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Are All People Going To Be Saved In The End And Is Hell Temporary Or Permanent?

There is much recent teaching on the "restoration theory", that is, after a period of punishment, God is going to pardon the sins of the unbelieving and they will be admitted into the Kingdom of God.  Is eternal punishment temporary or eternal?  One particular prophecy scholar and website believes eternal punishment is wrong because the punishment doesn't fit the crime - to punish someone eternally who may have lived a moral so-called good life is unjust and lacking in common sense. The proponents of this heretical teaching obviously do not see things from God's point of view.

Where did the restorative theory come from?  First we need to examine the Catholic doctrine of Purgatory. The word "purgatory" is not in the Bible, but means a place of purification. This doctrine was not known to the Church of the Apostles or the early Church (post-apostolic). It surfaced in the 600's A.D.  The Catholic Pope's invented this doctrine as they believed the souls of men are not fit to go immediately to heaven and therefore must experience an intermediate state of suffering and dependent on the prayers and "masses" of the living. The whole idea behind this extra-biblical teaching was driven by MONEY!  It secured revenue for the Catholic Church by preying on the sympathy of loved ones for their departed family and friends.  They would pay the Catholic system money to deliver their loved ones from the punishment of Purgatory. 

This wicked un-scriptural teaching has no place in Sola Scriptura as it is not part of the biblical record. There is no intermediate state between life on earth and death. The Bible says it is appointed unto man ONCE TO DIE and then face the judgment. (Hebrews 9:27).  How we leave this life depends on how we end up in eternity.

As mentioned, the restorative doctrine like Purgatory has no scriptural basis  - that after the wicked have suffered in hell for a time and sufficiently punished for their sins, they will be restored and transferred to heaven. This includes Satan and his fallen angels and the final emptying of Hell - kind of like what Obama is doing to Guantanamo. The Muslim terrorists have been punished long enough so it is now time to release them. 

Dr. Steven Jones of Gods Kingdom Ministry advocates the restorative theory, which I have strongly opposed in several email exchanges with him. He admitted he adopted this theology after reading a book on the subject not from the Word of God.  We should NEVER base our theology on what others write about scriptural doctrine. Our theology should come  from direct revelation of the written Word of God as the Holy Spirit gives us understanding. Never, never take what I write as gospel without checking it out by the written Word of God and Holy Spirit guidance. Now that does not mean that I am wrong in something I write because you may disagree with it, but if you can prove from Scripture where I am wrong I will be more than happy to admit it on this website.  Truth is always more important than any one's opinion including mine. 

The Bible passage the restorative theory is based on is Acts 3:21:

"Whom Christ the Heaven must receive until the times of restitution of ALL THINGS which God has spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began."

They proponents of this bogus theory zero in on the words, "ALL THINGS", which to their minds means everything in the universe both animate and inanimate. God one day is going to restore everything back to its pristine condition to include the pre-fall state of Adam and Eve.  Larkin believed that verse primarily pertained to the Jews because they were the recipients of Peter's message. In context, the passage means that after the remnant of believing Jews repent and convert to belief in Jesus as Messiah, savoir and Lord, He would restore THEM to the things the prophets foretold.  I would disagree with that as I believe it has a much broader application involving the millennial reign and the reconstitution of the earth for it is after that time that Christ Jesus delivers the kingdom to God the Father. 

All things in the context of the doctrines of Heaven and Hell cannot mean the entire human race since Adam specifically those that never acknowledged and repented of their inherent sin and died in that condition, will at the time of the eternal state (8th Day) receive a pardon from God. They will still have the old Adamic sin nature which is incapable of refining. Nothing unclean or defiled will enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Revelation 22:14

14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

The Bible is clear the wicked shall be punished forever and forever or unto the Ages of the Ages - see Matthew 25:46 and Revelation 20:10. 

Will the wicked be given a second chance?  Will Israelites or Jews be given a second chance?  When growing up as a young boy in the Baptist Church, I heard repeatedly the Jews would be given a second chance, but not the Gentiles.  Will God somehow change His mind about the unrepentant and decide they have been punished long enough to also include Satan and his wicked angels?  There are a growing number of people that believe this lie for that is what it is A HELLISH LIE!

Larkin again says, "If the present things used by God in this life to lead men to Himself such as providence, the Bible, the preaching of the gospel, the striving of the Holy Spirit have no avail here, what is to lead men to God in Hell where those things are absent and their environment wholly evil? Character determines destiny. When character becomes fixed, condition is settled beyond change". 

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is righteous let him be righteous still - Revelation 22:11 

Character matters and have you thought of the fixation issue according to this verse?   Character is fixed unto death!

The plight of the wicked dead in hell, their torment and punishment condition is not going to lead them to repentance for there is no Holy Spirit in hell to lead them to godly sorrow and repentance. If punishment leads men to repentance then the gospel and Holy Spirit conviction are for nought!   The rich man in hell showed no repentance and no desire for mercy or admittance of sin, he only wanted relief from his torment - "Abraham please come and place a drop of water on my parched tongue."  He also wanted Abraham to leave Paradise and go back to earth and warn his brothers not to come to hell. However, Abraham told him that was not possible for God had fixed a great gulf or barrier between hell and paradise and no one in either place could crossover to the other.  Abraham also told him that if his brothers did not believe Moses and the prophets (this proves the events of this story took place before the First Advent of Christ and the Church Age), then they would not believe someone who came from the dead to warn them. (Luke 16:19-31).

There is also an interesting passage in Revelation 20:7-8 in which the wicked did not repent of their sins in the midst of the Bowl Judgments, but blasphemed God, and even Satan after 1000 years in the bottom-less pit comes out of it as bad as ever - he had not changed. 

Some object to the concept of eternal punishment by citing such passages as, "God would have all men to be saved" (I Tim.2:4); "God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked" (Ezk.33:11); and "Christ tasted death for every man".  However as Larkin points out in his book on the Spirit World, the Bible also says NOW is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2). There is no salvation opportunity after one dies - after death there is one thing we all must face - the judgment bar of God and give an account for everything we have done - good or bad and the verdict is not going to be based on WORKS, but on what we did with God's offer of salvation IN Christ Jesus. Even the Old Testament saints placed their faith in the promise of God to send a deliverer to take away the penalty and punishment of sin.  As the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 2, we are saved by grace through faith, and it is not our own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so no one can boast. 

Christ Jesus is the LIMIT of God for dealing with sin and mankind's eternal destiny.  There is NO OTHER WAY for humanity to be saved other than Jesus had to suffer and die for the sins of the world.  However, the majority will not believe or accept God's love offer of forgiveness and reconciliation to Him.  So what is to be done to those who spurn God's salvation - give them a pass and allow them to dwell in the same Heaven or Kingdom of God with all the saints?  Would you want a pedophile living in your home with your children?  I think not and I could cite a whole list of evil things most people would not want to be around or live with.  God created hell and the Lake of Fire originally for the Devil, his angels, the Antichrist and the False prophet and also for all unbelievers for there has to be a separation from sin and sinners for no sin can survive in the presence of Holy God. 

However the principal controversy of which this article addresses is punishment for sin eternal or temporary? 

Philippians 2:10-11 says one day every one who was born into the human race will be required to bow before the Lord Jesus and confess His Lordship to the glory of God the Father - EVERYONE NOT SOME PEOPLE, BUT EVERYONE OF ALL THE BILLIONS BORN ON THIS PLANET CALLED EARTH.  However as Larkin says, confession is not repentance!  Confession alone does not change the heart of man.  It must go through a complete change and that is called the NEW BIRTH and is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit. 

So a doctrine such as Purgatory or the Restorative Theory is the result of a gross misunderstanding of the necessity for the CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST.  Sin was dealt with once and for all when Jesus died upon a Roman cross in 30 or 33 A.D. whichever is correct.  That is why He uttered the words as He gave up His spirit to the care of His heavenly Father, IT IS FINISHED!  God's eternal plan of salvation for humanity was finalized on the cross for all the sin of the world was judicially placed upon Jesus the six hours He hung upon the cross, that is why He screamed out, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.  Our Holy and Righteous Father could not look upon His only begotten Son when SIN covered His total being.  That is the meaning of the Scripture, "He who had no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus).  2 Cor. 5:21.  

The suffering and agony of the cross was not some trivial thing in the eyes of God!  If mankind was going to be saved and live in eternity with a Holy and Righteous God, a blood sacrifice had to be offered and animal sacrifices would not suffice. Only a human being could die for the sins of the human race, but it had to be a perfect sinless sacrifice and the only man qualified was the God-man, Jesus Christ for He had no earthly father and no sin nature for the sin nature was passed from Adam (the man) to all of the human race past and present - Romans 5:12. 

Proof that Catholics misunderstand the finality of the cross is their making the Lord's Supper or Communion a sacrament. It is not a sacrament and their doctrine of transubstantiation is total heresy!  The Lord's Supper is for the purpose of looking back to the cross and remembering how Jesus paid our sin debt.  The broken bread symbolizes the body of the Lord given for us and the wine is symbolic of His blood shed for us, for without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22).  We do not literally partake of the body or blood of the Lord when we take communion for that is preposterous and the Lord never intended for believers to think that.  Purgatory and the Sacrament of Communion proves the Catholic so-called Church does not understand that sin was totally and finally dwelt with on the Cross of Jesus. There is no need for an intermediate state for mankind to go until he or she has somehow suffered enough to go to heaven. Likewise believers are not required to treat the Lord's Supper as a sacrament of substitution for the Lord's death upon the cross.  Both of these false doctrines are nonsense and ARE NOT TAUGHT IT THE BIBLE! 

I have to tell you every time I see one of these Popes dressed in his clown suit, carrying his holier than thou staff, and waving his hand in the air like some sinless saint, I know that I am looking at the devil's handy work - FALSE RELIGION and millions are going to end up in the fires of hell for an eternity because they failed to obey the truth of the Scriptures!  Am I saying all Catholics are going to hell?  What I am saying is we have been given the Word of God (the Bible) and it is our responsibility to read it, study it and to ask God the Holy Spirit to teach us its truths. And if we mean it and are serious, He will guide us into all truth not lead us into false religion - John 16:13. 

This is the major problem with homosexuals - they do not love the truth enough to abide by it - 2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 and their error is going to cost them dearly on the Day of Judgment.  Sincerity is not the door to salvation - acceptance of truth is and the source of that truth is the Word of God - John 17:17.  

Along with the doctrine of restoration of all things is the doctrine of annihilationism, which means the wicked dead will be destroyed at death or after the Great White Throne Judgment. They will be like the animals that die and have no after-life and no memory of life. God will just extinguish them much like someone that is vaporized in war (I witnessed that in Vietnam) or dies in a horrible plane crash and their bodies are never found - they just vanished as if they never existed. Garner Ted Armstrong taught this heretical doctrine by twisting the Scriptures to suit what he called "common sense" theology - that no loving God was going to punish or torment someone for all eternity.  

Larkin says this doctrine is based on a wrong interpretation of destruction.  If the wicked are destroyed at death as though they never existed then there would no resurrection of the wicked dead and their judgment at the Great White Throne.   However the Bible teaches the certainty of both - see John 5:28-29 and Revelation 20:12-15. 

The rich man died and his body buried on earth, but he was in a state of consciousness in hell and had memory of his life on earth. He also felt pain and could speak and have a conversation. He was not destroyed in the sense of annihilation for his soul and spirit remained in tact. He was a dead spirit without a body. The angels that sinned have been kept in eternal chains waiting the day of judgment. They were not annihilated. (Jude 6).  Destruction in the biblical sense does not mean someone is totally destroyed without a spirit and soul. Their body may die, but their spirit and soul continue after death either in one of two places - Heaven or hell and the lake of fire.  We are actually more spirit beings than we realize. Our bodies house our spirit and souls and make us adaptable to living on planet earth. If we had been born on some other planet, we would have a body adaptable to that atmosphere and environment. 

Destruction means the loss or ruin of what once was, that is, the form has changed into another form, but the elements are still there.  After WWII Europe lay in great ruin.  Many of the major cites were completely leveled yet the nations of Europe still existed.  After dropping two atomic bombs on Japan that leveled Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan still existed. 

Mankind is born with an eternal spirit/soul that will never die in the sense of annihilation. The state of the eternal spirit, soul, and body will be vastly different depending on where one goes after death and the final judgment.  The Holy Spirit told the Apostle Paul that there has not entered in the heart and mind of man the things God has prepared for those who love Him and keep His Word. On the other hand Jesus said those who die and go to hell shall weep and gnash their teeth and their torment shall be like the maggots that feast on rotting flesh - not a pretty picture so why would anyone in their right mind fail to take advantage of God wonderful love gift of forgiveness and acceptance into His eternal kingdom, which Christ Jesus has made possible by His death on the cross and resurrection.  If you have been reading this article and have come to this point, but you do not know for sure if you will go to heaven when you die, then right now, bow your head and pray this simple, but serious prayer.  

Lord Jesus, I believe the Word of God that I am born in sin and cannot obtain heaven because of any good works that I might do. I realize you are God's love gift to me. I believe you died upon the cross and shed your blood for me that I could be forgiven of my sin and spend an eternity with you in your kingdom.  I repent of my sin and ask that you come into my life and  
be my Lord and God.  Thank you for saving me. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer and meant it you are now a child of God and have the Holy Spirit living in you. You may not feel any different, but salvation is not based on feeling, it is based on faith. In time as you read and study the Word of God and pray and get involved with a Bible believing teaching Church, you will start to change - others will notice it even though you may not be aware of it.  When you sin and you will (the possibility or sinning after being saved is not eradicated) you will be convicted and seek forgiveness of the sin.  The Bible says, When we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9).

In summary is there a place called hell and the lake of fire that all unrepentant sinners go and is their punishment eternal - unending?  If there is going to be an eternal state where the righteous go referred to as Heaven and the Kingdom of God where untold joy, peace and unspeakable glory exist forever and forever, then it stands to reason the existence of the unrighteous will also be eternal, that is, their punishment shall be forever and forever.  How do we know that for sure?

In Matthew 25:46 Jesus said the wicked shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. The Greek word for both eternal and everlasting is the same - AIONIOS from the root word AION. It is translated AGE in the English Bible.  It was the meaning of this word that I debated with Dr. Jones on his All Things Restoration Doctrine. He attempted to say that Age does not mean an indefinite period, but can mean a limited time such as the Age of Law, which had a beginning and ending or the Church Age, which had a beginning and will have an ending when the Millennial Age begins. Then the Millennial Age will end after 1000 years and the Eternal Age will commence. However, he had no time period for the ending of the Eternal Age although he tried and had some ridiculous hypothetical period of thousands of years, which he has no way of knowing or proving that.  

The biblical expression forever and forever or the Ages of the ages is the Bible's way of saying the eternal state is of endless duration - it never ends.  If the Age of Law or the Church Age or the Millennial Age were of endless duration, then there would not have been the need to replace one with the other. However, when the Bible speaks of the eternal state for individuals, the Greek word AION means the condition of endless duration.  When the Lord used the words everlasting and life eternal, it is clear from the context He meant time with no end.  

Look up these Scriptures that testify the Lord God lives forever and forever (in the Greek the aions of the aions):  Revelation 4:9-10; 5:13; 10:6; 15:7.  It is obvious there is no limiting of God's eternal state for He is even before the beginning and shall be without end. Since the saints are going to be with Him and where He is then they shall also be as eternal as God. 

The same Greek word is used in reference to the wicked, they shall experience an aion of the aions of punishment.  Their punishment will never end.  

In Revelation 20:10 it says the Devil was cast into the Lake of Fire where the Beast and False Prophet have been for 1000 years and they shall be tormented day and night forever and forever (the aions of the aions).      

The Bible, the Word of truth is very clear the unrighteous dead shall be punished in the Lake of Fire for an endless duration. There is no such thing as a Restorative Theology where God is going to pardon those suffering punishment in hell because He feels sorry for them or an annihilation doctrine that the wicked dead are extinguished as though they never existed. Both are FALSE DOCTRINES!  

Anyway who are you going to believe God and the Bible or some man with his phony teaching?  I strongly suggest the former.   

I am indebted to Clarence Larkin for his insights into this subject which you can read in his Book, The Spirit World.