Salvation for the Dead (A Practical Guide)


#1

Firstly, I would like to point out that I believe that salvation for the living comes by grace (not merit), through faith in Christ (not works). And I accept penal substitution theories of atonement for the dead. I also believe that those who die as unbelievers are not damned to hell forever and do have hope of redemption. The following practice enables the Christian, in their lifetimes, to take an active role with Christ in salvaging the poor, unfaithful dead souls in hell. It is based on the premise that in order for Christ’s redemptive work of salvation to be complete, salvation must reach to all humans in all places of all times.

In both, the Old Testament and New Testament, sin offerings were made for the atonement of sins.

Numbers 28:30. Include one male goat to make atonement for you.

Hebrews 5:3. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

Today, it is common practice for the dead in purgatory to obtain indulgence from God through the Catholic Church for remission of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven (C.C.C., X. Indulgences). So, in other words, the Catholic Church intervenes for the individual by asking God, who stores up our good works, to apply some of them in lieu of punishment due to sins. But these indulgences are limited to those who die in the communion of saints – the faithful dead only.

The Churches fail to teach the complete redemptive work of Christ. The Gospel work of salvation must reach to all humans in all places of all times.

Mark 16:15. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

We must learn to search scripture with the loving heart of Jesus.

Lamentations 3:31-30. For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.

Jesus descended into hell for three days to deliver the faithful dead with His sacrificial blood atonement.

1 Peter 4:6. For this reason the gospel was preached also to the dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in spirit.

Jesus now holds the keys to death and Hades. The unfaithful dead in hell can be saved. Otherwise, the redemptive work of Christ would not be complete and we fall short of the glory of God.

Revelations 1:18. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

One of the attributes of God is that He goes unchanging. And Jesus would still hold the keys of death and Hades. He would still be salvaging and delivering the souls of the dead to heaven. This is the one true Son of God. This is the Jesus, Christians should get to know.

Our good works can be offered up to Christ as atonement for the sins of those who died without faith and are now in hell. Atonement is necessary because they did not have faith in their lifetimes. This completes the gospel work of salvation. To say otherwise, is to cut short the redemptive work of Christ.

2 Maccabees 12:46. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin.

It is all the same for God to free prisoners in this world from their captives as it is for Christ to free prisoners from their captives in the spirit world.

Zechariah 9:11. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.

And Christ will free prisoners in hell through you because of the blood of the covenant He has with you. This is a blessing bestowed upon us by our Lord.

And, it is by the power of God that salvation is made for us and the dead.

1 Corinthians 1:18. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Let’s not fail to see the significance of being able to offer up our goods works as atonement for the sins of the lost souls in hell. Your family, friends and even strangers who died without faith can have their souls restored (salvaged) by the divine power of Christ and be with God, Jesus, the angels, family and friends in heaven. One must be in good standing with God and have the door closed to all unhealthy spirits before atonement will be accepted. Although, atonement is required of us for the forgiveness of the sins of the unfaithful dead in hell, it is by the Lord’s sacrifice that the souls of the dead can be salvaged. And that heaven and hell are open. Glory goes to Father God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a privilege to partake in the heavenly family business of salvation and an even greater honor to work so closely with Christ in salvaging souls.

1 Corinthians 15:19. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

The offering up of good works to Christ as atonement for sins of those who died without faith is the only true way that Christ’s redemptive work of salvation is complete. This is a necessary component in our Lord’s work. Jesus is mighty to save and He will stretch His staff down to the very depths of hell to save souls.

What I say is true, it has been revealed to me by Jesus Christ Himself.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-21. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good,

In conclusion, this, my friends, is the most loving thing you can do for these poor, lost souls. And, may God bless you for such an undertaking.
Child of God

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#2

The following practice enables the Christian, in their lifetimes, to take an active role with Christ in salvaging the poor, unfaithful dead souls in hell. It is based on the premise that in order for Christ’s redemptive work of salvation to be complete, salvation must reach to all humans in all places of all times.

I’m not trying to dissuade you or anyone from praying for anything you believe is beneficial but to my knowledge praying for the dead is not biblical. These OT references are not for people in the afterlife as there is barely anything mentioned about afterlife in the OT plus 2nd Maccabees is extra biblical although the RCC uses it to justify praying for the dead.
I do think people can be saved after physical death through the LOF so if you think praying for them is beneficial then you should do what you think is right.


#3

Just a comment here, Steve. Based on written or oral tradition? Or in other terms, based upon Holy Scripture or Sacred Tradition. Praying for the dead, i believe…And I could be wrong here…Is a part of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox tradition.

According to this Wiki article. Such practices are not just in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. But also in the Anglican, Lutheran and Methodist traditions.

See Wiki, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prayer_for_the_dead:

Let me quote a bit:


#4

I have a question…if it is not through good works that the dead can be saved.

Matthew 25:46. And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Then, just how is it, that they will be saved?


#5

Is praying - for - the dead what is forbidden? Or trying to communicate - with - the dead?


#6

One theory is they are saved by hearing & believing “the gospel”:

1 Peter 4:6. For this reason the gospel was preached also to the dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in spirit.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which He also went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In the ark a few people, only eight souls, were saved through water.

One opinion re Matthew 25:46 is that the unrighteous will go into some kind of corrective punishment or chastening which v.41 associates with fire:

Concordant Literal New Testament, 1983
And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian."

Rotherham Emphasized Bible, 1959
“And these shall go away into age-abiding correction, But the righteous into age-abiding life.”


#7

Is praying - for - the dead what is forbidden? Or trying to communicate - with - the dead?

I think in the OT trying to communicate with the dead was considered divination and as far as I know nothing specific in the NT changed this. I guess when you have a CU view praying for the dead may be a bit different because they are not really dead and perhaps the same can be said for communicating with the dead. Perhaps they are alive in the spirit realm depending on your viewpoint.


#8

Trying to communicate with the dead is forbidden by God.

Leviticus 19:31. Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them; I am the Lord your God.

N.K.J.V. Scholastic Commentary: Mediums and familiar spirits involve consulting the spirits of the dead. All contact with these or other spirits was strictly forbidden in Israel. It demonstrated lack of faith in and rebellion against God.

Praying to Christ and offering up good works for the dead is not forbidden by God.


#9

Christ preaching the gospel to the dead during His three day descent into hell was for the faithful dead in hell and Abraham’s bosom. Communicating with the unfaithful dead and demons is strictly forbidden by God.


#10

To address Origen’s commentary. He’s referring to Sola Scriptura. When you ignore Prima Scriptura and Sacred Traditions as guides, you can get anything. Like Pantelism, Full Preterism, Christian Science, Esoteric Christianity, No Free-Will Universalism, etc.

Since praying for the dead (at least those who died in Christ)…is part of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions…I see nothing wrong with it.

Besides, Origen. If the Devil proceeds as planned (as seen by some, with the “alleged” gift of prophecy), with the tribulation and Zombie Apocalypse. Wouldn’t it be to our benefit, to pray that they cease and desist? :wink:


#11

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#12

That short excerpt sums up everything I’ve learned here over the past few years, on this subject.


#13

I agree, Dave. Thanks so much for posting that, Don! Good stuff.

Honestly, the idea of “offering up good works” for the salvation of the dead is silly. (Sorry, COG, but it just is.) As if God needs payment to let His kids out of the dungeon. No. God’s kids are in the dungeon of their own free will because their deeds and their hearts PUT them in that dungeon. The only way you can get out of the dungeon is by becoming the sort of person who loves the light and hates the darkness. No amount of “good deeds” offered up by your light-loving elder siblings is going to get a darkness-loving little brother to crawl through that unlocked door and into the light-filled world of love. He won’t do it until he learns to love the light. Period. Until that happens, he will have to wander the trackless wastes and learn the lessons of love in whichever way the Good Shepherd deems most effective. Eventually, tired and exhausted and miserable, he will be ready to allow the Shepherd of our souls to pick his brambly, shivering self up out of that fetid mire he’s curled his emaciated body up in to (if he could) die out of existence, lift him onto those broad, warm shoulders, and carry him home to the rest of the flock where he will then willingly submit to being bathed and his wounds bound up and finally eat the good nourishing food given to him.

Until then, no amount of payment will do anything–and after, no amount of payment is necessary. Nobody has to make bail nor CAN anyone. It’s not about payment. It’s about people becoming good.


#14

You folks are ministering today.
Amen.


#15

Outstandingly well-expressed, Cindy! So well, in fact that I am copying it into my special folder for excellent Christian expression!


#16

It is not that God needs payment, He demands it. God sacrificed His Son so that the faithful dead in hell and Abraham’s bosom would be saved.

The souls in hell cannot repent. Their souls are in ruins. They are likened the devil…Satan is their Father and they do as their Father does…they masquerade, lie and deceive. Do you not know that the fallen souls in hell are evil? It is only by the power of God that the dead can be saved (it is by Christ’s powers that their souls are restored and renewed). If salvation was unto man, there would be no need for a gracious and powerful Savior.

1 Corinthians 1:18. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Romans 1:16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


#17

Just a comment here. Not every Christain, believes the unsaved souls are in hell. Take this Japan Christian Reverand - for example:

Salvation for the Dead: Hades is not Hell - A Biblical Second Chance Theology for Dead People in Hades

Another perspective comes from the spiritual visions, of contemporary, Old Catholic mystic - Tiffany Snow at

What Happens When We Die – Before and Three Weeks After’’

The Lakota spiritual elders, I’ve spent time with. Have mentioned the afterlife, is like the Roger Williams move - What Dreams May Come at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_Dreams_May_Come_(film)

That is just a sampling. To show that NOT everyone, believes the unsaved souls - are currently in hell.


#18

Agreed, Randy. For me, when I hear “hell” these days I automatically translate it to kind of, the Wood between the Worlds (CS Lewis) where souls are lost, waiting to be sculpted and healed by God through whatever means turn out to be necessary. I don’t know what this “after-hours school” would look like, but I always sort of fancy it that way.

Thanks, Paidion–from you that means a great deal.

Dave, Thanks, and ditto!

CoG, you said:

You might go back and read what I wrote, but read it dispassionately. I find it’s always hard to get the full meaning of someone who is disagreeing with something I hold near until I calm down and give it a second, less (for me) threatened perusal. Maybe you’re different from me in this regard. To clarify, No, the soul in hell cannot repent as to save itself. That’s why the Shepherd must carry it home.


#19

The other thing is the Eastern Orthodox perspective - which I side with:

Universalism in the Orthodox Church?

Let me quote a bit - from the discussions:

Well, God IS NOT YET - all in all.


#20

Another verse that has been connected, right or wrongly, with this topic is 1 Cor.15:29:

Berean Literal Bible
Otherwise what will they do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why also are they baptized for them?

New American Standard Bible
Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them?

King James Bible
Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?