Should you pay attention to the Hebrew prophets?
Consider that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10) and that there are hundreds of prophecies in the Hebrew prophets (for details, check out the free online book, available at ccog.org:Proof Jesus is the Messiah).
So, doesn’t it make sense that the prophets revealed other aspects of salvation?
Have you heard of apocatastasis?
Is it important to know about?
It is used in Acts 3:19-21 where Peter states:
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.
Now the expression "of restoration" is a translation of the Greek term apocatastasis. The Latin definition (per The Catholic Encyclopedia) is restitutio in pristinum statum, restoration to the original condition. God's government, the only real hope for world peace, will be restored.
Now, Acts 3:21 is the only place where the Greek term ἀποκαταστάστεως, transliterated as apokatastasis, is actually used.
Yet, Peter is teaching that it is what God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began--essentially this is the theme of the Bible--how the God of love will offer salvation to all.
Generally speaking, when theologians use the term apocatastasis they are referring to the doctrine that at some time God will OFFER salvation to everyone, such as after the second resurrection (there are also other views of it). More detail is included in our free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.
The Apostle Paul was inspired to write:
1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles — 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:1-5).
Notice that God's plan of grace is a mystery that Paul says he understands and was revealed through God's prophets.
This article will quote and/or cite many Hebrew prophets including Abraham, Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Obadiah, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Jude, Paul, and Jesus Himself.
But first, let's look at a pre-Herbew prophet, Enoch.
14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." (Jude 14-15
While judgment will be executed on the earth when Jesus returns with His saints, this will also lead to the first part of restoration.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
Now, the first time the term prophet is specifically mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 20:7, where God said Abraham was a prophet.
Notice what Abraham declared in Genesis 18:25:
25 Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
This was both a question and a prophecy.
God will do right and will restore.
14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes. 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands. (Job 14:14-15)
Job knew God had a plan for him, but that He did not let all understand the plan in this age:
4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding... (Job 17:4a)
Moses clearly understood that God was not allowing Israel to see in his day:
1 These are the words of the covenant which the LORD commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. 2 Now Moses called all Israel and said to them: "You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land-- 3 the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 Yet the LORD has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day (Deuteronomy 29:1-4).
Hence, the plan was know for a long time--those who were not able to see would be able to be saved.
The prophetess Deborah taught:
31 "Thus let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun When it comes out in full strength." (Judges 5:31)
Those who accept God’s ways will shine and those that who will remain His enemies will perish.
According to the prophet Samuel, Pharaoh and the Egyptians hardened their own hearts (1 Samuel 6:6) and Samuel urged that the people should not follow their example (1 Samuel 6:6-9).
27 All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the LORD,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD's,
And He rules over the nations. (Psalm 22:27-28)
Has this happened? Are not many of the original families of the earth dead as nearly all perished in the great flood? Thus, this is something other than the millennium. This is a prophecy for the future when all will truly have an opportunity for salvation.
9 All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing. (Psalm 64:9)
That has not happened yet.
Psalm 65:1-2 shows that David realized there was a time in the future that all flesh will come to God:
1 Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. 2 O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come.
Does your church really understand that ALL FLESH will come to God?
David also taught:
20 Our God is the God of salvation;
And to God the Lord belong escapes from death. (Psalm 68:20)
Does it not make sense that "the God of salvation" actually has a plan of salvation that includes it being offered to all and accepted by most?
In Psalm 86:8-9, David teaches:
8 Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
Since there are nations that died out during the flood and afterwards, how can this be unless God has a time in the future for this to occur?
8 The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy. 9 The LORD is good to all, And His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:8-9)
Notice that it is God's tender mercies that are over all His works. Love is what God really is.
Since God is good to ALL, ALL will have an opportunity for salvation!
In Psalm 145:21, David states:
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name
Forever and ever.
Now, while the Hebrew terms commonly translated as "all" do not necessarily mean every one, certainly they mean at least the vast majority. The only way that most flesh shall bless God's name is if He has a plan that will give them an opportunity to understand His loving plan of salvation later.
A psalmist wrote:
1 God be merciful to us and bless us, And cause His face to shine upon us. Selah 2 That Your way may be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. ... 7 And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him. (Psalm 67:1-2, 7)
The reason that God is calling some now is so His ways will be known on earth and His salvation will be known among all nations. But since many nations have long died out, this prophecy is not only referring to passages in the New Testament such as Matthew 24:14 (And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come) and Romans 11:25 (concerning the full number of Gentiles coming in), but must include nations that were gone before Jesus came.
In Psalm 72:4-5 Solomon teaches:
4 He will bring justice to the poor of the people;
He will save the children of the needy,
And will break in pieces the oppressor.
5 They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure,
Throughout all generations.
Has this happened? Is this not for the future? Since this discusses "all generations" is it only for a millennium?
Nathan the prophet told David:
16 Your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:16)
Ahijah the prophet told Jeroboam:
31 ... Take for yourself ten pieces, for thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: 'Behold, I will tear the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to you 32 (but he shall have one tribe for the sake of My servant David, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel) (1 Kings 11:31-32)
The prophet Isaiah knew a time for salvation for all was coming. Notice:
3 Therefore with joy you will draw water From the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the Lord, call upon His name; Declare His deeds among the peoples, Make mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to the Lord, For He has done excellent things; This is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!” (Isaiah 12:3-6)
Although Jesus seemed to discuss the concept in vs. 3 on the eighth day connected with the Feast of Tabernalces that He referred Last Great Day in John 7:37, there is no scriptural evidence that verses 4-6 were fulfilled then, thus biblically it appears that Isaiah is writing about a future time of salvation.
The Jews call that eighth day the day of rain:
The sage Rabbi Abahu said: The day of rain is greater than the resurrection of the dead, because the resurrection of the dead benefits only the righteous, but rain benefits both the righteous and the unrighteous. (Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 7a)
In Isaiah 58:12, it is shown that the waste places of this world will be restored so that others can dwell during that time:
12 Those from among you Shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations; And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.
Isaiah is teaching that those called now will help prepare, through restoration, a better world for others.
Isaiah also wrote:
6 Yea, He saith: ‘It is too light a thing that thou shouldest be My servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob, And to restore the offspring of Israel; I will also give thee for a light of the nations, That My salvation may be unto the end of the earth.’
7 Thus saith the LORD, The Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, To him who is despised of men, To him who is abhorred of nations, To a servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, Princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; Because of the LORD that is faithful, Even the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee. 8 Thus saith the LORD:
In an acceptable time have I answered thee, And in a day of salvation have I helped thee; And I will preserve thee, and give thee For a covenant of the people, To raise up the land, To cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 Saying to the prisoners: ‘Go forth’; To them that are in darkness: ‘Show yourselves’; They shall feed in the ways, And in all high hills shall be their pasture; 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, Neither shall the heat nor sun smite them; For He that hath compassion on them will lead them, Even by the springs of water will He guide them. 11 And I will make all My mountains a way, And My highways shall be raised on high. 12 Behold, these shall come from far; And, lo, these from the north and from the west, And these from the land of Sinim. (Isaiah 49:9-12, JPS)
This is a prophecy that discusses Jesus (see also the free online book Proof Jesus is the Messiah). And further notice that salvation would be restored. Apocatastasis. And the acceptable time was NOT limited to this current age (more on the 'day of salvation' can be found in the free online book: Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis). We can see starting in verse eight that this isfor a time that still has not been here--this restoration will happen in the age to come (this is also consistent with Jesus’ words in Luke 13:29; Sinim means “a distant Oriental region” per Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary, which also means it is to the east).
Here is something that God told Isaiah to write:
26 … All flesh shall know That I, the Lord, am your Savior, (Isaiah 49:26)
How can all flesh know that Jesus is Savior of all without offering salvation to all?
Offering salvation to all, either in this age or the age to come, was always part of the plan.
In Isaiah 52:10 God also teaches that they shall see:
10 The LORD has made bare His holy arm
In the eyes of all the nations;
And all the ends of the earth shall see
The salvation of our God.
Since this is referring to the eyes of all the nations, the same nations that are now blinded, certainly God is teaching that all WILL have an opportunity for salvation--which comes through Jesus (see also Jesus: The Son of God and Saviour; here is a YouTube sermon titled Jesus: Son of God and Saviour).
Notice that Isaiah 52:13-15 shows that those who did not hear about Jesus will consider:
13 Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high. 14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men; 15 So shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they shall consider.
A time is coming that those that did not truly hear will have an opportunity!
Isaiah also wrote:
1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you--
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the LORD your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you." (Isaiah 55:1-5)
The above is not simply a reference to Gentiles becoming Christians as most Protestant commentators think. It is David that is the witness to the people. This is the same David that is prophecied to rule over the nations of Israel in the future (Ezekiel 37:24; Jeremiah 30:9). Thus, this is a prophecy for a later time. The simple truth is that even after Jesus came, the statement "nations who do not know you shall run to you" has simply not been fulfilled. I know of not one nation, let alone nations, that have run to become true Christians. What has happened is that after Greco-Roman "Christianity" became the religion of the empire, many were forced to become "Christians" and those that have followed them have almost never followed the Christianity of the Bible.
If some of that confuses you, recall that in Isaiah 55:8-11 God teaches that even though we think different than God that His word will not return void:
8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 "For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Furthermore, notice what Isaiah 56:1-2 teaches:
1. Thus says the LORD:
"Keep justice, and do righteousness,
For My salvation is about to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man who does this,
And the son of man who lays hold on it;
Who keeps from defiling the Sabbath,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil."
If the salvation to come is simply the first coming of Jesus, then should not all Christians keep the Sabbath as both salvation and the Sabbath are part of the same quote? Does your church teach that one is "blessed" who does not defile the Sabbath? (You may also wish to read the verses that follow it, like Isaiah 56:3-8 as it makes it clear that foreigners-Gentiles-also are to keep the Sabbath.)
Also, notice the following from Isaiah 66:23:
23 And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me," says the LORD.
Notice that all flesh will worship God on the Sabbath. This has not yet happened.
In Isaiah 57:16-18 it teaches that God will not always be angry and that He will heal the souls He has made:
16 For I will not contend forever, Nor will I always be angry; For the spirit would fail before Me, And the souls which I have made.
17 For the iniquity of his covetousness I was angry and struck him; I hid and was angry, And he went on backsliding in the way of his heart.
18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will also lead him, And restore comforts to him
And to his mourners.
Thus, even those who sinned that God punished (struck) and hid from, God will lead them back! Does your minister proclaim this?
1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. (Isaiah 59:1)
God has a plan of salvation that will save tens of billions!.
Isaiah 62:1-5 shows:
1 For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, And her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, And all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, Which the mouth of the LORD will name.
3 You shall also be a crown of glory In the hand of the LORD, And a royal diadem In the hand of your God.
4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the LORD delights in you, And your land shall be married.
5 For as a young man marries a virgin, So shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So shall your God rejoice over you.
Notice that salvation is being discussed and that includes Gentiles and lands that were desolate and that God will delight in them. This is not simply a reference to Gentiles who accept Christ in this age, as they were not referred to in the Hebrew scriptures as "Forsaken". Versions of the Hebrew term "azuwbah"
translated as "Forsaken" are used many times in the Old Testament to refer to Israelites (NOT Gentiles)--God is apparently using that term because most seem to feel that the Gentiles prior to Jesus' first coming were forsaken--which, however, they were not. Most also seem to feel that most people dwelling in lands that basically do not accept any version of Christ today are in that forsaken category. But again, recall that God states that they are not forsaken. Which means, according to Isaiah 62, that God has a plan of salvation for them.
Also notice that in Isaiah 65:1-5, God declares that even those who eat unclean meat and did not seek God will be called:
1"I was sought by those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me. I said, 'Here I am, here I am,' To a nation that was not called by My name.
2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in a way that is not good, According to their own thoughts; 3 A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face; Who sacrifice in gardens, And burn incense on altars of brick; 4 Who sit among the graves, And spend the night in the tombs; Who eat swine's flesh, And the broth of abominable things is in their vessels; 5 Who say, 'Keep to yourself, Do not come near me, For I am holier than you!' These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.
Notice that these people were not originally called. They even provoked God to anger by eating swine (a biblically unclean animal)--and saying they were holier than those who did not. Yet notice that they will find God even though they did not seek Him!
Isaiah 66:17-19 teaches:
17 "Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together," says the LORD.
18 "For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory.
19 I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.
Even though He will punish those who eat unclean meat, notice that they will be gathered and declared God's glory among the Gentiles. God's glory among the Gentiles is when He calls them all and offers them salvation. Those who believe in the elitist approach that God is only going to save "good" Roman Catholics and/or Protestants and condemn the vast majority of eaters of unclean meats to fry in torment forever are in clear error.
Now, let's consider something that Elijah taught:
21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." (1 Kings 18:21)
While that related to an event thousands of years ago, the time will come during the Great White Throne judgment when the bulk of humanity will have to truly decide.
As far as Elijah goes, Jesus taught:
11 ... Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things. (Matthew 17:11)
People need to decide if they wish to be true Philadelphian Christians now or not.
As far as restoring goes, the Greek word here is ἀποκαταστήσει (transliterated as apokatasteései) which is very similar to the Greek word ἀποκαταστάστεως (apokatastasis).
It would seem, since Peter said all the prophets spoke of apokatastasis, that that more knowledge of was prophesied to be restored.
Now notice something related to Elisha:
19 Then the men of the city said to Elisha, "Please notice, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees; but the water is bad, and the ground barren."
20 And he said, "Bring me a new bowl, and put salt in it." So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the source of the water, and cast in the salt there, and said, "Thus says the Lord: 'I have healed this water; from it there shall be no more death or barrenness.'" 22 So the water remains healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha which he spoke. (2 Kings 2:19-22)
This incident was recorded in the Bible, not just as a miracle, but also an ante-type of what will happen in the future. In Elisha’s day people thought the water was without hope—but God had a plan. In the future, humans will no longer have to deal with death and barrenness, because Jesus said that living waters would come (John 7:37-38).
Also Revelation 21:6 shows:
6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts..."
A fountain of the water of life. Does this sound like Jesus intends that salvation will be available to all or only a relative few? Elisha's miracle of the bad water helps point to the water of life!
Lamentations 3:31-33, Jeremiah teaches that God has a plan of compassion for those He has cast off:
31 For the Lord will not cast off forever. 32 Though He causes grief, Yet He will show compassion According to the multitude of His mercies. 33 For He does not afflict willingly, Nor grieve the children of men.
He does not afflict willingly, but according to His mercies for the plan which will allow Him to show the most possible compassion.
Jeremiah 16:19-21 shows that Jeremiah asks and then God answers that once God will cause those Gentiles who inherited lies to to come to Him:
19 O Lord, my strength and my fortress,
My refuge in the day of affliction,
The Gentiles shall come to You
From the ends of the earth and say,
"Surely our fathers have inherited lies,
Worthlessness and unprofitable things."
20 Will a man make gods for himself,
Which are not gods?
21 "Therefore behold, I will this once cause them to know,
I will cause them to know
My hand and My might;
And they shall know that My name is the LORD.
God will at that time (after "the day of affliction") cause them to know Him. This simply has not yet happened, but will. And notice that this will be a time that people will realize that they have relied on false religious ideas of others (often called traditions). An article of related interest may be Tradition and Scripture: From the Bible and Church Writings.
Notice what the Book of Jeremiah 31:33-34 teaches:
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.
Notice that ‘after those days’ God is going to put His law in their minds and write it in their heart. This has simply not happened with physical Israel and is referring to a later time.
The prophets did understand that God had a plan to offer salvation to most at a later time than this age.
Some act like it is not fair to call some now and others later.
Well, the God I worship is fair and does have a plan for those who are not called in this age. Notice that God says in Ezekiel 18:25-32 that some disagree, but that His ways are fair:
25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!
Saving those who are currently lost is part of God's plan as Ezekiel 34:11-16 shows:
11 'For thus says the Lord God: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. 13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord God. 16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."
Those who think their hope is cut off will have an opportunity.
Notice what Ezekiel 37:1-14 teaches:
1 The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.
3 And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" So I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know."
4 Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
5 Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: "Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.
6 I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD." ' "
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.
9 Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live." ' "
10 So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.
11 Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, 'Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!'
12 "Therefore prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13 Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.
14 I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken it and performed it," says the LORD.' "
Notice that these are people who are dead, who are falsely believed that because they are lost they have no hope, and who are falsely believed to be cut off. Notice that they will be resurrected, have hope, and shall know that the LORD is God! Because these people claim that there hope is cut off, these are clearly not converted, Spirit-filled, believers--hence this has to do with is sometimes referred to as the second resurrection.
In Daniel 2:44, Daniel the prophet states:
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
The kingdom of God will be over all and last forever.
Notice Daniel 12:2-4:
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase"
The above passage shows that death is like sleep. It also refers to a resurrection to everlasting life and resurrection to shame and to everlasting contempt. Notice that those who are wise will shine and still, after they shall awake, turn many to righteousness. Since they cannot turn those who are raised to everlasting contempt to life, who are they turning to life?
Obviously, those who were dead and not dead in Christ are those that are among the many that are turned to righteousness. Thus, the Bible clearly shows that there is a future offer of salvation past this current life and many will be turned to righteousness--many are then converted.
The firstfruits are those who are called now, they are part of an earlier rain, but a latter rain will come per Hosea and Joel:
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
23 Be glad, O children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given the early rain for your vindication; he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before. (Joel 2:23, ESV)
This rain that will come in the future represents a harvest according to James 5:7:
7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain.
Those not called now will be called later and we look forward to that time.
Joel pointed out that God relents of punishment for those who will turn to Him:
12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” 13 So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm. (Joel 2:12-13)
Joel wrote that God made a promises to:
28 pour out My Spirit on all flesh; (Joel 2:28)
Since God has not done that, He must therefore have to do that after some type of resurrection of all flesh where people will have an opportunity to receive God's Spirit!
11 “On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the Lord who does this thing. (Amos 9:11-12)
The above time is for the future and has not happened yet.
17 “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, And there shall be holiness; (Obadiah 17)
Again, that has not happened yet, but will in a time of restoration.
2 … You are a gracious and merciful God (Jonah 4:2)
And that mercy “triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13).
Micah was inspired to write:
18 Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. 19 He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
Micah understood that God was forgiving.
Is your God going to pardon iniquity for a few or nearly all of the guilty?
My God will pardon the sins of many.
Nahum 1:12 teaches:
12 Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no more;
Thus, this prophetic book is teachings that there is not a permanent torturing affliction.
This is part of apocatastasis.
Habakkuk wrote that eventually all will have knowledge of God:
13 Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? 14 For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:13-14)
The fact that it is of God that they now do not know, clearly supports that God will offer salvation when He decides.
Zephaniah 3:8-15 teaches:
8 "Therefore wait for Me," says the LORD,"Until the day I rise up for plunder; My determination is to gather the nations To My assembly of kingdoms, To pour on them My indignation, All my fierce anger; All the earth shall be devoured With the fire of My jealousy.
9 "For then I will restore to the peoples a pure language, That they all may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him with one accord. 10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, The daughter of My dispersed ones, Shall bring My offering. 11 In that day you shall not be shamed for any of your deeds In which you transgress against Me; For then I will take away from your midst Those who rejoice in your pride, And you shall no longer be haughty In My holy mountain. 12 I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the LORD. 13 The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; For they shall feed their flocks and lie down, And no one shall make them afraid."
14 Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! 15 The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see disaster no more.
Notice that although affliction is coming, it will not last. Lies and haughtiness will no longer exist. There will be no more deceit. Even a restoration of languages is coming!
Notice something from the Old and New Testaments:
6 “For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; 7 and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:6-7)
3 “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! 4 Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” (Revelation 15:3-4)
See that all the nations shall come and worship God. All nations have NOT already done so.
Zechariah 10:6 shows:
6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside;
How can people be as though they were not cast aside if they will not have an opportunity for salvation? (These clearly include those who were cast off in Hosea 9:16-17.)
Notice what will happen in the lands of the Gentiles:
11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; In every place incense shall be offered to My name, And a pure offering; For My name shall be great among the nations, Says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 1:11)
This prophecy has NOT been fulfilled. It must happen in an age to come!
Matthew 11:20-26, notice what Jesus stated:
20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent: 21 "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. 23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you."
25 At that time Jesus answered and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. 26 Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight."
Notice the Jesus clearly teaches that some, like Sodom, will still have a chance and that this knowledge is hidden to many of the wise of this world.
Luke 2:10, states:
10 Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
There is to be good tidings for ALL PEOPLE. All will have an opportunity for salvation!
John the Baptist stated the following:
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:6)
John 3:16-17, Jesus said:
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
Notice that love is the motivator for God and this lead Him to send His Son to die so that the world may not be condemned but may be saved. This means that ALL MIGHT be saved (not that all will be saved). All will have an opportunity. God's plan is NOT limited to a few elect like many groups teach. Do you believe that Jesus died for the world or only a relative few? Would not a God of love have a plan that would result in nearly everyone being saved through the sacrifice of His Son?
John records this about the Samaritans:
42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)
This shows that even the Samaritans, a group typically despised by the Jews, knew enough from the prophetic Hebrew scriptures to understand that the Christ was to be Savior of the world, not just a select few.
In John 7:37-38, Jesus taught:
37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
Jesus is teaching that the time will come when all can come and drink. This day is coming. (For more details, see The Feast of Tabernacles: A Time for Christians? Is this pilgrimage holy day still valid? Does it teach anything relevant for today's Christians? What is the Last Great Day? What do these days teach?)
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Paul teaches:
14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Notice that Paul clearly teaches that Jesus has died for all. Not a few elect (like the Calvinists teach), not the relative few that accept Christ in this age (as most Protestant/Baptist/Evangelicals teach), not a minority of humankind (as most Roman Catholics teach).
For Jesus to die for all, ALL must have an opportunity for salvation. And since God is all knowing, certainly He knows how to have a plan of salvation where the most possible will be saved.
2 Peter 3:9, Peter explains:
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Jude 20-21 teaches:
20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Notice that Jude is teaching that is the love of God that brings eternal life. Not that most are doomed to fry in torment forever.
The overwhelming theme of the Bible is that “God is love,” and that because of His love He sent His Son, Jesus, so that humans would have the opportunity for salvation through Him.
In 1 John 4:8-11, 16, John wrote:
8 ... God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another ... 16 God is love ...
The overwhelming theme of the Bible is that God loves us and that God has a plan for us (cf. Isaiah 46:10-11; Philippians 1:6).
Many who profess Christianity accept this, but most still do not understand the truth about God’s plan.
Would not a God of love have a plan that results in nearly all humans being saved as opposed to most being permanently lost?
Love, salvation, and making eternity better are what God’s plan is all about.
19 Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)
So, this article has briefly touched on quotes and citations of many biblical prophets including Enoch, Abraham, Job, Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Obadiah, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Jude, Paul, and Jesus Himself.
But this article has left out hundreds of other scriptures and other references on this topic. For more details, check out the following free online book: Universal OFFER of Salvation, Apokatastasis: Can God save the lost in an age to come? Hundreds of scriptures reveal God’s plan of salvation.
Here is a link to a directly related sermon: ‘By the Mouth of All His Holy Prophets’.
Other related sermon messages are also available:
Thiel B. All the Prophets Spoke of Apocatastasis. COGwriter (c) 2019 https://www.cogwriter.com/apocatastasis-all-prophets.htm 2019 0822
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