1 Cor 15, Isaiah 25 and Hosea 13: post-mortem salvation


I suppose we’re all aware, whether we agree with the exegetical interpretation there or not, about 1 Cor 15:20-28, where Christ must reign until He places all His enemies under His feet, nullifying every sovereignty and every authority and power (with death itself being the final enemy abolished), after which He will give His kingdom to His Father, submitting Himself to His Father as all things have been submitted to Him (which implies that all things will then be in loyal submission to Him since otherwise the comparison would involve Christ submitting in continuing rebellion to the Father!) so that God may be all in all.

And if you’re a new visitor to the site and haven’t heard about this, well, there it is. :smiley:

Right then; relatedly Paul declares at the end of what we call that chapter that we, his beloved brethren in Christ, should become settled, unmovable, superabounding in the work of the Lord always, being aware that our toil is not for nothing in the Lord. “Now thanks be to God, Who is giving us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ!”

This would make maximum sense if the victory of evangelism was maximal; which at least implies Calv persistence in saving those whom God chooses to save. But does it also imply maximum scope? The eschaton prophecy of vv.20-28 would seem to indicate so. But wouldn’t it be great if there was independent confirmation, in this same discussion by Paul, of what Paul meant, one way or another?

Well, right before Paul exhorts us to keep on being steadfast in expecting total victory of our toil in the Lord (which must mean evangelism), he quotes two similar verses, one from Isaiah 25:8 and one from Hosea 13:14.

Isaiah 25 follows a chapter where God utterly destroys the earth, punishing heavenly armies (which must mean rebels) and the kings of the earth on earth, gathering them together, confining them in prison like in a dungeon, after which they will be… well, the Hebrew word there (pawkad) is a primitive one that means a whole bunch of things, which can include being punished. But they’re already being punished, so it might be worth looking at some of the other meanings. The basic meaning however is “to visit”. That can be visiting with hostile intention, or with helpful intention; and God has already been hostile to them! There are numerous applications of the term which could mean that they shall be remembered by God, cared for, set free.

Anyway, chapter 25 continues the theme of God ruining, destroying and killing tyrannical Gentiles (including Moab and its fortress specifically). The end result being aimed at by God, however, is also mentioned with scattered references along the way, with special focus in the middle of this prophetic hymn–which is where Paul is quoting his verse: “And YHWH of Armies will prepare a feast of plump foods for all peoples on His mountain; a banquet of aged wine and fat pieces of meat with marrow, refined aged wine! And on this mountain He will swallow up the face of the covering which is over all peoples, even the veil which is woven over all the nations. He will swallow up death for all time, and ADNY YHWH will wipe tears away from all faces, and He will remove the reproach of His people from all the earth; for YHWH has spoken! And it will be said in that day, ‘Behold, this is our God for Whom we have waited that He might save us! This is YHWH for Whom we have waited! Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation!’”

But that only applies to God’s righteous people, right? Maybe to God’s righteous people among the Gentiles, too (though that would be hardly imaginable to ancient Jews), but anyway surely by “all people” God doesn’t mean the tyrants, too, right?

Well, actually, in verses 3-5, leading directly into the beginning of the victorious peace of verses 6-9 (quoted above), when those strong rebel ruthless tyrant people are overthrown by God and see how God has saved the helpless and weak (whom the rebel tyrants now number among!), the “uproar” (or rebellious chaotic shouting) of the foreigners will be subdued, and the song of the ruthless will be silenced. But that means they will be hopelessly destroyed, maybe even annihilated out of existence, right? As with verse 14 in the following chapter?–“The dead will not live, the shades will not rise, therefore You have punished and destroyed them, and You have wiped out all remembrance of them!”

Well, whatever it means for those rebels to not live or rise for their remembrance to be altogether wiped out, it apparently must include what God prophecies (through Isaiah) in chapter 25 to be the result of all this overthrow and defeat: “Therefore a strong people will glorify You; cities of ruthless nations will revere You!”

So they cannot in fact be wiped out of existence, yet in some way they must be wiped out of existence; and in some way they must rise again, yet not rise again!

Their destruction as sinners and rebirth as loyal followers of God, in peace with the people they persecuted, would go a very long way toward fulfilling all these disparate bits of information. It also happens to fit the punishment/salvation theme of 1 Cor 15’s middle portion.

Perhaps (not??) incidentally, it also happens to fit the prophecy from the second half of Isaiah 26 where, after stating earlier (at verse 14) that the dead will not live and the shades will not rise due to the punishment and destruction from YHWH, the punished ones seek YHWH in distress as a pregnant woman in labor who can only bring forth wind, admitting that they could not accomplish deliverance for the earth nor give birth to the inhabitants of the earth. The result of their repentance? “Your dead will live! Their (or My) corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawnlight, and the earth will give birth to the shades!”

So, in fact, after repentance the apparently annihilated rebels from 26:14 will be brought back by God after all–the parallel of the wording cannot be accidental.

(And then in the sequel chapter, Isaiah 27, in the midst of further colorful descriptions of the forthcoming destruction of rebels, up to and including Leviathan, God speaks of that same day of wrath to come, “I have no wrath! Should someone give Me briars and thorns in battle, I would step on them *, I would burn them up completely. Or let him take hold of My protection, let him make peace with Me, let him make peace with Me!”)

At any rate, Paul is here quoting a chapter where the Gentiles are being saved, and he is doing so in context of a discussion of the general resurrection, which in turn is being discussed in context of the salvation of Christ. (And that chapter of Isaiah tends to indicate that it’s all the nations, including the die-hard rebels against God, which will see this new life and salvation. But the die-hard rebels will first have to die before they repent.)

The other quote at 1 Cor 15:55 is from Hosea 13:14. This whole scroll is primarily about rebel Israel, sometimes typified by “Ephraim” (which is almost certainly a reference to Absalom the rebel son of David who died, hanging from a tree with a bleeding head and a side pierced by a spear, in the forests of Ephraim between Jerusalem and Jericho. Isaiah has more than a few things to say about rebuking Ephraim, too, not-incidentally, including in chapters closely subsequent to Isaiah 25.)

Basically the same material is covered in this chapter as in Isaiah 25, except the focus is on rebel Israel rather than on the rebel Gentiles. Some of the language of rebuke and destruction is even strikingly similar; for example v.3, “Therefore they [idolatrous Israel] will be like the morning cloud, and like dew which goes away early, like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor, and like smoke from a window.”

God complains that He has been YHWH their God since they came out of Egypt and they should have known no other god except Him, “for there is no savior beside Me!” The people he cared for in the wilderness became fat and satisfied once they found pasture, and their hearts became proud. So God is going to rip them open like a leopard or a lion, seeing as how they are now “against Me, against your help!”

In fact, the whole chapter is a warning about God’s destruction coming upon Ephraim (and also upon Samaria for doing the same ungrateful rebellion against their only Savior). If we only read this chapter, we’d be wondering (quite literally) what the hell Paul saw in this to praise God about in regard to a saving resurrection!–for verse 14, which he quotes, is presented more as a question: “Shall I ransom them from the hand of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight!!”

In other words, the immediate context looks a lot like God is calling on Death and Sheol to destroy them!

But afterward, in chapter 14, God calls on rebel Israel to return to Him for they have stumbled due to their injustice. And in fact God promises to heal their apostasy and will love them freely, for His anger will turn away from them, and He will restore them to the fullness of His promises for them. But!–and this must have been what Paul understood–not until He has completed His prophecies of utter death and destruction for them, down into Sheol! Death and Sheol first, then they’ll learn better, then restoration.

This is why Paul can quote a verse from Hosea where God actually calls on the sting of death and Sheol, and use the same phrases as a victorious rebuke against death and Sheol: for the resurrection goes beyond the punishment of God into the reconciliation of sinners with God.

At any rate, Paul is here quoting a chapter where Israel isn’t being saved yet (in fact she’s being destroyed for being a rebel adulterous idolatrous unjust proud ingrate!), but eventually will be (after the destruction), and he is doing so in the context of the general resurrection, which in turn is being discussed in the context of the salvation of Christ.

So the question from before about the scope of God’s persistence in salvation from sin (though not necessarily from punishment), is answered: yes, the scope is total. Rebel Gentiles + rebel Israel (plus even the rebels in heaven grouped with the rebel kings of the earth!) == everyone, all sinners. No sinners are excluded from God’s salvation. The verses referenced by Paul fit the interpretation of the God in Christ saving Christ’s enemies who will be resurrected to wrath–but not to hopeless wrath.*

A very personal testimony about the fear of hell...
Postmortem Salvation without Scriptural/historical evidence
My review of "Paul on Hell" by Douglas J. Moo
Postmortem Salvation without Scriptural/historical evidence
What exactly does "All in all" mean
A rebuttal I've run into regarding 1 Corinthians 15:22

Fascinating! It’s all in there!

To think what you find when listening to all them crazy prophets. :wink: :mrgreen:

Thanks for gathering all this, Jason!


I so want to understand what you are saying here but I’m too tired (well that’s my excuse today :wink: ). What about a one paragraph summary for “dummies”?


Four paragraph summary :wink: (but you can skip to the final paragraph instead for a summary conclusion of the summary if you prefer) :

At the end of his discussion on the resurrection, in what we call the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians, St. Paul exults in the victory of the general resurrection (by God and in connection to the resurrection of Christ) over death, by (rhetorically) taunting death and the ‘pit’ (sheol, hades) with two similar quotes from (what we would call Old Testament) scripture.

The first quote is from a chapter in Isaiah where God is warning the rebel Gentiles that He will utterly destroy them to death, but then also prophecies that the end result of this destruction will be those same ruthless tyrannical Gentiles giving loyal worship to God as savior of the weak and oppressed and living together in peace with all God’s people on God’s holy mountain. The next two chapters of Isaiah continue this theme, including the amazing declaration that God has no wrath (in the middle of extremely colorful descriptions of God’s wrath and destruction of rebel enemies, Israel and Gentile alike, up to and including Satan himself!) but that He only burns up the thorns and thistles with which someone comes out to war against Him–what He actually wants is for them to cling to Him instead and so make peace with Him. The same material features the prophet declaring his expectation that the slain Gentile tyrants will never rise again because God has (as we would say) annihilated them out of existence; a position corrected by God several verses later when He reveals that once they repent and admit that they have tried to take the place of God (including as savior of the world) He will resurrect them and restore them in blessed fellowship with Him. Their coming fate is contrasted to that of the righteous remnant, whom God warns should take shelter until all this has come to pass.

The second quote is from a chapter in Hosea where basically the same material is covered except in regard to rebel Israel. In fact, that particular chapter features no hope for rebel Israel at all, but instead prophecies that God will kill off rebel Israel to the final extreme–the verse Paul quotes, in context of that chapter, amounts to God calling down death and Sheol to wipe out rebel Israel! But in the next chapter God reveals that after this destruction rebel Israel will repent and return to Him, at which time God will restore them. Paul didn’t have our chapter divisions and so was probably looking at the whole prophecy when he quoted that verse, seeing that God would eventually resurrect rebel Israel after they stopped rebelling; thus he justifiably quoted the calling of death and Sheol as a rhetorical taunt against the victory of death and Sheol after all.

Paul quotes these two verses in context of rejoicing about the victory of Christ in bringing about a widescale resurrection; and the material he quotes is about the resurrection of the post-mortem penitent dead, slain by God in their sins, not about the resurrection and transformation of those who have died in Christ (nor about those who are Christ’s at His coming), even though that was Paul’s immediately prior topic. This combination of utter and total scope of evangelical victory not only lends independent and close-context confirmation to the interpretation of total scope and persistence of evangelical victory in the prophecy from St. Paul (given not long prior in the middle of what we call chapter 15) about the Son submitting to the Father as all people (including those who were His enemies) after the general resurrection (thus post-mortem) have submitted to Him so that God may be all in all; it also explains why Paul exhorts his Christian readers to keep toiling at evangelism with the assurance that our work will not be in vain in Christ.


Superb work Jason. Well worth the read. Many thanks. :smiley:


Thanks Jason, that helped a lot :slight_smile: It’s interesting how different people can read the same book and come to different conclusions (thinking of my friend Joe’s interpretation of Isaiah :frowning: or the extreme comment on Robin’s blog by someone claiming to have read the bible multiple times and yet concluding it offered no hope for anyone! :cry: )


Thanks very much for this Jason. Very compelling for me.
But I will need to reread it several times to fully absorb the argument…
Good work!



Great find, Jason!


Your Always digging deep and coming out with some Nuggets JP. :astonished: :slight_smile:
These type of Nuggets remind me of some proverbs:

For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the LORD
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding

…Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul

I feel like there are so many references of Pauls that I want to go back and analyze in light of my new view of scripture (Universalism). But I don’t have the time to connect all the dots at that moment. So thanks for doing the all the leg work on this one!


Funny I don’t remember reading or commenting on this, but obviously I did both :unamused: :blush:

is probably referring to


is probably referring to

Noticed some interesting verses along the way

Ah, this looks promising

Isaiah is certainly a book of extremes, great promises and severe warnings of destruction. e.g.

As a side point, I like this one

Anyway, I get your argument but Luke will want the verses and sorry Jason, I think I’m going blind, where are the “Gentiles giving loyal worship to God” & “He will resurrect them and restore them in blessed fellowship with Him.” verses? :confused:


Well, you’ve had a lot on your mind… :wink:

Isaiah 24 has a bunch of verses about heavenly and earthly rebels being utterly destroyed in the coming Day of the Lord and afterward being put into prison (24:22). The earthly rebels are classified among the Gentile rebels due to the phrase “kings of the earth”. Sometime after being imprisoned by YHWH, YHWH will ‘pawkad’ them (24:22); translations and interpretations differ on what this means (because of the multi-valent use of the word), but context could indicate whether it means “visited” in the sense of offering release, salvation and freedom (and being visited by God to punish them many days after being ultimately punished by God would seem redundant.)

Isaiah 24:23, where the sun and moon shall be “abashed” and “ashamed”, probably indicates idols representing rebel gods. While the terms don’t necessarily have to indicate repentance, they could indicate a mental and emotional state prior to repentance.

Isaiah 25:3, the prophet praises YHWH because “a strong people” and “ruthless nations” shall come to glorify and revere YHWH. These are terms which involve loyal praise; the ruthless nations are definitely the rebel Gentiles; and verse 2 immediately preceding mirrors similar statements from the previous chapter showing that these are the same rebel Gentiles God will be destroying so hard YHWH will destroy the earth in the process!

Verse 3 also shows, in close conjunction with verse 2, that the prophecies of their fortified cities and palaces being ruined never to rise again, involve them never rising again in rebellion.

Verses 4 and 5 talk about YHWH silencing the uproar of the nations (Gentiles) who have been oppressing God’s loyal people; yet these same ruthless Gentiles will come to loyally praise and revere God for being a salvation and refuge from storm and heat. Back in the previous chapter it was the ruthless nations who were being overthrown by YHWH in storm and heat, and who are reduced thereby to being helpless and in distress. The intervening verses at first suggest, and then state more explicitly that they shall eventually (after being completely ruined and imprisoned by God) come to revere and praise God.

Verses 6 through 9 indicate that YHWH will come to bless all people, not only to remove the reproach from His own people, but to wipe tears away from every face, removing the shroud (i.e. of death) stretching over all the nations.

Verses 10-12 reiterate that rebel Gentiles (exemplified as Moab) will be trodden down, overflooded and ruined by YHWH.

Much of the first half of chapter 26 is about God’s loyal people and the expectation of their salvation from rebels, specifically the rebel Gentiles who have abused God’s own favor to them in this life. Verse 10 for example complains that even though the wicked are shown favor by God they refuse to learn righteousness, insist on dealing unjustly, and do not perceive the majesty of YHWH. However, this is by contrast to verse 9 where the prophet (speaking for the righteous loyalists) longs for the day of YHWH’s judgments “for when the earth has Thy judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness”.

Even though 26:14 states that the dead will not live and the departed will not rise because God has punished and destroyed them, wiping out even remembrance of them, verses 16 and onward indicate that God’s own people have also been in that position and came thereby to repent of their sins, confessing God as their savior (and also that they themselves were not the saviors of the earth!–v.18) God shall raise them to life, reversing the curse they were under parallel to the curse of verse 14 on impenitent rebels. This indicates God can do just the same thing for those in verse 14, which fits the overall picture being developed in the preceding two chapters (centered on chapter 25).

Relatedly, when YHWH says He has no wrath in Him, shortly afterward in 27:4-5, but only fights against those who come up against Him with thorns and thistles in order to destroy those thorns and thistles leaving them the option of seeking Him for salvation (which He will give them), this statement is made in connection to His protection of the vineyard in verses 2 and 3. He protects the vineyard against those who would go up against it with thorns and thistles, up to and including Leviathan the great dragon as in the opening verse of chapter 27. Those verses at 4 and 5 show God’s true attitude toward His enemies, consequently, even up to and including Leviathan, i.e. Satan!: He has no wrath toward Leviathan, and is only destroying Leviathan’s ability to hurt the vineyard and make war against Him (since the Great Dragon insists on going up against Him). The offer and expectation of reconciliation in verse 5 extends to Leviathan, too, even though YHWH will slay Him: the preceding chapters show that being utterly slain and then imprisoned by YHWH (including the heavenly rebel armies) is not the hopeless final end of the matter.

The short answer is that rebel Gentiles eventually come to give loyal worship to YHWH in Isaiah 25:3, which obviously has to happen after their overthrown and imprisonment in Isaiah 24:22; and they would be thus included in the blessing of resurrection and salvation and restoration emphatically promised to all people (not only God’s chosen people Israel, but them too of course) in Isaiah 25:6-9.


Yep! Same thing. :slight_smile:


Finally got a chance to concentrate and read it :sunglasses: Btw, which translation do you use most?

Very cool, I think you’ve made a good case for Isa 25 being an OT example of post-mortem salvation. Thanks for including the verses numbers for simpletons like myself :wink:

It frustrates me with “pawkad” that they don’t at least footnote that this word usually (ever??) doesn’t mean “punish” (see below), as it’s quite misleading!


:nerd: StudyLight is the best online site I’ve found for Interlinear work!


Oooo! I’ve never heard of that site, but I’m bookmarking!

I use a bunch of different translations, so that I’m cross-checking what different experts have said. While I have several literal OT translations (plus the Tanahk), mainly I was using the Hebrew-Greek Keyword Study edition of the NASB. Fortunately that word was Strong numbered (not all of them are) and I could look it up in the back.

I’m slowly porting the “Scripture4all” interlinear literal translation into my Kindle, but I haven’t even gotten to the OT material yet.

The Catholic D-R: “they shall be visited”.

Lamsa’s Peshitta translation: “they shall be saved”.

The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon: “shall go apart, shall be redeemed” (also ‘to be discharged’ or ‘to be specified’ in Samarian Syriac.)

Masoretic text of the JPS: “shall be punished”

JPS printed Tanakh: “they shall be remembered”

NIV super-literal: “they shall be punished” (but also a small footnote “they shall be released”)

Green’s interlinear: “they will be visited”

Ancient Roots Translinear: “shall be counted over a pit for an abundance of days” (this one was so different I thought I should report the whole phrase)

Online Hebrew Interlinear: “and from many of days they shall be checked” (kind of similar to the ARTB)

The latter two translations, incidentally, would seem to be reckoned by the CAL project as being Samarian dialect usage (where ‘to be specified’ might mean ‘to be counted’ or ‘to be checked’ i.e. watched), not the broader Christian Syriac or Common uses.

The Septuagint, interestingly, has "to be episkope’. StudyLight translates that as ‘investigated, inspected, visited’, but of course we would know its colloquial usage as ‘shepherded’. :slight_smile:


That’s a site that Julie Ferwerda in her new book references quite a bit. I’m definitely using studylight!