John 12:32 "I will...draw ALL MEN unto me."
Another verse that the "I chose of my own free will to believe the gospel" promoters bring up in a misunderstood and misapplied attempt to prop up their false "free will" Fantasy is John 12:32.
They tell us, "See, Jesus said that He would draw ALL MEN unto Himself. So this means that everybody has a chance to be saved and the reason many are not is because they chose of their own free will not to believe."
But, let's take a closer look at the context in which the Lord Jesus said these words and compare this verse with other things our Lord said here recorded in the gospel of John.
The Bible and correct doctrine CANNOT contradict itself. If my interpretation or understanding of a passage is in direct conflict with other clear Scripture, then my understanding is wrong; not the King James Bible.
The CONTEXT of John 12:32 is John 12:20-31! So, what happens here in this chapter that gives rise to Jesus's statement that He would draw ALL MEN unto Him? It's right here.
20 AND THERE WERE CERTAIN GREEKS AMONG THEM THAT CAME UP TO WORSHIP AT THE FEAST:
21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, SIR, WE WOULD SEE JESUS.
22 Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
23 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
The context is that certain GREEKS, who obviously were not Jews, came to feast and wanted to see Jesus. And it is in THIS context that the Lord Jesus begins to speak more about His death and the fruit that would come of it.
It is in this context that He then says: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." John 12:32-33.
IF the "free will" - "God wants everybody to be saved" view is correct, and by "all men" Jesus meant that He would draw "Every individual without exception" to Himself hoping that they would make the right free will choice to believe on Him, then why do the next few verses in this same chapter tell us that God Himself blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts so that they COULD NOT BELIEVE?
Again, the Arminian, "I chose of my own free will to believe" side creates a direct contradiction with other Scriptures. Does God draw every individual without exception to Himself and then at the same time blinds their eyes and hardens their hearts so that they CANNOT believe?!!! And they think "the Calvinist god" is a monster! Their god is a sadist.
The free will "explanation" of John 12:32 makes NO sense and ends up creating contradictions. If "all men without exception" is your understanding, then what about all those millions that were already in hell when Jesus said these words? And it would also contradict Jesus' statement in John 6:44 where He says: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me DRAW him; and I will raise him up at the last day."
The word "draw" (helkuo) means to draw to oneself, in spite of the natural resistance of the thing being drawn, whether it be a net full of fish or a sword, or men. See John 6:44; 12:32; 18:10 "Peter having a sword DREW it", 21:6 "they were not able to DRAW it (the net) for the multitude of fishes."; 21:11 "DREW the net to land" and Acts 16:19 "they caught Paul and Silas, and DREW them into the marketplace unto the rulers." It does NOT mean "to lead" or "to enable" as I have heard some free willers try to tell us.
Those that the Father draws come to Christ and will be raised up at the last day. That is what the TEXT says. If the free willers insist that "all men" are drawn (meaning every individual without exception), then to be consistent he would also have to say that every individual will also be raised up at the last day.
The "free will fantasy" forces those who hold this view to read all kinds of conditions into the text in order to promote their false theology.
We who believe in sovereign grace can just take the verse AS IT STANDS and don't have to ADD anything to it. We BELIEVE what it says.
Look for a moment at three other verses from the mouth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ recorded here in this same gospel of John. Remember, Scripture does not contradict other Scripture when properly understood. All three statements are found in John chapter six.
In John 6:37 we read Jesus say: "ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVES ME SHALL COME to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." How many will come to Jesus? ALL that the Father gives Him. ALL of them. No exceptions.
John 6:44 "No man CAN COME to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
If the Father draws a man to come to the Son, then he WILL be raised up at the last day. No exceptions. ALL that the Father gives the Son WILL come.
John 6:65 "And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME, EXCEPT IT WERE GIVEN UNTO HIM OF MY FATHER."
So, when we put these clear sayings of our Lord Jesus Christ that - ALL the Father gives, WILL come; You cannot come unless the Father draws you, and those that DO come will in no wise be cast out - together with John 12:32 "I will draw ALL MEN unto me", the ONLY meaning that does not create a direct contradiction and a monster god is the Calvinistic view that the phrase "all men" refers to what we have been saying all along.
It means all without distinction of nationality or gender or social standing, and NOT "every individual without exception".
John Calvin - “I will draw all men to myself. The word all, which he employs, must be understood to refer to the children of God, who belong to his flock. Yet I agree with Chrysostom, who says that Christ used the universal term, all, because the Church was to be gathered equally FROM AMONG GENTILES AND JEWS, according to that saying, There shall be one shepherd, and one sheepfold, John 10:16.”
John Gill - “I will draw all men unto me” - it designs some of all sorts of men, of every state, condition, age, sex, and nation, GENTILES AS WELL AS JEWS, and with the context, and the occasion of the words, which was THE DESIRE OF THE GREEKS, that were come to the feast, to see Jesus; and which was a specimen of the large numbers of them, that should be drawn to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, after his death”
Matthew Henry - “I will draw all men unto me” - The great design of our Lord Jesus, which was to draw all men to him, NOT THE JEWS ONLY, who had been long in a profession a people near to God, BUT THE GENTILES ALSO, who had been afar off for he was to be the desire of all nations (Haggai 2:7) and to him must the gathering of the people be.”
Peter Pett’s Commentary - “‘Will draw all men to myself’. MEN OF EVERY TYPE AND RACE will be drawn to Him through the cross. it is therefore apparent that ‘all men’ here must indicate ALL TYPES AND RACES (compare Acts 2:17) This is thus the effectual drawing power of the Father (compare John 6:44 - “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; andI will raise him up at the last day.”
Adam Clarke (A free willer) - “I will draw all men unto me - After I shall have died and risen again, by the preaching of my word and the influence of my Spirit, I shall attract and illuminate BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES. It was one of the peculiar characteristics of the Messiah, that unto him should the gathering of the people be, Genesis 49:10 “unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” And probably our Lord refers to the prophecy, Isaiah 11:10 which peculiarly belonged to the Gentiles: “There shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an Ensign of the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.”
John Wesley (another "free willer") - “ I will draw all men - GENTILES AS WELL AS JEWS.”
Geneva Bible Study Notes - “Chrysostom and Theophylact say that this word "all" refers to ALL NATIONS; THAT IS, NOT ONLY TO THE JEWS."
The King James Bible is God’s infallible Book, and the doctrine of God’s election of His people before the foundation of the world unto salvation is the truth of Scripture.
Notes From The Internet -
Does "all men" mean "all men without exception?"
Bible Illiterate Jeff T., who is a rabid “free willer” and is perfectly willing to twist the Scriptures to try to make them say what he wants them to say so he can prop up his “will of the flesh” brand of Christianity, tell us: “All Men Always means All Men.”
But is he right? Of course not. “all men” frequently means all kinds of men without distinction of nationality, but not all men without exception.
Here are a few examples -
Now comparing scripture with scripture, what does "all men" mean? I believe it means all men without distinction of national heritage, social standing, wealth or intellect. It does not mean all men without exception.
In the Old Testament God chose only the nation of Israel to be his people. "For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." Deut. 14:2.
But now the Messiah has come and he is to be the Saviour of his people which are taken out out every nation, tribe, kindred and tongue. "God did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name." Acts 15:14.
Even in the Old Testament times a Gentile could come to Israel and learn of the true God. Notice carefully the expression used in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the temple in I Kings 8:41-43: "Moreover concerning A STRANGER, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when HE shall come and pray toward this house; Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that THE STRANGER calleth to thee for; that ALL PEOPLE of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people of Israel."
Notice that this prayer refers to one Gentile who comes to pray to the true God. "All people of the earth" therefore does not mean every individual but all men without distinction of nationality, be they a Jew or a Gentile.
Again in Isaiah 56: 6, 7 it says: "Also the sons of the stranger (Gentiles) that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD...Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer...for mine house shall be called an house of prayer FOR ALL PEOPLE."
Obviously this does not mean every individual without exception will join himself to the LORD, but all without distinction of nationality.
When the apostle Paul relates his conversion experience we can see how this same thought is expressed. In Acts 9:15 the Lord tells Ananias concerning Paul: "But the Lord said, Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel."
Yet in Acts 22:14, 15 Paul himself tells us that Ananias came to him: "And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto ALL MEN of what thou hast seen and heard."
Do you see it? All men = the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel. All men without distinction of nationality or social standing. Obviously Paul did not speak to Noah's sons, the Cherokee Indians, Genghis Khan or Bill Gates.
Luke 2:29-32 - At the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the devout Simeon came by the Spirit into the temple, took up the babe in his arms and said: "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of ALL PEOPLE; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel."
Obviously not every individual Gentile or Jew would be lightened by this salvation, but the Messiah will save all people without distinction of nationality, not all people without exception.
Now, let’s look at some other examples where the phrase “ALL MEN” cannot possibly mean every individual without exception.
And ye shall be hated of ALL MEN for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Will they also hate themselves or be hated by other Christians?
But he said unto them, ALL MEN cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
You mean NOBODY can receive this saying?
Peter answered and said unto him, Though ALL MEN shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
Wasn’t Peter also one of these ALL MEN?
And when they had found him, they said unto him, ALL MEN seek for thee.
Did the Pharisees also seek Jesus? or How about all the millions who died in the centuries before. Did they also seek Jesus?
And as the people were in expectation, and ALL MEN mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Most people in the world have never even heard of John the Baptist, and multiplied millions had already died and never heard of him either. Were they also musing in their hearts whether he were the Christ.
Woe unto you, when ALL MEN shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Do they also speak well of themselves. And again, nobody among the millions who were already dead and multitudes all over the earth at that time never even heard of the disciples of Jesus. Were they also speaking well of these disciples they never even heard about?
And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and ALL MEN come to him.
Did everybody without exception, including the masses of dead people and even the Pharisees and Roman governor go to John to be baptized too?
If we let him thus alone, ALL MEN will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Will the Pharisees and the Romans also believe?
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to ALL MEN, as every man had need.
Hey, I never got any of this stuff. How about you? Aren’t we also among these “ALL MEN”?
So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for ALL MEN glorified God for that which was done.
Most people in the entire world never saw this miracle of healing and certainly didn’t glorify God for it. Aren’t they among the ALL MEN too?
Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before ALL MEN: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
I never saw this book burning. Did you? I’ll bet multiplied millions never even heard of it happening at all.
Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth ALL MEN every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
The vast majority of people who were alive even at this time never heard Paul preach or teach. So who are these “ALL MEN” they refer to?
For thou shalt be his witness unto ALL MEN of what thou hast seen and heard.
Did Paul witness to the millions who had previously died? Or how about Ghengis Khan or Bill Gates or Cain or Jehoshaphat or Solomon, to name but a few?
For your obedience is come abroad unto ALL MEN. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
Most people living even at this time in history never even heard of the small group of Christians at Rome to whom Paul was writing. Are they also included in the ALL MEN?
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of ALL MEN:
Again, most people in the world never even heard of the Christians at Corinth.
Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto ALL MEN
Hey, I never got any of this money either. Did you?
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for ALL MEN have not faith.
You mean NOBODY has faith?
At my first answer no man stood with me, but ALL MEN forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.
Hey, I never did that. I wasn’t even alive during this time. Billions of people never forsook Paul and let him rot in jail.
Demetrius hath good report of ALL MEN, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.
I had never even HEARD of this Demetrius guy and certainly never said anything good about him. Did you?
That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of ALL MEN, both free and bond, both small and great.
Is YOUR flesh going to be eaten by the fowls of heaven too?
NO, Folks, “all men” does NOT always mean “all men without exception”. Only a bible illiterate with an personal agenda to try to prove something that simply is not true would affirm that it does.
ALL of grace, believing the Book,
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