A gentleman challenged me to answer him how I interpret the scriptures in the New Testament that state that “God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”. And he sent me quite a number of scriptures. Well this is the answer I sent him:
…The word "all" in the Bible means without distinction", " and not "without exception " or, you should know that for following Jesus you would be hated by "all" men. For example:
In Matthew our Master says: "and you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake...Logically, there would be no other Christian in the world because all would hate the disciples. Also logically, if our Lord did not exaggerate or lied or tried to spread fear among His followers, and the word all means all without exception (which is in every translation of the Bible by the way), then you and I are guilty of hating the poor followers of our Lord. Does that make sense to you?
Now I have to go back to my drawing board. I am trying to build a temple as big as the Temple in Jerusalem who could comport "all" the people from the city. That is because we read in Luke that "...early in the morning Jesus went into the Temple, and "all" the people came to Him. He sat down (sitting down was a position of authority of a teacher in the Temple, which may prove that they were inside- italics are mine-) and taught them. I want a Temple as big as that!
How about the baptismal service in Mark 1:5?What a Baptist celebration! It says that..."went out unto him "all" the land of Judea and of Jerusalem, and were baptized of him in the river of Jordan confessing their sins. Too bad Luke 7:30 disputes that stating that the Pharisees and the Lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of Him. This indicates that they were not "all" after all. (This Presbyterian Luke, always spoiling everything! Always messing up a good Baptist baptismal service!). Just when they believed that they had converted and baptized "all" the population of two cities...!
As seen above, when the Bible mentions the word “all” it means “all, without distinction” and not “all, without exception”. The difference is that without distinctionmeans, for example, all men without distinction for race, social class or background. It also means, for example when it says “hated by all men” it is saying, hated by “all” men that will be contrary to my message. Thus there is a distinguishing factor, that is “men contrary to my message.
My final appeal to common sense is to stress again that if the disciples were to be hated by all men without exception then you and I and everyone else today would be disciple hater. Otherwise Jesus would be prone to exaggerate or a complete liar! Think about it!