Jude, The Universalist?


The writers of the New Testament believed in the ultimate universal reconciliation of all things, at least that has been my contention. A comparison of two passages from the small epistle of Jude seems to be consistent with that belief. Allow me to explain.

The following are taken from Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible which is one of the English translations that renders the Greek aion as “age” or “ages” consistent with the word’s etymology and not as “forever” as is found in many other English translations.

Wild waves of a sea, foaming out their own shames; stars going astray, to whom the gloom of the darkness to the age hath been kept. Jude 13

To the only wise God our Saviour, [is] glory and greatness, power and authority, both now and to all the ages! Amen. Jude 25

In the second verse listed above (v 25) a derivative of the Greek aion is applied to the attributes of God in His eternal nature and is translated as such, “to all the ages”. However, in the first verse listed (v 13) a derivative of the Greek aion is applied to the way God will deal with the false teachers that have crept in unawares, “to the age”.

It is clear that Jude had in mind two different durations of time expressed by the same Greek root and allowed the context of the message to dictate how he rendered them. God our Savior possesses wisdom, glory, greatness, power and authority now, but will continue to possess them to all the ages.

The gloom of darkness, on the other hand, has been reserved for the false teachers referred to by Jude only to the age, not to all the ages. If the darkness referred to by Jude is shorter in duration than all the ages, then it is reasonable to assume that the objective of the darkness is not eternal punishment. So, if God’s punishment is not eternal, then it lasts only as long as is necessary, which would indicate a corrective nature rather than a punitive one.

Very convincing arguments for the ultimate universal reconciliation of all things can be made just by reading many of the powerful and glorious passages of scripture that would seem to be self-evident but for the predisposition of eternal punishment that has gripped the church’s reading of the Bible for more than 1,500 years.

Passages such as Isaiah 45:23; Romans 5:18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:9-10; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:15-20; 1 Timothy 2:3-6, 4:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2 and many others seem obvious in their message of the ultimate victory of the almighty God in reconciling the world unto Himself by the blood of the cross.

Of course, there are the “fire and brimstone”, “eternal punishment”, “smoke of their torment rising forever”, “weeping and gnashing of teeth” scriptures that are used to counter what seems so obvious to me now. Most of these, and passages like them, can be resolved and find agreement with Universal Reconciliation with a proper understanding of the Greek word aion and its fitting translation as “age” instead of “forever”. I have treated this subject more thoroughly in other posts, articles, emails and discussions.

For now, a simple comparison of the use of the Greek root aion by one New Testament writer in a short epistle used twice, just 8 verses apart, is instructive.