The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Ragamuffin Gospel

I don’t think Jesus made it clear that being salted was exclusive of either case. To limit His words to either position is an assumption not born out by the words He spoke. The whole context of His teaching makes it clear to me that is pertains to both, and this follows in the teaching of the apostles and reflects also the words of the prophets. Peter and Paul both speak of fire in the context of mortal life and the world to come. Daniel speak words that can me interpreted either way. Personally I think it is both, and the fire is the presence of God.

Look at the context and show me how it was not pertinent solely to those of the context i.e., the disciples… vs. 31, 33-34, 38, 50. The whole passage, Eagle, is focused and relative to the disciple, period. You have to stick with context! HOW & WHERE do you find ANY postmortem talk or reference here? << Please answer this. It is a wholly and solely INTRODUCED theological presupposition, i.e., there is NO suggestion of postmortem realities in the text AT ALL.

Such as?? Now before you start proof-texting… ask yourself IF what YOU think is being said is actually being said, or, are you introducing an assumption. Pardon the pun, but fire away…


Your assumption that when the Gospel writers’ select Jesus’ words to his disciples, that the church’s readers were to see it as inapplicable to them is different from my perception that they constructed a narrative that could function as a handbook for their generations’ disciples.

As one who sees the need for repentance at the core of the Biblical story, I’m wondering where you see Paidion defining this as a “propitiating” penance, and what you mean by that characterization.

Hi Maintenance Man. Thank you for your respectful inquiry. I’ll do my best. However, I will deal with just 1) and 4) in this post:

I think 1) and 4) can be answered with the statement, “For everyone will be salted (or “seasoned”) with fire” (Mark 9:49). Although Davo thinks that my understanding that this is post-mortem correction, is hogwash, let’s examine it in context:

That little word “for” (γαρ in Greek, or “gar” in transliteration) indicates a connection to the preceding words. And what are the preceding words?

And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell,‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’

The Greek word translated as “hell” is “γεενvα” usually transliterated as “gehenna” in English characters. The Online Bible Lexicon defines the word as follows:

Now I realize that many want to LIMIT the meaning to the valley of Hinnon. But I doubt that Jesus was referring to that valley in the above quote. For Jesus whole teaching in the quote seems to be symbolic. He doesn’t expect people to cut of their hands and tear out their eyes, if they are the causes of sin, but rather to cast out of their lives whatever induces them to do wrong. And why would “their worm not die” in the valley of Hinnom?
Also, if Jesus is talking about one’s body being cast into Hinnom after death, who cares? Is it of any personal importance what happens to your body after death.

As I see it, Jesus is warning his listeners about the severe correction they will need to undergo post-mortem unless they avoid wrongdoing in this life, eliminating those things from their lives that induce them to sin. Then, although they will still require correction (Everyone will be salted with fire), it will not be the severe correction that will be undergone in Hell (or “Gehenna” if you prefer) by those that continue in wrongdoing without repentance.

You cant take one text and separate it from all the other texts about fire. All the texts about fire must be read to establish context.
Many of them have potential post mortem, or better, time transcendant interpretations, such as Dan 7, Rev 14, Mat 25.

If you cut one verse out of the topical whole cloth it is easy to make a certain assertion- such as you are, but viewed against the larger context of all the scriptures, it is not so easy to limit it, either way.

That fire is God Himself!

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,for our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:28,29)

Fire symbolizes God because God “consumes” all sin. That which is not eliminated in this life, must be eliminated in the next. Those who are grateful for receiving the unshakeable Kingdom, and who offer acceptable worship with reverence and awe, will enter life with far less tendency for wrongdoing, and thus there will be less to consume. The fire is God Himself, whose essence is LOVE (1 John 4:8,16). Generally His people will experience LOVE as joy. Even though they may need some correction from it, they will welcome that correction. Whereas those who have rejected God and hate Him will experience LOVE as pain. But sooner or later, they too, will be corrected.

“I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His vesture was like white snow
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
“A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court sat,
And the books were opened. Dan 7

This is a picture of Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm(time transcendent, beyond the veil, eternal view) much like Ezekiel’s and Isaiah’s and John’s and Stephen’s. It correlates with Romans 2, for me anyway, “On the Day God judges the secrets of men’s hearts by Jesus Christ”

I see a correlation with Isaiah 9

Surely wickedness burns like a fire;
it consumes briers and thorns,
it sets the forest thickets ablaze,
so that it rolls upward in a column of smoke.
19 By the wrath of the Lord Almighty
the land will be scorched
and the people will be fuel for the fire;
they will not spare one another.
20 On the right they will devour,
but still be hungry;
on the left they will eat,
but not be satisfied.

This is more of a picture of the fire as it burns in the world/lifetime of men, as accountability and reaping as they sow, but this comes from the Lord. It is flowing out from Him into the time realm, the threshing floor…

“Everyman will be salted with fire”

Life is the threshing floor upon which God separates the wheat from the chaff, but the tares are gathered to be burned at the end of the age. Since we know that it is “Each in his own order” and that not all are “gathered into one in Christ”(Eph 1) in this age it is not unlikely that some will be gathered in “the ages to come”(Eph 2)

But not to debate the whole preterist historicist thing, because I believe the two are interwoven- and that is my point.

What is happening in the visible world is subject to and flowing out of the invisible world. Jesus is high and lifted up and His train fills the temple(Isaiah 6 and Eph 4), “He who descended is also He who ascended so that He might fill all things” The view from Isaiah 6 is the same as the view from Eph 4:11 and Dan 7:10 and it is not about time, so much as it is about being at various points around the bubble(time) looking into the center(olam) which transcends time, "WHo was foreknown from the foundation of the world(Alpha) and is manifest in these last(completing, finishing) days(Omega)… last days not being only about sequence but also about purpose- the manifestation of heavenly realities into the time realm, the threshing floor… light into chaos bringing the form of a new creation.(2 Peter chapter 3)

“A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were attending Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; Dan 7:10

Daniel 7:10 is the same as, or parallel to, Hebrews 12

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

and Rev 14

“If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed [f]in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and [g]brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

And it requires the full context of all these verses and many more to even begin to understand what the fire is, where it is, and when it is- His presence, everywhere, always…

Standing in it, for the wicked, post-mortem, will be the revelation that pierces the heart, brings to light every hidden thing, and slays Leviathan the twisting serpent, the worm, Adam. There will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, followed by remorse, reconciliation, rejoicing and restoration.

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Heb 4:12,13

His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. Rev 1

In that day the Lord will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
With His fierce and great and mighty sword,
Even Leviathan the twisted serpent;
And He will kill the dragon who lives in the sea.

In that day,
“A vineyard of wine, sing of it!
“I, the Lord, am its keeper;
I water it every moment. Isaiah 27:1-3

All of these verses and many more are the context for Mark 9:49, so not to say anyone here is “right” or “wrong”- I just think the polarizing elements may be narrow views of a much wider picture, cut out of whole cloth.

I’d like to see the answer to that as well. :smiley:

The verses I referenced from the passage, if you read them, show this to be NO assumption, i.e., it’s right there in the text.

I don’t assume… “that the church’s readers were to see it as inapplicable to them” — clearly Christendom didn’t see it as inapplicable to them; and… “that they constructed a narrative that could function as a handbook for their generations’ disciples” is IMO fine. But HOW those things were/are made to be applicable CAN be made to say anything WHEN said words are lifted out of their eschatological context; and therefore HOW such things were understood. Jesus wasn’t speaking in some ‘all things to all men’ nebulous vacuum, nor was he speaking over his audiences’ heads… he often spoke to their immediate future.

To appease an offended person (propitiate), in this case God, by the confession of and consequent abolition of sin (penance)… this is Don’s post-mortem repentance via the cleansing fires of ‘the lake of fire’ in order that said candidate (inclusive of all non-believers AND believers) might finally exit said burnings into the relief of Heaven. Until one grasps the fire insurer on a burning one shall go… IMO a load of religious BS. You’ll have to forgive my bluntness.

Neither Jesus nor any of the New Testament writers said nor wrote anything remotely in that direction. IF such had been the case Don would have slam-dunked this issue months ago with said Scriptures… he has not BECAUSE they are not! It is poor practice to bring a notion TOO a text and then summarily squeeze that notion into it.

It should also be noted that Don gives little to no credence to the OT and considers the end of the NT inappropriate and not relevant for issues around “doctrine” (even though he is quite happy to tag in the like of “the lake of fire” where convenient). So, that Don attaches his theological interpretation to Jesus’ “salted with fire” comment is to be taken as a given, and that’s fine, but some textual evidence would be more convincing.

It is interesting to note however that extra-biblical literature, something Don has indicated he does hold with some degree of credence, seems on the surface at least cut right across any notion of his post-mortem repentance

If I have come across as overly critical of Don’s position and expressed such too harshly, then my apologies to you Don… we are after all brothers.

Bluntness? It’s baloney! I do not believe in Christ’s sacrifice as a means of propitiating God in order to escape the lake of fire (if that’s the doctrine you’re attributing to me). I have no idea how you could arrive at such a notion from that which I wrote. What I have said all along is that Christ’s sacrifice is God’s means of delivering us from sin or wrongdoing, and that our repentance is necessary in synergy with Christ’s deliverance through His sacrificial death to bring this about. There is no “fire insurer” in what I have expressed. It is loving correction by the One whose essence is LOVE.

If a human father lovingly corrects his son by withholding privileges, what demeaning name do you have for the father, if he continues to withhold those privileges until the son changes his ways?

By the way, 2 Clement wasn’t written by Clement. I don’t use it in support of any doctrine.
I see no reason why the fact of death would prevent us from repenting thereafter.

I believe the lake of fire is the love of God. Christ crucified (the serpent on a stick) cures the snakebite. It is the image of the heart of God displayed for all the universe that “disarmed the principalities and powers”. No argument can stand before it, “For if they would have understood they would never have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Eschatology is not the seed or the core of the scriptures. Christ crucified is.

God is love. God is light. God is a consuming fire. Jesus is the radiance of the Father’s glory and the express image of His nature. Repentance and faith towards God open the portal, the eyes of the heart, to perceive it, receive it and rejoice in it. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

NT eschatology was indeed the outgrowth of the OT (Scriptures), via Christ crucified. The Gospel was “Your God reigns!Isa 52:7 — this was “the consolation of IsraelLk 2:26 that so many had been waiting for… Mk 15:43; Lk 1:68; 2:38; 23:51; 24:21 Acts 1:6.

Don… you cannot deflect by quoting me AND THEN create and then refuse to accept an argument I DIDN’T make. Read the quote again. I never said you believe… “Christ’s sacrifice as a means of propitiating God in order to escape the lake of fire…” — as is CLEAR by my quote such action is on the shoulders of said candidate — which you have TOO MANY times stated that UNTIL such a one repents they will remain in the lake of fire. Prove me wrong… or do I need to go and fetch a bunch of your quotes again.

This I know… I think we have the same book.

I agree totally… I just don’t buy into your further firebrand thesis. IF such a notion were true then all the fire related texts that get subsumed in guilt-by-association, i.e., a word appears in a text and it therefore magically qualifies for post-mortem application (as per Eagle’s former post) etc. And IF that be the case then your whole scenario breaks down, where God apparently only uses such fiery means post-mortem, BUT apparently NOT IN THIS LIFE… how convenient.

My point was that God is the fire.

Pre mortem, post mortem whatever. The presence of God is the fire, whether in life or in death, the fire burns until all darkness is consumed and God is “everything in everyone”, “all in all”. To me, there is no point to arguing about whether it is post mortem or not. That question is a misprioritized sliver of the whole revelation- Jesus is speaking of “mysteries hidden from the foundation of the world”- before Israel, before creation, beyond the veil of the flesh, where all thing begin and end- unto which Jesus Christ is the door.

"Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.

Whatever time one is/was in, whatever age, God has set everything up to bring everyone face to face with Him.

“And His eyes were as flames of fire…And His face shone like the sun shining in its strength.”

That presence, that face, those eyes, bring brokeness and humility, gratitude and love.

But Jesus is the stumbling stone, a rock of offense. He is the breaking point, the event horizon, for everyone who ever lived or will live- and thats what Mark 9:49 is about

“Everyone will be salted with fire”.

Ok… so we will run with your scenario.

We know there is no variance in God, no shadow of turning; He remains the same — yesterday, today and forever! Thus we can safely conclude that with whichever manner His cleansing “fire burns until all darkness is consumed” as we understand and experience it, LIFE will remain the same either side of death BECAUSE the “loving correction by the One whose essence is LOVEdoes not change. Therefore ‘the lake of fire’ that is postulated to be for ALL humanity regardless of belief (according to Don, and it seems you) will be sweet, BECAUSE… as we experience the God’s fiery burnings in THIS LIFE, as per the texts you have given, so shall it likewise be beyond, because God changes not… works for me.

There’s something to be said for logical consistency! :sunglasses:

Hi Paidion.

As I advance in my inquiry into your belief here I am going to try to do it in such a way as to not interject my own beliefs into the mix, therefor trying to get to your meaning without alter/theological bias and the back and forth bickering that ensues.

Lets start with #5 ‘what is the fire?’

You said:

So, if I look up every use of the word ‘fire’ in the NT, the word you have used as correction, (g4442) seems to mean 'destruction.

Mat_3:10 Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Luk_3:17 His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
Luk 9:54 When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”’

So on…

Can you explain this, as it seem to me even your Hebrews text alludes to ‘either you do something’ or God will consume you with destruction.

I’ll await your answer.

Greetings MM,

The following was one of the verses you quoted, it seems, in order to show that the “fire” of the New Testament destroyed people rather than sin:

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:54 NKJV)

Yes, Jesus’ disciples certainly had the mindset of the OT Israelites. They were certainly asking about commanding a fire that would wipe out the inhospitable Samaritans. They appealed to the Hebrew scriptures that stated that God commanded fire to come down from heaven and consume 50 people. But what was Jesus’ response?

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. [Or “You do not know the kind of spirit of which you are”] For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (verses 55, 66)

I wonder if Jesus was saying that the desire to call down fire on people and destroy them came for the spirit of the evil one.

Jesus never killed or maimed anyone while on earth or destroyed them with fire. And He was Another exactly like the Father, being the exact image of the Father’s essence (Heb 1:3). So this implies that the Father does not do so either. God very essence is LOVE (John 4:8,16).

The other two verses you quoted were words spoken by John the baptizer, and they are obviously figurative language to illustrate the importance of bearing good fruit.

Besides, if you believe that all people will be reconciled to God, then it would not make sense that God would destroy those that did not bear good fruit. Or do you think it means only that God will destroy their physical existence in this present life?


Most scholars find the application of Mark 9 far less clear than your apparently preterist certitude that it simply addresses the first generation.

Is a view that you see as a load of BS, with no texts “remotely in that direction,” that beyond death men can endure judgment, and/or suffer purification. I find that most of history’s Bible readers have perceived some such, and that Talbot & Parry, to whom this site was dedicated, see this as Scripture’s paradigm. Do you feel that only you and a handful of others have been able to see what is so obvious to you on this question?

Hi Paidon,

You said of the verses I supplied:

O.K. So whether I believe that all will be reconciled is not in the equation. The question is one of 'are these scriptures alluding to a fire that is post mortem correction or destruction.

You mentioned…

Well, without citing every occurrence of fire, I still maintain fire, as used in the NT (g4442) is destruction. Here are a few more examples from the Master himself.

Mat 7:19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Mat 13:40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.
Mat 13:41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
Mat 13:42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luk 17:29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Luk 17:30 "It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Joh 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
Joh 15:6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Then there is this one…
Jud 1:22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting;
Jud 1:23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

If Jude thought that God’s fire was remedial, why would he use the term, ‘snatching them out of the fire’? Would not he say maybe… Beware lest you find yourself in the grasp of the fire.
It seems Jude did not have a very good feeling about the fire. And it seems something was going to be destroyed and it seems nothing is said about ‘after you die.’

I look forward to your response. :smiley:

Something to be said for patient communication and listening too :slight_smile: I never said anything about all humanity including believers going through the lake of fire. I dont believe that. What I am saying(pardon me if I am not communicating it well, I am not laying it all off on you, lol) is that God is always the fire…

But to assune that the experience of something barely spoken of in the scriptures will be sweet when Jesus said it will not be sweet seems a bit illogical to me. God changes not- on this we agree, but we change. Fire transforms, and until the transformation is complete it is destructive to what was even as it creates something new, indestructible. So the same fire brings rejoicing to that which is pure, and tribulation or destruction(apollumi-ruination) to that which is impure- which is why we rejoice when we begin to see that “all rule power and authority will be anulled”- because that means the fire has done its work and there is nothing left but gold silver and precious stone.

But in the ages there are many manifestations of the fire, and all things eminate from Him. Believers are purified by fire in trials and in the discernment of God. The lake of fire will be a different manifestation, something not defined clearly, but alluded to in Mat 25 and Rev 14 and a few other places. Jesus clearly says this experience is to be avoided, and I believe that is in this life as well as the next.

Those who are reconciled by grace through faith have already bowed the knee and confessed with their tongue, “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of God the Father. The lake of fire, whatever exactly that will be- is for those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life.

The nature of the fire is the same. It is the presence of God- glorious to those who believe, terrible to those who rebel. The times and the applications of the glory and the corrections of God are many and diverse through the ages from the beginning until God is all in all, some in life, some in the olam.

Not all that is remedial is pleasant or benign.

the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. (2 Pet 2)

That fire can be remedial is clear in 1 Cor 3:15

Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

In Zechariah 3
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

In Isaiah 6

And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke. 5 Then I said,

“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”
6 Then** one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs. 7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

Yet in Ezekiel 10 we see the same, as in Daniel 7 and Rev 14

Then I looked, and behold, in the expanse that was over the heads of the cherubim something like a sapphire stone, in appearance resembling a throne, appeared above them. 2And He spoke to the man clothed in linen and said, “Enter between the whirling wheels under the cherubim and fill your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And he entered in my sight.

This is close to 2 Peter 3, where we see the fire is definitely remedial

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed(lythesetai dissolved) with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up(heurethesetai- exposed).

Since all these things are to be destroyed(dissolved) in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed(dissolved) by burning, and the elements(stoicheion) will melt with intense heat! 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

All this aligns with 1 Cor 15 and all rule power and authority being anulled as the adversaries are gathered into one in Christ, the last of which to be destroyed is death.

The problem with definitions of logic is that it they are only as consistent as the frame of reference, variety of perspective and wideness of parameter it can enfold. What is logical floating on a pond is no loger logical sailing across the ocean.