I'm starting to look at limited duration afterlife punishment once again 'cause the no afterlife punishment whatsoever is causing too many paradoxes for me. Perhaps it's both. Perhaps it's far fewer in afterlife punishments than someone like Andrew Jukes, Elhanan Winchester, and Charles Chauncy would have been inclined towards believing in. Next to nobody for never having heard, next to nobody whose sins are all traceable to trauma earlier in their life, but the numbers might start growing with the religious and the Hitlers of the world. Just thinking out loud. Their suffering accomplishes nothing.
I'm more of a preacher of the Blood of Christ than I've ever been. But the chronically hard-headed or the chronically hard-hearted. I think that some have made too much out of certain studies on Brimstone that it just means devoted to the divine or divine purification or something to that effect, because Brimstone is also seldom found away from volcanoes and that's had me doing a lot of thinking recently about an actual "Lake" of execution, this earth in it's molten state if the judgment happens here and the three guys in Daniel that weren't touched with the smell of smoke are a picture of the resurrected righteous as the earth is being transformed into the new earth, but is an inferno for those condemned for their works out of the Books, etc. Just thinking aloud right now.
What if those not found in the Lamb's book of life that have to go through something so frightening and unbelievably painful were less than one percent of all of those who've lived throughout history because all of the others at their core really were crying out for the real God and the real love in their hearts? But what if the one or two percent have to literally have the Hell scared out of them to make them cry out to God with something other than the assumption that His last Name is d*mm*t? Such a judgment if it were involving the whole planet being aflame wouldn't have to last a whole ten seconds. Sin seems to continue onto the New Earth, but in a less accountable way after the Lake of Fire judgment has occurred. All we're seeing at that time is the ministry of reconciliation though the wicked, unclean, etc., etc. are in their sin "still." The Spirit and the Bride say "Come!!!!! Whosoever will let him take of the water of life FREELY!!!!!"
Elhanan Winchester in his book "The Universal Restoration" is the one that pointed out to me the Biblical differences between the degrees of sin and the degrees of punishment and restitution prescribed by the Mosaic Law and implied by other relevant passages. Sins of omission, sins of malice, lesser and greater sins being implied by Jesus when He was with Pilate, being recompensed double for one's sins in the writings of one of the prophets, etc. One of the staples of Eternal Separation theology is the assumption that a child stealing a five cent piece of candy is no different from the deeds of Adolf Hitler, though many of them will seldom be explicit with an illustration like that.
Eternal Separation is not only Unscriptural, it isn't intellectually sound. Let a small child be imprisoned for life by a judge for stealing a bicycle and outside of Church the same Christians that believe that the kid deserves Eternal Separation for stealing will start all kinds of petitions for his case to be retried by a different judge, etc., trying to get him out in a more reasonable amount of time. But let the kid be three years older and if he does the same thing, then according to the sermons and many of the Gospel tracts, he's deserving of the deepest, hottest, eternal Lake of Fire! I'm surprised that until I saw the Universal Restoration in the Scriptures that I didn't find Eternal Separation problematic with getting people into hypocrisy in areas like that.
People think that their emotions legitimize their doctrine along those lines! When Lorena Bobbit cut her husband's whatchamacallit off, there wasn't a man on the planet that didn't sleep on their stomach for a month after that and hope that God had an eternal Hell for a woman like that. As much as every man might have wanted God to snuff her out when that story was hitting the news, that didn't legitimize Eternal Torment just because emotions were running high and men were in fetal positions across the country every night on the remote chance that she'd come through their window with a butcher knife and freaky eyes that were looking for only one thing! Some men were probably wearing a dozen pairs of underwear every night and Kevlar jock straps for protection from knives if they didn't quite trust their wives for whatever reason. Guess what! God didn't look down the time vortex and suddenly rewrite the Bible in antiquity to include Eternal Torment provisions for women that totally snap and do unspeakable things to a man.
Emotions have zero to do with the chastenings of the Lord, their timing and duration, and whether they happen in the body or out of the body. And there is a difference between different kinds of sin. Every man on earth acknowledges that a woman slapping his face is a lesser evil than mutilating him in the way that I've just illustrated. Few men [in the history of the world] wouldn't blow her head off if a gun were immediately handy right after a woman had done that to him. But if she grabbed his credit card without him knowing about it and threw caution to the wind, despite his earnings being less because of the economy or whatever other reason, few men would go that far....though the heart attack might be just as bad for many men. Few men would think that she deserved the damnation of Hell for all of eternity over it, for more than 5 seconds.
Using an expletive with the Name of God would be a lesser sin to God than grabbing a high powered rifle and acting like a government sniper against a couple dozen of his best evangelists or Bible teachers on the planet. So, rationally, the degrees of sin are evident even when you're no longer talking about sins against His image, but against God Himself. Biblically, all sins are not the same, whether you're talking about between us as human beings or between us and God. Some things are just worse and will be dealt with accordingly -- which would be completely impossible if it were a matter of Eternal Separation for the least little wrong thought, and if the least little wrong thought were judged by God on the same level as an Adolf Hitler.
But what a testimony of Amazing Grace that Adolf Hitler and others like him will have to share in the ages to come!!!!!! You're NEVER going to be able to shut him up about the tender mercies and lovingkindness of the Redeemer. His most passionate speeches are ahead of him! He'll probably be one of our favorite speakers centuries from now as he's testifying to the power in the Blood and singing the song that asks if you've been washed in the Blood. He'll never stop shouting about the wonder working power in the Blood of the Lamb!
Love would wish that all would avoid the sufferings of life and of potentially the next, but Love is there to get us through all of the learning experiences of life and death. A little child that's been spanked for something, 9 times out of 10 exaggerates how bad the spanking was. Unless the parent, guardian, teacher, or principal hit the child with a sense of rage and revenge, then the parent, guardian, teacher, or principal usually has a sense that they didn't take it as far, and definitely not to the near murder that the child imagines in his/her mind. For some people, what I've said is a fierce departure from what I'd normally say. But there's the human side of the experience, the human side of the Scriptures, the human perspective on what's going on while it's going on, etc., as well as what things look like from God's Perspective.
I don't really see a contradiction between what I've said here and what I've said elsewhere. That's why on this website there is a blend between Ultra Universalism (i.e. no hell whatsoever) and the Restorationist Universalism (i.e. God will fry you to teach you something). It could even be exactly as Christian Universalists that are Predeterminist in their theology and some others have indicated, from God's perspective. But from the human perspective, a little child 90% of the time exaggerates how bad the spanking of this life was, thinking they have a broken tail bone, etc. There's no question about human beings that mess around having a really long, dark road/tunnel to get through with every kind of haunting, frightful thing from their own conscience to deal with, plus the manifestations of God getting through their thick skull and how in their double-vision they're interpreting that if they're totally double-vision with their rebellion.
Anyone that messes around and blows off the wooing of the Spirit of the Lord in favor of the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, etc., will find the Kingdom of God to be a very Haunted House that they'll have to navigate through. If Jesus were sitting here, He'd very likely say that for the wicked the Kingdom of God may be compared to a Haunted House that you'd go to at Halloween. That doesn't mean that it's full of stupidity or that it's frivolous, but that you're going to be going through all of the skeletons in your closet one by one and having to face it if you won't let the Blood of Christ wash all of that away before it's inspection time. Most of the skeletons will wind up not even being what people have done. It'll be everything that they've done, but every thought, intent, fear, dread, nightmare, etc., all coming back at once at the point of one's life review.
Having to deal with everything that's ever given you the heevie-jeevies at any point, at any age, at any state of mind, etc., that you've ever been through, but having to go through absolutely all of that at once. How is that not a pit of Hell? But it's not a pit of Hell constructed by God, but one within your own insides that would simply be pulled inside out to be dealt with. People that don't maintain a tight communion with Jesus Christ have a frightful inside to be dealt with! The degree of each man's torture, and I do mean "torture" in every sense including touch-stoning, but including torment and torture -- all of it will be produced from the sinner's own insides as it all comes out on the virtually simulated operating table. All of those thoughts that they wouldn't cast down, all of those cares that they wouldn't cast upon the Lord, all of those thoughts of revenge coming back to haunt them as they give an account for having murdered in their heart, etc.
All of that junk coming out as their conscience is melting in the Brimstone of the Spirit from it's former hardened, seared status. Being able to look at one's self for what one really is without any way of turning away or spin doctoring it. All of it in the most brilliant light with no excuse to be made and nowhere to hide. Ever seen a glimpse of the torments of someone detoxing from substance abuse? Imagine that taken to the hundred thousandth power with every substance that we abused in this life because we lived intemperate lives in some area of our lives. For some it was more blatant and noticeable with cigarettes and alcohol, but for others it was chocolate and other things that I won't get into. Everyone is destined to go through detox in their spirit, soul, body, riches, and in the way that they relate to everyone in existence.
You can do it in this life with the Word, fasting, faith in the Blood of Christ Jesus, worship, renewing the mind, and learning to tell the mind and the flesh "no" from your new spirit in Christ Jesus, or all of the bats are going to come out of your belfry either on the way out of this life or in another world or another age, or at the resurrection. And what I mean by substance abuse in this context is both in terms of behaviors and in our imaginations. All of that's got to get cleaned out. All of the filters have got to be replaced. Etc. The process is the same for everyone, though those that get on that path sooner than others are frequently branded as mystics, cultists, new agers, ascetics, extremists, religious nuts, weird, strange, specially gifted or specially called, etc., by the religious, by the world, and by their families.