Questions and ConcernsDear Brother Ken,
I am having a difficult time reconciling my relatively new hope in Universalism with what I my studies in the book of Revelation. A couple of specific observations....
#1..........Revelation 21:27 implies that after the creation of the new heaven and the new earth and presumably, after the lake of fire has done its work, there will still be those who are not permitted to enter the holy city.
#2.........I perceive the same thing in Revelation 22:15.
#3.........Revelation 22:19 also states that there are those who may have their part in the tree of life and the holy city taken away.
I am finding no statements in these chapters that all will be saved, all humanity will be restored, or that evil will be completely eradicated from the universe someday. Rather I am finding clear statements and implications to the opposite. There is no mention of anyone's eventual removal from the lake of fire. There is certainly no statement that all mankind will be in the holy city. Could you offer me some guidance regarding these passages?
Thank you very much.
Most people view the book of Revelation as telling about the final results of God's dealing with the earth and people and the final state of things. But, the fact is, that the time periods delt with in Revelation is just that, periods of time, or the ages, or the eons. It does not deal with the final state, or the consumation of the eons, i.e. after the eons (ages).
The Scriptures state that there was a time "before the eons (ages):"
(emphasis mine in the Scriptures below quoted from the KJC version. Even clearer is the Concordant or Young's version which you may want to consult)The Scriptures speak of the "AGES" or "EONS," and most commonly 5 are referred to:
1 Cor. 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained BEFORE THE WORLD (Greek aion, "ages, eons") unto our glory"
2 Tim. 1:9 "Who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD (Greek aion, "ages, eons") BEGAN"
1st Eon (before the recreation in Genesis)
2nd Eon (from Adam to the Flood)
3rd Eon (from the Flood to the return of Christ. This is the present eon)
4th Eon (commonly referred to as the Millennium - Rev. 20)
5th Eon (the New Earth - Rev. 21 and 22)
So Rev. 21 and 22 are still dealing with the EONS (AGES) and the Second Death is still in effect, and of course those referred to in 21:27 and 22:15 are "outside," the nations are still healing, etc. Consequently, there is no reference to people coming out of the lake of fire, or universal reconciliation in those chapters. That is taken up in other Scriptures, such as 1 Cor. 15:22-28.
Notice 3 periods of salvation with the final including "ALL" in verses 22-24.
1st - Christ the first fruits
2nd - those that are Christ's at his coming.
3rd - the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
(Rev. 21 and 22 are still dealing with the time between the 2nd and 3rd above)
I hope this helps answer your concerns. An article that may help is BEYOND THE EONS.
See also the Chart of the Eons or Ages.
In His love,