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To Hell in a Hand Basket

Something has always bothered me as I read the Old Testament. God


creates the whole world. As man begins to multiply we only hear
about one bloodline. By the time Abraham establishes his place in
God's plan, it seems that God pretty much forgets about the rest of
the world. The only mention of other nations is usually when they are
called enemies. And sometimes, the Lord even gave the word to
destroy them completely - men, women, infants, and animals. What
violence! No person with a conscious is not at least a little bit
disturbed by this Old Testament violence - which was sometimes even
sanctioned by Jehovah.

For me, I always wondered about the eternal fate of those outside the
tiny nation of Israel. Would God choose one nation for salvation while
damning the rest to eternal hell? Is this fair? No one can choose the
place, time, or manner of their birth. The people outside of Israel were
just people, with the same needs, desires, and struggles as those of
the chosen people. And the Israelites were never known for their great
missionary zeal. Of course, after Moses, Judaism would be a hard sell -
"Become one of us and you have to learn and follow over six hundred
laws." "That's great. And what if I break one of the laws?" "You get
stoned to death." "No thanks. I think I'll just stick with Buddha"

So what about the rest of the world? Are they all going to hell in a
hand basket? Or does God have a plan for them too? Yes, indeed. God
choose Israel to bring the message of salvation to the world, not so
only they could be saved. In the same way, the church is God's
instrument to announce salvation to the world - so all the world might
be saved. Let's have a look at what the Bible says about the whole
world.

so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is
God and that there is no other. (Gen 8:60)

I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. (Gen. 12:3)

through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because


you have obeyed me. (Gen. 22:18)

The promise of blessing for all nations appears early in the scriptures.

.....all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you,
as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have
built bears your Name. (1Kings 8:43)
The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.
He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples
with justice. (Ps. 9:7-8)

Judgment may be harsh, but the Lord will always judge in


righteousness.

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and
all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for
dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. All the
rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust
will kneel before him - those who cannot keep themselves alive. (Ps.
22:27-30)

Salvation is for all nations.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere
him. (Ps. 33:8)

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon
us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all
nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples
praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the
peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples
praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land
will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us,
and all the ends of the earth will fear him. (Ps. 67)

How many times have we see "all" so far?

The LORD will strike Egypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal
them. They will turn to the LORD, and he will respond to their pleas
and heal them. (Is. 19:22)
Remember that the Egyptians were enemies of God's people, yet here
we see them being healed.

On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food
for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine - the best of meats and the
finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that
enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; On this
mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the
sheet that covers all nations; (Is. 25:6-8)

My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for
you. When your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the
world learn righteousness. (Is. 26:9)

Here we see the purpose of the Lord's judgments - the people will
learn righteousness.

From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all
mankind will come and bow down before me," says the LORD. (Is.
66:23)

For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. (Lam. 3:31)

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people." (Lk. 2:10)

The arrival of Jesus was and still is great news for all people.

And all mankind will see God's salvation. (Lk 3:6)

The Son of man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save
them. (Lk. 9:56)

Jesus said this right after he and his disciples had been rejected. The
disciples wanted to call fire down from heaven to destroy them, but
Jesus rebuked them.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but
to save the world through him. (Jn. 3:17)

Jesus did not come to offer salvation, he came to bring salvation to all.
But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself
(Jn.12:32)

He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore
everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts
3:21)

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on
earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:10-11)

For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Cor.
15:22)

The same all that die in Adam is the same all that will be made alive.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through
him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or
things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the
cross. (Col. 1:19-20)

The above is my personal favorite. He reconciled all things, not just


some things.

For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the
testimony given in its proper time. (1 Tim. 2:5-6)

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this
we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who
is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. (1 Tim
4:9-10)

"Especially" does not mean "exclusively".

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
(Titus 2:11)

Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you
alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your
righteous acts have been revealed. (Rev. 15:4)

I could easily list over a hundred more. The promises of God are
indeed for the whole the world, not just a tiny remnant. It's
unfortunate that we have let the traditional doctrine of eternal hell for
most of humanity turn the grandest promises of scripture into empty
sentiments. We know that the world will be judged. In fact, nations will
be judged (Matt. 25:32), cities will be judged (Matt 10:15), individuals
will be judged (Heb. 9:27), the church will be judged (1 Pet. 4:17),
even angels will be judged (1 Cor. 6:3). But judgment does not
preclude salvation. Judgment is a necessary part of salvation. Without
judgment, how would the people learn righteousness (Is. 26:9)?

However and whenever judgment takes place, the promises of God


are irrevocable. When we read, "All nations will come and worship
before you..." then it we ought to believe it and celebrate the great
victory that lies ahead for the whole world.