Sunday, July 02, 2006

“Many Christians accept this notion as gospel truth while any belief in the eventual salvation of all people is regarded as heresy.”  “I believe what we call Hell is a place of rehabilitation.  The self-righteous, the bigoted, the selfish and the mean will have a particularly hard time there, but eventually all must be brought into the kingdom of our God and of his Christ.  And we shall reign forever!” (Paul Isom, Peoria Journal Star, July 1, 2006, page D5)  Sound familiar?  It should.  The same Paul Isom wrote this in his column in the Peoria Journal Star on March 18, 2006, page D5 “I believe God will save everyone eventually.”

After his first column, I wrote four blogs—March 25, March 27, April 17, and April 18—pointing out some of the problems with such a belief.  I will not repeat the columns here.  You can go back and reread them if you desire.  Two things that I will mention though.  

As I pointed out at the time, it does not matter what Paul Isom believes.  It does not matter what I believe.  It does not matter what some religious people believe.  What does matter is: what is the truth as taught in the Word of GOD.  

Humans have believed a lot of things during our existence on the earth.  Some people believed the earth was flat.  Some people believe the universe and all things in it was not created by GOD but rather evolved on its own.  Some people don’t believe in GOD or that JESUS is HIS one and only SON.  What one believes may or may not be true.  The truth is found in the one source given by GOD to reveal HIS truth.  The one source is the Bible.

This fact—that the Bible reveals GOD’S truth—is the other major problem with Paul Isom’s argument that everyone will eventually be in Heaven with the FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT.  In the first column (March 18, 2006, page D5), Paul Isom does not provide one source or quote from the Bible to support his belief.  The same is true with the column on July 1.  He never gives any source from the Bible to support his belief.  That is understandable.  One can not quote something from the Bible that is not in the Bible.  His belief is his only support.  

He believes it.  Therefore, in his mind it must be true.  That is a very dangerous concept when teaching GOD’S truth.  It is an invalid concept when teaching GOD’S truth.  It’s an invalid concept when trying to teach anything.  Belief without support can not prove that belief to be true.

I have a couple of questions in relation to his belief that he does not attempt to answer in the column published on July 1.  Why must all “be brought into the kingdom of our God and of his Christ?”  Must is a strong word.  Must GOD do this because Paul Isom believes GOD must do this?  Is there some greater force than GOD that requires GOD to do this?  I know.  Because Paul Isom believes it to be true, then it must be true and must happen.  What power Paul Isom must have!!!

Both in the first column and the present column, Paul Isom declares that eventually all must come into GOD’S kingdom.  What does he mean by eventually?  Is eventually a time period of 1,000 years?  Is eventually, half of an eternity?  (How does one divide
eternity?)  Is there a different eventually depending upon the nature of a person’s unrepentant sins?  Could one person’s eventually be 10,000 years while another person’s eventually is three quarters of eternity?  Actually, it doesn’t matter because Paul Isom has no evidence to support his belief.  If his belief is invalid, his concept of eventually is also invalid.

“I believe what we call Hell is a place of rehabilitation.”  Paul Isom believes it.  Paul Isom does not give one source to support that belief.  I know of no source in the Bible that gives any hint that Hell is a place of rehabilitation.  In fact, I know of no source in the Bible that makes any reference to rehabilitation when it comes to unrepentant sin.  One either repents (There are many references to repentance.) from sin or one does not.

On my April 18, 2006 blog, I gave over two pages of references that refute Paul Isom’s belief that eventually all with be saved.  I did not come close to quoting all possible references in that area.  I will give one reference today.  

This is a parable taught by JESUS to the Pharisees.  “’There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table.  Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side.  The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.  So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers.  Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’’” (Luke 16: 19-31)

I don’t have the time to adequately discuss this parable on this blog.  However, some concepts that can be understood from this parable are the following.  The Jews of Jesus’ time had the Old Testament—Moses and the Prophets—to teach them of the need to repent in their lifetime.  We now have both the Old Testament and the New Testament as GOD’S Word to guide us to repentance.  Repentance is necessary.  Repentance happens or does not happen during our lifetime.  JESUS’S rising from the dead will not be sufficient to convince some to repent.  There is a great chasm fixed between the repentant and the unrepentant and no one can go from one side to the other.  Even though the repentant desire to help the unrepentant, they can not.  Even though the unrepentant will now want to cross over to the other side, they can not.  And most important of all in this debate, no where does it say:

“However, eventually all will be allowed to cross over after a period of rehabilitation.”  No where after death is rehabilitation and a change of heart (repentance) provided for.  If that were the situation, don’t you think GOD would tell us that.  Or, did GOD commission Paul Isom to rewrite the Bible and now give us a higher revelation that JESUS neglected to provide  while he was walking on this earth.  Personally, I don’t think so.  

This was my closing paragraph on my fourth blog of the original series of comments.  It is still valid.  Are there Biblical verses that support the belief that all people will eventually be saved?  I don’t think so.  Study the Word of GOD and make your own decision.  It is the difference between salvation and being lost eternally.  We do have a responsibility.  Don’t be lulled into the “not responsible” lies that are prevalent in today’s society.  This is the ultimate choice of choices in life.  Don’t make the wrong choice!!!                  



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