“Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and will not return, that to me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. They will say of me, ‘There is righteousness and strength only in Yahweh.’” Even to him shall men come; and all those who were incensed against him shall be disappointed. In Yahweh shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.(Isaiah 45:22-25, emphasis added)
Isaiah is the primary prophet of God’s chosen people while they remain in oppressive captivity. They are subjects now to the ruler of Babylon, King Cyrus. Cyrus has a heart for God’s people. God has given favor to the Babylonian king and his sons because of his kindness. Cyrus was given victory over Egypt. Vines describes the gift of victory was a “kopher” or payment to cover Israel. God declares “all the ends of the earth” will be saved when they turn to God. God then causes Isaiah to write “every knee will bow and every tongue will swear allegiance” to Him. That being the case every knee and every tongue will demonstrate a universal “turning to” God.” It is God’s will that all be saved.
God speaks with absolute certainty and with absolute authority. It is His Word that goes out. It is His Promise of salvation that is spread to all the universe that He creates. It is God Who says, “In Yahweh shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
All the peoples of the world are Gentiles except for the smallest nation God chose. All the people of the world will be grafted into Israel and become Israel. Unproductive branches will be cut away from the vine and be cast into the fire. Those unproductive branches do not burn forever, but only until they are consumed. A reasonable person might conclude from these verses that God’s judgment of the unrepentant is annihilation. Even so, that judgment is superior to eternal conscious torment.
God’s Word goes out in righteousness and does not return empty. God created each and every person with a specific purpose that He directs. No person is created for eternal torment. William MacDonald provides his insight in the “Believer’s Bible Commentary.” 1 He writes “Israel’s former enemies will one day come to her with gifts and tribute, acknowledging that the God of the Jews is the true God and that there is no other.”
There is a “saved remnant” that sings praises to God according to Dr. MacDonald’s understanding. He writes “makers of and worshipers of false gods will be ashamed.” When Christ comes again Israel will have no reason to be ashamed. Gentiles on the other hand are ashamed. According to Dr. MacDonald’s theology not all will be saved. God “invites the Gentiles to come to Him for salvation, and decrees that every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue confess Him. This will find its fulfillment in the Millennium. Then men will acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the only source of righteousness and strength. All His enemies will come to Him in contrition, and Israel shall be justified and shall glory in Him, not in idols.”
It is not difficult to believe as Mr. MacDonald writes, “…that all His enemies will come to Him in contrition.” The Lord loves a contrite heart. “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!” Then God reinforces who His audience when He declares, “To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.” Every knee, all the ends of the earth indicate a universal group. No denominations to argue over what this word or that authority says.
Every man’s tongue will swear allegiance to the Lord. That is more than just confession. To swear allegiance is to swear your life for the cause. In this case the Cause is allegiance to God. Those of us who have repented will repent again. Those of us who have never repented will repent. Each of us will be judged. None will be judged to an eternal conscious torment. That’s good news. That is “The Blessed Hope.”
It is not possible to conclude these verses apply only to believers. God says clearly He will send out a Word. That Word will not return empty. That Word will cause “…every knee…” to bow and “…every tongue…” to confess God is Sovereign. All persons will commit to Him their being and all persons will be His. All people are the offspring of Israel. All persons ever created are Israel. We are a people created in His image and made righteous through the sacrifice of Christ Jesus. There is a blessing for believing Christ is Savior. But, there is not an eternal conscious torment for those who die in rebellion. I must take you, dear reader, to Ecclesiastes 12:7.
…And the spirit, it returns to the One, Elohim, Who gave it. (Concordant Literal Version)
All spirits return to God, Who gave them. These verses teach all men will turn to God. All men will be reconciled to God. No less than God, Himself, said so. This is Impartial Grace.
1 William MacDonald. “Believer’s Bible Commentary.” Commentary on Isaiah 45 (pp. 972-973), Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995.