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Psalm 22 – Is everyone saved by Jesus’ death?

Is everyone saved by Jesus’ death? That’s an idea that some people believe. Or at least want to believe. David appears to say everyone will be saved in Psalm 22. But did he really say that?

Psalm 22 is very long. You’ll see in the background info for this Psalm that it’s about Jesus on the cross. Since I’m only going to go into one portion of the Psalm, that’s all I’m going to include here. However, I do recommend using the links provided to read the entire Psalm.

Psalm 22
...
Ps 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers; 
         in the congregation I will praise you. 

Ps 22:23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! 
         All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! 
         Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! 

Ps 22:24 For he has not despised or disdained 
         the suffering of the afflicted one; 
         he has not hidden his face from him 
         but has listened to his cry for help. 

Ps 22:25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; 
         before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. 

         Ps 22:26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; 
         they who seek the LORD will praise him— 
         may your hearts live forever! 

Ps 22:27 All the ends of the earth 
         will remember and turn to the LORD, 
         and all the families of the nations 
         will bow down before him, 

         Ps 22:28 for dominion belongs to the LORD 
         and he rules over the nations. 
...

Some background on Psalm 22

Some passages are obvious prophecies: Isaiah 53, for example. Others are less obvious. One passage that is clearly a prophecy of the Lord’s death and resurrection is Psalm 22. It is so clearly a picture of death by crucifixion and a triumph to follow that it is not possible to explain it by anything any mere human being in the Old Testament period may have suffered. David suffered through many hard times, but he never experienced anything like this. Therefore, Psalm 22 is a portrait of the death and triumph of Jesus Christ alone, and it must have been one of the texts Jesus picked out and explained to his two disciples on the famous walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus on Easter Sunday morning.  1

The verse the excerpt refers to is Lk 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. By itself, that tells us pretty much nothing. Unless you happen to be able to place that verse into the event where it occurred. Since most people can’t do that, here’s the passage.

On the Road to Emmaus

Lk 24:13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.

Lk 24:17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

Lk 24:19 “What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”

Lk 24:25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Lk 24:28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

Lk 24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Lk 24:33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

Now we see that it was Jesus, not recognized by His companions, talking about scripture (Old Testament to Christians today) references to Himself.

Is everyone saved by Jesus’ death?

Now, with that backdrop, here’s the verse for today’s topic.

Ps 22:27 All the ends of the earth
           will remember and turn to the LORD,
           and all the families of the nations
           will bow down before him,

You can see how, without any context, this can appear to mean everyone will remember God, turn to Him, bow down before Him, and therefore be saved.

However, is that really what it says?

I don’t think so. Neither does the author of our background info for this series.

The great assembly (vv. 25–29). In verse 22 the psalmist speaks of the “congregation.” In verse 25 he speaks of the “great assembly.” Actually the words congregation and assembly are the same Hebrew word (qahal), so there is an expansion of the idea of the assembly from the earlier reference to the second. It expands from Jews alone, who were to be the first target of the missionary endeavor and who would become the first Christians and the nucleus of the church, to the Gentiles, who were the second missionary target. The parallel phrases in verse 27, “the ends of the earth” and “the families of the nations,” make this progression clear.

This was a strong element in the thinking of Jesus Christ. During the days of his itinerant teaching Jesus often spoke of a great banquet to which the close friends of a king were invited. But when the day of the feast came the friends made excuses and refused to come. As a result, the king sent servants to call in other people, some of whom were despised as outcasts (cf. Matt. 22:1–14; Luke 14:15–24). It was a prophecy of the salvation of the Gentiles after an initial period of Jewish rejection. The story of the workers in the vineyard also has the salvation of Gentiles in mind (Matt. 20:1–16). They are the ones hired last, paid equally, and therefore resented by those who had labored throughout the day as the Jews had. Most striking perhaps is Christ’s great prayer of John 17, in which he prays for his disciples and for all “who will believe in me through their message” (v. 20). It is clear from the rest of the prayer that these new believers would be drawn from the entire world and would be witnesses to it.  2

So we see, the reference to the ends of the earth specifies the mission field, in Christian-speak. The Gospel message, the possibility of being saved, is to be presented to everyone. And yet, given the context of the entire Bible, not everyone will be saved.

One of many places where this is explicitly stated in Matthew’s telling of The Lord’s Supper. See the underlined verse in the passage below.

The Lord’s Supper – Matthew

26:17-19 pp — Mk 14:12-16; Lk 22:7-13
26:20-24 pp — Mk 14:17-21
Mt 26:26-29 pp — Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:17-20; 1Co 11:23-25

Mt 26:17 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

Mt 26:18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

Mt 26:20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Mt 26:22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely not I, Lord?”

Mt 26:23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

Mt 26:25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?”
Jesus answered, “Yes, it is you.”

Mt 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”

Mt 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Mt 26:30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

What about the bowing down part? Won’t everyone bow down to God?

There’s one paragraph in Romans that refers back to the Old Testament, especially to Isaiah 45:23. Since the section is on a larger topic, here’s that one portion from Romans.

The Weak and the Strong

Ro 14:9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. 10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written:

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Conclusion – Psalm 22 – Is everyone saved by Jesus’ death?

Now, let’s put it all together.

We’ll start with the birth of Jesus. When we’re told that the good news of the Gospel is for everyone. That God’s offer of salvation is available to everyone.

The Shepherds and the Angels

Lk 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Lk 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Lk 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Lk 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
Lk 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

If the offer of salvation wasn’t available to all, then it certainly would not be good news for those who couldn’t have it!

All can be saved, but some will reject the offer

We saw that not everyone will accept the good news. The offer of salvation will not be accepted.

Mt 26:27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

We read in that verse the word “many”. While the word could mean quite a range in terms of the number who will be forgiven, we also read:

The Narrow and Wide Gates – Matthew

Mt 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

This verse means the number of people who accept God’s offer of salvation is small. The range for the Greek word we read as “few” is little, small, and few. That gate isn’t small or the path narrow because God wants us to wait in line before entering. No, Jesus is telling us ahead of time that not very many of us will reach it.

Everyone will bow to God, but …

Yes, we will all bow to God.

“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will confess to God.’ ” 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

However, there will be two different reasons.

Some will bow to God because we want to. And there will be a reward.

Others will bow down to God because they must. And there will be punishment.

So it’s good to know the context of verses when we read them. It’s quite dangerous to pull out a verse, remove it from all context, and decide what it means.

But even if we keep the context of a passage, as with the word “many” in The Lord’s Supper, we can still miss the true message unless we’re aware of and understand the full context of the Bible.

Ultimately, anyone who thinks the Bible says all will be saved is going against the words of Jesus Himself.


Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay


The post Psalm 22 – Is everyone saved by Jesus’ death? appeared first on God versus religion.

Footnotes

1    Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (p. 200). Baker Books.
2    Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 1–41: An Expositional Commentary (p. 202). Baker Books.


This post first appeared on God Versus Religion, please read the originial post: here

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