, Satan can no longer deceive. The rich man immediately saw, without the benefit of instruction, how foolish and evil he had been. His repentance was genuine.

    By your view, the mercy God extends through Christ is withdrawn at a person’s death, yet the Scripture says that “His mercy endureth forever.”

    • William says:

      The bible NEVER says that the rich young ruler repented, in fact it says he walked away very sad because he was very wealthy. Jesus took him through the Ten Commandments to show him his sinfulness. When he had said that he has kept them all since his youth, Jesus told him to go and sell all he had. The bible says he walked away sad, never said he did what Jesus asked, never said he repented, I hope he did but we don’t know. Jesus showed the rich young ruler that his money and possessions was his god.

      Mercy was extended to the rich young ruler, mercy does endure forever but you can reject that mercy.

    • BelieverInChrist says:

      I do not agree that death frees the spirit to repent.

      My understanding is this:

      [Gen 2:17 NASB] 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

      So God made a promise. That when one eats from this tree he will die. But Adam and Eve did not die in the flesh on that day? No they died in the Spirit. Their bodies were living but in they were no longer alive in the spirit.

      [Rom 7:24 NASB] 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?

      So His body here is indeed causing him death. But what is the solution to be set free?

      [Rom 8:1-2 NASB] 1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

      So it is Christ who has set him free. The law of the Spirit of life. So now a spirit of life is setting them free.

      So here we see a spirit of life has come into those who previously had a dead spirit.

      If a dead spirit is set free from the body what happens? It dies.

      If a living spirit is set free from the body what happens? It lives.

      Those who live by the flesh are dying right? That is because their spirit only living because their body is holding it up.

      [Heb 10:38 NASB] 38 BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH; AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM.

      So the righteous have a living spirit their bodies are being enlivened by God. This is living by faith.

      The dead do not live by the Spirit of God and separation from their bodies will not result in freedom to life, but freedom to death.

      So you think the body and soul are inhibiting the spirit from the freedom to choose God.

      God has made a man without excuse. He has made it more than possible for a man to receive His Spirit while being in the body and suffering the soul.

      If the body and soul are too much for a man then he would not have said:

      [1Co 10:13 NASB] 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

      So the one who has died is still without excuse. His temptations were not too great nor was his flesh too afflicted.

      As for mercy I have considered the following:
      [Rom 9:22 NASB] 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

      [Rom 9:13-17 NASB] 13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.”

      [1Th 5:9 NASB] 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
      [Heb 3:11 NASB] 11 AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.'”

      So God promises two things in these verses that I am presenting for consideration.

      The first is that those whom He has compassion and mercy on will have the mercy that endures forever.

      The second is that those who do not believe He promises that He will not let them enter His rest. He is not going to subvert that promise after they die. He promises whether living or dying that they will not enter His rest if they do not believe. They have not found mercy.

      To which you can still say that they might avoid the fact that He said men are without excuse. They may avoid the fact that He promised they would die on that very day they ate the fruit in the garden. If they are severed from their body they somehow have the ability to have a regenerated spirit without faith. Faith is not by sight. So upon dying and seeing God, faith is not possible. There will be no faith. The righteous live by faith. So they have to have faith to be saved.

      To me this makes sense. What do you think?

      • Mike Gantt says:

        You seem to think that God’s faithfulness to His promises is contingent on our faith in those promises. Yet Paul writes 2 Timothy 2:13.

        Paul also writes that death is the last enemy to be defeated, but on your view death is a victor because it can close the door on God’s mercy forever.

  187. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    “…mercy does endure forever but you can reject that mercy.”

    Yes…but not forever.

    The rich man in Luke 16 demonstrates that people unrepentant throughout life on earth become immediately repentant at death. However, their regret will endure because they cannot change what happened on earth. Everyone is going to heaven, but not everyone will be equally happy when they get there because not everyone will be equally honored when we get there. Some will be shamed. God forbid that we should be among the shamed – let us live wholeheartedly for Him now that we may hold our heads up when we get there!

    • William says:

      Today is the day of salvation, not judgement day.
      Choose you this day who you will serve, not later.

      • Mike Gantt says:

        Today is the day of salvation and the day of judgment. It is the day of Christ, the day of the Lord, the Sabbath of God. Christ reigns supreme!

        • William says:

          You are guilty of breaking the second of the Ten Commandments. Idolatry, you have created a god in your own mind. A god that will allow all into heaven. The people of Israel created an idol and Gods wrath came upon them.

  188. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    I received the conception I have of God from the Scriptures (i.e. the Old Testament and the New Testament; the 66 books of the Protestant Bible).

    If this is to bring me wrath, why does He deliver me from my sinful ways and cause me to have an ever greater appreciation for Him with each day that passes? Why am I gladly sacrificing my interests for the pursuit of His? Why does His government of my life continue to increase according to the prophecy of Isaiah 9:7?

  189. William says:

    You seem to me as one that will cry out, Lord Lord, didn’t I turn from my evil ways, didn’t I sacrifice my interest to peruse yours?. Didn’t I write books in your name? Didn’t I write blogs in your name? And He will say depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.
    Sounds harsh, but you are not following the God of the bible, the God of the bible will judge.
    This judgement you talk about that is happening today is not judgement. It is correctionimg. Psalms 89:30-34.
    Like a father corrects his child and tries to point this child in the right direction.

  190. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    The Lord will not cast me aside because He knows I am devoted to Him.

    The things I teach are the things He taught me. I did not learn them from anyone else.

    There are many things I do not know. The things I do know, I write about in my blogs and books and I talk about in my podcasts.

    Do you read the Bible? Have you not read that practically every man who ever spoke truly for God was accused of leading people astray? Being accused of being a false teacher is, of course, no guarantee that you are true, but being true is indeed a guarantee that some will consider you false. “Woe to you when all men speak well of you.”

    Your argument is not with me; it is with the One who sent me.

    Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. Everything I say depends on these two truths. Among American Christians today, Jesus is more of a mascot than a lord. Like the queen of England, He is often saluted but seldom obeyed. The more someone actualizes His lordship, the better he will understand the things I am saying.

    • William says:

      You are devoted to ( a god) no doubt.

      The things you teach did not come from God but from satan. Your teaching come from what you want your god to be, aka idolatry. I say this not in hatred but in love.

      Yes I do read my bible, daily. That is why I can’t just stand idly by and let false teachings go unexposed.

      17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. (‭Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭17-18
      ESV).

      Yes, many was accused of speaking falsely, David Koresh, Jim Jones, Joseph Smith, and Charles Russell.
      Many don’t like my teaching because it tells them they are sinners and headed for hell without repentance and faith in Christ.
      By comparison- most would love your teachings because (you) say all are going to heaven. (I) say most are going to hell. Matthew 7:13-14.
      My argument IS with you and the one speaking through you- satan.

      If Christ taught He would never had been persecuted, but He taught the truth therefore He was.

  191. Mike Gantt says:

    On a recent post at Benjamin L. Corley’s blog, I have made well over 100 comments to date, interacting with perhaps two or three dozen different people. You might find the interaction interesting.

    • William says:

      Maybe I will check it out sometime but you should consider my last post. No response?
      Your teachings have to many holes. Will not hold water.

  192. Mike Gantt says:

    I didn’t respond to your last post because you didn’t say anything new. You’re just repeating yourself. When people disagree with me on my blogs I like to let them have the last word.

    If, however, you want to ask me questions or you have something new to say, I will respond.

    • William says:

      Yea, I can tell you like giving last word. I did however state something new, I said Jesus would not have been crucified giving your message, He was crucified for saying He was Gods son and warning people that if they do not repent and trust in Him they would be tormented in hell.
      Focus on the part that Jesus would not have been crucified with your message.

  193. Mike Gantt says:

    At His trial, Jesus was convicted and sentenced to death on the basis of admitting that He was the Messiah, but He had not gone around preaching to everyone that He was the Messiah. Rather, He followed in the steps of John the Baptist, calling Israel to repent or else face destruction as a nation. In this respect, John and Jesus were fulfilling the same pattern as prophets in the Old Testament: calling people to repentance and, as their reward, being called false prophets.

    I call my fellow Christians to repent (America is on its way to destruction if it does not repent). It’s the lead statement on my home page and overview (of this blog) page. Liberal Christians think I’m false because I believe so strongly in the Bible; conservative Christians think I’m false…for the reason that you think I’m false.

    You might think my message would not cause anyone upset as Jesus’ message caused upset, but I can assure you that my message upsets all kinds of people, and lots of them. Yet I continue laboring for the ones who will receive and believe, because they are the ones God wants to comfort (Matthew 5:3-12).

    • William says:

      But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (‭Luke‬ ‭21‬:‭36‬ ESV)

      Escape what? Heaven?

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

      What is your idea of hell? Is burn with fire, torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth alogoricical to you?

      Was the disciples being persecuted for saying repent or face heaven?

  194. Mike Gantt says:

    Luke 21:36 is about escaping the great tribulation which was coming on the church and Israel in the 1st century just before the coming of the kingdom of God. There had never been anything like it, and never would be again (Matthew 24:21). It occurred before that generation passed away (Luke 21:32).

    Hell is the wrath of God against sin that is all around us. The earth is full of wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus is our oasis in the midst of it.

    The Jews persecuted the disciples because the disciples were telling the Jews to repent and accept a crucified Messiah. The Gentiles persecuted the disciples because the disciples would not worship the emperor or the many gods

    • William says:

      Where’s the fire or burning sulphur?

      I don’t need the last word, God will have it. Your blood will not be on my hands- Ezekiel 33

  195. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    The most important fact you need to consider is that the Bible is a Jewish book – not a Gentile book. It was written by Jews for Jews, and only opened up to Gentiles as the New Testament church matured – Acts 10, to be specific.

    The metaphors for judgment – fire, burning, etc. – were well established by the prophets. The New Testament got its vocabulary from the Old Testament. You need to look for the word “hell” in the Old Testament. You’re going to be surprised at what you find.

    I know you don’t want to read my books, but at least do this for yourself: get a Strong’s concordance and study the word “hell.” The Greek term is “gehenna” and its Old Testament form is Ben-hinnom. Along the way, you might come across the words Hades (Greek) and Sheol (Hebrew). Study the usage of these words and you will see that Hades/Sheol refers to the afterlife, while Gehenna/Ben-Hinnom refers to judgment. Most people never take the time to sort out the various meanings of these words. Study your Bible and see how the Bible uses them. If you care at all about this subject, you owe it to yourself to study what the Bible says about it.

  196. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    There is something even more important than recognizing the Jewishness of the New Testament (that is, how much the thinking of the OT prophets permeates the thinking of the NT writers), as important as that is. It is this: in order to grow in our understanding of the Scriptures, we must be sure to live our thought lives in the constant gaze of our righteous Lord Jesus. Studying the Bible is not merely an intellectual exercise, though you definitely have to apply all your mind to it. God is disposed to give understanding of His Scriptures to those whose hearts are fully open to Him. It is a sad fact that many Christians live for the approval of other Christians rather than for the approval of Christ. Constantly seeking the full approval of Jesus Christ about all that we think, say, and do has a cleansing effect on our minds such that scales begin to fall from our eyes and we begin to see things in the Scriptures that were there all along.

    As it says in 2 Corinthians 3:16, “whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” I do not mean that a person will immediately understand everything; I certainly do not understand everything. What I do mean is that growth in understanding is stunted as long as we are not living in the full light of the eyes of the Lord. Live wholeheartedly for the Lord and you will increase your understanding of the Scriptures day by day. “His mercies are new every morning.”

    • William says:

      Praying you haven’t studied your way to hell. You are on my daily prayer list.

      • William says:

        God will not FORCE anyone to love Him. Free choice.
        That is all. Praying for you.

        • William says:

          One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭39-43‬ ESV)

          Wondering why Jesus didn’t say “Today you will be with Me in paradise” to the both of the criminals?

          Could it be that one accepted and the other rejected?

  197. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    You seem to think that everyone going to heaven means everyone will be treated the same way in way in heaven, will have the same experience in heaven, will be in the same location in heaven. Yet none of those things follow.

    Heaven is a big place…with more than enough room for God to place every person where that person belongs.

    What makes you think “Paradise” refers to the whole of heaven instead of part of it? In any case, the new heavens did not exist yet, so all were on their way to Sheol (Hades), with Jesus saying that the repentant criminal would be with Him in Paradise (Sheol’s upper compartment, also called Abraham’s bosom). I cover this in the book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

    • William says:

      Mike, it is apparent that my reasoning with you will not change your mind, this work will have to be done by God himself. I pray that this will be done by His Holy Spirit rather than on the day of judgement. I pray that it will be done sooner rather than later so that you can go back and repent and try to turn those whom you have mislead from the wide path to the narrow path which only a few ever find. May Gods Holy Spirit speak the truth to you.

      • William says:

        Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. ((())Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. )))))This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. (((Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. )))To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭4-5‬ NLT)

  198. Mike Gantt says:

    “Different” from what?

    You have lifted Paul’s words out of context and made them say something he did not say.

    Read in context, Paul is condemning those who teach something different from what he and Jesus taught. After all, both Jesus and Paul were each accused of teaching something “different,” so just being “different” is not something worthy of condemntion. In fact, Jesus was crucified for teaching something different from what was sanctioned by the religious authorities of His day. Paul was similarly persecuted for teaching a “different” doctrine.

    I am not teaching something different from Jesus and Paul. Rather, I am teaching what is consistent with what both the Old and New Testaments teach. See these verses from an appendix to my book The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

    Just because I am teaching something different from you, William, or different from others you follow, does not necessarily mean that I am teaching something different from God.

    If you want to say that I’m teaching something different from Paul or the Lord, then say so and make your case. But don’t misquote the Bible so that a person unfamiliar with it might think that I am wrong just because what I am saying is “different.”

    I am disappointed in you for twisting Paul’s words, William. It does not seem like you.

    • William says:

      Struck a nerve there did I?
      Talk about twisting scripture. I read several of your scriptures, and you are twisting them.
      Yes, I’m saying you are teaching something MUCH different than Christ and Paul.
      You claim that people will not go to hell while scripture is clear that MANY will.
      Scripture is clear that people practicing sinfulness and dying unrepented and not trusting Christ as savior will go to hell.
      I’ve made my case you just will not soften your heart and accept it. I’m not here desiring to argue with you to win an argument but rather so that you will turn from your false teachings and not lead others in this false teaching. I take no pleasure in arguing. If you do turn from this false teaching. I would never gloat about it but rather rejoice in knowing that I have another brother in Christ.

  199. Mike Gantt says:

    The Scripture says that we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but that the Lord has delivered us from it (Hebrews 2:14-15), but you have made this good news of no effect by replacing it with a shadow far darker: the shadow of hell. Yet the Scripture does not speak of the shadow of hell, only of the shadow of death. Why then do you depart from Scripture for the sake of your tradition?

    • William says:

      Walking in the shadow means walking near death. Not in death. If I was walking down the sidewalk of NYC along the tall buildings in the shadow of them, I would not be in the building but rather close to or beside the building. So, God does not deliver us from the shadow of death rather scripture says it is appointed for all to die once and after that the judgement. We do not all go to heaven but we all do go to the judgement. There the bible says that He will separate the sheep from the goats. Those who have repented and put their faith in Christ will go to heaven and those who haven’t go to hell.
      Sorry but you have made the good news if no effect (to those that will listen) by saying that all go to heaven.

      If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are (perishing). (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭3‬ NLT)

      What scripture have I abandoned for sake of tradition?

  200. Mike Gantt says:

    Hebrews 2:14-15, for one. What good is being delivered from death if it’s only to be handed over to a fate worse than death?

    You wrote, “Sorry but you have made the good news if no effect (to those that will listen) by saying that all go to heaven.”

    You wouldn’t consider it good news that all are saved? Even if you think I am wrong, you should hope I am right for even God is “not wishing for any to perish.” Why then do you wish for some to perish? This wish does not speak well of you.

    • William says:

      There absolutely is a fate worse than death, the second death.

      No! I wouldn’t consider it good news, I would consider it Fantastic news!!
      So would all the rapist, murderers, child molesters, homosexuals, etc…
      I would also consider it False news!!

      God is not willing that any should perish.
      Nor am I that’s why I go out sharing my faith!
      Why do you think He is slow in His coming? I’ll tell you, so people will repent and trust the Savior!

  201. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    You seem really bothered that on my view “rapists, murderers, child molesters, homosexuals, etc.” get into heaven because they repent as soon as they die. But on your view don’t they all get in if they say the sinner’s prayer in the last minute they’re living?

    • William says:

      I’m bothered by others reading this false doctrine and going to hell if they accept what you are saying.
      If you could repent after death then the rich man is a crazy for not doing so.
      Yes, you can repent before dying, even to your last breath. Living a whole life for Christ or your last minute. Matthew 20:1-16

      • William says:

        And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, (‭Hebrews‬ ‭9‬:‭27‬ NLT)

        What comes after death? Judgement!
        That’s why the bible says-

        For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. (Today) is the day of salvation. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭2‬ NLT)

  202. BelieverInChrist says:

    Observations:
    Now to say “everyone is going to heaven.”

    You might say all have been predestined.
    You might say all will willfully choose Him.
    It is to say that the promise of God is that He will bring every man to salvation.
    It is to say death is not really death. There is no death but temporarily.
    It is to assert that heaven is a place for everyone
    It is a means to attempt to explain love
    It is not clearly spelled out as being God’s plan.
    It is a statement about that which is not known.
    Is it a safe reliable statement about that which is not known?
    It subdues stark things.
    Faith and unbelief have very similar outcomes.
    Grace is given to both the proud and the humble, but under the basis the the proud will eventually be humbled.
    It sounds very good to the ears of men who desire to do evil.
    It convicts none of wrongdoing.
    It makes all things automatic. We are now dealing with a machine and being treated as such. The only difference being how long we can endure before we are finally overcome in the afterlife.
    It offers opportunity to the suicidal.
    If accepted and slightly twisted it makes for many cults who “have their reward in heaven” for evil behavior.
    It always has to be tempered with definitions because it does not stand on its own.
    There is a reason God did not word it this way.
    Did this word proceed from the mouth of God?
    God always tempers it with (to those who believe in Him).

    It is a half truth. It will always have to be tempered. That is why it is slippery as a lizard. To say steadfastly “this is the word which proceeded from God’s mouth…All shall go to heaven” always leaves the question is that revelation free of every if or is it tempered in some way.

    If that is the word I am to believe without temperance, why do you temper every evil conjecture that a man may come up with. Though I am interested in pleasing God because of a revelation of Him in my heart. There are many who are not interested. To them this word is a license. And you seek to add no temperance to that license because you think it is accurate. As you know accuracy and the Spirit do not always coincide.

    Do you see why I cannot accept this word yet?

  203. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverInChrist,

    You might say all have been predestined.  Yes, you could say that.  And some people fight their destiny before they find it.
    You might say all will willfully choose Him.  Yes, you might say that.
    It is to say that the promise of God is that He will bring every man to salvation.  Eventually, yes.
    It is to say death is not really death. There is no death but temporarily.  No, there really is a death; it’s just that Christ has turned the curse into a blessing.
    It is to assert that heaven is a place for everyone  Yes, just as earth is a place for everyone.
    It is a means to attempt to explain love.  Yes.
    It is not clearly spelled out as being God’s plan.  It is more spelled out than the traditional heaven-or-hell scenario.
    It is a statement about that which is not known.  All revelation from God is a statement of that which otherwise would not be known by us.
    Is it a safe reliable statement about that which is not known?  If the Bible is enough for you, yes.  The Bible is enough for me.
    It subdues stark things.  It explains dark things.
    Faith and unbelief have very similar outcomes.  Only with respect to heaven being the eternal home of all humans.  Beyond that, the outcomes of those two courses is quite different.
    Grace is given to both the proud and the humble, but under the basis the the proud will eventually be humbled.  Indeed, they will.
    It sounds very good to the ears of men who desire to do evil.  I have never encountered a man who believed me and wished to continue doing evil.  Moreover, no one can believe my message without believing Jesus because He is the heart of the explanation.
    It convicts none of wrongdoing.  It does me, and I don’t see why it wouldn’t anyone else.
    It makes all things automatic. We are now dealing with a machine and being treated as such. The only difference being how long we can endure before we are finally overcome in the afterlife.  You seem to be turning a blind eye to the workings of God in the earth.
    It offers opportunity to the suicidal.  You don’t seem to recognize that it takes faith to believe this message.  A victim of suicide will know that he has to face his judge as soon as he executes himself.  He’s going to want to be received on better terms than that.
    If accepted and slightly twisted it makes for many cults who “have their reward in heaven” for evil behavior.  Cults can twist anything they want, and they’ve been doing so long before I ever came along.
    It always has to be tempered with definitions because it does not stand on its own.  Verses like Romans 11:32 and 1 Corinthians 15:22 seem to stand alone pretty well.
    There is a reason God did not word it this way.  Do you not realize that until the time of Jesus, Jews did not have a hope of anyone going to heaven.  They thought resurrection led by to earth.
    Did this word proceed from the mouth of God?  I would never have dared declare such a thing on my own.
    God always tempers it with (to those who believe in Him).  One of the reasons I have never felt comfortable with Universalists is that, by and large, they think it doesn’t matter how we live, whereas I am thoroughly convinced that the Lord loves righteousness and hates lawlessness.  It is impossible to please Him without faith, and faith that does not turn from sin is not sincere faith.  

    It is a half truth. It will always have to be tempered. That is why it is slippery as a lizard. To say steadfastly “this is the word which proceeded from God’s mouth…All shall go to heaven” always leaves the question is that revelation free of every if or is it tempered in some way.  Every message has a context.  You can see my context by seeing the other things on my blog (see especially the section labled “Overview” in the menu bar above).  The two most important truths to me are that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God.  That everyone is going to heaven is a truth that flows from and depends upon those two greater truths.

    If that is the word I am to believe without temperance, why do you temper every evil conjecture that a man may come up with. Though I am interested in pleasing God because of a revelation of Him in my heart. There are many who are not interested. To them this word is a license. And you seek to add no temperance to that license because you think it is accurate. As you know accuracy and the Spirit do not always coincide.

    Do you see why I cannot accept this word yet?  I ask you again to read The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.  Therein are the reasons you should believe.

  204. BelieverInChrist says:

    I have considered those scriptures, they are not enough for me to hang my hat on either.

    32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all

    I cannot get over the “May” show mercy to all. The Ark that Noah built was built large enough for all, yet all did not get on the boat as desired by the Lord.

    22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

    I struggle with the “In Christ”

    23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,

    The verse following the verse you said, specifically says those who are Christ’s.

    But besides that you have tempered your statement in such a way to say “The two most important truths to me are that Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God. That everyone is going to heaven is a truth that flows from and depends upon those two greater truths”

    So you say everyone is going to heaven, but believe in Jesus as Lord.

    Your statement is now tempered with faith in Christ still being the prerequisite.

    I really appreciate that you answered my questions. I think I am not able to come over to your side. Faith in all going to heaven is irrelevant. That is faith in a doctrine. Faith in the person Christ for life is essential.

  205. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverInChrist,

    I talk about everyone going to heaven because the Scripture commands “Make known His deeds among the peoples” (Psalm 105:1). I will not credit Him with less than He has done.

    Most Christians I have encountered with this message never search the Scriptures about it. They just argue the arguments that have been argued to them. The few who do go to the Scriptures just cherry pick New Testament verses which are used in the arguments they have heard. What hardly any of them will do is go to the Bible and search it from one end to the other. It’s no wonder to me then that hardly any of them change their minds. They are not committed to following the Scriptures wherever they lead.

    There is something widely known by Old Testament scholars but is not widely known among pastors. It is that in the Old Testament, everyone who died went to Sheol, and Sheol was below. Everyone. Sheol was the place of the dead – both the righteous and the unrighteous went there. They may have gone to different parts of Sheol, but there was no doubt among the ancient Israelites nor has there ever been any doubt among Old Testament scholars that all the dead went below to Sheol. (The Greek translation of Sheol is Hades.)

    The problem is therefore that if you believe in a heaven-or-hell afterlife, you have to have a Scriptural explanation for how and when the everyone-to-Sheol afterlife was changed to a heaven-or-hell afterlife. In all my arguments with adherents to the heaven-or-hell scenario, and I’ve had more of them than I can count, I have never met a single person who could give me a Scriptural explanation for how and when the change occurred. Therefore, they’re left believing that the Bible presents two different scenarios for the afterlife but with no way to reconcile them.

    I’ve always been willing to have my mind changed in every single argument I’ve had, but I have been shocked – literally shocked – at how weak the arguments are for the heaven-or-hell scenario. It’s just tradition and peer pressure (fear of man) that hold it in place. True devotion to Scripture is a rarity among Evangelicals, and, of course, hardly anyone else cares about the Scripture as much as they do so that devotion is even rarer elsewhere.

    I do not say these things to condemn Evangelicals. I myself am one. I would not know that everyone was going to heaven unless they had taught me that Jesus was Lord and the Bible was the word of God. It has just turned out that I was more swayed by what they taught me than they were.

  206. BelieverInChrist says:

    I also was an evangelical. I agree that evangelicalism is founded upon a set of traditions and doctrines. Their traditions are causing problems of all kinds. Because our God is a living God with a living word, a dead tradition is of no value. So we must learn from Him through the scriptures.

    And so I have learned that God very highly values the way that we approach Him. We tend to think that He is a creature on an examination table. We come up with all these doctrines and facts from our examination of Him. But truly He is in heaven and we are on earth. So the only way I can know Him is by receiving Him by His way. Thus you have the way that I approach life and the scriptures.

    I am able to hear your honest heart over the matter, but the Spirit does not confirm the message according the the way He has taught me. There is a certain kind of knowledge you are getting by this study and it is the kind that comes from the intellect. I do not think that in every matter you are only touching the intellect of men but in this matter it seems so. The intellect will approach a thing in a certain way. It will examine it and reason it, but miss the listening and hearing of the Spirit in it. We have understood many things this way. “Do not lean on your own understanding” Is the word of the Lord. So He is saying that our best and most analyzed understanding is untrustworthy. This is why we are leaning on Him as a person and not on our understanding of Him.

    So the way I approach this is in looking for am I leaning on Him confessing that I do not understand, or am I leaning on an understanding from reasoning.

    And yes the intellect cannot be avoided, but it is not the way. The way is by faith in Christ. All things come by way of faith in the person. Our works are to be “manifested” by God according to John 3. So I am looking to God to give me a proper life. I do not understand all these things and do not claim to. But I am learning the way of the Lord and how to evaluate all things.

    Your message is actually “Believe Christ is Lord, Believe all go to Heaven”. I am simply saying the message is “Whoever believes in Him will be saved”. So the second part of your message “believe all go to heaven” is in accordance with the intellect and the understanding. The first is in accordance with “do not lean on your own understanding.” I cannot tell you the heaven and hell scenario exists. I cannot tell you that it does not exist. I only know that I must put my hope for life completely in Him.

  207. Mike Gantt says:

    BelieverInChrist,

    1. You cannot accept what I am saying about heaven?  That’s no problem for me.  Just keep devoting yourself to our Lord.  That’s the most important thing.  Nothing of what I’m going to write below is for the purpose of attempting to convince you further; rather, I just want to close the loop on various issues that have been raised  during the discussion.
    2. The point you make in which you distinguish between trusting the Lord and trusting our understanding of Him is a very good and very important one.
    3. It’s ironic to me that you should raise an objection to excessive human reasonings, because, while I used different language, this was my objection to most of the arguments I have received from Evangelicals.  They have argued that I am in the minority with respect both to historical Christian interpretation and current Evangelical interpretation.  Of course, this is an argument from human reasoning, not from the Scripture or the Spirit.  And their follow-on arguments are of the same sort.  Every argument I have heard for the heaven-or-hell scenario is an intellect-based argument, with occasional New Testament verses taken out of context or otherwise misinterpreted.  I know practically all of these arguments…because I used to make them.
    4. I was a typical Evangelical, having long before accepted without question the heaven-or-hell scenario, when one day the Spirit whispered in my soul, while I was in prayer, that everyone was going to heaven.  I was not expecting this revelation, but it filled my soul with peace and joy and wonder when it came.  I remained in this state for days.  It was only subsequent to this that I went to the Scriptures “to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  When I did, I not only learned from the Scriptures that everyone was going to heaven; I simultaneously learned that there is no Scriptural foundation for the heaven-or-hell scenario.  Another way of saying it is that the Scriptures unfolded to me in a way I had not expected.  And when they did, many otherwise obscure or misunderstood verses began fell into place – verses that I did not previously think were related to this topic.  For example, I came to see that the Scriptures actually tell a story about “the new heavens and new earth” (Isaiah 65:17 and elsewhere) that has a beginning, middle, and end.  To God be the glory!
    5. When you compare “Believe Christ is Lord, Believe all go to Heaven” with “Whoever believes in Him will be saved” you are comparing apples and oranges.  For one thing, going to heaven is something that happens at death but being saved is something that can and should happen long before that.   For another, going to heaven is fundamentally about a change in your location whereas salvation is about a change in you.  I could say much more, but since I’m not striving to convince you at this point it would be superfluous. I just wanted to distinguish these two concepts which Evangelicals often equate. The main problem with this is that it obscures the inheritance the Lord died to give His people in this world.
    6. I saved the most important for last.  When I say “Jesus is Lord and the Bible is the word of God” I don’t mean it in the way that so many Evangelicals mean it – which is as a mere statement of propositional truth to which one professes allegiance.  In other words, I don’t mean it as mere lip service.  For a large number of Evangelicals, Jesus exercises no more practical authority over them than the Queen of England exercises over the British.  If you have found peace in trusting and obeying the Lord Jesus in all that you think, say, and do, by all means, keep on doing what you are doing! That is what matters most.

    If a significant number of American Evangelicals were to actualize the lordship of Christ, the world would be turned upside down in short order.  This would be the revival (awakening) for which so many of us are praying.  In the absence of that, our children and grandchildren are going to have to face hostility, persecution, and evil on earth of a degree far beyond anything we have faced to this point.  Lot’s righteous soul was tormented by Sodom’s sensuality and lawlessness; we who live in 2015 America can relate.  Judgment is upon us in America, but it is going to increase in intensity until we His people repent.  Yes, heaven awaits us all, but there is much hell to endure before we get there.  Those who walk upright through the consuming fire (Isaiah 33:14-15) will be the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8) and have places of honor in heaven (Isaiah 33:16).

    Jesus is Lord!  Let’s live like it!

  208. Mike Gantt says:

    William,

    For those willing to see how the words Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna are used in Scripture, here are the chapter and verse references for all occurrences. Or you can use a Strong’s concordance to do the same research. In either case, you will see for yourself that the following statements are true:

    – Sheol is the place of the dead, below, to which everyone – good or bad – went at death.

    – Hades is simply the Greek word for the same place.

    – Both terms, therefore, have to do with the afterlife.

    – Gehenna is something different and is usually contrasted with the kingdom of God (or eternal life).

    If a person thinks the kingdom of God or eternal life is something that doesn’t occur until the afterlife, he will, therefore, think the same thing about Gehenna. Yet it is clear to many people – me among them – that the kingdom of God (eternal life) is something the Lord intends for us to experience in this life.

  209. William says:

    Hello Mike, just dropped in to say that I am holding to my word, I am still praying for you daily.

  210. William says:

    Still praying- Acts 26:18

    “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’”
    ‭‭Acts‬ ‭26:18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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