Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the True Doctrine of Apocatastasis

God will offer salvation to each and every person who has ever lived

By COGwriter

I. Introduction
II. God is Love
III. Jesus Came to Save More than A Few
IV. Salvation is Available When God Decides
V. Will God's Will Be Done?
VI. The Only Ones Saved Now Are Those Who Accept The Call Now
VII. God Does Not Hold People Accountable for What They Have Not Been Able to See
VIII. The Bible Clearly Teaches that Those Gentiles Who Have Been Subject to Condemnation Will Have an Opportunity for Salvation
IX. Some Few Will Willfully Reject God's Generous Offer But Their End Will Be Swift
X. All Israel Will Be Saved
XI. The Prophets Spoke About This
XII. Protestants Generally Oppose Apocatastasis, Roman Catholics Claim Eternal Torment, But the Orthodox and Church of God Teach Differently
XIII. Conclusion

A version of the main article was has been translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.

I. Introduction

Does the Bible support true apocatasatasis (generally pronounced a-po-ca-TAH-sta-sis)?
Will salvation be offered to all who ever lived?

Absolutely!

Notice what the New Testament and the Old Testament plainly teach:

6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:6)

10 And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:10)

Since most who claim some version of Christianity believe that what they teach is at least partially supported by scripture, this article which contains a listing of hundreds of verses in the Bible supporting apocatastasis, as well as related comments, may be helpful for those who wish to receive their doctrine from the Bible.

But first what is apocatastasis? Apocatastasis comes from the Greek word apokatastasis. The Latin definition (per The Catholic Encyclopedia) is restitutio in pristinum statum, restoration to the original condition. The Greek term apokatastasis is used in the Book of Acts 3:21.

What was the original condition?

31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good (Genesis 1:31, NKJV throughout except as where otherwise indicated).

In theological terms, the concept of apocatastasis is sometimes used to support the teaching of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ on the Earth--and that is a part of it. But the millennium will not be the focus of this article. The main focus of this article is what God's plan now is and how it affects the time from the end of the millennial reign--the time of the 100 year period (Isaiah 65:17-20), and into eternity.

Generally speaking, when theologians use the term apocatastasis they are referring to the doctrine that at some time God will offer salvation to everyone, such as after the second resurrection (there are also other views of it). More detail is included in the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants.

This article will mainly be a listing of passages in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) and the Greek Scriptures (the New Testament) that show how the Bible supports the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) view of apocatastasis.

And what is that view?

God will offer salvation to all that ever lived.

More precisely, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) believes that the Bible teaches that all will ultimately be given an opportunity for salvation through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; John 17:3; Luke 3:6) and that nearly all (perhaps over 99.9%) people who ever lived will accept that opportunity and thus gain eternal life in the kingdom of God and the relatively few who do not will not be eternally tormented, but will be put out of their misery (see also section IX). Thus, the CCOG teaches that the opportunity for salvation will be universal, and although the vast majority will be saved, some few will not.

While the scriptures shown in this paper support apocatastasis and they are grouped together for ease of emphasis, a reading of them clearly shows that God's plan of salvation as understood and taught by the CCOG has broad scriptural support.

II. God is Love

The overwhelming theme of the Bible is that God is love and that because of His love He sent His Son, Jesus, so that humans would have the opportunity for salvation through Him.

1 John 4:8-11, 16, John wrote:

8...God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another...16 God is love...

The overwhelming theme of the Bible is that God loves us and that God has a plan for us. Certainly a God of love has a plan that results in nearly all humans being saved as opposed to most being permanently lost.

John 3:16-17, Jesus said:

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Notice that love is the motivator for God and this lead Him to send His Son to die so that the world may not be condemned but may be saved. This means that ALL MIGHT be saved (not that all will be saved). All will have an opportunity. God's plan is NOT limited to a few elect like many groups teach. Do you believe that Jesus died for the world or only a relative few? Would not a God of love have a plan that would result in nearly everyone being saved through the sacrifice of His Son?

Jude 20-21 teaches:

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

Notice that it is teaching that is the love of God that brings eternal life. Does God love everyone or only a few?

Romans 8:37-39 Paul teaches:

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Does God have this type of love towards all or only an elect few? And if it is towards all, then will not God do whatever is necessary to call all?

Isaiah 59:1 shows:

1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.

Thus, God certainly can save!

Psalm 145:8-9 reminds everyone that:

8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works.

Notice that it is God's tender mercies that are over all His works. Love is what God really is.

III. Jesus Came to Save More than A Few

Did Jesus come only to save the relatively few elect like Calvinists (see John Calvin, Calvinism, TULIP, and What is Predestination?) and most other Protestants believe or nearly all who ever lived? Certain Calvinist beliefs suggest that no more than 2% of humans will be saved and since none deserved this, that this shows that God is love (they consign the rest of humanity to eternal torture which they feel is deserved, despite the fact that they teach that humans have no choice in getting or not getting saved).

Since Protestant's claim Sola scriptura it is to the Bible that the answer to that question is to be found (it should be noted that Roman Catholic theology, while normally allowing for a higher percentage of people receiving salvation than what most Protestant and Baptist groups seem to teach, also condemn most who ever lived to eternal torment and torturing).

Luke 2:10, states:

10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

Jesus will be joy to all people who will accept Him. Is there joy is in eternal torment and torture? Of course not! And the Bible does not teach some version of the Infernus from Dantes' Divine Comedy.

It is a human tragedy that pagan influence, secular writers, and non-biblical traditionalists have influenced most who profess Christianity to be misled that God's plan is not a source of joy for most, but tortuous suffering for most who have ever lived.

1 Corinthians 3:5-7, Paul clearly shows that it does not matter how much anyone preaches, it is God who will give the increase:

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

Thus, it is clear that God has a plan about who will respond to the preaching (as well as when).

Luke 19:9-10 and Matthew 18:11 show that Jesus came to save the lost:

9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."

11 For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Notice that Jesus came to save the lost, not just a small amount of elect people.

Saving those who are currently lost is part of God's plan as Ezekiel 34:11-16 shows:

11 'For thus says the Lord God: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God. 16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

John 12:47, Jesus stated:

47 And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world...

The idea of Jesus coming to save more than a few is clearly being taught. Will He not succeed?

1 John 4:14, John states:

14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.

Again, can Jesus be Savior of all without offering salvation to all?

John 12:32, Jesus stated:

32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

Is Jesus intending to draw all to Him in order to eternally punish most or to save them?

Hebrews 9:28 teaches:

28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Notice that Christ will bear the sins of many (the word in Greek, polus, implies most). So while not all will accept His sacrifice, clearly many will.

Colossians 1:16, Paul states:

16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

Does Jesus intend for most of His creation to suffer eternally? Is God not intelligent enough to plan a creation that will result in nearly all being saved?

Romans 5:15-21, Paul states:

15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man's offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man's righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Since Jesus' free gift is for all men, will not all humankind have an opportunity to receive it? Since by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous certainly many does not mean a few. For grace to reign, does this not mean that most will accept it?

1 Corinthians 15:22, Paul states:

22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

All died in Adam, all will be made alive in Christ. All will have an opportunity for salvation, not just a few.

Notice what Abraham declared in Genesis 18:25:

25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Certainly properly offering salvation to everyone is the right thing a loving God would do. Does your church believe that God will do right by all?

Colossians 1:20, Paul states:

20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.

Notice that Jesus will reconcile all to Himself having made peace through His sacrifice. A sacrifice that will be made available to all.

Revelation 15:3-4, states:

"Great and marvelous are Your works,
Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways,
O King of the saints!
4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested."

Notice that all the nations shall come and worship God. Notice that the implication of verse 4 is that only very few will not glorify God's name.

John 5:21-22, Jesus taught:

21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,

Has your church judged those that even God the Father has not judged? Does Jesus want to give life to the many or to the few?

What does your church teach?

My church teaches that my God is a loving God who has a plan that will offer salvation to all and that nearly all (probably over 99.9%) will accept Jesus' offer of salvation.

1 Timothy 4:9-11, is Paul teaching that Jesus is the Savior of all men or only a few?

9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11 These things command and teach.

Hebrews 7:24-27 teaches:

25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

Notice that Jesus is able to save the uttermost--they are those that are not now near to Him. Also, notice that Jesus died for all and not just a small amount of elect.

Isaiah 25:6-9 teaches:

6 And in this mountain
The LORD of hosts will make for all people
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
7 And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth;
For the LORD has spoken.
9 And it will be said in that day:
"Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the Lord;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."

Notice that this feast is for all people, that the veil over people will be destroyed, death will no longer occur, and salvation will come.

Psalm 145:21 teaches:

21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.

Now, while the Hebrew terms commonly translated as "all" do not necessarily mean every one, certainly they mean at least the vast majority. The only way that most flesh shall bless God's name is if He has a plan that will give them an opportunity to understand His loving plan of salvation later.

Revelation 21:6 shows:

6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts..."

Does this sound like Jesus intends that salvation will be available to all or only a relative few?

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul teaches:

14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

Notice that Paul clearly teaches that Jesus has died for all. Not a few elect (like the Calvinists teach), not the relative few that accept Christ in this age (as most Protestant/Baptist/Evangelicals teach), not a minority of humankind (as most Roman Catholics teach).

For Jesus to die for all, ALL must have an opportunity for salvation. And since God is all knowing, certainly He knows how to have a plan of salvation where the most possible will be saved.

2 Peter 3:9, Peter explains:

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

In Luke 3:6, the New Testament is very clear that :

...all flesh shall see the salvation of God

Salvation will be offered to all who ever lived, with a few understanding the offer in this age, and everyone else in the age to come. 

Does your church understand and teach this?

IV. Salvation is Available When God Decides

Even though Jesus came so that all could be saved, He was not originally sent to call everyone in this age as He taught in Matthew 15:24:

24 "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

Similarly, notice what He taught in John 4:22:

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

And that this would CHANGE in John 4:23-24:

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Acts 3:19-21, Peter states:

19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Notice that the Bible makes clear that the idea of the times of restoration of all things, the apocatastasis, is not just a term limited to Acts 3:21 (where the Greek term apokatastasis is actually used), but that Peter is teaching that it is what God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began--essentially this is the theme of the Bible--how the God of love will offer salvation to all.

Notice that this time of restoration IS NOT YET here for all. But that it will come to pass.

Luke 1:68-75, notice what Zacharias was inspired to say after the birth of John the Baptist:

68 "Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of His servant David,
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets,
Who have been since the world began,
71 That we should be saved from our enemies
And from the hand of all who hate us,
72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74 To grant us that we,
Being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

Please stop, think, and consider that Satan (a word that means enemy or adversary) and other enemies have always been around, but that a time for all is coming where there will not be any enemies of the true faith. This simply has not yet been fulfilled, but will come to pass.

After a section in Isaiah (30:8-17) that Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition calls "Doom of incorrigible sinners," notice what God has recorded in Isaiah 30:18:

18 Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.

So, no, this section in Isaiah is NOT about the ultimate doom of sinners, but instead shows that God will have that He may have mercy on them (to learn what happens to those who actually are incorrigibly wicked, please see the article Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up?).

Furthermore, notice this passage in Isaiah 49:13-15:

13 Sing, O heavens!
Be joyful, O earth!
And break out in singing, O mountains!
For the LORD has comforted His people,
And will have mercy on His afflicted.

14 But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me,
And my Lord has forgotten me."

15 "Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb?
Surely they may forget,
Yet I will not forget you..."

God will not forget, though many act like He does. He will also have mercy. Mercy is so important, ithat the English term "mercy" is shown 282 in the NKJV of the Bible. Notice, for one other example, how Jesus referred to it in Matthew 23:23:

23... the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith.

The expression "mercy seat" is used 28 times in the Bible (NKJV). Why would God have made so many instructions related to His mercy seat if He planned to pass only eternal condemnation at the white throne judgment of Revelation 20?

Obviously, since there is a mercy seat (cf. Exodus 25:17-22; Hebrews 9:5), this is a clue that God plans to have mercy.

While judgment will happen in Revelation 20:11-12 will happen and people will be found guilty (as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God per Romans 3:23), it will not be eternal condemnation. Why? Notice what James 2:13 teaches:

13...Mercy triumphs over judgment.

While God has mercy on some now, God will have mercy on those not called to be firstfruits in this age and this teaching will be hard for many to understand now as Romans 11:30-33 teaches:

30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

So, notice that God INTENTIONALLY is allowing some to be disobedient now, so that they will get mercy later and that those called now (the firstfruits) will have mercy now. And God has done this so that He might have mercy on all--this apparently could not have happened any other way. The only way for God to have mercy on ALL is for salvation to be offered to all in a manner they can properly comprehend.

These concepts are offensive to many. Because of their traditions, miseducation, biases, and pride, many cannot accept that is so merciful. Many who followed Jesus were offended after He spoke and turned away from Him, despite seeing miracles (see John 6:1-66; see also Living as a Christian: Strong Meat). Many will not believe what we in the Continuing Church of God point out that the Bible teaches--this includes most who claim to believe the Bible.

Only those who intentionally reject God's mercy, will be destroyed in the lake of fire, the second death (Revelation 20:14) to put them of of their misery (cf. Revelation 21:4 and section IX).

Reasons like this are why God 'hardened Pharaoh's heart' (Exodus 9:12; 10:1,20,27; 11:10;14:8). Now Pharaoh actually hardened his own heart a couple of times first (Exodus 8:15,32) as well as at least once after God did (Exodus 9:34), and Pharaoh was not in a place he would truly repent in that age. God, however, had a plan that would be best for not only the Israelites, but also the Egyptians and ultimately Pharaoh himself. The plan included the death of Egpytians (e.g. Exodus 14:8-9), whose hearts God also hardened (Exodus 14:17-18). Yet, God did not view the loss of life of the Egyptians who followed Israel across the sea and got stuck and drowned (Exodus 14:26-28) as truly lost--as He knew His plans for them (e.g. Psalm 33:11; Isaiah 19:19-25). According to Samuel, Pharaoh and the Egyptians hardened their own hearts and Samuel urged that the people should not follow their example (1 Samuel 6:6). Some, however will harden their hearts now and not truly wish to be part of the firstfruits of God's plan, though all should who hear the truth (cf. Acts 17:30).

James 1:18, James wrote about firstfruits:

18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

Romans 8:23, Paul wrote the following:

23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Recall that it was the Holy Spirit that was first given on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). And that was a type of the firstfruits of the Spirit.

Who are the firstfruits according to Revelation 14:4-5?

4 These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

But what about Jesus? Wasn't He a type of firstfruits?

Yes, He certainly was. Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming.

Christ is the fulfillment of the wave sheaf offering in Leviticus 23:10. He is the sheaf of firstfruits. He also fulfilled that role when He ascended into heaven on the Sunday (the wave sheaf offering was on a Sunday) after He was resurrected (John 20:1,17). But neither He nor His true followers observed what is now called Easter.

Does not the concept of a firstfruits specifically imply that there will be later fruits? Also, the Day of Pentecost is also called, "the feast of firstfruits" in the Bible (Exodus 34:32). And even today, it pictures that God is only calling some now, but will call all others later (more information is in the article Pentecost: Is It More Than Acts 2?).

1 Timothy 2:1-6, Paul wrote:

1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time...

Notice that God desires that all are to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Can not God make His desire, His will, come to pass? Also notice that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for all--not just the relatively few elect--and His testimony will come to pass in due time. Are some improperly judging before due time?

The firstfruits are called now, they are part of an earlier rain, but a latter rain will come per Hosea 6:3:

3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

This rain that will come in the future represents a harvest according to James 5:7:

7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.

Others will be called later and we should patiently wait for that time.

Ephesians 1:10, Paul states:

10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him.

Notice when He will gather all: in the dispensation of the fullness of the times. Does your church teach this? If not, does it really understand what the Bible teaches.

Psalm 77:7-9 asks:

7 Will the Lord cast off forever?
And will He be favorable no more?
8 Has His mercy ceased forever?
Has His promise failed forevermore?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies?

Since the intended answer to all those questions is "no", then it should be obvious that a time for God to be favorable and pour out His mercies will still come.

Isaiah 25:9 teaches:

9 And it will be said in that day: "Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation."

Notice that these people are not yet saved. This is a time in the future. When is the time? Actually it is the time the veil over then nations will be destroyed (Isaiah 25:7)--then salvation will come to many!

Isaiah 40:5 teaches about something has not yet happened:

5 The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

Psalm 65:1-2 shows that there is a time in the future that all flesh will come to God:

1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come.

Does your church really understand that ALL FLESH will come to God?

Psalm 22:27-28 teaches :

27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD's,
And He rules over the nations.

Has this happened? Are not many of the original families of the earth dead as nearly all perished in the great flood? Thus, this is something other than the millennium. This is a prophecy for the future when all will truly have an opportunity for salvation.

Psalm 72:4-5 teaches:

4 He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
5 They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.

Has this happened? Is this not for the future? Since this discusses "all generations" is it only for a millennium?

Some have asked how Philippians 2:12-13 will apply to those that are called later:

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

But many scriptures cited in this paper show that people, at or after the time of the white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-13), will fear (e.g. Psalm 64:9; 67:7; 72:5)--and repentance will be required (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:25-32). And as far as trembling, Hosea 11:10-11 teaches:

10 "They shall walk after the Lord. He will roar like a lion. When He roars, Then His sons shall come trembling from the west; 11 They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt, Like a dove from the land of Assyria. And I will let them dwell in their houses,"

In the future, they will loathe themselves as Ezekiel 20:43-44 shows:

43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. 44 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name's sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel," says the Lord God.

Psalm 86:8-9 teaches:

8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.

Since there are nations that died out during the flood and afterwards, how can this be unless God has a time in the future for this to occur?

Notice that while God currently lets the nations weary themselves in vain, Habakkuk 2:13-14 shows that eventually all will have knowledge of God:

13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts
That the peoples labor to feed the fire,
And nations weary themselves in vain?
14 For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea.

The fact that it is of God that they now do not, clearly supports that God will offer salvation when He decides.

Philippians 2:9-11, Paul states:

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Notice that every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord. How can they do that if they did not even hear the name of Jesus Christ in this life? Now it is important to distinguish just acknowledging Jesus is the Christ does not grant salvation--even the demons know (James 2:19). But certainly acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ is an important step and one that is necessary for salvation (Acts 2:38-39;4:10-12).

Lamentations 3:31-33, Jeremiah teaches that God has a plan of compassion for those He has cast off:

31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion
According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.

He does not afflict willingly, but according to His mercies for the plan which will allow Him to show the most possible compassion.

Jeremiah 16:19-21 shows that Jeremiah asks and then God answers that once God will cause those Gentiles who inherited lies to to come to Him:

19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress,
My refuge in the day of affliction,
The Gentiles shall come to You
From the ends of the earth and say,
"Surely our fathers have inherited lies,
Worthlessness and unprofitable things."
20 Will a man make gods for himself,
Which are not gods?

21 "Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know,
I will cause them to know
My hand and My might;
And they shall know that My name is the LORD.

God will at that time (after "the day of affliction") cause them to know Him. This simply has not yet happened, but will. And notice that this will be a time that people will realize that they have relied on false religious ideas of others (often called traditions). An article of related interest may be Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings.

Ephesians 2:4-7, Paul states:

4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Notice that His grace is shown in the ages to come. Has your church judged before the time?

Titus 2:11, Paul states:

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men (NKJV)

Has the grace of God yet appeared to all men? Of course not. Thus, there is certainly a prophetic implication of this passage by Paul.

What about the expression "has appeared"? Does that mean that God's grace has been seen already by every one? No. There is a mistranslation of word order.

Here is the literal word order:

2014............. 1063...3588..5485. 3588. 2316. <9999 >......... 4992....3956.. 444
hath appeared... For.. the... grace... of.... God...that bringeth.....salvation to all..men (Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft).

Thus a more literal translation is that:

It has appeared that the grace of God brings salvation to all men.

Paul goes on to state that for those who now know, they need to living Godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:12).

1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul states:

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Notice that God will be praised and that judgement is not be before the time when the Lord comes. Why then do most professing Christians have a judgement that condemns most who have ever lived?

1 Corinthians 15:28, Paul states:

28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

Notice that this prophesy specifically states that a time is coming when all things will be subject to Him. This will be the time that all who have not had an opportunity will have an opportunity for salvation.

Revelation 21:3 teaches:

3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

Notice that there is a future time when they shall be His people.

As the following verses show, the truth of God will be hidden until a certain time:

Matthew 10:26:

26 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known.

Mark 4:22-23:

22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.

Luke 8:17-18:

17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear.

Luke 12:1-2:

2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.

It should be clear to all that God has His time table for when He will have the truth known in order to call all. And that that time has not yet come. It happens in the "age to come":

Matthew 12:32:

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Mark 10:29-31:

29 So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time — houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions — and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."

Luke 18:29-30:

29 So He said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life."

Hebrews 6:4-6:

4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

The fact that almost all sins, including blasphemy against Jesus can be forgiven in the "age to come," shows that even current sinners can still be forgiven after the resurrection (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?). The fact that many of the first shall be last and the last first shows that there will be some called later in the age to come. The fact that the time all who blasphemed the Holy Spirit will realize that they are the only ones NOT forgiven in the "age to come" shows that all others can be (see also What is the Unpardonable Sin?).

Notice that God is willing to forgive all inquities for those blinded who will respond in Isaiah 43:8-9 and 25-26:

8 Bring out the blind people who have eyes, And the deaf who have ears. 9 Let all the nations be gathered together, And let the people be assembled. Who among them can declare this, And show us former things? Let them bring out their witnesses, that they may be justified; Or let them hear and say, "It is truth."

25 "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins. 26 Put Me in remembrance; Let us contend together; State your case, that you may be acquitted.

Notice the following parable in Mark 4:30-32:

30 Then He said, "To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade."

Most simply do not understand that Jesus was teaching that although His kingdom would start off small, that eventually it would encompass the world--He was teaching that salvation would be available to more later than when He spoke (more on this parable can be found in the article Parable of the Mustard Seed).

Ephesians 3:8-11, Paul mentions that he was going to be able to preach things hidden to some of the Gentiles:

8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Colossians 1:26-28, Paul says about the same thing:

26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

The mystery has to do with God's plan to offer salvation. It was HIDDEN from generations, hence there was no way that most could have had salvation prior to Christ. And it is still a mystery that most do not know even today.

Jesus made it clear that the purpose of the parables was so that most would not be able to understand the MYSTERY and be converted today in Mark 4:11-12:

11 And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that 'Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them.'"

Isaiah 65:17-20, teaches when the hundred year period will occur:

17 "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing,
And her people a joy.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.

20 "No more shall an infant from there live but a few days,
Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days;
For the child shall die one hundred years old,
But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed.

Notice that the above shows that there will be some who after everything is restored will be accursed. Thus while most will accept the offer of salvation, some few sadly will wish to remain in their sins ("sin is the transgression of the law," 1 John 3:4, KJV).

Perhaps it should be pointed out here, that it has been documented as far back as the second and fourteenth centuries, that some who professed Christ did understand that there was a one hundred year time period where those that had not been called would have an opportunity for salvation (please see article Hope of Salvation: How the Church of God Differs from Protestantism).

1 Corinthians 4:5, Paul tells Christians:

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God.

Notice that the time of final judgment has not yet come.

V. Will God's Will Be Done?

Ephesians 1:11-12, Paul wrote:

11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Two points. The fact those that first trusted in Christ were predestined shows that there will be those that will come who were not first. Also notice that they were first called according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will. Is not His will that all will be saved? Will not God's counsel stand?

John 8:29, Jesus taught:

29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.

Does it please the Father that most will be condemned or that most will be saved through Jesus?

Psalm 135:6 teaches:

6 Whatever the LORD pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places.

Does it please the God of love to offer salvation to all, to save nearly everyone or only a few?

Ezekiel 18:32 teaches:

2 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!

Notice that God clearly wants people to live. Would He then have devised a plan that results in the vast majority of humans facing the second death (see also section IX)? He would not have, and did not.

Hebrews 9:26-28 teaches:

26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

Notice that it was the plan since the foundation of the world that Jesus would be slain for the many. Not only the few.

Proverbs 19:21 shows that God's counsel will stand:

21 There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the LORD's counsel--that will stand.

Isaiah 46:10, God states:

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'

Notice that God had a plan from the very beginning. Also notice that God says that He will do all His pleasure--is not His pleasure to share His love to all?

John 17:1-2, Jesus taught:

Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

Has the Father only intended to give Jesus a few or the many? What does your church really teach?

Acts 2:21, the Apostle Peter taught:

21 And it shall come to pass
That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.

God's will and His plan of salvation will come to pass.

VI. The Only Ones Saved Now Are Those Who Accept The Call Now

Jesus taught that the true church would be a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), hated by the world (Matthew 10:22), and persecuted (Matthew 10:23). He also taught only a few would find the way to eternal life in this age (Matthew 7:14; 20:16). The Apostle Jude indicates that the number of saints was relatively small (Jude 14), while the Apostle Paul called the small group a “remnant” (Romans 11:5). And the New Testament is clear that God has to do the calling (John 6:44; 1 Corithians 12:3).

1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul states:

3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, no one can be saved unless God gives an opportunity through the Holy Spirit. Is God intending to condemn those that had no chance?

John 6:44, Jesus clearly taught:

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Similarly in John 6:65, Jesus taught:

65 "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

God the Father must call for any to come to Jesus. But God has not called all now. Certainly a loving God understands that and does not condemn those that do not know or are not able to see.

In 1 Timothy 1:13, notice what the Apostle Paul wrote:

13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (1 Timothy 1:13)

Paul attained mercy because he persecuted Christians ignorantly. The same will be true for countless others.

Notice that only a few are chosen now as in Matthew 20:16, Jesus teaches:

6 "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."

Revelation 17:14 shows that Christians will have to be faithful:

14...He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

Luke 12:32 shows that the faithful, until God's kingdom is given, will be small:

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Notice that only a few will find Christ now, as in Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus teaches:

13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

This is the same Jesus who came to save more than a few. And He will, not in this age (as there will only be a few now), but in the age to come as few will remain faithful in this age).

Notice that many who will be first come from places (like Asia in the east, Russia in the north, Africa and Latin America in the south, plus all the islands) that will end up being first in the Kingdom of God according to what Jesus taught in Luke 13:29-30:

29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.

Yes, there will be some from the west, but notice that they are no more prominent than those from the other regions. How does your church understand this? We in the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, specifically in the Continuing Church of God, understand that God will offer salvation to everyone in this age or the age to come and those in non-biblical nations will respond.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, Paul teaches:

13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 11:1-5, Paul shows that while God has not cast away his people forever, He only has called a remnant now:

1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Zechariah 10:6 shows:

6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside;

How can people be as though they were not cast aside if they will not have an opportunity for salvation? (These clearly include those who were cast off in Hosea 9:16-17.)

Mark 4:33-34 shows that Jesus only explained what He meant to a few:

33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

John 12:37-40 shows that many cannot believe, even though they saw Jesus' miracles, because they have been blinded:

37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:

"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn
,
So that I should heal them."

Thus, the Bible is clear that people were blinded so that even when they saw the signs from Jesus they could not be converted now. This is because this was not the age for many to be saved as God's plan, which involves the age to come, will result in the most possible percentage of people being saved.

Also notice Job 17:4a and Luke 13:24:

4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding...

24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Some, including some who wanted to know, have been prevented from understanding!

But there is no partiality with God as Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, and Acts 10:34 show:

11 For there is no partiality with God.

9...there is no partiality with Him.

34 In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Hence, there must be a plan for the rest. A plan for those NOT called and chosen in this age as God is NOT partial, nor does He love them any less.

Notice that Isaiah 9:2 is clear that those that walked in darkness will see the light:

2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

Notice that Isaiah 42:16-18 teaches that and this includes those who had followed idols:

16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. 17 They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.' 18 "Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see.

Jeremiah 6:10 shows that many simply cannot hear God's message:

10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed.

Thus, not only can some NOT SEE, some apparently CANNOT GIVE HEED.

Luke 8:9-10 shows that God only wanted few to understand now:

9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?" 10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

'Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.'

Is that fair? Is God fair?

Well, the God I worship is fair and does have a plan for those who are not called in this age. Notice that God says in Ezekiel 18:25-32 that some disagree, but that His ways are fair:

25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!

Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus explains that parables were spoken so that only some will understand now, and that this is to prevent some from understanding and being spiritually healed now:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.'

16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Notice that Jesus said many wanted to know, but were not allowed to know. Because God is a God of love, this is probably because they many if they truly understood would be unfaithful in this age. This is apparently why only a relative few are being called now.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Paul explains part of why some are not being called now:

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Since God is intentionally not calling certain ones now, do you believe He intentionally has doomed them to eternal torment?

Notice that the Bible, in Ezekiel 14:23, is clear that God does things for a reason:

23 And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it," says the Lord God.

Matthew 19:23-26 shows that humans on their own cannot enter the kingdom of God:

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

At this stage Peter did not fully understand how God would save most, but also clearly felt that God had to have some type of plan (which Peter knew no later than shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, Acts 3:19-21).

1 Peter 2:9-10 Peter teaches:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light".

Ephesians 1:4-6 Paul teaches:

...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

While some are predestined to be called in this age, most of humanity has NOT been predestined to be lost.

VII. God Does Not Hold People Accountable for What They Have Not Been Able to See

Luke 12:48, Jesus taught:

48...For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required...

In John 15:22, Jesus taught about some of His opponents:

22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. (John 15:22)

Thus, if they did not understand the message, according to Jesus they would have an excuse for their sin.

In John 9:41, carefully consider:

41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin...

Notice that Jesus specifically teaches that those that are blinded to the truth have not in some way permanently sinned.

Notice what Jesus taught in Luke 23:34:

34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Jesus prayed to the Father that those who beat and crucified Him in ignorance would be forgiven. Will the Father not listen to the prayer of His Son?

Futhermore, the Apostle Peter taught the same thing in Acts 3:17-19:

17 "Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...

Thus, even those who were part of killing Jesus did it in ignorance and can be saved!

And notice what people need to know to be saved in John 17:3, John 14:6, Acts 2:36-39, Acts 4:12, and Romans 10:13-15:

3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6).

36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call." (Acts 2:36-39).

12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

13 For "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

"How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!
" (Romans 10:13-15).

Thus, people MUST know the name of Jesus and repent to be saved. They also need to hear it preached. Yet notice the following:

Even some two thousand years after the Great Commission, more people in the world have not heard the gospel than have heard it. The secret things do belong to God, but Christians and non-Christians alike cannot help wondering about the justice as well as the compassion of a God who assigns to eternal torment people who, for reasons beyond their control, never heard about fellowship with him through Jesus Christ....(Warren V. What the Bible Says about Salvation 1982, pp. 104-105, as cited in Estabrook J and Thompson B. Will Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Be Lost? Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation, June 2001 - 21[6]:41-46. http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/469 viewed 04/11/09).

God is not going to save people who do not know Christ or who reject the true Christ, but neither will He condemn those that did not properly hear about Jesus either. And this is the case with billions upon billions of human beings.

So, if those are blind have an excuse and most who ever lived have not ever even heard the true gospel, then there must be a time coming when salvation will be offered and those who could not see would no longer be blind.

Isaiah 6:9-11, God teaches,

"Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed." Then I said, "Lord, how long?" And He answered: "Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, The houses are without a man, The land is utterly desolate".

In other words, the bulk of the people are not to understand until after a time of utter desolation.

Isaiah 29:9-10, God teaches that He has closed the eyes of many:

Pause and wonder!
Blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk, but not with wine;
They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.
For the LORD has poured out on you
The spirit of deep sleep,
And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets;
And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.

And because of that they cannot understand, even when they try, as the verses that immediately follow (Isaiah 29:11-12) show:

The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I am not literate."

Perhaps I should add here that because of the above, Isaiah 29:14 and 24 teach that:

14 I will again do a marvelous work Among this people...

24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine.

If you are a Protestant, please ask yourself when and how the above prophecy is going to be fulfilled unless God has a plan to offer salvation after the resurrection?

Paul was even prevented from preaching the gospel in certain areas as Acts 16:6-7 shows:

6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.

Those people were denied an opportunity then, but will get this opportunity later!

Isaiah 44:17-18 reveals that God has prohibited idolaters to have proper understanding, but in verse 22 He indicates they will be forgiven:

17 And the rest of it he makes into a god, His carved image. He falls down before it and worships it, Prays to it and says, "Deliver me, for you are my god!" 18 They do not know nor understand; For He has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, And their hearts, so that they cannot understand...22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, And like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.

Thus, is God going to permanently condemn those who worship idols for what He has not let them understand?

Protestant theology tends to say yes.

Those in the Church of God say no. Unless the idolater has committed the unpardonable sin (which is unlikely) they will be judged as other uncalled people are.

Acts 17:29-30 teaches:

29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked...now commands all men everywhere to repent.

So even though God does want repentence from all, notice that He overlooks idolatry and things done in ignorance.

Isaiah 45:20 teaches:

20 They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.

Notice that the Bible is clearly teaching that idolaters do not have knowledge. They are blind.

Hence, the billions throughout history in Asia and Africa (and elsewhere) are not condemned to suffer forever for following practices they really do not understand.

Isaiah 28:10-13 shows that the Bible is only understood by looking here a little and there a little and that the way the God speaks to most people was intended for them to NOT understand:

10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little."
11 For with stammering lips and another tongue
He will speak to this people,
12 To whom He said, "This is the rest with which
You may cause the weary to rest,"
And, "This is the refreshing";
Yet they would not hear.
13 But the word of the LORD was to them,
"Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
Line upon line, line upon line,
Here a little, there a little,"
That they might go and fall backward, and be broken
And snared and caught.

How does your church explain the above? Do they understand that people were not supposed to easily be able to understand the plan of God now?

Psalm 33:13-15 shows that God fashions (probably through a combination of genetics and environmental factors) every one:

13 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. 14 From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; 15 He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

So are people totally responsible for what God fashioned? Would a God of love condemn them to eternal torment?

Proverbs 16:9, similarly to Psalm 33, teaches:

9 A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

Is not God wise enough to direct sufficient steps such that nearly all who ever lived will be saved?

1 John 5:19 teaches:

19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

God has allowed the world to be held captive by Satan as 2 Timothy 2:24-26 teaches:

24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
NKJV

Satan has held the world captive through deceit. Notice also what Revelation 12:9 teaches:

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world;

Notice that the whole world has been allowed to be deceived. They have not intentionally chosen the wrong.

2 Corinthians 4:3 teaches:

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost (KJV).

Just because someone is lost does NOT mean that they cannot be found.

2 Corinthians 4:4 teaches:

4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

So, right now the gospel is hid and some now are lost. Would a just God who allowed Satan to blind the world so that it could not see the truth of the Gospel not have a plan to later call those who are now lost?

The Bible clearly teaches that two ages will be coming where Satan will NOT be around (Revelation 20:1-3), hence people will have an opportunity for salvation without being under the sway of Satan.

Revelation 13:14-17 teaches that Satan is not the only deceiver, that certain religious leaders do as well:

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Hence, God will even allow miracles to be performed by one who will deceive the world and force all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. Does not God love these people? Does His plan exclude them?

Notice that the Bible, in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 shows that there will be many religious leaders who appear to look like true ones:

13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Do you not think that there is a reason that God allows Satan and his ministers to deceive now? Could it be because an all-knowing God will have "all things work together for good" (Romans 8:28)? And that despite mistakes those not called now make, that God will make it work out later?

Related to that consider Ecclesiastes 9:1a and Psalms 33:13-15

1 For I considered all this in my heart, so that I could declare it all: that the righteous and the wise and their works are in the hand of God. ()

13 The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
14 From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
15 He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

God has a plan for ALL.

Zephaniah 3:8-15 teaches:

8 "Therefore wait for Me," says the LORD,"Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.

9 "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering. 11 In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds In which you transgress against Me; For then I will take away from your midst Those who rejoice in your pride, And you shall no longer be haughty In My holy mountain. 12 I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the LORD. 13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; For they shall feed their flocks and lie down, And no one shall make them afraid."

14 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.

Notice that although affliction is coming, it will not last. Lies and haughtiness will no longer exist. There will be no more deceit.

John 9:40-41, Jesus taught:

40 Then some of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, "Are we blind also?" 41 Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, 'We see.' Therefore your sin remains.

It may be that one of the reasons that Jesus appeared so hard on the Pharisees was because there may have been several among them who were close to blaspheming against the Spirit (and perhaps some who had done it) and He was trying to warn them.

Matthew 11:25-26 teaches:

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

Luke 10:21 teaches:

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.

1 Corinthians 2:7-8, Paul teaches that Jesus would not have been crucified if the truth was known in this age:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Notice that Paul states that God has hidden wisdom in a mystery that He ordained before the ages. And if God had made it clear, Jesus would not have been crucified. If God had not hidden any information, Jesus would not have died for our sins. Does your church understand that?

1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul teaches that the natural man cannot know:

14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Since the natural man cannot know without God's calling, is it not obvious that God intentionally designed humans so that most would not understand in this present age?

Luke 23:33-34:

...they crucified Him...Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."

Since Jesus felt those who physically saw Him, heard Him, and had Him crucified should be forgiven, certainly Jesus does not think that those who do not understand about Him now should be condemned.

Does your church understand this? Do they understand that those that crucified Christ rejected Him as their Lord and Savour, yet Jesus wanted them to be forgiven? What would be the point of them being forgiven if they are destined to spend eternity frying in eternal torment as they clearly rejected Jesus?

Well, there would be no point.

Surely Jesus understands the plan of God--surely that is why His words were recorded, so that all would know that there is hope even for many that would seem to be the hopeless. We in the Church of God do have a God of love and understanding.

Job 28:20-21 teaches that some things are hidden:

20 "From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air.

Isaiah 64:7-9 states:

7 For You have hidden Your face from us, And have consumed us because of our iniquities. 8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. 9 Do not be furious, O LORD, Nor remember iniquity forever; Indeed, please look--we all are Your people!

Ezekiel 22:26, God teaches:

26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

Notice that the above shows that even the religious leaders would violate the law and that the Sabbaths are hidden from their eyes.

Ezekiel 20:36,42-44 shows that after God pleads with them, people will finally see what they were like:

36 Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord God... 42 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I bring you into the land of Israel, into the country for which I raised My hand in an oath to give to your fathers. 43 And there you shall remember your ways and all your doings with which you were defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight because of all the evils that you have committed. 44 Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have dealt with you for My name's sake, not according to your wicked ways nor according to your corrupt doings, O house of Israel," says the Lord God.

Ezekiel 20:49 states that the people he was directly speaking to then about this and other matters did not understand what he was teaching. Notice:

49 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! They say of me, 'Does he not speak parables?'"

And most still do not understand the message related to salvation today. Nor do most understand the parables of Jesus.

Isaiah 25:7 teaches that there is a veil over the world now:

7 And He will destroy on this mountain
The surface of the covering cast over all people,
And the veil that is spread over all nations.

Notice that even though people have been blinded to those things which were hidden, God is going to remove the veil that is spread over all the nations. The removal of this veil will allow them to see. Can you now see this or do you wish to have the veil remain over you?

In John 6:45, Jesus clearly taught that all would hear God:

45 It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.'

Isaiah 54:13 states:

13 All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.

This has not yet happened--it is for the future. All shall be taught by God! That includes those who have long been dead.

Isaiah 48:5-9 has these words of God:

5 Even from the beginning I have declared it to you; Before it came to pass I proclaimed it to you, Lest you should say, 'My idol has done them, And my carved image and my molded image Have commanded them.'

6 "You have heard; See all this. And will you not declare it? I have made you hear new things from this time, Even hidden things, and you did not know them. 7 They are created now and not from the beginning; And before this day you have not heard them, Lest you should say, 'Of course I knew them.'

8 Surely you did not hear, Surely you did not know; Surely from long ago your ear was not opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, And were called a transgressor from the womb. 9 "For My name's sake I will defer My anger, And for My praise I will restrain it from you, So that I do not cut you off.

Notice that in the above, God is saying that He had many things hidden from those who worship idols or other false gods so that in the future He would not have to cut them off.

That is why God has not made it clear to everyone now. God knew that if He did, many would be unfaithful so that is why God's plan included allowing most who have thus far lived to not understand the full truth of God. God wants to save the most possible.

In Isaiah 52:10 God also teaches that they shall see:

10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God.

Since this is referring to the eyes of all the nations, the same nations that are now blinded, certainly God is teaching that all WILL have an opportunity for salvation--which comes through Jesus (see also Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour; here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour).

Notice that Isaiah 52:13-15 shows that those who did not hear about Jesus will consider:

13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.

A time is coming that those that did not truly hear will have an opportunity!

See what the Psalms declare:

9 All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing. (Psalm 64:9)

7 And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. (Psalm 67:7)

20 Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death. (Psalm 68:20)

Does it not make sense that "the God of salvation" actually has a plan of salvation that includes it being offered to all and accepted by most?

Notice Psalm 107:43

43 Whoever is wise will observe these things, And they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

God's plan is wise and is based upon His lovingkindness. Thus, all will have an opportunity for salvation at the time that is best.

Now, contrary to the claims of those who feel that God will save everyone no matter what they believe, the Bible makes it clear that there is only one name that can save as Acts 4:10-12 teaches:

10 let it be known to you all...that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,...11 This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.' 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Since God has hidden parts of His plan, since the name of Jesus is not known by many today nor has it been known for thousands of years by many, since God plans to offer salvation to the ends of the earth, and since no one can be saved without Jesus, it should be obvious to any who will believe their Bibles that God must have planned to offer salvation to everyone at a later time.

Furthermore, please study, pray, and meditate about what Ephesians 2:11-12 says:

11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh--who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

Notice that those Gentiles HAD NO HOPE! Up until Christ came, almost no Gentile that ever lived had any HOPE! And since most Gentiles have STILL never heard the truth about Christ (the only name by which men can be saved--Acts 4:12), will your God condemn those who never had hope? People who are still blinded by Satan so that they, in this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), cannot see?

VIII. The Bible Clearly Teaches that Those Gentiles Who Have Been Subject to Condemnation Will Have an Opportunity for Salvation

Micah 7:18-19 teaches:

18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

Is your God going to pardon iniquity for a few or nearly all of the guilty?

Ezekiel 11:16-20 and 36:24-38 both record that God is going to convert many sinners so that they will walk in His statutes:

16 Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Although I have cast them far off among the Gentiles, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet I shall be a little sanctuary for them in the countries where they have gone." ' 17 "Therefore say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will gather you from the peoples, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." ' 18 "And they will go there, and they will take away all its detestable things and all its abominations from there. 19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, 20 that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God..."

24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. 29 I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you. 30 And I will multiply the fruit of your trees and the increase of your fields, so that you need never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and your deeds that were not good; and you will loathe yourselves in your own sight, for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 Not for your sake do I do this," says the Lord GOD, "let it be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel!" 33'Thus says the Lord GOD: "On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will also enable you to dwell in the cities, and the ruins shall be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land shall be tilled instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass by. 35 So they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden; and the wasted, desolate, and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' 36 "Then the nations which are left all around you shall know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted what was desolate. I, the LORD, have spoken it, and I will do it." 37'Thus says the Lord GOD: "I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do this for them: I will increase their men like a flock. 38 Like a flock offered as holy sacrifices, like the flock at Jerusalem on its feast days, so shall the ruined cities be filled with flocks of men. Then they shall know that I am the LORD." ' "

Notice that the above has never been fulfilled by Israelites going back to the Middle East as God has YET to give them a new heart. Surely God has a plan to offer salvation to those who many now feel are lost.

Notice Daniel 12:2-4:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase"

The above passage shows that death is like sleep. It also refers to a resurrection to everlasting life and resurrection to shame and to everlasting contempt. Notice that those who are wise will shine and still, after they shall awake, turn many to righteousness. Since they cannot turn those who are raised to everlasting contempt to life, who are they turning to life?

Obviously, those who were dead and not dead in Christ are those that are among the many that are turned to righteousness. Thus, the Bible clearly shows that there is a future offer of salvation past this current life and many will be turned to righteousness--many are then converted.

Jesus taught in Matthew 10:15 that those in Sodom and Gomorrah will do better than those who intentionally reject the message:

14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

If the fate of Sodom is already eternal condemnation, how could it be better for them than for others?

Matthew 11:20-26, notice what Jesus stated:

20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."

25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."

Notice the Jesus clearly teaches that some, like Sodom, will still have a chance and that this knowledge is hidden to many of the wise of this world.

Ezekiel 16:55 teaches that it was known that Sodom would return:

55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate (KJV).

What does your church teach is the fate of Sodom? Does it teach that they will have an opportunity for salvation? If not, how do they explain Ezekiel 16:55?

Matthew 12:38-42 teaches:

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." 39 But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.

Notice that contrary to the views of what passes as mainstream "Christianity", there will be a difference in judgment in the end.

Now God destroyed Sodom for its wicked works (Genesis 18:20;19:24)--wicked works, that according to Paul's writings make it impossible for them to inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). If what most Protestants believe is correct, then all in Sodom will be destroyed and will be no better off than those in Capernaum--but that is a clear contradiction of what Jesus wrote.

Luke 10:8-15, Jesus taught:

8 Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. 9 And heal the sick there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, 11 The very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.' 12 But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in that Day for Sodom than for that city. 13 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be thrust down to Hades.

Notice that Jesus is holding those to a higher standard who saw miracles and should have understood His message, than those who were idolaters, pagans, and sexually immoral (including those that lived in Sodom). Jesus makes this concept clear in many other passages.

Does your church teach you that it will be more tolerable for certain non-Christians at the judgment than for others? If not, does it really understand the Bible?

Mark 6:10-11, notice what Jesus taught:

10 Also He said to them, "In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. 11 And whoever will not receive you nor hear you, when you depart from there, shake off the dust under your feet as a testimony against them. Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"

God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their sins. Yet, Jesus says that it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than those who had some understanding but would not accept it.

Psalm 90:3 teaches:

3 You turn man to destruction, And say, "Return, O children of men."

God is teaching that He turned humans over to destruction--He allowed sinners to die--yet notice that He teaches that He is going to have them return. Does your church teach anything like this?

Twenty-six times in its twenty-six verses, Psalm 136 states:

For His mercy endures forever.

Why would God have to repeat that so much if He did not have a plan involving His mercy for more than this age? The expression "His mercy endures forever" is found 41 times in the NKJV and the version "his mercy endureth for ever" is found 33 times in the Douay-Rheims Bible. God wants ALL to realize that He really is merciful. Most who profess Christianity do not understand the true extent of God's mercy.

Notice that Psalm 107:1-3 teaches:

1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

Thus, God is going to have mercy to those turned over to the enemy (the devil) because God's mercy endures forever--Ambrose of Milan referred to this verse--and stated "this is the privilege not only of a few" (see article Hope of Salvation). When scripture refers to those gathered from all over in this manner, it often is referring to those who have died. Jesus also alluded to this verse in Matthew 8:10-11:

10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus was teaching that Gentiles will be part of the kingdom. And, I and others believe this means more than just a few.

Psalm 145:14 teaches:

14 The LORD upholds all who fall, And raises up all who are bowed down.

It should be clear that is God intending to raise up more than a few who fall.

Psalm 25:8 reveals:

8 Good and upright is the LORD; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.

Is He only intending to teach a few sinners or all sinners? God is not a respector of persons (Acts 10:34 KJV).

Hebrews 8:11-12, states:

11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."

Notice that the time is coming when all shall know the LORD. And notice that God is saying that He will forgive their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more. Does your church understand this?

Isaiah 46:12-13 teaches:

12 "Listen to Me, you stubborn-hearted, Who are far from righteousness: 13 I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, For Israel My glory.

Note, according to the marginal reference in the Nelson Study Bible, page 640, the word linger is perhaps better translated as "delayed." Hence, God is teaching that those who were "far from righteousness" will have a time when God will not delay salvation, but bring it. This is not just a reference for Gentiles who will come to accept Christ in this age, this is a reference to an age to come.

One of the psalms, Psalm 66:3-4, teaches:

3 Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Through the greatness of Your power Your enemies shall submit themselves to You. 4 All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name.

Notice that this is a prophecy. All the earth has not yet worshipped God. All the enemies who would have been alive when that verse was written thousands of years ago have long since died. But this passage shows that they will submit to God. This is considered to be an awesome work through God's great power. Does the God you worship have the power to offer salvation to all so that even His enemies will submit to Him?

Isaiah 29:13-14, teaches:

13 Therefore the LORD said:

"Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths
And honor Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
Among this people,
A marvelous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden."

Thus, those who have been deceived by human traditions of false worship can be saved. And many have been! (See Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings).

Also notice the following from Jeremiah 30:9-10:

9. But they shall serve the LORD their God, And David their king, Whom I will raise up for them. 10 'Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob,' says the LORD,
'Nor be dismayed, O Israel; For behold, I will save you from afar...

Isaiah 55:1-5 teaches:

1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you--
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you."

The above is not simply a reference to Gentiles becoming Christians as most Protestant commentators think. It is David that is the witness to the people. This is the same David that is prophecied to rule over the nations of Israel in the future (Ezekiel 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9). Thus, this is a prophecy for a later time. The simple truth is that even after Jesus came, the statement "nations who do not know you shall run to you" has simply not been fulfilled. I know of not one nation, let alone nations, that have run to become true Christians. What has happened is that after Greco-Roman "Christianity" became the religion of the empire, many were forced to become "Christians" and those that have followed them have almost never followed the Christianity of the Bible.

If some of that confuses you, recall that in Isaiah 55:8-11 God teaches that even though we think different than God that His word will not return void:

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

Furthermore, notice what Isaiah 56:1-2 teaches:

1. Thus says the LORD:

"Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil."

If the salvation to come is simply the first coming of Jesus, then should not all Christians keep the Sabbath as both salvation and the Sabbath are part of the same quote? Does your church teach that one is "blessed" who does not defile the Sabbath? (You may also wish to read the verses that follow it, like Isaiah 56:3-8 as it makes it clear that foreigners-Gentiles-also are to keep the Sabbath.)

Also, notice the following from Isaiah 66:23:

23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.

Notice that all flesh will worship God on the Sabbath. This has not yet happened.

In Isaiah 57:16-18 it teaches that God will not always be angry and that He will heal the souls He has made:

16 For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made.
17 For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.

Thus, even those who sinned that God punished (struck) and hid from, God will lead them back! Does your minister proclaim this?

Isaiah 62:1-5 shows:

1 For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.

Notice that salvation is being discussed and that includes Gentiles and lands that were desolate and that God will delight in them. This is not simply a reference to Gentiles who accept Christ in this age, as they were not referred to in the Hebrew scriptures as "Forsaken". Versions of the Hebrew term "azuwbah" translated as "Forsaken" are used many times in the Old Testament to refer to Israelites (NOT Gentiles)--God is apparently using that term because most seem to feel that the Gentiles prior to Jesus' first coming were forsaken--which, however, they were not. Most also seem to feel that most people dwelling in lands that basically do not accept any version of Christ today are in that forsaken category. But again, recall that God states that they are not forsaken. Which means, according to Isaiah 62, that God has a plan of salvation for them.

Also notice that in Isaiah 65:1-5, God declares that even those who eat unclean meat and did not seek God will be called:

1"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' To a nation that was not called by My name.
2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts;
3 A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick; 4 Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
5 Who say, 'Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.

Notice that these people were not originally called. They even provoked God to anger by eating swine (a biblically unclean animal), but notice that they will find God even though they did not seek Him!

Isaiah 66:17-19 teaches:

17 "Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together," says the LORD.
18 "For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.
19 I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.

Even though He will punish those who eat unclean meat, notice that they will be gathered and declared God's glory among the Gentiles. God's glory among the Gentiles is when He calls them all and offers them salvation. Those who believe in the elitist approach that God is only going to save "good" Roman Catholics and/or Protestants and condemn the vast majority of eaters of unclean meats to fry in torment forever are in clear error.

Romans 8:19-21, Paul states:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Notice that the creation was not subjected to futility willingly. And that the creation is waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The entirety of creation is awaiting apocatastasis.

Hosea 2:23. Here is what a Protestant author wrote on this verse:

God had said that he would name these children as a sign to his people, but there would come a day of restoration:

"And I will have pity on Not-Pitied,
and I will say to Not-My-People,
'You are my people;'
and he shall say, 'Thou art my God.'" {Hos 2:23 RSV}

So that even in this time when God was announcing judgment, his grace also was being shown. (Stedman Ray. O.T. Prophetical Books).

That author is correct on that point. God specifically has foretold a time of restoration through the prophets. And those that were not His people, will become His people.

Romans 11:32-33, Paul states:

32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

Notice that God's plan has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Also notice that Paul is teaching that God's mercy and judgment is apparently not easy for most to figure out.

Is it someone's fault that they were born in an area that no one knew or taught Christ?

Notice that God knew that most would not at first obey, but that He has a plan to have mercy on them.

Romans 11:13-15, Paul states:

13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Notice that Paul is teaching that those being cast away can have acceptance after they are given life from the dead (see also vss 26-27). Paul is clearly teaching what is consisting with the CCOG view of apocatastasis.

IX. Some Few Will Willfully Reject God's Generous Offer But Their End Will Be Swift

Jesus taught a parable which shows that the time will come when those on the outside will hear the message:

21 Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.' 22 And the servant said, 'Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.' 23 Then the master said to the servant, 'Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. (Luke 14:21-23)

God will plead with humankind. Isaiah 3:13 shows:

13 The LORD stands up to plead, And stands to judge the people.

Ezekiel 20:33-38 states:

33 "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. 34 I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. 35 And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36 Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord GOD. 37 I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38 I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Jeremiah 25:31-33 teaches:

31 A noise will come to the ends of the earth--For the LORD has a controversy with the nations; He will plead His case with all flesh. He will give those who are wicked to the sword,' says the LORD." 32 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Behold, disaster shall go forth From nation to nation, And a great whirlwind shall be raised up From the farthest parts of the earth. 33 "And at that day the slain of the LORD shall be from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth. They shall not be lamented, or gathered, or buried; they shall become refuse on the ground..."

Thus while God will plead His case with all flesh and most will listen, those that are wicked will be eliminated and refuse on the ground (see also Malachy 4:3).

Although "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), eternal death is not the penalty for most sins. Most sins, but not all, will be forgiven as there is only one sin that truly leads to death, per 1 John 5:16-17:

16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

Hebrews 10:26-27 teaches:

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries...

Notice that there are some who will be devoured by fiery indignation because they intentionally are rejecting the sacrifice of Christ. This punishment is the Gehenna fire that Jesus referred to. Thus, while all will be offered salvation, some will not accept it.

Deuteronomy 7:10-11, Moses explains that God will destroy those that will not keep His commandments:

10 and He repays those who hate Him to their face, to destroy them. He will not be slack with him who hates Him; He will repay him to his face. 11 Therefore you shall keep the commandment, the statutes, and the judgments which I command you today, to observe them.

Do you observe His commandments, statutes, and judgments?

Micah 7:18-20 teaches:

18 Who is a God like You,
Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?
He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy.
19 He will again have compassion on us,
And will subdue our iniquities.
You will cast all our sins
Into the depths of the sea.

Does God retain His anger forever? No. Does He delight in mercy? Yes. Will He later give His truth to Jacob and mercy to Abraham? That is what the Bible teaches. Is this what your church teaches?

Matthew 10:28, Jesus taught:

28. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell {Gehenna}.

There would be no need for Jesus to say the above, unless there would be some who refuse salvation. But again, this is a very small amount. And notice that they are destroyed. We in the CCOG do not teach that human souls will be tortured throughout eternity. Notice that Jesus taught that in Gehenna souls are destroyed.

While the punishment is permanent, and in that sense everlasting, it is short--the actual punishment is NOT continual torment throughout eternity.

The wicked who will not repent will be totally destroyed:

1 Do not fret because of evildoers,Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,And wither as the green herb. ...
9 For evildoers shall be cut off; But those who wait on the Lord,They shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; Indeed, you will look carefully for his place, But it shall be no more. ...
20 But the wicked shall perish; And the enemies of the Lord,Like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish.Into smoke they shall vanish away. ...
28 For the Lord loves justice, And does not forsake His saints They are preserved forever, But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. ...
38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; The future of the wicked shall be cut off. (Psalm 37:1-2,9-10,20,28,38)

2 As smoke is driven away,
So drive them away;
As wax melts before the fire,
So let the wicked perish at the presence of God. (Psalm 68:2)

1 "For behold, the day is coming,
Burning like an oven,
And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble.
And the day which is coming shall burn them up,"
Says the Lord of hosts,
"That will leave them neither root nor branch.
2 But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
3 You shall trample the wicked,
For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet
On the day that I do this,"
Says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:1-3)

The Bible calls this the 'second death':

11... He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:11)

6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)

8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Thus, it is a type of death, but permanent. It is not eternal torturing like many claim. Jesus came so we would not have to PERISH, but have eternal life:

6 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

(Some have asked about the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. For details, please check out the article The Rich Man and Lazarus.) Since it is appointed to people to die (Romans 3:23), the PERISHING has to do with what happens after the resurrections.

James 5:11 states:

11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Permanent torment is not merciful nor very compassionate--but putting the wicked permanently out of their misery is.

Nahum 1:12 teaches:

12 Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more;

Thus, this prophetic book is teachings that there is not a permanent torturing affliction.

Revelation 21:4 teaches:

4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful."

There will be no more death, sorrow, crying, or pain. Thus there will not be an ever burning torment and torture of sinners throughout eternity. All things will become new.

Malachi 4:1-3 teaches:

1 "For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the LORD of hosts,"That will leave them neither root nor branch. 2 But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. 3 You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the LORD of hosts.

Notice that the wicked (those who will not repent) will be burned up and will be ashes. This is not an everlasting torment, but a destruction of those that refuse God.

Recall that Jesus taught that the souls of people can be destroyed in gehenna. Here is a different translation of Matthew 10:28:

28 And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but fear rather Him who is able both soul and body to destroy in gehenna (Young's Literal Translation).

Thus, the wicked (including their soul) can, and will, be destroyed.

Psalm 68:2 teaches:

2 As smoke is driven away, So drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

Notice that the wicked are to perish.

Matthew 12:31-32 and Mark 3:28, Jesus teaches about what is commonly referred to as "the unpardonable sin" (see also What is the Unpardonable Sin?):

31 "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

28 "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; 29 but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation"

Notice two very important points:

  1. Jesus taught with one exception every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven in this age or in the age to come. Thus, contrary to those who claim that God has passed final judgment upon everyone who died before the white throne judgement mentioned in the Bible (Revelation 20:11-12), God has not already condemned all non-believers. This is also consistent with 1 John 5:16-17, to cite another example.
  2. There is one sin, and one sin only, that will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. Therefore, although almost everyone will be forgiven/pardoned and have the opportunity for salvation, there will be some small amount--those who blaspheme against the Spirit--who have been condemned.

And who are those that have blasphemed against the Spirit?

Those who clearly knew the plan of God, but would not humble themselves enough to accept and live it. These are the incorrigibly wicked (to learn what happens to the incorrigibly wicked, please see the article Are The Wicked Tormented Forever or Burned Up?). This is part of why very few really understand now. God is only calling few now so that more will not blaspheme the Holy Spirit and not ultimately be saved.

Yet notice, that the Psalms and Proverbs do show that God will save those He considers to be the humble:

4 He will beautify the humble with salvation (Psalm 149:4).

Apparently all of those who will humble themselves and accept God's offer will be saved. But this will not happen until after the seeds of the gospel are laid and come to fruition in harvest in the age to come. Notice Mark 4:26-29:

26 And He said, "The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come."

X. All Israel Will Be Saved

Romans 11:23 makes it clear that some who did not originally believe will be saved:

23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

Notice that the above says that "God is able to graft them in again." God is making it clear that a future time of salvation is coming.

Isaiah 29:24 shows that those of the house of Jacob who have erred will learn:

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

"Jacob shall not now be ashamed, Nor shall his face now grow pale; 23 But when he sees his children, The work of My hands, in his midst, They will hallow My name, And hallow the Holy One of Jacob, And fear the God of Israel. 24 These also who erred in spirit will come to understanding, And those who complained will learn doctrine.

This has not yet happened and is for the future!

Romans 11:26-27, Paul quotes the Hebrew Bible and states:

26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins."

Notice that Paul is teaching that all Israel will be saved. And that the Deliverer (Jesus) will take away their sins. Yet most Jews have never professed Christ. Certainly God has a plan that involves all the Jews and the rest of Israel.

Who is all Israel? It is all who will become spiritual Israel--but this does include most who were Jewish.

Romans 9:6-8,22-24 teaches us:

6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, "In Isaac your seed shall be called." 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed...
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Thus, it is not physical Israel, but spiritual Israel who will be saved.

Notice that Romans 2:11 teaches:

11 For there is no partiality with God.

Acts 10:34-35,45 also teaches something of this:

34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him..."And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.

Since all Israel is to be saved and God shows no partiality, does not this mean that Gentiles should be part of spiritual Israel?

As Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20 points out, the gospel is to preached ALL nations. And Revelation 7:9-10 teaches that people will be saved from "all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues."

Romans 2:28-29, Paul notes:

28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Thus, most of the promises in the New Testament (and many in the Old) are NOT referring to physical Jews, but for those that God will call to be Christians.

Furthermore, do God's promises only refer to the relatively few Gentiles that are being called in this Church age? Or does it include those who have died and believe that there hope is cut off?

Notice what Ezekiel 37:1-14 teaches:

1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.
3 And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know."
4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD." ' "
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." ' "
10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.' "

Notice that these are people who are dead, who are falsely believed that because they are lost they have no hope, and who are falsely believed to be cut off. Notice that they will be resurrected, have hope, and shall know that the LORD is God! Because these people claim that there hope is cut off, these are clearly not converted, Spirit-filled, believers--hence this has to do with is sometimes referred to as the second resurrection.

Notice also that flesh will be added to bones, this resurrection is a type of reincarnation. Not the type that Hindus teach about often coming back as animals, but humans will come back as humans and will have an opportunity to live and for salvation.

The Apostle Paul taught that all should be tried to be reached in ways that they would understand (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). Hence my use of the term reincarnation. Now this reincarnation is not based upon the spin of a wheel as certain Buddhists and Hindus believe. Yet, Hindus and others correctly realize that humans make mistakes and that there is some type of divine plan to deal with that. And a type of 'reincarnation' is clearly part of God's plan--although the more biblical term is resurrection--a future time (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?).

Jeremiah 23:5-8 teaches:

5 "Behold, the days are coming," says the LORD,"That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
6 In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

7 "Therefore, behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that they shall no longer say, 'As the LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,' 8 "but, 'As the LORD lives who brought up and led the descendants of the house of Israel from the north country and from all the countries where I had driven them.' And they shall dwell in their own land."

The above time has not happened yet.

Ezekiel 37:24-28 also teaches:

24 "David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them.
25 Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children's children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore.
27 My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
28 The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." ' "

Surely God has a plan that involves resurrecting everyone, teaching them His statutes, and that God will make an everlasting covenant. Surely this has not yet happened, surely it is for the future. It will be for the time of restoration of all, involving David. Does your church teach this?

Ezekiel 39:21-29, God declares:

21 "I will set My glory among the nations; all the nations shall see My judgment which I have executed, and My hand which I have laid on them. 22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day forward. 23 The Gentiles shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they were unfaithful to Me, therefore I hid My face from them. I gave them into the hand of their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions I have dealt with them, and hidden My face from them." '

25 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Now I will bring back the captives of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for My holy name-- 26 after they have borne their shame, and all their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, when they dwelt safely in their own land and no one made them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and I am hallowed in them in the sight of many nations, 28 then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, who sent them into captivity among the nations, but also brought them back to their own land, and left none of them captive any longer. 29 And I will not hide My face from them anymore; for I shall have poured out My Spirit on the house of Israel,' says the Lord GOD."

According to Luke 13:34-35, Jerusalem, which did not understand in Jesus' time will get an opportunity:

34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'"

Zechariah 10:9-12, God states:

9 "I will sow them among the peoples, And they shall remember Me in far countries; They shall live, together with their children, And they shall return. 10 I will also bring them back from the land of Egypt, And gather them from Assyria. I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, Until no more room is found for them. 11 He shall pass through the sea with affliction, And strike the waves of the sea: All the depths of the River shall dry up. Then the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, And the scepter of Egypt shall depart. 12 "So I will strengthen them in the LORD, And they shall walk up and down in His name," Says the LORD.

Notice that God is including those that are dead. He teaches, like He does in Ezekiel 37, that the dead shall live and shall return. But notice this includes more than simply Israelites.

Genesis 18:17-18 reveals the following:

17 And the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, 18 since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

Notice that all the families of the earth are to be blessed. This must also include Gentile tribes and nations that have long since died out. And since many of them had not ever even heard the name of Jesus, there blessing must be in the future.

Even Moses clearly understood that God was not allowing Israel to see in his day:

1 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. 2 Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land-- 3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day (Deuteronomy 29:1-4).

Hence, the plan was know for a long time--those who were not able to see would be able to be saved.

Isaiah 45:25 shows:

25 In the LORD all the descendants of Israel
Shall be justified, and shall glory.

Does your church teach that all the descendants of Israel Shall be justified? Most churches teach that the descendants of Israel are Jews and that only a few of them will be saved. But is that what the Bible, not traditions of men, teaches?

XI. The Prophets Spoke About This

While the above sections included quotes from many prophets, it should be understood that many did understand that the prophets foretold that salvation would be offered to all.

John 4:42, states this about the Samaritans:

42 Then they said to the woman, "Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world."

This shows that even the Samaritans knew enough from the Hebrew scriptures to understand that Christ was to be Savior of the world, not just a select few. Can Jesus be Savior of all without offering salvation to all?

Isaiah knew a time for salvation for all was coming. Notice Isaiah 12:3-6:

3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say: "Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!"

Although Jesus seemed to discuss the concept of vs. 3 on the Last Great Day in John 7:37, there is no scriptural evidence that verses 4-6 fulfilled then, thus biblically it appears that Isaiah is writing about a future time of salvation!

In John 7:37-38, Jesus taught:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

Jesus is teaching that the time will come when all can come and drink. This day is coming. (For more details, see The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today's Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?)

In Isaiah 58:12, it is shown that the waste places of this world will be restored so that others can dwell during that time:

12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.

Isaiah is teaching that those called now will help prepare, through restoration, a better world for others.

Daniel 2:44, Daniel states:

44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

The kingdom of God will be over all and last forever.

Psalm 67:1-2 teaches:

1 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah 2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations.

The reason that God is calling some now is so His ways will be known on earth and His salvation will be known among all nations. But since many nations have long died out, this prophecy is not only referring to passages in the New Testament such as Matthew 24:14 (And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come), but must include nations that were gone before Jesus came.

Notice what the Book of Jeremiah 31:33-34 teaches:

33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

Notice that "after those days" God is going to put His law in their minds and write it in their heart. This has simply not happened with physical Israel and is referring to a later time.

The prophets did understand that God had plan to offer salvation to most at a later time than this age.

XII. Protestants Generally Oppose Apocatastasis, Roman Catholics Claim Eternal Torment, But Some Orthodox and the Church of God Teach Differently

Herbert W. Armstrong taught:

...God's purpose in giving His Church His annual holy days was to keep His children constantly in true understanding of God's great plan. To accomplish this, God took the yearly material harvest seasons in ancient Israel as the picture of the spiritual harvest of souls. In the Holy Land there are two annual harvests. First, is the spring grain harvest. Second, comes the fall harvest. God intended His holy days to picture to His Church repeatedly year by year the fact that only those He Himself calls during this age can become His begotten children now! And we are merely the firstfruits of the great spiritual harvest!…

This eighth day, technically a separate feast, is called "the last day, that great day of the feast" (John 7:37).

What does this final holy day represent?

Notice what Jesus preached about on that day: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink . . . out of his belly [innermost being] shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive . . .)" (John 7:37-39).

This was Jesus' sermon giving the meaning of the last great day!

Now turn to Revelation 20. After the Millennium, what happens? A resurrection! The dead stand before God. This couldn't include true Christians today, as they will appear before the judgment seat when Christ returns. It couldn't refer to those converted during the Millennium. They have already inherited the Kingdom during the Millennium, after living out a normal life-span. Those in this resurrection must be those who died in ignorance in past ages! They are not brought to life until after the Millennium (Revelation 20:5).

This is that judgment day mentioned in Matthew 10: 15. It is a time when Gentiles who died in ignorance will be given an opportunity to receive salvation. Ezekiel 16:53-55 makes this very plain. Even those in Israel who died in their sins will be given their first opportunity to understand the truth of God and His way (Ezekiel 37). The prophet wrote that God would pour out His Spirit on those resurrected (verse 14). This is precisely the salvation that Jesus mentioned in His sermon on that great day of the feast in the autumn of AD 30.

This eighth day, which immediately follows the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, pictures the completion of the plan of redemption. It is just prior to the new heaven and the new earth. All parents and children, young and old will be resurrected. Notice that the "book of life" typifying salvation is opened (Revelation 20:12). Revelation presents the final view of the "judgment day" as the present material heaven and earth are perishing and the faithful are receiving their eternal reward at the throne of Christ. The wicked those who disobey are seen perishing in the lake of fire! What a marvelous plan! All will have an equal opportunity (Armstrong HW. Pagan Holidays--or God’s Holy Days—Which?, booklet, 1976).

A major reason that I became part of the old WCG and now the Continuing Church of God is that in addition to proving all things from the Bible, I truly believe that since "God is love" (1 John 4:16) that He has a plan of salvation that will ultimately result in everyone being called and nearly every one who ever lived being saved

Here is a "Protestant" denouncing the view that the old Worldwide Church of God (WCG) held:

There is no second chance to believe in Christ, not even for those who died before Christ came to earth – they had other means to receive forgiveness of sin. The bible clearly says in Hebrews 9:27 that after death everybody will face judgment. And those who are condemned will not be annihilated but punished forever. (Kreitz C. Professor, Cornel University, Member of Tabernacle Baptist Church, Ithaca, NY. 5 Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/kreitz/Christian/Cults/5.armstrong.pdf. accessed 03/02/07) .

There are several problems with that denunciation. First, we in the CCOG do not teach a "second chance" only that ALL WILL GET ONE REAL CHANCE (so did the old WCG, and neither of us taught a second chance). Secondly, the Bible does not give any hint on how scattered peoples not knowing the Israelites could be forgiven and be offered salvation prior to Jesus and the resurrection. Thirdly, he has cited Hebrews 9:27, but did not mention the related verses in context. Notice what it actually says:

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation (Hebrews 9:27-28)..

Notice that the Bible clearly teaches that He will appear a second time for salvation. And fourthly, yes the Bible does teach total annihilation for those who will not repent (as is shown earlier in this article).

Will most be saved? Yes.

Will most be lost? Certain Protestant and Catholic writers have erroneously said yes.

A Protestant writer wrote:

Romans…nine…This whole chapter shows that the human race is already lost…No one has any right to complain to God if some are saved, when none have any right to be saved (Stedman R. The Message of Romans).

Another Protestest wrote:

...most will be lost and not find salvation from sin (Price B. Romans Bible Commentary - Living By Faith Published by Brad Price, 2005, p. 96).

Some other Protestant writers have written:

We live on a planet populated by approximately six billion people. Six billion! And most of those, it probably would be safe to say, never have been afforded the opportunity of hearing the gospel message about the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. Therefore, obviously, they cannot respond in obedience to that saving message—even though they might be willing to do so if presented with the prospect...Those who never have heard—and thus never have obeyed—the truth of the gospel message will be lost! (Estabrook J and Thompson B. Will Those Who Have Never Heard the Gospel Be Lost? Apologetics Press :: Reason & Revelation, June 2001 - 21[6]:41-46. http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/469 viewed 06/08/09)

...the majority of those on earth will travel the wide road to destruction...The average person in the world is lost in sin and does not know it...

Why Will Most Be Lost?...Jesus said that if you die in your sins, you will be separated from Him forever, John 8:21 (Danklefsen B. If the Lord Returned Right Now Would you Be With Him for Eternity? Eternal Life series 1, 1977)

As often happens with improper exegesis (explanation of scriptures) verses cited often do not say what the author implies. John 8:21 says, "I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come." It does not say "separated from Him forever" or LOST IN YOUR SINS FOREVER! Because there is a resurrection, dying in ones' sins does not mean that there is no possible future hope (e.g. Ezekiel 37:11-14).

Many who profess Christ do not believe the WHOLE Bible. Notice a verse, again, quoted earlier in this paper, James 2:13 which teaches:

13...Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Furthermore, does Paul teach that the human race is eternally condemned through no fault of their own (as various Protestant writers have indicated), and only some will ultimately be saved, in his epistle to the Romans?

Of course not!

Notice what Paul wrote in Romans starting with chapter 9:

18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

19 You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?" 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?

22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25 As He says also in Hosea:

"I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved."
26 "And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
'You are not My people,'
There they shall be called sons of the living God."

27 Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel:

"Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea,
The remnant will be saved.
28 For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness,
Because the LORD will make a short work upon the earth." (Romans 9:18-28).

Notice that God hardens and God selects. Also notice that IN THIS AGE A REMNANT, AND ONLY A REMNANT, IS TO BE SAVED. But God has a plan to save more than that. Notice what Paul continued with in chapter 10 of Romans.

10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved (Romans 10:1).

20 But Isaiah is very bold and says:

"I was found by those who did not seek Me;
I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me."

21 But to Israel he says:

"All day long I have stretched out My hands
To a disobedient and contrary people."

11:1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! (Romans 10:20-11:1.)

7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. 8 Just as it is written:

"God has given them a spirit of stupor,
Eyes that they should not see
And ears that they should not hear,
To this very day." (Romans 11:7-8).

26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:

"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob" (Romans 11:26)

This is a frequent problem with Protestant scholars--many take verses/chapters out-of-context and fail to understand what they really mean. Many simply do not understand about mercy or salvation (even Martin Luther's followers condemned those that held this position, please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants).

(Note: The "short work" that Paul speaks of and the completion of Matthew 24:14 may be do to news coverage of what the most faithful flock is teaching. This, of course, does not mean that the most faithful should sit around and wait and not do their part--cf. John 9:4; Matthew 9:37-38.)

Notice that Paul wrote that God blinded Israel and made it so they could not see for a while. And as addressed earlier, God will call them later. And all Israel shall be saved!

And God WILL have mercy on them! Is this not clear enough?

Roman Catholics, on the other hand, teach that salvation can be possible outside of knowing Christ (in violation of Acts 4:12 & John 17:3), but at least they believe that God can somehow save others.

Notice the official position of the Catholic Church on this:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience — those too may achieve eternal salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Image Books by Doubleday, NY 2003, p. 244).

A Catholic priest commented on the above:

That covers the man on the island. But Gandhi did know about Christ, didn’t he? Maybe not, Ogilvie said. If he was driven away from the church by nasty Christians, he may never truly have understood Jesus.The official Catholic catechism offers an even larger possible exception: God can do what God wants (The answer of where someone spends eternity depends on the denomination you ask. Dallas Morning News - Jan 20, 2007).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

Everyone is called to enter the kingdom (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 553. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, New York, 1994, p. 153).

While the Bible agrees with the above, it also makes it clear (see section IV above) that not all are called in this life.

But strangely the Catechism ignores the Bible and teaches that there is no chance after the first death:

Death puts an end to human life as the time open to accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1021. Imprimi Potest + Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, New York, 1994, p. 153).

How are babies called now?

Unlike the Roman Church, the Continuing Church of God teaches that babies will be resurrected, live a physical life, and will be offered salvation (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants). Salvation in the kingdom of God will be offered to all, but has not been offered to all in this age.

The Catholic Encyclopedia seems to understand that the Bible teaches destruction for those who are condemned and that some of the Catholic teaches believe that most can be saved:

The state ...is called "destruction" (apoleia, Phil., iii, 19, and elsewhere), "perdition" (olethros, 1 Timothy 6:9), "eternal destruction" (olethros aionios, 2 Thessalonians 1:9), "corruption" (phthora, Galatians 6:8), "death" (Romans 6:21), "second death" (Revelation 2:11 and elsewhere)...Conditionalists hold only a hypothetical immortality of the soul, and assert that after undergoing a certain amount of punishment, the souls of the wicked will be annihilated...The Universalists teach that in the end all... human souls, will attain beatitude (apokatastasis ton panton, restitutio omnium, according to Origen). This was a tenet of the Origenists and the Misericordes of whom St. Augustine speaks (De Civ. Dei, XXI, xviii, n. 1, in P.L., XLI, 732). There were individual adherents of this opinion in every century...Among Catholics, Hirscher and Schell have recently expressed the opinion that those who do not die in the state of grace can still be converted after death if they are not too wicked and impenitent...Many believe that reason cannot give any conclusive proof for the eternity of the pains..., but that it can merely show that this doctrine does not involve any contradiction. Since the Church has made no decision on this point, each one is entirely free to embrace this opinion...In itself, it is no rejection of Catholic dogma to suppose that God might at times, by way of exception, liberate a soul from {the place of eternal torment} (Hontheim J. Transcribed by Michael T. Barrett. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Yet, the Roman Catholic Church clearly condemns those that do not believe in endless torment. Notice what the Second Council of Nicea declared in 787 A.D.:

If anyone denies... the condign retribution to everyone, endless torment and endless bliss, etc...let him be anathema (Second Council of Nicæa, Pronouncements 18 & 19. 787 A.D. The Divine Sacra Sent by the Emperors Constantine and Irene to the Most Holy and Most Blessed Hadrian, Pope of Old Rome. (Found in Labbe and Cossart, Concilia, Tom. VII., col. 32).

Furthermore, some of their leaders have believed that "the majority of Christians are" condemned (Culligan E. The Last World War and the End of Time. The book was blessed by Pope Paul VI, 1966. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 130) and "In 1846 there were over one billion 500 million inhabitants of the earth, but only an infinitestinal fraction of them had really fallen in love with Mary's Son" (ibid, p. 164).

Also notice what a Jesuit teacher named Cornelius a Lapide proclaimed in the 17th century:

...even out of ten thousand, scarcely one is saved (cited in Farrar FW. MERCY AND JUDGMENT. LAST WORDS ON CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY WITH REFERENCE TO DR. PUSEY'S "WHAT IS OF FAITH? 2nd ecition, 1882. R. CLAY. SONS, AND TAYWR, BREAD STREET HILL, E.C., p. 150).

Eastern Orthodox however teach:

Basil, an Orthodox saint, in the 4th century apparently wrote, “The mass of men (Christians) say that there is to be an end of punishment to those who are punished.” (De Asceticis) (quoted portion from Wikipedia).

...treatises were prefixed by Basil to the Moralia.  He states that, when he enquired into the true causes of the troubles which weighed heavily on the Church, he could only refer them to breaches of the commandments of God.  Hence the divine punishment, and the need of observing the Divine Law http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.vi.ii.iv.html

Most Orthodox theologians reject the idea of 'original guilt', put forth by Augustine and still accepted (albeit in mitigated form) by the Roman Catholic Church...Humans (Orthodox usually teach)...are only guilty in so far as by their own free choice they imitate Adam...Orthodox have never held (as Augustine and many others in the west have done) that unbaptized babies, because tainted with original guilt, are consigned by a just God to the everlasting flames" (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, pp.222-224).

"What exactly is the condition of souls in the period between death and the Resurrection of the Body at the Last Day? Here Orthodox teaching is not entirely clear...The majority would be inclined to say that the faithful departed do not suffer at all. Another school holds that perhaps they suffer, but if so, their suffering is of a purificatory but not an expiratory character. Yet a third group would prefer to leave the whole question entirely open: let us avoid detailed formulation about the life after death" (Ware, p.255).

"There is no terrorism in the Orthodox doctrine of God...several of the Fathers have none the less believed that in the end all will be reconciled to God. It is heretical to say that all must be saved, for this is to deny free will; but it is a legitimate hope that all may be saved. Until the Last Day come, we must not despair of anyone's salvation, but must long and pray for the reconciliation of all without exception" (Ware, 262).

One of the differences between the CCOG and the Orthodox position, is that while many of the Orthodox do not consign souls to terroristic torment (they tend to cite Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and Ambrose of Milan--quotes from these men are in the article Hope of Salvation), they only strongly suspect that God will offer salvation to all, while in the CCOG we teach that God clearly will offer salvation to all and that this is clearly supported by numerous scriptures.

It may be also interesting to note that at least one prominent Catholic mystic (late 1300s/early 1400s), had a partially correct understanding:

Julian of Norwich saw neither...purgatory, saw no Jews in eternal torment and taught salvation for all of mankind (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, p. 219).

And while she was not made a saint, the Catholics of Rome commemorate a feast day to her on May 13th of each year, hence she was considered to be at least a true Catholic (it should be noted that when Origenism was denounced, the Church of Rome lost its doctrine of apocatastasis and adopted purgatory--for details see Did the Early Church Teach Purgatory?).

Perhaps I should mention that I did come across a 19th century Protestant writing that, while not understanding the whole plan perfectly, did make the following correct observations about apocatastasis:

In order to understand the Scriptures, the reader with a steady eye to Jesus must search them from the beginning to the very end in the new heavens and the new earth, or “the apocatastasis, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all of his holy prophets.” (Ward, Henry Dana. The Gospel of the Kingdom: A Kingdom Not of this World; Not in this World; But to Come in the Heavenly Country, of the Resurrection from the Dead and of the Restitution of All Things. Published by Claxton, Remsen & Haffelfinger, 1870. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Jul 18, 2006)

And that is good advice. Those who search the scriptures from beginning to end will realize that a God of love truly does have an awesome and loving plan.

XIII. Conclusion

There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that support the Continuing Church of God teachings regarding what theologians call apocatastasis. The CCOG view is certainly biblical.

Unlike Calvinistically-minded ones, we in the Continuing Church of God believe:

20 Our God is the God of salvation (Psalms 68:20).

Just like the Jews did not understand the verses in Hebrew Bible that taught that the Messiah would be cut off as they were focused on verses showing how the Messiah would be king, many today who claim to believe the Christian faith simply do not understand that the Bible itself has taught that salvation would be offered to all after the second resurrection from the prophet Moses through Jesus Christ.

"all flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6). 

Salvation will be offered to all who ever lived, a few in this age, and everyone else in the age to come.  Does your church understand and teach this? The God of love is merciful.

Ultimately offering salvation to everyone is not too difficult for God (cf. Ezekiel 37:11-14, Jeremiah 32:17).

Remember that Peter taught,

Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21).

This article has had quotes from many prophets including Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Hosea, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Malachi, Paul, John, and Jesus Himself.

Do you really believe the Bible or do you have a limited understanding of Sola Scriptura such as held by Martin Lutherand many others? Which is more appropriate traditions of men or the Bible?

Notice what the Apostle Paul taught:

Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:

41 "Behold, you despisers,
Marvel and perish!
For I work a work in your days,
A work which you will by no means believe,
Though one were to declare it to you
.' " (Acts 13:40-41).

Do you really believe what is written in the prophets?

God is a God of love. Since God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient certainly He is powerful enough and wise enough to have a merciful plan of salvation that really works and that will result in nearly all who ever lived to be saved.

This is spoken throughout the Bible by God's prophets.

If you are still unsure, please be more fair-minded like the Bereans and search "the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Would you like to know more?

If so, perhaps you may wish to read the articles:

Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism,

The History of Early Christianity,

The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3,

Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome,

Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God

Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God?

What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?, and/or

What is the Meaning of Life?

Or perhaps watch the five-part sermon series on God's plan for a universal offer of salvation:

Universal Offer of Salvation I: God is love 

Universal Offer of Salvation II: The Age to Come and the ‘Little Flock’

Universal Offer of Salvation III: All Are to Know Jesus, But When?

Universal Offer of Salvation IV: Will the Guilty be Pardoned?

Universal Offer of Salvation V: All Israel Will be Saved?

A version of the main article was has been translated in the Spanish language: Oferta universal de salvación: Hay cientos de versículos en la Biblia que apoyan la verdadera doctrina de la Apocatastasis.

Thiel B. Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the True Doctrine of Apocatastasis. http://www.cogwriter.com/apocatastasis.htm 2007/2008/ 2009 / 2010 / 2011 / 2012 /2013 /2014/ 2015/ 2016 /2017 0107

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