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I do not believe that the bulk of the human race will be in a fiery burning tormenting hell and only a few select, elect, souls will be resurrected to life. It’s clear the being saved from that is part of what we receive when we believe on Jesus Christ. But most of the world’s people do not believe – indeed have not even heard the pure gospel and had a chance to believe it.

So, what are we saved from? In Jesus’ day, a lot of what they needed to be saved from was the coming anger, which I believe happened in 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed both Jerusalem and the temple, removing their house from the Jews. This is what Jesus told them would happen.

All of the New Testament was written before the destruction of 70 A.D., with the possible exception of Revelation…but even the dating for that book can be disputed and placed before that date. Let’s leave Revelation out of it, and just look at the books we are surer of.

Historians from the time of the early church tell us that the Christians in Jerusalem did indeed escape Jerusalem when there was an “unexplained” lull in the siege of the city. Just as Jesus said.

But as the gospel spread, and churches began, all over that part of the world, as recorded in the epistles and in the book of Acts, we cannot confine the concept of salvation to merely escaping Jerusalem. Neither did persecution end when Jerusalem fell. The scattered churches were eventually persecuted by Rome.

We have Christian universalists saying that all in the end will turn to the loving God. And we have fundamentalists saying that no one enters heaven unless they know Jesus, and those who don’t will go to hell. The truth is almost always in the middle ground. I believe this “argument” is the same. There are options not usually considered.

Let’s look at the word “saved”. The Greek is sozo: to save, i.e. deliver or protect (literally or figuratively); heal, preserve, save (self), do well, be (make) whole. Clearly, being safe from destruction is only one meaning. Those who are saved are, or will be, delivered, protected, healed, preserved, prospering (do well), and whole. In Jerusalem or away from it, this is good news.

For those who escaped Jerusalem, and for those who never lived there, Jew or Gentile, what remains to be saved from? Well, the obvious answer would be death. But the word, sozo, means more than to be rescued or delivered or protected. It means to be made whole, to be healed, and to be well off. So maybe we are saved both from something, and for something. In this life as well as the life to come (in the resurrection).

So, we believe and are saved. But what about those who don’t believe, who never even heard the gospel? Clearly they aren’t saved, as we understand it. Do they go to hell, as we understand it? Even though hell actually just means the grave, most generally think of it as a place of unending and conscious torment. Do all the unsaved go there?

The answer is that we all go to the grave. And we all will be resurrected. Dante’s Inferno is fiction and the lake of fire is a metaphor. God will do rightly. Love will win.


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