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.
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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.

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