Is Jesus really the Saviour of the World or Just some of It?
By Alex Mokbel
How many Christians are aware of scriptural verses like this;
Ps 22:27-28 “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nation shall WORSHIP before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD's: and he is the governor among the nations.”
Isa. 25:6 "And in this mountain SHALL the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined."
Eph.1:10 "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"
Col1:20 "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."
1 Cor. 15:22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
The saddest and most tragic thing to ever happen to the name of Jesus is that He has been so misrepresented by the very people that claim to be His. Why do so many Christians think that God uses real fire to torture people in a place called hell that will last forever and ever and ever without night or day? Don't people ever stop to wonder what fire and brimstone was used for back during the time of the Greeks and Jesus' time? Don't people ever stop and wonder why so many verses in the bible proclaim, "Jesus the Savior of the whole world," like the tiny fraction of them I Just listed? Don't people ever stop and wonder to think that maybe Fire is used to cleanse and not torture? Do people ever wonder if maybe God's Judgment serve a purpose other than to condemn people to an eternity of fiery torture? A good purpose maybe? Do people really think God is some hypocrite who commands His own people to love their enemies but will be unwilling and incapable of loving His when the time comes for it? Do people ever stop and think that maybe, just maybe, the words hell and eternal are mis-translated from the Greek to Latin to English? Don't Christians ever wonder why the Jews have zero concept of a fiery place of torture called hell, yet Jesus who was of Jewish decent and the God who doesn't change, suddenly comes out of the blue and is supposedly preaching this magical new place? Why didn't He warn the jews about such a place in the old testament before seeing as it is so evil and aweful? Don't christians ever find that just a bit strange?
Part 1 – What is God's fire used for?
What does God do with fire? Do the scriptures actually tell us anywhere what He uses His fire for? Some of you may be surprised to read this but God uses His fire even when dealing with believers.
1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:"
Is the trying with fire limited only to believers though?
Mark 9:49 "For EVERYONE shall be salted with FIRE, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."
No it is not. Notice everyone is salted with fire and it is the same fire that peter spoke of in the previous verse. It is God's Fire. There aren't two different kinds of fire in scripture. No where in scripture is there any indication of two different fires, it's all one.
Hebrews 12:29 "for our God is a consuming fire.”
Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God."
Notice in the lake of FIRE the presence of someone very special.
Revelation 14:10 "he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb."
Yes, contrary to popular opinion, the lake of fire, "hell" as my modern detractors would have it, is not the separation from God or absence from Him but torment by His very presence Remember He is a consuming fire? Remember the lake burns with FIRE? Remember it is in HIS PRESENCE?
So how exactly is God using this fire on believers and non believers? Does God use this same, "one" fire in two different ways depending on who He is dealing with? The answer may surprise you!
Let's listen to what Paul has to say.
1 Cor. 3:11-12 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;”
So Paul informs us that upon the foundation that is Jesus, we build with wood hay, stubble, gold, silver etc..
- Note: It is important to realize that while believers build upon the foundation that is Jesus, everyone has works. The act of building upon a metephorical foundation is known as "work" and it is not simply restricted to believers.
1 Corinthinas 3:13 "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day [Judgment day] shall declare it, because IT SHALL BE REVEALED BY FIRE; and the fire shall try every man's WORK of what sort it is."
This building upon the foundation is referred to as "work" and it is this work that the FIRE tries. God isn't using literal fire on physical bodies or spiritual bodies here. He's using His spiritual fire and he's using it on the "works." So when Paul mentions wood, hay, stubble, silver and gold he's talking about the works of every man, more specifically the character flaws and traits of people. The wood hay and stubble are BURNED UP by the FIRE and the GOLD and SILVER are REFINED, PURIFIED. God is burning up the bad works in you and refining and purifying the good works. In other words, God is refining you into His precious child that will one day be like him. God is making one big family and you're going to be apart of it. A precious part entirely unique, shaped and molded by your experiences in this life.
- 1. HISTORY NOTE - EARLY CHRISTIAN CHURCH: These, if they will, may go Christ's way, but if not let them go their way. In another place perhaps they shall be baptized with fire, that last baptism, which is not only painful, but enduring also; which eats up, as if it were hay, all defiled matter, and consumes all vanity and vice. --Gregory of Nazianzeu, Bishop of Constantinople. (330 to 390 A.D.) Oracles 39:19
So notice above that both Peter and Jesus talked about the fire trying. First believers through peter and then Jesus teaching us that this fire isn't just restricted to believers but rather to everyone. Sinner and Saint alike. Notice also that paul continues on this idea by going into just what exactly is God doing with the fire and what He is using it on.
In revelations we get the same picture that we got from paul in corinthians. It is in judgement that God tries people with fire. More specifically you have probably heard; the lake of fire. Remember though, It's God's fire (Remember how Jesus is present in the lake? Rev 14:10) and you'll see in revelations that this idea of fire trying mans work is kept in tact.
Revelation 20:13 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and HELL delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were JUDGED EVERY MAN according to their WORKS."
Revelation 22:12 "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, TO GIVE EVERY MAN ACCORDING AS HIS WORK SHALL BE."
We are plainly told in revelations that those in "hell" the "Dead" are judged by their works. Most of you would have no problem confessing that those in “hell” are the “non believers,” correct? So we see here that even they are judged according to their works which goes hand in hand with what paul said and with what Jesus said about "everyone shall be salted with fire."
So what did we say this fire accomplishes? It refines the good works and burns up the bad works! Do we see this concept anywhere else in scripture? Yes we do.
Malachi 3:2-3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:And he shall sit as a refiner and PURIFIER OF SILVER: and HE SHALL PURIFY the sons of Levi, and PURGE THEM AS GOLD AND SILVER, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
As you can see, this concept of using fire to purify and purge is not an uncommon concept for God. He uses His fire not to torture and burn but to refine and try.
Now even though Zecheriah is a reference to the elect of God it still applies to us here because we are trying to understand how God uses His fire and this gives us a pretty good idea of what God uses fire for.
Zechariah 13:9 "And I will bring the third part THROUGH THE FIRE, and will REFINE THEM as SILVER is refined, and will TRY THEM as GOLD is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I WILL SAY, IT IS MY PEOPLE: and they shall say, The LORD is my God."
So let's get back to Paul now. We see that fire is used to refine, purify and try our works like silver and gold, wood hay and stubble etc..
Corinthians 3:14-15 "If ANY MAN'S WORK abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If ANY MAN's WORK shall be BURNED, HE SHALL SUFFER LOSS: but HE HIMSELF shall be SAVED; yet so as BY FIRE."
Remember how every man in revelation is tried by his work? Look at how this trying of the work by fire ultimately ends. Even though a man suffers loss, even though HE IS BURNED, he is ultimately SAVED IN THE END, BY THE VERY FIRE THAT BURNED HIM!
Now let's tie these two thoughts here and put the final nail in this coffin. We saw in Zecheriah how specifically, God's elect, pass through the fire to be able to call upon the Lord. We saw in Corinthians how the fire is what saves a man even if he is burned by it. Now notice how the whole earth, the world, will also be consumed by God's fire and notice that the ultimate conclusion of this consummation by fire is the calling upon the Lord by all people with one consent. In other words, Zephaniah echoes what Zechariah teaches us and applies it to the whole world.
Zephaniah 3:8-9 "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until THE DAY [judgement day] that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for ALL THE EARTH SHALL BE DEVOURED WITH THE FIRE of my jealousy. For THEN will I TURN TO THE PEOPLE a pure language, that THEY MAY ALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD, TO SERVE HIM with ONE consent."
Now we know that everyone is tried with fire. Regardless of whether you're a believer or non believer and we know it's the same fire. We also know that in judgement God uses this fire not to burn people but to try the peoples works. So what is the ultimate end of judgement though? We noticed in Zephaniah that the consuming of the whole earth by fire ultimately leads to the calling upon and serving of the Lord as one and we made the connection that trying by fire and judgement are essentially the same however let's hit this one home and remove any and all doubt that judgement is used for a good purpose and that it actually is responsible for the ultimate salvation of all humanity. One of the most profound verses in all of scripture;
Isaiah 26:9 “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for WHEN THY JUDGEMENTS are in the earth, THE INHABITANTS OF THE WORLD will learn righteousness.”
Notice that it is when God has finally judged the world that the entire world, it's inhabitants learn righteousness. Do you know what righteousness means? It literally means, TO DO RIGHT. That is to say that the inhabitants of the world will learn to do right. Doesn't this sound a lot like what we read in Corinthians about how the fire burns up the bad works (the wood hay and stubble) but refines the gold and silver, the good works?
Isn't that amazing? If you're not as excited, amazed and blown away by our God's awesomeness as I am than I don't know what else I could possibly tell you to get you to see why our God is indeed ABOVE all others. He is unlike anything you ever dreamed.
Next time someone tells you God is going to torture those that haven't been blessed with the gift of faith that we have been given, you show them this verse;
Jeremiah 32:35 "And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to CAUSE their sons and their daughters TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE unto Molech; WHICH I COMMANDED NOT, NEITHER CAME IT INTO MY MIND, that they should do this ABOMINATION, to cause Judah to sin."
Using fire to burn people is something that God never commanded nor ever entered His mind and God does NOT change. He will NEVER use FIRE to BURN/TORTURE people. EVER! He calls this act an ABOMINATION!
1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of theworld.”
Don't you doubt john! Not even for a second! Jesus isn't the potential savior of the world or the savior of a small part of it. No, read again. He is the savior of the WORLD. The WHOLE THING! That's what His Father sent Him here to do! To SAVE THE WORLD! Unless you believe Jesus to be a failure then you have to believe He's going to save the world! Give Him the time to save it!
1 Timothy 2:3-4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
I hope this helps someone's understanding just a little. We've barely scratched the surface here so I know this might open up more questions than it does answers but I want to show you that there is more than meets the eye to the fire of God's judgments. Do yourself a huge favor and always believe the scriptures, especially over the words of man! I shared with you many great scripures so hold on to those Words because they are God's Words and not mine!
I plan to revise this in the future and go more in depth but I just wanted to get this up and out there online. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask, it might give me some more material to write about or add to this specific paper. Oh, if you happen to catch any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes, please let me know! I'm a horrible speller >.>Thanks and thank you for reading.
Until next time!
P.S. If you wanted to know what Fire and brimstone was used for during the time of Jesus, here is an excerpt from a site on the history of brimstone;
- 2. HISTORY NOTE - FIRE AND BRIMSTONE: Sulphur was used by pagan priests 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. Pre-Roman civilizations used burned brimstone as a medicine and used "bricks" of sulphur as fumigants, bleaching agents, and incense in religious rites. Pliny (23-27 A.D.) Reported that sulphur was a "most singular kind of earth and an agent of great power on other substances," and had "medicinal virtues" (Cunningham 1935:17). The Romans used sulphur or fumes from its combustion as an insecticide and to purify a sick room and cleanse its air of evil (Cunningham 1935).
Is the lake of fire burning with fire and brimstone making a little more sense to you now? Here is a short video that I will share in my next installment of this series; A video on the views of the early Christian church and hell (6 minutes, it's short!)