Universal Salvation: Jesus, the Firstborn over all creation Part Three
At Matthew 3:17, the Bible says: "And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"
It is a simple enough statement, and it is telling all of us that Jesus is God's Son. He did not say "This is Me" He said "This is My Son." And, as you have seen, the Holy Scriptures show that Jesus, as His Son, was the firstborn over all creation (Col 1:15), and the Beginning of the creation of God (Rev 3:14).
Most professed Christians would know about the prophecy that Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem, even if they did not know where to find it. Let us take a look at it. Micah 5:2, which says: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel…"
This is a prophecy about the coming Messiah, Jesus. Can you remember when king Herod gathered the chief priest and scribes of the people together, and asked them where the Christ was to be born - and they said in Bethlehem of Judea (Matthew 2:1-6)? Well, they quoted from Micah 5:2.
Now, many of you already know that. But I wonder how many of you know what the end of that verse says, or what it means. It says this: "…Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
And that is speaking of Jesus.
What on earth does that mean? The New International Version translates that as: "…whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. " Jesus' origins were from ancient times. That is His goings forth.
The Jews, including the chief priest and scribes, believed that the Messiah, or the Christ, was to be born in Bethlehem; yet we have the prophet Micah telling us that His goings forth (or origins) are from of old, from ancient times. He was born in human form upon the earth in Bethlehem, but His life as a spirit being, started way before that. As the New International Version says: "…whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." He lived in heaven with His Father before He came to the earth to take on human form. Just as John 1:2 says: "He (Jesus as the Word) was in the beginning with God." The beginning is the start of something - and starts have origins. Jesus' origin was with God who created Him.
The Greek Septuagint translation says: "…and his goings forth were from the beginning…" - in line with John 1:2. The Greek word, there, for "goings forth" is from exodos. This is from ek - out, and hodos - a way; and therefore, a way out; hence the exodus, a departure. From His creation onwards, He was the departure, the exodus from sin, even before it came about.
"Whose goings forth (whose ways out) are from of old." So His goings forth, as a created being, was the way out for everyone. Once again, in line with John 1:1; when Jesus, as the Word, was in the beginning with God, already trained up to His nature, and as a way out. He, as the way out for everyone, as the Messiah, the Christ, the Saviour of all created beings, was already in place before the world ever existed. He was the Redeemer before the foundation of the world. 1 Peter 1:18-20 reads: "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world…"
Now the problem with having a Redeemer before the foundation of the world, and also with having a way out from the very beginning (notice everything is totally controlled), is that God must have known that man was going to sin. That does not take a lot of working out, does it? Since God knows the ending from the beginning, He would hardly have prepared a way out in advance if it were not necessary.
Here is the scenario. You have one created being: Jesus, who was trained up to the nature of God, and who would have to go up against the ultimate evil, Satan. He was street wise, you might say. Then you have another created being: Adam, who would have to go up against the same ultimate evil, Satan. But he was not trained, and therefore, obviously not street wise. Both were created, but Jesus succeeded, where Adam failed. Why do you think that was?
Jesus was trained to succeed; Adam was not. Therefore if Adam could not succeed, due to lack of training, God would have to provide a way out for him, and all of mankind, because He knowingly allowed it. God had planned for Adam to fail, and He had already prepared the way out: Jesus, whose goings forth (as a way out) were from of old.
Now watch this very closely. We want to show you something that you have probably never considered. So study it very carefully.
1 Corinthians 15:52 makes the most amazing statement. Look: "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Did you spot it? There is something there that is absolutely amazing, and yet it is not understood at all.
"…and the dead will be raised…"
The Greek word there for "incorruptible" is from aphthartos, and it means imperishable, not capable of corruption. At Romans 1:23, God is called aphthartos - where it calls Him "the incorruptible God."
The dead, at 1 Corinthians 15:52, are raised incorruptible, imperishable. If they are imperishable, they can no longer die. And if they can no longer die, they can no longer sin; because the wages of sin is death. They were all sinners. How is it that God can raise them incorruptible? And what is the difference between those sinners, and sinners in the lake of fire? If God can raise sinners incorruptible, why can He not raise those in the lake of fire incorruptible?
He can, and will.
I can hear you say, "The ones to be raised at 1 Corinthians 15:52 all believed in Jesus as their Saviour, and are not considered sinners any more. The ones in the lake of fire do not accept Jesus as their Saviour." It does not make any difference to being raised incorruptible; Jesus is the way out for all sinners. Being raised incorruptible does not mean that they are raised to perfection; only that they are raised imperishable, and can not be corrupted anymore. Therefore they can not sin anymore. God, on the basis that He has taken His created Son to perfection, and has proven that He can do it, has to take all to perfection.
Jesus' death justifies everyone's resurrection, whether they believe in Him or not. As Acts 24:15 says: "…there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." Universal Salvation is justified on the basis that God has already taken someone to perfection, and can do it, and therefore must do it, for all.
However, Jesus' death does not justify God raising everyone incorruptible. It means only that God can justify resurrecting everyone, because, as Romans 5:8 says, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Notice, "while we were still sinners."
Likewise, the fact that God has taken a created being to perfection, also does not justify raising any one incorruptible. It justifies only the end result, that everyone will be taken to perfection.
Jesus is the way out of death, and the way to Universal Salvation; but Jesus was not the one who justified God raising people incorruptible. Someone else justified that. And if being raised incorruptible can be justified for all, then there is no reason at all why God can not raise all in the lake of fire, is there?
Be sure to read "Universal Salvation! Jesus, The Firstborn Over All Creation Part Four."
Next article: Jesus, the Firstborn over all creation Part Four