Universal Salvation: The Lake Of Fire Part Three
To be able to see and understand Universal Salvation means adjusting your understanding to take in one point, which happens to be the starting point, that God is perfect. If the starting point of all understanding is that God is perfect, then the finishing point must be Universal Salvation. Anything less makes God a failure: it would mean that He is not perfect. Once you understand that God can not fail to save everyone, you can then start to understand Holy Scripture.
So bearing in mind that God is perfect, and can not fail to save everyone, let us take a look at the separating of the sheep from the goats. It is found at Matthew 25:31-46. Because we are not going to quote all of it, it would be good for everyone to read it first. What we want to know, is: when does this happen?
"That is easy," everyone will say. "When Jesus returns."
And that is quite right: it certainly can not happen until He does. But exactly when? Day one? Or day two or day three? Or when?
Matthew 25:31-46 says: 31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:'...41 Then He will say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:'...46 And these will go into everlasting punishment, (from kolasis, meaning "corrective punishment") but the righteous into eternal life."
The bottom line is that what is happening is a judgment, the result of which is the saving of all. Of course it is, if God is perfect and cannot fail to save everyone.
Now get yourself ready for this; take a deep breath, and hold onto your chair: the separating of the sheep from the goats, and the great white throne judgment, are the same event.
"What! Does not the great white throne judgment take place after the one thousand year reign of Jesus? When every sinner is cast into the lake of fire."
Incorrect. The great white throne judgment begins at the start of the one thousand year reign of Jesus, and will be executed in full at the end of the millennium. And so does the separating of the sheep from the goats, because it is the same event.
Revelation 20:11-15 reads: 11 "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God (NU-Text and M-text read 'the throne'), and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, (except that we are not saved by works but by grace) by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."
If the great white throne judgment was after Jesus' reign of a thousand years, and if everyone who was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire, that would be a third death for those people. Death one is completed at the end of this system. The second death is completed before the end of the one thousand year reign of Jesus. And now, some want to bring them back again after the one thousand year reign of Jesus, which would mean a third death. All death ends with the second death. There is no third death.
"Yes, but does it not say, at Revelation 20:7, 'Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison'?"
But which thousand years is it speaking about? The thousand years which Satan is bound for? Or the thousand years Jesus reigns for? The two are not the same period of time.
Satan is bound for a thousand year period before Jesus' rule of a thousand years begins. Satan is released when his one thousand year period is over, which will still be inside, and near the end of, the thousand year reign of Jesus. So Satan comes back onto the scene before the end of the one thousand year reign of Jesus is finished.
Therefore, Revelation 20:7 is speaking of Satan's one thousand year period of imprisonment. If it were speaking of the end of Jesus' one thousand year reign, that would mean that Satan would be imprisoned for more than a thousand years. And that can not be so.
Paul says at Acts 17:30,31: 30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world.
"What day is that?"
It is the millennium day of a thousand years. 2 Peter 3:8 says: "…that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years…"
So it is quite feasible that at times, when God speaks of a day, He is actually speaking of a day as being one thousand years long. An example of this is when He said to Adam at Genesis 2:17: "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Did Adam literally die on the day that he ate the fruit from the tree? No. Adam lived for 930 years, but he did die within God's one thousand year day.
The day that God appointed to judge the world was to be one thousand years long. Revelation 20:6, speaking of the ones in the first resurrection, has this to say: "Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
And Revelation 20:4 speaks of those in the first resurrection in this way: "And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them…"
1 Corinthians 6:2,3 says of the ones in the first resurrection: "2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?… 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels?…"
The saints are like traffic wardens, who give you fixed penalty parking tickets for parking on a yellow line, or in a no-parking zone. Once you have paid the fine, it is done with. But if you park again on a yellow line, or in a no-parking zone, you will get another parking ticket. First time around, Adam parked your car for you, but you had to pay the fixed penalty of death. The second time around, it will be up to you to park your own car. But if you park it on a yellow line, or in a no-parking zone, you will get another fixed parking ticket; this time due to yourself, and the penalty will be the same as the first penalty: death. Right at the end of the thousand years is when those who park on a yellow line, or in a no parking zone, will have to pay their fixed penalty. So when they are raised a second time, they will once again have a sinless standing with God, because they have paid the fixed penalty.
The execution of the separating of the sheep from the goats, and the great white throne judgment, is at the end of the one thousand year reign of Jesus, and after Satan has been let loose. All the ones having parking tickets will pay the fixed penalty of having to die a second time.
The purpose of the one thousand year reign of Jesus, is to resurrect all the dead, and to teach them all about God. At their resurrection, all will be in the same position that Adam and Eve were in. They will be reconciled to God, Jesus having redeemed them and paid the atonement price for them. It is at the end of the one thousand year reign that they have to pay the fixed penalty of the second death, and are thrown into the symbolic lake of fire. Just think about it: it will not be a simple matter of taking a forbidden fruit, or an outburst of uncontrolled anger; just one wrong thought, and you will have sinned. That can happen before you know it. Satan is going to have a field day. In order not to sin, you would need to have the mind of God, which Jesus had. And at this time, no one will as yet have the mind of God, except the first fruits; who had to be raised incorruptible to get it.
It is the same old problem. You can know what is right and wrong, but that does not mean you can do it. We are told of sinners at that time: "…whose number is as the sand of the sea." God is going to show everyone that they are not able to attain perfection without His intervention. When Satan is back on the scene again, the principle at 1 Corinthians 15:33, will come into play. There it says: "Do not be deceived: 'Evil company corrupts good habits.' "
"But if people sin, will they not be able to come under the blood of the Lamb?"
If they repent, they will be able to. That is why the sins of some will be covered, and Jesus will be able to say to them, "Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
However, if they have sinned, even unintentionally, and repented and come under the blood of the Lamb, they will still have to pay the fixed penalty of dying a second time, and go into the symbolic lake of fire. But they will be raised the moment the next one thousand years start.
Are you ready for this? The goats will also be raised the moment the next one thousand years start.
"Why is that?"
Because the next one thousand years is a jubilee. And God will have to pardon them the moment the jubilee trumpet sounds, and take them back to their first estate. Which means that if you went in a spirit, you will come out a spirit. If you went in a human, you will come out a human. Man is to inherit the earth, and Satan will have back his position of honour.
The sheep receive life because they are under the blood of the Lamb, and will be raised incorruptible. The goats receive life because they are under the jubilee pardon; they, also, will be raised incorruptible. Remember, Jesus still has the right to redeem them at any time, and their sins have already been atoned for, as Jesus' sacrifice is ongoing.
Both the sheep and the goats will be resurrected at the same time!
1 Corinthians 15:55 says: "O Death, where is your sting?"
Death is not going to have a sting, because it will be gone forever, together with sin.
"That is absolutely fantastic. That means that everyone who has ever lived will one day live forever!"
Yes, they certainly will. And do you know what?
Be sure not to miss "Universal Salvation! The Lake of Fire Part Four".
Next article: The Lake of Fire Part Four