"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out [i.e., the judgment or testing of this world is now about to begin—the testing which shall result in casting out the present prince, Satan, who now dominates the world and who sways fallen men by ignorance, superstition, fear, etc.]. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL unto me."—John 12:31,32.
It seems strange that so simple a statement as the above can be differently understood by God's children. Our Calvinistic friends see in the word all no more than the elect, and in the word draw they see nothing but force or compulsion. Our Universalist friends get the all right, but hold the same erroneous view of the word draw.
Our Arminian friends, on the contrary, though they get the correct view of the word draw, namely, to constrain, or to exert an influence upon, but not a compulsory influence, nevertheless fail to get the true sense because they do not allow the true meaning to the word all. They see that all are not drawn now, and know nothing of the greater work of constraining love, in the Millennial age.
When, however, the passage is examined by those who have clear views of God's great plan of the ages, all is harmony, and no necessity is found for either belittling or exaggerating the meaning of such simple words as all, draw and unto. (The Greek word here rendered unto is pros, signifying toward.)
The passage predicts that though our Lord's death by crucifixion (verse 33) might seem like Satan's victory, it would really be the beginning of his overthrow, who for so long had held humanity as blinded slaves in sin, superstition and ignorance. While it looked like the defeat of the Son of man, it really was not; it led to his exaltation and power, whereby he should in God's due time free men from bondage to sin and death, and grant to all an opportunity of life—to draw all away from error and from love of sin and the service of Satan, to himself, and to obedience to him as the great ruler whom God has appointed. As the Prophet, Priest [R1227 : page 1] and King appointed of God to destroy sin and to restore to perfection all who will yield themselves to the drawing influence of the truth, he shall be exalted in his Millennial kingdom. Many who should know do not know that our Lord has not yet begun this work of drawing men unto himself. Thus far he has been receiving such only as are drawn to him by the Father's promises through the prophets, etc. His work of drawing will not begin until the Millennial kingdom has been established—not until the Father's promises have drawn out from the world a little flock to be the bride, the Lamb's wife.
All of God's dealings with his intelligent creatures are on this same principle of drawing, persuading and constraining, and not of compulsion. During the Gospel age the Father himself is the one who draws or persuades to righteousness by his truth. Our Lord Jesus attributes to him all the drawing of the present time, saying, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." The Father's work is to draw or call, and to select from among the called the "little flock" whom he shall accept with and under Jesus Christ to be partakers of the divine nature, to constitute his kingdom, and to bless and draw all the families of the earth, during the Millennium.
This, as the Father's part of the work, is beautifully illustrated in the type of the calling of Rebecca to be the wife of Isaac. Abraham typified the Heavenly Father, Isaac, the Lord Jesus, and Rebecca, the Church, the Lamb's wife. Not Isaac, but Abraham, called Rebecca to be Isaac's joint-heir. As Abraham sent Eliezer as his honored representative and servant with instructions how to select the proper person, and to draw or influence her to come with him to be Isaac's wife, so God has sent forth his Spirit—the spirit of his truth and the power of his truth—to call or draw, not all, but merely a desired class—such as gladly receive the messenger and willingly forsake their father's house (the human family), to become members of the divine family.
Abraham did not send his servant to call or draw any maiden whom he should meet, but, on the contrary, charged him strictly that he should not fetch one of the daughters of the Canaanites, but one from among those already related to him. So God does not call or draw sinners (represented by the Canaanites, to whom Eliezer was not to go,) to this high position of joint-heirship with Christ, but only such as are already justified, in harmony with God—friends of God.
The servant, in representing his mission and calling the bride, always spoke in the name of Abraham and as Abraham's servant, and not as Isaac's servant, though as a matter of fact Isaac was being served too, because Abraham's service and instructions included Isaac's interest. So the spirit of truth speaks to us who are now being drawn. We are told that we are called of God (Rom. 8:28,29); begotten of God (1 Pet. 1:3); adopted by God into his family by the spirit of adoption sent of God (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5,6); we are to come unto, and find access to, the Father (Rom. 5:2; Eph. 2:18; 3:12); and we are finally to be resurrected by the Father (1 Cor. 6:14). Thus the Father is credited with doing all the drawing of the Church, the bride, during this age, although our Lord Jesus and all the faithful of God have been his servants, ambassadors and representatives, represented also in the person of Eliezer, doing the calling and drawing in the Father's name.
This, then, the Father's method of drawing, is a proper sample of the drawing which our Lord Jesus will do when he shall, as promised, draw all men unto him. (The word draw in both cases is from the same Greek word helkuo. John 6:44 and 12:32.) Using the Father's work as an illustration of Christ's work, we know that there will be no coercion, no compulsion; that it will be by the cords of the truth that all will be drawn; and that those who would resist the spirit of the truth, when the Lord and all his gracious provisions are fully known, will be privileged to do so, none being drawn against their wills.
As the Father drew the Bride by the special promise of the heavenly estate, and will bestow upon her the divine nature in accordance with that agreement, so the conditions and promises by which our Lord Jesus will draw all are clearly defined. The promise which he will hold out will not be the same that the Father has held out to us—the "high calling" or "heavenly calling"—but an earthly calling. A calling and drawing to the restitution of all things lost in Adam will be the prize which he will set before all mankind, and for which all will be invited to so run as to obtain it.
The promises of full restitution of life—including perfect health and strength—and of all the honor and rulership of earth originally given to Adam will be parts of the drawing power which shall influence every man. Yet then, as now under the Father's drawing, there will be no compulsion; and notwithstanding the drawing of those promises, the wills of men will be free to choose between humility and pride, between God's law of love and Satan's law of selfishness, between good and evil.
If all other conditions were to be the same then as now, we might well reason that few would be drawn by the Redeemer, as only a "little flock" have been drawn by the Father. But we have already seen that in many respects the difference between now and then will be great. Satan will be bound; his deceptions, political, financial and theological, will no longer mislead those really seeking the truth and the right way. The way of holiness will then be a highway—a broad, open, public thoroughfare, upon which there will be no danger of pitfalls and snares, and whereon no ravenous beasts (false systems and false doctrines) shall go to torment with fear or to turn back the seekers of perfection of holiness.—See Isa. 35:8-10.
Not only will the way be so much more favorable than the narrow, thorny way open during the present age, by which alone the heavenly calling can be reached by those who have been called and drawn of the Father, but the call and drawing will be more attractive to mankind. It will be a drawing in perfect harmony with all that is good of human nature in mankind, whereas the call and drawing of this present age is in many respects (when rightly understood) the very reverse. The present call to the Church is to leave the human, earthly, all the visible delights and experienced pleasures, to seek after such as can only be seen by faith and grasped by hope. How much more enticing will be the call to "build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them, and long enjoy the work of their hands."—Isa. 65:21,22.
Even now, while the saints are called to the heavenly things, and exhorted to lift their minds from earthly hopes and ambitions, and to place them upon the heavenly things not seen as yet, how difficult all find it to do so at all times. How apt are earthly plans and ambitions to intrude and carry us captive to earthly things for a time. How difficult it seems for the very large majority of God's children to lift their affections and place all of them upon the Kingdom promised them, but seen only by faith—to live for that Kingdom, to spend all of time and influence (aside from the necessities of the present) in preaching that unseen Kingdom, not believed in except by the few.
On the contrary, do we not see that most of God's people grasp earthly reforms and seek to push them, instead of prosecuting the work for the promised but deferred and unseen Kingdom? Among these earthly ambitions are Temperance reforms, Political reforms, Financial reforms and Social reforms. All of these, and many more, are good and pleasing [R1227 : page 2] to God and will be regularly the order of the day under Christ's Millennial Kingdom. These are all earthly and tend toward earthly restitution, and for mankind in general they are the proper thing, and manifest the proper aspirations and ambitions. We are not objecting to such reforms, but while commending them, wish to have all see how much more natural it is to fall in with such works of restitution than with the one and only thing that the consecrated believers are now called to give their attention to—"Go thou and preach the Kingdom of God."—Luke 9:60.
Thus will the Son of man, because lifted up, (because he became man's ransom-price, and by virtue of his consequent exaltation to be man's King and Restorer,) draw all unto him, into harmony with him and the laws of righteousness. And as a result of the light then shed abroad and the knowledge of the truth then caused to fill the earth, and the drawing power of that light and truth, in connection with the promises and blessings of restitution, many, we hope and believe, will choose life by choosing to obey the New Covenant—the law of the spirit of life in Christ. But whether the vast majority will so choose and obtain life everlasting for the ages of glory and joy and peace beyond the Millennium, God only knows, and his Word makes no declaration on the subject, except what may be inferentially drawn from the only parable of our Lord which illustrates that Millennial age and the results at its close. (Matt. 25:31-46.) The inference which it would give is that a majority will obtain everlasting life, as sheep are more numerous than goats.