English Articles

The doctrine of Universal Reconcilliation: A very cunning deception

By MA Piet Guijt  vlag

Introduction

It is known that the evil One is trying to deceive Christians with all kinds of lies and false doctrines. Any wrong explanation or interpretation of scriptures  blocks our view to understand the Bible well. It seems that the doctrine of Universal Reconciliation  becomes increasingly widespread, for a concept as the eternal hell or the lake of fire that the Bible speaks about, ‘is considered to be entirely outdated’. Also a part of the Christians in our country doesn’t believe anymore that unbelievers can perish forever.  “From various publications it has always appeared that in a predominantly Christian country such as The Netherlands, the ‘old serpent’ with its corrupt breath is persistently trying again and again to ‘revive’ this ‘old false doctrine’. There was even an open debate on this subject at the Xnoizz Flevo Youth festival in August 2008” (19, 31). According to pastor Wim Hoogendijk (member of the Church of the Nazarene and a former worker of Near East Ministry (NEM) which supports the Doctrine of Universal Reconciliation, even an increasing number of  evangelical Christians believes in the universal reconciliation (21). He states that “at the end of times, it will appear that God’s grace is so great that everybody will be saved” (21) and he doesn’t believe that hell is eternal (2). “He considers hell to be a place of purification, where unbelievers will be redeemed from their unbelief and from which place they can go to heaven. In that way he and his peers have their evangelical purgatory!” (2). Also Andries Knevel asked the question in the Uitdaging Newspaper whether hell is eternal (2).

Even though much has been written about universal reconciliation, yet there was a reason for me to examine this heavy and difficult issue more closely. As with reading about Mormonism (Promise 2004, nr.4), I also fell from one surprise after another (not to say: with bewilderment) with reading about the doctrine of universal reconciliation,  due to the distortion of the Scripture, just simply because people want to keep on defending the doctrine of universal reconciliation. An important aspect of this issue has already been addressed formerly, namely in the excellent article ‘De hel helpen verhelderen’ (A help to clarify hell), by Willem Jan Pijnacker Hordijk (Promise 2013, nr 2) and indirectly also in ‘De menselijke wil en de soevereiniteit van God’ (The human will and the sovereignty of God) (Promise 2012, nr.2). In this article the Dutch Bible Society Translation (NBG-vertaling) is used, unless mentioned otherwise.

What is universal reconciliation?

The concept of universal reconciliation (Apokatastasis is  'analepsis’), also called universalism, is derived from Acts 3:21.  Sometimes Colossians 1:20 is also mentioned. It means that ultimately all people will be saved, thus will come into heaven, and that no man will be present in an everlasting hell.

There are several visions about universal reconciliation.

The one version means that ultimately, whether or not they have been punished for a period, all men will acknowledge God and therefore be saved. Thereby a possibility for conversion after death is considered to be present (hypothetical universalism). Another extreme form of universal reconciliation is found with those who believe that even the devil and his angels will ultimately be restored after a period of torment and punishment (absolute universalism) (3,5). Besides, we must distinguish the doctrine of universal reconciliation from the so-called doctrine of destruction or annihilationism (in Latin annihilation means: ‘turn to nothing’ [= nil]. This is the doctrine that ultimately the unbelievers (including satan and his angels) will be destroyed, in other words: will cease to exist (12, 22, 23).The doctrine of universal reconciliation is by the way not something of today only. In earlier times, it has had supporters in the church history.

Why do people believe in the doctrine of universal reconciliation?

There are both general developments  and various personal reasons why.

Some examples of general developments are:

  • Time spirit. One cannot imagine that there will ever be a hell. But this is not an argument. "There is so much I cannot imagine, but that does not matter. God asks of me only humbly submission to his Word", Ouweneel said (22).
  • “It is after all a sign of the time of apostasy, where people almost exclusively want to listen to a ‘gospel’ that sounds pleasant in the ears of sinners, that a doctrine such as the universal reconciliation is allowed to take root…….. By far the majority of people are remarkably easy to be deceived, which satan knows. Satan is a master forger and his forgeries are being realized by deception and lies” (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” (1Timothy 4:1).

·              A counter-reaction to the doctrine of Predestination. “This is the doctrine that basically one cannot make a choice for salvation and that he will have to wait whether God selects him to be allowed to enter into His heaven. This doctrine is still often taught in strictly Reformed (Calvinistic) churches” (2). “Amongst others those who have suffered under this satanic doctrine of Election, due to the fears and insecurity caused by it, are susceptible to the doctrine of universal reconciliation”(1).

  • A counter-reaction to the ultra predestination doctrine. “This movement actually stated that God has made satan to be an adversary (with a reference to Isaiah 45:7) and that he did not fall (therefore the texts about the Morning Star in Isa.14 and the covering cherub in Ezekiel 28:14 are distorted). They also teach that the Father of Lights, Who does not tempt anyone and in Whom there is no darkness at all 

More personal reasons could be: 

  • Because of the stories about hell people think that God’s grace and God’s love are limited. They have a wrong picture of God’s grace, His omnipotence and His righteousness.
  • Abhorrence of an eternal damnation, especially when people think of their family who are not Christians. It is after all very painful and unbearable that family members or other loved ones would end up in hell and that people therefore love to believe that every person will ultimately be saved. “I have met Christians whom out of despair and sorrow about unconverted family members declared (or hoped and believed?) that there is no eternal punishment. They cannot imagine (or should I say: they refuse to accept?)  that a good and merciful God, Who is also holy and righteous, will therefore punish those forever who reject the substitutionary sacrifice, in which He Himself has provided” (19, encl.III).
    • By faith in the universal reconciliation, the fear for hell is taken away.
  • Who would not want that all people would be saved? The desire that all men will be saved, speaks to our hearts. Especially because we know that the reconciliation work of our Lord Jesus is focused on the whole world (3). C.S. Lewis said: “There is no doctrine  (that of eternal punishment of the evil and of those who associate themselves with it), which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power ” (34).
  • Universal reconciliation appeals to people because God is love, is He not? “How can it justify the existence of hell with a loving God? According to our own feeling/idea the thought of an ultimate salvation of all men is undoubtedly more attractive than the thought of the infinite torment of so many perished ones” (24). Is that not in contrast to God’s righteousness? For ‘finite’ sins in time are paid with an eternal punishment.
    • People think that God’s glory will fail if not all men will be saved.
  • People have a wrong idea about hell, namely a place of torment, some kind of torture room in which sadistic demons content themselves with the pain of perished people (7, 26), which causes people to be inclined to deny the eternal existence of hell. Additionally it is not about torments that are executed by others, but about the inner pain of the remorse, particularly the remorse which is there, because  people have willfully and consciously rejected the offer of God’s grace in the sacrifice of Jesus at the cross of Golgotha. Hell is “a condition of God-forsakenness, of a concentration of powers of darkness, an eternal separation from God, destruction, remorse (gnashing of teeth), inactivity, powerlessness, despondency and desperation. In hell the evil punishes itself, for men will be delivered to themselves, thus to selfishness and to the powers of darkness to which they have attached themselves”, according to Jildert de Boer (8). The Bible uses symbolic language to express this condition.

What arguments do the supporters of the universal reconciliation want to submit?

There many dozens of texts to be found in the Bible (see ‘Enclosure 1. Bible texts that contradict the doctrine of universal reconciliation’) that clearly contradict the doctrine of  universal reconciliation and  prove that there will be an eternal perdition for those who deliberately and knowingly reject the grace of God, thus have refused to accept the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God for the redemption of their guilt of sin. Think for instance of texts like “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.” (Dan.12:2), “…in flaming fire,  dealing out retribution to those who  do not know God and to those who  do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of  eternal destruction,  away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power”(2Thes.1:8,9), “…those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” (2Thes:10) and “… if any-one’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15). These are terrifying texts, of which people cannot afford  to ignore.

Additionally, the doctrine of universal reconciliation does not accord with the statements of Jesus, for example: “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from ME, you who practice lawlessness” (Mat.7:23, see also verse 19 about the tree without fruit that is thrown into the fire), and “…for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (Jn 8:24b) and thereafter judgment/damnation.

What other arguments and reasoning do the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation (sometimes also called the  Reconcilers) use to prove their case?

We shall first give a brief review of these arguments and then we will address each of them.

  • God wants all people to be saved and therefore gave Jesus (1Tim2:3-6). 
  • God does not want that anyone should perish, but that all will repent (2Pet.3:9). The will of God is stronger than the will of man. Besides, who can resist God’s will? therefore, man does have a will, but not a free will.
  • God’s grace has appeared, bringing peace to all men (Tit.2:11). Jesus has died for the whole world, thus He died for all people (Jn 1:29 and 1 Jn 2:2). In Christ all people have been justified?
  • The Bible does not teach us about an eternal punishment, for eternal is not an endless condition, but it would be about a certain finite period. It is therefore about a temporary condition.
  • Human reasoning. An eternal punishment in hell is in contrast to the love, the righteousness and the holiness of God.
  • Emotional ‘arguments’: “I cannot imagine that …”.

A wrong view on the relationship between the will of God and the human will

Followers of the doctrine of universal reconciliation think that all people will be saved, for that is the will of God, after all. People then refer to texts like “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, Who desires  all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth” (1Tim.2:3) and “but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2Pet.3: 9). Rob Bell adds also to it: “If God is love and omnipotent, then God is able to win every creature to Himself”(14). Because God’s will is stronger than the human will, every human will be saved, according to the doctrine of universal reconciliation. God’s will shall after all always come to pass, for He is omnipotent, or is He not? It would be dishonoring to God if such a frail creature as man could resist God’s will, would it not? It cannot possibly be the case that the will of man could frustrate God in such a way, that the divine plan cannot be realized. Then the will of God to fulfill His plan would lose out against the refusal of man, according to a strong defender of the doctrine of universal reconciliation (15). Wim Hoogendijk, whom we already mentioned earlier, even dares to say: “If God is unable to realize His will, He is in fact a sinner. Sin means, after all: missing the mark. God’s final goal is that ultimately all men will say: “Lord Jesus, You are my Lord”(2). We shall demonstrate the incorrectness of this reasoning as follows.

When we study the Bible we can discover a twofold will of God, namely: His “absolute or sovereign will” (God’s counsel, God’s judgment), which no man can resist. And also His “desiring will or resistible will”. The latter is the will which He presents to men, that includes the responsibility given to men by God Himself, but which man can or cannot resist. An example of God’s desiring will is to be found in Psa. 81:13a: “Oh that My people would listen to Me” (NASB), Mat.23:37 and Luke 13:34 “Jerusalem, ….How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling” and “today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb.3: 15).

Therefore, because of the free will given to men by God Himself, the desire (the desiring will) of God does not always occur. “David Pawson, the English Baptist says in his book The road to hell: Throughout the entire Bible man is considered to be responsible for himself and has to render account to God.

If that was not so, then a judgment blow would be one big farce” (3).

The Bible shows clearly that man has a free will and that he himself is allowed to choose whether he accepts God’s will or rejects it (2). After all, simply from the fact that there has been a fall of man, because Adam and Eve did not obey God, it appears that man has a free will (2). Of course God desires for our own benefit that we obey Him, but He does not force anyone.

We saw in the above-mentioned that some supporters/defenders of the doctrine of the universal reconciliation consider the free will of man as it were a sort of insult for God. But God Himself has chosen to give man the free choice to obey or not to obey Him. Therefore it is written: “…..He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Heb.5:9). God’s promises and prophecies for persons are after all conditional. God respects the will of man.

In His sovereignty He consciously has chosen to. God is a God of love. He wants to have a love relationship with man. Love leaves men free to choose whether to humbly accept this love and mercy with much gratitude, ór to reject it arrogantly and persistently. God does not want us to be robots or puppets, but He wants us to do His will wholeheartedly, and out of choice and out of love (15).

Another (spurious) argument of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is that people think that God’s offer is so favorable that nobody will reject it. Objectively, the offer of God is indeed so positive that you’d be crazy to reject it. But people do not consider the power and attractiveness of the evil that can keep men in bondage. Think about the rebellion and pride of men, due to which they are not willing to acknowledge to be dependent on God, and refuse to submit themselves to God.

Other fallacies about the free will

We shall render another series of fallacies of a strong defender of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. He says: “It is about the question of the free will of the creature. Does God have full control over the will of man, yes or no? if the answer is ‘no’, and man can make choices apart from God, then God does not control everything. Concretely: if God’s love wants all men to be saved, but not all men are willing to, then all men will not be saved. That is the doctrine of the free will. Be aware of what it means. It means that not God, but humanity controls over its destiny. God has to share His place with man. To put it even more strongly: man has the determining word! That’s why the doctrine of the free will is at the deepest level a form of polytheism (faith in several gods)”.

Even this brief argument contains several fallacies. First of all, the question whether God controls the will of man, is a totally wrong question. For even though it is not so that God controls the will of man (for that would be in contrast to the free will!), yet God controls the consequences of the (free) will or choice of man. After all, those who do want to do God’s will, will be saved, but those who refuse to, will not be able to ensure themselves to be saved still. For they will ultimately end up in hell (even though those people will discover too late that they would rather not be there) and will feel eternal remorse about their wrong choice.

And even if it is so that man with the free will given to him by God, makes his choice and in that way determines his destiny, it doesn’t mean that God shares His place with man and that the doctrine of the free will would be a form of polytheism at the deepest level. That is a complete error and indeed an absurd conclusion. After all, God is the only God and man as a creature of God has to choose only between the two possibilities which God presents to him: choosing to love God and willing to live to His honor, ór choosing to live without God and doing his own will, which ultimately means choosing for hell.

How crooked one can think about the free will of man, also appears from what a supporter of the doctrine of universal reconciliation claims: to make a choice means that we are self-redeemers. What utter nonsense! As if we could make a contribution to the redemption as such! To man it is only asked to whether or not to agree with God’s offer of grace in Christ. To agree is totally different from making a contribution.

Finally I would like to deal with a (spurious) argument of defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, which is somewhat related to the previous point. People present the resistance of man with his free will in such a way as if the rebellious man could resist God’s will forever. Then God would be the loser and man the victor. But the answer is that man  may think that in this time he can go unpunished by resisting God , but at the end of the time of grace, thus at the final judgment, God will say to the man who refused to submit himself to God: “your will be done”, and that means going to the place where God is absent: the eternal abandonment of God, which is hell. After all, he did not want to do God’s will, and therefore did not want to be with God, did he? And he surely will regret that, but then it will be too late (15).

He then will have no say at all. He then cannot say: ‘And I will still go to heaven’. God determines the conditions and nobody else.

Therefore the rebellious man cannot resist God’s will forever without punishment, in the sense of escaping the eternal judgment as a result of that rebellion (16). That will result in an eternal remorse. Not God is the loser, but the rebellious man is. Whether men submit themselves to God or not, God remains to be the omnipotent God forever and His Kingdom is and will come and be everlasting. The people that continue to resist against God’s will, who rather act after their own pleasure, and who refuse to acknowledge to be dependent on God, are therefore no conquerors but losers (15). “Eventually, there are two kinds of people: those who say to God: “Thy will be done”, and those to whom God will say: “Your will be done””(C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce).

Supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation claim that man does have a will, but not a free will, for that will is guided by God, so that God makes a choice for man. However, this is a complete misconception. Even though these supporters believe that God does not force man, still it is a fact that man can make a choice, independently of God’s will. For that is exactly the essence of the free will that God Himself has given to man. Additionally, “you can only make a choice when there are options, for example for or against God. Only when that situation occurs, there is a choice to be made: a decision. This is what we do with our will. If we choose for option A instead of option B, then this is what we want. We can only make this choice when we have the freedom to. And therefore a will only functions when it also gets that freedom.

Without that freedom our will cannot even function and then there is no mention of a will but a compulsion. So that we may say that each will can only be a will when it is a free will. This is how we arrive at the word: freely (voluntary)”(1).

Salvation for all men?

Defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation refer to texts that would imply that all men will be saved. Examples are: “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1Cor.15:22), “and I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (Jn.12:32, and “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Tit.2:11). Other texts that they refer to are: Jn.3:17, Rom.3:23 and 24, Rom. 5:18 and 19, Rom. 11:32, 1 Cor. 15:22 and Phil. 2:10.

They conclude from these texts that ‘therefore’ all men will be saved, but they forget that the salvation, which is offered by God, must be accepted by man who due to the fall of man, has been separated from God. God gives, as we have already seen before, the option to man to accept or not to accept His offer of grace in Christ. The choice of man becomes also clear when we read Jn.3:17 (also Jn. 12:46) carefully, for in the text it is also said ‘might’. This on the one hand indicates the desire of God, but also the possibility that men may reject the offer. Rom.3:23/24 is also not a proof for the suspected accuracy of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.

After all, in the corresponding pericope, the condition of justification and salvation, namely faith in Jesus Christ, is repeatedly spoken about.

In other words: the context makes clear that ‘all men’ are justified only in so far as they have believed. “This argumentation can also be applied to Rom. 11:32 and Rom. 5:17 -19” (3). In addition, it can also be noticed that only those who believe in Jesus, have received the gift of justification (verse 17).

We shall discuss some texts in the following. First of all Rom. 5:17 -19,

in particular: “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (Rom.5: 18).

“The words ‘all men’ and ‘all’ are read as all without exception, thus in an absolute sense” (8). “Thereby they do not take the context into account. In the context of Romans 5 it is from the very first verse about faith and furthermore about the difference between being in Adam and being in Christ.  All who believe in Christ are justified and enter into life” (8). And only those who are in Christ are a new creation (2Cor.5:17).

The  doctrine of universal reconciliation can also not be defended with the text of 1 Cor.15:22 (that ‘in Christ all can be made alive’) which the supporters mention. Besides, “It is important that it is said additionally here ‘in Christ’. There is only one way to be in Christ, and that is through the way of faith. Also verse 23 points out to that, for this verse gives an indication about whom it is among others: “after that those who are Christ’s at His coming” (3).

What does 1Tim.4:10 say?

The defenders also point out to 1Tim.4:10b: “Who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers”. Does God give eternal salvation to the unbelievers, but most to the believers? What exactly does that mean? “Most obvious is the explanation that God is in essence the Savior of all men (which means that in principle all men can be saved), but actually only of those who believe”(3). A better translation is therefore:  to be more specifically, the believers in particular. “Only those who come to the Savior, will be saved. Compare Joseph who in Gen.41:45 is called ‘Savior of the world’. but only those who came to him, were saved” (31).

Referring to Phil.2:9-11, the defenders of the universal reconciliation claim that all creatures, thus also the devil and the demons, will ultimately be saved.

“Indeed, all souls under the earth will once have to acknowledge that Jesus is ‘Lord’, but it does not say that they will also enter saved into heaven (2).

Nor does it say ‘wholeheartedly’.

If that was also written, we could have made a plea for the doctrine of universal reconciliation, but that is not written.

Deut. 33:29, Psa. 66:3 and Psa. 81:16 for example, speak about God’s enemies that will give feigned obedience to Him” (3).

In Heb. 2:14 it is not said that Jesus’ death at the cross had not saved the devil, but had destroyed him, and Heb.2:16 says that God does not give help to angels.

Another source (1)  is asking the question whether all knees will freely bend before God. They rightly point to Isa. 45:23 that says: “I have sworn by Myself,
The  word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back,
That to Me  every knee will bow, every tongue will  swear allegiance”. “Here we read that Yahweh swears and to swear is a powerful way to reaffirm a judgment and this reaffirmation is necessary when a judgment seems unlikely or when it is being rejected. By swearing it, Yahweh has given the guarantee that what He has foretold will come to pass.

The reason why Yahweh swears here is: because not every knee will freely bend, Yahweh makes clear here that those knees will surely bend, even though not freely, though with gnashing of teeth.

Every creature will eventually have to acknowledge that the Creator has the last word and is worthy of all praise” (1).

Also common sense tells us that it is absolutely not possible that the devil and his demons will be able to escape the lake of fire. Just think of the horrible persecutions of Christians by the liar and murderer of the beginning, who knows that he doesn’t have much time left (Rev.12:12).

Crooked arguments

The crooked arguments that some defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation submit, in order to prove that they are right and from which it appears that they are continually trying to circumvent or deny the choice of faith, we see for instance in the following. “A ‘reconciler’ as A. Lukkien claims however, that our faith in Christ is not important, but that it is all about the faith of Christ.

A half truth is much worse than a whole  lie! The receiving of the gift of righteousness occurs on the basis of faith! (Rom.3:21, 22; Rom.5:17)” (8). Other supporters even say:

“Jesus does not become your savior when you come to faith. He is everyone’s savior already”. This is a subtle deception.

“Faith is a deed from our side and without faith we cannot be saved” (1).

You could compare it with the receiving of a cheque.

One may have a cheque in his hands, but it has no value if he doesn’t go to the bank to cash it.

In addition to that, Jesus is potentially the Savior of all men.

Even crazier is the idea of Gulley and Mulholland (10). According to them, “neither the sacrifice nor our faith in Christ is necessary for reconciliation between us and God. It has (already) been taken care of by God’s clear desire to save every person …. According to the authors, God’s approach toward men must be expressed with love without any judgment of sin …

According to them, God is endlessly patient, and they are of the opinion that the triumph of grace cannot be complete until every single person has been saved” (10). The Bible clearly speaks another language.

In conclusion, some additional points. We would like to point out that there are several texts (e.g. Mat.20:28) that do not speak of  ‘all’, but of ‘many’. That word indicates that it is not always about ‘all’. Furthermore, the use of the word ‘all’ does not always mean that it is about all men. It may imply ‘all kinds’, e.g. pray for all kinds of people, e.g. ordinary people, people in high authority, kings.

If we read in Mark 1:5: “And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that indeed all people from whole Judea and Jerusalem had come to John and that really all of them, including all Roman soldiers in Jerusalem and all members of the Sanhedrin and all priests and Levites, were baptized by him? (2).

The conclusion is that the word ‘all’ is not a compelling argument for the alleged accuracy of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. Furthermore, we see that the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation build on fragments of texts without having the right context in mind, so that they start from a totally wrong view on the free will of man (in relation to God’s sovereignty), and have to twist and turn and take refuge in demonstrable (and disastrous) fallacies in order to try to maintain their untenable view.

The concepts of eternal and eternity

According to the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, the Greek ‘aiōnios’ (‘aiōnion’)  does not mean everlasting, thus eternal, but only a limited duration of time. Now it is true that the Greek word aiōn (aioon) sometimes may refer to a certain period or to its characteristics, particularly in the cases where there is mention of this or that age, this present age or world, e.g. Mat. 12:32, Lk. 16:8, 20:34 (12). Only in three texts aiōnios corresponds with the meaning aiōn ‘age’ (= a limited period of time), namely in Rom.16: 25; 2 Tim. 1:9 and Tit. 1:2, where we find the term chronois aiōniois  or chronōn aiōniōn (which literally means: '[the] times of ages’) (12,22).

However, normally the adverb ‘aiōnios’ has the meaning of a continuously uninterrupted way of living (3,6). Certainly, when it is said that something will not come to an end, for example “…their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched” (Mk 9:48) (31).

It is strongly presented in a certain way of speech in order to express eternity, e.g. eis pantas tous aiōnas, which literally means: ' before every age, and now, and for all the ages' (Jude 25)  and eis ton aiōna tou aiōnos, which literally means: ‘before all time and now and forever' (Heb.1:8), which is translated into ‘forever and ever'. “The Greek language does not have a stronger expression for something that endures forever, something that is absolutely endless” (27). See also Rev.20:10 which reads that the devil, the beast and the false prophet will be tormented day and night forever and ever. “It is impossible to say it more emphatically, that their punishment will be totally and absolutely endless” (27). The words ‘forever and ever’ is a typically Semitic term, which has been copied from the Hebrew le-olmei olamim.

The separate word ‘olam’ is in itself not always unambiguous, for ‘olam’ can also mean: ‘time, the age of a person or eternity’, but if we want to reach ambiguity, then we simply sayle-olmei olamim in Hebrew, which means absolutely ‘forever and ever’ (19, enclosure 2).

The General Biblical Encyclopedia says amongst others: “Eternal simply means ‘an unending duration of time’ and this is the usual meaning of it in the New Testament”. Besides, eternal is also used to indicate the quality of life.

Jesus spoke about eternal life as a life which is the result of a surrender to Him (Jn 17:3).

Indeed, also the quality of eternal life is indicated, but that does not alter the fact that this life also really lasts forever (16).

The Unmasking

What the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation are doing, is by continually referring to the three exception texts mentioned, namely Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9 and Tit. 1:2, they improperly use (not to say: misuse) the fact that the Greek word aiōn sometimes also may regard a certain time or the characteristics of a time.

And in that way people try to ‘prove’ that everything that has been translated with ‘eternity’ in the Bible, actually means ‘time’, which therefore is temporary” (1).

Choosing a temporary meaning of the ideas, they even try, wrongly, for that matter, to prove by pointing at the above-mentioned texts, due to the link between times and eternity, particularly ‘[the] times of eternity’.

But they ought to distinguish it properly from the plural “through all eternity”  which surely implies an endlessness.

That it is completely incorrect and totally unsustainable that the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation claim that aiōn always regards a temporal time period, becomes clear when we compare Greek texts from the New Testament with quoted Hebrew texts from the Old Testament. Then we notice something very significant! For example, 2 Cor. 9:9 is a quote from Psa. 112:9 wherein it is said that God’s righteousness endures forever. It therefore does not make any sense to say that the word aiōn would only refer to a limited period and therefore is not permanent, for that would be in contrast to Psa. 112:9. The word ‘forever’ is consistently translated with always, everlasting, eternally in the Old Testament. God’s righteousness is ‘forever’, and inseparably related with God Himself, Who indeed is eternal and therefore not: temporal. Other examples are the combination of Psa. 45 with Heb. 1:6 with Psa. 110:4 and 1 Pet.1:25 with Isah.40:8! (9).

Inconsistency

What also has become apparent, is that wherever the word  aiōn or aiōnios appears in a negative context, e.g. the eternal punishment, the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation choose for the meaning of a limited period. “It is striking that people who believe in the universal reconciliation, however, do explain positive texts which deal with eternal life and in all eternity, as everlasting and endless (eternal heritance, eternal covenant, eternal redemption, eternal glory, etc.), but the texts with ‘FOREVER and ever’ which deal with eternal punishment and torment are considered by them as temporal. Texts about the lake of fire with the indication ‘FOREVER and ever’(before all times, now and forever; through all ages, which is the whole eternity) are explained as regarding a (very) long duration of time, thus as a temporary punishment and  or purification time  (Rev.14:11; 19:20; 20:10,14-15; 21:8,27 and Mark 9:43-48. This is absolutely inconsequent” (8).

“If eternal life means the eternal experience of the redeemed, then the eternal punishment means the eternal torment of the lost, because the Greek constructions are symmetrical.

There is no significant translation  of e.g. Matt. 25: 31-46 speaks of hell to be of limited duration or as a time of purification, as Bell suggests several times in Love Wins” (14).

“If the supporters of the doctrine of the universal reconciliation would be right that eternal is not eternal, then our eternal salvation should also not endure eternally, but for just a certain period”(2).

When there is no eternal punishment, then there is also no eternal life! (19, encl. 2). And even God would then not be eternal. That would be absurd, would it not?

It is very important yet to point at the term “this aiōn/olam nor in the future” (e.g. Mat. 12: 32), because it is misinterpreted by the defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, namely as two limited periods.

It is a term that often occurs in the Jewish apocalyptic and rabbinic literature and intends to indicate a contrast between the temporal (only this aiōn, in which this world still exists) and the eternal (when this world will be abolished)” (6).

“The logical conclusion of this division in aiōns is a sharp contrast between the present life, wherein God is not yet visible, and the life which is to come in the Kingdom of God which then will be visible. The Bible speaks in no way about more than two aiōns: there is the present aiōn ánd there is the coming age, which will not cease.

There is no mention about a third time period. There is no possibility for that and therefore the way of escape which people are searching in the possibility of a universal reconciliation after ‘all the aiōns’ are radically cut off! (6).

It is therefore wrong what the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation say, namely that the Bible would not teach us that there is an endless age coming, but would imply the “coming ages” wherein God will bring His “intention for ages” to an accomplishment. This seemingly theological meaning is simply fabricated in order to sustain their own view.  Besides, in order ‘to sell’ this misconception, they need these “coming ages” as a period that will pass (and after which something else would follow).

Now, in order to make it plausible that the concept ‘eternal life’ is also temporal, the ‘reconcilers’ consider eternal life to be a gateway to the immortal and the imperishable life, which have no end.

But this imagination of a gateway is a wrong interpretation, for if we look at Rev.4:10, then we cannot imagine that the worship of the elders will cease, can we?

And from Rev.11:15 we cannot draw the conclusion that the kingdom of God and Jesus will cease, can we? (1).

Just as it is already indicated in the above-mentioned, the expression ‘forever and ever’ is a strong expression of endlessness.

We have dealt only briefly with the meaning of the concepts olam, aiôn, aiônes and the use of it in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament, and with the random, inconsistent and even doubtful interpretation of it by supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. Several experts (amongst others experts in the Greek, classical and modern Hebrew languages) obviously indicate that the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation are wrong. Anyone who wants to know more about this matter, I would refer to the literature with extensive information about it (see 12, 19 [encl. I, II en III], 6, 3, 22).

Wrong arguments

Supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation have certain concepts or arguments to deny the future existence of a hell. We will mention some examples and comment on them.

  1.  An eternal hellish punishment is considered to be in contrast to the love of God; It is not possible that He takes pleasure in tormenting people forever and in hearing the weeping and the gnashing of teeth of millions of unfortunate people, is it?

Of course, it does not please God that people perish. He, on the contrary, desires that people come to the knowledge of truth (1Tim.2:4) en be saved. He is also not the One Who torments people. The torment and the gnashing of teeth are expressions of remorse because the people themselves rejected the offer of grace from God in Christ. Nor will God hear the weeping because there is a complete separation between heaven and hell in the spiritual world. “Hell is not in contrast to God’s love, but a consequence of man’s consistent rejection of God’s love that went beyond  limits.

Nobody is forced to go to heaven against his will” (26).

  1.  An eternal punishment would be in contrast to the righteousness of God, because it bears no relation to the sins committed by man in a short life, how awful they may be, and which in terms of time disappear against eternity.

First of all, it is doubtful “whether anyone of us is able to judge what an ‘appropriate’ punishment is for provoking the holy and sovereign God, except for God Himself” (14).

Besides, it is very arrogant to sit on God’s judgment seat! The question after all, is whether our conceptual framework is just. And then we should also ask ourselves if there would be any righteousness if the evil is ultimately not punished.

“The denial of hell is at odds with God’s righteousness …., for without the belief that there is a hell after this life, this life will surely become a hell” (26).

“Like the great American theologian and preacher Jonathan Edwards emphasized, human sin is a crime against the infinitely holy God (see Psa 51:1). In relation to this, punishment ought to be eternal.

Edwards submitted that, because God is ‘an Entity of infinite greatness, majesty and glory’, He is therefore ‘infinitely honorable’ and is worthy of absolute obedience”. Sin against God, which is a violation of infinite obligations, is nothing else than an infinitely terrible crime, which deserves an infinite punishment” (14). Whatever the case, we are not to judge, but God is.

We can confidently leave it to Him, for He is fully righteous.

  1. An eternal punishment is considered to be in contrast to the holiness of God, for that would mean that God allows millions of people to continue to sin against Him forever (by their hatred and scolding).

This is a totally wrong interpretation, for God Who dwells in heaven, shall – humanly speaking – not notice anything anymore what is happening in hell. Besides, there will be a complete separation between light and darkness, between heaven and hell. Additionally, one can also argue that particularly a universal reconciliation is in contrast to the holiness of God, for even the evil would then be reconciled with God, which means that God would relate Himself with the evil, but that is exactly what would defile and therefore profane God.

  1. An eternal punishment is in contrast to the elevation of man as a creature and image bearer of God, for it suggests that the perished will keep on hardening themselves under such an eternal punishment, without surrendering themselves to and humbling themselves before God.

This is also a fallacy (wrong argumentation). Man has been created and intended as a potential image bearer of God. Man only becomes an elevated image bearer of God, if he lives in dependence on God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But if man does not live according to the will of God and goes his own way without God, then man is not elevated at all, but humiliated by and in sins. In hell the perished will (have to) surrender in that sense because they realize, when it is too late, that they had made the wrong choice during the time of grace that God had given to them.

A number of other strange arguments:

  1. Another very unbiblical concept of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, is that the lake of fire and brimstone is not a second death for the devil, because he had never been dead. He is tormented there only for a while.

This concept is wrong because of several reasons. First of all: the second death is the lake of fire (Rev.20:14 and 21:8). Additionally, the devil is certainly dead, namely spiritually dead, which is: spiritually separated from God and His glory. By the way, that applies also to any person who is separated from God by sin, but who through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus can be reconciled with God and can get saved. But that doesn’t apply to the devil and his demons (Heb.2:16).

In  addition, satan and his angels made an irrevocable and irreversible choice in their original rebellion against God, namely an eternal, irreconcilable enmity against the Almighty God.

The devil has no ability to repent and therefore there is no possibility for him and his demons for reconciliation (27).

We should also bear in mind that Jesus did not come to save the devil, but to dethrone him.

  1. Supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation have the opinion that the Bible does not teach us about an endless judgment, that therefore the devil will also not be punished endlessly. The wicked will be judged after which he will be thrown into the lake of fire. When death will be destroyed as the final enemy, the wicked will also be pulled out from this torment and wholeheartedly confess that Jesus is Lord (1).

One can have this idea only when he has the wrong concept of death and of the destruction of death as final enemy. The spiritual death (the separation between God and man as a result of sin) as final enemy has been defeated by Jesus and for those who are in Christ.

Only for those it applies that (the claim of) death has been defeated and that they will not come in hell. For the unbelievers, however, it doesn’t mean that death has been defeated, which therefore implies that it is not true that the wicked will be pulled out from the torment. They will indeed acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but with the gnashing of teeth. And “Death itself will exist endlessly, but only those who had preferred darkness to light, will be there”  (1).

  1. All good and evil come out of God’s hand and it is God who had created evil, not the devil. The devil cannot do anything in this world without God’s permission.

“Using the words from Job 2:10 as an ‘evidence’ that God works both the good and the evil, is relying on the insights of someone who lived in the time that the Holy Spirit had not come in this world yet as the Teacher of righteousness. Job did not have the understanding yet of the real cause of good and evil. Only by Jesus, God the Father was fully revealed (Jn. 1:18). The claim that the devil has been created by God as an enemy, is a slander. A God that creates the devil as an opposer, would therefore also be guilty of the consequences that come out of it. This is in contrast to among others James 1:13, that reads: “..For God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone”” (1).

  1. If you believe that rejecting Jesus will deliver a never ending torture in hell, it is a crime to bring children into the world (a statement of Wim Hoogendijk on 15 August 2008 during the XnoizzFlevoFestival).

This is a very dangerous and cunning argument, which the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation use. Especially for the reason that people could also say that God shouldn’t have created man if hell will be eternal.

First of all, it can be noted that then the conception of children would also be a crime in case of a finite punishment, which is also horrible.

Additionally, the argument is out of the order. After all, God created man, so that he would rejoice and delight in God and His creation forever.

This is only possible when there is a free choice of man, who wholeheartedly chooses to honor and worship God!

If anyone should call something a crime, then it would be the refusal of accepting Jesus as one’s personal Redeemer.

  1. According to Rob Bell and Wim Hoogendijk, hell is a (temporary) punishment and penance, with the intention of remorse and repentance (14,26).

“However, this is a false doctrine that sooths people into sleep with a false security, which we must unmask. Hell is not a re-education institute, but a place of vengeance” (26). Carson states: “There is no hint anywhere in the New Testament that people in hell genuinely repent. Sin will remain as a part of the punishment and the cause of it. This is the reason why the New Testament emphasizes the urgency of repentance in this life: Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts (Heb3:15. 4:7) (14). 

Are emotional arguments right?

Supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation find it inconceivable that there will ever be an eternal perdition.

Their starting point is actually not the biblical message, but what people think what is possible or not. People seek to dictate their conviction to the Bible. In order ‘to proof’ that conviction, they mention a number of Bible texts that seem to confirm their own right.

In that way they use the Bible as a ventriloquist that we could rather speak of eisegesis than exegesis. Actually, a major objection is attached to this method to draw certain passages from the contexts and to explain them separately. In this way the biblical message is easily distorted. “From such an attitude all Scriptures that deal with the eternal endless punishment, are transformed in such a way that the ‘reconciler’ can accept according to his idea how God should be” (19). It is not about what we feel or what we imagine, but what the Bible says. We may believe that God, Who is love and does not want that anyone perish, and Who is the highest moral authority, will judge righteously. The fear that our children will perish, must not tempt us to distort God’s Word, but should make us pray for our children and bless them, and in that way to be a living example for them of the life that God has intended, that it may be attractive for everyone.

Good message?

In The Netherlands the doctrine of universal reconciliation is proclaimed and defended by among others the Foundation ‘GoedBericht’ (The Good Message). This foundation regularly organizes meetings in about seven locations in here in The Netherlands (sometimes once a month, sometimes every fortnight). When people listen to the sermons of André Piet, the speaker of this foundation, e.g. ‘Surprises about reconciliation’ and when they visit the website where the foundation in some subjects tries to refute the objections against the doctrine of universal reconciliation, they cannot but be sad about the fact that a preacher who is supposed to know the Bible, unfortunately, besides some good things , also tells a lot of nonsense. 

We shall go into more details about this in the article ‘Dealing with the errors of the doctrine of universal reconciliation’ (‘Afrekenen met de dwalingen van de alverzoeningsleer’) on the website of Promise, and we shall also refute the objections that the defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation have raised in response to the criticism of their false doctrine. With the refutation we hope to have taken away every ground for the doctrine of universal reconciliation and have opened the eyes of the preachers and supporters of that false doctrine for the lie in which they got entangled.

Biblical and other indications that contradict the universal reconciliation

The doctrine of reconciliation can be refuted on different levels. First of all, on the level of the whole of the Bible and God’s intention with the creation of man with a free will. God does not want puppets, but He wants people who love Him out of a free will.

This will ultimately result in an eternal separation between those who submit themselves out of a free will to God and serve Him and those who refuse to submit themselves to God and His mercy in Christ and think that they could live without God.

Then, we can mention a totality of dozens of Bible texts (see Enclosure 1, Bible verses that deny the doctrine of universal reconciliation) about an eternal judgment, an eternal separation between good and evil, light and darkness.

And of course also the statements of Jesus Himself about hell (e.g. “Fear the One Who has the authority to cast into hell” [Lk 12:5]), and the severity of the epistle to the Hebrews, e.g. Heb.10:26 and 27.

Furthermore, the wrong textual exegeses and fallacies of the supporters of the universal reconciliation can be refuted, as we have given some examples in the above-mentioned. We can also contradict their view with some considerations.

We shall give some example below.

  • Jesus says for example in Mat. 22:14, “for many are called, but few are chosen”.
  • “The depth of evil in the heart of man. The Bible reads in Rev.22:11, “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy”. So, the separation will not decrease, but will increase with the time we are living now”(3). How do the defenders of the doctrine of universal reconciliation think to make that fit in their view?
  • Think about the broad and narrow way. the broad way leads to destruction , to ruin (Mat.7:13). Does that not refer to the denial of the universal reconciliation?
  • If, according to the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, ultimately everything will be alright, why does God then allows all the horrible misery with persecution of faith, terrorism, war, corruption, etc. to last many years still?
  • Supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation think that God’s offer of love in Christ is both positive and profitable, so that everyone will surely accept it, but they neglect the essence of sin, namely: of wanting to be god, thus not to be God, but wanting to be god themselves. The gospel is certainly a good message, but also a stumbling block for the ‘I’, the ego. The doctrine of universal reconciliation totally denies the fact that the ‘I’ has to die first!
  • The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feetuniversal reconciliation, also the devil is reconciliated?
  •  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1Jn.3:8) and Jesus has triumphed over the devil and his demons (Col.2:15) and dethroned him, which means He had made him powerless. But has it been necessary if everyone, including the devil, would be reconciled with God, anyway? And how could one who has been conquered, be someone who has freely reconciled?
  • The devil would love the doctrine of universal reconciliation to be true, for then even he himself would escape God’s judgment.
  • The evil remains evil and will never become good. Lie/untruth will always remain lie/untruth and can never become truth.
  • John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. Also half truths are whole lies. The devil also quotes the Bible, but does he do that in the right way? We are to test everything.
  • Matthew 8:29: “And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”” Does that indicate reconciliation?
  • Do people think that the devil, who is the inspirer of both horrible crusades and the present Christian persecution, will ever change his minds? He hates God and man intensely. When you read that Muslims chop off both arms of a Christian in Pakistan because he refuses to deny Jesus, who will dare to say that also satan will reconcile with God? This devious and merciless misanthrope will absolutely never become a nice philanthropist.
  • The power of lie and the deceit of satan are stronger than people often think. And the devil is often most cunning when he abuses the Bible. An example of that is: “It is a serious matter that the doctrine of universal reconciliation still wants to blame God the Father for allowing sin to enter into the world. The ground for this is that the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation need a proof to be able to make a god of Him who will always accomplish His goal (which is that all men will be saved) and therein is no room for the fall of man which has taken place against His will. Because of that He, according to the doctrine of universal reconciliation, deliberately made use of sin. The ‘proofs’ that have been found for that in the Old Testament are statements from people who in those days had to do without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, which was the cause that the secrets of the Kingdom of God were yet unknown territory for them. Jesus was the first Who raised the awareness about that” (13).

Why is the doctrine of universal reconciliation dangerous?

Some people might think: what does it matter if one as a Christian whether or not believes that all people will be saved? For the most important thing is, that he as a Christian acknowledges Jesus as his redeemer and loves Him, is it not? In itself it is right, however, it appears that in order to maintain the faith in the doctrine of universal reconciliation, people violate the Word of God in all kinds of ways and try to interpret many texts differently from what they mean. It appears that they relate the most ridiculous exegeses to several Bible texts. “The doctrine of universal reconciliation is a great threat to the believers. Also a lot of Christians who are known as ‘biblically grounded’, have been contaminated by it. That is humanly speaking also understandable, for this false doctrine has a great attractiveness, both to human understanding and human emotion” (22).

Even though it is denied by supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, a result of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is that God’s powerful appeal for repentance NOW in this time, fails and paralyzes the necessity/urgency for missionary work and the proclamation of the gospel, because people mistakenly assume in advance that all men will be saved EVENTUALLY (8). It arouses  false hope. So, it is the question whether people can have compassion for the lost if they will be saved anyway. Besides, it can also be noted that nobody has come to faith by the doctrine of universal reconciliation (9). For why should anyone do, if everything will be alright in the end?

Many statements in God’s Word are clear and unambiguous and beyond any doubt. However, that cannot always be said of those separate texts which are submitted by the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.

“At the same time it becomes also clear why universal reconciliation is harmful: With this doctrine, unambiguous statements of God’s Word are attacked (19). The danger of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is that all kinds of texts, without giving any careful consideration to its context, are put in a different light: the will-o'-the-wisp of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. A veil covers the mind of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, which causes them to misunderstand God’s Word. The doctrine of universal reconciliation is originally demonic, also because the hocus-pocus with the meaning of the word ‘aiôn’ causes the eternity of God to be also at stake. If ‘eternal’ does not mean everlasting, God Himself would not always have existed. Then He would be the god of this age (2Cor.4:4), which we know who that is, namely God’s enemy, the devil (35). And with the doctrine of universal reconciliation we see a continuation of the satanic lie in paradise: “Thy shall not die” (Gen.3:4b), namely: “No man will die forever”.

Conclusion

The doctrine of universal reconciliation is a very cunning deception. It sounds after all so wonderful, that all men will be saved, but the doctrine of universal reconciliation is a doctrine of lies which has been simulated by the kingdom of darkness to take away the sharpness of the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Besides, a holy God cannot tolerate sin and therefore He gave His Son, so that everyone who believes in Him, will not perish. “We must be very well aware that we live in a time where the devil does everything in his power to harm God’s children and the truth of the gospel  of Jesus Christ, as much as he possibly can, by using lies and confusions in such a way that it is pleasing to the ear ” (1).

Not only with regard to its content, the view of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is incorrect, but also their way of dealing with texts are very doubtful. They do not rely on what the Bible says, but they want to impose their own view unto the Bible. They read texts without relating to other texts , thus without any context. What does not seem to fit in their view, they just ignore. There seem to be misconceptions about the first and second death, the free will, about the imagination of hell, and concepts such as etern(al)ity, etc. are interpreted differently from what the Bible means. Additionally they are inconsistent by not dealing with certain concepts unambiguously. They bend over backwards to make their view acceptable. Also several fallacies are made, which is disastrous for the durability of their view. Their incomplete and therefore often vague explanation continuously falters and apparently can therefore only ‘survive’  when many Scriptures, e.g. about the necessity of conversion and faith, are ignored.

Whatever the supporters try to claim, the doctrine of universal reconciliation has absolutely no Scriptural foundation.

Also the attitude of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation is striking. They act so compulsively and are fanatically driven, that they are not or hardly not open to the arguments of other people. It is striking that in the reading materials it is said several times that it is no use to talk with the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. “From experience I know that the fanatic supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation are not open for any reason” (1). “It is unlikely that a fervent advocate of the ‘universal reconciliation’ will be convinced by the  arguments of the fact that he defends a false doctrine” (19,23). Obviously they do not want to be convinced and they hide themselves behind a doubtful explanation of words in the basic text. We should thereby consider that there is a battle going on in the heavenly places: the devil is trying to deceive even believers.

From the way some people deal with Scripture and build on certain Bible texts, it seems how important it is to know God’s Word  in whole and how necessary it is to ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit at reading and understanding the Bible.

We realize that we have not addressed and refuted all the considerations of the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation. However, even though some texts are used by the ‘reconcilers’, which seem to make them to be right, an overwhelming number of texts refutes their doubtful and unfounded view.

In the article ‘Dealing with the deceptions of the doctrine of universal reconciliation’ on our website, we shall go into details on all counterarguments that the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation use to prove that they are right, and we shall refute them.

Concluding remarks

We certainly realize that the subject of eternal perdition for those who refused to accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, is very sensitive.

We understand people who honestly and sincerely ask several questions, as mentioned in this article.

We as men are not able to imagine what endless means.

That certainly also goes for hell, which is so horrible and unimaginable, that we as men tend to deny or not to think about.

If only it was so, that hell will not exist. But God’s Word is clear enough about that, that there will be an eternal punishment (13), which the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation also mistakenly try to submit, in order to deny it. Ouweneel (22) writes: “Nobody in the Scripture has expressed the love of God in such a way as He did; no one knew a deeper compassion with the lost than He did.

Nevertheless, no one speaks more often than He about the eternal punishment of hell (Mat. 5:30; 8:10-12; 13: 40-42, 49-50; 22:13; 24:51; Luke. 16:19-31). As much as no one else has pictured eternal life and heavenly beatitude so wonderfully as He did, so much has no one else pointed to the eternal destruction of the lost so seriously as He did.

It is precisely the revelation of the highest love that goes necessarily hand in hand with the revelation of the heaviest punishment. It is precisely He Who is the light of the world, has revealed the existence of the outer darkness. And so much as eternal life is eternal, so much is eternal punishment eternal; the parallel in Mat. 25:46 leaves no doubt about that”. 

It was also Jesus Who warned us about the sin against the Holy Spirit, which will never be forgiven (Mat.12:31-32; Mk 3:28-30; Lk 12:10) (14).

Derek Prince wrote the next serious words: God is very clear in His Word about two things. Firstly, that He is perfectly righteous and impartial.

Secondly, that He has condemned the devil and his demons to an everlasting punishment in the lake of fire.

Therefore, he who doubts  about the second claim, also doubts about the first.

He who denies the latter, rejects in that way the truth and the righteousness of God. One cannot be the advocate of satan and at the same time a friend of God. Due to the subtle deception of the doctrine of universal reconciliation, satan has tempted people to choose his side against God. If people persevere in this attitude, God’s righteousness requires that they will end up just like the devil.

Even though we do not understand the fact of eternal damnation by our human standards, and we cannot bear the thought of it, we should not allow ourselves to be tempted to ignore the horror of hell with a wrong appeal to Bible texts and to distort them and delude ourselves that every man (and even including the devil and his henchmen) ultimately will still be saved.

We may bring our abhorrence at an everlasting hell to the Lord with the confidence that He as the highest moral authority in the universe, is righteous and knows what He is doing. We should and may leave the judgment to God.

In order to take away the impression that we, by rejecting the doctrine of universal reconciliation, would do any wrong to God’s grace, we want to note that God’s grace in Christ is so great, that even murderers and former Muslim terrorists who come to faith in Jesus, can be saved. The key point is that they have accepted Jesus as their Redeemer. Therefore, we may get all the more aware of the greatness of the perfect sacrifice (the suffering and death) of our Savior Jesus Christ through Whom we by faith are reconciled with God in His work of redemption  and are redeemed from the eternal damnation.

We do not embrace the doctrine of universal reconciliation, how much someone would want to, but then of course, the question arises, who will then be perished? With the supporters of the doctrine of universal reconciliation we also think that people who have never heard the gospel, will not be sent to hell in advance.

After all, the judgment is not to man, but to the most righteous and optimally loving God. And we can and should leave that to Him with total peace, for He will judge righteously.

Although God will do everything to reach these people still, we nevertheless should consider - based on the Bible- that they who deliberately loved darkness rather than the Light, and have kept on rejecting Jesus as Redeemer until the end, will perish (15). Therefore it is eternally crucial to accept the sacrifice of Jesus. God in His wisdom has left that choice to man.

MA Piet Guijt, 29th August 2016

translated by Ursula Moestapa

 Klik hier voor deel 2

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8. Jildert de Boer, De Schrift recht snijden? Over de ultra-bedelingenleer. Hoofdstuk 5: Eeuwige straf, vernietiging of alverzoening. Johannes Multi Media, en Verdieping en Aansporing, 2de druk, 2007.

9. R. BRINKMAN, AIOON (AIONOS, AEON) EN OLAM. BRON: HTTP://BIJBELAKTUEEL.NL/BIJBELSTUDIE/AIOON_OLAM.PDF. ZIE OOK: HTTP://WWW.RUDYBRINKMAN.NL/BIJBELSCHOOL/WAT-IS-EEUWIG/

10. R. Douglas Geivett, A Summary Critique: Universalism Isn’t for Everyone. Recensie van het boek van Philip Gulley en James Mulholland  If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person (Harper, San Francisco, 2003). Bron: http://www.equip.org/article/if-grace-is-true-why-god-will-save-every-person/

11. J.W. Embregts, De hel; Jezus sprak er het meeste over. Het Zoeklicht, 2009, Doorn

12. J.G. Fijnvandraat, Alverzoening is een dwaalleer. Bron: http://www.jaapfijnvandraat.nl/index.php?page=artikel&id=2877

13. Robert Govett, De eeuwige straf. Cross Link Services BV, Dordrecht.

14. Douglas Groothuis, Love Wins: Making a Contradictory Case for Universalism. Christian Research Journal, volume 34, nummer 4 (2011). Bron: http://www.equip.org/article/love-wins-making-a-contradictory-case-for-universalism/

15. Piet Guijt, De vrije wil en de soevereiniteit van God, Promise, 2012, nr. 2.

16. Piet Guijt, Correspondentie met Johan van Arkel, aanhanger van de alverzoeningsleer, Zoetermeer, 2004.

17. Internetbijbelschool, Voor wie is christus gestorven?

http://www.internetbijbelschool.nl/htmldoc/voorwiegestorven.htm

18. John Juedes, Unitarian Splinter Group Wants to Believe in God. In: Christian Research Journal, volume 24, nummer 1 (2002). Bron:

http://www.equip.org/article/unitarian-splinter-group-wants-to-believe-in-god/

19. Ger de Koning, Verzoening. Dwaling en dwaalleer. Bron: http://www.oudesporen.nl/Download/OS1796.pdf

20. Steven P. Mueller, Beyond mere christianity: an assesment of C.S. Lewis. Christian Research Journal, volume 27, nummer 4 (2004). Bron: http://equip.org/PDF/JAL400.pdf

21. Nederlands Dagblad, Alverzoening roept hartepijn op. Bron: http://www.cip.nl/nieuws/augustus-2008/402-Alverzoening-roept-hartepijn-op

22. Willem Ouweneel, De alverzoening. Bron: http://www.bodedesheils.nl/jaargangen/j132/j132_005_De_alverzoening_1.html; http://www.bodedesheils.nl/jaargangen/j132/j132_018_De_alverzoening_2.html

23. Willem Ouweneel, Alverzoening. Bron: http://www.dossiers.tk/alverzoening.htm

24. W. Ouweneel, Alverzoening besproken en weerlegd. Uitgeverij Medema, Vaassen.

(een gratis pdf-versie in het Duits staat op http://www.vergadering.nu/studie/wjo-allversoehnung.pdf)

25. David Pawson, “De weg naar de hel, eeuwige kwelling of verdelging?”, uitgegeven door Opwekking, 2004.

26. W.J.A. Pijnacker Hordijk, De hel helpen verhelderen, Promise 2013, nr. 3.

27. Derek Prince, Zal satan ooit verzoend worden met God? DPM Onderwijsbrief, november 2001.

28. Bart Repko, Kom niet aan de hel. De eeuwige hel heeft zijn langste tijd gehad. Aalsmeer: Exchange, 2013.

29. Henk Rothuizen, Geloof jij ook in Jezus om niet naar de hel te gaan?”, Gideon. Zie ook: EXIT, Een andere kijk op het hiernamaals.

30. Jeffrey Schipper, Waarom is de hel eeuwig?, cip- nieuws, 25-3-2011

31. Harry Sleijster, Alverzoening rukt op. Bron: http://www.dossiers.tk/alverzoening.htm

32. Harry Sleijster, Verzoening. Bron: http://www.vergadering.nu/brlist/verzoening.htm

33. A. Symank, Worden alle mensen gered?

34. Citaat aangehaald door dr. J. Hoek. In: ‘Hemel of hel. Onze eeuwige bestemming’. Theologische Verkenningen Bijbel en Praktijk onder redactie van drs. A.G. Knevel, Kok Voorhoeve, Kampen 1991, pag. 14.

35. Walter Tessensohn, De God van het recht contra Alverzoening. Uitgeverij W. Stonehens, juni 2015.

Enclosure 1.

Bible verses that contradict the doctrine of Universal reconciliation.

There are dozens of examples of texts (NASB) that refute the doctrine of universal reconciliation, amongst others:

. Proverbs 6: 15: Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing.

. Proverbs 29:1: A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will  suddenly be broken  beyond remedy.

Dan. 12:2: Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to Disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Mat. 5:22: But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says ….  ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

Mat. 5:29: If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Mat. 7:23: And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Mat. 8:29: And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”

Mat. 12:32: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mat. 12:45: Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

Reminder:  See also the Epistles of Peter

• The parable of the field in Mat. 13: 41 and 42: The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Also verse 49 and 50: So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mat. 18:6: but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mat. 18:8: “it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than to have two hands or two feet and be cast into the eternal fire.

Mat. 18:9: If your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell.

Mat. 25:41: “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.”

Mat. 25:46: These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Mk 3:29: but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”

Mk 9:44 This verse describes hell as the ‘unquenchable fire’ (cf. Jer.17:4), and to that it is added in vs 48, concerning the unbelievers : ..where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched (cf. Isa.66:24).
Mk 13:20 Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days. Also see Mat. 24:22.

Mk16:16: He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

Lk 12:5: But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!

Lk 13:26-30 where it is described what Jesus (the Master of the House) replies to the request for an allowance to enter: Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’:

and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’

In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (This indicates desperation. If hell was not eternal, it would not be a place of desperation. People might be looking for the redemption (Martie)), when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.”

Jn 3:18: He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Jn 3:36: He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Jn 5:24: “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. This again indicates a personal choice.

Jn 6: 58  This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

‘Eating this bread’ indicates the acceptance of Jesus as Redeemer in faith.

Jn 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Rom. 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

2 Thes. 1:8 and 9 in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

2 Thes. 2: 9 and 10 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

Heb.2:3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?

Heb. 10:26,27 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.

1 Jn 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

1 Pet. 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Rev. 2:11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death. And what will happen to those who do not overcome?

• Rev. 9: 20 and 21 and 16: 9 and 11  “……and they did not repent …” Therefore, how can one then say that man has no will?

Rev.14:11 (says of the unbelievers who have worshiped  the beast and his image): And the smoke of their torment goes up forever”.

Rev. 17: 3a – 6 and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. (see full Rev. 17)

Rev. 19:20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.

Rev. 20:10 (says of the devil and also of the beast and the false prophet): and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever, which is in ‘the lake of fire and brimstone’:  vs 14 says that all unbelievers will end up in the same ‘second death: the lake of fire’.

Rev. 20:15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Rev. 21:8 But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Rev. 21:27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Rev. 22:11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. So, there are people who will still be filthy because of the spiritual hardening.

• What do the supporters of the doctrine of Universal reconciliation do with the texts from Rev. (9: 20 and 21 and 16: 9 and 11)? …and they did not repent …Therefore, how can one then say that every man will ultimately repent and that man has no will?


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