I received a rather bizarre phone call last week, from someone who I hardly know (but through an occasional e-mail), him telling me that he cannot “fellowship” with me because I preach “another gospel.” This, of course, all stems from this man’s beliefs (traditions of men handed down to him, no doubt) that things that I have shared about the Lake of Fire, the Restitution of All Things and the Reconciliation of All Men are of the devil. He also has acknowledged that he has had some poking and prodding (towards confronting me) from “his friends and his pastor.” Ughh…
I’m not going to share with you here what I shared with this man on the phone, but I do feel moved to share a few things, first; that the reaction of many Christians today to the EVERLASTING GOSPEL and the MAGNITUDE OF CALVARY’S VICTORY much reminds me of Jonah’s reaction when ALL of Nineveh was turned to repentance in sackcloth and ashes and was freed to love and worship God rather than being turned to destruction (was Nineveh’s destruction really the hope in Jonah’s heart?). How is it that Jonah could be so angered by such a thing, him even resentful at God’s expression of His great love and mercy for people “who cannot tell their right hand from their left…”? How is it also, beloved, that so many Christians today get SO ANGRY when it is suggested to them that God is not going to lose the majority of His creation to the devil forever? I propose to you that this is because of wrong teaching (based on erroneous Bible translations of the Greek and Hebrew) that has formed in them WRONG HEARTS.
Along these lines, if you have long believed in the eternal damnation of sinners, dear reader, and have warned them of endless torment but are now getting a glimpse of something much different from what you have thought and have taught, you too may react like Jonah did with resentment at the revelation of God’s great mercy and love for people, OR, you may rejoice that our Father’s grace and His loving-kindness go far beyond what you had previously imagined! Whatever your reaction is, I can assure you that it will have a PROFOUND effect on your attitudes toward both God and men.
We, like Paul, are to be constrained as “ambassadors for Christ” to bring people unto their Father and into their inheritance in Christ Jesus, beloved. This, though, is not to be done with the threat of hellish torments, but by the fear (reverence) of God brought about by a revelation of THE LOVE OF CHRIST (2 Cor 5: 11, 14, 20). We are NOT to see the human race as hell-bound sinners most of whom will eventually be permanently written off by God, but rather see each person in this world as A CREATION OF GOD for whom OUR FATHER HAS A PURPOSE THAT WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED (eventually). I guarantee you, that if we live this way our love for man and God will be enormously enhanced.
Though many people can’t quite see this yet, our Father really does love each and every one of the billions of members of this human race with a love that will eventually bring most everyone (if not all) back to Him. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For FROM HIM and THROUGH HIM and TO HIM are ALL THINGS!
I may share more on this subject later, for now though I feel that it will be helpful to include here the testimony of the Indian Sadhu Sundar Singh. In December 1904, Jesus appeared to Sundar when he was about to commit suicide, and he was dramatically converted to Christ. Subsequently, Sundar had many ecstatic experiences in which he conversed with angels and spirits. He gives the following account of what he was told at this time about hell.
“I was also told that the love of God operates even in Hell. God does not shine in His full light, because those there could not bear it, but He gradually shows them more and more light and by and by brings them on and moves their conscience towards something better, although they think that the desire is entirely their own. Thus God works on their minds from within, something in the same way, though in the opposite direction, as that in which Satan suggests temptation to us here. Thus, what with God’s work within and the Light without, almost all those in Hell will ultimately be brought to Christ’s feet. It will perhaps take millions of ages, but when it is attained they will be full of joy and thankfulness towards God: though they will still be less happy than those who have accepted Christ on earth. Thus Hell also is a training school, a place of preparation for Home. Those in Hell know that it is not their home because they suffer there. Men were not created for Hell and therefore do not enjoy it and, when there, desire to escape to Heaven. They do so, but they find Heaven even more uncongenial than Hell, so they return. But this convinces them that there is something wrong in their lives, and thus they are gradually led to repentance. At least, that is the case with the majority, but there are some few personalities, Satan for instance, in regard to whom I was told, ‘Don’t ask about them..’ And so I didn’t like to ask, but I hoped that for them also there was some hope.
“They also told me that the saints help in the work of saving souls in Hell, because there can be no idleness in Heaven. Those in Hell will ultimately be brought to Heaven, like the prodigal son, but with regard ‘to the ultimate fate of a certain number you must not ask.’ The Sadhu is inclined to think that perhaps these few will be annihilated.
“Once I said ‘So many people will be lost because they have not heard of Christ.’ They said, ‘The contrary will be the case; very few will be lost.’ There is a kind of heavenly joke – no, joke is not a good word for it. Very few will be lost but many will be saved. ‘It is so but don’t tell as it were in jest,’ they said, ‘because it will make men careless, and we want them to enjoy the First Heaven – that is, the Heaven on earth – as well. If there were no hope for all the non-Christians in the world and all the Christians who die in sin, God would stop creating men. We must do our part here on earth to save sinners, but if they refuse we need not be without hope for them.'”