Instead of the New Testament verses, I will quote from the Book of Isaiah to learn this awesome truth written plainly in Holy Scripture.
Let’s begin to see this great jewel in Scripture.
(1) When will this begin to happen?
In “that Day” (including “judgment”).
“In that Day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of His people, and for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.” (Isaiah 28:5 – 6)
(2) How did the people err?
“But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.” (Isaiah 28:7)
(3) Is there a clean place?
“For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.” (Isaiah 28:8)
(4) Will God teach correct knowledge & doctrine?
“Whom shall He teach knowledge? and whom shall He make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” (Isaiah 28:9)
(5) How will His Truth be presented/built?
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:” (Isaiah 28:10)
(6) Who will God use to speak this Truth?
“For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people.” (Isaiah 28:11)
(7) How will ‘this people’ (intended audience) react to it after hearing this message of truth which is both “refreshing & brings rest”?
Yet, they would “not” hear it.
“To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.” (Isaiah 28:12)
(8) To understand His Word, must we be patient to learn it line by line till its fullness?
Yes; if we don’t know or understand it fully, we can easily ‘be taken (away)’, ‘get ensnared’, ‘be broken’ even ‘falling backward’.
“But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.” (Isaiah 28:13)
(9) The prophet calls for a great attention before revealing this Jewel of Scripture:
“Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 28:14)
(10) What is this Word or Truth from the LORD that needs such a great calling of attention toward it by the “successive” verses above?
“Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:” (Isaiah 28:15)
Based on the verse above, please consider the following important points of discussion:
(i) Who are the “they” referred to in the verse above?
Those ‘lost’ in ‘Hell’ and have made a covenant with ‘Death’ itself (certainly “not” true believers).
(ii) What is the ‘overflowing scourge’?
I believe that it’s “Christ’s Cleansing” by the ‘Work at His Cross’.
(iii) What did these ‘lost’ people ‘believe in’ prior to their death & descent into Hell?
“lies & falsehood”
(iv) What do these ‘lies & falsehood’ imply?
As it is written in the verse above, ‘they’ clearly believe that they “cannot escape Hell” with which they’re at “agreement” and assume that their “covenant” with “Death” also holds (‘in force’, nothing can be done against it).
(11) But are their statements/claim above true?
(12) How do we know that it’s “not” true? What is God’s reply to such “hopeless” claims?
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” (Isaiah 28:16)
*Note: The “Cornerstone” is “Lord Jesus Christ” Himself as the verse below reveals:
“Jesus is “‘the Stone you builders rejected, which has become the Cornerstone.'” (Acts 4:11)
** Also, “Zion” indicates that this will happen in the ‘spiritual world’.
(13) But, can the Judgment (of Hell/Death) described above toward these ‘lost’ (evil ones) be for the purpose of ‘saving them’?
Yes, as the next verse first reveals that:
“Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.” (Isaiah 28:17)
(14) Really? I mean, what is the “final result” of the Judgment of God above? Can the “covenant” with Death be “cancelled”? or that these ones “escape” from “Hell”?
Yes, as this is described ‘next’:
“And your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.” (Isaiah 28:18)
Note that the “hopelessness” (recorded by the “lost” thinking that they “cannot escape Hell/Death”) as recorded in Isaiah 28:15 is completely “proven as false” by our God, the Saviour in Isaiah 28:18 (a totally opposite response to their false claims).
Yes, read the verse above carefully again and please note the following points:
(Also, this cannot refer to any believer since no believer is caught in Death or Hell having ‘passed from Judgment into life’ – John 5:24):
(I) Did these ‘lost’ ones’ Covenant with Death stand (remain permanently or is unchangeable)?
No, as the LORD has “disannulled it”.
(II) Did their ‘agreement’ with Hell for their punishment last “forever”?
No again, as the LORD declares that it “shall not stand”.
(III) Will the ‘overflowing scourge’ of Christ’s Work apply to them beyond their earthly lives even into this spiritual realm?
Yes, as the verse clearly mentions that “they” will be “trodden down by it” (applied to them too).
(15) What happens thereafter, from “that time” onwards (when this comes to pass)?
“From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the Report.” (Isaiah 28:19)
(16) What is this “Report” which these ‘lost ones’ need to “understand” (to complete the process above)?
We find the answer in another passage:
“But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our Report?” (Romans 10:16)
Yes, the “Report” is the “Gospel” (in Biblical context).
(17) Isn’t this work of the LORD, “strange” in that He would ‘end’ both Hell & Death’s grip on ‘these lost ones’ even to make them ‘understand the Gospel’ so that ‘they may be Saved’ too?
“For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act.” (Isaiah 28:21)
Thus, it’s safe to infer that “His strange work” and “His strange act” centers around “saving those lost ones” from “Hell & Death” itself.
Note that these ‘lost ones’ are “not” told to be destroyed together with Hell & Death.
Another verse below confirms this rarely understood Biblical fact as the ‘lost’ (or condemned ones) contained within Hell & Death itself are “ransomed/redeemed” (‘being saved’) first by Him before these are ‘destroyed’ (having fulfilled their purpose for Judgment):
“I will ransom them from the power of Hell; I will redeem them from Death: O Death, I will be thy plagues; O Hell, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine Eyes” (Hosea 13:14)
*The phrase ‘repentance shall be hid from Mine Eyes’ means that “God Will surely perform it & not back down from this great promise’.
(18) What does all these mean?
By the Cornerstone (Lord Jesus Christ), He will “Save the World” destroying even “Death & Hell” itself (meaning neither of these shall be eternal after fulfilling their purpose for Judgment).
“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the World.” (1 John 4:14)
It will be so ‘few’ who have ‘understood or believed’ this “Report” (as described above too) till prophet Isaiah remarks in another passage:
“Who hath believed our Report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1)
That’s why the “Gospel” means “Good News” even to those who will go to “Hell” first and abide in “Death” as described above for in the ‘end’, He will still “Save the World”. The Living God knows “no” Failure.
Blessed be His Name for His Great Mercy indeed which Triumphs Over Judgment (ending it, James 2:13) and is Promised to ALL the DISOBEDIENT and UNBELIEVING too eventually (Romans 11:32) which will Come to Pass in Its own Divine Times Appointed for the SALVATION when HIS RANSOM applies to them too as part of the ALL (1 Timothy 2:6).