The answered prayer. Lord Jesus said,
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.
And whatever you ask in My Name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
If you ask anything in My Name, I will do it.”
We often hear that prayers are unanswered. The simple reason behind this is because we either ask amiss (not according to the will of God – that we might spend it on our pleasures) or that the timing is not right (those prayers will be answered in its appropriate time). We don’t give instructions to God. We make requests in accordance to the will of God as the following Scripture testifies:
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:3)
The next part will be based on a prayer our Lord Himself taught:
“Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.”
What is His Will? Simply put, to save the world.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17)
All in the heavens know that God’s Will will be done in time.
Creation’s will cannot hold out against God or be contrary to Him ‘forever’ as how the Augustinian myth teaches. Our God does not lose to Satan or anyone else in any way. Just one Scripture will suffice to prove this fact about our unchangeable God:
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.” (Isaiah 46:10)
Here we see clearly that though the salvation of the world is not done yet (as the verse says, things that are not yet done), we can rest assured that our God’s counsel shall stand (His Word has declared that Lord Jesus has been sent to save the world) and that it will be done in time (I will do all My pleasure). Remember, saving the world gives our good God the pleasure and not the death of the wicked.
The word in Greek that is unequivocally accepted to mean eternal is aidios. The derivations in Greek of this word occurs only twice (2 times) in the entire Bible; Once to describe the eternal power of God whilst the other to describe the everlasting chains that holds the apostate angels in reserve. Here are the Scriptures that mean these:
”For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal (aidios – singular) power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:20)
“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting (aidiois – plural) chains under darkness for (till) the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 1:6)
There is no controversy about the verse found in Romans above. All agree that it beautifully describes our omnipotent (all – powerful) God.
The second verse listed above (in Jude 6) however is interesting.
There’s more than what meets the eye.
Some would immediately argue that since the chains are mentioned to be everlasting, thus the apostate angels must therefore be punished eternally. However, we find (as discussed in the chapter of
The end of Satan) that the punishment even for Satan (their leader) is described in the much weaker aion/aionon derivation and not aidiois. This clearly implies that the punishment of the Devil himself is not eternal but only to the ages. Is this a contradiction in the Bible? No! Do allow me to explain a hidden but yet an astounding truth about our true God (The Genius Who wrote the Bible).
Let us now indulge into some background work first. The Bible has all the answers relating to the workings of God (His principles). Atheists (and other enemies of the faith) have often falsely ridiculed our God as ‘relenting’ or ‘repenting’ from doing ‘something’ in Scripture as a contradiction to His Word in James (stated below) which clearly states that God does not change:
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17)
The error of their interpretation stems from the same error held by many in the eternal hell/annihilation camp who assume that God does not change with respect to ‘anything’ (whether good or bad).
The fact is that God does not change with respect to good only. If you don’t believe, try reading the verse above in James 1:17 again;
Did you notice that when James writes that there is ‘no variation or shadow of turning’ (i.e., God does not change), he (James) mentioned first that it is with respect to ‘every good and perfect gift’?
In other words, God does not change in His goodness and perfection. For example, if a judgment may be changed due to a change in the creature’s will, then God may choose to change the judgment sentence simply because the change accounts to both His goodness and perfection.
It is analogous to the theory of relativity which Einstein coined.
Simply put, the judgment sentence (everlasting chains) is relative to the creature’s will set itself against God. It is not an absolute will of God to do so for He doesn’t desire the death of even the wicked. God’s absolute will is quite the contrary, namely, to save the world.
(the world includes the apostate angels). Thus the converse is also true, namely, when the creature’s will has been subdued (changed) and not contrary to God anymore, the judgment sentence (everlasting chains) need not hold any longer. Does that mean that any creature can trick God? Absolutely no. It is impossible for any creature to outwit or trick God. The everlasting sentence will only be changed when there is no turning back in the part of the creature’s will anymore. This assurance is clear in Scripture for creation will never fall again because it can even be implied from James 1:17. Since salvation is a free-good-perfect gift of God, and James says that all good-perfect gift (thus includes salvation) is from the Father of lights (God) and thus it is not changeable anymore (cannot fall-out) since that is the part that says that God does not change, i.e. with regards to the perfect-good-gift such as salvation. Thus perfect logical thinking (reason) does not lead you away from Christ but rather to Christ because perfect reason is a gift from God.
Is there Scripture to back up the claim that God can change a judgment sentence based on another stronger attribute of Him arising from His goodness and perfection? Yes, and in fact James himself wrote it (talking about absolute context). Consider:
“…Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
Before you accuse me of taking the verse above out of context, consider the full verse below:
“For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:13)
Thus even in the context of the verse stated above, mercy is said to triumph (win) over judgment of one (anyone) who has shown no mercy! (someone who has shown no mercy. Who can that be?… sounds also like the apostate angels or the demons themselves?)
That’s what we can literally see and infer.
These are hidden things that come to light only if our blessed Saviour, Lord Jesus Christ (who has all keys) unlocks our hearts and minds to be able to see it.
Some would still argue and say that if that’s the case, then our eternal life may change is it? This is the kind of error that probably even Origen of Alexandria (an avowed universalist Christian) made.
That is why Origen is said to have taught the errorness teaching of transmigration of souls. Basically this wrong teaching states that in the ages to come (Ephesians 2:7), a man that is saved, may fall (apostate himself) and rise again (be saved) again during the course of the ages in repetitive cycles. There is no such thing in Scripture!
Probably also that is why Augustine of Hippo had to conclude that the Greek word αἰώνιον = aionion (transliterated) which literally means age (singular – one age only) which occurs for the life and punishment of men as described in Matthew 25:46 to mean eternal in order to stop such wrong teachings based on the possibility in losing the eternal life that Christ gives which stems from the concept of ages. Just because Origen made his errors in speculating into things that are not written and neither have any basis in Scripture such as the transmigration of souls stated above, does not in any way prove universalism in Christianity to be wrong. The Bible is very clear in the universal salvation implied by Christ’s work on the cross.
The chief error made in both of the claims above (be it ‘can we lose eternal life’ or that ‘can one fall and rise again in the ages to come’)
Is this: There is no change in the good and perfect gift of God and the primary of such a gift is this: Salvation!
Did you get it? As the verse (in James 1:17) testifies, salvation (eternal life) will not change because it is the good and perfect gift of God while judgment (hell sentence – everlasting chains) may change because it is not a good nor a perfect and not even a gift from God at all! This is called literal context.
This is the literal one meaning that agrees with the rest of Scripture:
Though God has passed a sentence (judgment) to the apostate angels to be bound in everlasting chains (Jude1:6), yet He can and will change this eternal bounding in chains to a limited time sentence (aionas ton aionon – ages of the Ages – as stated in Revelation 20:10) on Judgment Day (Jude 1:6) as even the rest of Scriptures agree to this. The one principle that allows this change is reflected in the verse which states, ‘Mercy triumphs over judgment’.
This fact may also be inferred to be correct in interpretation since the rest of the Scriptures testifies mysteriously towards this end in which Christ gather’s all things (Ephesians 1:10), reconciles them according to the Will of God which would certainly give God the pleasure or delight (intent & working – 2 Corinthians 5:19, Accomplished & fact – Colossians 1:20), and God finally becomes all in all in the end. (1 Corinthians 15:28). Note that the all things certainly includes even the ‘apostate angels’ literally. Note also that in Colossians 1:20 it is clearly stated literally that Christ Jesus reconciles not only men but also everything (all) on earth or in the heavens (i.e. whatever creature that may be contrary to Him and needs reconciliation – Note that our Loving Lord does not destroy them but rather according to the Will of God has chosen to reconcile them all instead). This is who Lord Jesus is. His Will be done!
Just one Scripture from the Old Testament also testifies to this truth:
“For I am the LORD, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” (Malachi 3:6)
Note again that the God of the Old Testament hasn’t changed at all because even then He said that He does not change with respect to not destroying. Got it? In other words, the LORD does not change as He declared in Malachi above in the strict sense of not consuming (completely destroying) because the very next line literally says,
‘you are not consumed.’ If suddenly in the New Testament, the same God creates/reveals eternal hell /everlasting punishment or even annihilation, then He clearly has changed from not destroying
(not consuming – only inflicts limited time period destruction or punishments) into completely destroying; Which clearly is a contradiction! (against– Malachi 3:6, James 1:17 and James 2:13)
This clearly shows that our God is able to change even the everlasting chains (punishments) into limited time ones (ages) because He is love (Agape). His Mercy is so great that though He can
(make everlasting sentences for punishment – Jude 1:6) but yet He can also and will change it to limited ones in time (Revelation 20:10) without contradicting His principles stated in Scripture (James 2:13).
Remember, God can (has the aidios – eternal power) to completely destroy (inflict everlasting punishment or eternal hell sentence) but He chooses (based on the working of His Will) not to do so due to His great Love (Agape) exhibited through His Mercy (as Scripture itself states in James 2:13) which triumphs over judgment. Maranatha!*.
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the awesome and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5)
*Marana-tha is an exclamation for the Lord to come in view of the coming Divine Judgment.