1) What is the “Shepherd of Hermas” book?
To quote (all quotes are from Wikipedia listed in link below unless stated otherwise):
“The Shepherd of Hermas (Greek: Ποιμὴν τοῦ Ἑρμᾶ, Poimēn tou Herma; sometimes just called The Shepherd) is a Christian literary work of the late 1st or mid-2nd century, considered a valuable book by many Christians, and considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus.”
2) Shepherd of Hermas quotes afterlife preaching of the Gospel to the dead in Hell and repentance there too (toward whomever God grants Mercy)
“One more example will illustrate the righteous spirits’ taking the gospel to the wicked spirits and will also provide a transition to the topic of vicarious work for the dead. The Shepherd of Hermas (first century) was, according to the fourth-century Church historian Eusebius, considered by some valuable for instruction in the Church and was quoted by some of the most ancient writers.
Hermas saw in a vision that the Apostles took the gospel into the spirit world so that the dead might receive the seal of baptism:
These apostles and teachers, who preached the name of the Son of God, having fallen asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached also to those who had fallen asleep before them, and themselves gave to them the seal of the preaching [baptism]. They went down therefore with them into the water and came up again, but the latter went down alive and came up alive, while the former who had fallen asleep before, went down dead but came up alive. (Sim. 9.16.5)
Clement of Alexandria also cited this passage, commenting “that it was necessary for the apostles to be imitators of their Master on the other side as well as here, that they might convert the gentile dead as he did the Hebrew.”
A more recent testimony to this rarely known Mystery of the Gospel by Sadhu Sundar Singh, to quote:
Afterlife evangelism is also witnessed Sadhu Sundar Singh in his visions of heaven and hell agreeing to all this (e. g. ‘hindu saints’ accepting the Lord as their Saviour in the afterlife).
Proof of his visions from his ‘first and original’ biographies, please consider (images in links below, examples):
- a) anonymouschristian.org/blog/secrets-beyond-hell-sadhu-sundar-singh/
- b) www.anonymouschristian.org/blog/sadhu-sundar-singh-a-christian-universalist/
3) What if I am wrong regarding this?
Will I go to Hell for believing and preaching that the Gospel is preached to the Dead where afterlife Judgment may be followed first and repentance later, living to God thereafter (in Principle of both 1 Peter 3:18 – 19 and 1 Peter 4:5 – 6) as even the Shepherd of Hermas’ Vision and Sadhu Sundar Singh’s vision testifies to this likewise as well?
I quote from (1) earlier:
“… considered canonical scripture by some of the early Church fathers such as Irenaeus.”
So, if I am going to Hell for believing word to word regarding the Shepherd of Hermas (including the afterlife repentance part too), so must St. Irenaeus of Lyons, the author of “against heresies” too right?
I will believe and preach it as Clement of Alexandria also did (I don’t 🤔 think Irenaeous, Clement and even Sadhu Sundar Singh – or the author of the Shepherd of Hermas himself -would be going to Hell or could be wrong regarding this Mystery as they speak of this in a ‘similar’ manner too).
4) Was the Shepherd of Hermas Book accepted among the ‘earliest CHRISTIANS’?
Yes, to quote:
“The Shepherd was very popular amongst Christians in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.”
How about the Eastern Orthodox Church?
“It is part of the Codex Sinaiticus, and it is listed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Acts of Paul in the stichometrical list of the Codex Claromontanus.”
How about the ‘early Roman Catholic Church’?
“Tertullian implies that Pope Callixtus I had quoted it as an authority (though evidently not as one of the books of the Bible), for he replies: “I would admit your argument, if the writing of The Shepherd had deserved to be included in the Divine Instrument, and if it were not judged by every council of the Churches, even of your own Churches, among the apocryphal and false.”
The ONLY reason the Shepherd of Hermas was not popular among some early Christians is because they were “uncomfortable” (with the “Visions” – because ‘they lacked faith that God can grant Visions’), to quote from that same Wikipedia Source again:
“Though Clement of Alexandria constantly quotes with reverence a work that seems to him to be very useful, and inspired; yet he repeatedly apologizes, when he has occasion to quote it, on the ground that “many people despise it”. Two controversies divided the mid-century Roman Christian communities. One was Montanism, the ecstatic inspired outpourings of continuing pentecostal revelations, such as the visions recorded in the Shepherd may have appeared to encourage.”
Hasn’t God Promised such “Visions” (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17) in the “last Days”?
Please note carefully that the Shepherd of Hermas taught “Docetism” claim is FALSE as even in the Wikipedia page above (NO citation is provided). Best is this (toward anyone who claims otherwise, please show me which Verse in the Shepherd of Hermas teaches “Docetism”? If you can’t show a Verse, your claim is false – please remember that in research we must be careful as NOT to bear any false witness toward anyone who didn’t teach that as it is in the Ten  Commandments too).
I don’t see the “Shepherd of Hermas” quoted in the Wikipedia page for “Docetism” either proving such a claim to be an “unscholarstic opinion” which I reject. I prefer to stick to both Scriptural and earliest historical facts only. Here’s the Wikipedia page for “Docetism”:
Quoting the ‘later Christianity’ which rejects it or Augustine missing this great Gem of Theology doesn’t prove anything (as Tertulian himself who is kind of Augustine’s ‘spiritual elder’ with Pope Callixtus I both quoting this writing as ‘authority’ seals this irrefutably).
For example: Can you find a pope before ‘Pope Callixtus I’ or ‘theologian from Rome before Augustine’ who considered the Shepherd of Hermas’ Vision as heretical? Isn’t it obvious?
Then, why is it not widely known nor believed say in Roman Catholicism as opposed to some from the ancient Eastern Orthodox faith?
Simply because they didn’t have a copy of the Shepherd of Hermas Book and thus missed some Great Gems of Theology especially the Understanding of 1 Peter 3:19 – 19 in Principle of 1 Peter 4:5 – 6 which the Vision Sim. 9.16.5 clearly describes and agrees perfectly.
To quote (from that same Wiki-page):
“Cyprian makes no reference to this work, so it would seem to have gone out of use in Africa during the early decades of the 3rd century. Somewhat later it is quoted by the author of the pseudo-Cyprianic tract Adversus aleatores as “Scriptura divina”, but in Jerome’s day it was “almost unknown to the Latins”.
5) Are the any Christian Universalist Scholars also testifying to this Truth?
“Author David Burnfield defends the postmortem view, that God continues to evangelize to people even after they die (1 Chron 16:34; Isa 9:2; Matt 12:32; Rom 8:35-39; Eph 4:8-9; 1 Pet 3:18-20; 4:6) The main problem with the traditional view – and one that has never been satisfactorily addressed – is how can one “accept Christ” if they have never heard of Christ, or were unable to understand the message (i.e. too young, mentally handicapped, etc.).”
WARNING: Just because the Wikipedia puts an image of the Cross not at the Center does NOT mean that I agree to it. For me (and I believe for many Christian Universalists alike), Christ Centered Universalim is the Truth and the CROSS is at the CENTER ALWAYS.
Here’s David Burnfield’s Page (‘Patristic Universalism’):
6) Are there more from the “earliest” Church who believed something regarding this Great Mystery of the Gospel as well?
Here’s a brief “earliest” Church History look at it, to quote (from the ‘earliest’ church writings outside the Bible):
“In the early Church, Justin Martyr, a Church Father, taught that those who lived according to the logos are Christians, though they might not know about Jesus Christ.
Tertullian held that Christ has descended into Hades to deliver the Good News, with Clement of Alexandria, Origen and Athanasius declaring that “Jesus delivered from hell both Jews and Gentiles who accepted the gospel and that postmortem evangelism continues even today”.
Augustine of Hippo, however, believed that the unevangelized are condemned to hell and Thomas Aquainas held that those “brought up in the forest or among wolves” would be sent “the gospel message through miraculous means.”
Edifying links with ‘more historical facts’ regarding this too:
You guys “missed” a Great Gem of Theology and later theologians and councils missed it since Rome became more powerful and thus when it misses a Christian Truth, the effects of it are widespread, sadly.
There are two ways to ‘miss’ the Truth:
‘One is to miss it while the other is to keep missing it. ‘
P/S: Summary of Christian Theology
If I were to summarize Christian Theology it would be based on Jeremiah 29:13 (Verse in Image) as follows:
‘If we seek Him (God) with 20% of our heart, we find ‘20% of the Truth to know Him’ – all other factors held constant’.
Please remember the ONLY BIBLICAL DEFINITION of “age-during life” or ‘eternal life’ is to KNOW HIM (nothing else):
“and this is the life age-during, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and him whom Thou didst send — Jesus Christ;” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:3, YLT)
Ever wondered what the Verse before that mentions (in John 17:2 – Context)? It’s amazingly links to the Universal Salvation of ALL Men eventually as explained in great detail (using John 17:2) in Post below – Can you see it?
Eternal Life after Age-during life
Book of life is for those inheriting life in AGE2.
The wicked enter the Kingdom of Heaven eventually as law breakers (Matthew 5:19) but they don’t inherit the kingdom at all.
Scripture has more details than just the Book of Life dear brother in Christ. I cannot ignore other Scriptures.
Here’s an example of Explaining the eternal life obtained in AGE1, AGE2, AGE3 with Verses for each claim (Judgment-part and afterlife redemption is more complex than usually understood sir):
Blessed be Lord Jesus Christ, God in Flesh Who Comes to Save the World!
Ultimately, this is WHO HE IS (the Unchanging Saviour Who Overcomes our UNBELIEF too, Romans 3:3 – 4 with John 12:47 revealing this Mystery below):
“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the Faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be True, but every man a liar; as it is written, That Thou [God] mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest OVERCOME when Thou art judged.” – apostle Paul (Romans 3:3 – 4, KJV)
“If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:47, NASB)
In the Manuscript which the KJV uses:
“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 12:47, KJV)
Isn’t God Amazingly Beautiful in His Heart?
Please don’t ‘miss’ out the Treasure of ‘knowing more about Him’ based on the Bible first (‘Wisdom’):
“And those teaching do shine as the brightness of the expanse, and those justifying the multitude as stars to the age and for ever.” (Daniel 12:3, YLT)
These Verses thus ‘make sense’ when ‘taken together’:
“Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who BOASTS boast of this, that he UNDERSTANDS and KNOWS Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 9:23 – 24, NASB)
Peace to you
Why do I like to ‘repeat’ these same Truths?
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – apostle Paul (Philippians 4:8, KJV)
Shepherd of Hermas – Free Translation – Secrets
Example, to quote (regarding afterlife Judgment and Repentance – Mystery of the Gospel being Preached to the Dead, 1 Peter 3:18 – 19, 1 Peter 4:5 – 6):
15:2 “It was necessary for them,” saith he, “to rise up through water, that they might be made alive; for otherwise they could not enter into the kingdom of God, except they had put aside the deadness of their [former] life.
15:3 So these likewise that had fallen asleep received the seal of the Son of God and entered into the kingdom of God. For before a man,” saith he, “has borne the name of [the Son of] God, he is dead; but when he has received the seal, he layeth aside his deadness, and resumeth life.
15:4 The seal then is the water: so they go down into the water dead, and they come up alive. “thus to them also this seal was preached, and they availed themselves of it that they might enter into the kingdom of God.”
15:5 “Wherefore, Sir,” say I, “did the forty stones also come up with them from the deep, though they had already received the seal?” “Because,” saith he, “these, the apostles and the teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after they had fallen asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached also to them that had fallen asleep before them, and themselves gave unto them the seal of the preaching.
15:6 Therefore they went down with them into the water, and came up again. But these went down alive [and again came up alive]; whereas the others that had fallen asleep before them went down dead and came up alive.
15:7 So by their means they were quickened into life, and came to the full knowledge of the name of the Son of God. For this cause also they came up with them, and were fitted with them into the building of the tower and were builded with them, without being shaped; for they fell asleep in righteousness and in great purity. Only they had not this seal. Thou hast then the interpretation of these things also.” “I have, Sir,” say I.
The phrase “for they fell asleep in righteousness and in great purity. Only they had not this seal” together with the phrase “came to the full knowledge of the name of the Son of God” with the phrase “others that had fallen asleep before them went down dead and came up alive” ——> with the phrase “to rise up through water, that they might be made alive; for otherwise they could not enter into the kingdom of God, except they had put aside the deadness of their [former] life” —> seem to point 🤔 to “the Sheepfold2” (John 10:16) which refers to the “righteous in good works (e. g. John 5:28 – 29, Daniel 12:2) who died without believing in Christ” but believed in Him ‘after seeing Him, John 6:40 (in the afterlife too, implied in John 3:14 – 15)’ as it is Discussed in Great Detail in Posts below regarding this Mystery for Edification:
1) Sheep and Goats – FAQ
2) Shepherd of Hermas – FAQ and Early Church History regarding it in understanding Afterlife Judgment and Repentance
“For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing; and the Father will show Him Greater Works than these, so that you will MARVEL. “For just as the Father RAISES the DEAD and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom HE WISHES.” – Lord Jesus Christ (John 5:20 – 21, NASB)
P/S: Thank God for “free” translations.
It proves that ‘not’ everyone is ‘trying to make money 💰 or peddle the Word of God in His Name’:
“For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God.” – apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 2:17, NASB)
It’s a Great Irony to try ‘make money’ with ‘His Things’ simply because it was ‘He Himself’ Who taught us to Give His Truth and Gifts for “Free”:
“Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. FREELY you RECEIVED, FREELY GIVE.” – Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:8, NASB)
Blessed be the Savior of the World!
‘Please, let the best things be Given Free because these cannot be Priced’ – Unknown
Aren’t these popular quotes from Church History too which shows that the early Church leaders knew “more” regarding the Mystery of the Gospel in regards to God “Reconciling” even “all created things” back to Himself eventually (Colossians 1:16 with Colossians 1:20, Romans 8:20 – 22 as well)? Example:
“Our Lord is the One who delivers man [all men], and who heals the inventor of evil himself” — Gregory of Nyssa (332-398 A.D.), leading theologian of the Eastern Church
“I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its king, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures.” – Jerome of the Vulgate, Commentary on Jonah
“So He saves all; but some He converts by penalties, others who follow Him of their own will, and in accordance with the worthiness of His honor, that every knee may be bent to Him of celestial, terrestrial and infernal things (Phil. 2:10), that is angels, men, and souls who before His advent migrated from this mortal life.” – Clement of Alexandria (150 – 215)
The Grand Beautiful Conclusion in two words:
“Christ Triumphant” – Thomas Allin
“the TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS will fall down before HIM Who SITS on the THRONE, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive Glory and honor and power; for You CREATED ALL THINGS, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” – apostle John’s Vision (Revelation 4:10 – 11, NASB)