UNIVERSAL RECONCILIATION FOUND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
“In the beginning…” God created the heavens and the earth. He created all the living creatures on the earth, under it and in the seas of it. Every form of life imaginable is created by God Who is Sovereign over all He creates.
If the doctrine of eternal conscious torment is true, then we should find proof in God’s Holy Word. There should be something within God’s Holy Word that teaches God’s punishment for sins not forgiven is eternal conscious torment. If Universal Reconciliation is true we should find proof of it in God’s Holy Word. Both doctrines cannot coexist.
What was the atonement for the “original sin?” Can we state with confidence that the blood of the animal God killed to make covering for Adam and for Eve was an atoning sacrifice? Is that the redemptive price required of Adam?
Adam and Eve sinned against God. God knew they would. He knew their punishment before they reached out to take the fruit from the tree and eat it. Their punishment is death. It is a physical death certainly. There are many Traditionalists who claim it is a spiritual death as well.
Almost all Christian denominations find common ground in a belief in eternal conscious torment. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment requires that God created Adam and Eve knowing they would sin. He knew their sin would be passed on to all generations after them. The Traditional doctrine requires all men be born deserving a judgment of death. Death is hell. All men are bound for hell until they see the Light, confess sin, repent and believe Jesus is the Christ.
Universal Reconciliation does teach that all men are bound for death. Advocates for Universal Reconciliation agree God created Adam and Eve knowing they would sin and knowing their sin would be passed on to every generation. We agree the just punishment is death and that physical death is passed on to every person created by God. We agree that a confession of faith in Christ Jesus is paramount in salvation. The proponents of Universal Reconciliation believe there is a “lake of fire” that is reserved for Satan and his minion horde. We believe “hell” is the product of traditions and that God will reconcile all men to Himself because it is His will that none should perish.
Mr. Sprenger offers a list of verses that support the doctrine of Universal Reconciliation. He starts at the beginning.
I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Dr. Sprenger tells us, “This is the original and foundational promise made by God, revealing His redemptive purpose and plan for all of mankind. (Note in the following passages the connection between “all the families”, “all the nations”, “all the peoples”, “all the proud of the earth”, “all the kingdoms”, “all the earth”, etc.) Every promise, covenant, and provision given by God, including the law, the prophets, the priesthood, the church, and above all the Messiah (ie, “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” – Mt 1:1), point to and are the direct fulfillment of this one original promise given to Abraham. Thus Paul refers to him as “…the father of us all.” – Rom 4:16.
Think this through. God is making a profound statement to Abraham. “In you, Abraham, all the families of the world will be blessed.” God is not designating only Abraham’s people. God is clearly saying “all the families of the earth.” No person from any nation is excluded from this promise.
Who are “all the families of the earth?” There can only be one conclusion. “All the families of the earth” are “ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH.”
Understanding these scriptures to mean precisely what is written should be foundations of our Christian faith. Learned men sometimes change the plain meaning of scripture. Dr. John MacArthur is highly regarded as a Biblical Scholar, Pastor and Teacher. He is a man worthy of much respect. Dr. MacArthur writes this about these verses.
Nothing so much glorifies God as His gracious redemption of damned, hell-bound sinners. It was for that ultimate purpose that God called Abraham, that in him “all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). It was never the Lord’s intention to isolate Israel as His sole focus of concern but rather to use that specially chosen and blessed nation to reach all other nations of the world for Himself.
Israel was called to “proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day” and to “tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples” (1 Chronicles 16:23-24; cf. Psalm 18:49). Like her Messiah, Israel was to be “a light to the nations so that [the Lord’s] salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6; cf. 42:IO-12; 66:19; Jonah 3:1-10).
Likewise, the great mission of the church is to so love, learn, and live as to call men and women to Jesus Christ. As sinners are forgiven and are transformed from death to life and from darkness to light, God is glorified through that gracious miracle. The glory of God is manifest in His loving provision to redeem lost men. He Himself paid the ultimate price to fulfill His glory.
If God’s primary purpose for the saved were loving fellowship, He would take believers immediately to heaven, where spiritual fellowship is perfect, unhindered by sin, disharmony, or loneliness. If His primary purpose for the saved were the learning of His Word, He would also take believers immediately to heaven, where His Word is perfectly known and understood. And if God’s primary purpose for the saved were to give Him praise, He would, again, take believers immediately to heaven, where praise is perfect and unending.
There is only one reason the Lord allows His church to remain on earth: to seek and to save the lost, just as Christ’s only reason for coming to earth was to seek and to save the lost. “As the Father has sent Me,” He declared, “I also send you” (John 20:21). Therefore, believers who are not committed to winning the lost for Jesus Christ should reexamine their relationship to the Lord and certainly their divine reason for existence.
Fellowship, teaching, and praise are not the mission of the church but are rather the preparation of the church to fulfill its mission of winning the lost. And just as in athletics, training should never be confused with or substituted for actually competing in the game, which is the reason for all the training.
Dr. MacArthur’s commentary is wonderfully suited to support the doctrine of Universal Reconciliation. I know Dr. MacArthur believes in eternal conscious torment, but the words he provides here could put the lie to eternal conscious torment. He provides every believer reading the spiritual motivation to be the evangelical church proclaiming “The Good News.”
God made the way to reconciliation through His Son, Christ Jesus. Our reconciliation to Him brings glory. All of mankind is reconciled to Him. The glory given God cannot be mistaken because of the magnitude of His mercy and of His love. The worst, most heinous man ever to have lived will be reconciled to God. God, Almighty, will “fulfill” His mission and win the lost. He will drag all men unto Himself.
Abram was not Jewish nor Hebrew. This is not a promise to any one nation, but a promise to all nations. This promise is fulfilled in the Life, Death, Burial and Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Dr. MacArthur is right to suggest God would draw believers to heaven immediately if all He wanted was fellowship with them, or to teach them His Holy Word, or even to hear their praises. Dr. MacArthur believes God wants more from His believers and that is to answer the true call of “winning the lost.” In fact, Dr. MacArthur admonishes believers to examine their level of Christian living and to get into the game of “winning the lost.”
Dr. MacArthur points to two distinct groups in this commentary. The first group is “lost.” The second group is “lost, but found.” Dr. MacArthur provides the distinction where none is necessary. It is God’s Holy Word that says “In you Abram all the families of the world will be blessed.” That would include the families of the “lost” and of the “lost, but found.”
The plain meaning of these scriptures is superior to adding meaning and intent to them. To declare there are some who are “lost” and others who are “lost, but found” adds discrimination that is not found in the simple reading of these scriptures. Is the impact of God’s Word is diminished? Perhaps, so.
These verses support Universal Reconciliation. They do not support the doctrine of eternal conscious torment.
The scroll of the lineage of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
God’s Holy Word tells us Christ Jesus is the promised blessing. The blessing promised to Abram is alive in Christ Jesus. “All the families of the earth” are the benefactors of the blessing given to Abram. Jesus is that blessing to “all the families of the earth.”
Because of this it is of faith, that it may be according to grace, for the promise being sure to all the seed, not to that which is of the law only, but also to that which is of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all (according as it hath been written–‘A father of many nations I have set thee,’) before Him whom he did believe–God, who is quickening the dead, and is calling the things that be not as being. Who, against hope in hope did believe, for his becoming father of many nations according to that spoken: ‘So shall thy seed be;’
The religious scholars; the Levites, the Pharisees and Sadducees, the zealots, Pastors, teachers and church authorities agree the promise was made to Abram. The promise is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. Unfortunately we disagree on whom is the blessing bestowed. We disagree on the meaning of “all nations” or “father of us all.”
The adherent to Universal Reconciliation determines that Abram believed with all his heart that he would have a child despite his old age. Religious scholars agree that the Seed is Christ Jesus. Because of his belief Abram is counted among the truly faithful. He is described as righteous.
Abram, now Abraham, is “father of many nations” just as his Seed is over many nations. Abraham is the father of all nations just as Jesus is over all nations. Scriptures regarding “all” men and those regarding “every” man support God’s will and is Universal Reconciliation. God is love and all men, every man will be reconciled to Him. Even the dead for “their spirits have returned to the One Who gave it.”
Questions to ask, “Is the man who dishonors Abraham’s family part of ‘all the families of the earth…?’” Did this man who is opposed to Abraham somehow lose his birthright? Is he to be considered as no longer one in a family of the earth? I don’t think so. The man will be judged for sinning. The Traditionalist believes the corresponding judgment for the rebellious unrepentant person is eternal conscious torment. The advocate of Ultimate Restoration believes God will judge, punish and reconcile that rebellious man to Himself.
The plain meaning of scripture is that all families on the earth are blessed because of Abraham’s faithfulness. That’s all families. Hindu families, Communist families, dysfunctional families, Baptist families, Methodist families, Catholic, Buddhist and on and on. All families are blessed.
Blessed with what? Their promise is the Promised Land. The family of Abraham is blessed for having set out to the Promised Land. Every family is blessed by God because Abraham sought God’s promise. What is our promise? What is our blessing? We are blessed because God promised to bless all the families of all the nations.
That’s not complicated. These scriptures stand without contradiction. There is not a place of eternal conscious torment. The Traditionalist doctrine requires a belief that not all in every family will be saved. Fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters consigned to eternal conscious torment because their family was not a part of “all the families of the earth.”
And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.
Mr. Sprenger reminds us, “This promise is repeated over and over throughout scripture.” It is fundamentally clear that from Abram/Abraham the promised Seed has come. That Seed brings blessings to “…all the nations of the earth.” That Seed is Christ Jesus.
Please note, “…all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” There is a blessing in Christ Jesus already received or to be received. All the nations, all the families, all the people of every religion and even those without religion “shall be blessed.”
Abraham was preparing to sacrifice his son, Isaac. An altar was built and Isaac was put upon it. Isaac, the son, is obedient to his father. Abraham raises the sacrificial blade and then he is stopped. God provided a ram and a sacrifice is given to God that day. This kind of sacrifice happens again at Calvary, but God does not intervene to stop His sacrifice. He has provided The Lamb.
The promised Seed has come. Because Abraham had sufficient, great faith and willingly obeyed God we have been blessed by God. Because of Abraham “…all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” That blessing is Christ Jesus.
The advocate for Universal Reconciliation sees these verses literally. “All nations shall be blessed….” There is nothing that causes us to read anything less than “all nations shall be blessed….”
…UR IN NUMBERS
So the Lord said, “I have pardoned them according to your word; but indeed, as I live, all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
Mr. Sprenger points out that God is speaking with Moses and Moses “…is a fore type of Christ a our intercessor.”
Moses is facing a serious problem. The people were lamenting their plight. They were complaining about everything and especially about God. The people witnessed God’s signs and wonders. They experienced the hand of God and received a great salvation through water. They rebelled and they blamed God for their situation. They demanded a leader be selected from their group and that they return to Egypt. They perceived life to be better in Egypt.
God speaks with Moses and asks, “How long shall I put up with this?”
The people, God’s chosen people, are in rebellion. Their hatred for God’s providence is stunning. God says, “I shall smite them with the plague and evict them, and I shall make you into a greater and more substantial nation than they (v. 12).”
Moses asks God to forgive His people. God hears Moses and God pardons them because of Moses’ word. God says something remarkable and proves the limitless depths of His mercy and of His love, “…all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
Literally, “…all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
The Israelites were being drawn back to Egypt. They were sinning against God. They were fighting against His direction and determined to walk in their own will. He is willing to kill them for their disobedience and for their complaining. Moses becomes their intercessor, their advocate, and God hears Moses’ plea for his people. And, God forgives them because of Moses’ plea.
Jesus nearing death on the cross at Calvary said to the Father, “Forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Christ Jesus is our Intercessor; our Advocate. God forgives us because of Christ’s plea and because of Christ’s obedience.
God does punish His chosen people by allowing none of that generation of Israelites to enjoy or set foot on the promised land except two. Not even the intercessor, Moses, would touch the promised land.
God pardons “all” the Israelites. “All the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.”
God closed up the promised land to rebellious Israelites, but His promise to Abraham is still in force. “In his seed all the nations of the world shall be blessed.” God opens heaven to all His creation when Christ sacrifices His Life for our sins. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Christ Jesus is Lord and brings glory to the Father.
The advocate of Universal Reconciliation extols these verses as direct evidence; The Holy Word of God clearly states, “…all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.” Not a portion here and a portion there, but “all the earth.”
Universal Reconciliation teaches “all the earth” is being overwhelmed by His glory. There is not a reason to conclude that only a part of the earth will be filled, but “all the earth will be filled with His glory.”
…UR IN 2 SAMUEL
2 Samuel 14:14
For we shall surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one may not be cast out from him.
David is ruling Israel and there is great upheaval in the Kingdom and in his own family. David’s son, Absalom, had committed a murder by taking revenge on his brother, Amnon. Amnon had sexually assaulted Absalom’s sister, Tamar.
Absalom left town and was hiding. Joab, looking to trap David, sent a woman to him seeking counsel. The woman told David a story similar to what he was currently living through with Absalom. When the woman finished her testimony she asked David’s pardon of her son for the sin of killing his brother. David tried to put off giving an answer, but the woman insisted. David agreed that the woman’s son should be pardoned.
Immediately, the woman wants to know why Absalom should not be considered for a pardon in the fashion David pardoned her son. The woman argues that God does not destroy a rebellious spirit right away. God waits. Perhaps the sinner will come to his senses. More likely, God “…plans ways so the banished one may not be cast out from him.”
What’s David to do? He realizes Joab is behind the woman’s testimony, but that fact does not change the moral dilemma he faces. He decides in favor of his son and allows Absalom to return to Jerusalem and to live in peace. God “…plans ways…” to keep His rebellious children from being separated from Him. Eventually, He gives The Way “so the banished may not be cast out from Him.”
The advocate for Universal Reconciliation applies these verses as proof that God is love and that He wills that all be saved. Consider how awful a man Absalom was, moreover, consider how terrible Amnon was. Consider David’s sin. People died because of these men. People were scarred because of these men. Yet, God “…plans ways so the banished one may not be cast out of him.” God is not willing that even one of His creation perish.
…UR IN 1 KINGS
I Kings 8:43
Hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to Thee, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as do Thy people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I [Solomon] have built is called by Thy name.
I Kings 8:60
So that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else.
Solomon was at the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. God’s power and preeminence are known because of the Temple. Solomon was praising God and leading the worship. He was praying on behalf of Israel. Solomon asks God to tell the world, all the peoples of the earth, His Name. Solomon asks that the many requests be answered so as to give great proof that He is Lord. He is God. “There is no one else.”
The advocate for Universal Reconciliation points to these verses to confirm there is only one God and that He is sovereign over all things. The people of the world, the nations, all know there is only one God.
The doctrine of Universal Reconciliation is bolstered by this good news. God has made it known and will always make it known that He is the Lord our God. The people know it and rejoice. The kingdoms of the earth know it, too.
That all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou alone, O Lord, art God.
Hezekiah is the King of Judah. His kingdom is being threatened by foreign enemies. He paid a ransom to the Assyrian Ruler Sennacherib. Hezekiah fortified Jerusalem during this time of purchased peace, but news about Hezekiah’s defiance made its way to Sennacherib.
Envoys from the Assyrian commander went to meet with Hezekiah. They mocked him and they mocked Judah. Hezekiah was anxious about his situation and he reached out to Isaiah for guidance. Isaiah told Hezekiah not to fear the Assyrian commander. Isaiah told Hezekiah that God would “put fear into” Sennacherib.
Sennacherib became concerned about being attacked by Egypt and wanted to end this battle for Jerusalem quickly. He penned a letter and had it delivered to Hezekiah. The letter was taken by Hezekiah to the Temple and there Hezekiah laid it out before God.
Hezekiah’s faithful prayer received God’s answer. Jerusalem would not be taken by this foreign enemy. Sennacherib and the Assyrian army will return to their homeland defeated and humiliated. Sennacherib will suffer the consequences for his blasphemous letter.
It will also be known that “all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou alone, O Lord, art God.”
The advocate for Universal Reconciliation gives thanks to God for the wisdom of this verse. There is only one God and He already knows our way. He is the King over all. We have every reason to believe that His interest in “all the kingdoms” includes all the people created over all time as we know time.
…UR IN 1 and 2 CHRONICLES
1 Chronicles 16:23-34 (ESV)
Sing to the LORD, all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and joy are in his place.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength! Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth; yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!” Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
These are verses recording David’s praise and prayer to God. God is good! His love is ever strong for His creation. His mercy toward us never fails and never ends.
The advocate of Universal Reconciliation preaches all who believe in Christ Jesus rejoice in God’s Holy Word. These words were recorded hundreds of years prior to the Life of Christ. These verses constitute proof that God is Sovereign before the beginning of the ages to beyond the end of the ages. He is Sovereign over “all the earth.” The heavens are glad and everything in or upon the earth rejoices.
The heavens and the earth and all they contain are established. God is Sovereign and He will judge everything on the earth, under the earth, in the sea or under the sea. All will bow to Him and declare with their mouths that He is Lord.
“His steadfast love endures forever.” Universal Reconciliation recognizes these verses for what they convey. His love is true; His love is for all; and, His love is eternal.
2 Chronicles 20:21
Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endureth forever.
An immense army assembled near Jerusalem. They are readied for battle. War was declared against Judah. Jehoshaphat went into the Temple of God and prayed. He spoke to God and reminded Him of His promise to Israel.
God answered Jehoshaphat’s prayer through Jahaziel. God will fight this battle and the people have nothing to fear. The people, having faith in the Word of God, started worshiping and paraded to the battle site. The enemy was confounded and confused. They began fighting each other. God’s battle is won. The people of Judah gather the spoils of the battle. God’s mercy was upon them. His mercy is not withheld.
Historically there were 20 Kings of Judah. Of those only eight were good, honorable leaders who brought revival on their people during their respective reigns. Some kings had lives centered in God in the Temple. Most other Kings, though, had their hearts in their kingdoms.
Jim George has written a book entitled “The Bare Bones Bible Handbook.” He provides summaries of the 66 books of the Bible. About 2 Chronicles chapters 10-36 Mr. George includes this, “When the reigning king serves God, the kingdom is blessed, but if or when he forsakes the temple and the worship of God, the nation is torn by warfare and unrest.”
The lesson to learn, according to Mr. George and others, is that like the reigning kings when we are in God’s service we are blessed and when we are not then our blessings are diminished. As Mr. Sprenger points out “This theme is repeated over and over throughout scripture.” That message is this; “God’s mercy endures forever.”
…UR IN PSALMS
But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice, and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.
The Psalmist is comforting himself and comforting us with a reassuring voice. “The Lord abides forever.” The Lord alone lives forever. He sees all forever. He knows all forever. He is Sovereign over all forever.
Nothing on earth “abides forever.” There is nothing man can construct that will be built forever. Everything rusts or rots. “But, the Lord abides forever.”
He is God. God is love. He does not change. He is the loving creator and Father of Adam. He knitted Eve together starting with Adam’s rib. He loves them unconditionally. He loved them when He created them and He loved them when He cursed the earth because of their disobedience.
Nothing can stand against the power of God. His will will be done. Of that there cannot be any doubt. All the evil forces aligned against heaven will not be capable of overturning His will.
It is the Father who will administer justice. No matter what the heavenly judgment will be it will be a judgment made in love. His judgment will be for us, that is, in favor of us. And His justice will be commensurate with His love. God is love and His judgment is in love.
The advocate of Universal Reconciliation prays to heaven giving thanks for making the truth so clear. God forgives. He forgives all. He will reconcile all. His mercy will not end. His grace will not cease. He will not change from a loving Father to a punishing tyrant.
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will worship before Thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations. All the proud of the earth will eat and worship, even he who cannot keep his soul alive. Posterity will serve Him.
Mr. Sprenger reminds us that “the proud” properly translated is “the fat ones.” “The fat ones of the earth will eat and worship….”
Christ’s work on the Cross will be remembered by every person in every nation. Christ will be enthroned. He will be King. His dominion over all will be certain. There is not a person over whom the King of Kings will not rule. “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.”
Can there be any doubt? Every one out to “all the ends of the earth…” will turn to the Lord. Their thoughts about the Lord, no matter how small, narrow or fleeting, will be brought to focus on Him. All people will remember. They will repent and turn to the Lord. All nations. All people. Worship!
Every family in every nation will worship the King. He rules over every person in every family from every nation on earth. He is King of Kings. All creation is subjected to Him, even those who rebel, will be caught up in His mercy.
This is our blessed hope! Because we believe Jesus is our Savior we have the confidence that this day of reconciliation with Him will one day come. All evil will be abolished. Satan and his evil horde of demons will be held at bay waiting for their final judgment. For a thousand years Jesus will be King over all!
Those who do not believe can only wait for death to overcome them. They are without hope in this life because they could not or would not believe. Many unbelievers will never have been given the opportunity to know Jesus as Savior.
We all know someone who is hopeless in this life. Bless them today and everyday with your testimony. Tell them how the story ends for you in Heaven. Tell them how His story ends and point out how God reconciles all to Himself. No effort required. We have family and friends who have not heard Christ’s testimony or they find it too difficult to heed. Bless them today and every day with the confidence you have in Him. Tell them how you believe you will bow before your Savior; with praise and with a grateful heart.
Everyone will be subject to the Lord. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Every person will kneel before Him. We realize we cannot maintain our lives under our own power. We live because He does.
The testimony of Christ came to us from people before us and from people before them. For two thousand years plus His testimony has been handed down; person to person to person. His Word will live forever. As long as there are humans on the earth there will be witnesses to the Gospel of Christ.
I raise my hands to Heaven and praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God’s plan for my salvation is righteous. There is no other way. We are all blessed to have been subject to His mercy. He gives grace upon grace.
The advocate of Universal Reconciliation rejoices in the knowledge that even the worst human ever created will be shown overwhelming love. We believe that man will be reconciled to the Lord because the Lord rules over all the nations. The worst man is welcomed into God’s Kingdom and is loved by God unconditionally.
All shall bow and worship Him. There is a time to come when there is no one left that has not worshiped Him. The simple reading of scripture demonstrates God’s love for His creation. All that He creates will be reconciled to Him. Even in death, “…the spirit returns to the Father Who gave it….”
For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime; Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
David’s prayer is not only for himself. He is calling out others to share his joy in the Lord. He is calling out others to sing praises. He is calling out others to join him in worship.
Our “troubles are light and momentary and they prepare us for a burden of glory in heaven” (2 Cor 4:17). God strengthens us; He disciplines those he loves through His anger. The time God spends in anger is short. His lessons when learned add His discipline to our lives and bring us closer to Him. This is a Holy relationship that lasts the balance of our lives.
We may be painfully sorrowful through the night, but in the morning God relieves us of our pain. I do not think it is unsafe to say each of us has been through a deep valley of sorrow. I know I have.
I was hopeless and tearful. My despair was so complete there was no one who could console me. No one except God. In one night I cried with wrenching sobs. The next morning it was over. The sorrow had left me. And to this day I praise God for His love through that night. There have been other nights like that one. In each God’s “grace upon grace” took me from the darkness of sorrow to the Light that is my Blessed Hope.
None of us are free of trials or tribulations. We will have to stand against the devil who strives to steal our joy. But, we do not have to stand alone; “His favor lasts a lifetime.”
The Universal Reconciliation advocate will sing praises for this message given in God’s Holy Word. God is eternally a loving Father. His anger against us does not last, but His love for us is forever. Even the worst man will eventually experience God’s love. It is God Who is not angry for long. It will be God Who reconciles all men to Himself.
By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; he puts the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds.
Our God is Sovereign. He created the earth and the heavens. He spoke and the heavens were made. He breathed His Spirit onto all in the heavens He made. He created us. He knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs. He breathed and His Spirit is in us and is upon us from the moment we are conceived.
His place is Sovereign. His rule is all powerful. His will is His command. His command is righteous and pure. His will stands forever. It is His will that all be saved. It is His will that all generations will know His will. “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The nation the Lord has chosen is blessed. Israel is blessed and believers are grafted into Israel and are therefore blessed. He “…fashions the hearts of them all.”
God thwarts the plans of men, particularly those plans that are contrary to His. He makes the unrighteous plan of governments foolish in His sight.
God sees everything. Scripture teaches, “wash your hands you sinners.” Get all the dirt from your life and wash it away. He sees it all from His throne. There is nothing we can hide from Him. God knows our hearts. After all, He created them. He knows our innermost thoughts. He knows what scares us. He knows what entices us. Simply put, He knows it all.
There is not a man alive nor a person to be born that can save himself. Salvation is not a matter of physical strength. God has promised to deliver us from death. His Son has told us that He has prepared a place for us in His Father’s house. We have nothing to fear on this earth. It is our calling to revere our Lord.
The preacher committed to Universal Reconciliation delightfully exposes these verses to mean God is love. God is merciful. God is Sovereign. It is His will that all be saved. The Universalist teaches God’s redemption is intended for all.
There are many of us who have family or friends who are committed to the “gods” of the world. They are committed to wealth and to other people, but not to God. They have chosen the wide gate that leads to destruction. We lack the power to convince them that faith in Christ is critical.
The blessed hope is this; Christ Jesus was sacrificed on a cross to atone for the sins of the world. His death saves all. “…He who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds” created all men in love. His creation will stand in awe of Him. That’s glorious news. In Christ the Father will be all in all, even those who hate Him.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Selah)
Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Selah)
We are living in a time when the nations on the earth are in chaos. Nations are warring with other nations and even warring within themselves inside their own borders. The only true and real help for this condition is by way of Divine intervention.
God will set all things right. All the warring kingdoms will be crushed. All the instruments of war will be burned up. He will make places desolate. He leads the peoples of the world to judgment and ultimately brings peace to His earth.
God speaks to us directly in this Psalm. “Be still…,” He says. Be patient and quiet. Listen closely for His Word; for His direction. “…And, know that I am God…” There is no other. Let the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit show you that He is God. “…I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.” He is our God and He will be exalted. All nations will bow to Him. All the earth will be possessed and ruled by Him. Every tongue will confess Jesus Christ is Lord!
The Universalist preacher stands to pray against our warring ways and practice our faith. The advocate for Universal Reconciliation sees an opportunity in every personal contact to demonstrate the kind of love shown them from heaven. It is good for our hearts to know that the people we encounter will be reconciled to God in the same way we will be reconciled to Him. His love is pure; as pure for those who hate Him as it is pure for those who truly love Him. That is indeed glorious Gospel.
O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come. When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions.
The Psalmist reaches out to our heavenly Father. The Psalmist gives praise, honor and glory to God in this opening verse of this prayer. He declares “…to You shall all flesh come.” The Psalmist does not discriminate between nations or families.
The word “shall” here is an imperative. It will happen. The word is a promise. All flesh will come to Him.
Greater still in these words we hear the promise that God will place all our sins in a state of forgiveness. God atones not only for the sins of the Psalmist, but for the sins of “all flesh” that will come to Him.
Traditional doctrines teach us to believe that Christ’s atoning sacrifice is only valid only for those whom He chose or only for those who chose Him. Christ’s atoning sacrifice was sufficient for all men, but only for a few who chose or who were chosen. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment limits God’s grace. It is Traditional teaching that God’s mercies are not for all.
God’s Holy and Precious Son was obedient to His Father. His life was given. He suffered horrendous tortures for the sins of all flesh, for all families and for all nations. God’s love is greater than the doctrine of eternal conscious torment.
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.
The Psalmist is quick to sing praises and to encourage others to sing praises to the Lord. God answers the prayers of the nation and the answer is just. The Psalmist knows God is the nation’s only path to salvation. The Psalmist goes further. God is “…the hope…” of all creation. His power calms seas. His power calms men.
Universal Reconciliation embraces these verses. The breadth, depth and width of God’s love is all consuming. There is not a soul who is not loved by God. Universal Reconciliation teaches that God is all powerful. We preach that His power reaches into the hearts of men. Hardened hearts can withstand His love for only a short while before He “creates all things new.”
God’s Word does promise He will set all things right. He will set all people right. His justice will be exercised. “…Those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe…” of His power. Those who dwell at the ends of the earth “will bow their knees and confess with their tongues that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm. Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah.
Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
A SHOUT! The Word of God commands us to “shout for joy.” Not just believers, but “all the earth.” His Name is worthy of great worship. We are to sing praises to Him and to glorify Him. Not just believers, but “all the earth.”
Even those who hate Him will be drawn to Him; to His mercy; to His love and into reconciliation with Him. His awesome power demands He be glorified. His grace demands our love in Him. He is our “all in all.”
The heart sings theses verses in praise. All mankind, every nation, every person from all the ends of the earth…all mankind will know He is Lord. “He is awesome in His deeds toward the children of man.” The advocate for Universal Reconciliation reaches to heaven and teaches, “Come and see what God has done!”
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song. May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah. that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah.
Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
The Psalmist reaches out to God on behalf of “the peoples.” He asks that God’s favor would shine on the nations. Let the world know that God is Sovereign and God alone has saving power. His power to save is over all nations.
The standard by which God judges will apply equally to all the peoples of all the nations. Justice is equitable and judgment is mercy. God is behind all that happens. He guides all peoples; all nations. He establishes kingdoms and rulers. He puts persons in positions of authority.
The outcome is clear. “All the ends of the earth will fear Him.” God will be revered, honored, glorified, exalted and loved to all the ends of the earth.
The Gospel is blessed hope. There is confidence in the people that God wills that all be saved and that Christ gave His life for the sins of the world. No one is excluded from the all consuming love of God. None are lost.
You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.
All of Christendom is convinced that Christ Jesus ascended to heaven and sits now at the right hand of the Father. Christ Jesus leads a host of captives in a long procession. Christ Jesus receives the gifts of praise and worship.
We are captivated by the scope of the procession; the captives in the Lord’s train. “Even among the rebellious” Christ did go. Even the rebellious are part of God’s eternal Kingdom.
“That the Lord may dwell there.” Profound. Where is “there?” The Lord dwells in heaven and it is the rebellious who are drawn to Him there.
For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves in them.
David is complaining and seeking God’s resolution to a myriad of problems. Disquieting thoughts overwhelm his day. He is discouraged. His problems are long suffered and his mistakes often repeated. He is burdened by his responsibility and by knowing his worthlessness.
David confesses his sins to the Lord. He examines all his folly and puts his sin before God.
This song turns to praise. The Lord is the Maker of all that is the earth and are the heavens. God created all the creatures in the sea. The Lord’s love will reach to all of His creation.
Praise God for His unwavering affection and care for His children. The Lord meets the needs of all, especially those who have the greatest need. The least will become the greatest. All creation will rejoice. All creation will be reconciled to the Lord.
Psalm 72:8 and 19
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!
This Psalm is a beautiful prayer. It is a prayer asking for the Lord’s wisdom. It is a prayer giving honor and glory to Him. Solomon is seeking God’s direction. He is seeking strength and righteous judgment.
Solomon describes a kind of government that protects the innocent and the needy. This is the kind of government that punishes the oppressors of the humble and poor. This kind of righteous government will become known throughout the world.
The Lord will meet the needs of the people and He will raise them up new from old roots. Solomon describes grass growing after having been mowed. The cut away blades of grass will wither, but the grass will grow with God’s nourishing rains.
Solomon is inspired to write that “all kings bow down before Him, all nations serve Him…and may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.”
I say, “Amen and Amen.”
This Psalm preaches God’s awesome love for His creation. It is Christ Jesus Who will reign. It is He Who rules all kings and all kingdoms.
This is the government of a righteous King. He provides for those in need. The least in His Kingdom are great. His is an Administration of love. There will be no oppressors for the King will have judged them. “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ is Lord.”
In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
The Psalmist lays bare his soul before God. “Hear my prayer, Father,” he cries. There is certainty that God knows our hearts and He knows our prayers before we ever utter a word toward Him. Yet, there is an efficiency in seeking His favor, His guidance, His supplication, His mercy, His grace. It is to His honor, to His glory, that we deliberately seek Him in prayer.
The Psalmist is in a time of severe persecution. His appeal to the Lord is for relief from enemies without and within.
There is no authority greater than God. There is nothing holy about any other god. In fact, the Psalmist declares, “All the nations You have made shall come and worship before You.” Not only that but all the nations “…shall glorify Your Name.”
All earthly idols are for nothing. All graven images offer nothing. God’s overwhelming love will capture the hearts of all the nations; of all people ever created. The kings and kingdoms will be subject to Him and He will be King of Kings.
God will overcome everything not holy, not righteous. As a result, “every knee will bow and every voice will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.”
Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
This is a Psalm of holy praise given by a contrite heart. The Psalmist preaches God is Almighty and there is no other god to whom any person can appeal. All the earth, the Psalmist declares, will worship and tremble.
Mr. Sprenger posits the phrase “all the trees of the forest” is figurative speech that means “all the people.” Even if not it remains clear that even the earth rejoices. Every nation will be equal in His sight. Every person will be judged with equity. He is not an unjust Father. He is love.
This Psalm preaches the awesome power and love of God. It praises Him for His never ending mercy. It acknowledges God will judge all. In the end He will reconcile “all the trees of forest” to Himself. This wondrous promise should not be lost n the “traditions of men.”
The Father is faithful and just. He is our Protector and our Source. He is our life. In His Son we have a King that rules “the peoples in His faithfulness.”
The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
From East to West and from North to South every creature and all the earth knows God is King. It is evident to all the nations. No nation, no person is excluded from this revelation of God’s saving grace and His overwhelming love. He has the power to save and it is known. It is His will that all be saved. His righteousness is unquestionable and truly Sovereign.
The Psalmist preaches God’s promise to save. He will reconcile all to Himself. That is a cause for giving praise, honor and glory to our Father and to His Son. There is great joy in knowing that an all loving Father embraces all that He creates.
A Song of Praise. Of David. I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
We can only imagine the depth and breadth of God’s Holiness. No matter what we might imagine Him to be God is greater still. No one can know how great is our God. It is unfathomable greatness.
God is steadfast in His love. Steadfast meaning resolute and absolute. God is love and the depth and measure of His love is unsearchable. He is good to all.
His mercy is over all. All His creation are in His Kingdom and His Kingdom does not end. Those who are falling He lifts up. His love is patient. His love is long suffering. His love is all powerful and consuming.
God created all and He loves all that He created. His mercy is over all that He has created. We praise our Father and we bless Him and honor Him. His unsearchable love is awesome and overwhelming.
Mr. Sprenger comments, “The LORD is faithful in all His words and kind in all His works.”
We cannot ignore how this Psalm ends.
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
These kinds of verses build faith. Our God is good; so very, very good. He is love; so very, very loving. It is His will that all will be saved and “…His mercy is over all he has made.”
His grace is compounded in His grace. He is “grace upon grace.”
His mercy has no limits. “His mercy is over all that He has made.”
The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
What does it mean that God will destroy all the wicked? The Psalm speaks to joy, revelation, worship, praise because God is merciful and because the magnitude of His love is unsearchable. But, then we read in verse 21 that He will destroy the wicked.
The Concordant Literal Version translates this verse as “all the wicked He will exterminate.”
Will an all loving merciful Father destroy rebellious people? Or, might it be better understood in context to mean that the wicked will end their wickedness. All wickedness will be exterminated…not people. Rebellious sin will end. Otherwise this Psalm opens with Universal Reconciliation and ends in annihilation. The two are not congruent in this context.
God sets all matters straight. His purpose will be complete and His purpose will be Holy. The outcome is this, “It is God’s will that all be saved.” Through His Son’s obedience to death on a cross all will be reconciled to Him.
Praise the LORD! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!
This is a remarkable display of praise and worship. The Psalmist is leading a mighty song to praise God. He sits on His Throne; praise Him. He rules over all the universe; praise Him. He is mighty to be praised.
The Pulpit Commentary states:
It is difficult to conceive how any man who believes in God can need to be reminded of the duty of praise. In every age and country the adoration of the Supreme Being has risen with the illumination of the human mind, and borne a very exact proportion to its restoration in the Divine image.
Our whole life should speak forth our thankfulness.
Let all the breath [ie the entirety of animate creation] praise Jehovah.
If a comprehensive view of God be taken, and it is seen that “his tender mercies are over all his works,” and that “the eyes of all wait upon him, and he giveth them their meat in due season,” this call to the entire animate creation to join man in his praise will become to us more than poetry and sentiment.
These verses affirming the blessed hope. God will hear the praises of all His creation. “Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.” No creature under the earth or under the sea will be exempt. All creation will praise Him.
Regarding the word “Let,” Mr. Sprenger rightly points out, “This is spoken as a declaration and even as a command, not simply as an invitation to praise the Lord.” It is God’s will that all men be saved, therefore, let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”
…UR IN ISAIAH
And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them. And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them.
In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
God’s Prophet Isaiah is relaying God’s Holy Word to the people. Egypt’s Pharaoh is a harsh ruler. God intends to correct the nation of Egypt. God intends to cause Egypt to turn from its evil ways and find peace in the Lord. Egypt will make sacrifices and they will make offerings.
God will reconcile Egypt by striking them with the intent to heal them. He will strike them and they will see His power. He will heal them and they will see His unending mercy and they will experience His Divine love.
Israel will be God’s instrument. Israel will be an intermediary and will bring two enemies together. Israel, the smallest of all nations, is the means in which peace comes to the land.
God provides discipline. He does punish to correct. He does what is necessary to complete His plan. Time and again in scripture we read how the Father intervened in human life. Time and again in scripture we read how His love is prevalent in all of His interventions. In every Holy intervention all things work together for good.
There is not a person God will not reach. No person will be able to resist His love, patience, or His will that all be saved.
That is glorious news. It is good news. It is truly Gospel! It is a blessed hope.
On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.
Isaiah extols the virtues of God the Father. He breaks into a song of praise and worship. The Lord gives Isaiah these words. These words apply to all peoples of all nations. The words apply to all faces on the earth. God will take away the blame that is on all people and remove that reproach from all the earth. He’ll remember those sins no more.
God the Father loves so completely, so thoroughly, He prepares a banquet beyond any other. There is a covering over the people. It is a covering that keeps them from the meal. God removes that covering, sin. With the removal of sin God ends death. Our loving Father wipes away the tears of sorrow and even tears of shame from all the faces.
These verses mean what they are intended to say. God wants us to know that He is Sovereign over all things, even the veil of sin that covers us over.
The covering has been lifted because of Christ Jesus and His obedience to death on a cross. The banquet is prepared and we are free to dine with Him. All people from every nation will eventually dine with Him. He will give them a place at His table. He will reconcile them to Himself. He will reconcile all of us to Himself. It is important to know that we love Him because He loves us first.
My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you. For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
God’s people have been under constant and brutal persecution by malignant governments. The oppression is severe. “In the night” for the decades of their persecution Isaiah prays. Isaiah knows that God’s plan will be executed on the earth. When God exercises His authority over the earth the living will know His authority.
Not only is Isaiah praying for his nation’s people he asks God to be merciful on the oppressors.
These verses demonstrate God’s mercy and justice. They represent reconciliation of all to Himself. People opposed to God will be exposed to righteousness and realize their rebellion is sin. All will repent. All will declare Christ Jesus is Lord. God is love.
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”
There are fewer words that more potent than these. God will make His way to His people. He will make a way for us to be His people. He will make our paths straight. He will level the ground to make our walk without obstacle. His glory will be revealed.
God’s people have been in captivity for a long time. They will no longer be the captives of Assyria, but of Babylon. Israel will “pay double for all her sins.” Her sins will be paid when the Messiah comes. There will be no obstacle in His path to hinder His walk. The path will be smooth.
He will be seen. He will be known. “All flesh will see it together.” The authority for this promise is the Lord. “All flesh shall see…” His glory. We will all be “together” when He reveals Himself to all flesh. No person will be exempted. The most loving and the most hateful will be together when He reveals His glory.
This is God’s promise. The promise of the Messiah has been fulfilled. All flesh will see the glory of God. We will seek God’s Holy Spirit to help us spread that Word. Jesus saves all men!
That’s offensive to traditional orthodoxy. The doctrine of eternal conscious torment is central to it. The idea that Jesus saves all is heresy. Eternal conscious torment teaches only some are saved. The doctrine requires God be willing that not all be saved. Satan wins as most of the creation of God will be eternally and consciously tormented forever, never seeing God’s glory only suffering His wrath.
What might the reaction of all people be? I say, “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father.”
“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’
“Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory.”
Isaiah is the primary prophet of God’s chosen people while they remain in oppressive captivity. They are subjects 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. 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” can 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 the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall 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.” He writes regarding these verses:
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. This promise, as well as all God’s dealings, causes the saved remnant to praise God for His inscrutable judgments and His ways past finding out. Makers of and worshipers of false gods will be ashamed, whereas Israel, saved by the Lord will never have occasion to be ashamed after the Second Coming of the Messiah.
When the Lord created the world, it was not as a chaos or in vain. He formed it to be inhabited by men, revealed Himself to men in clear, understandable language. He did not create chaotically, nor did He communicate chaotically. Rather, He revealed Himself in truth and righteousness as the absolute and supreme God.
He calls on the Gentiles, toting their idols and praying to powerless gods, to produce evidence that their idols can foretell the future as He has done. Only He can do this – and He is the only just God and a Savior.
He 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. (Believer’s Bible Commentary by William MacDonald; commentary on Isaiah 45 pp. 972-973)
It is not difficult to believe what 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 is 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 tongue shall swear allegiance.”
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.
Is it possible to conclude these verses apply only to believers?
God says clearly He will send out a Word. That Word will not return. 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.
Who 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. (CLV)
All spirits return to God, Who gave it. These verses teach all men will turn to God. All men will be reconciled to God. No less than God, Himself, said so.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53 is a love letter addressed to us from God. It is the letter that defines His intimate and all consuming love for His creation. This is a letter that foretells of the Son of God. It is a letter that describes what God’s love for His creation looks like.
His love for us is alive in us and we are alive in Him. Not just a few, but all. His life in us never dies and it comes with a love that never fails.
The worst man is included in the Son’s salvation. The worst man’s iniquities were put upon Christ.
The advocate for Universal Reconciliation sees the dramatic truth that the Savior died for the sins of all men over the course of all human existence. This is God’s message to us through His Word. Christ Jesus is the Gospel.
Every person falls far short of the glory of God. No person can do enough, in fact, no person can do anything sufficient to remove the pain of his iniquities. Only Christ Jesus. It is He Who said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” Only Christ Jesus could say, “It is finished.”
Scripture teaches that the “Lord has laid on Christ Jesus the iniquity of us all.” We believe God.
For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory.
All mankind will come to bow down before Me, says the Lord.
God caused these scriptures to be written. His chosen people were freed from captivity. There was a movement among the people to rebuild the Temple and start Temple worship anew. God warns them that their worship is empty and meaningless if it is done purely for show. It is an affront to Him when we are only going through the motions.
God tells us that it is His plan to restore Zion’s City to greatness. Jerusalem will be beaten down, but it will rise again to great stature. Believers are called to rejoice in this good news.
The City will prosper and grow. It will be evident that Zion’s good fortune is a blessing from God. Everyone will know that He is Sovereign over all.
God will exercise His judgment on those who are His enemies. His fire will come over them. He has seen the works of all men. He knows the thoughts of all men. “I know their works,” says the Lord. There will come a time in which He will say, “Enough.” He will then gather together all the nations. His glory will be known to them. “They shall see My glory.”
Christians look to God and say, “Amen.” Let it be precisely as it is written. God knows the heart of every man and the heart of every man is evil. He knows our works. There is none that can stand before Him fully righteous.
All nations will come together. His presence will command the attention of every person ever created. Every person will see His glory. That’s the gospel is it not? We will see God’s glory? He’ll see to it!
God’s enemies will be judged by God and their punishment will be meted out fairly. God’s punishment has a finite end and a glorious purpose. God says, “All mankind will come bow down before me.”
…UR IN LAMENTATIONS
For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.
To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.
These are words of a man who is caught up in the government of a nation. These words apply to nations. God purposely caused the suffering of Israel. God decreed Assyria and then Babylon to seize, enslave and oppress Israel. Every kind of of hardship was a yoke to the man and to the nation.
God even caused barriers to prayer between them and Himself. The man and the nation have fallen away from their first love and have taken on the lusts of the world around them. God leaves them to their folly.
This man or this nation then stops their lament and reaches out to God. The nation recognizes their arrogance and the people humble themselves. God, Who is love, then gathers His creation back to Himself. “He does not cast off forever.” His love is never ending and is unconditional.
God’s justice is not crushing. God does not approve of crushing prisoners and we are all prisoners of a fallen world. God’s justice is applied to all. God does not approve of any plan in which any of His creation is denied an audience with Himself. God’s justice will be exercised on every man. God does not approve of outside interference that is an obstacle to His justice being exercised. Every man will get a just hearing.
God’s justice is Divine. His justice is by way of His Sovereign will and that it is His will that all be saved. The most basic rendering of scripture is probably the best understanding of scripture. “God will not cast us off forever.” The doctrine of eternal conscious torment violates the plain meaning of His written Word. After all, eternal conscious torment requires the rebellious sinner be cast off from God forever in a fiery punishment.
The Gospel of Christ Jesus is that He died for the sins of the world.
…UR IN DANIEL
And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
These are verses that many in Christendom associate with the end of days. Daniel is given this vision by God and God uses Daniel to reveal His Kingdom’s future glory. There will be many nations that strive and many more that struggle. There will be conflicts among nations to possess the resources of the other. Power and pride will bring the world to violence.
In the end His is the Kingdom that brings all other kingdoms under His Dominion. “His Kingdom will be an everlasting Kingdom.” Our eventual place in the plan He has for all of us is “…all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
God shows us through His Word the kinds of governments our world will suffer before He establishes His Holy government. He also shows His purpose is realized. “All dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
God’s Sovereignty in our lives and in our world is already established. Christ Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. God’s Kingdom is all dominions united in Him.
… UR IN JOEL
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame. And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.
These are Old Testament promises that apply to the New Testament world. God is speaking through His prophet Joel. Israel will suffer. He lets His chosen nation know that He will always be with them. He will always hold them. He will end their oppression and He will end their shame.
God tells Joel to tell the people that He will “pour out My Spirit on all flesh….” No person will be exempted from this great display of His Sovereign grace, His limitless mercy, or His overwhelming love. His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.
Israel is who we are. As believers in Christ Jesus we have been grafted into the vine. The unproductive branches have been cut away. The fruit we become is His fruit. The sons and daughters of Israel, that is us, will experience His unmatched love; His unconditional love.
His Spirit will not be poured out on us only. His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.
Not only us, but He will pour out His Spirit on “…male and female servants in those days….” These people are not Israel, that is to say, they are not necessarily believers in Christ. These are people who are “the least of these.” These are people who serve Israel, that is these are people who serve us. They are captives.
The orthodox doctrine of eternal conscious torment discounts that “all flesh” is truly “all flesh.” John MacArthur is a gifted preacher. He is a prolific writer and is an expositor of God’s Holy Word. Dr. MacArthur is a leading authority in orthodox traditionalist circles. Dr. MacArthur says this about these scriptures in general and the book of Joel specifically:
…but clearly Joel is referring to the final terrible Day of the Lord. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was not a fulfillment, but a preview and sample of the Spirit’s power and work to be released fully and finally in the Messiah’s kingdom after the Day of the Lord.
Dr. MacArthur teaches “…the pouring of God’s Spirit onto all flesh….” is really a pouring of judgment on all flesh.
These scriptures mean God “…will pour out His Spirit on all flesh.” There is no person who will be untouched by God’s Holy Spirit. God will become “…all in all.”
…UR IN MICAH
In that day, declares the LORD, I will assemble the lame and gather those who have been driven away and those whom I have afflicted; and the lame I will make the remnant, and those who were cast off, a strong nation; and the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth and forevermore.
Micah has already offered God’s Word regarding God’s wrath against Israel and Judah. Wealthy oppressors are doomed and Micah’s prophecy points to Divine restoration. Micah has taken aim at oppressive rulers and false teachers. Micah warns and then shows the world the promise God has made.
In these verses Micah is pointing to God’s glory and a Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus. The Word of God will be compelling. All nations will gather in Zion to hear Him. Jerusalem will be a place of honor among all the people.
Micah exposes idolatry as evil and offensive to God. All idols will be forgotten in Christ’s reign. He “…will reign over them in Mount Zion.”
We all long for the Millennial reign. We want to see Christ’s return. All Christians look forward to the Day of the Lord. We see in Micah’s writing even those whom God created with afflictions or whom He burdened with disability will be a “strong nation.” People He “cast out” or were “driven away” He restores and makes a great nation.
God is love and His Holy Word is evidence of that.
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea. You will show faithfulness to Jacob and steadfast love to Abraham, as you have sworn to our fathers from the days of old.
This is Israel’s confession. They are responsible. They fell away from their first love and the consequences were dire. But, now the heart of His people is turning back to Him.
The world around Israel is harsh and demanding. It is a world of pain and imprisonment. Theirs is a life of chaos and tribulation. Even so, Israel sees the glory of their Savior and turns to Him. Israel repents.
It is the Lord Who makes the remnant. Earlier in Micah 4 God makes it clear that He makes the remnant of all those He afflicted. He heals them and He lifts them up.
God’s anger is not eternal. That is what is being told to us here. “He does not retain His anger forever….” Give glory to God for the clear teaching and intent of His Holy Word. He is not angry into eternity.
He says, “He delights in His steadfast love.” His love overwhelms any anger He may hold. He is not angry forever because He’d rather love us into Himself. Not only does His anger fade away He will not hold repetitive sins against us. His love is steadfast and by His Word we know He prefers to glory in His love. The sins we commit are abolished from His memory. He blots them out. He forgets them. He buries them under His feet so far as into the deepest sea.
God’s love is affirmed in these verses. There is not a sin that God will not remove, put under His feet and bury in the deepest sea. It’s His promise fulfilled. It’s the promise He gave to Abraham.
…UR IN HABAKKUK
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
The Lord instructs Habakkuk to hear the prophecy and to record it in plain language. God wants us all to understand the degree of His authority.
Judah is in captivity. The Babylonians were particularly harsh to the people of God who were enslaved. God speaks about the arrogance of the oppressive ruler. Judah had brought this on themselves. They had again fallen away from their first love. They forgot Him and remembered themselves. They left worshiping Him to worship false gods Baal and Ashtaroth.
It is God Who establishes kingdoms and governments. It is God Who set the Babylonians over Judah. God gave power and authority over Judah and gave over Israel to Assyrian, Babylonian, Chaldean and Greek kings. God’s purpose is to discipline His children.
The power and authority used by the cruel rulers will be taken from them by God. The people persecuted will hold the power and authority and use it against the oppressor. All the spoils taken by the cruel ruler will become the spoils of those he oppressed.
God, however, is going to set the world straight. His glory will be known to the whole world. Nothing will escape its notice. This is not an experience only, but “…the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.”
Imagine the magnitude of His mercy and of His grace because we truly know Him in His glory. Not just a few, but “the earth will be filled…” with that knowledge.
God’s creation restored to Him. All have knowledge of His glory. His promise is fulfilled. It is true; God is love. That is the Gospel.
… UR IN ZEPHANIAH
The Lord will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, every one from his own place.
Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation, all My burning anger; for all the earth will be devoured by the fire of My zeal. For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, that all of them may call on the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.
My Life Application Study Bible (p.1893, NIV) describes the “Blueprint” and underlying message of Zephaniah’s prophesy.
Zephaniah warned the people of Judah that if they refused to repent, the entire nation, including the beloved city of Jerusalem, would be lost. The people knew that God would eventually bless them, but Zephaniah made it clear that there would be judgment first, then blessing. This judgment would not be merely punishment for sin, but also a process of purifying the people. Though we live in a fallen world surrounded by evil, we can hope in the perfect kingdom of God to come and we can allow any punishment that touches us now to purify us from sin.
I appreciate what the learned men are trying to say. This “Blueprint” leans into Universal Reconciliation and I do not think they intend to. Bible scholars who prepared this statement believe the people of Judah knew they “would eventually” be blessed. It’s as if their blessing is an expected, yet unmerited favor. The people of Judah have to do nothing, but wait. God will eventually bless Judah.
Zephaniah’s prophecy warns the people of Judah that before the blessing from God there must be punishment from God. The punishment rendered by God according to the authors of this commentary has a two-fold purpose. The first to satisfy the need to atone for sins. The second, to burnish, purify, strengthen…discipline the people of Judah.
Is this two part formula still a part of God’s overall plan? As “Believers” in Christ Jesus we are confident of the first step. God will indeed discipline us, after all the Father disciplines those He loves.
Does that mean, though, that all the others; the “Not Believers” do not patiently wait for the expected, but unmerited favor in the same manner as the apostate nation of Judah? Can we say the “Not Believers” are not afforded this opportunity to be blessed? I do not think we can from these scriptures.
These scriptures reveal God as loving and just. He will gather all the nations. All the kingdoms will come together at His command. All will bow to Him and worship Him.
In the same way the fire purifies the “Believers” it will purify even the “Not Believers.” God does not offer a distinction here that the whole world does not mean the whole world. God is telling us that His authority and His sovereignty cannot be supplanted. Satan cannot defeat Christ, in fact, Satan has already been defeated. Satan cannot usurp God’s authority.
All of them will call on the Name of the Lord!
…UR IN HAGGAI
For thus says the Lord of hosts, “Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. And I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of the nations; and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord of hosts. “The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,” declares the Lord of hosts. “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,” says the Lord of hosts, “and in this place I shall give peace,” declares the Lord of hosts.
These are prophetic words of chastising. Haggai is speaking as a prophet of God and extolling the Jews to get their priorities straight. They had been released from captivity and had been in Jerusalem for about 15 years. Their primary command from God was to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. But, the people were more motivated to prepare homes for themselves.
God is assuring His people that He is Sovereign over all nations. All nations will gladly gather all their wealth and place it into the Hands of God Almighty. God will fill the new Temple with unimaginable glory. The glory in this Temple will be greater than the glory that filled the first.
There is not a distinction given in this prophecy to any person being excluded from witnessing God’s glory. There is affirmation that all persons will know true peace.
God says, “…In this place I shall give peace.” He shakes the world. He calls the nations and kingdoms together and in His glory He gives Divine peace. That is a Gospel message that resonates in the world.
..UR IN ZECHARIAH
Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst, declares the Lord. And many nations will join themselves to the Lord in that day and will become My people. Then I will dwell in your midst, and you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me to you.
Zechariah is a prophet of God. He is an encouraging force for God’s chosen nation and pushes them to complete the building of the Temple.
God gives Zechariah visions of what will soon take place. Israel’s enemies will be defeated. God will draw them to Himself and they will know He is Lord of all. Zechariah preaches for clean living worthy of God. He pushes the people to maintain purity.
These verses affirm God’s Sovereignty and Power. “Many nations will join themselves to the Lord.” This is not an alliance of nations. These are nations allying with Him. There will be many nations that will see God’s glory and make a determined return to Him.
His grace, His mercy is new everyday. Which nation will not turn from the world and to God? There is not a power greater than God. There is not a glory greater than God. There is not a love greater than God. There is not a person unaffected by His power, glory and love.
It is God’s will that all be saved. He works everything out according to His Divine purpose and counsel. That is a Gospel message that rings truer and is the blessed hope.
And He will speak peace to the nations; and His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.
These are beautiful verses of prophecy. Zechariah preaches the Word given to Him by God. He preaches about a King of a different kind. He proclaims God’s Word and describes the King that comes into Jerusalem on the back of a colt.
The King “will speak peace to the nations.” What a day to come! What a day that is already come. He speaks peace into the hearts of those who believe. He is working peace in His Bride today. There will come a time when “His dominion will be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
This is not a dominion of a few nations, but a dominion of every nation “from sea to sea.” His Dominion will be absolute. It is absolute.
He is the River. He is Living Water. He is the giver of life. He is Jesus, God saves, and His Water will flow “…to the ends of the earth.” No one will turn away from Him. He is love. He is mercy. He is God.
…UR IN MALACHI
For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the Lord of hosts.
Malachi is reaching out to men in the priesthood. Matthew Henry provides this insight, “The prophet is here, by a special commission, calling the priests to account, though they were themselves appointed judges, to call the people to an account. Let the rulers in the house of God know that there is one above them, who will reckon with them for their mal-administrations. Thus saith the Lord of hosts to you, O priests!
The Priests were taking their position and authority for granted. They had an obligation to teach the people of Israel, but they rose in stature. They did not pay proper respect to God’s Word. They used His Word and their commission as Priest to advance themselves.
God speaks through Malachi to the Priests. He chastises them for their failures to worship Him. God points out the love these men have for themselves. He also tells them they are unable to save themselves much less save those under their charge.
The hearts of the Priests were involved in their own gain. They were disrespectful of God. It was He Who appointed them to be Priests and Judges of the people.
It is God Who sets the matter straight. There is no place in the world where the Name of the Lord will not be known. There is no place in the world where the Name of the Lord will not be revered. There is no place in the world where an unrepentant rebel can flee and avoid God’s reach.
“For My Name will be great among the nations,” says God.
These verses show the beauty of God’s unending and immeasurable capacity to love even the most wicked. He chose Israel as His favored nation not because they were great, but because they were small. He did not choose Edom, Esau’s family, and those people were swallowed up in conquest. God did not favor Esau, but He did favor Jacob.
Our Father reaches down to the least and makes them great. He humbles the great and subdues evil. He protects His people from harm. Edom is no more, but Israel is alive.
To where did all the peoples of Edom go in death? Their bodies went into the grave and their spirits returned to God Who gave them. That’s Gospel!
Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us?
Malachi is led to speak these heaven sent words. The Levite priests lost their first love and were pursuing worldly passions. They were using their authority to make rules for themselves that were against the Word of God. There was marrying and divorcing. The Levites were taking foreign brides.
Malachi is warning them of a punishment to come and that the people must turn away from the ways of the world.
God is the Father and Creator of all. His love for us is part of His creative purpose. He loves us before we love Him. The beauty and the peace in these words leads us to confidence that the Lord’s will is being done and that He wills all to be saved.
What are we to conclude from these scriptural references from the Old Testament? Can we say with confidence or surety that there is a place of eternal torment? Can we say that God will sentence any person to that place?
It is impossible to conclude God will do any less than reconcile all that He has created to Himself. He says so in theses verses from the OT.