Eschatology 1 & 2 (Biblical Study Series)
The last four verses of Daniel 9 are rich with prophecy concerning the great atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many try to find the anti-Christ in these verses, but it is Christ we need to look for here. A Study of the End Times. End Times Why preach a series on eschatology? End Times When we study eschatology we must not first launch out into the complex "calculus" of Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation.
Who is True Israel? Part 3 Tim Conway 3 years ago Topic: End Times Many make a radical distinction between the church and Israel, but such a distinction simply does not exist as can be seen by the Apostle Paul's words in Ephesians 2. End Times There are those in our churches who are wisely waiting for the Lord's coming and there are others who are foolishly unprepared as that great day approaches. End Times He who owns all will one day come and each of us will give an account for what we did with all that Christ gave to us.
End Times The last portion of Matthew 25 is not a parable, but an actual description of Judgement Day. A Venture into Hard Things: Part 1 Tim Conway 2 years ago Topic: End Times Some have said that Matthew 24 is the most difficult chapter in the entire Bible. Part 2 Tim Conway 2 years ago Topic: End Times This is the second of two messages in which Matthew 24 is explored. End Times The last four verses of Daniel 9 are rich with prophecy concerning the great atoning work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This one, however, is permanent, without hope of change or deliverance. It is referred to as the second death and results in a permanent state of separation from the gracious presence of God. It is referred to in Revelation That is the second death. John says earlier in Revelation The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
The existential problem of death is so grievous that many lose hope and any desire to go on in life. As sad, fearful, and troublesome as the expectation and experience of death is Acts 8: While we grieve for our deceased loved ones now, we grieve not for them—insofar as they are believers in Christ, they are with the Lord—but we grieve for ourselves, in our deep and profound sense of loss. In our time of need let us come to the throne of grace to find mercy and receive grace upon grace Heb 4: The Lord Jesus Christ is no stranger to the suffering of death 1 Cor There is the question, however, of what happens to people after they die, but before they are resurrected.
Several answers have been given to this question. First , there are those who suggest that the soul enters an unconscious state of limbo until the resurrection of the body. Thus, the point of the metaphor is not that they are now in an unconscious state, but rather that death is not their final destiny, resurrection life with Christ is see John The metaphor indicates that death is only temporary for the Christian.
Lesson 1 – An Overview of Special Eschatology
Further, the story of Lazarus in Luke Catholics often base this doctrine on elements of church tradition and certain texts, including, but not limited to 2 Maccabees Other NT passages used to support the doctrine of purgatory include Matthew 5: Even a quick glance at these passages, however, reveals that the doctrine of purgatory cannot be legitimately read out of them. Further, the tenor of NT theology and the necessity of present faith in Christ for salvation makes such a claim patently false.
The apostles held out hope only for those who personally trusted in Christ in this life. Davies and others, Paul had no room for the intermediate state of disembodied existence, but rather taught in 2 Cor 5 that upon death the Christian immediately receives a resurrection body which is presently hidden in the eternal order.
But this interpretation of 2 Cor 5 is dubious at best cf. The apostle Paul said that the dead in Christ will return with the Lord at the rapture and then all will rise i. Those who die apart from Christ go immediately to hell Luke Now, regarding the resurrection, certain questions have emerged. But before we entertain them, let us say first of all, that believers will most certainly be glorified in resurrected bodies. This is a doctrine clearly taught in scripture and throughout the history of the church cf.
But some have asked about the nature of the resurrection body. But there are several weaknesses in this view. Rather, as the next phrase in 1 Cor This does not mean that in our resurrected bodies we will have all the limitations we now labor under, but that we will actually have bodies they may be capable, as was the resurrected Jesus, of much more than we can now imagine.
There is also the question of the identity of the person who dies and the person who is resurrected. Some philosophers and theologians, who maintain a monistic view of man, cannot even begin to entertain the idea that a person exists apart from their body, i. For them, then, there is either no life after death, or in the case of some Christian theologians, God must recreate the person at the resurrection; the point is: This raises the question of personal identity and who really gets raised from the dead when a person dies.
But while this poses a problem for substance monists and others, scripture speaks quite clearly on the identity of the deceased person and the subsequently resurrected person: Corporeality or physicality is not essential to personhood as the personhood of God himself and angels teach us. Again, despite widespread monism among Christian philosophers and theologians, scripture affirms an anthropology of substance dualism complex material united intimately with complex immaterial.
There is also the question of the nature of the resurrection body, but we will have to leave that topic until the next update. The triumphant hope living through the pages of the New Testament rests on the facts that Christ rose from the dead, ascended to heaven where he is currently reigning in fulfillment of Davidic promise , and will certainly someday return. As the apostles were standing, watching Jesus go into heaven, Luke tells us that two men dressed in white appeared and queried them: In any case, Jesus continued into heaven, but the men told the disciples that in the same way tropos that Jesus went into heaven he would most certainly return Acts 1: This, of course, was the firm and widespread belief of the early Christians.
Another important aspect that all Evangelical writers agree upon is the fact that the precise date of the second coming is not known and cannot be known. Even Jesus did not know the date of his return; only the Father knows that Matt Therefore, while we can recognize certain signs which, incidentally, have been occurring since the beginning , we cannot know the hour in which the Son of Man will return. Many a cult and wayward Christian group are testimony to that truth.
I am not saying that eschatological teaching is unimportant; not at all. They are misguided and no person Christian or otherwise need listen to them.
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In fact, the teaching of Jesus would suggest we ignore them. The idea, stemming in part from many liberal circles, that Jesus would return spiritually, as opposed to bodily, is difficult to square with many passages in Scripture and has more to do with certain antisupernatural presuppositions brought to the text.
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Again, Paul said the Lord himself will return 1 Thess 4: Jesus warns his disciples not to run after every individual who claims: According to Jesus there is a two-fold reason why we should not bother which such idle speculation. First, many false Christs will appear to deceive many. Second, there will be no mistaking his coming. Indeed, there will be signs of cosmic proportions associated with his coming Matt Jesus says that in the period preceding his coming many will be persecuted and put to death because of him Matt Thus, after the period of great tribulation—a period which Christ said will be shortened for the sake of the elect But, he will also judge his enemies and all those who have despised his coming.
These are those of whom it is said: The King will separate them as goats and consign them to the eternal fire with the Devil and his angels The righteous, on the other hand, have an entirely different fate in the hands of the sovereign Lord. He is their Deliverer 1 Thess 1: They are the wise virgins who were prepared for his arrival and the banquet, and thus they went in Again, they gave proper stewardship to their God-given talents and were entrusted with much, much more In the end, the righteous will receive their inheritance, i.
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They will inherit eternal life No evangelical denies the scriptural fact that Christ will return bodily at some point in history. But the precise manner in which this will occur and the immediate results of his return have been variously debated. The questions surrounding the manner of his return have arisen in light of two groups of texts, one which talks about an imminent return i.
Passages such as Matthew In any case, it is these latter passages which seem to indicate that in reality his coming cannot be imminent, for certain signs must precede it. Several solutions have been offered to synthesize these data. Now it has been typical of many liberal theologians—concerned as they are with stressing the ethical and universal aspects of the kingdom of God within societal structures—to solve this tension by simply affirming that both Jesus and Paul were wrong about the second advent. They were trapped in an outmoded and unscientific Jewish apocalypticism and were simply wrong about a bodily return, and therefore incorrect in their claim that any so-called return would be imminent.
First, it goes without saying that the worldview of the Biblical writers is quite different than the liberal interpreters of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The former allows for divine intervention and miracle, whereas the latter has reduced Christianity to a nice nave? But, what is left is not Christianity at all, but a powerless religion of some sort. Be that as it may, the bodily return of Christ is clearly taught in Scripture e. We might also note too that the way in which the Biblical writers viewed prophecy is important as well.
In this way, i. In summary, there are better and more scripturally sensitive solutions to this problem than those offered by various strands within Liberalism. Some evangelical scholars have attempted to resolve the tension in these two groups of texts by claiming that the coming of Christ is not an imminent event, but must be preceded by certain other events.
In short, Berkhof argues that all the texts that speak of an imminent return should be read in light of the passages that speak about delay. Not all, however, have agreed with him. But surely such signs were given to teach us that his coming is right at the door! Some dispensationalists have argued that the reason for the tension is because the first set of passages i. Thus the rapture of the church is imminent while the second coming—a different event—will be preceded by many signs and follow the rapture by seven years in many schemes.
This view has the strength of allowing both sets of passages to speak clearly with no contradiction. Another solution is to argue that the imminency passages are not speaking objectively about the timing of his coming, but rather subjectively about our experience of his coming. So, even if his return cannot occur until after certain events, there will nonetheless be certain people who are not ready and who will experience his coming as a thief in the night.
Thus these passages are not saying anything directly about the timing of his return, but only how we should live in light of his return. This solution obviously stresses a very important element in the passages, viz. Another solution argues that all the signs have occurred and Christ could come back at any moment. This runs into two problems, however. First, the doctrine of the imminent return of Christ—if taught in Scripture and this view supposes that it is —was being taught at the same basic time as the doctrine of delay.
This means that imminency was not correct until the events were fulfilled; it was incorrect when it was first taught. But this brings the inspiration of Scripture into question Second, many of the events such as the preaching of the gospel and the great tribulation seem to have not yet been fulfilled yet. A final view argues that his return can be understood as imminent, if we realize that while it is unlikely, the events preceding his return, i.
The strength of this view is that both groups of texts are allowed to speak and it does admit a degree of healthy uncertainty in our interpretation of many of the relevant passages. The admitted weakness in this position is that, as we stated above, it is difficult to imagine that the great tribulation and the kind of Jewish response envisioned in AD when Paul wrote Romans have occurred.
Some argue that the saints, together with the Lord, immediately return to the earth. They say that the term was often used in reference to a special delegation going outside the city gates in order to escort an approaching dignitary back into the city. This, they infer, suggests that Christ and his saints will immediately return to earth. Further, the technical force of the term, if indeed it is present, does not require that the Lord return immediately to earth, only that he do so at some point.
This, they point out, will occur after the seven year tribulation. Obviously, these questions are closely linked with further questions about the timing of the rapture—questions to which we now turn. The purpose of this section is not to argue for one position over another, but simply to present the various positions and comment on them briefly. Each position mounts exegetical and theological support and is held by devout and informed lay people and scholars within evangelicalism. Further, the use of a label to identify one group in distinction to another is the bane of summarization and generalization, but which remains helpful as long as readers understand that within each camp there are major and minor differences among various proponents and between camps there are many other important areas of agreement.
First, there are certain scholars who argue that the rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation begins; thus they are referred to as pretribulationalists. Dispensational, pretribulational scholars such as Walvoord, Pentecost, Ryrie, et al. The church, however, will be raptured before this period begins Rev 3: A minor offshoot of the pretribulational rapture argument is the partial rapture position. In this scheme, proponents argue that only the faithful in Christ will experience the rapture before the Great Tribulation; the rest will be raptured during the Tribulation.
So the rapture is viewed more as a reward for the faithful than as deliverance for the church, per se. Second, other scholars have argued that the rapture of the church will occur after the Great Tribulation; thus they are referred to as posttribulationalists. Among the various theologians who advocate this position there is difference of opinion over whether there is a definite period of Great Tribulation though all admit that the church has been in tribulation since her beginning. Barton Payne argued that there would be no definite time of tribulation while George Eldon Ladd argued for a period of three and one- half or 7 years of tribulation before Christ returned.
Both were in agreement, however, that the rapture would occur only after tribulation whether general tribulation or the Great Tribulation. The third major interpretive position regarding the rapture of the church is the midtribulational position; those who hold this view are thus referred to as midtribulationalists. In this position the rapture will take place in the middle of the seven year tribulation before the wrath of God is truly poured out in the last three and one-half years before the battle of Armageddon.
Proponents argue that the events of Matt Postmillennialism is the doctrine which affirms that through the work of the Spirit in Christian preaching and teaching in the present time of the church before the second advent the world at large will eventually be evangelized and won to Christ. This will turn out in a world characterized by universal peace instead of strife, universal prosperity instead of inequality, godliness instead of evil, and so on, though the time period may be more or less than a thousand years since, according to some postmill interpreters, the years of Revelation Thus there is a focus in postmillennarian thought on the present aspects of the kingdom of God with the result that through Christian influence many economic, educational and social ills will be resolved.
Gentry summarizes the postmillennial position well:. Postmillennialism expects the proclaiming of the Spirit-blessed gospel of Jesus Christ to win the vast majority of human beings to salvation in the present age. After an extensive era of such conditions the Lord will return visibly, bodily, and in great glory, ending history with a general resurrection and the great judgment of all humankind.
Postmillennialism or postmillennial kind of statements in one form or another, it is argued, can be found as early as Eusebius of Caesarea AD and Origen. Strong , president of Rochester Theological Seminary was also an able American exponent of a postmillennial reading of scripture. In my opinion there are many good and helpful emphases in postmillennial thought. This is good and commendable and to be found in varying degrees in other eschatological systems of thought as well.
Second, though it has been questioned in the past, there is, among most postmillennialists, a genuine desire to read postmillennial doctrine out of scripture rather than into it. But there are weaknesses with this view. Indeed, so great are the problems that it is difficult to maintain a postmillennial reading of Scripture. The most damaging criticism offered by opponents, is the fact that the system as a whole is not able to come to grips with all of scriptural teaching regarding the eschaton and none of its exegetical points seem to lead explicitly to postmillennialism.
Further, the passages that are often used to argue for postmillennialism, some of which Gentry uses, can be easily and more profitably read in another light. Modern Premillennial theologians strongly disagree with their postmillennial brothers and sisters over the issue of the millennium, what it will look like, and how it will come about.
For them, the idea that the church will bring a golden age of righteousness and peace through its Spirit-inspired preaching is scripturally unfounded. According to the premillennialists this will only happen in connection with the second coming of Christ, when the King is visibly and bodily present. To this extent they would also disagree with amillennial interpreters.
But, again, this is not to be equated with the millennial kingdom when Christ will reign personally and bodily on the earth. Many premillennialists have a special place for the Jewish people in the eschaton, based in several cases on passages like Romans where it seems, especially in Dispensational premillennialists argue for a much more pronounced role for national not just ethnic Israel in the end see below. Premillennial readings of scripture stem back to the early church which was for the first three centuries largely premillennial.
Christian leaders such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus 75 were premillennialists, believing that a golden age of blessing and the renewal of Jerusalem would occur at the second coming. But the Alexandrian school, led by such men as Clement and Origen, were opposed to such Jewish, materialistic views of the future. It was really not until the nineteenth century that premillennialism began to make a comeback, especially within British and American expressions of Christianity. A key passage for all premillennialists is Revelation They argue that it teaches a literal reign of Christ upon the earth, though not all are in agreement that it must be exactly one-thousand years.
Detractors have pointed out that premillennialists have only this one passage upon which to base their system, but this is simply misleading e. Amillennialists generally argue that the first resurrection But it is difficult to see how the two uses of the term in the same context, without any apparent contrary indication, can mean two different things.
Further, a less strained reading of Revelation These are not the souls of the dead reigning with Christ in heaven, but dead saints physically resurrected to reign with him on the earth see Rev 5: In terms of eschatology, Dispensational premillennialism differs from historic premillennialism primarily in its insistence that Israel as a nation will be regathered at the end times, converted, and the land promises made with her fulfilled in the millennial kingdom e.
Thus, the point is not that many Jews will be saved in the end, but that the nation of Israel will exist and will inherit the promises made to national Israel in the Old Testament. Previous forms of dispensationalism made these kinds of distinctions in keeping with the insistence that God had two peoples: This tenant cannot be maintained in light of NT evidence to the contrary cf. So then, within an overarching soteriological equality and unity joining the people of God, there remains the possibility of structural differences not inequalities in any sense of access to God in the millennium.
It is not unreasonable, then, that God should deal with Israel in this way and such an interpretation appears to reflect a reasonable reading of OT texts as well as NT passages such as Romans , especially This, however, is to view the system from a purely negative point of view. The amillennial scheme of end time events is really quite simple and straightforward. Lewis and Demarest summarize it well:. The amillennial order of events is: Amillennialism thus affirms that at the end of the age there will be one return of Christ, one resurrection and one judgment.
Amillennialists give several reasons to support their eschatological views. First—and these are in no particular order—there is apparently only one passage in all of the Bible that can possibly be adduced to demonstrate an earthly thousand year reign of Christ, i. No other text in the Old Testament or New Testament affirms such an idea, so it is best not to understand Revelation Third, the binding of Satan referred to in Revelation 20 is consistent with what Jesus said would happen during the period of the church e.
Besides, scripture teaches only one literal resurrection e. Fifth, against many premillennialists, amillennialists generally affirm that there is no place for Israel in the future. Several things can be said in response to these arguments. First, even if Revelation 20 were the only passage in the Bible that taught an earthly, thousand year reign of Christ, that should be enough to convince us.
The Bible need only affirm a doctrine in one place, so that when properly understood, it should be regarded as authoritative. Further, there are many OT passages that can be better viewed as referring to an earthly reign of Messiah before the eternal state rather than as a reference to his eternal reign in heaven Isa There are also other New Testament passages that can be reasonably read in this light 1 Cor Second, it is true that the genre of Revelation is apocalyptic—though this is not the only form of literature in the book—and contains much symbolism.
But this fact does not preclude an earthly kingdom in Revelation 20 and a straightforward reading of this text. Though genre is always an indispensable tool for interpreting, informed opinion on all sides of this debate demonstrates that appeals to genre are inconclusive. What is more important in this case is the immediate context and the actual words that are used in Revelation And, it is here, that the premillennial position is simpler, less strained and therefore more probable.
The context describes, albeit in apocalyptic language, several important historical facts. Is the binding of Satan literal? But it can be reasonably asked whether these texts should be regarded as referring to the same event. It has been debated, but a straightforward reading of the context of Revelation 20 would argue that what happens in Revelation 20 follows chronologically what happened in Revelation 19, i. Therefore, if this is true, the binding of Satan in Revelation 20 cannot be the same event as that referred to in the gospels during the earthly reign of the messiah. But there are other more cogent arguments to demonstrate that the binding in the gospels is not the same as that in Revelation.
First, it is said in Revelation Thus the portrait in the gospels is quite different, too disparate it would seem to be the same. According to 2 Corinthians 4: But the binding in Revelation is much more absolute than the gospels or epistles will grant. So it is more reasonable to conclude that Matthew 12 and Luke 10 do not refer to the same event as Revelation This does not mean they are not related, however.
One of the reasons they do this is to avoid bracketing the period off with two bodily resurrections which would seem to point to an earthly reign after the return of Christ. Again, these are not the souls of the dead reigning with Christ in heaven, but dead saints physically resurrected to reign with him on the earth see the promise in Rev 5: It is ultimately in the Biblical recognition that there is only one people of God for all time with a soteriological equality binding them together.
But it has an inherent weakness in that it does not recognize structural political differences present in eschatological texts. Indeed, at face value, nations are still regarded as nations in certain texts referring to the eternal state cf. The Bible teaches that there will be a resurrection of all people and that all will be judged John 5: Though some liberal theologians have often denied the fact, it is quite certain that the Bible teaches a final judgment, after which individuals will go to their allotted destinies, i.
The Lord judged king Saul and rejected him as king over Israel God repeatedly judged the nation of Israel for their sin e. He also judges the nations of the earth for their continuous sin and rebellion Isa ; Jer ; Ezek ; Dan Though his ways in judgment are not always easy to discern or accept Hab , he is nonetheless the just judge of all the earth Gen In the New Testament, Paul makes it clear that God still judges today.
For 82 the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness…. People and nations today continually suppress the knowledge of God, deliberately turning from knowledge of the true God to idolatry the worship of money, sex, power in its various forms, etc. As a result, just as the Israelites demanded that God give them a king, so people today demand that they be left to their own devices; they demand autonomy. Therefore God gives them over to their sin cf.
Bible Study Courses » Eschatology (The Doctrine of Last Things)
The fallout involves escalating wickedness, sorrow, grief, pain, and misery. Man is by nature as incurably religious as he is morally and spiritually foolish. So God has been and continues to judge individuals and nations for their sin. He does it retributively as well as therapeutically i. But all these judgments will find their culmination and vindication at the final judgment.
ESCHATOLOGY (THE DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS)
At that time every mouth will be silenced Rom 3: The sheep will go into eternal life and the goats will go into eternal punishment The point is, there will come a day when there will be an irreversible and final reckoning. For he has set a day hJmevra , hemera when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed.
He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. Perhaps the passage that speaks most clearly to the certainty of final and irrevocable judgment is Revelation Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
The lake of fire is the second death. There are many indications that John is speaking about the final judgment in Revelation Though virtually every evangelical commentator on scripture agrees with the doctrine of a final judgment, some would argue that it actually involves three different judgments: Others would argue that all these judgments are really just one judgment, i.
But there is more to the final judgment than just its facticity. First, although it is obvious that God will be the judge, within the councils of the trinity, the Father has determined to give all judgment to the Son John 5: Further, the Son will judge wisely and justly 2 Tim 4: Second, both men and angels will be judged Acts Judges and the Israelite nation as a whole to judge other nations e.
Thus, the saints will judge angels and people in the final judgment because this is a function of the restored image. In another way of speaking, believers will judge the living and the dead because of their inseparable connection to Christ the Judge, their personal share in his kingdom with its power and authority cf.
In an important sense, and to an important degree, we will be just like him in our glorified states and will know his mind on these issues in a way only faintly grasped now cf. Third, we said that all men will be judged. Therefore, Christians will be judged as well. Paul, speaking of believers in Romans For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or bad.
If we are justified, why then are we judged? It seems that the idea of justification precludes entering into judgment. But the problem is not as insurmountable as first appears. It is true that the doctrine of justification includes both the idea of eternal forgiveness as well as the eternal possession of the righteousness of Christ.
Though some evangelicals have spurned the doctrine of rewards for believers it seems fairly certain that the Bible does indeed teach it:. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. Again, Jesus talks about reward for faithful service Luke Again, the point about degree of reward seems to be clearly taught in Colossians 3: Thus, according to these texts Christians will be judged to determine their degree of reward or the measure of their inheritance e.
This does not mean that throughout eternity men will suffer pangs of conscience for what they should have done with the grace of God given them while on earth. In the eternal state there will be neither death or mourning or crying or pain Rev Therefore, the problem with the doctrine of rewards is not that the scripture does not teach it.
This is a similar kind of struggle we face with other clearly biblical doctrines, e. Some have suggested that the degree of reward is known only to God and the person who receives it. But the bottom line is that we will each be rewarded for our service, though we know very little about the precise nature of these rewards. Nonetheless, rewards are a source of motivation to holiness and godly living.
Eschatology (The Doctrine of Last Things)
This, of course, is the way in which they are used throughout Scripture Luke They are not the only source of motivation for the Christian cf. They are one of several means of grace the Lord uses to sanctify us and move us along in the Christian life cf. There are a number of different views regarding the fate of the finally impenitent. There are a number of passages in scripture that appear to suggest universalism.
Three important and valid hermeneutical considerations must be mentioned at this point. It is true that we all come to scripture, bringing along with us our presuppositions and preunderstandings. But it is not true that we all allow our presuppositions to influence us to the same degree. In many universalist interpretations of Scripture, it seems that a priori concerns have reached the level of agenda to the point of smothering texts which contradict such agendas. Second, any text cited to substantiate any one particular doctrine must be read in a way consistent with its immediate linguistic and historical setting, as well as its broader biblical context.
For example, Col 1: The two ideas are related, but they are not the same thing. In terms of 1 Tim 4: According to Hebrews Again, the love of God is not a bulldozer that disregards human decisions and indiscriminately piles people up on the side of His grace. Texts like Romans 5: Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. Therefore, it would seem that Paul is espousing universalism in 5: To argue for universalism in this text, however, is to neglect other key Pauline texts 2 Thess 1: It is sufficient for all men, but only those who receive it by faith, reign in life!
Also, universalism requires the questionable premise that Paul is arguing in 5: But this is certainly not his point. He is arguing, rather, that in the same way as Adam directly affects all those connected to him i. Before we look at it, however, it must be noted that as far as supporting universalism goes, it suffers from the same fate as Rom 5: That is, it was written by Paul and, therefore, has to be legitimately reconciled with texts like 2 Thess 1: He makes this clear when in vv. Paul is not holding out a universalistic hope here, but rather the hope proper to those who trust in God concerning the preaching about the resurrected Christ 1 Cor Third, there are many texts which speak of judgment and hell as being eternal.
At the present time, two primary views regarding the nature of the punishment of hell are being advanced within Evangelicalism, that is, among those who have a very high regard for scripture and the necessity of personal faith and the new birth. Several things are important to note in this discussion. First, this is not, as some have erroneously argued, a debate directly related to inerrancy. It is rather a question about the best exegesis of that Word and the resultant theology.
Second, this debate is not about whether the wicked will be judged or not. Both sides agree that this will be the case. The debate is about the nature of that judgment. Fourth, let us take to heart that this is a discussion about hell and the awful judgment to come upon those apart from Christ, i. As Stott has reminded us, let us mourn with Jeremiah and weep with Paul over the ultimate destiny of those who refuse to know and love Christ.