Jesus promised, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14) Does this promise mean that now is the only time of salvation for all people? The common words ALL and EVERY are two of the most important words in the Bible. In Luke 2:10 the angel who announced the birth of Jesus said, “Behold I rrbring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL people.” Verses 30 and 31 speak of salvation for “ALL people.” 1 Timothy 4:10 speaks of God as “the Saviour of ALL men.”
The simple logic of Jesus dying for ALL is found in 1 Corinthians 15:22: “As in Adam ALL die even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” Similarly, Romans 5:18 shows that “by the offence of one [Adam] judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation: even so by the righteousness of one [Christ] the free gift came upon ALL men.” Father Adam sinned with the unborn race yet in his loins.
Therefore, ALL were born in sin and shapen in iniquity (Psalm 51:5) and thus worthy of death. God knew that Adam, due to a lack of experience would disobey. Thus 1 Peter 1:19,20, speaks of the blood of Christ as being foreordained for our redemption even before Adam was created. Since ALL were lost in Adam, it was necessary
that Jesus “by the grace of God should taste death for EVERY man” (Hebrews 2:9).
John 1:7 speaks of Jesus as “the Light, that ALL men through him might believe.” Verse 9 says he is “the True Light, which lighteth EVERY man that cometh into the world.” How can this be? Countless millions died before the time of Jesus. They never saw the True Light! They never heard the name of Jesus. And since the death of Jesus, millions died never hearing of the only “name under
heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). If you are a Bible-believing Christian, you know that no one is saved through ignorance but only by believing in Jesus as his or her saviour. This is a seeming contradiction. The answer is found in 1 Timothy 2:5,6, “. . .Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for ALL, to be testified in due time”-a plain statement that Jesus died for
“ALL.” If Jesus died for “ALL,” why is it that ALL do not have the opportunity to hear this good news? The key of harmony is found in the phrase “due time.” The Greek word translated “time” is plural; i.e., times (Thayer’s Lexicon of the New Testament). The knowledge that Jesus is a ransom for ALL will be testified “in due times.” The
due time for those God is calling to be of the Church is during the Christian Age. The due time for ALL other people to understand is during the 1,000-year reign of Christ.
Now is not the time for ALL to hear the name of Jesus. God is not trying to convert the world between the first and second advents. If He was, then He has obviously failed. For after nearly 2,000 years, less than one third of the world’s population even claims to be Christian. The fact is Jesus predicted only that the gospel would be a witness to the world, not that all would be converted before the end of the Age.
Mark 4:11,12, specifically states that God is not trying to convert the world now. Jesus said to his disciples, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Ponder well this scripture.
If Jesus died for ALL, why has God arranged that many would not be able to understand the Bible and, therefore, not be converted and have their sins forgiven? The Bible is not written like a textbook system of logic. God purposely had the Bible written in parables and symbols, so that many would not be converted and have their sins forgiven. This is why there are over 250 Christian denominations with so many different interpretations of the Bible. God has not
attempted to convert the world, but is only calling a “little flock” at this time. If man’s eternal destiny was dependent upon understanding the Bible now, our God of love (1 John 4:8) would have surely made the Bible plain and simple for all to understand.
Acts 15:14-17 reveals that “God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name [not to convert all]. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return [Second Advent] and build again the tabernacle of David [set up the kingdom of God]. . .that the residue [REMAINDER] of men might seek after the Lord and ALL the Gentiles. . . .” God’s work since
the death of Jesus has not been to convert all humankind, but merely to take out or to call out a “people for his name.” In the Kingdom, all the REMAINDER of men, who are not of these called out ones, will have their opportunity to seek the Lord.