This article was written on the day that Rob Bell and his very controversial book titled, “Love Wins” came out on the market.
For those of you who do not know about Rob Bell, he is a Christian pastor from Michigan who is trying to say that everyone will eventually end up in heaven. He is thus trying to take out the doctrine of hell and eternal damnation from our Bible.
His theory is that God’s love is so powerful and overwhelming, that it will eventually melt the hearts of every single person, thus no one will ever end up in hell for all of eternity.
He now has left the church he has been pastoring since 1999 and is seeking to spread his message of Universalism to a wider and broader audience. We feel he is going to be doing some serious damage to a lot of the people who are on the fence post with the Lord regarding their eternal salvation in Him.
With Rob now being a full-pledged Universalist, this now brings up the question that I want to address with this specific article. And that question is – can people get saved after they die and cross over, or do they have to get saved and born again before their death and departure from this world?
If Universalists believe that everyone will eventually get saved, then some of these people are going to have to get saved after they die and cross over, since many people will never find and accept Jesus this side of heaven.
As you will see in the specific Scripture verses I will give you in this article, God is making it very clear and very plain that we have to accept His free gift of eternal salvation through His Son Jesus this side of heaven, not the next. In other words, we only have this one earthly lifetime to find and accept Jesus, and we have to do it before we die and leave this world. If we think we can do it after we die and cross over, we will find out very quickly that we were sadly mistaken and will thus have to pay with our eternal lives in the most horrible place imaginable.
This is why what Rob Bell and the rest of the Universalists are preaching is so deadly and so dangerous. If someone is on the fence post with the Lord regarding their eternal salvation in Him, and then they hear a message from a Universalist like Rob Bell telling them they can still get saved with Jesus after they die and cross over, can you see what this will do to some of these people?
It will get them to put off making this life-altering decision until either later in their life or when they die and cross over. They will see no need or have any desire to want to repent since their sins will be forgiven anyway once they die and meet Jesus face-to-face for their eternal salvation. As a result, many people are going to be led straight into the pits of hell once they die and cross over as a result of putting off accepting Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior in this one earthly lifetime in which they had to do it in.
How some of these Christian pastors are falling for this demonic doctrine of Univeralsim is simply beyond me, as it goes directly against what God is telling us in His written Word on how He has the big picture set up with all of us.
Now I will go to the specific Scripture verses which will answer this question once and for all since these verses are all coming direct from the mouth of the Lord Himself.
The Scripture Verses
Study the specific wording I will now give you in these Scripture verses very, very carefully, as they will all clearly answer this question for you as to whether or not a person can get saved after their death and departure from this world.
Once again, I believe God is meaning exactly what He is saying in each one of these verses, and I thus see no room for any type of Universalistic doctrine in any of these verses.
1. It is Appointed For Men to Die Once – And Then We Face Judgment
This first verse, in my opinion, completely answers this question as to whether or not we can still get saved after our death and departure from this world. Here is the verse, and then I will point out a few key things to really grab a hold of.
“And as it is appointed for men to DIE ONCE, but after this the judgment …” (Hebrew 9:27)
Notice the following:
a) If God ever had any opening in one of His verses to let all of us know that we could still receive eternal salvation through His Son Jesus after we had already died and crossed over, this verse would be it. If this was a possibility with the Lord, then I believe He would have put that kind of statement in this verse. But notice He did not.
This verse is flat out telling us that we will only get one earthly lifetime to get our act together with Him. We are not going to be reincarnated back into another body to get several more chances to find and accept Jesus this side of heaven. We only have one earthly lifetime in which to be able to do this.
b) And then notice what it says after our one earthly lifetime is up down here – we will then all face judgment with God Almighty Himself. There is no wording whatsoever that we will get some kind of extra time on the other side to find and accept Jesus.
This verse is telling us that we are going to face judgment – and this judgment is going to be based on what we have done down here on this earth. There is nothing in this verse that will tell us that we will be judged on anything we will be doing on the other side once we die and cross over into it.
If God ever had one verse with a big huge opening in it where He could tell us that we could get saved after our deaths, this verse would be it. There is an opening in this verse wide enough and big enough to drive a mack truck through. But notice how short, sweet, and very straight-forward and direct-to-the-point this verse is.
Bottom line – we only have this one life down here on this earth to live, and after this one life has been lived, we will then die and cross over to face God for our own personal judgments on our lives. And again, this judgment is based upon what we have done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once we have died and crossed over.
The fact that God is completely leaving out any kind of possibility that we could get saved on the other side of heaven is flat out telling me this is not even a possibility with Him. We thus have to take this very serious verse at face value and believe what it is directly telling us. We cannot try and take this verse out, or try to discount it because it does not agree with how we think God should have the big picture all set up.
2. God Will Judge Us For the Works That Were Done in the Body
These next 4 verses are now going to add more to the first verse above. These 4 verses are specifically talking about all saved and born-again Christians. The first verse will completely set the stage for all of us.
This first verse is telling us that we will all have to appear before the Judgment Seat of Jesus, and from there, we will be judged for the things we have done in the body. The 4 keys words to really hone in on are things that we have “done in the body.”
I believe the word “body” is referring to our earthly, human, physical bodies. As a result, we will all be judged for the things we have done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over. And again, if there was any kind of possibility that we would also be judged for things that might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over, then Jesus would have specifically told us so in this verse.
But when Jesus is specifically isolating all of the things we have done in our earthly physical bodies as to what will be judged, then you know He is talking about what we have done down here on this earth. This thus leaves no room or any kind of possibility that we can get saved on the other side of heaven.
Here are four more good verses to add into this argument:
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things DONE IN THE BODY, according to what He has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)
- “… and each one will receive His own reward ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR.” (1 Corinthians 3:8)
- “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone ACCORDING TO HIS WORK.” (Revelation 22:12)
- “… I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS.” (Revelation 2:23)
The last three verses are all stating the same thing, that we are going to be rewarded by Jesus for the labor and works we have done for Him down here on this earth. And again, these are for works and labors that are done down here on this earth, not for might have occurred up in heaven once we had entered there.
Again, if there was any possibility that we could get saved up in heaven, then Jesus would have put that kind of specific wording in all 4 of these verses.
3. The Great White Throne Judgment
If all Christians will come before the Judgment Seat of Jesus for their own personal judgments in Him, then what kind of judgment will all of the unsaved have to face before the Lord?
This next verse will answer this question for you, and this judgment is called the Great White Throne Judgment. Here is the verse, and then I will point a few key things in this verse to really grab a hold of:
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened.
And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-14)
Notice several key things in this verse:
a) This judgment is only for the unsaved, it is not for all born-again Christians. How do you know this? Because this passage is using the words that the “dead” are the ones who are appearing before the Lord for this final judgment.
Also note the wording that “Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.” This phrase is telling you that all of the people who are appearing before the Lord in this last and final judgment are all coming from Hades, which is where they have all been during the 1000 year millennial reign of Jesus.
Born-again Christians are not dead, we are all fully alive, especially since we have now all died and entered into heaven, and then came back down with Jesus to rule with Him during the 1000 year Millennium Kingdom.
And then notice what the dead are being judged for? They are being “judged according to their works.” And again, these are works that were done down here on this earth, not for what might have occurred on the other side once they had died and crossed over.
b) Again, if there was any possibility that the unsaved could get saved once they die and cross over, this verse would definitely be telling us this. But once again, it does not. As such, we cannot attempt to add something to this verse that is not in there.
This verse, along with the 4 verses above about Jesus rewarding and judging us for what we have all done in the body, are all showing us that both of these judgments will be made on what we have done down here on this earth, not for might have occurred on the other side once we had died and crossed over.
How any Christian can fall for the doctrine of Universalism, when these kinds of verses from Scripture are all so clear and plain is just beyond me. If you believe that all of the Holy Bible is truly the inspired and infallible Word of our Holy God, then there is simply no other conclusion you can come to on this topic.
4. The Rich Man and Lazarus
The last verse I will leave you with that will also answer this question is the one on Lazarus and the rich man. After they had both died, Lazarus goes straight to Abraham’s bosom, and the rich man ends up going straight down into hell for the kind of life he had lived.
And then notice what happens next. The rich man is crying out that he is burning alive in a flame of fire. And then Abraham answers the rich man telling him that it is now too late. There is a great gulf separating these two places from one another and the rich man cannot cross over into Abraham’s bosom where Lazarus is now at.
Also notice the rich man says absolutely nothing about being able to make it right with the Lord after he had died and entered into hell. The implication is all there that this rich man immediately entered into hell right after his death. This verse is thus confirming the first verse listed above that we are appointed to die once, and then when we die, judgment is then set on our lives as to where we will end up going.
Again, this is another verse where there is a huge opening for the Lord to tell us that we can get saved after we die. But once again, there is absolutely no wording whatsoever in this verse that we can do this with the Lord. This verse is following the same pattern as the rest of the above verses are doing, all showing us that we have to find and accept Jesus in this one earthly lifetime.
Here is this verse, once more driving home the point that we have to get saved this side of heaven, not the next side:
“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.
Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.
And being in torments in Hades (Hell), he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’
But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to them, ‘If they did not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31)
If there was any kind of possibility that we could get saved after our death and departure from this world, then I believe God would be telling us so in these kinds of verses. But since He is not, we have to take Him at His Word and believe what these verses are literally telling us.
As we have said in our article titled, “The Reality of Hell,” the doctrine of hell and eternal damnation is without question, the most gut-wrenching and heart-breaking doctrine in all of the Christian faith. But just because this doctrine may not agree with how we would have arranged for the big picture to be set up does not mean we can try and discount it or take this doctrine out of our Bible.
This is the way our God has the big picture all set up, and woe to any man or woman who will try and take this doctrine out of our basic tenets and try to replace it with the false doctrine of Universalism. With all of us only having one short lifetime in which to find and accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, these Christians who are now teaching this false doctrine are treading on extremely dangerous and serious grounds with God the Father.
This false heretical doctrine is going to lead a certain amount of people into hell because they will think they have all of the time in the world to accept God’s free gift of eternal salvation through His Son Jesus, even to the point of believing they can accept this gift once they die and cross over to the other side.
To any of you who know other Christians who have fallen for this demonic doctrine, we ask that you continue to pray for them, asking God to bolt in there with His divine truth so they can get their wrong thinking straightened out on this very important issue.
We already have enough people who are going to end up in hell due to their own stupidity, stubbornness, and rebellion without making matters worse and teaching this kind of insanity, which is going to lead them even more astray from what the real truth is on how God has the big picture story of redemption all set up for the human race.