31. Judging to Life
I do not use anything God says to do battle with or to eliminate anything else God says. But I accept fully that some things God says stand above and rule over – govern – other things God says. Paul's gospel of Christ our life, confirmed by John, together – what I call the ten most important verses in the Bible – rule over all that God speaks IN PLACE of the Nicene Creed. I throw out the Nicene Creed entirely and use Paul's gospel as the rule over all my reading and believing of what God says. Thus I use Paul's account of the end of all things to rule over everything else said about the subject in the Bible. I do so by faith.
31. Judging to Life
Someone landed on my website using the following search term. “Why does Daniel Yordy believe that people do not go to hell forever?” My first thought is, why don't you ask me instead of Google? – Oh well.
Nevertheless, the question is valid, and I must give a full account. Yet it is written in such a way that I am invited to do so and with all honesty. Thus this letter is not an attempt to argue something Biblically, but rather to give an account of “why” I think a certain way. At the same time, the view of “eternal hellfire” comes into the church almost entirely by John's vision. Thus we must address it inside this study of Revelation as well.
[I do not spend much time teaching on this question because it is peripheral to me. How can the non-existence of something that does not exist be a central focus of the gospel? My focus and drive is the revelation of Jesus Christ. Yet most who take “sides” also eliminate in one way or another other things God says they don't like. I will not do that; I must know Christ through all that God speaks.
However, I would point you to Dr. Stephen Jones, if you desire a good, Biblical explanation of the issues of eternal lostness versus the full victory of Christ. Look him up; order his books. I find much agreement with his understanding of things; he is a good Bible teacher. However, too much debate on this issue is conducted by human intellects with little knowledge of the Spirit or of the revelation of Christ in them. I stay away from such.]
First, notice that I changed the wording from “believe” to “think.” I believe only what God says concerning Christ my only life, as God says it. I think about everything else.
I cannot possibly know the future nor any of the infinite hidden recesses in God. I am fully free to think about many things, but I can believe only what God actually says. I believe those things as a Word sent into me, fully capable of bringing forth all the life of that Word through my wide-open faith. As such, I take into myself words that God speaks that seem to all human reasoning to oppose each other. I take in both; I believe both; I bring forth both.
But I do not take into my faith anything sown by the serpent into the Word God speaks.
Certainly, ideas that originated with the serpent and are not true are found in my mind, in my thinking. I'm not the least bit concerned about those. They will vanish as they never were in the arising of Christ Jesus inside of me.
But into my believing I allow only those words God actually speaks.
That is why I reject absolutely the Nicene Creed, even if there may be partial things in it that are technically, outwardly correct, though in a twisted sort of way. God does not speak those words. You can memorize the Nicene Creed, shout it at the top of your lungs fifty times a day for ten thousand years, believing with all the determination in your gut that every word is “true,” and NEVER know Christ Jesus as your very and only life.
The Nicene Creed can never bring Christ out from you because God does not speak it. Yet if one who loves Jesus differs from one point of the Nicene Creed because of something they read in the New Testament, they are accounted heretics by almost all Christians and “bound for eternal damnation, what God actually says be damned.”
So look back at this brother or sister who asked that question of Google. Here is my question to them.
“Why do you use the Nicene Creed to rule over everything God says?” In spite of sincere and honest hearts, my brother and sister will not give me a true answer. They do not know why; I do.
Why would a godly saint of the 21st century embrace the intellectual reasoning of a group of intoxicated Catholic bishops arguing at each other under the close watch-eye of a demon-possessed pagan tyrant who intends to use their words as a weapon of war to beat down all the world under his feet? Why would such a one who loves Jesus today use those words to beat down upon God, to beat down upon Christ, to beat down upon every word God speaks in the Bible, to beat down upon Salvation, and to beat down upon themselves?
There can be only one answer: unmitigated FEAR. I understand that fear.
In complete contrast, I just clicked “confirm” on a “friend” request on Facebook and then found a fellow on my page shouting, “Lovey, lovey, there is no evil.” I removed him immediately from my newsfeed. Why does such a one “see no evil”? Because they have no fear.
I do NOT understand NO fear of God; I have no comprehension of it. It makes absolutely no sense to me.
It has always been my continual desire to take you by the hand, to lead you into the Holiest Place in heaven, and to bow down upon the ground with you. It has always been my continual desire to show you this One who does not leave you there, but who takes you inside Himself, turns, and, seated upon that throne, moves out through you as Savior and as Salvation. In that Holiest Place, we share His suffering, being made conformable to His death; out from that Holiest Place we set all creation free.
The absence of the fear of God is the deadliest thing I know.
And yet, and yet, AND YET, the one who cannot hear what God says because of the FEAR of the Nicene Creed hanging over their heads as the sword of Damocles is caught in a fear so unnecessary, a fear not found in One so lowly and so meek as the One who sits upon our hearts.
“Why does Daniel Yordy believe (think) that people do not go to hell forever?”
Because I fear God, and in fearing God, trembling as He speaks, I choose to fear nothing else.
I am not afraid of Augustine; I am not afraid of Christianity; I am not afraid of the Nicene Creed.
The One who fills me with all of His Fullness in all Glory, the One who flows out from me as Rivers of Living Water, before Him I bow, to Him alone, Christ Jesus, I give an account. And I am not afraid of Him.
How can I fear God AND not be afraid of Him? It's because I know Him, Spirit of my spirit, Heart of my heart, Soul of my soul, Body of my body.
Let's look at the words that we find in our present New Testaments. These words are mostly, but not entirely, the Words our Father speaks. Remember, that an enemy has sown his word all through the field of Christ and that Jesus said He will not remove those serpent words.
...And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:9-15
First, nothing in these words has yet occurred. John casts this part of his vision long after certain specific events, namely, the first resurrection and the judgment granted to those who sit on thrones. I know that many try to argue that this first resurrection and this judgment granted has already been fulfilled, yet these same ones submit blindly to their greatest enemy, death, when he comes calling for them. They know neither resurrection nor judgment.
Notice also that heaven has vanished, and that no place is found for it. Those who wish to keep “hell,” must get rid of heaven as well.
Second, John is not seeing the future; he is seeing a vision. No vision, no prophetic seeing, ever rules the future.
There is one thing alone that rules all things. That one thing is found in one place. The thing that rules all is the Word, Christ Jesus; the place from which it rules is our mouths. The Word is in your mouth. – And judgment was committed to them.
NO ONE reads the Bible as an “equal” word. No one. Almost all Christians are quite happy to beat the words of Paul's gospel to pieces with the Nicene Creed. Here's one.
Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:13
Almost all Christians are quite happy to drive this word far away from them and NEVER consider believing God to fulfill this word in their lives right now, here on this earth. They smash this word to pieces by, “Not on this earth; not in human flesh,” as that mighty accusation against God flows out from the Nicene Creed.
By an act of my will, I subject every word I read in the Bible to the gospel of Christ our life that Paul preached. To my supreme joy, as I do that, I discover that every word of that gospel spoken by Paul finds an equal counterpart in the gospel that comes to us through John. I find that both words, one from Paul and one from John, placed side by side and read together, leads us into such a knowledge of the One who fills us with His glory that heaven itself cannot contain our joy. (That's why it must disappear.)
Yet there are many things in John's vision, entirely a vision, that cannot stand alongside of Paul's gospel of Christ our life, but MUST come under that gospel. With knowing presumption, I place those things under Paul's gospel.
Most Christians do not reckon with the daring effrontery of Paul.
Paul rejected fully the Old Covenant as found on the pages of the Old Testament, yet he in no way rejected Christ from those same words. Rather, Paul went looking for three or four tiny, obscure phrases, phrases that said something quite contrary to all the wording of the Old Testament, and he used those tiny phrases to obliterate entirely the Old Covenant. Inside Paul's destruction of the words of the Old Covenant, words spoken by God, he required almost all of those words to pass through Christ our life before they could speak Christ to us.
Yet Paul left some of the words of the Old Covenant, spoken by God, entirely out in the cold, banished forever from the revelation of Jesus Christ. Here are two such phrases: All that the Lord says, we will do – the one who does these things shall live by them. Exodus and Leviticus
More than that, Paul whipped out the words of Galatians in fiery frustration in AD 57. Understand what that means. The book of James, the brother of Jesus, has been around for twelve years; Paul most certainly has read it carefully. Paul has already been to the first council of the church, presented his gospel in the debate, and accepted James's requirements, though he repudiates a third of those requirements later on. Peter has already published his own account of Jesus' life and ministry – the book of Mark. Paul has read that. Yet Paul has also confronted Peter to his face over the truth of Christ our only life before the entire church.
Paul has also written and mailed his two letters to the Thessalonians, and his two letters to the Corinthians. What ticks Paul off, what pushes him over the edge, is a letter he received from the Galatian church while he was visiting the Corinthian church a second time. I have no doubt that he shouted his words to a scribe who was busy ducking his head while he quickly wrote down those words, hoping that his vellum would not catch fire. “Oh, foolish Galatians!”
A few weeks later, after Paul had cooled off, he wrote the book of Romans, the same thing, actually, the first – Galatians, while hot, the second – Romans, while calm and collected.
Yet as he wrote in fiery frustration, here is what Paul said.
And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But from those who seemed to be something—whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man—for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me... and when James (the brother of Jesus), Cephas (Peter), and John, who seemed to be pillars... Galatians 2:4-9
Now, knowing well the Christian church, we know fully that these words were not well received. It is quite likely that Paul later regretted them just a bit, though he was not about to back down.
Paul's gospel of Christ our very and only life (Galatians 2:20) rules absolutely over every other word in the Bible. John's words come alongside Paul's words only as they are in full agreement (John 14:20), otherwise John's words are ruled by Paul's gospel. Even Paul's words that are not central to his gospel of Christ our life, are themselves absolutely subject to that gospel.
This is not a strange or unusual thing that I do. Almost all Christians force every word in the Bible under subjection to the Nicene Creed as fiercely as I require those same words to bow to Paul's gospel of Christ our life.
I continue to give a full account to the question, “Why does Daniel Yordy believe (think) that people do not go to hell forever?” Remember that the focus is on why I would think in a certain way, not the human sickness that imagines we can rule the reality of God by our arguments over Bible verses.
Here is the absolute statement of Christ our life out from Paul's gospel. Thus, in my own mind and heart, by a firm decision of my will, I place this statement as the ruler over everything of like subject matter in the entire Bible.
...Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He (the Father) who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:23-28
Nike rules everything.
Go back up and read carefully the portion from Revelation 20. Here is a similar line from Revelation 14.
He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Then compare these lines from John's vision carefully with Paul's account of the end of all things in 1 Corinthians. These two words are opposed, aren't they? Either one is true or the other is true, both cannot be true at the same time – at least to all human thinking. – And understand that the problem words are “forever and ever.”
Almost all Christians use the Nicene Creed to determine which account should rule over the other. Thus most take the lines from John's vision to obliterate Paul's account. If anyone teaches on these lines in 1 Corinthians, no matter what is said, the conclusion is still, “BUT they all go to hell forever anyway!”
Most Christians, by the Nicene Creed, use one small set of things God says to do battle with everything else God says that differs. They do battle by accusing their brother of being a heretic for believing the “wrong” words.
I do not use anything God says to do battle with or to eliminate anything else God says. But I accept fully that some things God says stand above and rule over – govern – other things God says. Paul's gospel of Christ our life, confirmed by John, together – what I call the ten most important verses in the Bible – rule over all that God speaks IN PLACE of the Nicene Creed. I throw out the Nicene Creed entirely and use Paul's gospel as the rule over all my reading and believing of what God says.
Thus I use Paul's account of the end of all things to rule over everything else said about the subject in the Bible. I do so by faith. BUT I do not use Paul's gospel to eliminate anything else in the Bible. Thus I fully embrace John's words in his vision, as they were originally written, and seek God to show me Christ through them in accordance with the reality of Christ our only life, Christ the Savior of all, as Paul said.
Let's look again at the ruling words. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.
Subdue, make subject, overcome. These three words are fully interchangeable, giving full scope and dimension to the central ruling action of God and the universe. We must understand what subdue means.
That You may be justified in Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.
These two lines give us the focus of the meaning of subdue/overcome. More than that, the second line is the outworking and meaning of Paul's word, symmorphos, conformed. Jesus subdues all things to Himself by mighty energy, but in a certain, in a particular way.
The manner by which Jesus subdues all things to Himself is by first drawing us, while we are still enemies, into Himself, making us His dearest and closest friends. Then, carrying us inside Himself on the one hand and becoming us as we find ourselves to be on the other, He lives us all the way into life: we are saved by His life.
Rebellion and submission are two opposing words. We must understand them clearly; they are full opposites all the way through.
The rebellion of man is different, and on a much worse level, than anything similar found in either animals or angels. Man was created like God, that is, El, that is, as a judge. To judge is the essence of our beings. When the serpent suggested to Adam that he, also, could be a judge, that is, an el, he was playing Adam's gullibility. Adam was already a judge. What the serpent offered Adam, however, was the capacity of judging by outward appearance according to good and evil. Thus judgment would always be to Adam's advantage.
Any judge who judges by outward appearance according to good and evil can always profit from that judgment with no apparent loss to self. In complete contrast, Jesus lays down His own life every time He judges. Yet also in complete contrast, those who judge according to the flesh lose everything, while Jesus gains the whole universe, bringing all things back into submission to His Father.
Remember, here is what Paul says: In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. Romans 2:16
Rebellion (root: go back to Baal, the lord of the flies) is a judge, an el, containing fear as the center of his person. Submission (root: come under Jesus-Sent) is a judge, an el, containing love as the center of his person. Fear in the one comes to the surface as anger – rage; love in the other comes to the surface as compassion. The rage in the first goes out as hatred; the compassion in the second goes out as mercy. The hatred from rebellion inflicts pain and suffering, loss and ruin upon the accused, the object of hatred. The mercy from submission gently washes the object of mercy with healing, with joy, and with life – but ONLY in that particular way by which Jesus subdues all things to Himself, that is, by the fellowship of His sufferings.
Now, let's look at the word “torment.” The Greek term John uses best refers to torture, specifically, torture used to ferret out the truth.
The layout of rebellion – a judge filled with fear, expressing rage, accusing all others of his own pain, lashing out in hatred to inflict that pain on others – helps us to define “torment” according to the Nicene Creed. This is how almost all Christians “believe” God subdues all things.
Everything remains the same EXCEPT this hate-filled judge accusing everyone else, especially God, now exists entirely in a closed bubble. Thus all the pain he inflicts simply comes back upon himself. He will not stop his fear and anger, thus he endlessly inflicts pain, pain that is always intended for others, yet always coming back upon himself. Thus all pain is self-inflicted; God contributes nothing except the outer bubble, a bubble necessary to protect others.
This judgment is just, without question. But is it the end of all things?
The one inflicting pain upon herself is now your own teenage daughter slashing herself with knives in her fear and confusion. Is Jonathan Edwards correct that we will sit there in the bliss of heaven, looking down on such a one, and worship Jesus in all glory for how just He is? Is this the definition of His mighty energy by which He subdues all things to Himself?
Here is the dividing line. If you define God and Jesus by the Nicene Creed, that is the God and the Jesus you would know. It is not the Jesus you read about in the New Testament.
What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?Matthew 18:12
Most Christians are happy to define the Lord Jesus in this way here on this earth, but because they use the Nicene Creed to beat down everything God says, they are convinced that when they “see” Jesus in heaven He will have morphed into something entirely different. They are convinced that the Heart that leaves the many in bliss to search out the one sorry wretched loser who foolishly lost himself applies only to our short lives on this earth and has no application to the God in whom we live.
And judgment was given to them.
Most Christians desire only bliss forever – and God will certainly bless them with bliss. But not many insist on knowing this terrible One who lays down His life FOR His enemies, one by one, in order to win them for Himself.
And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
There are three huge questions I want to address now. Two of those questions are in this line; the third will come a bit later. What is the Book of Life? What is the lake of fire?
The Book of Life is our own hearts. And truly anyone not written upon the heart of a son of God will be cast into the lake of fire.
What is the lake of fire? Let me explain something I absolutely refuse to do. I refuse to define this symbol found only here in John's vision by any of the great imaginative imaginations of Christian fiction writers down through the centuries including Dante or Milton. But far more than that IREFUSE to define that symbol by the dark superstitions of Saxon barbarians raging out of the dense forests of northern Europe (watch the first part of Gladiator), wild men who were beaten into Christianity by the sword of Charlemagne.
You see, it was the practice of Catholicism, as a conquered people were beaten bloody into Christianity, to “christen” their gods and their superstitions into Catholic thinking, just renaming them with “Christian” names. In this way Jupiter became Peter and the nuckle-bones of a pig became the nuckle-bones of John the Baptist.
But something different occurred with the conversion of the Saxon peoples. (The majority of today's English AND the majority of today's Germans are descended from the same Saxon tribes.) The Catholic church allowed the Saxons to bring one of their goddesses, one of the darkest goddesses found in all human fear and superstition, straight into Christ along with them. Thus, in the AD 800's, Hell became a “Christian” goddess.
The two major translators of the Bible into modern languages were both Saxons, steeped in the superstitions of their past, Martin Luther and William Tyndale. Both of them used the Latin Vulgate written by Jerome as the basis of their translation. Neither one actually knew the language spoken by the writers of the New Testament.
I do not want to cast those two in a bad light. They were both godly men who loved Jesus with all their hearts. Much wondrous good came to us through them. But they were also human and limited, working out from the only things they knew. God anointed them by His Spirit, but Jesus said, very clearly, that He would NOT remove the tares sown in His field, not until now.
But I must say this, my love for the Jesus I know makes it offensive to me anytime another Christian uses the word, “hell.” You will never make the corpse goddess of the Germanic tribes into anything in God's universe. Jesus and the apostles spoke of Hades and Gehenna. Hades is not a Greek “god”; Pluto is. Hades is simply the place of the dead, a realm of existence in the heavens, identical to the Hebrew Sheol. Hades is clearly NOT the lake of fire.
So how do we interpret this symbol, this lake of fire? Only by what God says, one reference in the Old Testament, from Isaiah, and one in the New, from Hebrews.
For our God is a consuming fire; let brotherly love continue.
Who can dwell with everlasting burnings? Who can live with unending fire? He that walks uprightly.
These are the only words I know that must govern the meaning of the symbol John saw in his vision.
I certainly have no idea what they mean, but I cannot look elsewhere for any level of understanding. Through these words alone Christ our life must reveal the lake of fire.
There is no blanket salvation. Salvation exists only as Christ Himself gathering this one into Himself in tender love, reaching past all the defenses, answering all the fear, quieting all the accusation with His own laid-down-life, personally and intimately with one. And having won one to Himself, He does it all again solely for another one.
The one who proclaims, “Well, I guess God just forgives everybody,” is as much an emissary of the accuser as the one who delights in the thought of God torturing forever his own damned teenage daughter.
But while there is no blanket salvation, Christ does reveal Himself as He is through those who would know Him in the center and core of His heart, those who would walk forever in the fellowship of His sufferings.
The third big question is, what does αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, found 19 times in the New Testament, 13 times in John's vision, mean? Even more specifically, what does αἰώνων ἀναβαίνει, found one time only in Revelation, “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever,” what does it mean? Using English lettering the two phrases are aionos ton aeonon and aionos aionon, that is, “the ages of the ages” and “ages ages.”
The first Greek idiom is very familiar to us, King of kings, Lord of Lords, Ages of the ages. The idiom means the greatest King over all the kings, the greatest Ages over all the ages.
An aion is a period of time; the word “eternal” was not known in the first two hundred years of the Christian experience. Every time aion is found in the New Testament it means a period of time, not “eternal.”
There is no end to human debate over the meaning of aionos ton aeonon and aionos aionon, “ages of the ages” and “ages ages” as they appear in John's vision. Those who believe in the redemption of all have convincing arguments of the meaning of those Greek idioms as used by John. Those who believe in eternal damnation have convincing arguments of the meaning of those Greek idioms as used by John.
Few inside that debate look for the revelation of Jesus Christ. Few anywhere seek for His unveiling. The desire to be just like Jesus is rare in the church of Christ.
(There are some who do explain the salvation of all and the revelation of Jesus Christ by the Spirit. Preston Eby is one; there are others. If you are drawn to know what God really says, study what Eby and Dr. Steven Jones write.)
Shall we take the clear statement of Paul's revelation of Christ our life, Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all, a statement supported powerfully by many other things said clearly by both Paul and John in their explanations of the gospel of Christ our life, and make it all subject to a strange Greek phrase that no one really knows what it means? And not subject to the Christ who fills our hearts with His glory?
You see, the entire doctrine of eternal punishment of humans for sin in hellfire is founded entirely and only upon this one, obscure Greek phrase. Nothing else God says anywhere supports that doctrine. Many things God says clearly at the heart of the gospel of Christ our only life annuls any such idea.
The question is, why does Daniel Yordy believe? I have made my decision; I have burned the bridges behind me. Could I be wrong? I can always be wrong.
Will I be just like Jesus as I see Him as He really is?
That is a Covenant I signed, a Covenant written by Blood, made sure by the oath of the Almighty.
I will know God; I will know Jesus-Sent.
I will know the One who lays down His life for His enemies. I will know the One who does it again through me.
I will bust through the gates of Hades, they cannot keep me out. I will seek and I will save – Jesus will seek and Jesus will save, they are the same thing – all who are lost. We together, He in me and I in Him, will return to the Father having fulfilled all the Father has spoken, having brought all things into submission to the symmorphos, to the becoming of Jesus.
There is no question that all will be judged according to what is written in the record of every accusation ever spoken against God, according to the deeds done in the body.
The question is how will you judge?
Will you judge to death, going your way without loss or sorrow?
Or will you judge to life, laying down your life for this enemy of all that is holy and God?
It will cost you everything, you know. And there is never any obligation upon you, ever. Bliss forever is your portion if you wish. Knowing the hidden recesses of His heart, walking forever in the fellowship of His sufferings, is not required of anyone.
Yet, in full reality, a life laid-down is always a life arising on high. There is no poured-outness without a continual and greater arising into life.
Who are “they?”
Yes, all who are not found written in the Lamb's Book of Life, His very Heart, the hearts of His elect, will be cast into the lake of fire. What that means NO ONE knows, especially not those who are sure.
The question is, how do you judge?
Those who carry the wicked, the cruel, the unworthy inside themselves upon the Mercy Seat of Heaven all the way into life and holiness and joy are true human beings.
They are God revealed.