LUCIFER WAS THE ORIGINAL
In this chapter we are going to deal specifically with God’s final judgment on Lucifer and all the fallen angels who left heaven with him before this world was created. Lucifer made himself into the devil or Satan, Ezekiel 28:15-18, which means adversary or destroyer. Satan has lost every single battle during the Great Controversy. Even when he has killed and slaughtered God’s innocent people in the Old Testament he lost. But when he caused the Son of God to be nailed to the cross he really finished himself off. Up until that time the unfallen worlds and holy angels still had some sympathy for him. So, now we come to the last battle of the Great Controversy, which will take place after the 1,000 years. All the saved will be inside the city New Jerusalem and all the lost will be on the outside with Satan, looking in. Satan will form an army, like Esau did, to go after Jacob, Gen. 33:1. They will come up against the city and compass it about, Rev. 20:7-10.
Lucifer is like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. He has enslaved all those with him in his righteousness by works program of the flesh, and deceived them to believe that everyone inside the city is their enemy. There they are, “outside the camp,” wailing and gnashing their teeth. Like the elder brother, they are “angry,” and refuse to come in, Luke 15:28. And many an Israelite for whom the Kingdom was prepared will be in that vast army with Satan and his angels. The Bible predicted this would happen as a result of their refusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah. So, now they are “cast into outer darkness, into the place of weeping and torment.” Matt. 8:11-12; 13:42, 50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30. The Bible says “fear has torment,” I Jn. 4:18, but “perfect love casts out fear.”
One common characteristic of all the people outside of the Holy City who come up with Satan to try and destroy Jesus and His saints is that they are filled with fear. Rev. 21:8. They have not known the Father’s heart of love because they refused to go inside with Him to learn His true character. “And there will be great weeping and gnashing of teeth as you stand outside and see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets within the Kingdom of God.” Luke 13:28 LB. The KJV says the same thing, but ends with the words, “and you yourselves thrust out.” But who thrust them out? “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matt. 23:13. “But the pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God AGAINST THEMSELVES, …” Luke 7:30. No, my friend, God did not shut or thrust them out. They thrust themselves out, just as the people in Noah’s day refused to go into the boat or ark. Gen. 6 and 7.
Yes, Lucifer was the original “older brother” who was jealous of his “younger brothers and sisters” down here on planet earth and found a way to hurt and destroy us. But, Jesus, our Creator, was sent by the Father to win us back to His love and bring us home again to the Father’s house. The Father never stopped loving the older brother, but sought to win him back too, but to no avail. The Father even went out to plead with his older son. “And he (the older brother) was angry , and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and entreated him.” Luke 15:28. When did the Father do this? He did it the very minute Lucifer began to go astray in heaven and he kept it up until Lucifer closed his heart and mind and “left” with his angels, Jude 6. “And his tail (the dragon’s or Satan’s tail) drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth:” Rev. 12:4. But the Father never gave up trying to entreat Lucifer (Satan). Isa. 14:12-14 is an eloquent appeal for Lucifer to look at himself and consider what he has done and is doing to himself. “Oh, Lucifer, my beloved, look at what you are doing to yourself. You are the greatest victim of your own deceptions.” The Father even reveals the future suffering and defeat of Lucifer, but to no avail. Lucifer’s heart is hardened.
The cross was another time in which the Father went out to entreat his older boy to come home. “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17-19. RSV. The noun world is from the Greek “cosmos” which also means “universe” or “ordered system.” Heb. 1:12 tells us that the Father created the worlds through His Son.
Jesus’ death not only reconciled this world, but the whole universe back to the Father. Revelation 12:9-13. There were many animal sacrifices, many different kinds, but one thing that was common was the place the sacrifice was offered. This place was the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard of the sanctuary but not in the holy or most holy place, for the blood of the animal was taken by the priest into the holy place and sprinkled on or before the curtain. This was symbolic of what Jesus would do for us. Paul explains it clearly: “Now, when sins have once been forever forgiven and forgotten, there is no need to offer any more sacrifices to get rid of them. And so, dear brothers, we may now walk right into the very Holy of Holies where God is, because of the blood of Jesus. This is the fresh, new, life-giving way which Christ has opened up for us by tearing the curtain—his human body—to let us go into the holy presence of God.” Hebrews 10:19-20. LB.
The offering of the red heifer was different in that it was not killed or offered or burnt (not all the offerings were burnt in the same way) inside the courtyard of the sanctuary, but was taken completely “outside the camp.” Num. 19:3. Calvary was outside the city gates of Jerusalem and so were all the non-Jews. He died for the Jew “outside” the city, for they would not accept his sacrifice He wanted to make inside for them. But Jesus died for the non-Jew or the Gentile, too, and His death outside the city gates symbolizes this.
Some of the animals that were sacrificed were burned up completely on the altar after they were ceremonially and literally washed and cut into pieces, then arranged on the altar so the form of the animal was recognized. Sometimes after the animal was killed and its blood taken into the holy place and sprinkled before the separating veil, the animal was taken outside of the camp and burned the entire animal, but sometimes only parts of it were taken outside the camp and burned. Exodus and Leviticus give detailed instructions on all of these sacrifices. Num. 19 gives the instruction for the red heifer. Sometimes the flesh of the animal was to be given to the priests to eat, Ex. 29:32. The washing of the parts of the animal before it was burned was symbolic of Christ’s cleansing us from sin by His death. As we see the perfect, sinless, spotless and innocent LAMB OF GOD suffering on the cross, it should break our hearts and open our eyes to the enormity of sin and turn us away from our own sinful ways to the righteous ways of the Father. But it took Jesus’ sufferings and death at the hands of professedly righteous and holy men to make us aware or to inform us and give us the knowledge we need to turn us away from sin toward God so He could cleanse us.
Jesus’ blood, which was literally shed about A. D. 31, was symbolized in the death of all those poor animals in the Old Testament every time someone came to sacrifice a clean beast to get his sins forgiven. Today we do not sacrifice animals, for Jesus’ death took that all away. But the lessons remain to point us to the work of Christ today in the Sanctuary in heaven; Heb. 4:15, 16. The washing of the animal’s individual parts after it was dissected, and before it was placed on the altar to be offered, is symbolic of what the Word of God does to the believer who will permit God’s Spirit to cleanse him from all of the filthiness of the flesh and spirit,” 2 Cor. 7:1. For “Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify it with the washing of water by the word.” Eph. 5:25, 26. When we permit Jesus to cleanse our human, earthly vessels (bodies and minds) we will be ready for temple service. That is, we are ready for the anointed golden oil which represents the Holy Spirit, to flow through our “candlestick,” as it were, so we may be a light to the world. Matt. 5:14.
As we are “laid on the altar” the Lord arranges us, after His cleansing, in the perfect order He chooses, just as the sacrificed “killed” animal was set in order on the altar of sacrifice. Our lives may be confused and disarranged, but when we give our selves to Jesus He brings order out of chaos and sets us straight. This is what He did when He created the world in the beginning and this is what He does at the re-creation of every soul who willingly dies to self. Gal. 2:20; I Cor. 15:31.
The offering of the red heifer was completely different from any other offering in that the entire sacrifice took place “outside the camp.” Num. 19. The heifer was not killed at the altar in the outer court of the sanctuary, like other animals. The whole ceremony was done outside the camp. This is a striking symbolism of what was done to Jesus. Although some of Jesus’ blood was shed inside the city at the trial because of the stripes from the whipping or scourging, and when He sweat blood in Gethsamane, Jn. 19:1; Luke 22:44, He was not executed until He was taken outside of the city, just like the red heifer. But there are other differences we should note. The blood was not taken into the holy place of the sanctuary and sprinkled before the curtain, as in the other sacrifices. The priest took the blood and sprinkled it “toward the front of the meeting tent.” How far away he was from it we are not told, but he did not take the blood and sprinkle it on or before the inner sacred veil. Neither were any of the animal’s inner parts cut out and washed as with other sacrifices. In the case of the red heifer, the entire animal was burned and cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet were cast into the fire as a symbol of complete cleansing. And then the ashes of the red heifer were gathered and laid up outside the camp. This had to be done by a man who was ceremonially clean and then he had to wash again afterward.
We may draw many significant lessons from this offering of the red heifer. Everything God commanded Israel to do had meaning. I would encourage you to study, pray and search for more meanings for yourself, but let me just share with you the ones that I have learned so far. These have come through prayer and meditation mainly, for I have read all I could find on this outside the Bible and have found very little.
WHAT KIND OF FIRE KILLED JESUS?
First of all, the sprinkling of the blood “seven times before the tabernacle” represents the perfection of Christ’s atoning blood for the forgiveness of our sins. The sacrifice and therefore, the forgiveness is total, complete and perfect. Second, just as the red heifer was “burned” outside the gate, so Jesus suffered the “burning” second death for us. The fire that wicked or lost will have to go through in the Lake of fire, which they will kindle or start themselves, is the “fire” that killed Jesus. In Mark 9:43-48 we read of “their worm” that doesn’t die. Ps. 22:6 predicts the words Christ would say as he died for us. “I am a worm and no man.” Jesus became a worm for us….the worm represents the ego or self life that refused to be “crucified with Christ.” He became “sin for us.” 2 Cor. 5:21.
Worms that destroy fruit work from the inside out. Just so, sin destroys a man from the inside out. Now, I want you to notice what will cause the wicked to “burn” on the inside on that final day of reckoning, when the Father, through his son again pleads with all the “older” brothers to come inside and join the celebration. In Psalm 21, which only has 13 verses, David is addressing his Lord Messiah, Jesus. “The King (God the Father) shall joy in thy strength, O Lord and in Thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou has given him his heart’s desire, and hast not with holden the request of his lips. Selah.” Ps. 21:1-2. The Father asked the Son to bring back the wayward prodigals of this earth and the Son is now standing before his Father’s throne with all the redeemed as a token of the accomplishment of His glorious mission. We also know that the king mentioned here can be applied to David and the Lord would be Jehovah. But, it also has a more eternal application to the real king of the universe, God the Father. But, let us go down to verse 8. Here Christ is outside the city pleading with all the older sons. He holds out His hand. “Thine hand (Jesus’ nail pierced-hand) shall find out all Thine enemies: Thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.” (Can’t you picture Jesus stretching out his nail-pierced hands while he says, “look how much I loved you. Please come home with Me into My Father’s house.” But notice what this causes in the minds of the prodigals) Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit (the works of men with their evil fruit or result) shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. 2 Pet. 3:10. For they intended evil against thee (Rev. 20:7-9 tells how all the wicked surround the city). They Imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Ps. 21:8-11.
WHAT DOES FOREVER AND EVER MEAN?
The same concept of a burning inside “like or as an oven” is given in Mal. 4:1 and Hosea 7:4-6, Luke 12:28; “Surely, the people is grass.” Isa. 40:6-7. Jesus said the tares would be burned in the end of the world, Matt. 13:40. John the Revelator pictures the wicked in this way also after “drinking” which means believing or accepting the false doctrine of the beast and receiving “his mark” and “the number of his name.” Rev. 14:10-11 speaks of the wicked being “tormented with fire and brimstone,” so that they will have no “rest day nor night,” because they are worshiping the beast and his image. Is this awful torment in a literal fire? I do not think so, for the Bible says “the wicked will cease to exist on the earth,” Ps. 37:10. How is that accomplished? Because the wickedness of the wicked will be destroyed in the cleansing of the Lake of Fire. The Bible does not teach an ever burning hell fire which is a slander against the loving character of our Heavenly Father. The words forever and everlasting mean as long as a thing exists. It is based on the Greek word “Aion,” which simply means an “Age or Eon.” The effect or result of the fiery destruction of sin and wickedness is forever, but it doesn’t take forever to accomplish this. It only takes “a little season,” which may last for at least 100 years.
The wicked who have died in the past without ever accepting Jesus as their SAVIOR are “asleep,” as Jesus referred to death as a sleep in John 11:11. Paul said the same thing in I Thess. 4:13-18. Solomon agrees with this concept when he unequivocally (without any doubt) stated, “the dead know not anything.” Eccles. 9:5, 6. A loving God also permits the sleep of death to hide all His beloved of the ages from the terrible sorrows that have come upon this earth during the last 6,000 years. “For so He giveth His beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2; 116:15. But, in that final second resurrection of the damned or lost (they have damned themselves by refusing Jesus) the wicked will see the reward of all the righteous saved inside of the city. This is what is going to cause them to be “burning up.” This is the Lake of Fire because a lake is water and water represents people. See Rev. 17:15.
Let us look at some Scripture which will give more details of this coming event. “For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen; as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. Cf. Ps. 7:14-16; 9:15-16. But upon mount Zion (inside the holy city New Jerusalem) shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness: and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken it.” Obadiah 1:15, 16-18.
In this prophecy, the Lord is telling us something very special about what is going to happen at that final meeting of earth’s teeming multitudes. The Jacobs and the Josephs will be on the inside and represent the saved. The Esaus represent the lost who will be on the outside. Jacob represents the prodigal who finally comes back home with his father’s blessing, but the mother is not in the picture. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, died while Jacob was with Laban in the east. Gen. 35:29 and Gen. 49:31 speak of Isaac and Rebekah’s death and burial. It mentions that Esau and Jacob buried Isaac together which seems to indicate Rebekah had already died and been buried before Jacob’s return from Mesopotamia. The prodigal son’s mother is not in the picture either although he surely had one. And the Mother God of Israel is also kept hidden throughout the Scriptures. But she will be revealed in this final age. *See Additional Note #26. But in the parable of the Prodigal son the emphasis is upon the Father.
Esau is the older son who marches against his brother with an armed band of 400 to impress upon Jacob that he is superior in rank and power. Gen. 32:6. But, the Lord softens Esaus’ heart so he ends up embracing him with a kiss. After all they were twin brothers. His former hatred melts away and he forgets his grudge. His revengeful plot and vow to kill Jacob for stealing the birth right is not carried out. The Holy Spirit changes his mind so that he does not perform his “mischievous” plan.” Ps. 21:11. Paul tells us in Phil. 2:10-11 that “every knee” is going to bow and “every tongue” is going to confess. Isa. 40:5 and Isa. 52:10 tell us that all of mankind will see God’s salvation at the same time. “And the glory (character) of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Isa. 40:5.
Never in the history of the world have all the different races met. Now, they are together. The lost are on the outside of the city and the saved of all ages are on the inside. The whole human race from Adam to the last person who was born on this earth will meet for the first time. And remember that all the dead who died without Jesus’ saving blood are lost outside the city. They are “the rest of the dead” that “lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” Rev. 20:5. The last part of verse 5 is really describing the blessedness of the first resurrection. Here is what it says, “this is the first resurrection.” And then verse 6 follows.
In other words, John the Revelator, who wrote this in Greek, without chapter and verse division, has just told us in verse 5 about the “rest of the dead” who did not “live and reign with Christ a thousand years,” v. 4. Verses 4 and 6 are about the saved, but verse 5, except for the last sentence, “this is the first resurrection,” is about the lost. Throughout history we have seen a pattern. Cain, the older brother hated and even killed his younger brother, Abel. Esau and Jacob had a conflict over the birthright. Just as Cain wanted to go his own way and do his own thing, so Esau was a vain and rebellious person. He wanted the birthright without being spiritual.
Cain was religious and went through the rituals, his own man-made rituals, but he did not desire to be spiritual. So, we see that the first-born or older son was often religious, but not spiritual, and quite often ridiculed and even persecuted the younger son. Ishmael’s treatment of Isaac is an example. The first generation of Israel, which came out of Egypt, were religious. They wanted the reward without obedience. They were religious, but not spiritual. The second generation was spiritual and obedient and inherited the promised land. King Saul is another example of an older son who despised, persecuted and even tried to kill David, the king after God’s own heart. Saul was religious, but like Cain, he was religious on his own terms. He wanted to be king of Israel, but he didn’t want the God of Israel to interfere with his plans. He was a type of Lucifer who became Satan. David was a type of Christ who became a servant, and sin for us so we might be brought back to the kingdom.
Finally, we have another parable Jesus told which is parallel to the prodigal son in one significant aspect. The parable begins in the same way, “A certain man had two sons;” Matt. 21:28. The father in the story asks both boys, very kindly, to go work in his vineyard. The first one refuses to go, but repents later and goes into the field. The second son promised to go, but never went. Christ made the following application of the parable: “Surely evil men and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom before you do.”
The mental torment and anguish all the lost will feel when they see that they are lost is beyond human comprehension, expression or experience. Jesus spoke about it in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16. The rich man refused to help the poor man Lazarus although he had many opportunities to help him. Lazarus was not only poor (a beggar), but sick. Finally both of them died. The rich man went to hell (gehenna), but the poor man, Lazarus, went to Abraham’s bosom (heaven). The Pharisees actually believed in this theology and Jesus simply met them on their own terms, using their own concept of the after life to teach them that what they do in this life will determine their eternal destiny. He was not teaching the doctrine of hell-fire, as many believe. But he was trying to tell the Pharisees that they were headed for the same kind of torment that the rich man suffered. Now, the question I want to ask is: “what was causing the rich man to suffer?” I submit that the suffering was caused by the fact that Lazarus was saved and he was lost. He is outside the city and Lazarus is inside. But what really causes the most mental anguish is that the lost outside of the city will think that they should be inside because of their “good works.” In His Olivet discourse Christ predicted these very events we are talking about right now. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom…Many will say to Me…’Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles? And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” Matt. 7:21-23. NAS. There again the hatred of God’s law is manifested.
A contemporary rendering of this passage makes it even plainer: “Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other. Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say. A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned. Knowing the correct password-saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance-isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now — at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our god-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.” Matt. 7:15-23. The Message Bible.
In order to save us all from this fate Jesus told the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. “And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” Luke 16:23. Verse 24 says, “And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.” Now, I want to direct our attention back to Obadiah 1: 18. “And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them;” Why would Joseph be called “a flame?” Why would Jacob be called a “fire?” There is only one logical explanation. Jacob and Joseph are representatives of the saved who are inside the city in “Abraham’s bosom,” and Esau represents those who are on the outside lost. The knowledge that they (the wicked) are lost when they felt they had every right to be saved enrages them. They are “burning up” inside with hatred and envy. They are gnashing their teeth and stamping their feet and wailing and moaning their fate. Isaiah 31:9; Isaiah 33; Luke 13:24-30.
They are burning up inside like a “FIERY OVEN.” Ps. 21:9. The “worm of sin” inside of them is being pierced by the SWORD OF TRUTH in the person of all the Jacobs and the Josephs who perfectly reflect the loving character of their Heavenly Father. Every time they look up and see a “Jacob” or a “Joseph” inside the golden city it is like a knife going right through their heart. That “worm” of hatred and envy (ego or carnal mind) is pricked and stabbed by the truth and their torment and agony is terrible. Jacob represents the younger brothers who went away from home. Jacob cheated his older brother Esau out of the birth right. The older brother in Jesus’ parable felt cheated too because his Father gave his younger brother his inheritance before it was time. He had done nothing at all to deserve it. But if that wasn’t bad enough this rebellious younger brother went out into the world and wasted it on wine, women and song only to be forgiven and given a big party when he comes home. “I have a right to be angry,” he storms to his father. It reminds us of Jonah who was angry when God forgave all the Ninevehites when they repented. Jonah 4:1. Jonah wanted God to destroy them. It is interesting that it was a “worm” that destroyed the gourd the Lord “prepared” for Jonah to shield him from the heat of the sun. The word “shade” also means defense or protection. It was Jonah’s anger, envy, jealousy and bitter attitude that was causing a separation between him and the Lord. Isa. 59:1. The worm of sin causes separation and death. Rom. 8:7.
Jesus died to destroy the darkness. His light never casts any shadows. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus of Luke 16 we also notice that Father Abraham told the rich man (Dives in the Latin) to “remember” all the good things that he had received in his former life. Now, why would he ask him to remember if such a remembrance would only cause more mental torture? God is not like that. Why then would “Father Abraham” (who represents God the Father) remind him? There is only one possible answer. He is pleading with his “older” son to repent, for it is “the goodness of God” that leads to repentance, Rom. 2:4. Read all of chapter 2 for Paul is talking about the “Judgment of God.” Remember that the word “judgment” means decision. It doesn’t mean the final day when God condemns us, for God never accuses or condemns anyone. Jesus’ invitation of mercy is an eternal invitation. “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Jn. 6:37. Jesus’ loving character never changes, Hebrews 13:8. And Jesus said if we had seen Him we had seen the Father. So the Father’s character never changes either. They are forever the same. His judgments or decisions are as the “Light” Hosea 6:5, 6. And God’s light or fire is His love in Jesus, Song of Solomon 8:6: John 8:15; John 12:47.
You see, my friend, it is not God’s heart that is hardened toward us that prevents us from receiving forgiveness and salvation. Oh, no! It is our hardened heart toward him that prevents us from receiving his love and forgiveness. Paul explains it perfectly. “Do you not know that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But by your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment (decision to give you up to your own ways) will be revealed.” Rom. 2:4-5. Remember that God’s wrath is when we force God to give up on us. Judas refused to repent. Jerusalem refused to repent. The Jewish nation refused to repent. They forced God out of their lives by their continual rejection of His pleas for them to come to Him. It wasn’t that God had quit calling them, for God’s love will never allow Him to give up, but their hardened hearts cannot hear Him anymore. Yet God always puts the blame on Himself, instead of on us.
In Isaiah 59:2 God takes the blame by saying, “He will not hear” when the previous verse makes it clear that God doesn’t have an ear problem. Israel has a heart problem—a hardened heart. Hardened by sin. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” In Isa. 53:10 God takes the blame for “bruising” his own Son. In I Chron. 10:13, 14 God claims to have killed King Saul when we know Saul killed himself. The Scripture abounds with this concept from beginning to end—our wonderful Father taking the blame—shielding us, always protecting us. And he does it right to the very last. Oh, my beloved friend, we have not the slightest inkling of this Mighty God of Israel who took on a body of flesh and lived among us. But, it is the Father’s will that we do know….that we do understand. For we must have His character or we will not survive the final holocaust of hate that is soon to engulf this world. Only the love in our wonderful Father’s heart will shield us from it. That is why we must go into the Father’s heart. It is safe in there. In this parable we are not told if the elder son ever accepts the invitation of the father to come inside the house and join in the celebration. All we saw was the Father going out to plead with the older son to come in to the celebration feast. The red heifer or fatted calf has been killed, but instead of mourning, there is rejoicing. Why? Because there has been a resurrection. “For this my son was dead, and is alive again: he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:24. When Jesus died on Friday afternoon, about the ninth hour, Matt. 27:46-50, there was mourning and weeping. But on Sunday morning, there was rejoicing. Remember, Jesus became “sin” for us. He became a prodigal for us. He left the Father’s house and went into the “far country” and became a “lost Son” in our place. But the lost is now found and there is rejoicing. But the older “son(s)” do not rejoice. They are the Pharisees and scribes who have never “transgressed” the Father’s law “at any time.” They are legalists and believe they have achieved perfection through self-righteous adherence to the law. They believe in a pseudo-perfection, a human, man-made, do-it-yourself type religion. These are the older brother types in the “church,” but not in Christ who despise the return of the prodigal in every age. They refuse to accept them as brothers and/or sisters in Christ. But the father still loves the older sons. He cannot give up on them. His love will never let them go. And that is why we know that the final outcome of the father’s efforts will be successful.
In Charles Pridgeon’s book, “IS HELL ETERNAL OR WILL GOD’S PLAN FAIL?” he deals with the concept of Universal Restoration as opposed to eternal hell fire and annihilation. In chapter 27 he quotes from some of the early fathers of the first centuries of the Christian religion and their belief in what he calls “Restitution” but what I call “Universal Reconciliation” or “Universal Restoration,” which is the term Acts 3:21 uses in the New English Bible. “He (Jesus) must be received into heaven until the time of UNIVERSAL RESTORATION comes, of which God spoke by his holy prophets.” Pridgeon studied the doctrine of the early fathers of the first five centuries of the Christian era very diligently and made this statement: “There is no word in these early statements of creed declaring in favor of endless punishment. It is passing strange that we have to wait 553 years after Christ before any attempt is made officially to condemn the doctrine of restitution, and then many of those who began to dominate Christian thought could not even read the New Testament in the original Greek.” Page 279. I will not take the time or space here to quote all of his sources which include Irenaeus, Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch, Eusebius, Ambrose and many others. Here is one from Clement of Alexandria, 150-220 A.D., Presbyter of Alexandria. “The Lord is a propitiation not for our sins only but also for the whole world! Therefore, He indeed saves all universally but some are converted by punishments, others by voluntary submission, thus obtaining the honor and dignity, that to Him ‘every knee shall bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.’” Page 280.
Another work which documents the truth that Universal Salvation was the creed and teaching of the early church fathers is “THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM,” by Hosea Ballou, published in 1829. In this 326 page volume he traces its history from the time of the apostles, to its condemnation in the fifth general council, A.D. 553. There is a companion volume, entitled, “THE MODERN HISTORY OF UNIVERSALISM,” by Thomas Whittemore, which became the basis for many later studies of the history of the belief that God will eventually save all mankind. There has been an explosion of this doctrine in the last few years and is all over the Internet. More and more ministers and teachers are accepting it and preaching it. I myself did not accept it at first. But chapter 26 of Pridgeon’s book, “CONCERNING THE SALVATION OF ANGELS AND DEMONS,” convinced me it is true in 1986. There are many books available on this topic and more being written all the time. This concept, more than any other, will take you into the Father’s Heart, for this is what He has planned to do from the beginning. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: 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.” Ephesians 1:9, 10.
JOHN WYCLIFFE BELIEVED IN UNIVERSALISM
John Wycliffe, the Morning Star of the reformation, 1330 to 1384 AD, was the first English scholar to translate the Scriptures from Latin into English. The entirety of Chapter 5 of the book, “THE GREAT CONTROVERSY,” entitled, “JOHN WYCLIFFE,” pages 79 to 96 is devoted to his life. However, what is not mentioned is the fact that Wycliffe, in his Bible commentary taught the concept of Universal Restoration. Here is what he wrote: “Drawing from Isaiah 45:23, where the Lord prophesies that universal worship will one day be given Him, the author (Paul) writes that in the name of Jesus (not at, which might suggest mechanical genuflection) the totality of created, rational beings will pay due homage. Those in heaven, on earth, and underground is an expression of universality and should not be forced.” He also wrote that “The compound verb ‘confess’ (exomologeo) may mean to ‘confess with Thanksgiving.'” Page 1325. From John Wycliffe’s commentary on Philippians 2:10, 11. His comments on Psalm 22:27-31 (page 503) were similar. “His joyful anticipation. ‘All the ends of the world.’ In hope, the Psalmist sees the circle widen to include all mankind and future generations. His personal hope encompass the nation and then the world. In accord with the highest hope of Israel, the turning of mankind to God in worship (Isa 40:7; 45:22;52:10).”