The Evangelical Universalist Forum

URist Preterist & Pantelist response to anti UR "proof texts"

How do Preterists & Pantelists who are URists address alleged anti UR “proof texts” such as the following:

Yes you are right to point this out. The pantelist position is that said saving was to be from the trials and tribulations of the prophesied forthcoming turmoil associated with the winding up of the old covenant world or age. This was occurring to those, or as you have it… “Jesus specified a certain groupof that historic 40yr period AD30-70a biblical generation, i.e., Jesus’… “this generation.

Those who stood firm in their faith would survive into the coming (new) age of righteousness with all vestiges, i.e., “elements” of the old covenant age having been brought to nought — starting at the cross and consummating in the parousia. What was visual, that is… “every eye shall see” was the demonstrable destruction of everything associated with that old covenant world or age, i.e., the Temple, the Priesthood, the Sacrifices, the Law, all being thoroughly wiped out via the Roman rout of AD66-70 — the prophetic 3½yrs or 42mths — or as Daniel has it described to him…

Dan 12:7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.

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Do Pantelists say the same regarding:

Hebrews 10:39
(39) But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.

“As for Hebrews 10:37, Gregg offers only his “opinion” without reasons that it is about A. D. 70, when it is clearly about Christ’s Second Coming as both the language and context indicate. For it speaks about our “reward” and “heaven” (vv. 34-35).”

Yes… in the face of persecution, reversion to Judaism was a real issue the apostles contended with, cf. Heb 6:4-6; 10:29; 2Pet 2:20-22; Gal 2:18 + multiple verses from Acts + Rev.

As for Norman Geisler and his gripe against some Hank Hanegraaff’s partial prêterism… I wouldn’t venture too much of an opinion myself other than to say in some respects Geisler is correct, i.e., partial prêterism is inconsistent; it is, in fact, partial futurism and so as far as I’m concerned… dead in the water. IF only Geisler had eyes to see he’d realise that AD70 WAS the Parousia, i.e., they were, in fact, both one and the same event.

The Old Testament prophets used cosmic language to describe transformative historical events.

The story of judgment and vindication which Jesus told is very much like the story told by the prophet Jeremiah, invoking the categories of cosmic disaster in order to invest the coming socio-political disaster with its full theological significance.

N. T. Wright ‘* Jesus and the Victory of God *’ p. 323

Biblical prophecy is figurative or symbolic language describing and uncovering the spiritual significance and meaning of temporal events (AD70) and as such being meaningful to their original hearers — “let him who has ears” etc.

Christ’s coming was imminent in their lifetimes… which means that it must be long-fulfilled by ours. What would happen if we began to walk in the empowerment of these promises kept?

Prov 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. C.f. Acts 26:6-8; 24:15; 23:6

Futurism has deferred the NT hope… no wonder the church has been sick ever since!

Davo, are you in agreement with Adam Clarke’s commentary on Heb.10:39:

I think Clarke gives a reasonable reading. In this vein you may find this interesting as well…

My take on this is that we need to start defining salvation.

In my opinion all are saved from death, sin and saparation from God.

Not all are saved from the day of indignation,corrective judgement, and the second death before the kingdom era.

Thus all are saved from all while some are only partially saved from some things.

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Let us note this verse says nothing about being saved from endless tortures or endless annihilation. Salvation is from destruction. And nothing in v.39 says those who experience being “destroyed” cannot be saved later. Nothing in v.39 says anyone will “never be saved”. To the contrary, all will be reconciled to God & find life & justification in Christ (Col.1:16-20; Rom.5:18-19; Phil.2:9-11; etc).

Heb.10:39 speaks of being “destroyed”, but not destroyed forever, not endless annihilation or tortures. What is “destroyed” can still be saved:

God destroys & He makes alive again (Deut.32:39). Destroy this temple & in 3 days i will raise it up (Jn.2:19). Destruction’s purpose is to lead to salvation (1 Cor.5:4-5; 1 Tim.1:19-20).

A Greek lexicon at the following url states re the Greek word olethron (“destruction”) at 2 Thess.1:9:

“…Hierocles 14, 451b has the thought that the soul of the sinner in Hades is purified by the tortures of hell, and is saved thereby…”

As does p.702 of “A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (BDAG)”:

A Greek–English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (BDAG)

Compare that above statement to:

“In Ancient Greek mythology, Olethros was the personification of Havoc and probably one of the Makhai. Olethros translates roughly in ancient Greek to “destruction”, but often with a positive connotation, as in the destruction required for and preceding renewal.”

In the book of Daniel King Nebuchadnezzar lost his soul when God made him act insanely like an animal for 7 years. God’s destruction/ruining of the kings’ soul meant the loss of his soul for the king.

Likewise the prodigal son “lost” (same Greek word as “destroyed”) his soul when he left his father for the world. Later when he “came back to his senses”, he “found” his soul. His Father said his son was “dead” and “lost” (i.e. destroyed). Though he was obviously not annihilated or tortured for eternity.

What does it mean that God “can” ruin or destroy a soul in Gehenna? Would this be ruin as in cessation of existence or something like a spiritual death as in, for example, dead in sins (Eph.2:1)? Or as in what God did to the king in the book of Daniel in making him act like an animal for 7 years, before returning his soul back to sanity, resulting in him being humbled & worshiping God? Or, as in being delivered to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Tim.1:20)? BTW, Satan will be there in the LOF with human blasphemers.

Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme (1 Tim.1:20).

Even in this life one can be delivered to Satan for destruction that one may be saved:

1 Cor.5:5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

Of course the spiritually dead are already dead in sins. But this does not preclude there being various degrees of spiritual deadness or destruction (i.e. ruin) of their souls. Similarly the Scriptures speak of those who are worthy of few stripes & others who are worthy of many stripes, & similarly. Surely a distinction is to be made between a relatively innocent infant or child, a rebellious teenager & those who have apostacized from the faith, or demons & Satan. It is conceivable that it is always possible for the spiritually dead to experience greater degrees of destruction to their souls should they continue to rebel in the LOF and until they finally repent. Though, ever given the choice to turn to God, it is mathematically impossible that they would continue to reject God for eternity.

A passage in Matthew that has been interpreted as speaking of the possibility of release from “hell” (Gehenna) is:

Matt 5:25-26 . .Come to terms quickly with your adversary before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

This is spoken of by Jesus in the context of references to Gehenna, both before and after this passage.

Mt.18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon…
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Furthermore, the context of Matthew 5:25-26, both before & after those 2 verses, is making references to Gehenna. Verses 21-26 have to do with anger & being reconciled & v.22 warns of Gehenna. In verses 27-30 the subject is adultery & v.30 warns regarding Gehenna.

Matt 5:25-26 Come to terms quickly with your adversary before it is too late and you are dragged into court, handed over to an officer, and thrown in jail. I assure you that you won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

“They must pay (as GMac says) the uttermost farthing – which is to say, they must tender the forgiveness of their brethren that is owed, the repentance and sorrow for sin that is owed, etc. Otherwise they do stay in prison with the tormenters. (their guilt? their hate? their own filthiness?) At last resort, if they still refuse to let go that nasty pet they’ve been stroking, they must even suffer the outer darkness. God will remove Himself from them to the extent that He can do so without causing their existence to cease. As Tom Talbot points out so well, no sane person of free will (and the child must be sane and informed to have freedom) could possibly choose ultimate horror over ultimate delight throughout the unending ages.” Why affirm belief in Hell?

Matthew was probably written to Jews & in the opening chapter of this book he told his readers that Jesus shall save His people from their sins (1:21), i.e. His people Israel (2:6). I take that to include people like Judas Iscariot & wicked Pharisees who died in their sins. But lest anyone think that is a licence to live sinfully, Jesus gives warnings such as those in Mt.10:28.

Also note how it says sodom and gommora was destroyed “forever” but ezekiel 16:53 states it will eventually be restored.

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The problem, as I see it, with the preterist position is that there is no direct textual evidence that Christians in the first or second century thought along these lines. Irenaeus of Lyon and Papias were certainly a futurist (much to the embarrasment of some 4th-5th century Fathers, e.g. Eusebius), and Irenaeus was in the Johanine school from which both the Gospel and Apocalypse of John arose. I agree that the destruction of the Temple was a significant event on the prophetic horizon in Jesus’ teaching, but aside from a few references in the Gospels, the destruction of the Temple gets very little attention in the rest of the NT (I know there are debates about dating of the NT books), and more importantly in the writings of the 2nd century church. Presumably at least some of the apostles lived past AD 70, beyond the fact that Jesus’ prophecy was vindicated, I would think there would be more emphasis in the early church on what we would understand as a preterist position. The entire preterist position is a product of the modern era (post 1500), this doesn’t necessarily mean it is false; but there is I think a reasonable expectation that preterists have a high burden of proof to overcome. We could wrangle all day over millenarian views, but broadly speaking I think that the futurist position still is the most plausible - especially since the entire purpose of apocalyptic literature is to unveil (at least to some extent) the shape and meaning of history that proceeds always into the future. One needn’t be a strict literalist to give a fairly straightforward account of a coherent futurism; I don’t think preterists have brought any evidence to the table that demands such a view.


Lol… you’re not the first futurist to make wildly inaccurate claims as to prêterism, and then choked. Maybe for starters consider the following…

Those verses only refer to salvation at the time of “the end”. They don’t address the final destiny of those who do not obtain salvation at that time. In context “the end” has been interpreted as referring to such things as:

(1) c. 70 AD when the Roman armies came & destroyed Jerusalem, but the Christians were “saved”, i.e. delivered, IOW they escaped the Roman slaughtering of the Jews & the horrific things that came upon them then, or

(2) “the end” refers to the time of Christ’s return when Christians will be saved & the lost cast into “hell” till they repent, are purified by Christ’s blood & also become saved.

So IMO the above out-of-context Scripture passages fail as “proof texts” against the biblical truth of universalism.

Nowhere in the entire Bible does it says anyone will “never be saved”:

“never” (Mt.7:23, etc)…this word appears to occur 16 times in the NT & it seems that it never means anything except “never”. It is used of “love never fails” (1 Cor.13:8). It also occurs in Mt.7:23 where Jesus says “I never knew you; depart you from Me, those working lawlessness.” Which is such an incredibly lame remark, if Love Omnipotent believed in endless torments. If He believed that such an unspeakably horrific final destiny awaits the wicked, including those He was referring to in Mt.7:23, why didn’t He make it clear by telling them that they would “never” be saved and/or He would “never” know them? Would that not have been clear & unambiguous, unlike the words He spoke, & unlike the ambiguous aion & aionios, which often refer to finite duration in ancient Koine Greek? OTOH consider re the use of the word “never”:

“Philo saith, “The punishment of the wicked person is, ζην αποθανοντα αει, to live for ever dying, and to be for ever in pains, and griefs, and calamities that never cease…”

Yet Scripture - never - uses such language. Moreover, it speaks of death being abolished, not being “for ever”.

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And the world is passing by, and its desire, yet he who is doing the will of God is remaining for the eon. (1 Jn.2:17, CLV)
and the world doth pass away, and the desire of it, and he who is doing the will of God, he doth remain – to the age. (YLT)
And the world passes away, and the lust of it; the but one doing the will of the God, abides for the age. (Diaglott)
“into the age” (Greek-English Interlinear):
“into the eon” (Apostolic Bible Polygot, Greek-English Interlinear):

If sinful desires (or lusts) are “passing away”, why would God keep anyone in “hell” whose sinful desires have passed away?

Can all evil lusts pass away & people still be burning in hell? Does the passing away of lusts require that such people are either endlessly annihilated or saved?

For the eon or age here can certainly refer to a finite eon such as the millennial age eon kingdom of Christ, or also the eon of the second death (lake of fire) until death is abolished (1 Cor.15:26) & God becomes “all in all” (v.28), even all who were ever in Adam (v.22).

From a universalist perspective, John may be speaking of the “special” (1 Tim.4:10) salvation for those who are “doing the will of God” (1 Jn.2:17) in this life, since he has already made universal salvation clear in his gospel & elsewhere (2:2; 4:14) in this same epistle:

1 Jn.2:2 He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours alone, but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 Jn.4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

God is love (1 Jn.4:8,16)

Here is another example of the “special” salvation of those who believe in this world:

To this end we labor and strive, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and ESPECIALLY of those who believe. (1 Tim.4:10)


What follows is another universalist interpretation of 1 Jn.2:17 given by Oldmantook.

and the world doth pass away, and the desire of it, and he who is doing the will of God, he doth remain – to the age. (YLT)
And the world is passing away, and its desire; but the one doing the will of God abides to the age. (BLB)

To force the meaning of eternal on to this verse is unnecessary and adds to its meaning beyond what is simply stated in the verse itself. The context of 1 Jn 2:17 helps to determine its meaning. The Apostle John warns believers not to love the world in vs.15-16. Verse 17 therefore simply states that he who does the will of God which can only take place when we are living - in this present age; i.e. church age. To not love the world and instead do the will of God is to live/abide in this present church age. Here John is restating another familiar verse which he wrote earlier in his gospel that as branches we are to abide in the vine. As believers we are to live/remain/abide in Him in this present church age; instead of loving the world. Hence no reference to eternity in this verse.

This verse is not referencing a future state of eternity “which follows” as Cyprian interprets. Rather the verb tenses employed by the Apostle John indicate that he is referring to the believer’s present state of life and existence - not some future state. The word poiōn is a present tense participle which should read “whoever is doing the will of God”…indicative of ongoing action. Thus the believer who is obedient and doing God’s will is assured of age-during life referring to this present church age; not eternal life “which follows” according to Cyprian. In other words we presently possess life with Christ as long as we continue to do His will and abide in Him during this present age. This interpretation is reinforced by the verb menei which is in the present tense. Instead of “lives” it should read “living.” Therefore whoever is doing the will of God is living according to the age which refers to this present church age. That is why I wrote earlier that this verse has nothing to do with a future eternal existence. Rather the verb tenses indicate that believers have age-during life at the present time/age as long as we continue to abide in Him much like branches which continue to abide in the vine.​

Being the OP, I assume you’ve read my reply to Der Alter regarding the verb tenses employed in 1 Jn 2:17? If so you would know that I agree with you that John is encouraging us to be faithful now by the use of the present tense verb. As I explained earlier, the present tense verbs indicate that John is referring to living obedient lives now in this present church age now; not abiding/living in a future state of eternity. If John were referring to “eternal” life as you claim he could have employed the word meneite which is in the future tense which would then read “you will live forever.” The fact that he uses the present tense menei indicates that he does not have “eternity” in mind as you propose. One must be careful to not read one’s own interpretation into the text beyond what the text itself states.

Yes the Greek verb tenses unlike English, refer primarily to action rather than time. The present tense with the indicative mood represents contemporaneous action, as opposed to action in the past or future. In moods other than in the indicative mood, it refers only to continuous or repeated action. When used in the indicative mood, the present tense denotes action taking place or going on in the present time. It does not reference or “look to the future” as you put it.

As I noted above, with respect to 1 Jn 2:17, no reference to the future can be made since the present tense coupled with the indicative mood denotes present time. Thus you are barking up the wrong tree, so to speak, when you inquire “how far into the future?” Rather this verse describes believers who presently abide/remain as having life in the vine - in this age/time. It is describing life in the Spirit which we presently have as long as we presently abide and obey His commands and not give in to the desires of the world. He presently remains/abides in us as long as we presently remain/abide in Him. John repeats this idea one chapter later in 1 Jn 3:24:

“The one who habitually keeps His commandments [obeying His word and following His precepts, abides and] remains in Him, and He in him. By this we know and have the proof that He [really] abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us [as a gift].” AMP
The desires of the world are indeed passing away, but those who do the will of God remain presently attached to the vine. Properly understood, no reference at all to eternity.

There is a problem with your argument as I see it. Indeed you cite passages where it makes sense that only “forever” fits. I don’t have a problem with that. However in order for your argument to be a valid one, you would have to demonstrate that forever - always and without exception - always means forever/eternity. Just because lasting for an age is a terrible fit for many of these verses as you say, it does not automatically entail that it is a terrible fit for all of these applicable verses as alternate explanations/interpretations do exist. I think the following link, illustrates the point. According to this poster’s opinion, "…the teaching of universalism does not stand or fall with the translation of the word aiónios, while the doctrine of endless torment can only be proven true if it can be shown, that aiónios means strict infinity or endlessness in all occasions…a look on the phrase eis ton aióna

see post 66 @

Hey guys,

This is my first post in a while since I’ve been in the process of reading as much of these discussion topics as possible since you guys are extremely knowledgable in these areas. In my personal pursuit for Biblical Truth I have seen a general trend towards Full Preterism and Universalism, and so I’m trying to get deeper in my understanding with ideas such as Pantelism. I guess this post is really for @davo then haha. I’ve been reading the Pantelism and erictb sites - and do see the arguments being made are convincing. Davo, I do have to say that the way in which you interpret scripture is very nice since it is in context, that of which I feel is seldom done in mainstream Christian circles. I would like some clarification on your ideas with the 1000 year reign and lake of fire and how you see them being fulfilled. If you or any other Pantelist could comment or point me in the right direction that would be great!

Thanks for the kind words mik. Try this link below for starters and just follow on down with my posts in the thread…

This post has some interesting quotes…

On the 1000yrs I have some brief thoughts on that here…

Plus this post and the few following…

Hope these help a little :sunglasses:

Thanks very much davo!