Elhanan Winchester in the 18th century talked about the difference between those who are saved in this life and those who are restored after the judgment. His teachings influenced the translation of Scarlett's New Testament in 1798 (possibly still available from Concordant Publishing Concern
) to where some of the references in the KJV that get translated as "salvation" get translated as "restoration," and there's a reference or two to "Saviour" that gets translated in that translation instead as "Restorer" because of this very interpretation that you've shared. It's not just randomly done in the translation. There are notes at the back of the translation on why that's believed to be best in certain instances with certain Greek words. For the longest time, that was the interpretation that made the most sense to me. I'm in the middle of trying to process some recent insights as to what they mean to that consistent Biblical interpretation that I was shown through Winchester's Dialogues.
Some people try to say that UR isn't a doctrine. Well, if it's not, then it's no part of my Bible
or of my life. If ET's a doctrine and UR's the Biblical antidote that answers it verse by verse, then the message of the Universal Restoration is a Biblical doctrine. I think that the idea of it not being a doctrine comes from people being shaky about being able to reconcile the entire Bible with it. But I'd be it's greatest opponent if there were as few as two or three verses that taught otherwise, because "from the mouth of two or three witnesses let every matter be established." Some Universalists probably don't hold it as a doctrine based upon how the Lord showed it to them. And also, their views of the Bible's authority in one's life also play a part in whether they view it as a doctrine or not in all probability. If little of what they believe is viewed as doctrine, then...
Torment and wrath in the Greek aren't as strictly what the KJV and a lot of other translations that "follow in the traditions of the KJV" have turned it into. I personally don't really care if it's something mystical that happens in the spirit that makes people really get a clue or if it's an outright beating, torching, and torturing. I could care less. The point of the Gospel is to not be one of the ones that goes through all of that; to be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath; to walk in the love of God and do all that the Word of God through the Holy Spirit is telling me to do. I'm personally more inclined these days towards thinking that it's more a matter of something inherently fearful about our resurrections than it would be about an afterlife destination from my own studies. But, I'm going to be a part of the Body of Christ and not latter fruits of redemption -- whenever it's all sorted out and comes out in the wash. There's nothing that I could do about afterlife punishments if they were the most horrendous plagues. All any of us can do is regret our own apathy in not having shared the Word more diligently if we discover at the resurrection that though the punishments are of limited duration that they're too horrible for words. I'm not satisfied -- I'm genuinely not satisfied -- that any of us have thoroughly [Biblically] disproven the remote possibility
of "severity" where every
single life is concerned along those lines.
I do despise the term "Universal Salvation" because it does lend itself more freely to this idea of Unitarianism -- do what thou wilt and believe what thou wilt and thou shalt be blessed regardless. Of course, I'm speaking of the term itself and not of the beliefs of those Universalists who are the most comfortable with calling their Universalism "Universal Salvation." Salvation from the first soul to the last is through the finished work of Christ and not a lot is gained of a redemptive nature from sufferings. However, if someone is riding a motorcycle at 200mph in the absolute opposite direction, Jesus Christ will jerk them off eventually after calling out to them repeatedly about turning around. And the road rash and road burn is liable to be very very painful. A lot of people being overly dependent upon human emotions and a squeamish stomach want to say that none of God's punishment is ever retributive in the New Testament, but whether it is or not, it's going to be precisely what's needed to reclaim the soul, balance the scales of Creation where needed, and ensure the glory of God in every situation where an indiscretion reflected back upon Himself. The Scriptures are clear about some things reflecting back upon God. Romans quotes the passage about the name of God being blasphemed among the nations all day long because of some of the nonsense.
We often retort at the Calvinist that God is not just a King, but He's also Father. But I think that in Universalist circles we do sometimes lack a little bit of the reverence due to His Name that He is King and our intimacy with the Holy Spirit and with the Scriptures should never become an over familiarity. Blessings in time can ONLY belong to the believer, as you've said. And faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The Scriptures are clear that absolutely all must repent, but I think that a lot of Christians have become overly Greek in insisting that repentance is only a change of the mind and never a sorrowing of heart under the New Covenant. 2Corinthians chapter 7 says something entirely different to me. We're driven by our emotions very often in this life and there is a sorrowing unto repentance, according to 2Corinthians 7, though I'll grant that it's not spoken of often in the New Testament. And if we're too hardened of heart to become soft and plyable to the rebuke and command of the Lord in this life, then punishment may very well be prolonged in the next life for many quadrillions of years -- although I'm currently not so sure about afterlife punishments being as needed as I formerly thought to where at one point I nearly envisioned absolutely everybody enduring afterlife punishments -- which is thoroughly unScriptural.
And I know I raised an eyebrow or two with the exaggeration about many quadrillions of years, but let's all just make sure that it doesn't take 5 minutes for any of us to repent of anything in this life and we'll never have to worry about whether afterlife punishments are 30 minutes long, equal in proportion to the number of years previously lived, or of such a lengthy nature that if we'd had any idea prior to dying in a hardened state, then we'd of probably lived the lives of very very strict, self depricating, self mutilating monks if by any means we could have avoided that! I'm almost convinced from my own studies of the Scriptures about no afterlife punishments, but some Universalists who never participate on discussion boards do believe that afterlife punishments will last for perhaps many hundreds of octillions or nonillions of years. And as Christian Universalism becomes more and more mainstream, we each must be prepared for the possibility of hearing that kind of preaching that'll either be wisely calculated towards transitioning people away from ET, or that'll be the genuine heart convictions of some based upon their own studies and prayerful contact with their anointings at this stage of their lives.
UR could go mainstream tomorrow, if the Lord were willing, and it may be a stricter variety than either Carlton Pearson's or of any of our versions of it. To get the truth across to the mainstream portion of the Body of Christ, it's liable to be the furthest thing from what it's often accused of being -- a "feel good Gospel." If the TEMPORARY VERSION of "sinners in the hands of an angry God" winds up being what has to go mainstream to shock the "eternal separation" folks with a stricter version of the justice of God than they're accustomed to in their backslidden conditions, then we've got to be prepared to praise the Lord regardless that at least the "eternal" exaggeration is being surgically removed, even if there's an initial burning sensation with the root canal that's being done to the Body of Christ to get it out of it's apathy that says that people that don't attend our particular fellowship don't really matter anyway.