Wednesday, January 04, 2017

1 Timothy 2:4 - God Desires All Men to Be Saved

Does 1 Timothy 2:1-5 indicate that God is now trying to save as many as possible from some eternal doom? 
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, or kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. -- 1 Timothy 2:1-5; New American Standard Bible translation

Some see in the statement of 1 Timothy 2:4 that God is trying to save -- in this present evil age --as many as possible from some eternal doom, if only they would learn and believe. Thus, instead of seeing the beauty that is actually there, that God will indeed save, or deliver, all men from their ignorance, and as a result of that deliverance bring all to an accurate knowledge of the truth, they vaguely see it as a warning of doom, rather than the guarantee of joyful blessings in due time, in the judgment day of the age to come. -- Genesis 22:18; Psalm 96;  Psalm 98; Isaiah 2:2-4; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Acts 17:31; Hebrews 6:5. See our studies
Mankind's Course to the Day of Judgment
Judgment and the Lake of Fire
The Day of Judgment

First of all, we note that the KJV is generally considered not completely precise in its translation: "and God will have all men to be saved." Most translations do present this as God "desires all men to be saved," (New American Standard) or God "wants everyone to be saved ." (Today's English Version) The New World Translation tries to qualify it as "all sorts of men should be saved". While the KJV may not be totally precise in its translation, yet we do believe that the KJV captures the thought that Paul was trying to express to Timothy: that God will fulfill his desire to have all mankind to be saved [delivered]. Paul had just mentioned prayers for the worldly rulers, not that they come to a knowledge of the truth, but that the believers "may go on leading a calm and quiet life." Then Paul states that this is fine and acceptable, not because they will be eternally doomed because of their unbelief, but because they will eventually be delivered [saved] from Adamic death and from their blindness so as to come to a knowledge of the truth.

This statement, that it is God's will that "all men should be saved", finds a parallel in the statement by the same Apostle, in Romans 11:26, "And so all Israel shall be saved." The thought in this last passage is not that all Israel is to be live forever, but merely that all Israel will be saved from their blindness -- in the sense of being recovered from the blindness which came upon them as a people as a result of their national rejection of the Messiah. So the thought of the text is also limited and applies only to the Adamic catastrophe: God wills that all men should be saved, not only from the just sentence which he pronounced and which cut short Adam's trial (this he has already accomplished in the death of his Son) but he also wills that all men will be recovered from the ignorance and blindness with which Satan since the fall has darkened their minds: "The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4) God wills that all should be so saved from all the train of evils following Adam's sin and curse, that they may come to a knowledge of the truth. Why does he will this? To the intent that having a clear knowledge of the truth they may make the very best possible use of the new trial for life secured for them by their Redeemer's ransom-sacrifice. It is for the carrying out of this, God's will, that the Redeemer will inaugurate his Millennial Kingdom, which will first abyss Satan (restrain all outside evil influences) and then release man from his blindness -- as it is written, "the eyes of the blind shall be opened." (Isaiah 35:5) For the same reason, viz., that the new trial shall be most favorable for man, it is the divine arrangement that its work shall be done gradually and require a thousand years. -- Isaiah 2:2-4; 25:6,7; 29:24; John 12:47,48; Revelation 20:1-5.

Is this, then, "universal" salvation? The word "universal" is derived from the word "universe," which originally meant "everything that exists," which would include God Himself, since God does exist, as well as the angels of God. However, neither God nor the loyal angels are in need of any salvation. Nevertheless, in common usage, both the word "universe" as well as "universal" are used, not to refer to absolutely everything that exists, but to all that exists in a common sphere. Thus, some may refer to "universe" as speaking of all the created universe, the material universe or of all mankind upon the earth. As speaking universally of all mankind now dying in Adam, yes the salvation provided through Jesus may be called a "universal" salvation. However, there are other scriptures which speak of the ultimate eternal destruction of a certain class. In seeking to harmonize these Scriptures we note that there are various applications of the blood of the new covenant effect salvation from Adamic death. We should also note that the word "saved" in the Bible as well as common usage does not always refer to the same thing. For illustration: A man might be saved from a burning building in the morning, and in the afternoon from drowning in a pond of water. The next day he might be saved from financial disaster, from bankruptcy, and later from something else.

We will speak here of "salvation" from one aspect, in that there is one general trouble in the human family. The whole human race descended from Adam were sold under sin. The apostle Paul, writing on this subject, says: "through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; so death passed to all men, all having sin." (Romans 5:12) This, then, is the great disaster. The scriptures tell us that God has provided Jesus to be a life-giver to all mankind, and that He died, the just for the unjust. "Since by means of a man came death, by means of a man comes also the resurrection of the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:21) "The hour is coming when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and they, having heard, will live... Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all that are in the tombs will hear [the] voice [of Jesus], and will come forth." (John 5:25,28,29.) This awakening from death is what the apostle had in mind, evidently, when he said that God is "the savior of all men." -- 1 Timothy 4:10.

Jesus purchased for man what Adam lost. Thus, when the present unbelievers are "saved" from death and raised in the resurrection day, they will be as Adam was before Adam sinned. But when the whole human family, now groaning and travailing under a subject to futility (Romans 8:20-22), are brought back to the same condition in which Adam was before he sinned, it does not necessarily mean that cannot come under a new condemnation of death. Jesus said that when they live in that resurrection, and they believe, they will never die. (John 11:26) Adam was perfect in that he was sinless, yet he fell into death due to disobedience; and his race, when fully recovered from the penalty, will be placed on trial similar to the way Adam was on trial. Having been raised through application of the blood of the new covenant, that new covenant will then be in effect so as to allow a time of mediation whereby those so raised will be enabled by means of the Jehovah's kingdom in that age to come to a knowledge of the truth, and have the opportunity by means of that new covenant through God's Holy Spirit of perfecting their obedience. If obedient, then they will live forever. Any one who will then remain disobedient to God will not depart into everlasting life, but will suffer the eternal punishment of the second death. -- Matthew 25:46; Revelation 20:12-15.

The Scriptures show us that Christ, having saved the world, will at the beginning of the Millennial Age establish what many refer to as His Mediatorial Kingdom, which will be for the very purpose of liberating man from their former sinful desires and so that eventually death will be swallowed up, and they, like those who overcome in this age, can no longer be harmed by the second death. (Revelation 2:11) Then whoever chooses sin will be choosing the wages of sin -- death, but that will not be death by means of Adam (1 Corinthians 15:21,22), but rather the second death for which no sacrifice remains. (Hebrews 10:26) The world, having been saved -- delivered -- from Adamic death and its resulting condition of hades/sheol, will, in that age to come, be judged by the books that are opened to them at that time, so that they will be judged by their works from what is written in those books. (Revelation 20:11-15) Whoever chooses righteousness in that age will be choosing the reward that goes with it -- everlasting life. Each will be granted the opportunity of everlasting life, because of having been saved by Christ's blood from the condemnation upon Adam. So all who are now dying by means of Adam must first be must be saved from the first condemnation that is by means of Adam (John 4:42; 12:47,48; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 4:14) and come to a knowledge of the truth (Isaiah 2:2-4; 26:9) before having either the second punishment of everlasting death, or the reward of departing into everlasting life. -- Isaiah 26:10; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; Hebrews 10:26; Revelation 20:12-15.

God "desires all men to be saved [from the condemnation of death by means of Adam] and to come to the knowledge of the truth [recovered, out of the death state, the tomb], and to come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth; for there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men; namely, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a Ransom [corresponding/offsetting price] for all, to be testified in due time." The due time for the world in general, here spoken of, will be during Messiah's Reign in "the age to come." The knowledge of Jehovah will cover the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. But there is in this age a class being specially blessed -- "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." Having this blessing now, being reckoned as sons of God as Adam was before he sinned (Luke 3:38; Romans 8:16,17; Galatians 3:26), these have the gracious opportunity of attaining joint-heirship with our Lord in celestial glory. -- Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 15:40.

Some Related Links

We do not necessarily agree with all that is stated by the authors linked to below:
"Prayers for Earthly Rulers"
(See fourth question)

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