Universal Salvation: The Lake Of Fire Part Four
Just to recap the last few lines of part three.
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?
Even though everyone is going to be raised incorruptible, they will still be themselves: which means that you will still be you. You will have the nature of God, but you will still be yourself. And what is more, God will be very close to you. Not as a king sitting on a throne, or someone who wants you to sit and worship Him all day long, but as a Friend. If God wants to be one of us, then He will have to be on our level.
"Coming back to the sheep and the goats. Is it fair that the goats get resurrected at the same time as the sheep?"
Is it fair if they do not? After all, the goats are not receiving life because of what they have done, and the sheep are not receiving life because of what they have done. Do not forget this one thing: everyone is receiving life because of what God has already done, and what He is going to do. It is God who is giving eternal life to everyone. Your works can not earn it: it is a free gift to all. Or would you rather that just you, and others like you, receive life, and not everyone else? Surely the greatness of God has its roots in His ability to give everyone eternal life. That should be something that we can all approve of. That is the sort of Person we can all wholeheartedly back: Someone deserving of our worship.
"Yes, but we have done all this for God in our lifetime, only to find out that the baddies are not only going to get eternal life, but that they are going to get it at the same as we are."
So? If you feel that way, you have forgotten already. You are not receiving eternal life for what you have done in your lifetime, but in spite of it. And so are they.
Can you remember the parable of the vineyard, at Matthew 20:1-16?: 1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2 Now when he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 3 And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, 4 and said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went. 5 Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing idle, and said to them, 'Why have you been standing here idle all day?' 7 They said to him, 'Because no one hired us.' He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right you will receive.' 8 So when evening had come, the owner of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and give them their wages, beginning with the last to the first.' 9 And when those came who were hired about the eleventh hour, they each received a denarius. 10 But when the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise received each a denarius. 11 And when they had received it, they complained against the landowner, 12 saying, 'These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of the day.' 13 But he answered one of them and said, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. 15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?' 16 So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
Why should it concern anyone that the goats receive life at the same time as the sheep? You should be pleased. The sheep have no complaints; they are getting exactly what God said they would get: eternal life. Why begrudge the goats eternal life? As verse 15 says, of God: "Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish (thelo) with my own things?" In other words, to put into action what He wills in regard to His own things.
2 Peter 3:9 says that God is "…not willing (from boulomai) that any should perish…" That is what He wills, on the drawing board. Matthew 20:15 is showing that it is quite legal for Him to put what He wills, on the drawing board, into action: which simply means that eternal life for everyone is a foregone conclusion. It is a great plan.
"Yes, but did not someone, somewhere, ask if those being saved are few?
That is true. Luke 13:23,24 has this to say: 23 "Then one said to Him, Lord, are there few who are saved?' And He said to them, 24 'Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.' "
You have to put this into context. The ones being called at this time were the ones in the firstfruit calling, known as the upward, or heavenly calling.
Paul spoke of this calling at Hebrews 3:1, where it says: "Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling…"
Also at Philippians 3:14 where it says: "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Jesus said of this class, at John 14:3: "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."
Of the firstfruits, Revelation 14:1 says: "Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their fore-heads."
And Revelation 14:4 tells us: "…These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb."
What these scriptures tell us is that the firstfruit calling, or the heavenly calling, is open to only a few. Not many attain to this calling. These are the ones in the first resurrection, and the number given is 144,000. Now, whether that is a literal number, or a symbolic number, I do not know. However, the principle being revealed is that it is a very small number compared to those in the general resurrection. So everyone who believes that millions are going to be raptured can forget it: it is not scriptural. The chances of being part of the firstfruit calling, or heavenly calling, are very small indeed. Having said that, the opportunity is there to be taken hold of at this moment in time. But not many will succeed in taking hold of it.
As 1 Corinthians 1:10 says: "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment."
Yes, many think that their worship is acceptable to God. But look at Matthew 7:21-23, where it says: 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' " You see, their worship was not according to accurate knowledge. They did not want to be part of God's organisation; they wanted their own.
As it says in verse 21, "…but he that does the will of My Father in heaven": it is one thing to worship the Father the way that best suits you, but it is another thing to worship the Father the way that He wants. Doing "the will (thelema) of the Father" means getting it into your heart that there is a way to do things that is from God, and is not necessarily the way we naturally want to do things. Doing things God's way means swimming upcurrent most of the time. And when everyone is swimming with the current, it is easy to turn around and swim with them. That is why not many will make the firstfruit calling. The ones in the firstfruit calling are being asked to do things God's way, now.
"But is that not works?"
Yes it is. Your works will not get you eternal life; they will, however, get you into the firstfruit calling. But as Jesus said, at Luke 22:42: "…not My will, but Yours, be done." God's will is not something that is done in church, stirred up by emotion! It is how you conduct yourself every moment of your life. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, you should be taking God's will with you. It should be your life.
1 Peter 4:17 says: "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God…" God's firstfruits are having their judgment now, to check their worthiness to rule as kings with Jesus for a thousand years. Obviously, perfection is not expected of them, but works befitting repentance, are expected. As has already been said, their works will not get them eternal life, but they will get them into the firstfruit calling. Then will come the one thousand year judgment period for all who will not have made it into the firstfruit calling: which will be most of mankind. The result of that judgment will be the lake of fire, which will take care of Universal Salvation for everyone. All will be inflamed by God's love.
"Yes, but I am comfortable where I am."
Of course you are. But that will not get you approved for the firstfruit calling.
Matthew 13:45,46 says: 45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, 46 who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
You must come out of where you are, and attach yourself to your calling. You are being offered a great pearl. Look after that pearl, and you will be one of the few chosen to rule with Jesus.
The ones in the firstfruit calling, or heavenly calling, are being built up as a living temple, made up of people. That temple is almost built. There can only be a few places left. Soon, it will be too late to enter this calling. When it is built, it will administer to the whole earth, before the return of Jesus.
As Isaiah 2:2 says: "Now it shall come to pass in the latter days That the mountain of the LORD's house Shall be established on top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it."
Remember the great multitude, who come out of the great tribulation, "having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb"? Well, look where they are!
Revelation 7:15 tells us: "Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple…" At this time, the temple is operative upon the earth, with full powers and authority. But the great multitude are not of the temple class.
The temple class will be taken to heaven as firstfruits, and offered to God; but certainly not before the great tribulation. Then they will return to rule with Jesus for a thousand years. It is to the temple class calling, that you have to seek to enter the narrow gate. And only a few find the way.
"And all this is part of God's plan, is it?"
Yes, it is. And if you want to learn more about God's plan, then do not miss next month's exciting article, "Universal Salvation! The Plan of God".
Next article: The Plan of God