Discussions Relating to Universal Reconciliation > Judgement and Punishment

Inquiry on punishment after death.

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Gary Amirault:
Here's another email from an inquirer regarding punishment after death. I'm not sure what article he read that caused him to write what he did. It may not have been one of my articles, I don't know. But since there are differing views amoung those who believe in universal salvation regarding whether there is further correction or punishment on the other side of the grave, perhaps each could give their views CITING Scripture to support their view. I've sent the inquirer the link to here so he will probably be reading your responses. Be prayerful before you write. Some of us are obviously wrong in this regard. Here's the email:

Hi Gary,

Upfront let me tell you that I just came aware of the whole 'inclusion' or 'universalism' belief system via the tv show on Carlton Pearson a few days ago. Needless to say, I started 'googling' and came across your sight.
Clearly, you have studied the subject thoroughly and are convinced of it unashamedly.

Let me say, how wonderful this would be if true. I do not say that as a slight against you, but more so for my sake. I was raised with the totally opposite view.

I have a multitude of questions, but can I just start with this one?
You said " I believe that many people have terrible sufferings awaiting them after they leave this life-how long and how severe I leave up to a loving and just God."

You have incredibly documented with scriptures and historic figures statements the belief in not an everlasting punishment in hell.
I was just looking for some statements/scriptures from you to support the above statement. My confusion is that you are so dogmatically clear on everything but that statement.

Is there a hell for punishment following this life? For who? Is it purely that you believe all men will come to Christ ultimately that supposes your 'unknown' time of punishment in hell for men? Or are there clear scriptures that teach this 'unknown' time and degree of punishment? If hell is a mythological fearful invention of man, I'm not clear on why there would be any mention of a hell on your part where people are punished or suffer?

I hope those questions make sense.
Sincerely seeking some answers,

The article is Gary's The Harrowing of Hell

The paragraph in context:

A few words of caution must be added here. I hope I have made it clear that in teaching universal salvation, I have not tried to mini­mize sin, nor have I taught that sinners will be saved while still clinging to their sins. I believe that many people have terrible sufferings awaiting them after they leave this life-how long and how severe I leave up to a loving and just God. But I believe that God never punishes for punishment's sake. He always has the sinner's repentance and restoration in view, and in His wisdom He knows exactly what it will take in each case to bring about the desired results!

I am opposed to the popular creed partially because I believe that it in fact teaches men to make light of sin in two ways: first, because it teaches a plan of retribution that is so unjust as to make people secretly believe its penalties will never be inflicted; and next, because it asserts that God either will not, or cannot, overcome and destroy evil and sin, but will bear with them for ever and ever. I repeat that not a single word has been written in these pages that would indicate that God is just a "good of boy" who winks at sin and considers it a light matter when someone violates His holy law! God forbid that I should teach such shallow theology! It is in the light of Golgotha that we see sin as exceedingly sinful, so sinful that nothing less than the death of God incarnate could pay for it. But let us be careful, lest in thinking we are honoring the atonement we are actually dishonoring it by limiting its power to save by teaching that Christ failed in His mission as Savior of the world, making Him a liar. Because He never said, "If I am lifted up I will draw SOME men to myself," or "I will TRY to draw all men to myself," but, "I WILL draw ALL MEN to myself

One thing to think about is that there absolutely must be something worth redeeming in each and every one of us....why else would God have died for the whole world, and bore the suffering of all.......wouldn't this be unnecessary suffering if only some would be saved????

Dear Sincerely seeking

I have not read the entire article so I will address the questions at hand.

I was just looking for some statements/scriptures from you to support the above statement. My confusion is that you are so dogmatically clear on everything but that statement.

Is there a hell for punishment following this life?
For who?
Is it purely that you believe all men will come to Christ ultimately that supposes your 'unknown' time of punishment in hell for men?
Or are there clear scriptures that teach this 'unknown' time and degree of punishment?
If hell is a mythological fearful invention of man, I'm not clear on why there would be any mention of a hell on your part where people are punished or suffer?

I have listed the questions to make it easier for others to answer.  I however will try and address them all.

I do not believe that there is a hell punishment at all.  The reason I state this is because of the cross.  The penalty that was paid was for all the sins of mankind, past, present and future.  Jesus said before he blew out his last breath, "It is finished"  For there to be a literal hell would mean that Jesus, the appropriation for our sins, would be in that place right now paying the penalty perpetually.

Maybe other can address the "descended into hell (grave)" from the creed where he preached to the captives.

The traditional viewpoint equates hell (grave) with the Lake of Fire and they are distinctly two different places.  Hell in the first place is a mistranslation as hell cannot be thrown into itself viz the LoF.  Staying with the LoF, is it literal or is it symbolic?

If one views the LoF as literal, then obviously a predetermined time of punishment needs to be justified or annihilation.

What exactly is thrown into the LoF? People, souls? The sins of man.

Many believe the LoF is here and now and I tend to side with that analogy.

Rev 19:20  And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet doing signs before it, (by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast), and those who had worshiped his image. The two were thrown alive into the Lake of Fire burning with brimstone.

A number of issues to be addressed here.

1. Beast - Literal or Allegorical?
2. False prophet - ?
3. Mark of the Beast - ?
4. alive?

If you hold to the beast being a literal Antichrist (alleged to be alive and well waiting for his chance to reveal himself) the false prophet to be the Pope and the MoB to be a chip implant then of course they will be cast alive into this fire.  That is the traditional viewpoint.  It is impossible to do a short rebuttal on any of these as each one has an allegorical meaning.

Many traditionally see or are taught of a false trinity of satan, the beast (aka Antichrist) and the false prophet (aka the Pope).

A short answer, the beast is in you and in each one of us, the false prophet is not the Pope.

G5578 ψευδοπροφήτης pseudoprophētēs psyoo-dop-rof-ay'-tace
From G5571 and G4396; a spurious prophet, that is, pretended foreteller or religious impostor: - false prophet.

Look at the other meanings.  I like the religious impostor as religion derived from the French archaic word Relega means to literally bind up, bondage.  Take that into account with what Jesus said, "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed" coupled with "..for my yoke is easy and my burden is light" we can clealy see that the bondage of religion is cast out.  God's purpose with Jesus was to reconcile man to God, religion of the scribes and pharisees did not cut it.  God desires a personal relationship with each one He cares to reveal Himself to.  Churchy rituals today do not help this relationship in any way.

If you study the teachings of Jesus, He spoke of many Antichrists and there were also many false prophets in the NT.  Here it speaks in the singular, hence it applies to each and every one of us.

Rev 20:10  And the Devil who deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and Brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet were . And he will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Again singular

Rev 20:14  And death and hell (hades) were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.

The wages of sin is death, we go to the grave when we die.  The first death is in Adam.

Rev 20:15  And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and the unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, will have their part in the Lake burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

1Co 3:15  If anyone's work shall be burned up, he shall suffer loss. But he shall be saved, yet so as by fire.

What goes into the fire is the sins of man, not the man.

This is a short answer but these all touch on so many other principles.  The bottom line is if you research, you will find just where the hell teachings came from.

It is claimed by "evangelicals"

1. Jesus spoke more about hell than the kingdom - false, a simple e-sword search will prove this.
2. Jesus spoke more of money than anything else (prosperity teachers) - false

I am not implying you have swallowed these lies hook line and sinker, but most have.  Many myths have been debunked and we have a number of threads here particularly in the ExposÚs board.  To my knowledge, most of these are from non-universalist scholars.

If you are prepared to examine with an open mind and be led by the Holy Spirit, you may learn much here.  None of us claim to have all the answers and only the Holy Spirit can make what you read a truth in your heart.

Resistance is natural, universalism is classified by many as a cult yet we follow no one man's theology or teaching.  We cannot even draw up a statement of faith as that legalises the work of the Holy Spirit.  We preach Jesus but we know, only the Holy Spirit can convert/save someone.

You do not need to convert to universalism as it is not a religion or a doctrine, the closest label one may apply is a belief centred on Jesus and the ultimate reconciliation of all mankind.

Ask more questions by signing up here, respectfully asked they will be respectfully answered.


willieH: Hi "sincerely seeking"... :hithere:

Suffering is found in other than PHYSICAL terms... Actually, PHYSICAL suffering is probably the LEAST, compared to MENTAL or SPIRITUAL suffering...

GOD's acts are ALWAYS directed by WHO He IS... which is (TRUE/unselfish) LOVE...

Though there are exceptions, most any parent or child has experienced at least some (TRUE/unselfish) sincere LOVE... and whenever (TRUE/unselfish) LOVE is enacted... The only GOAL is a POSITIVE conclusion... even though CORRECTIONS may be found uncomfortable, if they proceed from (TRUE/unselfish) LOVE, the motive is to CONCLUDE with a RESULT which is POSITIVE...

The teaching of HELL contains no such POSITIVE... in fact, it teaches that GOD is angered by HIS OWN DOING (for He created ALL THINGS), ...and that He NEVER gets over that ANGER... this is NOT a PICTURE of (TRUE/unselfish) LOVE...  LOVE is slow to ANGER, NEVER FAILS, etc (1 Cor 13)

The view that I have of "punishment"/judgment after DEATH of THIS LIFE, (which is the 2nd Death) is this...

In Rev 3:18 ALL that read the words of this verse, are counseled to follow the instructions [bracket comments are mine]:

Rev 3:18   I COUNSEL THEE... to buy OF ME, ...GOLD, tried in FIRE [we are amidst the lake of Fire], that thou mayest BE RICH... and WHITE RAIMENT [garment washed in the Blood of CHRIST], that thou mayest be CLOTHED and that the SHAME of thy NAKEDNESS do NOT APPEAR; and anoint thine EYES with EYESALVE, that thou mayest SEE...

Let me break down This VERY IMPORTANT verse, with the :2c: the Lord has given me, as to what it means, and HOW it is related to JUDGMENT/Punishment...

1.  GOLD... CHRIST is addressing whoever reads this: to "buy" GOLD which IS tried in FIRE... CHRIST's trials occured IN THIS WORLD, and IN THIS LIFE...

The GOLD mentioned is the RICHES of the Word of GOD... which is the TREASURE (Prov 3:5-6 / Prov 25:2 / Mat 6:21 / Mat 19:21 / Lk 18:22) buried in the field (Earth - the Scriptures have been left for us to research and IN THEM is found the TREASURE)

2. WHITE RAIMENT... this is the CLOTHING which is WASHED in the BLOOD of the Lamb...  (Rev 19:13 / Rev 7:14) and those who "put on this clothing" shall avoid the appearance of NAKEDNESS before YHVH...

When Adam & Eve transgressed, the SHAME appeared IN THEM as TORMENTING NAKEDNESS, and so they HID themselves...

NO HIDING in the JUDGMENT... for ALL things done IN SECRET shall be made KNOWN... (Lk 8:17) 

Everyone that DOES NOT SUBMIT to the CHRIST in THIS LIFE, will rise IN (their) NAKEDNESS... Everyone who DOES SUBMIT to CHRIST in THIS LIFE, will rise CLOTHED IN HIM...

3.  EYESALVE... this is the one point in the verse that is somewhat elusive... Naturally, one would think it means that in SUBMISSION to CHRIST, is found the "eyesalve" to SEE what is in the Scriptures...

This is the point where those mentioned in Matt 7:21-23 are amiss... The "eyesalve" can only be gained by the observer (of this verse) taking NO CREDIT whatsoever for any of the above... Acknowledging that ALL is happening according to YHVH and His Son JESUS CHRIST, and ALL GLORY is given to them in ALL THINGS, ...Good or Evil...

You may OBJECT to what I say next, but...

None of the following are acceptable:  taking credit for...

1. leading souls to CHRIST;
2. Accepting CHRIST;
3. Teaching others the Gospel;
4. Any miraculous deeds in which you participated;
5. Preaching any portion of the Word to others;

Now, the reason these are unacceptable, is that the DOER is taking credit or merit (unrighteously) for the manifestation of the deeds of LOVE in which they are by the GRACE of CHRIST, taking part.  To do this, is to make iniquity of righteousness... (Matt 7:21-23)

CHRIST noted that He did NOTHING of Himself... we, if we are in SUBMISSION, do NOTHING of ourselves (Phil 4:13), giving CHRIST the GLORY in ALL THINGS...

NOW, in this verse (Rev 3:18) is also contained information about PUNISHMENT... which is misunderstood to be a PHYSICAL thing...

When each person IN THIS LIFE, comes to CHRIST... there is agony, sorrow, torment and suffering in the Spirit, as PRIVATELY, we are shown by our GOD, who and what we are... This is done aside from AWARENESS of ALL others... and is SOLELY between GOD and ourself...

The PUNISHMENT that shall find those not IN CHRIST... IS NOT PHYSICAL, ...it is the EXPOSURE of themselves to ALL... ESPECIALLY in the presence of the LAMB which was TORMENTED and suffered ...for them... Spiritual suffering, far exceeds physical...  A "broken arm" is good as new in a few months... A "broken HEART" sometimes NEVER heals...

EXAMPLE:  If one has ever had a dream in which they were PUBLICLY NAKED, such a dream is totally unnerving... There are 2 things which occur...

FIRST, ...it IS tremendously tormenting and sorrowfully embarrassing and seems UNENDING...
SECOND... you cannot WAIT for it to END... (and wake up!)

Those that have ears will hear this plea... to "buy" GOLD tried in fire... (JESUS CHRIST) in this lifetime... if the GOLD is "bought" then the LIFE that is lived is after the EXAMPLE of the Son of GOD... and IN HIM, the SHAME of NAKEDNESS is not endured in the presence of the LAMB and ALL OTHERS, as it shall be for MANY, in the life to come...


In  JESUS ...willieH  :Sparkletooth:


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