Knee Shall Bow
There is a belief held in certain religious circles that the presence
of God beyond death is restricted to a select few, given only to
special ones chosen from among the living to inhabit a blissful
eternity, while the vast bulk of God's humanity in turn face some form
of calamity beyond the grave in the form of either 'eternal conscious
torment' or 'annihilation'. Yet how do such propositions actually stack
up with what we find in the Bible?
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in
heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and
that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to
the glory of God the Father.
Nowhere in this passage is there any indication that this is in any way
shape or form is forced worship [can there be such a thing].
Those "under the earth" can be none other than the departed, and
this category of the departed makes up part of the "every knee"
and "every tongue" without distinction.
Next we have the account from the apostle John:
And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and
under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in
them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honour and glory and power Be
to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!"
Again we have those under the earth, and all in this scene
consist of the "every creature" thus no distinction. So, we
have confession and worship by all before the throne of
God. Now in these verses above, how could those under the earth
NOT be speaking of those deceased and these then having bowed and
confessed? One might object that those mentioned are the elect only, the
saints; but that would be a far stretch considering that heaven, earth,
under the earth, and those in the sea all make it fairly conclusive, or
should I say inclusive. And not only that, but Phil 2:10-11 is
usually a favourite verse with 'eternal conscious torment' folk that
supposedly shows a forced submission and confession of all unbelievers
in the "hereafter" etc.
Some may react to the idea of any meaningful confession occurring post
death, but there is no Scripture that indicates such cannot be the case
in fact as seen above these verses actually states the opposite. Thus
in these passages we have the dead confessing Christ, and if we are to
be consistent, and that means anything, then what does Paul say about
Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the
Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus
is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and
believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will
Now if "confession" which reflects a heart belief, be the requirement
for peace with God, as some understand it, then why cannot those
deceased under the earth who make such confession by the power of
the Spirit as per the Scriptures above, also be heard and thus receive
God's mercy? Especially so when we consider the following:
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that
He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive
by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits
in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine
longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being
prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through
They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and
the dead. For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who
are dead, that they might be judged according to men in
the flesh, BUT live according to God in the spirit.
Being judged according to the flesh was indicative of life according to
the Old Covenant mode of existence; but being made alive according to
God in the spirit was the comprehensive result of the New Covenant
that God made with Israel in Christ, of which the entire world
then became the beneficiaries of [Rom 11:15].
And reflect on this who in all their prideful arrogance or blind
ignorance would not respond in worshipful contrition post death, in
kind, before the presence of God as is reflected in these Scriptures
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying,
"Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"
So I said: "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of
unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for
my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
"I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees
You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes."
Now obviously we take such scriptures as Phil 2:10-11; 1Cor 12:3; Rom
10:9-10 as "this life" realities and rightly so, but where in the
Bible are we told that such does not or cannot apply beyond the grave?
Why is this not plausible, what Scriptures challenge this thought? Some
might decry "2nd chance-ism" but where in Scripture does it
anywhere indicate a "1st chance-ism?" well actually, NOWHERE!!
say that "seeing is believing" [Jn 20:25], and others that
confession and belief are prerequisites to avoiding a
post-mortem wrath of God, and avow most vehemently that "death
seals man's eternal destiny because there can be NO turning back beyond
the grave" etc; but I repeat, that
"confession" which but reflects a believing heart [and who doesn't
believe what they can see] be the requirement for peace with God beyond
this life, as some understand it, THEN why cannot those deceased
under the earth who make such confession by the power of the Spirit
as per the Scriptures already noted, ALSO be heard and thus receive
what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness
of God without effect? Certainly not.
And they ALSO, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted
in, for God is able to graft them in AGAIN. [Mt 19:26]
For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have
mercy on all.