NDEs and the Bible affirm Universal Salvation-Continued
"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance." (Romans 5:30)
"Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." (James 5:10-11)
"As he [Jesus] went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' 'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God may be displayed in his life.'" (John 9:1-3)
"For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation, if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort... But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead." (2 Corinthians 1:5, 9)
"These (sufferings) have come so that your faith -- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor..." (1 Peter 1:7)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted ... Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:3)
We can conclude from the verses above that the reason for suffering in this world is for purposes of purification and education. It is a small step to attribute the same reasons to the sufferings in hell. Using this attribution, it is easy to conclude that universal salvation is the goal and the reason for the suffering in hell and in this world.
It should be noted at this point that the concept of purgatory did not originate with the early Church. It came directly from Jewish sources as discussed in the Torah, the Talmud and other Jewish texts. In these texts, hell is called "Gehennom" (in Yiddish, "Gehenna") and it is a place of intense punishment and cleansing. This place is also known as "She'ol" and other names.
Gehennom takes its name from the Valley of Hennom, where pagans once sacrificed children.
One line of Jewish thought argues that after death the soul has to be purified before it can go on the rest of its journey. The amount of time needed for purification depends on how the soul dealt with life. One Jewish tradition mentions a soul needing a maximum of 11 months for purification, which is why, when a parent dies, the kaddish (memorial prayer) is recited for 11 months. (101)
From all that has been presented thus far from the Bible, from NDEs, from extra-Biblical references, from Jewish tradition, from early Christian tradition, and from common sense, one can conclude the following: God has a plan to save everyone in hell and eventually everyone will go to heaven. Can man continue forever to defy his Creator? Common sense tells us the answer is no. Common sense tells us a God of infinite in love and mercy would be willing and able to save those in hell. Any other view is dishonoring to God.
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