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IS THIS THE ONLY DAY OF SALVATION?
from The Church of God Cyber Auxiliary Website
Modern Christianity teaches that there are only two classes of
people--the LOST and the SAVED. But what about those who die never
having heard the name of Christ? Would God be fair to condemn them?
IT IS commonly believed that God is desperately trying to save the
world now. That He is struggling with Satan to save all mankind now,
while the devil is feverishly trying to keep as many as he can "lost"
If this is true, who do you think is winning?
If God and Satan are in a titanic battle for human lives, and if
God is as all-powerful as the Bible reveals, then why is five-sixths
of the world non-Christian today? And why have thousands of millions
already died without ever having had a chance to be saved?
Many sermons have been preached based on the premise that "there is
no middle ground. Either you are this minute saved, or you're a lost
Many people have grieved over dead loved ones who had never made a
profession of Christ. Perhaps over one who was a terrible sinner;
perhaps over one who lived a "good" life, but never became an active
church member. Still others grieve because they are not sure whether
some loved one died "saved."
The teaching that a person is either saved or lost comes from the
assumption that God is out to save the world now--that the mission of
the Church is to save mankind now--that this is the "only day of
salvation," and that this time is just about over.
These assumptions are all absolutely false!
Why Most Have Not
,,,Shocking as it may sound, God does not intend for everyone to
understand His truth at this time! If He did, they would understand!
Many think that Jesus spoke in parables to make His meaning
clearer. This was not the reason. He spoke in parables to hide His
real meaning so most of His hearers would not understand. After Jesus
had spoken the parable of the sower, He plainly told His disciples
whom He had called, "It is not given" to the rest (those who had not
then been called) to understand the truth about the Kingdom of God.
They were not permitted to understand! (Mark 4:10-12; Matt. 13:10-13.)
God has allowed the vast majority of humanity to be blind to His
truth. He has allowed Satan to deceive the whole world. It is God's
purpose and plan that, until Christ returns, only those whom He
specially calls (John 6:44, 65) can understand the true way of
As we learned in the previous lesson, the future members of God's
Family will be the kings, priests, teachers and administrators in His
soon-coming world-ruling government. Only a comparatively few are now
being called to fill these positions. They are receiving the training
necessary to prepare them to teach all mankind when God's Kingdom is
set up, with world-ruling headquarters in Jerusalem.
Everyone to Be Called
God reveals in His inspired Word--the Holy Bible--that those He has
not yet called have not lost their opportunity for salvation. God is
not in the process of saving everyone now.
After Christ returns and establishes the Kingdom of God on earth,
He will then begin to teach the way of salvation to millions. They
will have their calling and opportunity to understand God's truth and
be born into His Family during the Millennium.
But what about the multiple thousands of millions who have already
died without ever hearing or understanding the way of salvation? After
the Millennium, they will be resurrected to mortal life and given
their opportunity to understand God's truth, to be begotten by God's
Spirit, to grow in His character, and to become Spirit-born members of
His ruling Family.
God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). Everyone will
ultimately be called and given an opportunity to receive salvation!
God is absolutely fair!
The truth about this important subject is plainly revealed in the
pages of your Bible. So be sure to look up and read each verse given
in answer to the questions. Don't just read this lesson--prove the
truth from the Bible. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good"
(I Thess. 5:21).
Let's begin this eye-opening and encouraging study of God's Word.
Why This World Is
God, the Ruler of the entire universe, assigned the archangel known
as Lucifer to administer God's government on this earth. But Lucifer
rebelled against the government of God, and so God changed his name to
Satan, which means adversary, competitor, enemy.
But God has not yet taken away Satan's throne of authority.
According to God's plan, He has allowed Satan to continue ruling the
earth until his successor, Jesus Christ, is officially installed by
God in that office of authority.
In previous studies we learned that Satan subtly deceived Eve in
the Garden of Eden. Satan did not tell Eve: "Choose my government and
my way of vanity and self-centeredness, and reject God." He tempted
her with the beauty of the forbidden tree, appealed to her
intellectual vanity, implied that God wasn't fair to withhold certain
knowledge, and told her she wouldn't die (Gen. 3:1-6), assuring her
she was already an immortal soul dwelling in a material body.
Eve was thoroughly deceived into believing Satan and disbelieving
God. She ate the forbidden fruit and gave some of it to her husband to
eat also. Thus Adam willingly, but not willfully, disobeyed God. When
Adam took the forbidden fruit, he took to himself the authority to
determine the spiritual knowledge of good and evil. He appropriated
the prerogative of deciding what is good and evil--what is right and
wrong--what is righteousness and what is sin. But Adam did not have
this ability of himself.
Thus the first human disbelieved and disobeyed God, choosing to go
his own way and do his own thing. When Adam chose to reject God's
authority, he rejected revealed spiritual knowledge from God. He chose
instead to follow Satan's self-oriented way of life--his way of "get"
as opposed to God's way of "give." Consequently, all mankind, except
for a few God has specially chosen to call out of Satan's world, has
been deceived by Satan for almost 6,000 years.
Stated another way, our first parents were "kidnapped" by Satan,
and followed the way of life of the kidnapper rather than their
potential spiritual Father, whom they disbelieved and disobeyed.
By following Satan's way and rejecting God, Adam in effect chose
Satan as the "god" of mankind. And the Bible shows that God has
allowed Satan to influence and deceive mankind ever since Adam ate the
fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Let's review a few of the scriptures proving these facts.
1. Is Satan the god of this world? II Cor. 4:4. Has he blinded
people to God's truth? Same verse. Is Satan also the prince of the
power of the air? Eph. 2:2. Does he influence, or "work in," the
disobedient? Same verse. Has he indeed deceived the world? Rev. 12:9.
COMMENT: Satan, the "prince of the power of the air," influences
mankind by "broadcasting" his moods and attitudes of vanity and
selfishness to the human spirit in each individual. Humans unwittingly
accept and express these attitudes as their own. "Human nature" is
actually Satan's nature expressed in humans. Because they have been
deceived, they are unaware of this spiritual broadcasting by Satan,
and do not even know that they have been deceived.
2. Do true Christians belong to Christ and God? Mark 9:41; I Cor.
3:23; 6:20. Is that because God, through Christ had to "buy" them
back? Matt. 20:28; Col. 1:14; I Tim. 2:6; I Pet. 1:18-19.
COMMENT: "Redeem" (from which the word "redemption" comes) means to
recover ownership of something that had been lost. If we are
Christians, Christ has redeemed us--"bought us back," so to speak. His
sacrifice allows us, with God's help, to cease being the kidnapped
children of Satan, and become the Spirit-begotten children of God! The
fact that Christ had to pay a ransom (His life) to buy back those who
are now His proves that we all have belonged to Satan! (See John 8:44;
I John 3:8; Rom. 6:16.)
3. What did God warn Adam that the penalty of sin would be? Gen.
COMMENT: Adam and Eve sinned when they ate the fruit from the tree
of the knowledge of good and evil. God had foreseen that possibility.
But He could not suspend the penalty He had plainly said would follow
So how would God rescue His potential spiritual children from the
kidnapper--Satan the devil? By decreeing at the very "foundation of
the world" (Rev. 13:8)--this present civilization based on Satan's
way, which began when Adam sinned--that He would send His future Son,
Jesus Christ, to live without sin and pay the penalty of man's sins.
It was also determined by God, at that time, that all of Adam's
children should die: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after
this the judgment" (Heb. 9:27). But how could a man be judged after he
has died? We'll learn the answer as we continue studying the Bible
with this lesson!
4. Did Satan offer to give Christ rulership of all the kingdoms of
the world if He would worship him? Matt. 4:8-9. Did Christ acknowledge
that Satan is the ruler of this world? John 14:30.
COMMENT: This and the other verses we have read clearly show that
Satan is the ruler of this present evil world. But he retains that
power only by God's express permission. God has assigned Satan 6,000
years in which to rule over mankind. When that time expires, Christ
will forcibly intervene in world affairs and reestablish the
government of God on earth. He will then rule the world for the next
1,000 years. Thus God's plan spans a period of one prophetic "week,"
since a day is as a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as a
day (II Pet. 3:8).
God has said to Satan, in effect: "Six 'days' shalt thou labor, and
do all thy work: but the seventh 'day' is the Sabbath of the LORD thy
God: in it thou shalt not do any work" (Ex. 20:9-10). The first six
days of this prophetic week God has turned over to Satan, and given
him free reign to influence and deceive.
Satan's work is a labor of deception--of deceiving mankind--of
turning God's truth upside down--causing honest, sincere people to
accept a counterfeit for the genuine--deceiving people to sin. And how
successfully he has worked at his occupation for nearly 6,000 years!
We are now nearing the end of Satan's six millennial days of work.
And the coming seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Lord
God. That "day" will not belong to Satan. It belongs to God. In it,
Satan shall not do any work. He will be chained, restrained, and
thrown into the symbolic "bottomless pit" (Rev. 20:1-3). He will not
be allowed to deceive anyone during the Millennium.
When Christ returns to earth, He will seize rulership from the
arch-deceiver who has deceived and swayed humanity. Christ will then
restrain the builder and ruler of this world's civilization and bind
him for 1,000 years!
Jesus Hid the Truth
When Jesus Christ came to earth nearly 2,000 years ago, it was not
to set up His Kingdom (John 18:36). Christ did not, at that time, come
to restrain Satan from deceiving the world.
Contrary to what many have been taught, neither did Christ come to
earth the first time to call everyone to salvation. Rather, He came to
deliver His Father's message... That message included salvation
through Christ. But Jesus did not try to get everyone to believe this
Notice the New Testament proof that Christ did not try to convert
1. Did Jesus speak to the multitudes in parables to make His
meaning clearer, or to hide it so the public would not understand?
Matt. 13:10-15; Mark 4:11-12. Did He speak to the general public only
in parables? Matt. 13:34. Was this because it was not the time for
most to be forgiven their sins and converted? Mark 4:12.
2. Did Christ explain the meaning of His parables only to His
disciples? Mark 4:1-2, 10-11; Matt. 13:10-11, 16.
COMMENT: Christ preached the Father's Gospel to the public as a
witness. But He worked with only a few specially called and chosen
disciples, or students. They were the ones whom He really wanted to
understand the truth about salvation and His coming government on
3. Did Jesus often try to avoid crowds of people? Matt. 5:1; 8:18;
13:36; Mark 3:13; John 5:13; 7:10. Did He often tell those whom He had
healed not to tell anyone who healed them? Matt. 8:4; 9:30; 12:16;
Mark 5:35, 41-43; 7:35-36. Did He want everyone to know who He really
was? Matt. 16:20; Mark 3:12.
COMMENT: For most of His ministry, Jesus avoided publicity. It was
not God's will for everyone to understand who Jesus was. Spiritual
understanding will not be granted to the world until Christ removes
Satan from earth's throne!
4. After three and one-half years of Christ's preaching, and after
His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, how many disciples
remained with Him? Acts 1:2-4, 15.
COMMENT: The New Testament Church of God was started with only
about 120 disciples. Only after they had been trained could they teach
and train others. Christ at first needed only a few teachers to teach
others to become teachers, so He called only a few at that time.
Remember, one can come to Christ only if God the Father specially
selects and calls him (John 6:44, 65). But some will ask: "What about
one who really wants salvation--wants to believe in Christ--is willing
to truly repent and come out of this world and be led by God's Spirit
in a true commandment-keeping Christian life? Do you mean this
individual cannot come to Christ unless God calls him?"
Answer: Such a person is being drawn by God, otherwise he or she
would have no such desire. However, most who think they are in that
category have followed a false gospel, a false teaching and are
deceived. They have a false idea of what salvation is, a false concept
of repentance and a false idea of what God's way is.
5. Did God, in the Bible, tell us in advance that He would call
only a few into His Church, and that His Church would continue to be
small, and even persecuted? Luke 12:32; Matt. 10:16-17; 7:13-14; John
16:33; II Tim. 3:12.
COMMENT: From Christ's human ministry until His soon return to
earth, God has called only a small minority of people. God's Church
through the centuries has continued to be small--an "embryo" of God's
new civilization yet to come...
Does God know ahead of time whether an individual will be saved or
lost? Has God foreordained that some would be saved, while others are
destined to be lost?
Does one have any choice at all regarding his or her own salvation?
"If God knows beforehand how I am going to decide," reasoned a man
who was worried about the subject of predestination, "then it is all
predetermined. If He knows in advance that I am to be lost, then
that's the way I'll have to decide in the end. And since I'll lose out
anyway, why try?
"On the other hand, if God knows I'm going to repent, accept Christ
and be saved, I'll have to do it in the end anyway, whether I try or
not. My ultimate fate was already predetermined--destined, or
determined, in advance. And if that is so, then we simply are not free
moral agents--we have nothing to say about it."
The subject of predestination has often puzzled and worried many
people simply because they have accepted, without question, the
teachings of their religion. Let's understand exactly what the Word of
God teaches about "predestination."
1. Does the Bible say that some are "predestined" ("predestined" is
the modern term) to be called now? Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:11-12. Are
others predestined, appointed or foreordained, to be blinded in this
age? I Pet. 2:8.
COMMENT: Predestination has nothing to do with any particular
decision you will make, or your fate--it has only to do with the time
of your calling--whether God calls you now or later. There is not one
word in the entire Bible about anyone being predestined to be lost.
God has not predestined or foreordained anyone either to accept or
reject Christ--to be saved or lost.
The decision we make regarding our salvation is not predetermined.
God has ordained that we make our own decisions. God's purpose is that
we develop His character, and character cannot be created by fiat. It
must be developed through experience. And experience requires time.
Although God tells us which decision we ought to make (Deut. 30:19),
the final decision to choose life or death for eternity is still ours!
The only decision that is predetermined is God's. God has
predestined some to be called at certain times for a specific purpose.
The rest will be called by God to understand the way of salvation
later. Predestination simply has to do with when one is called.
Jesus Christ established His Church to train the future kings and
priests of God's Kingdom--to have a part in teaching the way of
salvation to the masses during the Millennium. God knew far in advance
that leaders, teachers, and governmental administrators would be
needed for His Kingdom, so He planned ahead--predestined--that He
would call some to this training, especially in this age.
2. When did God decide to call certain ones at certain times? II
Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4-5.
COMMENT: If you are one now called, God "foreknew" you before the
foundation of the world, this present world order. And "whom he did
foreknow, he also did predestinate"--to be lost? No, "to be conformed
to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many
brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called..."
(Rom. 8:29-30). Not will call in the future--but called now in this
If you are called--if God has revealed this wonderful truth to your
understanding and you are begotten by His Spirit--you are having your
opportunity now--your one and only opportunity to prepare yourself to
be used by Christ in the loving labor of helping to save the vast
majority of mankind in the World Tomorrow!
Most Neither Finally
Lost Nor Saved
1. Have all sinned and therefore earned the penalty for
sin--eternal death? Rom 3:23; 6:23. But did Christ, the Creator of all
mankind, give His sinless life to pay that penalty in our stead? Rom.
5:8-10. Can salvation come only through Christ? Acts 4:12; I Tim. 2:5.
COMMENT: No one can come to God except through Jesus Christ. No one
can have the death penalty he has incurred paid in any other way. But
neither can anyone receive the benefit of Christ's payment unless he
has an opportunity to accept it. No one can build God's character
without His Spirit, and that Spirit is given only after repentance,
belief and baptism. And God will not give immortality to anyone who
has not already proven he or she will live God's way.
Millions have lived and died without any opportunity to fulfill any
of these essentials. They cannot be given eternal life--they cannot
yet be trusted with the awesome powers of the God Family. They are not
"saved," yet neither are they finally condemned. They will have their
But if they haven't finally lost salvation, then who has? Actually,
only a very small minority. The Bible describes two ways a person can
2. Will those whom God has already called to receive the knowledge
of salvation be given a "second chance"--if they sin willfully? Heb.
10:26-29; 6:4-6. To receive this punishment, was it first necessary
for them to have known God's truth? Heb. 10:26.
COMMENT: It is only those to whom God has revealed the knowledge of
His truth who have been given a chance to understand spiritual
salvation and receive eternal life. If they sin willfully after
receiving that knowledge, they will not have a second chance for
There is a big difference between sinning willingly and willfully.
Adam sinned willingly, but that does not mean he is condemned to
perish in the lake of fire because of it. There are only a few who
have sinned willfully, and they are condemned to the lake of fire!
God will forgive any sin that is repented of--even if, through
weakness, temptation or habit, the sin is repeated. As long as a
person's intention, attitude and desire is to obey God, he will
repent, and God will forgive him (I John 1:9). Jesus said we ought to
forgive seventy times seven times (Matt. 18:21-22). God is even more
willing to forgive than that!
So, what is a willful or an unforgivable sin?
If a person has been given spiritual understanding of God's way and
has experienced the blessings of that way, but decides he no longer
wants it, changes his attitude, deliberately chooses a life of
rebellion, despising God's Law, then this sin is unforgivable because
he will not repent of it! God will not give eternal life to anyone who
insists on living Satan's way.
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who
have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who
have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the
coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance" (Heb.
Such people have been specially called by God and given His Spirit,
yet at some point in time they purposely, knowingly, rejected it!
Perhaps through bitterness, refusal to forgive others, or neglect of
prayer and Bible study, they stopped allowing God to build His
character in them. Like the servant who did nothing with his pound or
talent, they failed in God's purpose for them. They have become so
calloused to their sins that they, no matter what God could do to try
to correct them, will never want to repent.
3. Did Jesus speak of another sin that will not be forgiven by God?
Mark 3:28-29; Matt. 12:31-32. What grave accusation did the scribes
and Pharisees hurl at Jesus? Mark 3:22; Matt. 12:22-24.
COMMENT: TO intentionally speak abusively (the meaning of the Greek
word translated "blasphemy") against the Holy Spirit and attribute
works of God's Spirit to the devil is to deliberately reject the only
power by which one can be converted and given salvation. It is a
deliberate, premeditated, willful rejection of God and His power!
4. Now what does II Corinthians 6:2 have to say about a "day" of
salvation? How does Isaiah 49:8, from which II Corinthians 6:2 is
quoted, correctly state it?
COMMENT: The proper translation of the Greek of II Corinthians 6:2
(and the Hebrew of Isaiah 49:8) is "now is a day of salvation." If it
were true that this is the only time when one may be saved, God would
not be fair, for He is now calling only a few!
This age is indeed "the" day of salvation for the few God is now
calling. But all others will have their "day" of salvation later!
God is indeed calling some people in this age, but the vast
majority are blinded. God has purposely allowed them to be deceived by
Satan. Therefore, most people simply have not had a chance to
understand the truth about salvation. They have not yet had an
opportunity to be saved!
"Firstfruits" Called to
1. When Jesus came to earth about 4,000 years after Adam had cut
mankind off from God, did He say that the Gospel ... would be preached
to all nations during this age for the purpose of converting them?
COMMENT: The Gospel Jesus proclaimed is to be preached in all the
world only for a witness to all nations before the end of the present
age--not to convert them!
Most who hear the true Gospel do not really understand it or the
way to salvation. God's truth is spiritual knowledge, and spiritual
knowledge cannot be transmitted naturally to a mortal human mind (I
Cor. 2:11-14). Spiritual truth is revealed by God! None can receive
it, though their ears hear the words, or their eyes see them (Matt.
13:14), except as God opens their understanding and reveals the truth
to them by His Holy Spirit.
2. Even though most of mankind has not yet been called to
understand God's plan of salvation, some DO understand and come to
Christ. Are these people specially called by God the Father? John
6:44, 65. How are they referred to by the Apostle James? Jas. 1:18.
COMMENT: Those now called are merely the "firstfruits" of God's
plan of salvation. God has called only a few in this age--not for
special favors, but for special responsibilities. They have been
called to grow in God's character so they, when born into His Family,
can rule righteously in the World Tomorrow. Then they will help bring
salvation to every mortal during the Millennium.
3. When was the Holy Spirit first given to those called to be
firstfruits? Acts 2:1-4. To whom was the Holy Spirit promised? Verse
COMMENT: The promise was made only to those God had predestined to
call. It was God, not the apostles, who added new converts to the
Church (Acts 2:47).
The Holy Spirit which every human needs, unites with the human
spirit that is in us. It is the impregnation of God-life, which makes
us the begotten, but not yet born children of God's Family--heirs, but
not yet inheritors.
It is the spirit of understanding, imparting to the physical brain
spiritual comprehension--the ability to really understand spiritual
knowledge. It is the divine love of God placed within us. It is the
faith of Christ--the same faith Jesus had--now given to us. It is also
the spiritual power we need to help us turn from, resist and overcome
Satan's "get" way and turn to God's "give" way.
It is the power by which the few firstfruits now called may develop
God's holy, righteous and perfect character, which is God's purpose
for having put humanity on the earth--that God may thus reproduce
When Adam chose to disobey God, he was cast out of the Garden of
Eden and denied further access to the Holy Spirit and eternal life. He
was spiritually kidnapped by Satan! Although the world would then be
ruled by Satan for 6,000 years, God knew that this was the best way
for humans to learn their lesson.
Those who are called prior to Christ's return must, with the power
of God's Spirit, overcome Satan while he is still ruling. That is not
easy, but it helps them to qualify for greater positions of
responsibility in the World Tomorrow. Greater character is built when
one has obstacles, such as the devil's influence, to overcome.
Living in a world filled with sin also helps us learn to thoroughly
hate sin (Ps. 97:10; 119:104). The results of selfishness and
competition are painfully obvious to those God calls out of Satan's
After Christ returns and restrains Satan, a utopia will finally
result that will reflect the benefits of God's way. The comparison
with Satan's 6,000 years of rule will be spectacular!
All in the Millennium
Will Be Called
The 6,000-year sentence on Adam's world--being cut off from God--is
due to end in our generation. This world, still Satan's world except
for God's Church, is fast plunging into a period of great tribulation
just before Christ's return.
Suddenly, when most needed, but least expected by a world cut off
from God, Jesus Christ will come in supreme supernatural power and
glory as King of kings. He will then marry His bride--the firstfruits
of His Church, who have made themselves ready--and together they will
rule the world from Jerusalem during the Millennium.
Then, after this world has been freed from Satan's rule, freed from
his deceptions and spiritual influences--when this is God's
world--Christ will begin to convert everyone and bring them into His
Millions of modern-day descendants of the so-called "Lost Ten
Tribes" of Israel will have been rescued from slave labor camps. In an
exodus far greater than the original deliverance of ancient Israel
from Egypt (Jer. 16:14-15; 23:3, 7-8), they will be supernaturally
delivered from their captors.
Many will then remember the warnings given them ... before the
Great Tribulation began. Others will have been warned during the
Tribulation by two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-12). They will be willing to
admit that their old way of life, based on the ways of the old
civilization founded by Satan, was wrong. And they will gladly accept
By the millions, humans will be spiritually begotten, will grow in
God's character, and be born into the Family of God all during the
1. When Isaiah the prophet was told by God that the vast majority
of Israel was blinded (Isa. 6:10), what did he ask? Verse 11. How long
did God say this spiritual blindness would last? Verses 11-12.
2. Will all Israel eventually be saved after the Deliverer--Christ
at His Second Coming--comes out of Zion to call them to salvation?
3. Will the nations of this earth, who have never heard about the
true God and His way of life that leads to salvation, learn God's ways
and walk in His paths? Micah 4:2; Isa. 66:18-23; 11:10.
COMMENT: The Gentiles will also come to be taught by Christ, the
returned Deliverer and "root of Jesse," at the time when He sets His
hand to remove the spiritual blindness from the house of Israel.
4. When Christ is King over all the earth during the Millennium,
will the Holy Spirit (represented by "living waters") go out from
Jerusalem? Zech. 14:8-9. Will God pour out His Spirit on all people?
COMMENT: The Holy Spirit will be made available to all and will
open their minds to understand God's way of salvation...
Just think what a time of great rejoicing it will be as each new
member of the God Family is born into the Kingdom of God during the
Millennium! They will then join the ruling saints in preparing for the
time when thousands of millions will be resurrected and taught the way
of salvation after the thousand years.
The Rest Called After
All who live during the Millennium will have their chance to
participate in the salvation process. They will have their opportunity
to grow spiritually toward spiritual birth into the God Family. But
what about those who have already died without having understood God's
1. Did Paul clearly understand that the people of Israel, and
mankind in general, were spiritually blinded? Rom. 10:16, 18-21.
Although these Israelites heard the Gospel, they did not obey it. Was
this because God had purposely allowed their blindness? Rom. 11:8, 25,
32. Yet, did Paul know that they would have a future opportunity to
receive salvation? Verse 26.
COMMENT: When Paul said "all Israel shall be saved," he meant ALL
Israel, including those of his day. But when will they be given their
opportunity to come to the spiritual knowledge of salvation?
2. Does the prophet Ezekiel describe a resurrection of dead
Israelites back to mortal life? Ezek. 37:11-13. Is this clearly a
resurrection to physical life--do the bodies have flesh, skin and
bones, and require air to live? Verses 5-9.
3. Will God also give His Spirit to these millions of people? Verse
14. Will the Gentiles also be resurrected and return to their "former
estate"? Ezek. 16:55.
COMMENT: Israel is a type of all nations. Ezekiel's prophecies
describe a time when both Israelites and Gentiles who died in
spiritual ignorance will be given an opportunity to receive salvation.
All the inhabitants of Sodom died centuries before Ezekiel wrote
this (Gen. 19:24-25). God can "bring back their captives" (RAV
translation of Ezek. 16:53) or "restore their fortunes" (Moffatt, RSV
and NIV) only by resurrecting them! All unconverted Israelites will be
resurrected at the same time as those Gentiles, and all will be given
their first opportunity for salvation! (Verse 62.) The prophet Ezekiel
does not explain when this resurrection occurs, but Christ did reveal
it in His revelation to the Apostle John.
4. Does God want to eventually call and save everyone? II Pet. 3:9;
I Tim. 2:4. Is everyone saved at the same time, or is there a definite
time order or sequence? I Cor. 15:22-24.
COMMENT: Even as all men die, the same all will be made alive
(verse 22). Everyone who has ever lived and died will be
resurrected--first Christ was resurrected, then later the saints who
lived and died before Christ's Second Coming will be resurrected. But
what about the vast majority who never were Christ's? Verse 24
includes them all in "the end"--when Christ completes His job of
conquering every enemy (verse 25). That happens after the Millennium
Those who have not heard or understood the truth have not been
consigned to eternal death. They have not sinned willfully. They never
had a chance! Even if some have lived up to the best they knew while
alive, the Bible teaches only one way to salvation--through belief in
Christ (Acts 4:12) and spiritual conversion as defined in the Bible.
Most of our loved ones who have died "unsaved" in all probability
did not die lost. They most likely were not called during this age,
but their call is coming later. They shall be resurrected to mortal
life and given spiritual understanding and the opportunity to become
members of God's Family. Revelation 20 tells us when this great
resurrection will occur.
5. Does the Bible speak of a "first" resurrection, thus implying
that there are other resurrections? Rev. 20:5, last part. When is the
second resurrection? Same verse, first part.
COMMENT: The first part of verse 5 is actually a parenthetical
comment. The verse should read: "(But the rest of the dead lived not
again until the thousand years were finished.) This is the first
The sentence, "This is the first resurrection," refers to the
spiritual resurrection of the firstfruits of God's plan, which occurs
at Christ's return, just before the 1,000-year period begins (verses
But notice further the first sentence in verse 5: "But the rest of
the dead [those who never had an opportunity to understand God's
truth] lived not again [would not come up in a resurrection] until the
thousand years were finished." This resurrection, which occurs after
the 1,000 years, is the second resurrection. It is a resurrection to
6. How is the second resurrection further elaborated on? Verses
11-13. How will these people be "judged"? Verse 12.
COMMENT: The dead who stand before God couldn't include true
Christians today, because they will appear before Christ and receive
their rewards at the first resurrection when He returns. It couldn't
refer to those converted during the Millennium, because they will have
already inherited the Kingdom during the thousand years, after living
a normal life span.
Those in this second resurrection are those who died in spiritual
ignorance in past ages. Their time of salvation occurs after the
The Greek word translated "books" in verse 12 is biblia. It is from
this word that the English word "bible" is derived. The books that are
opened are the books of the Bible! They will be opened to the
understanding of the multiple thousands of millions of people who had
not been able to know and understand God's purpose and plan for them
during their previous lifetime, never having been called by the Father
and given His Spirit of understanding.
Some, assuming that "judgment" means only the pronouncing of a
sentence based on past behavior, have thought that these people, even
if they repented, could do nothing to alter their fate. Thankfully,
God is merciful, always willing to forgive upon true repentance.
In this period of judgment, not only is the Bible opened to their
understanding, but the Book of Life is also opened. These people are
given an opportunity to receive eternal life! God, in perfect
fairness, will give them the same opportunity for salvation He now
gives to those He calls in this age. However, they will not be subject
to Satan's influence as we are today, because Satan will have been
finally sent to his punishment (Rev. 20:10).
Let's be sure we understand the meaning of God's judgment referred
to in Revelation 20:12.
7. Are true Christians today already being judged by God? I Pet.
4:17. Is this judgment for the purpose that they might avoid
condemnation? I Cor. 11:32.
COMMENT: God judges His Spirit-begotten children by evaluating how
well they live by His written Word. Their rewards in God's
Kingdom...will depend on their character development during their
Those resurrected after the Millennium will be judged the same way.
They, like Spirit-begotten Christians today, will be given enough time
to prove they are willing to live God's way through a life of
overcoming and obedience to God.
With God's Spirit freely available, and freed from Satan's
spiritual influences, they will be given their first and only
opportunity for salvation through repentance, baptism, and growing in
godly character during a second mortal life.
Those who continue to live God's way of life will be changed from
mortality to immortality at the end of this period of judgment.
Vast Majority to Be
Born of God!
Imagine, if you can, the astonishment of those resurrected at the
beginning of the period just described. Each one will be in his first
moment of consciousness since death. At first, some may think they are
in "heaven," "hell," or "purgatory." Most will simply be
Nothing that many had been taught about an afterlife will turn out
to be true. Faced with undeniable evidence that their old teachings
and ways were false, they will be more willing to admit this, start
over and be taught the truth. Untold millions who never had any
religious teaching whatsoever will start learning from scratch.
Who will teach these untold thousands of millions? Millions of
teachers who will have been born into God's Family in the first
resurrection and during the Millennium.
Those resurrected back to mortal life will then undergo a process
of conversion similar to that of Spirit-begotten Christians today.
They will be taught God's Law, and will learn they are guilty of sin
and deserving of the death penalty for all eternity as a result of
their sins. They will learn of God's mercy, and that Christ paid the
penalty for them, if they will accept His payment. The vast majority
will undoubtedly repent.
Upon repentance and faith in Christ as their personal Savior, they
will be forgiven and God's Spirit will be given to them. Then they, as
Spirit-begotten children of God, can begin growing
spiritually--developing God's holy, righteous and perfect character
For many, unlearning all the falsehoods learned in their first life
and learning God's true ways will take time. And building character
will take time, because character can be developed only through time
1. How long will their period of judgment last? Isa. 65:20.
COMMENT: This verse in Isaiah apparently refers to this judgment
period, suggesting that those resurrected then will live for 100
years, no matter how old they were when they died.
God is great, merciful, loving, not willing that any should perish.
He wants all to come to the knowledge of the truth and to true
repentance. But He knows it is best that most people come to
understand His truth in a better world than this present evil world.
That is why they will be raised up in the second resurrection--a
resurrection into a world free of Satan's deceptions, and lovingly
ruled by the God Family.
They will be able to compare the results of 6,000 years of Satan's
"get" way with the 1,000 years of God's "give" way under Christ. With
7,000 years of humanity now history, these mortals will face up to
what their previous experience in sin really proved. The vast majority
will choose God's way.
2. How did Jesus refer to this special "day" or period of judgment
for people who have yet to hear and understand the wonderful message
of salvation? Matt. 11:20-24; 12:41-42.
COMMENT: Christ mentioned the people of Tyre and Sidon, Sodom,
Nineveh in Jonah's time and finally the Queen of the South. All of
these examples of people who lived in different generations are
compared to the citizens living in the cities and towns of Jesus' day,
the vast majority of whom did not understand or believe Christ's
message. Jesus tells us that they are all to be resurrected with the
generation that lived during His time!
Jesus gave enough examples of people living at widespread times to
prove that most of humanity will be alive at the same time on this
earth. There will be pre-Flood men and women, all 12 tribes of Israel,
those who lived during the Middle Ages and the vast majority living
now. Even babies and children who died untimely deaths will be
resurrected then. They will all rise in the second resurrection
because they had not been called by God during their first lifetime.
This group includes all people of all times except those who will
have already been born of God, and those relatively few individuals
who already had their opportunity to receive eternal life, but
deliberately rejected it, having sinned willfully. Those few will be
resurrected in the third and final resurrection to be cast into the
lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15).
The ancient peoples Jesus mentioned in Matthew 11 and 12 would have
repented if He had personally come to them in their day. And they will
repent and receive the Holy Spirit when resurrected into a world that
has been personally ruled by Jesus Christ for 1,000 years!
Your Bible shows that the vast majority of those who have ever
lived will finally be born into God's Family at the end of their
coming period of judgment. God's master plan of salvation for mankind
will then be complete.
How wonderful and reassuring is the truth of our all-wise, loving
and merciful Creator God!
College Bible Correspondence Course
Taken from The
Church of God Cyber Auxiliary Website