We continue our comments on the manuscript sent to us by a Mormon called Stephen.(*) Click here to see the other articles in this series. You can also go to the Mormonism page to find all the articles that are in this refutation of Stephen’s document.
We have seen that Stephen said:
The Lake of Fire, Outer Darkness, is reserved as a permanent abode for those who sin against the Holy Ghost.
No, the Bible says that the Lake of Fire will be the place where ALL the unrighteous will be tormented forever and ever:
“But to the fearful and unbelieving, [and sinners], and those who make themselves abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part [is] in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
As you see, it’s not only those who sin against the Holy Spirit… It is: the fearful, the unbelieving, the sinners, those who make themselves abominable, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolators, all liars… Brief: it is all the unrighteous who will not inherit the Kingdom of God: “Do ye not know that unrighteous [persons] shall not inherit [the] kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor those who make women of themselves, nor who abuse themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor abusive persons, nor [the] rapacious, shall inherit [the] kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strifes, jealousies, angers, contentions, disputes, schools of opinion, envyings, murders, drunkennesses, revels, and things like these; as to which I tell you beforehand, even as I also have said before, that they who do such things shall not inherit God’s kingdom.” (Galatians 5:19-21) So ALL the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God, and their part will be in the lake of fire forever. And we have previously seen how the Lord said that ALL the unrighteous (the goats) will go to eternal fire, the lake of fire forever. How to cease being an unrighteous person and to be righteous? This question is answered in detail in our article How to be justified before God?
The ultimate of sins, it carries a penalty for which there is no forgiveness, “neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12:31,32) That’s harsh. Most other Christians believe simply not accepting Jesus Christ by death, with or without ever having heard of Him, qualifies as the Sin Against the Holy Ghost.
No, that’s not the sin against the Holy Spirit. In principle, I don’t have to explain here what that is, because it is irrelevant: it is not only those who sin against the Holy Spirit who will be in Hell forever, but also all the unrighteous, as we have seen.
And note that Matthew 12:31-32 does not mean that there is a possibility for sins to be forgiven in the age to come, but it is a way to stress on the fact that this sin will never have forgiveness in any way. Many other parts of Scripture make it clear that the time of Salvation is NOW, and that there is no hope for Salvation after death or in eternity. The punishment of Hell is eternal, as we have seen, so there is no way for forgiveness after one finds himself in Hades which is practically Hell. We will explain this in more details in its concerned place. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus (from which I quoted previously) is an example of this truth: the rich man was lost forever without any hope, although it was not said that he blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. All sins that are not forgiven in this age (in the history of humanity) are not forgiven in the age to come either, i.e. they are not forgiven forever, because God does not change His opinion about sin after we die and because the only way to be forgiven ANY sin is by faith in Christ, and we know that after death there is no faith anymore. There is no way to be saved without faith, and we know that after death faith will cease, as after death we will walk by sight: “for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). For now, in this life, we walk by faith and NOT by sight; after death, we will see the glorified Christ and we will see what there is after death, and there is no way to believe after that. The dead cannot be saved, because there is no faith after death. I remind you that the faith that saves and brings forgiveness is NOT a head-agreement with a fact, but a change of the whole nature, a change of the will and of the heart that makes a person trust in the unseen which is promised by God. The dead CAN have that dead faith which is a head-agreement with a fact that they see and know, but they can’t have a living faith that trusts in the unseen things promised or revealed by God. Actually, ALL people will finally kneel before Christ and they will confess that He is Lord: “so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11) Finally, even the unrighteous who will be in Hell will confess that Jesus is Lord, because they will SEE it and they will KNOW it, but that does not mean that they will be saved, because such head-faith cannot save anyone; it’s a simple dead head-knowledge. In Matthew 12:31-32, the Lord was telling the Pharisees that, just as any sin that is not forgiven in this age will never be forgiven in the age to come, in the same way those who have a complete head-knowledge of Christ and still attribute His work to Satan will never be forgiven, although they may think they should be forgiven because of their faith in God or because they are in the chosen people (Jews or Christians). In other words, if we reject Christ, a dead faith in God will not save us from the wrath to come, because we die in our sins. Rejecting Christ is an eternal sin, THE sin, whether we only heard about Him or we even had a complete head-knowledge about Him. A true Christian is forgiven ALL sins in the age to come BECAUSE he was forgiven all sins in this age by faith in Christ, and thus is totally clean in Him. But the sin against the Holy Spirit is an obstinate unbelief in Christ, and by unbelief we can’t have forgiveness. False believers may commit the sin which is to death, the sin against the Holy Spirit. The sin that leads to death, the sin against the Holy Spirit, cannot be forgiven or erased in the age to come, because it is about unbelief and about the nature of the sinner: the one who does not have Christ will always be united to his sins forever and will be under their judgment forever. Nothing unclean can enter Heaven, and the only way to be clean is by faith in Christ. To say all this in a more simple way, by these words Jesus meant to say: those who commit the sin against the Holy Spirit are still dead in their sins just like the unbelievers, although they think they have forgiveness because they have repented and have believed, so they will have the same end as all the unrighteous, although they think they are righteous; just like the unrighteous, their sins will stay in them, they will die in their sin, and thus they will have to bear the eternal judgment that comes on their sins, because their sins will be present to witness against them in the age to come, their sins are written in the books that will be opened in the Day of Judgment and by those works (sins) written in those books those unrighteous will be judged (see Revelation 20:12). As you see, no sin is forgiven to the one who doesn’t have Christ, neither in this age nor in the age to come; they die in their sins: “I said therefore to you, that ye shall die in your sins; for unless ye shall believe that I am [he], ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) This is a way to say: your sins will not be forgiven in the age to come, and you will be judged by them. Unbelief in Christ is THE sin, but even that can be forgiven if we repent and believe in Christ, that’s why Jesus said even blasphemy against the Son of Man will be forgiven. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of THIS sin, because it is THE sin: “And having come, he will bring demonstration to the world, of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe on me“ (John 16:8-9) If we believe in Christ, all sins can be forgiven, but if we don’t believe in Christ, the Holy Spirit will convict us of sin, leading us to faith in Christ. If even with that, and after being convinced that it is the Holy Spirit that is leading us, we refuse to repent and believe in Christ, then we are just like the heathens and we can’t be forgiven. This obstinate refusal of the Spirit’s work that leads us to faith in Christ is called the sin against the Holy Spirit. For a more detailed explanation about the sin against the Holy Spirit, read our article: Some questions about Hebrews 6:4-6.
So this passage in Matthew 12 is AGAINST the false teaching that sins may be forgiven after death without faith in Christ. So this passage is AGAINST Stephen’s dreams. But as is his habit, Stephen once again used a less clear passage to destroy with it the whole clear truth of Scripture that says it is NOW the acceptable time for Salvation and that wherever the tree is fallen THERE it is: “if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” (Ecclesiastes 11:3) You will be forever in the state in which you die. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, have you ever noticed that the rich unrighteous man ALREADY began to endure eternal judgment, although we don’t read about any judgment that condemned him to that punishment… Why is that? It is because he was ALREADY judged (condemned) as Jesus Himself said: “He that believes on him is not judged: but he that believes not has been already judged, because he has not believed on the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” (John 3:18) The only way not to be judged is through faith in Christ, and we have seen that there is no faith anymore after death; those who are dead have entered the eternal state, and in eternity there is no time passing and there is no faith. Just as the fallen angels cannot repent, those who have entered the eternal spiritual realm which is after death cannot repent anymore.
So Stephen used ONE less clear passage to destroy with it the huge evidence of VERY clear passages that there is no forgiveness of sins after death. Using less clear passages to destroy the clear passages of Scripture is typical to cultists and to their father who tempted our Lord in the wilderness by using that same method… You see how we have destroyed that satanic method by quoting clear passages of Scripture, just as our Lord did in the wilderness.
This is erroneous, as Jesus prefaced each half of His warning to the Pharisees, “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” in verse 31and then, “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him,” in verse 32. As a side note, this shows distinction between the Persons of the Savior and of the Third Member of the Godhead, as belief in the Trinity would necessarily dismiss any difference in penalty.
Stephen insists to enter to places where he understands nothing… So let’s go with him…
Who said that there is no distinction between the Persons of the Son and of the Holy Spirit? We do not believe that there is no distinction, otherwise we would be Sabellians… To know more about how the Trinity is about three distinct and yet not separate Persons, you can read one of our previous articles in this series of replies to Stephen’s document: Was the Church ignorant about the Nature of God?
But what does it really take to sin against the Holy Ghost?
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and havetasted of the heavenly gift, and weremade partakers of the Holy Ghost, and havetasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:4-6; see also Heb. 10:26-29) Sin against the Holy Ghost consists of turning from high knowledge, akin to shedding Christ’s innocent blood again. So it was for Lucifer and the Third that followed in Pre-Existence. Mortals who receive angelic ministration and then deny God will suffer the same fate.
There was no Lucifer in pre-existence, because Lucifer is a creature as we have seen.
As for the sin against the Holy Spirit and the passage that Stephen quoted from Hebrews 6:4-6, we have an article that explains all that in details: Some questions about Hebrews 6:4-6.
Peter warned us of the difference between the willingly ignorant and the uninformed innocent when it comes to accountability and punishment. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” (2 Peter 2:20,21) How can anyone not understand the distinct difference in penalty for those who know or knew and those who do not or did not know?
Yes, this is about a head-knowledge. By a head-knowledge, people may turn from worldly sins, but that doesn’t mean they were born again or saved. Many legalistic people, like the Pharisees, turn from sins and try to live a godly life, but they finally prove to be false believers when they turn to sin. And that is worse than if they never knew the truth with a head-knowledge, because in this case they will refuse to repent claiming that they have repented already and that it didn’t “work”… For more details about all this: Some questions about Hebrews 6:4-6.
So this is not a difference between penalty for those who know and those who don’t know: both will be lost in Hell, whether they knew or they didn’t know. But those who knew with only a head-knowledge have the danger of sinning against the Holy Spirit and thus they cannot repent anymore, as we have seen in the passages from Hebrews. By the way, hearing about Jesus and knowing Jesus with a head-knowledge are two different things. One may hear about Jesus and then know Him with a head-knowledge, while another may have heard about Jesus but without knowing Him with a head-knowledge. In both cases, they are sinners who deserve Hell, as we have seen in details.
Can you believe those who never knew of Christ are destined to “hell” for all eternity?
I believe that ALL the unrighteous will be tormented in Hell for all eternity, whether they knew Jesus with a head-knowledge or they did not know Him at all. All sinners deserve eternal Hell. Do you doubt this?
Conversely, these verses in Matthew, Hebrews, and 2 Peter also clearly state, those who are obviously more than just “Born Again” can fall from grace to Outer Darkness.
As we have seen, those passages are not about born-again people.
So why would someone who has accepted Christ as his or her personal Savior be any more saved or any less damned than these previously enlightened individuals for not living up to their initial commitment to Christ?
Because the one who is born of God is not just enlightened in his head, but also enlightened in his heart and will. We have seen how the one who is born of God CANNOT sin.
These verses alone refute the claim, “Once saved, always saved; you cannot fall from grace.”
“Once saved, always saved” is wrong, as I have already said previously. The right way to say the biblical truth is: Those who are born of God will surely persevere to the end in the way of righteousness, and thus they will be saved finally.
As for falling from Grace, we have seen how only those who are not born of God and yet participate in the Grace of God mentally only, only those fall from Grace.
Besides, if everyone has a chance to know Christ in this life—the young Jewish boy hit by the car included, why did Peter write the following?
“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which (the Spirit) also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. . . For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18-20; 4:6) Not just the Antediluvians, but all the dead were given opportunity to hear the Gospel—the Good News—of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection.
Once again, Stephen is quoting from an inexact translation, and he has linked two different contexts to each other, although those two contexts talk about two different things. Let’s quote this from a more exact translation:
The first context: “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20)
In this passage, the topic is about the proclamation of victory that Jesus did in Hades to all the disobedient who were lost. The Lord proclaimed His victory over the power of darkness that those people followed. This doesn’t mean that they were preached the Gospel so that they may repent. We have seen how the rich man, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, had no hope of Salvation after death.
The second context: “For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:3-6)
As you see, this context is different from the context of 1 Peter 3:18-20. In this context, it is the Gospel that HAS BEEN preached to those who are now dead. The context does not say that the Gospel is NOW preached to the dead, but that it HAS BEEN preached. Indeed, the Gospel was preached in the Old Testament. Thus, although Moses for example was judged in the flesh as man and could not enter the land of promise, that did not mean that he will not enter Heaven (he will surely live in the spirit, spiritually). Peter made it clear that the unrighteous will give account to God and will be judged. And after Peter explained that God will judge the living and the dead, a question may be asked: “But what about those who lived before Christ and are now dead?? Do you mean, Peter, that they will be lost although they never heard about Jesus?” So Peter answers this question by saying that even those who are now dead have heard the Gospel preached to them, because the Gospel is not something new. Paul also explained that the Gospel is not something new: “But the righteousness of faith speaks thus: Do not say in thine heart, Who shall ascend to the heavens? that is, to bring Christ down; or, Who shall descend into the abyss? that is, to bring up Christ from among [the] dead. But what says it? The word is near thee, in thy mouth and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach“ (Romans 10:6-8) In this passage, Paul quoted from the Law to talk about the word of faith, i.e. the Gospel. So the Gospel was preached even in the Law of Moses. Even Abraham had heard the Gospel: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “ALL THE NATIONS WILL BE BLESSED IN YOU.”” (Galatians 3:8) The Gospel is that all nations are blessed in Abraham’s seed, i.e. Christ, and that Gospel was preached to Abraham and to all people in all times. The Gospel was even preached to Adam and Eve as soon as they fell in sin: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he shall crush thy head, and thou shalt crush his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
As you see, Stephen quoted two different contexts that talk about two different topics, and he still insists on not listening to my advice that he should study God’s Word IN CONTEXT, and he should not add his human superstitions to the Bible.
Why did the Savior go to preach to the dead after mortality?
He went to make proclamation of His victory over the powers of darkness, as we have seen. The text does not say that He went to preach the Gospel so that they may repent. They were already in prison!
Was it just “an announcement” as some claim in their weak attempt to whitewash this great event?
Is it a small event that God made proclamation of His victory over the powers of darkness??
Is our Lord so cruel?
Is it cruelty to proclaim victory over the powers of darkness? If you mean the Lord is cruel for crushing the enemy under His feet, then I understand… I know how much you hate that, and how much your father hates that…
Remember, He told Mary Magdalene after His Resurrection He had not yet ascended to His Father.
Yes, Christ had not ascended to the Father yet; He would ascend after 40 days. What does this prove?…
Did He go out of His way just to tell those lost souls, Sorry, people, you didn’t make it?
Which way, Stephen? When Christ died, He went to Hades. That’s BEFORE His resurrection. His body was for three days in the tomb, while in spirit He went to Hades and made proclamation of His victory over sin and death. All the righteous dead rejoiced for the victory, while the unrighteous who were being tormented in the flames kept weeping and gnashing their teeth! They had refused the Gospel when it was preached to them in their lifetime!
No. He is not the merciless God some religionists revere.
The Bible is clear: “for judgment [will be] without mercy to him that has shewn no mercy.” (James 2:13)
God’s judgment will be without mercy on all the unrighteous. The only way to receive mercy is through the cross of Jesus Christ; there is no other way. God will not sacrifice His Justice for mercy; He makes them both triumph together in Christ.
The Greek word for “preached” in these verses in First Peter is keryxen, the past participle of the verb, kerysso, which means, “to proclaim or publish.”
Thanks for admitting this. So show us where 1 Peter 3:18-20 says that the Gospel was proclaimed to the unrighteous when Jesus went to Hades…
Several NT verses with this term indicate the intent to convert, not announce.
Yes, when they are about the Gospel. Show us where 1 Peter 3:18-20 talks about the Gospel being preached there…
Jesus preached, as in taught, the Gospel to the dead, “that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
Where does 1 Peter 4:3-6 say that it was Jesus who preached the Gospel to those who were dead in the time of Peter?? Was Jesus incarnated in the Old Testament when the Gospel was preached to those people of the Old Testament??
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ