The “short” answer is NO!
The “longer” answer is still NO, but requires a detailed explanation, and is the subject matter of this presentation.
Let’s begin with some of the applicable Scripture.
“So at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, (the knees) of those in Heaven and on Earth and under the Earth, and every tongue will confess (acknowledging) that Jesus Christ is Lord (God the Son), to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2: 10 NASB italics mine).”
“And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15 NASB).”
“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are (only the) few (the minority) who find it (Matt. 7: 14 NASB italics mine).”
“And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the Earth (not Hell), and his angels were thrown down with him (Rev. 12: 9 NASB italics mine).”
The devil IS headed for the lake of fire (Rev.. 20: 10), but he is not there yet. He, his allies, and those he has deceived, are here deceiving the souls on the Earth, with “religion” being his/their most effective weapon.
The dark side of religion, be it of the Pagan (Psalms 96: 4) or of the so-called Christian variety, is that it leaves its followers convinced that all is well between them and God, when in truth, many of them are just as spiritually dead and separated from God as the day they came into this world. Distinguishing what is of Christian Religion and what is of Christianity is a major step in the life of discipleship. Discipleship is the study and the application of the Word of God. This is initially for the born again believer's own spiritual edification, with the long term objective of evangelizing and edifying others (Matt. 28: 19, 20).
Practitioners of both Christian Religion and practitioners of Christianity will both claim to be followers of Christ.
Christian religion consists of all (in teaching or practice) that fallen Man has added to Christianity. Some denominations are more culpable than others, but if the products and the practices of Christian Religion were to be removed from what is generally considered to be a part of the Christian Community, what would remain would be barely recognizable to many who consider themselves followers of Christ.
The living Word of God (John 1: 1, 2), being God the Son, became the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ at His incarnation (John 1: 14). The living Word of God and the written Word of God (the Bible), are inseparable. If one is not a follower of One/one, he is not a follower of the other!
As the Lord Jesus Christ explained to the VERY religious Nicodemus, one MUST (not an option) be born again (John 3: 5, 7, 16, 18). After one has been born again, he/she can then can become a follower of Christ by learning (2Pet. 3: 18) and applying (James 1:22) the written Word of God, developing for him/herself, "...the mind of Christ (1Cor. 2: 16 NASB)," as he/she becomes more and more conformed to His likeness (Romans 8: 29). Following a Christian Religion that promotes teachings, practices, and activity that run contrary to the written Word of God, does NOT make one a follower of living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
All the good deeds and religious activity in the world combined can NOT regenerate a spiritually dead spirit (Titus 3: 5), nor can it or produce a single picosecond (one trillionth of a second) of eternal life, let alone provide or sustain it for all of eternity. The regeneration of a dead human spirit, and the giving and the maintaining of the gift of eternal life, is the work of God alone.
There is only *ONE Biblical cure for the spiritually dead condition that Man comes into this world with, as of the Fall of Man.
“Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through (believing) in Me (John 14: 6 NASB italics mine).”
“He who believes in Him (here on Earth) is not (condemned) judged (in Heaven); he who does not believe (while here on Earth) has been judged (condemned) already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (John 3: 18 NASB italics mine).”
Believing in Christ goes beyond simply acknowledging that He exists. Believing in Christ means that one acknowledges who He is (God the Son), and that it was His atoning Work on the cross that paid his/her sin debt in full.
Many Christian religions teach the accounts found in the "Gospels" (Matthew, Mark. Luke , and John), but do NOT clearly teach the Gospel Message! A brief version of the Gospel Message is encapsulated in just two verses of Scripture (John 3: 16 and 18). Its when Man starts to add the products and practices of Christian Religion to the Gospel Message that the Gospel Message becomes clouded.
This is why the devil promotes Christian Religion and downplays Christianity. This is why the devil promotes a lifestyle based on Christian Religion, while downplaying the post salvation spiritual life of Scripture.
Since “every” knee will bow and every tongue will confess (acknowledge) Jesus Christ as Lord, it is not a matter of IF, but a matter of WHEN this inevitable acknowledgment takes place that determines where any given soul will spend all of eternity future.
Philippians 2: 10 speaks of three categories or groups of souls. (#1) It speaks of souls in Heaven. (#2) It speaks of souls on the Earth. (#3) It speaks of souls that are under the Earth.” All of the souls in each group have or will bow the knee and confess (acknowledge) the Lordship of Jesus Christ, but NOT every soul will be saved! In the course of this presentation, we will note each group and why this is so.
The details of God’s plan of salvation were released in stages over the course of the Old Testament period of time. It began in Genesis, continued on through the words of various Old Testament prophets, revealing more and more facts and details along the way. For example, Man was informed of the location of His birth (Micah 5: 2), His hardships and suffering (Isaiah 53), and the type of physical and spiritual death (separation from God the Father) (Psalms 22) that He would endure. These prophecies were announced hundreds of years before they were fulfilled with amazing accuracy.
There were many, many, more Old Testament prophecies that the coming Messiah/Savior would, and did, fulfill, but time and space does not allow to list them all here in this presentation.
At the same time, such things as the Savior’s name (Jesus), for example, was not made known until just before His humanity was conceived by Mary (Matthew 1: 21). This is a good example of what is called dispensational truths. A dispensational truth is something that is true and applies to one period of time, that does not directly apply to others. Church Age believers, for instance, do not slay animals on an altar of a temple. As this principle applies to this presentation, Phil 3: 20 tells us at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, but Old Testament believers had never heard of "Jesus," only that a Savior was coming.
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A “believer” in the Old Testament dispensation was one who placed his personal trust and confidence in the God of the Bible and the things of God, to the extent that He and the things of God had been revealed to them.
The souls of departed Old Testament believers went to “Paradise,” aka Abraham’s bosom, a place of relative comfort (Luke 16: 25). This was the same “Paradise” that the Lord Jesus Christ would descend to and spoke of when conversing with the dying man on the cross next to His (Luke 23: 43).
The souls of unbelievers during the Old Testament dispensation descended to another section of Hades (Luke 16: 23). This section, sometimes called the Torments of Hades, is a place of intense suffering (Luke 16: 24).
Those in the Torments Section of Hades could see the souls in Paradise (Luke 16: 23), but could not cross over and enter Paradise (Luke 16: 26).
Until the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ took place, the believers in Paradise and the unbelievers in the Torments of Hades would fall under the category of souls “under the Earth," spoken of in Phil. 2: 10 NASB.
As of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, there are no longer any souls in Paradise. All departed Old Testament believers who had been in Paradise of Hades, are now in the 3rd Heaven (2Cor. 12: 2) in the presence of God. (2Cor. 5: 8). The Old Testament believers are no longer a part of the “under the Earth" group, but are now a part of the group that is “in Heaven.”
The unbelievers of the Old Testament are still in the Torments of Hades and remain to be a part of the "under the Earth" group spoken Phil 2: 10. The Torments of Hades continues to be filled and experienced by souls that depart this world in the capacity of unbelievers. As of the Church Age, an "unbeliever" is one who rejects the Gospel Message. All souls in the Torments of Hades will remain there until the Rev. 20: 13, 15 takes place. At that time, the souls in the Torments of Hades are summoned to appear in the Court of Heaven. After their "day in Court," they are thrown into what the Bible calls the lake of fire.
I believe that we can safely conclude that it will be at this Rev. 20: 13, 15 event when the group of souls that had been in the Torments of Hades will bend the knee and acknowledge the Lordship of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. For these members of the "under the Earth" group spoken of in Phil 2: 10, this acknowledgment will come too late, as they are going to be tossed into the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15) for having committed the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18) during their appointed time while here on Earth. The sin of disbelief is the ONE and the ONLY sin, that by divine design, was NOT atoned for on the cross, and is the ONE and ONLY sin for which anyone will be tossed into the lake of fire.
Last, but nor least, we have the category of souls that Phil. 2: 10 refers to as the one's on the Earth. Every soul on Earth is in this group as of the day he/she came into this world at birth. Rather or not any one us will become a part of the group that is in Heaven, or become a part of the group that is presently in the Torments of Hades and eventually in the lake of fire for all of eternity, is determined by the choice that each one of us makes concerning the Gospel Message.
Being born again an saved is like being pregnant in the natural realm in that ether you are, or you are NOT.
The window of opportunity to be saved ends when one departs this world at the moment of physical death. Contrary to what some schools of Christian Religion would have us believe, there is NOTHING that can be said or done here on Earth that can alter the location of where a departed soul has already ascended or descended. That location and environment was determined by the choices that the departed soul made while he/she was able and here on Earth.
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One of the things that takes place when a soul is born again here on Earth, is that his/her name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, assuring him/her of no condemnation (Romans 8: 1), and that he/she will not be among those who will be tossed into the lake of fire. One's name can never be erased from the Lamb's book of life because it was written there by the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God can not remain true to His own character and nature and require ANY further payment for a sin debt that has been stamped PAID IN FULL by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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The dispensation of the Church Age began at the Feast of Pentecost in Jerusalem, Israel shortly after the ascension (Acts 1:9) of the Lord Jesus Christ, around 33 Ad (Acts 2). The dispensation of the Church Age is still going on, and will do so until the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 16-17) takes place. As of, the Church Age, the complete plan of salvation had been announced, and is continuing to be proclaimed by the Church that God designed (Matt. 28: 19, 20). God’s completed plan is outlined in the Gospel Message. What had been partially made know to the souls of Old Testament period, had now been fully disclosed to and for future generations to come. To whom more is given, more is required (Luke 12: 48).
The stated mission of the Church that God designed was/is to continue to proclaim the true Gospel Message to the present and future generations of the Church Age (Matt. 28:19). In fact, it will be when this mission is accomplished, that the end of the Church Age will come (Matt. 24: 14), and the Church will be taken away (1Thess. 4: 18). Note that Matt. 24: 14 says that the Gospel Message would be preached throughout the Earth, not that it would be accepted! Again we see the ominous Matt. 7: 14 "few" (minority) principle in view.
Not everyone who claims to be a Christian has been born again. It has been a long time position of mine, that if the Rapture takes place during the middle of a worship service within the Christian Community, there will be some left behind sitting in the pews and standing behind the pulpits (Matt. 24: 40), even though they had engaged in the same "religious" activity for most of their lives. Just imagine the chaos and the explanations that will abound when every born again believer on the face of this Earth instantaneously vanishes!
Based on the decision that each and every one of us makes (John 3: 18) concerning the Gospel Message, each and every one of us will either become a part of the group in Heaven, or a part of the group presently in the Torments of Hades when we depart this earth via physical death. There is not ONE soul in any urn, casket, funeral parlor, or cemetery. Only their decaying bodily remains, their ashes, or their "dust (Gen. 3)" are there, and then only if there were bodily remains available.
Each and every one of us will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The question is rather or not this acknowledgment will take place here on Earth (Matthew 16: 16), as in the case of Peter, or at the Rev. 20: 13-15 event before being tossed into the Lake of Fire!
We ALL have an appointed time to come face to face with God. It may be years away, or before the next sunset or sunrise. Our individual time of departure OR the Rapture could take place at any time. There are many end time prophecies still to be fulfilled AFTER the Rapture takes place, but there is nothing standing in the way of the Rapture other than the period of time to pass until we reach the time that God has established for the Rapture to take place.
You may or not be given the opportunity to see your departure coming. Tens of thousands of souls depart this world every day, with their departure having been the last thing that was on their minds, or on the minds who knew them on a personal level.
Rather any one of us will come face to face with God as our personal Savior on the day we depart this world (2Cor. 5: 8), or as our Judge when the (Rev. 20: 15) event takes place, is dependent on our individual chosen response to the Gospel Message while we are still here on Earth.
Sorry, but if you are reading or listening to this presentation, you can no longer say to God that no one ever told you! The good news is that Eternal life insurance (Biblical assurance) is a click away!
In closing, keep in mind that eternal security is not a license to sin. While the salvation of a born again believer is forever secure, there are other consequences (Heb. 12:6/1Cor, 3: 15, etc.) for involving oneself in post (after) salvation sin. In God's timing, no one gets away with anything.
Furthermore, there are many things (John 16: 12) that will be required of a born again believer if he/she is going to identify, execute, and benefit from the post (after) salvation spiritual life.
As of the Church Age, WHERE (in Heaven or the lake of fire) one is going to spend all of eternity future IS based on a one time decision to believe or disbelieve in a presentation of the Gospel Message (John 3: 18).
HOW a born again believer will experience Heaven (with/without reward and privileges) is determined by the moment to moment, day to day, choices that he/she makes throughout the course of his/her post salvation spiritual life.
God provided the means for salvation (1John 2: 2) and desires that all souls be saved (1Tim. 2: 4). Never-the-less, Scripture has made it clear that even within a group as relatively small as a family unit, not everyone is going to be saved (Luke 12: 52).
This is an enlightening fact, considering the fact that in most cases, ALL of the members of any given family usually go (or are put) through the SAME “religious” ceremonies. They engage in the SAME “religious” activity (at least while they are living under the parent’s roof). Yet , they may NOT all are saved (Luke 12: 52)!
The bottom line, one M-U-S-T be born again (John 3: 5, 7, 9, 16, 18).
Every soul will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The ones that are saved, and the ones that are not! The one's that are saved have a place in Heaven. The ones that are not have a place in the lake of fire.