In presenting the Scripture proofs that Christ died for all, and that all being thus redeemed, the restitution of all is thus assured, some of our readers have met with opponents who claimed that in these cases the word ALL is not to be understood as signifying every member of the human family, but merely all believers.
Those who love and hold closely to their hearts the Eternal Torment theory, seem to try in every way to belittle the goodness of God and the value of the ransom which he provided in Jesus, to the measure of their own depraved ideas. They shut their own eyes, and try to blind others from seeing the height and depth, the length and breadth, of the love and plan of God for his creatures. Would that they could hear the Lord's reproof, "My thoughts are not your thoughts: neither are your ways [methods] my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isa. 55:9.
What are the facts? The word all in the English language and its equivalent pas in the Greek may be used either to refer to all mankind, or all of a certain specified class; for instance, all the blind, all believers, etc. Hence to merely use the word all would not be definite enough: the class whether large or small to which all is applied must be judged from the other words of the sentence. For instance, when we read, "They did ALL eat and were filled (Matt. 14:20), the sentence clearly indicates that not all the world of mankind is meant, but ALL of the class mentioned. Again, "All that heard him were astonished" (Luke 2:47); here also the all is limited to the class specified, but means ALL of that class. When we read, "My Father ...is greater than all" (John 10:25) the all includes creatures on every plane of being all men and angels, etc.
"Death passed upon all men. (Rom. 5:12.) By one man's offence death reigned; and "Therefore, as by the offense of one sentence came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the act of one righteous one, sentence passed upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. 5:18.
Who will deny that the death sentence passed, and is being executed upon all the human race—every descendant of Adam? Who can deny the statement of the Apostle here that it was through or because of Adam's disobedience? Who that has a pure honest heart can deny then the force of the final argument of the Apostle that even so ALL mankind were justified or cleared from that Adamic penalty or sentence, and granted a right to life again, by the obedient act of the righteous one whom God "set forth to be a propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world!" (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2.) The same class is referred to by the words translated ALL in both instances. It means ALL as truly and fully in one case as in the other. The same reasoning applies to the use of the same word in 1 Cor. 15:22: "As in [by, through or on account of] Adam all die, EVEN so in [by, through or on account of] Christ shall all be made alive."
The same word all occurs three times in 1 Cor. 15:28; also 1 Tim. 2:4,6, and 4:10; and in Heb. 1:6 and 2:8; and Rev. 15:4 (which see), besides about five hundred other places. The same Greek word is translated every more than one hundred times, of which see Eph. 1:21; Phil. 2:9; Rev. 5:13, and Col. 1:15.
Some have objected to this, that all—every one—did not pass under the sentence of death through Adam, and refer us to Enoch and Elijah, and those who will be restored to perfection during the Millennial age without having entered the tomb; these, say they, are exceptions to the all who were sentenced in Adam, and it would be appropriate to think of the all justified by Christ's death as likewise meaning not all, but some.
We reply: It should not be forgotten that death takes hold of us before we gasp our last breath; that death swallows up our race gradually; that the dying process may be more slow in some than in others, but is nevertheless progressing; and all are under or in death since the moment the penalty or curse was pronounced and Adam driven from Eden. With Adam the dying process lasted 930 years; but during all that time he was in or under death, both as a sentence and as a fact. Strictly speaking, all are in death—have the dying process operating in them from the moment of birth, though we are accustomed to apply the word dead only to those who are totally dead; speaking of those who yet have a spark of life, as though they were really and fully alive.
Death thus considered as beginning when the dying process began, has been upon all mankind since sentence came upon all through Adam. It was from this standpoint that Jesus spoke of death when he said: "Let the dead bury their dead."—(Matt. 8:22.) Hence Enoch and Elijah were in death, under its penalty, as all others of Adam's sons, from the moment of birth. Where God took them, or why, we are not informed; but that they did not go into the heaven from which Jesus came, and to which he returned, is evident from John 3:13; and it is also evident that they were not made perfect, or delivered completely from death, because the ransom had not yet been paid; and without that sacrifice there could be no actual remission of sins (at most only typical remission through typical sin-offerings), and consequently no actual release from the original death sentence. The same is proved by Heb. 9:22,23, and 11:40, and 1 Cor. 15:20-22.
Consider now, those of the nations not totally dead when restitution times begin. In the light of the foregoing it will be seen that these, with all Adam's children, are in and under death anyhow; even though they be delivered out of it, without going into the great prison house, the grave. Jesus delivers all; ALL are mentioned as "prisoners," some in the prison, and some prisoners in bondage, "captives" not yet barred in. He will both open prison doors and set at liberty the captives.—(Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18.) Neither have the liberty so long as they are under the bondage of corruption (decay and death), hence the deliverance of the prisoners in the tomb, and the captives not entombed, to perfect life, are equally the work of the Restorer, and both are parts of His great work of swallowing up Adamic death in victory; thus delivering the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption into a condition of incorruption, or life—the liberty of sons of God.—Rom. 8:21,22.
Thus the alls of the Scripture do support ably, the doctrine that as through Adam all die, even so through Christ shall all be justified again to the life lost. Only the desire to overthrow this grand truth, and to support a narrow theory, could lead to a contrary suggestion, which will melt away as the sunlight of God's plan shines forth in greater strength.