Friday, May 18, 2018

John 12:47,48 - Unbelievers Saved (Delivered) for Judgment in Last Day

John 12:47 If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:48 He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.
Unless otherwise stated, all scriptural quotes are from the World English Bible version; Greek and Hebrew words are transliterated into English; God’s Holy Name has supplied as “Jehovah”.

Some have argued that the latter part of John 12:48 should be translated as: “That very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.” Does this really make sense, in view of the context? Just before this, Jesus spoke is saving the world: “If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47, World English)

While we haven’t been able to find a translation that renders the Greek KRINO (transliterated) as “condemn” in John 12:48, this is the thought some have read into that verse. In effect, it would say that Jesus came to save to world (John 12:47) that the world might be condemned in the last day. Is a new condemnation actually a salvation?

John 12:48ho athetwn eme kai mee lambanwn ta rheemataTHE (ONE) DISREGARDING ME AND NOT RECEIVING THE SAYINGS3588 0114 1473_5 2532 3361 2983 3588 4487mou echei ton krinonta auton ho logos honOF ME IS HAVING THE (ONE) JUDGING HIM; THE WORD WHICH1473_2 2192 3588 2919 0846_7 3588 3056 3739elaleesa ekeinos krinei auton en tee eschateeI SPOKE THAT (ONE) WILL JUDGE HIM IN THE LAST2980 1565 2919 0846_7 1722 3588 2078heemeraDAY;2250

The “last day” that Jesus speaks of is the day of resurrection. Jesus speaks of that day as the day in which both believers and unbelievers are to be raised.

John 6:39
This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise them up at the last day. — World English throughout, unless otherwise stated.

John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.

John 6:54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

Martha attested to belief in the resurrection on “the last day.”

John 11:24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Are the unbelievers also to be saved from the condition of death in the “last day”? Yes, due the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, the unbeliever will also be raised from the realm of death (hades/sheol) in the last day.

Revelation 20:12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Revelation 20:13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works.

In fact, Jesus went into the oblivious condition of sheol/hades to pay the price, not just for the believer, but also for the unbeliever — the world (kosmos) that Jesus stated that he came, not to judge, but to save. (John 12:47) “And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world [holou tou kosmou].” (1 John 2:2) Some would claim that John, by saying “our sins”, meant the sins of Jews, and that by saying “the whole world”, John meant to include the Gentiles. However, in the parallel scripture of John 12:47, Jesus could not be referring to the “world” as Gentiles; Jesus was speaking of those who had heard his words, but still rejected him. Since Jesus was only sent to Israel, not to the Gentiles, he was not speaking there of Gentitles, but rather of the Jews who had rejected him. (Matthew 15:24) Jesus instructed his disciples to not go to the Gentiles. (Matthew 10:5) Therefore, when Jesus spoke the words of John 12:47,48, he did not use the word “world” (kosmso) to designate the Gentiles, but those Jews who had heard him, and yet did not believe. Likewise, the context of 1 John 2:2 shows that John was not, by “our sins”, referring to Jew, but rather to “we” who believe in Jesus, and therefore, this would mean that the “world” includes all who do not believe in Jesus, whether Jew or Gentile.

It was into the world (kosmos) that sin entered into through one man. (Romans 5:12) Due to Adam’s disobedience, the “whole world” came under the judgment through Adam, as Paul tells us (Romans 5:15-19), so when Jesus stated that he did not come to judge the world, he was speaking of a new judgment beyond the judgment through to Adam. Jesus did not come to add such a new judgment on the world, but we read that “the wrath of God remains” upon those who do not obey the Son. (John 3:36) This wrath that remains is the “wrath” that came upon mankind through Adam, as Paul speaks of in Romans 1:18-2:1; 5:12-19. It is from this original condemnation that Jesus says that he came to save to world. (John 12:47) Thus, John confirms this:

He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our [the believers’] sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world [kosmos, the same world that Jesus spoke of in John 12:47, and that Paul spoke of in Romans 5:12]. 1 John 2:2, World English.

John further writes:
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. — 1 John 4:14.

And Paul affirms:

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. — New King James Version.

1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Thus Jesus died, not just for the sins of those who believe in this age, but for the sins of the whole world, the world that does not recognize Jesus. (John 1:10) Did Jesus suffer for the world, so as to save the world, just so the world might be condemned anew in the “last day”? The scriptures certainly do not give us any reason to think this, for what good is salvation if it is just to saved from condemnation to condemnation?

Rather, the salvation of the world through Jesus’ sacrifice brings another judgment, what some refer to as “a second chance”, another day in which the world will not be judged due to sin of another (Adam), but by their own works. Indeed, this “second chance” salvation is for all of us, for without this second chance, all would be condemned forever in Adam. This second chance judgment, as applied to the unbelieving world, is what is foretold in Revelation 20:12,13 quoted above. It is this day of judgment that Paul speaks of as recorded in Acts 17:31:

[God] has appointed a day in which he will judge the world [kosmos] in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. — World English.

Again, we find the word “kosmos”, and it is the same “kosmos” that Jesus speaks of in John 12:47, the unbelieving “kosmos” that Jesus said he came to save.

Paul, by his words recorded in Acts 17:31, refers back to Psalm 96 and Psalm 98. How is that day of judgment described in those Psalms? Is it a day of condemnation? Let us read the descriptions of that coming judgment day as given in the Psalms.

Psalm 96:1 Sing to Jehovah a new song! Sing to Jehovah, all the earth.
Psalm 96:2 Sing to Jehovah! Bless his name. Proclaim his salvation from day to day.
Psalm 96:3 Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples.
Psalm 96:4 For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised! He is to be feared above all gods.
Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But Jehovah made the heavens.
Psalm 96:6 Honor and majesty are before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Psalm 96:7 Ascribe to Jehovah, you families of nations, Ascribe to Jehovah glory and strength.
Psalm 96:8 Ascribe to Jehovah the glory due to his name. Bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Psalm 96:9 Worship Jehovah in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth.
Psalm 96:10 Say among the nations, “Jehovah reigns.” The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.
Psalm 96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and the fullness of it!
Psalm 96:12 Let the field exult, and all that is therein. Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
Psalm 96:13 Before Jehovah; for he comes, For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world [Hebrew, Tebel] with righteousness, The peoples with his truth.

Psalm 98:1 Sing to Jehovah a new song, For he has done marvelous things! His right hand, and his holy arm, have worked salvation for him. 2 Jehovah has made known his salvation. He has openly shown his righteousness in the sight of the nations.
Psalm 98:3 He has remembered his lovingkindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Psalm 98:4 Make a joyful noise to Jehovah, all the earth! Burst out and sing for joy, yes, sing praises!
Psalm 98:5 Sing praises to Jehovah with the harp, With the harp and the voice of melody.
Psalm 98:6 With trumpets and sound of the ram’s horn. Make a joyful noise before the King, Jehovah.
Psalm 98:7 Let the sea roar with its fullness; The world, and those who dwell therein.
Psalm 98:8 Let the rivers clap their hands. Let the mountains sing for joy together.
Psalm 98:9 Let them sing before Jehovah, For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world [Hebrew, Tebel] with righteousness, And the peoples with equity. — World English.

Rather than being condemned, these prophetic Psalms depict the world as rejoicing in that day of judgment. And that judgment day is said to be “in equity.” This parallels with other prophecies of that day of judgment. — Psalm 72; Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:3,4;

The word “Kosmos (Greek) / Tebel (Hebrew)” is often related to a heavens and earth, as well as “sea.” Peter associates “Kosmos” with such in 2 Peter 3:5.6:

There were heavens from of old, and an earth formed out of water and amid water, by the word of God; by which means the world [kosmos] that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. — World English.

Peter speaks of that kosmos that then was as consisting of a heavens and an earth. We know that Peter was not speaking of the planet earth, for the planet did not pass away in the flood of Noah’s day. Likewise, we know that Peter is not speaking the heavens where God resides, nor was he speaking of starry physical heavens, since neither of these perished in the flood. But there was a ruling “heavens” over the earth that did perish in the flood of Noah’s day, and the social arrangement of people on the earth that perished.

“Kosmos” can carry different applications, such as to the peoples on the earth in general, or it can refer to the social and ruling arrangements over the people, or both.

From one aspect, Peter refers to the present heavens and earth that is to be destroyed. (2 Peter 3:6,10) In this it should be obvious that he speaks of the social and ruling arrangements. (He is not speaking of the planet earth, nor the physical heavens.) However, in Psalm 102:25-27 and Hebrews 1:10-13, Jehovah speaks to his son as the one who has made the heavens and earth, saying that the heavens and earth are to both perish and to also to be ‘changed.’ It should be obvious that one speaks of the corrupted condition of the world in its ruling and general society, which is to perish while the other speaks of the people who make of the heavens and the earth, which is to be changed. From these two aspects, the present world is both destroyed (as respects the ruling and societal conditions) and yet it is also saved (as respects the individuals who make up this world) so as to be “changed.” This agrees with the salvation that Jesus spoke of in John 12:47,48.

It would be meaningless to save the world simply to judge them by their past works, which would be, in effect, a duplication of the first judgment through Adam from which Jesus had suffered and died so as to deliver them out of. (John 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19) Thus, the fact that they will judged in the “last day” by their works according to the things that are written in the books that opened at that time must signify their works, not in this age, but that age to come. With this the prophets agree.

Isaiah 2:2 It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be raised above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
Isaiah 2:3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Jehovah, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem. [corresponding to the opening of the books]
Isaiah 2:4 He will judge [through, by means of, Jesus and the saints —
Daniel 7:22; Acts 17:31; 1 Corinthians 6:2] between the nations, And will decide concerning many peoples; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more.

The purpose of the resurrection of the saints in the first resurrection, before the resurrection of the world for judgment, is that the power to judge is given to them.

Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.

The thrones depicts their ruling with Jesus, whereas the “judgment given to them” depicts the authority to judge. It is the same time spoken of in Daniel 7:22: “Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” In John 5:22, Jesus is recorded as stating: “Neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment to the Son.” Directly, the authority to judge the world is given to the son, but as we have seen, the saints who belong to Jesus, having become the seed of Abraham through faith (Galatians 3:26,29), are also included as judges of the world. Thus, Paul wrote: “Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world [kosmos]?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) Being the seed of Abraham, Jesus and the saints will bless all nations – all the unbelieving peoples of the world – in the “last day” with that new day of judgment.

See also our studies:

Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment

The Day of Judgment

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Salvation of Jews and Universalism

The question has been raised as to whether all Jews will be saved.

The direct answer is that all Jews and all Gentiles who, in this age, are not the “faith” seed of Abraham will be saved from the condemnation in Adam, without first accepting Christ, since they will be raised in the last day. They could not be raised from the dead except that the blood of Christ be applied to save, deliver, bring them out of, the wages of that condemnation, which would have been eternal death, had it not been for Christ’s sacrifice. Thus, yes, all Jews are to be saved, but this does not mean that all Jews will live forever; we believe that they also could come under the second condemnation, if they do not wish to conform to what is written in the books opened in the last day. — John 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Hosea 13:14.

Those who are of the ‘faith’ seed of Abraham, on the other hand, are, in this age, reckoned, counted, as saved from Adamic condemnation by faith in Jesus. — Acts 26:18; Romans 1:17; 3:27,28; 8:1; Galatians 2:16,20; 3:8,26-29.

No one at all is saved from that condemnation by means of their own works, since that which God has made crooked, none can make straight. — Psalm 49:7; Ecclesiastes 1:15; 7:13.

Does this mean that the Bible teaches “universalism”?

The Bible is universalist (if by universalist* one means all mankind dying Adam), but not after the manner that the word is often used. The universalist, as that word is usually applied, teaches that everyone is saved and everyone is guaranteed to live forever, and many include Satan himself. (Some others deny that Satan as a person even exists.) There are several different forms of universalism that claim that everyone will live forever. There is one form that, in effect, would have it that the ransom sacrifice is not necessary at all; and there are others who claim that the ransom sacrifice guarantees that all will live forever.

The Biblical universalism teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus covers all who are dying in Adam, but that the ransom sacrifice covers none who once having been so saved by sacrifice, then willfully sins, thereby trodding upon the Son of God and counting th blood of the covenant as nothing, for such there is no sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:26,29) Such receive a new condemnation, the condemnation of the second death, from which there is no salvation.

Charles Taze Russell used a little different terminology than I use, for he says that all are saved through the ransom sacrifice, but not all are saved eternally. His meaning being that not all who are once saved will prove to be obedient so as to live eternally.

I would express this differently, however, since the salvation provided by the ransom sacrifice is eternal, in that once saved from that condemnation, it is eternal in that the condemnation by means of Adam will never, ever, again have any hold upon that person. The new creature can never come under that condemnation in Adam. However, until the new creature has overcome, it is still possible for that new creature to be harmed by the second death (Revelation 2:11), if the new creature sins, which sin would be willful in defiance of the ransom sacrifice by which he had become consecrated. Thus, while salvation from the condemnation in Adam is permanent, eternal, it does not mean that the new creature can come under a new condemnation, that is, the second death.

The “ransom for all” universalists usually claim that even those condemned to the second death are covered by the ransom sacrifice. The fact is that if one comes under the second condemnation, there is no sacrifice to be given for such.
See our study:

Another form of universalism claims that the act of dying and being entombed pays the sin penalty — that thus each pays for his own sin, and is then entitled to life, and needs no redeemer to die for his sins, or to ransom him from the power of sheol. (Hosea 13:14) In effect, this teaching fully and totally denies the basis for the ransom sacrifice of Jesus.

Brother Russell offered the following concerning those who take such a view:

An absolute proof of the falsity of this view is furnished in the case of Jairus’ daughter (Matt. 9:18,23-25), the widow’s son, and Lazarus (Luke 7:11-15; John 11:44), all of whom having died, and thereby, according to this theory, paid their own penalty, should be free from death after Jesus had restored life to them. But they all died again. This is proof that the death of the condemned does not make reconciliation for sin, nor entitle to a release from its penalty. The just must die for the unjust; the Lamb of God must take away the sin of the world ere they can have a right to everlasting life.

In truth, however, while the death penalty pays the wages of sin, such wages would extend forever except that the wages be paid by another to effect a releasing from the wages. Thus, the need for the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. The man Christ Jesus is now forever dead (1 Timothy 2:5,6), since Jesus is no longer a man, a little lower than the angels, but is now a spirit being. (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Peter 3:18) Thus, Jesus fully paid the wages for sin.  -- The Watch Tower, September, 1882, page 3.
*Strictly speaking, the word “universe” means absolutely everything that exists, which would include God himself. However, by common usage, “universe” rarely means “everything that exists,” but the usage is limited by a certain sphere of commonality regarding what is being referred to by the word “universe.” If applied to the ransom, the “universe” involved would all who are dying in Adam.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Romans 1:18-23 – Are All Mankind Now Being Judged Individually Through Creation?

Romans 1:18-20 is often cited to justify the thought that God is now judging every person in the world for their final judgment. The claim evidently is that God has revealed himself to everyone in the world  through his creation, and thus the final judgment is determined by whether one comes to God before death.

What is Paul writing about in Romans 1:18-20? Was he saying that every person who has ever lived is being given a final individual judgment based on what is revealed in God's physical, material creation?

Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hinder the truth in unrighteousness,

Paul speaks of the wrath of God, the condemnation, that has come upon mankind through the sin of Adam, which wrath remains upon any any who are outside the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. (Romans 5:1-19; John 3:36) This wrath can be seen in all the subjection to futility and the suffering of mankind. — Romans 8:20; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13,14. This condemnation through Adam would have been eternal had it not been for the sacrifice of Jesus for all mankind.

Romans 1:19 – because that which is known by God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.

Paul is not saying that all mankind living has received this revealing, but he is referring to mankind especially as represented in the first human pair, Adam and Eve. It was as represented in Adam and Eve that mankind knew God (Romans 1:21), and to whom God revealed himself. Adam could see God's creation in the Garden of Eden, and therefore he had no acceptable excuse in God's eyes for disobedience. But more than this, God had revealed himself to Adam in Adam himself, for as Paul intimates in Romans 2:15, God had written his perfect law in heart of man. Thus Paul says he was not deceived. (1 Timothy 2:14) Eve, however, was deceived, but she surely must have ignored the law written in her in order to create a desire within herself be deceived. Through Adam especially, all mankind in Adam were being judged regarding God’s law of love and obedience to the Creator. Due to Adam's sin, God turned mankind over to all kinds of sinful desire, as recorded in Romans 1:24-31; as a result, the law of God in the heart of mankind has highly corrupted through sinful desires of the flesh. (Genesis 6:12; 1 Peter 1:4)  Nevertheless, mankind does still have a left-over sense of God’s law as revealed to Adam, for Paul later refers to this, when speaking of the heathen, that, they, by nature, do things of the Law. (Romans 2:14) Not that any of the heathen were actually fully obedient of the Law, but that we find remnants of God’s original Law as revealed to Adam, the law of love and justice. Rather than providing a means of salvation, this law actually condemns all, as Paul later says that he “previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin.” (Romans 3:9) He later elaborates on this condemnation under sin in Romans 5:12-19.

Romans 1:20 – For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

Romans 1:20
ta gar aorata autou apo ktisews kosmou
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tois poieemasin nooumena kathoratai hee te
3588 4161 3539 2529 3588 5037
aidios autou dunamis kai theiotees eis to einai
0126 0846_3 1411 2532 2305 1519 3588 1511
autous anapologeetous
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Westcott & Hort Interlinear

The unseen things of God, his eternal power and godship, being perceived, is seen from the creation of the world, so that they are defenseless.

The creation refers to the world of mankind, not all creation in whole universe, as is also the case in Romans 8:19-22, where Paul writes of the whole creation as having been subjected to vanity. (See Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15) The "whole creation" is not referring the angels in heaven, nor even to the material world itself, but it is referring the "whole creation" of Adam and his descendants. The "world" in Romans 1:20 is the same “world” that is spoken of Romans 5:12, into which one man — Adam — introduced sin. Thus, in Romans 1:20, Adam and Eve are still being used to represent the creation. From the creation of the world of mankind, as mankind looks back upon what is recorded about Adam and Eve, one can see the demonstration of God’s eternal power and godship. The invisible things of God were seen in the original creation, and still can be seen although man’s perception of God’s creation has been marred by man’s disobedience and God's subsequent subjection of man to a bondage of corruption and vanity, so that many men draw the wrong conclusions from the present-day things that are seen. Without what many refer to as the indwelling of God's spirit, the physical man under the bondage of corruption and vanity cannot appreciate God's spiritual truths. (1 Corinthians 2:7-15) It is similar to the parables that Jesus spoke to the people, for he says that they were as “seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13) But to Adam and Eve before they sinned, God’s eternal power and godship could be seen clearly in their own creation. Today, however, that perception has been marred by corruption through sin. (2 Peter 1:4) Nevertheless, as Paul later shows, all mankind are included in Adam (Romans 5:12-19), and thus all mankind are counted as without excuse in Adam.

Romans 1:21 – Because, knowing God, they didn’t glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

Mankind, represented in Adam and Eve, once knew God, but they didn’t give him the glory, the honor, due to him as God. They became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened. Eve allowed herself to be deceived so as to obey the serpent rather than God; Adam evidently wished to obey Eve rather than to obey God.

Romans 1:22 – Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

The story in Genesis shows that Eve was tempted by what many today often refer to as witchcraft, or the crafty “wisdom” of the serpent. The serpent told her, in effect, that Jehovah was a liar, and thus Jehovah was not worthy to receive the glory and honor of rulership and godship. The serpent lead Eve into believing that disobedience to the One who made them would a wise thing to do. Adam, however, was not deceived as was Eve, and thus in his hands lay a greater responsibility. Although not deceived, he evidently considered it to be a wise thing to obey the voice of his wife, rather than the commandment of Jehovah. And thus mankind become fools.

Romans 1:23 – and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

Until Adam and Eve sinned, they had the incorrupt (but not incorruptible) glory of God. They were incorrupt, but they were also corruptible. They had not put on incorruption (incorruptiblitly) in their loyalty to God. And yet, they had not fallen short of the glory through sin. Once they sinned, however, they fell short of the glory. (Romans 3:23) Their original image of God (Genesis 1:26) in them was thus marred due to sin, and was no longer incorrupt, but was corrupted. Through Adam, all of Adam's descendants have likewise been subjected to this corrupt condition, under a bondage of corruption.

In other words, God created mankind upright, straight, incorrupt, without sin, but mankind was not created incorruptible. (Ecclesiastes 7:29) Had they been incorruptible, then it would have been impossible for them to have become corrupted by sin. (2 Peter 1:4) On the other hand, being created upright, without corruption, mankind was not created in a bondage to corruption, but was later subjected to such a bondage due to Adam’s sin. (Romans 8:20) Being incorrupt, yet corruptible, God gave mankind — represented in Adam and Eve — the freedom to either obey or disobey. (Genesis 2:17) Paul hints in Romans 1:23 that their obedience would eventually have led them to possessing the incorruptible glory like their God. But, instead of seeking to become incorruptible, they traded that hope for the image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, etc. Thus, it came to be that man was reduced to being like the beasts of the field, so that now, “man [who was originally given dominion over all the lower creatures of the earth] has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity.” — Ecclesiastes 3:19; Genesis 1:26,28; Psalm 8:5-8; Hebrews 2:6-8.

Nevertheless, the condemnation that resulted from mankind’s disobedience in the Garden is offset by the ransom sacrifice of Jesus. (Romans 5:12-19; 2 Timothy 2:5,6) That condemnation in Adam is not the final judgment, for Jesus died to save, deliver, the whole world from the original judgment, so that the world may be enlightened and given another, a more favorable time of judgment in the “last day”. — Isaiah 2:2-4; 26:9,10; John 12:48,48; Revelation 20.

Since there is a guarantee of a coming day of judgment for man, no, Paul was not, by his words recorded in Romans 1:18-23, laying a basis of an individual final judgment of man in this age, before the day of judgment. Indeed, if this was so, then there would not be any need for another provision of judgment; the judgment of the world through Adam would be permanent.


Studies of Related Scriptures:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Revelation 14:9-11 and the Second Death

One of the greatest stumblingblocks that prevents many Jehovah’s Witnesses from accepting the ransom for all is their teaching regarding the second death. One of the scriptures of concern is that of Revelation 14:9-11. It is often claimed that those individuals in Revelation who receive the “mark of the beast” will go into the second death, and not be raised in the day of judgment when all nations are to be blessed. For any unregenerated who receive this mark, this would mean that such would never receive the benefit of the ransom for all, and that somehow they come under the second condemnation evidently without ever having been released from the condemnation in Adam.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice: “If any man is worshiping the beast and his image, and receives an engraving on his forehead, or upon his hand,  he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he will be tried [literally, touchstoned] with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb,  and the smoke of their being tried [as by a touchstone] goes upward for ever and ever. And those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the engraving of his name, have no rest day and night. — Restoration Light Improved Version.

The book of Revelation is highly symbolic. Of course, it is not speaking of a literal beast with seven heads and ten horns, a literal lamb, etc. The beast and its image, or rather the entities represented by the beast and its image, as such, are the product of man’s being under the condemnation of sin (Romans 5:12), but the entities themselves are not under the death penalty in Adam. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22) The condemnation of God that comes upon these entities is not the death penalty in Adam, since these entities, as such, were not under that death penalty. They are entities that exist illegally from God's standpoint.

Those who have the engraving of the beast are tried with figurative fire and figurative sulfur (brimstone). The scripture does not say that the fire and sulfur here is the second death, however. The scriptures do not say that these individuals are thrown into the lake of fire, the second death. Fire kept burning with sulfur does not necessarily designate the second death. Fire represents Jehovah’s eternal zeal for righteousness against unrighteous. The sulfur represents the determination of that zeal to burn until it destroys whatever that zeal is set against. Such destruction, however, does not, in itself, signify eternal destruction. God has turned mankind to destruction, due to Adam’s sin, and mankind in general has been walking that broad way leading to that destruction ever since Adam, and yet, through Jesus one can get off the broad way. — Genesis 2:17; 3:19; Matthew 7:13; Romans 5:12-19.

God can execute that sentence upon mankind at any time, and, at the end of the age, his wrath upon mankind as a result of Adam’s sin is to be brought to a completion. (Revelation 15:1) It is important to distinguish between the condemnation that is in Adam, and the second death condemnation. There is redemption, deliverance from the destruction, the death in Adam. There is no redemption, or deliverance for those who come under the condemnation of the second death. Thus, when God again expresses his wrath upon those who, after having had all the advantages of the millennial reign of Jesus and the saints, still follow Satan, it is not the wrath that results from Adam’s sin (which will be brought to a completion — Revelation 15:1), but rather the wrath due to the results of their own individual judgment at that time.

The individuals spoken of in Revelation 14:11, however, having been marked by the beast, are tried in association with the trial upon the beast and its image. While the trial leads to distress and possible destruction, there is no reason to think the individuals receive anything but the wrath of God as expressed due to Adam’s sin.

Being however, associated with an the evil entities expressed in symbols, they are tried before Jesus and the angels because this association. The fire represents God’s zeal of righteousness, which tries and leads to execution against all unrighteousness. The symbol of “sulfur” (brimstone) intensifies the determination of that zeal, that it will not cease until it causes the destruction of that which is out of harmony with God’s righteousness. During the period of this trial, those who are worshiping these entities will have no rest day or night, thus signifying a time of distress for those who worship the beast and his image.

The symbolic smoke, representing the aftermath of their trial, will go up for all eternity, in the remembrance of all ages to come, as a signal, a reminder, of what they stood for.

The image of the beast seems to parallel the “false prophet” spoken of later. If so, we are told that the the beast and its image, whatever one may consider them to represent, are symbolically thrown into the symbolic lake of fire, which fire represents God’s jealous zeal. — Deuteronomy 4:24; 6:15; Zephaniah 3:8.

The beast and its image are not pictured as being thrown into hades, for, as entities, they are not, nor ever have been, under the condemnation of Adamic death. Jesus died for all those in hades, so that all in hades, great and small, may be raised in the last day judgment, when God blesses all the families of the earth. Jesus did not die for these entities, represented by the symbols of the beast and his image.

The individual humans, however, who receive that engraving, or mark of the beast, do not receive that engraving from God, but apparently from the system/entity represented by the beast, for it is stated that he, the symbolic beast, causes all to receive that symbolic engraving, and that unless one has that symbolic engraving he is not allowed (symbolically) to buy or sell. It is not a mark that God inscribes upon them to show that they, as individuals, are worthy of the second death, as some have seemed to assume. With the eternal destruction of those entities, the mark is no longer valid upon the individuals who had been inscribed with those those symbols, and the license to symbolically buy and sell under the rulership of such a beast or its image is no longer valid. For the unregenerated individuals involved, they are still under condemnation in Adam, and their new judgment comes in the "last day", after Satan is abyssed, when the books will opened to them without blinding influence of Satan. (Isaiah 2:2-4; 20:7; John 12:47,48; 2 Corinthians 4:3,4; Revelation 12:9; 20:1-3,20) For any who belong to Christ involved, we believe the judgment of these will be in harmony with Luke 12:42-48. See our studies

This, of course, is but a very brief summation of the verses, without getting too much into what the symbols represent.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Matthew 19:17 – The Law Gives Everlasting Life?

Matthew 19:17 - If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.

What good thing
shall I do,
that I may
have eternal life?
Matthew 19:16.
One has made the claim that in the first century Jewish culture "to be without sin" did not mean that he had some special nature, it simply meant that he was obedient to God’s Law … nothing more nothing less.

It is claimed that the New Testament records at least three men who were totally obedient to God’s Law: (1) The rich young ruler who declared to Jesus that he had obeyed the commandments since his youth and Jesus did not correct him; (2) Paul says in Philippians that he was blameless before the Law; (3) and Jesus himself. It is claimed that Jesus was set apart by God’s choosing, not by some mystical virgin birth or by some special nature. According this claim, Jesus was simply one of the flock chosen by God to fulfill his passover lamb: a human just like the rest of us.

We are not sure what is being meant by “nature” above, but we can say that Jesus was certainly not, by nature, a child of wrath, and never was such. — Ephesians 2:3.

Jesus’ “nature,” while he was in the days of his flesh (Hebrews 5:7), was just as Adam was before Adam sinned; he was indeed a human being, nothing more, nothing less, and we do not claim otherwise. However, Adam, before he sinned, did have a sinless nature, and was, by nature, a son of God. (Luke 3:38) Once he had sinned, he became, by nature, a child of wrath. -- Romans 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:3.

If by “nature”, it is meant that Jesus was God Most High and at the same a man, the Bible never says such a thing, and we certainly don’t believe such an idea.

Jesus was the first man to totally obey the Law, since all the rest (excluding Adam before he sinned) were under the bondage of corruption and of sinful flesh, by nature, children of wrath. Jesus, however, was not born with sinful flesh, since his flesh was specially prepared by his God and Father. (Hebrews 10:5) Jesus was like Adam was before Adam sinned; Adam was not at that time, by nature, a child of wrath, nor a son of disobedience. (Romans 5:14) No one had perfectly obeyed the Law Covenant before Jesus, else they, having obtained life through the Law, would be alive and walking around on the earth today (assuming that they did not return to sin and condemned to the second death), and Jesus’ ransom sacrifice would have been meaningless, since justification would have been by doing works of the Law. — Romans 2:13.

Jesus taught that, if a Jew under the Law Covenant could keep the commandments, that Jew could live forever. (Matthew 19:16-19; Mark 10:17-21; Luke 10:25-28) Paul also taught the same thing. (Romans 10:5) This offer was made, however, only to the Jew who was under the Law; no Gentile was ever made such an offer, and thus God overlooked the Gentile’s ignorance of the Law. The appeal to the Gentile to convert is in view of the judgment day of the age to come, when the new covenant will be enacted throughout the world. (Acts 17:30) Those whom become Gods’ sons in this age do so by partaking of the powers of that age to come. (Hebrews 6:5) Nevertheless, no Israelite has ever gained eternal life by keeping those commandments. We see no Jew walking around today who is several thousand years old, nor any one who has come out his dying condition that is upon him through Adam. The only one who did keep those commandments was Jesus, who gave up his right to eternal human life in order the redeem those under the curse of the law. — 2 Corinthians 5:12; Galatians 3:13.

Matthew 19:16 Behold, one came to him and said, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
Matthew 19:17 He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
Matthew 19:18 He said to him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not offer false testimony.
Matthew 19:19 Honor your father and mother. And, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 19:20 The young man said to him, “All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Matthew 19:22 But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.

Notice that it was the rich young ruler himself who made the claim of having obeyed the commandments. More than likely, he actually believed that he had, and thus was wondering why he had not received everlasting life. Jesus told him that if one were to keep the Law that one could enter into life. That is indeed the promise of the Law. The man evidently realized that he did not have everlasting life (for he surely must have been aware of the aging and continued signs of a coming death), even with his claim to self-righteousness, self-justification, and asked what more he should do. Jesus, in effect, pointed out to that man that if he had actually kept that Law perfectly/completely, then he would have become perfected and would have life through that Law Covenant, as that is what the Law promises to any who perfectly do the Law. As a result, he would no longer have felt the condemnation of death in his body, and that man would still be alive on the earth today.

Although it is the promise of the Law that if one would keep the commandments, he would enter into life, not one person condemned in Adam entered into life by keeping those commandments. The lesson to be learned was that man, in his fallen condition, could not keep God’s perfect law perfectly. But foreknowing this, God had made preparation for a repetition of the typical atonement day every year, so that the people might continue striving to attain eternal life, and be reminded of the need of a sacrifice for sin. Year after year, century after century, they failed in keeping that law perfectly, and discouragement took the place of hope. God was teaching them a great lesson respecting the need of better sacrifices than those of bulls and of goats, and also teaching them that there is no other means of justification in His sight. They had blessings under this covenant — educational blessings, but not the blessing hoped for, not life eternal.

We should realize that although Jesus had not yet completed his sacrifice while he was in the days of his flesh, during those days he did point to his sacrifice as the means of obtaining eternal life:

If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world. — John 6:51.

For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. — John 6:33.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. — John 6:54.

This points to Jesus’ sacrifice and the inauguration of the new covenant by his body of flesh with its blood. — Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19,20; Romans 3:25; 5:9; 7:4; 1 Corinthians 11:24,25; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Colossians 1:14.22; Hebrews 9:12,14; 10:10,14,29; 12:24; 13:12,20

Jesus also spoke of his giving his soul as a ransom. — Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45.

John the Baptizer introduced Jesus as the lamb, signifying one to be sacrificed for the sin of the world. (John 1:29) Jesus was the lamb given, not from the old creation under subjection to sin, vanity and corruption (Roman 8:19-22; 2 Peter 1:4), but his human life was a new creation not from the source of creation through Adam. If it had been, then Jesus would also have been subject to the same sinful conditions, bondage of corruption, etc., as the first creation, and would not have anything to offer to offset the sin of the first creation. From the old creation, there could come nothing new. (Ecclesiastes 1:9,10) Nothing of the old creation, under subjection to the “sun” of “vanity”, could make itself straight. (Ecclesiastes 1:14,15; 7:13) Thus, Jesus said to the Jewish leaders: “You are of this world (the world condemned in Adam, in subjection to bondage). I am not of this world.” (John 8:23) Likewise, with his disciples, authority was given so that they who were once children of disobedience and sons of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3) might become sons of God (John 1:12), “sons of the Most High” (Psalm 82:6), new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17), and no thus counted as no longer of this world, the creation in bondage to corruption. Thus, he says of them: “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” — John 17:14,16.
See our study: The Lamb of God

Paul’s statement that he was blameless before the Law (Philippians 3:6) does not mean that he had kept the Law perfectly, for he says: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15) Indeed, the very act of persecuting the church was surely a sin. However, Paul also said: “The doers of the law will be justified.” (Romans 2:13) If Paul had fully kept the Law, he was therefore justified by the Law, and he would not have needed the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, for he would have already attained life by works of the Law. Yet he includes himself by saying “we”: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Yes, Paul was a sinner, just as the rest of us. He had never justified himself by obeying the Law, and he himself said: “By the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:20) And yet, if he had been a “doer of the Law”, he would have been justified, as he stated in Romans 2:13; therefore, the only conclusion is that Paul had not been fully a “doer” of the Law, or else he would have been justified by the Law.

Paul further testifies: “If there had been a law given which could make alive, most assuredly righteousness would have been of the law.” (Galatians 3:21) And, “a man is not justified by the works of the law but through the faith of Jesus Christ.” — Galatians 2:16.

Paul, however, was of the sect of the Pharisees, which sect believed that one's righteousness comes by observance of the Law, that is, that salvation comes by doing whatever one is able to do to observe the Law, and such a person is thus considered righteous. In a sense this was true, in that the person's obedience, although not fully obedient in every detail, is, even in the Old Testament, given as evidence of one's righteousness. Under the law, many kinds of sin were to be paid for by means of various sin-offerings, that so that the person could be accounted as righteous. Those sin-offerings, however, were only typical, and did not actually take away any sins. They did point to the need of an obedient sinless man to pay the wages of sin as brought upon mankind through Adam. Thus, any full righteousness under the Law actually would be that reckoned by faith through the sacrifice of the Lamb of God who was yet to appear to take away sin.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Luke 13:22-25 – Few to Be Saved?

Luke 13:22- He went on his way through cities and villages, teaching, and traveling on to Jerusalem.Luke 13:23- One said to him, “Lord, are they few who are saved?” He said to them,Luke 13:24- “Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able.Luke 13:25- When once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ then he will answer and tell you, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

Matthew 7:13- Enter in by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter in by it. Matthew 7:14- How narrow is the gate, and restricted is the way that leads to life! Few are those who find it. 

The question, in effect, was put before Jesus: Will there be only a few who will be saved? Some have read into this narrative as meaning that Jesus answered that very few will be saved, that only those who enter in by the narrow door will be saved, and that all else will be eternally lost. In reality, Jesus did not give a direct answer to the question. Two reasons are suggested for this: (1) The Holy Spirit had not yet been given, and His followers could not then be prepared to understand the Plan of God thoroughly. (2) It was not due time to explain all the particulars of the salvation of the Church as the seed of Abraham, and then later the restoration of the world by means of the seed of Abraham. Jesus applied the matter to His hearers personally, saying: “Strive to enter in by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will seek to enter in, and will not be able. hence once the master of the house has risen up, and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside, and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ then he will answer and tell you, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.'”

Jesus did not in answer say that all would be saved — delivered from Adamic death — in the age to come. (John 12:47,48; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2), for it is quite possible that they (who were Jews acquainted with the Law) would have misunderstood that, and possibly thought it a license to sin. Rather, he speaks of the salvation, deliverance, pertinent to this age as figurative a “narrow door.” The “narrow door” evidently refers to Jesus himself, as the door of sheep field (John 10:7), as related to those who are to inherit the kingdom, that is, those who are to be rulers and judges in the kingdom in the age to come, as members of the seed of Abraham. (Luke 12:32; 22:29; Galatians 3:17,29) Few are finding that door (Matthew 7:13), and many seek to enter into the door who are not able due to lack of true exercise of faith. (Mark 4:2-9) This indicates that the vast majority of Christians are not truly consecrated, but have accepted Christ only nominally, not in the heart, while for various reasons are actually still attached to this world.

Jesus speaks of a time when the door is to be shut, which would indicate that no one will then be any longer able to enter into the sheep field of this age. The shutting of the door seems to signify the full end of this age, and the time when Satan is abyssed, and thus the present sheep field will no longer exist. There will be those seeking to get in in that day, although the door has been shut. Jesus continues to explain:

Luke 13:26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’

This indicates that many of those that had personally seen Jesus at his first appearing will be among those seeking to enter the door after it has been shut.

Luke 13:27 He will say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity (workers without legal authority).’ (corresponds to Matthew 7:22,23)Luke 13:28 There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves being thrown outside.Luke 13:29 They will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will sit down in the kingdom of God. — See Matthew 8:11.

In the age to come, many of those Jews who had seen Jesus will evidently think that they should be of the “kingdom” rulers, but they will find themselves outside of the royal house; they will be wondering why they, being Jews who had walked and ate with Jesus, are left out. Jesus points to those Jews who had seen him but had not fully committed to being disciples as though saying to Jesus in “that day” (Matthew 7:22) — the day of judgment: “We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets,” as though this meant that they should be inheritors of the kingdom. These, in their own estimation, should have been inheritors of the kingdom with Jesus, and this causes them great distress in the age to come, with weeping and gnashing of teeth that they were not included in the kingdom. The Gospel message first went to the Jews, but later it included Gentiles. Elsewhere Jesus expanded on this, and identifies the time will the door will be shut, saying:

Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Matthew 7:22 Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy by your name, by your name cast out demons, and by your name do many mighty works?’Matthew 7:23 Then I will tell them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity [work without legal authority].’

Thus it is “in that day”, the millennial day, the day of judgment, when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can be seen ruling, that the door is shut, and it is “in that day”, the millennial day, that many will be trying to get into the kingdom who will not able to enter therein.

Does this mean that they are barred from salvation altogether, that they are lost forever? No, for the very fact that they are there “in that day” to ask the questions Jesus spoke of shows that the ransom sacrifice of Jesus had been applied for them so that they were raised in the resurrection of the unjust to receive a new judgment based on the books that are opened at that time. — John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15; Romans 5:21-22; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 20:12.

Thus seen, while there are few who are being saved (through faith) in this age, the destruction that Jesus spoke about in Matthew 7:13 is the destruction that has been upon man since Adam sinned. It is not the second death for which there is no ransom provided. Those on the broad road that leads to destruction are eternally lost, but they fail to be of the seed of Abraham that is to bless all the nations. The application of the “ransom for all” is still applied to them, and they will have their opportunity to live forever in the age to come. They do not come forth in the resurrection of life, the resurrection of the just, but, due to Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, they do come forth in the resurrection of judgment, the resurrection of the unjust. — John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:11-13.

Related studies:

Thursday, February 01, 2018

John 3:17 -Jesus Saves the Whole World

Will the whole world be saved due to Jesus' sacrifice, or will only a few of the world be saved?

John 3:15 that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. — World English

Some have noted that John 3:17 in the New American Standard reads: “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.” The word “might” is used rather than “should” as it appears in the World English. At any rate, the argument appears to be that Jesus does not save the whole world, because of the usage of the word "might". 

First, we know from other scriptures that Jesus did come to “save” the whole world.

Jesus stated:

I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day. — John 12:47,48.  World English

Jesus did not use any word that could misunderstood as “might” save here. Jesus, in effect says that the he came to save the “world”, those who have rejected him, that they may “judged” in the “last day.” Psalm 98 foretells of the coming day of judgment for the world:

1 Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song; For he hath done marvellous things: His right hand, and his holy arm, hath wrought salvation for him. 2 Jehovah hath made known his salvation: His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the nations. 3 He hath remembered his lovingkindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel: All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

4 Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all the earth: Break forth and sing for joy, yea, sing praises. 5 Sing praises unto Jehovah with the harp; With the harp and the voice of melody. 6 With trumpets and sound of cornet Make a joyful noise before the King, Jehovah. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein; 8 Let the floods clap their hands; Let the hills sing for joy together 9 Before Jehovah; For he cometh to judge the earth: He will judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with equity. -- American Standard Version.

Other scriptures show that Jehovah comes to judge through -- by means of -- His son. -- Psalm 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 40:10; 62:11; Luke 1:32,35; John 5:22,23; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 8:6; Revelation 22:12.

That coming day of judgment will indeed be a time of great rejoicing for all the nations (the heathen), due to Jesus' sacrifice which provides the offsetting price to save the whole world from death so that they may be judged in that "last day."  This is truly “good news of great joy which will be to all the people.” (Luke 2:10, World English)

The word “world”, both in John 3:16,17 and John 12:47,48, is in the Greek a word that is often transliterated as “Kosmos“. Since, at that time, Jesus and his disciples had only preached directly to the house of Israel (the Jews — Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24; Luke 10:16), we know that Jesus here was including Israel (the Jews) as of this “world” (kosmos), since directly it was Israel, especially as represented in their leadership, that rejected Jesus as their Messiah. — Matthew 21:42; Mark 8:31; 12:10; Luke 9:22; 17:25; 20:17; 1 Peter 2:4.

Additionally, John wrote:

The Father has sent the Son as the Savior of the world. — 1 John 4:14.

“The world”  (kosmos) is the world of mankind that became condemned through Adam’s sin.

Sin entered into the world [kosmos] through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all sinned. — Romans 5:12, World English.

Those in this age who accept Jesus, who become new creatures (sons of God), as such, are no longer reckoned of this world, but like Jesus are not of this condemned world, for they, are counted as sons of God (as was Adam, before he sinned — Luke 3:38; John 1:11; Galatians 3;:26; 2 Corinthians 5:17). The sons of God of this age are not under the condemnation that came through Adam.  — John 5:19; 17:14,16; Romans 5:12-19; 8:1.

The sons of God of this age become members of the faith seed of Abraham, which is to bless the world in the age to come, when they will offer to the world “the water of life freely.” — Daniel 7:22,27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Obadiah 21; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; Romans 8:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 3:21; 5:9,10; 20:4,6; 22:17.

According to Jehovah’s oath-bound promise, Abraham’s seed, that is, Christ and all the “sons of God”, will bless “all the families of the earth.” This blessing will come to the world during the 1,000-year reign, while Satan is abyssed so that the heathen will not be deceived by him. — Genesis 12:3; 22:16-18; Galatians 3:7-9,16,29; Hebrews 6:13-20; Acts 3:19-25; Revelation 20:1-4.

John further stated concerning Jesus:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. — 1 John 2:2, World English.

Here John definitely says that Jesus paid price necessary to appease God for sins of the "whole world." Some have claimed here that John is using the word “world” (kosmos) to designate that Jesus did not die just for Jews, but also for the Gentiles, and by this argument they claim that John was referring only to those who believe in Jesus before they die in this age. Actually, John is referring to Jesus’ words in John 12:47,48, in which we have already demonstrated that this “world” includes Jews, for at that time it was directly the Jews who had rejected Jesus. Jesus did indeed die for the whole world, and the whole world is atoned through his sacrifice, including Israel. Unbelieving Israel is included in the regeneration of the age to come, as can be seen by Matthew 19:28. The atoning, however, does not guarantee that they will live forever. It does guarantee them the blessings of salvation from the original condemnation in Adam, and thus given an opportunity of another judgment whereby they are judged individually (not in Adam), by which judgment they could either live forever, or perish forever.

“When the Son of man will come in his glory . . . then he will sit on the throne of his glory: and all nations [the unbelieving heathen – Psalm 46:10; 67; 72:1,11,17; 96:3,10; Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 37:28; 38:16; 39:7] will be gathered [from hades and death — Revelation 20:12,13] before him. He will separate them [under the testings of that great judgment day] one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Those whom he finds to be righteous, pictured as sheep (those who become sheep in the next age, not Christ’s sheep of this present age — John 10:14-15), will be given everlasting life and will “inherit the kingdom” on earth (the meek will inherit it — Matthew 5:5), whereas those who will not have proved worthy, pictured as goats, will “go away into everlasting punishment [Greek, kolasin, cutting-off]” in the second death, never to live again. “All the wicked he will destroy.” — Matthew 25:31-46; Psalm 145:20; Revelation 20:9,15; 21:8.

Thus seen, the atoning sacrifice of Jesus does indeed save all from the condemnation that is on the “world” through Adam, but it then places those so saved on trial (as Adam was before he sinned) to see if they — as individuals (not as judged through Adam) — are worthy of actually living forever, or whether they will perish in the second death.

Please note that while the above may be said to a “universal” salvation, at least as it pertains universally to salvation of man from sin and death through Adam, we do not believe in the doctrine that is usually given the expression “universal salvation,” since that doctrine claims that Jesus died even for those in the second death, and thus, according that doctrine (which we reject), all will eventually live forever.

For more related to this great salvation, see the following studies:

Presents scriptural evidence that unbelievers are also saved, including Israel.

Presents scriptural evidence that the Judgment Day is not meant to be a doomsday, but rather salvation day, for the world.

A more detailed study of how God will bless all the heathen in the coming judgment day.

Discusses how all are saved through Jesus’ sacrifice, how this is possible, and what is guaranteed by the ransom for all, as well as how the modern “Evolution of man” theory contradicts the Biblical “ransom for all.”