Does "all men" mean "everybody" or "all men without exception" or "all men without distinction?
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, tells 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 often means all men without distinction of national heritage, social standing, wealth or intellect. It does not always or even usually 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?
2 Corinthians 3:2
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.
2 Corinthians 9:13
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?
2 Thessalonians 3:2
And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for ALL MEN have not faith.
You mean NOBODY has faith?
2 Timothy 4:16
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.
3 John 1:12
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?
What about Romans 5:18?
A Free Willer's Objection. One guy who hates the doctrines of Election and Predestination objected to this study (that he didn't even bother to read) and said: "Well, Will, what about this verse? Does "all men" mean everybody?
He then quoted only a part of the verse found in Romans 5:18, the first half of the verse. "Therefore by the offense of one judgement came upon ALL MEN to condemnation".
To whom I responded: There are places where the phrase "all men" may refer to everybody, every man, woman and child that has been born into this world. But even Romans 5:18 may not be one of them.
If we read the whole verse we see the same "all men" used twice. It says: "Therefore by the offense of one judgement came upon ALL MEN to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon ALL MEN unto justification of life."
If, according to the Arminian point of view, the same "all men" upon whom the condemnation fell are also the same "all men" who are justified. If the Arminian point of view is true, then this would teach universalism.
But all through the book of Romans the apostle Paul is pointing out that the salvation of God is no longer limited to the nation of Israel but that God is calling his people among the Gentiles as well. The phrase "all men" may well be another instance where it means "all men without distinction of nationality.
Or another more likely view is the one proposed by such men as John Gill, Matthew Pooles and Charles Spurgeon.
John Gill comments on Romans 5:18 -
“Therefore as by the offence of one,judgment came upon all men to condemnation; … this sentence of condemnation comes upon ALL MEN, ALL THE SONS OF ADAM WITHOUT EXCEPTION, even upon the elect of God themselves; though it is not executed upon them, but on their surety, whereby they are delivered from it:
even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life; the righteousness of Christ being freely imputed without works, as it is to ALL THE MEN THAT BELONG TO THE SECOND ADAM, IN ALL HIS SEED AND OFFSPRING, is their justification of life, or what adjudges and entitles them to eternal life.
The sentence of justification was conceived in the mind of God from eternity, when HIS ELCT were ordained unto eternal life, on the foot of his Son's righteousness; this passed on Christ at his resurrection from the dead, AND ON ALL HIS PEOPLE AS CONSIDERED IN HIM, WHEN THEY WERE QUICKENED TOGETHER WITH HIM (Ephesians 2:5-6); and this passes upon the conscience of a sinner at believing, when he may, as he should, reckon himself alive unto God, and is what gives him a right and title to everlasting life and glory.”
Matthew Poole on Romans 5:18 -
“Came upon all men; all the posterity, or NATURAL SEED, OF THE FIRST ADAM.
The free gift; that which all along he calls the free gift, seems to be the benefit believers have by Christ’s obedience.
Came upon all men; not all universally, but all sorts of men indifferently, Gentiles as well as Jews; OR ALL THAT ARE HIS SPIRITUAL SEED."
Charles Spurgeon on Romans 5:18 -
“All who are in Christ are justified by Christ, just as all who were in Adam were lost and condemned in Adam. THE "ALLS" ARE NOT EQUAL IN EXTENT - EQUAL AS FAR AS THE PERSON GOES IN WHOM THE "ALLS" WERE FOUND. And this is our hope — that we, being in Christ are justified because of his righteousness.”
We see a parallel section of Scripture in 1 Corinthians 15. "For as IN ADAM ALL DIE, even so IN CHRIST SHALL ALL BE MADE ALIVE." (V.22). ALL of those IN CHRIST shall be made alive. CHRIST is the Federal Head of all His people.
Notice carefully what it says in 1 Corinthians 15:45-49.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; THE LAST ADAM was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; THE SECOND MAN is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
ALL those who are in the last Adam and the second man are quickened, spiritual and shall bear the image of the heavenly.
NO, Folks, “all men” does NOT always mean “all men without exception”. Only a bible illiterate with a personal agenda to try to prove something that simply is not true would affirm that it does.
For much more on this and how it ties directly into John 12:32 - "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL MEN unto me."
I Timothy 2:3-5 KJB - "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
All of grace, believing the Book,
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