God has a plan in your Bible that shows His love for all mankind—even for those that don’t know Jesus Christ. Discover what the scriptures say about the real first chance for all people that is coming soon.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Is it true that billions of people who live and die without accepting Jesus Christ are lost forever? If so, would that include those who never heard His name? What about babies who died before they were old enough to comprehend what it means, to accept the only name under heaven whereby one may be saved? What if their parents were Hindus, Muslims, atheists, or simply not interested in religion? Is there any hope for them or, for that matter, their parents? What about the Apostle Paul’s warning that even Satan has his ministers who appear as ministers of righteousness? As he said, some were worshiping a different Jesus, had a different spirit and a different gospel. Does this mean all of these are lost? No matter how sincere one may be, can all the differing sects and denominations, teaching very different doctrines, with radically different approaches, be right?
Are all these ignorant and deceived people lost forever? Is God fair? Does He love everyone, or only the few?
The surprising answer comes straight from the pages of the Bible, so stay with me!
Welcome to Tomorrow’s World where we open the Bible for answers to the truly big questions of life. Today I’ll be answering the questions, with all their ramifications: Does God love everyone? Is He giving everyone a fair chance? Are people who never heard of Christ lost forever?
The Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying:
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 (John 3:16).
This is likely the most quoted scripture in all the Bible, but how many understand it? How many understand that Jesus was saying that His Father loves, not just the few, but the whole world? And He went on to say:
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17).
The world is not a reference to planet Earth, but rather to the people who dwell here. But then there is that troubling scripture that tells us there is only one name under heaven whereby one can be saved. We read this in Acts, the fourth chapter. The context is the occasion where Peter called on the name of Jesus Christ to heal a crippled man. The result was that Peter and John were hauled before the council. We pick up the story beginning in verse 9:
If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole (Acts 4:9–10).
Then in verse 12, referring to the name of Jesus Christ, we read:
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
So here we have a dilemma. No matter how you count it, with this passage in mind, by any reckoning there have always been more that are “unsaved” than “saved.” Think of the billions who lived and died who never even knew of the Bible or its message. Think of the people who died in North or South America or some faraway island prior to the life of Jesus Christ.
Are these not part of the world? Are they forever lost? Is God so weak that He cannot save the world that He says He loves? Is the adversary stronger than God? If not, this leads us to the inevitable question “Is God fair?” Is He a respecter of persons? Has everyone—or will everyone—have a genuine and fair chance for the opportunity for salvation?
We had a repairman in our home one evening and we got into a discussion on this subject. He contended that if someone far away wanted to know about God, that God would reach him some way. Not only was that illogical, it’s contrary to scripture. Note what the Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 10 and verses 13 and 14.
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:13–14).
The fairness of God is a question many have struggled with. There are numerous ways theologians try to explain this conundrum, but all explanations coming from mainline Christianity miss the mark.
Why is it that clergymen and their denominations fail to see what is obvious from the Bible when it comes to the unsaved millions—many of whom never heard of Jesus? The answer is multi-faceted, but let me give you two simple biblical answers. The first is:
#1: God is not calling everyone now!
Now let me repeat that:
#1: God is not calling everyone now!
I understand that this is not what most of you have been taught, but this truth is right there in the Bible. It may come as a shock to you, but Jesus plainly tells us that only selected ones can come to Him. Read it for yourself. If you don’t have a Bible in front of you, write down these verses and check it out for yourself. As we always say here at Tomorrow’s World, don’t believe us just because we say it—believe it because you read it in your own Bible. Here it is in John 6:44:
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44).
We know that a principle is especially important when it is repeated and that is exactly what we see here. Jesus repeats this shocking truth in verse 65:
And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (John 6:65).
This is hardly the whole story, as there are numerous passages that tell us the same thing. For example, many people know that Jesus spoke a lot of parables, but how many understand WHY? What was the purpose for His parables? My Sunday school teacher thought it was to make the meaning clear to a bunch of fishermen and shepherds. Was that correct? Can we know? The answer is yes, we can know, because Jesus’ own disciples asked Him that very question. Will we believe Him? Turn to Matthew 13, beginning in verse 10:
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” (Matthew 13:10).
There’s the question. Now what is the answer? Here it is straight from the mouth of Jesus:
He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…” (Matthew 13:11).
Mark also relates the same incident and adds a few more details, so let’s pick it up in Mark 4, beginning in verse 10:
But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; lest they should turn, and their sins be forgiven them’” (Mark 4:10–12).
Jesus then explained to His disciples the Parable of the Sower. In this parable, the seeds are sown. Some fall by the wayside, others on stony ground with little soil. Some of the seeds begin growing, but are choked by weeds, and the remaining seeds fall on good ground where they sprout and produce varying amounts of the crop. Then, after relating a couple additional parables, we read Mark’s often overlooked comment in verse 34:
But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples (Mark 4:34).
As a reminder, the Bible tells us:
#1: God is not calling everyone now!
And reason number 2 is:
#2: God only gives His spirit of understanding to those who obey Him!
Preaching in the name of Jesus Christ was a dangerous business in the first century and in many parts of the world since then. On one occasion the early apostles were thrown into prison, but miraculously set free by an angel who instructed them to go back to the temple and speak the words of life. They were once again called before the Council, where we pick up the account in Acts 5, verse 27:
And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” (Acts 5:27–28).
The apostles’ response was a stinging rebuke—something the high priest and those around him were not used to. Who did these uneducated men from Galilee think they were?
But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:29–31).
Now notice this statement found in the midst of this account:
And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” When they heard this, they were furious and plotted to kill them (Acts 5:32–33).
What Peter and the others strongly intimated was that these religious leaders were NOT obeying God and were therefore not being led by God’s spirit. There is a powerful lesson in this for us. If we don’t obey God, we’ll not be given the Holy Spirit, and it is Christ living in us by the power of the Holy Spirit that opens our minds to understanding.
When the Prophet Daniel wanted to understand the timing of visions given to him, he was instructed:
Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand (Daniel 12:9–10).
Wickedness is more than substance abuse, sexual immorality, murder, and theft. All these are wickedness, but at the heart and core of wickedness is the rejection of and rebellion toward God and His will, as expressed in His law. Why is it that people cannot understand, that the New Covenant, instead of doing away with the law, makes it more binding?
Jesus did not mince words when He gave His famous Sermon on the Mount. Read it for yourself in Matthew 5, verses 17 and 18.
Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17–18).
Have heaven and earth passed away? So why do people reason around His clear statement? One tactic they use is to say the expression “all is fulfilled” means the law was done away at Christ’s crucifixion—that everything was done at that time—but does that fit the context of His statement? Not hardly. Instead of doing away with the law, He shows that He expects more of us. He holds us to a higher standard.
For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20).
He went on to give examples of what He meant. He pointed out the sixth commandment that forbids murder, but He went on to show that holding hatred in your heart is the spirit of murder. He said in verses 27 and 28:
You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:27–28).
Now is there anyone who thinks the letter of the law (avoiding the very act of adultery) is harder to keep than the spirit of the law, as explained by Jesus? Yet, we see a constant attack on the law of God by the very people who say they believe in Jesus! No wonder He chided the people of His day, as we read in Luke 6:46:
But why do you call Me “Lord, Lord,” and not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46).
The Bible is clear on the subject. Instead of doing away with the law of God, Jesus made it more binding, and by the power of His spirit, He makes it a part of our very way of life. It’s the way of godly love—true, genuine love. As it tells us in 1 John 5:3:
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).
And notice Hebrews 10:16:
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them… (Hebrews 10:16).
Let’s review our second point once again:
#2: God only gives His spirit of understanding to those who obey Him!
Now why is this so important to understand the love of God for all mankind? It explains why so many fail to understand the fairness of God, and the hope He holds out for millions who appear to be lost today.
God’s master plan is revealed in the pages of the Bible.
Sadly, human traditions have replaced the statutes of God that reveal a master plan that gives hope for the millions who never heard the name of Jesus Christ, those who died too young to accept salvation through Christ, and those who are simply deceived.
We learn from the Bible about certain Holy Days and Festivals that Jesus, His Apostles, and others observed. History also confirms that the first century Christian Church kept these days—days very different from today’s popular professing Christian holidays. Sadly, the days that Jesus kept, have been neglected, and are hardly known, even though found in the pages of the Bible.
Passover Luke 2:41; Luke 22:8, 11, 15
Feast of Unleavened Bread 1 Corinthians 5:7–8
Pentecost Acts 2; Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8
Feast of Trumpets Matt. 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 11:15
Day of Atonement Acts 27:9
Feast of Tabernacles John 7
Last Great Day John 7:37–39
Note that these are only a few of the scriptures. There are many more that the New Testament references to these days. Now for comparison sake, let’s list all the places where the following popular holidays are found in the Bible:
Does anyone see a problem here?
Easter, the name of the pagan goddess, Ishtar, is found in Acts 12:4 in the King James Version, it’s recognized as a terrible translation for the word that is rightly translated Passover. The New King James Version and all modern translations rightfully translate it as Passover.
Passover reminds us of Christ’s sacrifice given to pay the penalty of our sins. The Days of Unleavened Bread follow and show us what our response should be to that sacrifice. Notice it in 1 Corinthians 5:7–8:
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7–8).
Pentecost is next, and it reminds us that we need Christ abiding in us, writing the law of God in our hearts and minds. The Feast of Trumpets is listed next in order in Leviticus 23. Its New Testament meaning is discerned by searching the scriptures that refer to the blowing of trumpets. We discover that this Feast refers to seven trumpet plagues found in the book of Revelation, with the seventh trumpet blown introducing the return of Christ to rule over all the earth.
The Day of Atonement follows close behind and teaches us that there will never be harmony on earth so long as Satan is around. This day describes his removal from influencing mankind for 1,000 years. That thousand-year reign is pictured by what is called the Feast of Tabernacles.
The seventh and final festival in God’s plan is called The Last Great Day. And a great day it is! It looks forward to a very specific time in the future when God will resurrect to life all those who never heard the true gospel message, or if they did, they were so deceived by Satan that they couldn’t understand it. This Feast foreshadows the time when billions of people will have their first real opportunity to choose God’s way. Go to Revelation 20.
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away… (Revelation 20:11).
This is after the thousand-year reign of Christ.
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books (Revelation 20:12).
The books that are opened are the books of the Bible that have been closed to these people. Note also that the book of life is opened, not closed. Jesus referred to this time of judgment in Matthew 11:21–24:
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. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you. (Matthew 11:23–24).
Note that this is not describing a second chance but a real first chance when their minds will be opened.
Thank you for watching! Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss another Tomorrow’s World video, and if you would like a copy of our booklet, “Is This the Only Day of Salvation” (it’s free of charge), click the link in the description. See you next time.
What will happen to the billions of human beings who have never known the true God—who have never accepted any form of Christianity? Are they forever doomed to a burning hell or an eternity in outer darkness? What is the real answer to these questions?