Issue: Some people have problem with the concept of afterlife Judgment because they think that the Judgment-part part is too harsh.
God’s Afterlife Judgment is Perfectly Logical and there’s no difficulty if we understand it correctly as per Holy Scripture and First Christianity.
We don’t need to hate those in error.
“And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper,” – apostle Paul (Romans 1:28, NASB)
The amount of error itself stems from our “own selfishness and hate” (Verse above: Romans 1:28) as in Judgment we “reap what we sow” accordingly (Galatians 6:7) till the last penny (Luke 12:59).
God’s Judgment is Flawless:
In simple terms, the afterlife Judgment-part is basically God Taking our “own garbage” (sin & hurt which we caused toward others) and “returns it to us” (Isaiah 3:11) so that we experience what “evil” we “did first toward others” & repent eventually.
Yes, ‘afterlife repentance’ post Final-Gehenna-Lake of Fire Judgment is clearly taught even in St. Justin Martyr’s Writings, to quote (from Page 130 & 131 from the ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ Book):
“He [Lord Jesus Christ] shall come from heaven with glory, accompanied by His angelic host, when also He shall RAISE the BODIES of ALL MEN who have lived [John 5:28 – 29], and shall clothe THOSE of the WORTHY with IMMORTALITY, and shall send those of the WICKED, endued with eternal [AGE-DURING] SENSIBILITY, into everlasting [AGE-DURING] fire with the wicked devils. And that these things also have been foretold as yet to be, we will prove.
By Ezekiel the prophet it was said: “Joint shall be joined to joint, and bone to bone, and flesh
shall grow again; and every knee shall bow to the Lord, and every tongue shall confess Him.”
And in what kind of SENSATION and punishment the WICKED are to be, hear from what was said in like manner with reference to this; it is as follows: “Their WORM shall NOT REST, and their FIRE shall NOT be QUENCHED;” and THEN SHALL THEY REPENT, when it PROFITS them NOT.” (Justin Martyr, CHAPTER LII — CERTAIN FULFILMENT OF PROPHECY, First Apology)
What does it mean?
(i) Justin Martyr clearly affirms the ‘Conscious Punishment’ of the Wicked in the Lake of Fire
His Phrase: ‘SENSATION, SENSIBILITY
(ii) Justin Martyr affirms that the Wicked Endure Punishment to that Particular AGE or
His Phrase: ‘WICKED, endued with eternal [AGE-DURING] SENSIBILITY, into everlasting [AGEDURING] fire’.
(iii) How Serious is this ‘continuous punishment’ which ‘lasts to that age’?
His Phrase: ‘Their WORM shall NOT REST, and their FIRE shall NOT be QUENCHED’.
(iv) What is the Purpose of the Lake of Fire?
To bring about REPENTANCE eventually.
His Phrase: ‘THEN SHALL THEY REPENT’.
(v) Does this repentance profit the wicked?
His Phrase: ‘it PROFITS them NOT’.
(vi) Does this mean that this punishment lasts forever since the repentance of the wicked
does NOT profit them?
No. It means that by repenting, it does NOT stop their punishment as they MUST ENDURE
till the LAST PENNY as Justin says elsewhere regarding the ‘duration of the punishment’
(Context of Duration described):
“… But there were also some private SINNERS who had committed GREAT CRIMES. And
these, when they thought they were to ASCEND, the MOUTH would NOT PERMIT, but
bellowed when any of those who were so INCURABLY WICKED attempted to ASCEND,
UNLESS they had PAID the FULL PENALTY….” – Justin Martyr (CHAPTER XXVII – PLATO’S
KNOWLEDGE OF THE JUDGEMENT, JUSTIN’S HORTATORY ADDRESS TO THE GREEKS)
P/S: More Details regarding this are discussed with proof in the Lost Orthodoxy Book. For example, to quote from page 132:
Justin Martyr clearly describes the ‘Near Death Hell-like experience’ attributed to Plato’s
knowledge to be similar and in agreement to the Prophets too (in the above chapter) —-> in
that even toward the ‘most wicked’ men (though severe & serious) —–> it lasts only till the ‘full penalty’ after which they ‘may ascend’ (which seems to refer to the Hope of
Resurrection – to be ‘made Alive in Christ’ inferred from 1 Corinthians 15:22 as a “HOPE”
toward the Wicked too, Acts 24:15 as part and puzzle beyond the afterlife Judgment to the
‘last Penny’ which must be endured by these first – AGREEING BIBLICALLY to Luke 12:59).
It also means that by ‘repenting eventually’, the wicked will NOT obtain any inheritance in
(vii) But isn’t the Punishment Forever upon the Wicked since their bodies are Raised as
The “Wicked” are NOT raised IMMORTAL at all. This is a Popular Fallacy as even Justin’s ‘own
words’ in the passage above describes as follows:
” … He shall RAISE the BODIES of ALL MEN who have lived [John 5:28 – 29], and shall clothe THOSE of the WORTHY with IMMORTALITY, …” = only the ‘Resurrection to Life’ consists of Immortality as ‘part of it’ as the phrase THOSE WORTHY (limited-ness) —-> and NOT all obtain ‘Immortality’.
The Wicked are raised to ‘age-during sensibility’ —-> hence ‘their resurrected for Judgment
bodies’ last ONLY to THAT particular AGE or AEON, namely AEON2. Can you see it? as Justin contrasts and uses the ‘different’ word (namely, AEON or AGE-DURING) entirely to describe it.
How can we be sure?
“… when He shall raise all men from the dead, and appoint SOME to be INCORRUPTIBLE,
IMMORTAL, and free from sorrow in the everlasting [AGE-DURING] and imperishable
kingdom; but shall send others away to the everlasting [AGE-DURING] punishment of fire …” (Justin Martyr CHAPTER CXVII, DIALOGUE WITH TRYPHO)
P/S 3: Lost Orthodoxy Book?
It’s in PDF format and downloadable free in link below:
P/S 4: Is there a Clear Cut Universalist Quote by St. Justin Martyr which Proves the above Interpretation of his Writings in a Consistent Manner?
Yes, for example (from Pages 48 – 50 of the ‘Lost Orthodoxy’ Book), to quote:
(iii) Another Quote by Justin affirming this:
“Yet is it not absurd, that that which has been produced with such circumstance, and which is beyond all else valuable, should be so neglected by its Maker, as to pass to NONENTITY? Then the sculptor and painter, if they wish the works they have made to endure, that they may win glory by them, RENEW THEM when they begin to DECAY; but God would so neglect His own possession and work, that it becomes ANNIHILATED, and NO longer EXISTS. Should we not call this labour in vain? As if a man who has built a house should forthwith DESTROY it, or should NEGLECT it, though he sees it falling into DECAY, and is ABLE to REPAIR it: we would blame him for labouring in vain; and should we not so blame God? But not such an one is the INCORRUPTIBLE,–NOT SENSELESS is the INTELLIGENCE of the universe. Let the unbelieving be silent, even though they themselves do not believe.” (St. Justin Martyr, CHAPTER VIII.–DOES THE BODY CAUSE THE SOUL TO SIN? FRAGMENTS OF THE LOST WORK OF JUSTIN ON THE RESURRECTION)
It is clear in the above that Justin is using the analogy of an earthly painter where if he is able, he will RENEW that which DECAYS and likewise a man who sees his house falling into DECAY would also REPAIR it —> in the Context of explaining the ‘Salvation of the Soul’ (Topic here as the paragraphs surrounding it prove – Justin is amazingly WISE, isn’t it?).
Hence Justin Concludes that the Incorruptible God would likewise NOT Destroy the Soul into NONENTITY or NONEXISTENCE till it is ANNIHILATED and NO LONGER EXISTS (Disproving the ‘Annihilation View of Hell Theory’) —> and NEITHER would God, Justin implies Who being INTELLIGENT and ABLE to both RENEW and REPAIR would cause any of His Work toward ‘all souls’ which are His (Ezekiel 18:4) to continue in DECAY of SIN FOREVER (Disproving the ‘Eternal View of Hell Theory) —> but rather goes on to Imply the only Rational Conclusion from Justin’s Own Words in that He believes in a God Who WILL both RENEW and REPAIR ALL SOULS (be it wicked or righteous, as ‘all souls truly belongs to Him’, Ezekiel 18:4) despite ‘death or decay’ in which some must endure first (Approving the Universal Salvation View of Purgatorial Hell as it was held by St. Clement of Alexandria or even St. Gregory of Nyssa too).
(iv) Another Quote by Irenaeous affirming this:
Context of Colossians 1:16 – 20.
Christ Centered Universalists claim that Salvation is by Lord Jesus Christ’s Work Alone toward ‘All Created things’ eventually (Colossians 1:16) where through His Blood on His Cross He will cause the Final Two Way Reconciliation Prophesied Majestically in Scripture toward this same ‘All [Created] things’ (in Colossians 1:20).
Did Irenaeous Understand Colossians 1:16 – 20 in the SAME way?
Yes, to quote:
It is self explanatory in the below, with Emphasis:
“Christ, who was called the Son of God BEFORE the AGES [Aeons], was manifested in the fulness of time, in order that He might cleanse us through His blood, who were under the power of sin, presenting us as pure sons to His Father, if we yield ourselves obediently to the chastisement of the Spirit. And in the END of TIME He shall come to DO AWAY with ALL EVIL, and to RECONCILE ALL [Created] THINGS in order that there may be an END of ALL IMPURITIES.” (Fragment XXXIX, FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS)
We ‘Understand’ Colossians 1:16 – 20 the SAME way as Irenaeous describes above.
(v) How about Barnabas and John 3:14 Mystery?
“As Moses LIFTED UP the SERPENT in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be LIFTED UP; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal [AGE-DURING] life.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:14 – 15, NASB)
Barnabas is clearly quoting the verses in John 3:14 – 15 in Essence in the below:
“When therefore they were assembled together they entreated Moses that he should offer up intercession for them that they might be HEALED. And Moses said unto them; Whensoever, said he, one of you shall be BITTEN, let him come to the SERPENT which is placed on the TREE, and let him BELIEVE and HOPE that the SERPENT being himself DEAD can MAKE ALIVE; and forthwith he shall be SAVED. And so they did. Here again thou hast IN THESE THINGS also the GLORY of JESUS, HOW that in Him and UNTO HIM are ALL THINGS.” (Barnabas 12:7, Epistle of Barnabas)
A Possible Meaning?
Points to some who may ‘see and believe Him in the afterlife’ (Sheepfold2, John 6:40) in the Context of the Son of Man being in Glory (John 3:14 – 15) and able to SAVE ALL [Created] THINGS eventually —-> because the ‘Serpent being Lifted Up Analogy’ (John 3:14 – 15) is quoted by Barnabas in the CONTEXT of ‘HOW that in Him and UNTO HIM are ALL [Created] THINGS’ —-> pointing to UNIVERSAL SALVATION by Christ eventually though he does NOT describe the details, merely pointing to a GLORIOUS HOPE in that Direction —> as he says, “Here again thou hast IN THESE THINGS also the GLORY of JESUS”. Deep.
It’s Very clear in the above that the Epistle of Barnabas Points to ‘understanding’ the Mystery Verses of John 3:14 – 15 or perhaps John 6:40 in Essence as Pointing to a UNIVERSAL SALVATION of ALL [Created] THINGS as even apostle Paul quoted that similar phrase ‘UNTO HIM are ALL THINGS’ (in Romans 11:36) just after Declaring MERCY as the FINAL WORD on the JUDGMENT of GOD’s TIMELINE toward ALL the ‘DISOBEDIENT (NASB)’ or ‘UNBELIEF (KJV)’ too (in Romans 11:32 – just four Verses prior, Immediate Context).
Murderers and Haters
If a person commits murder, spends 20 years in prison and later is awestruck by the Gospel Hope and believes in Christ to save himself, will he escape Hell?
Good question sir.
The question is answered in the above explanations but not in the way where we can directly say a yes or no.
Only God decides that case by Case as you have only stated the “external”, i. e. a murderer is punished by human law & later ‘repents to save himself from Hell’.
What we cannot see is the “internal” of that murderer.
We cannot see the ‘why’ he committed the murder or whether the suffering he endured in 20 years of prison is ‘matching’ with respect to ‘his murdered victim’s lost of life & the lost dreams & possible happiness should that victim be alive’.
God Alone measures this First (as Lord Jesus Christ said that nothing will be hidden which will not be revealed) as to whether the punishment matches. If it matches, I don’t think he will endure further Hell if he repented. If he did not repent, he will endure Hell for his unrepentance as God deems necessarily.
The act of believing in Christ to Save themselves from Hell is a normal human response in such cases. So, no matter our selfish intention to save ourselves, God measures it in His Own Way (again “internally” looking at the heart) to see if it truly has any amount of Love (even a little) or if it’s fake to determine that person’s Salvation when they die.
The answer is not a clear black & white till we can see the “internal” (as God reveals on Judgment Day even, Luke 8:17) & apostle Paul says that when this happens “each man’s praise will come from God” eventually (1 Corinthians 4:5).
“For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 8:17, NASB)
“Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” – apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 4:5, NASB)
“Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” – The ones Victorious over the Beast standing on the Sea of Glass who sing the ‘Song of Moses’ & the ‘Song of the Lamb’ (Revelation 15:4, KJV)