Universal Salvation - textsandtraditionsunit3


‘He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry he has given every good thing and the rich he has sent empty away’ (1:52)


Discrimination was not just a persistent force it was a state of being

To understand the true enormity of Luke’s message, one must fully understand the state of complete discrimination that Israel existed in.

Discrimination is born from prejudice and arrogance and these flaws were a subconscious foundation of Jewish culture and mentality

The Jews had a perceived belief that they were a race better than any other- this was mainly due to the arrogance born from being labelled the

Chosen race by God. This title led the Jews to believe they were better than any race and this perceived superiority manifested itself in the form of discrimination

It is important to understand the basis of the Jews ‘percieved superiority’.

 Although God had already designated himself as guardian of the Jews through his covenant with Abraham. He did not designate the Jews as

‘His people’ until the time of Moses. At first the Jews were humble about having Yahweh as their God, they had just witnessed Him singlehandedly defeat an entire civilization (Egyptians) and were in awe of his power

After a time the age of David dawned and the Jews became the most powerful civilization in the world

After the fall of Israel, the time of The Exile occurred and this served to humble the now arrogant Jews.

 At the time of Jesus it was roughly 550 years after The Exile and although the

Romans occupied Israel it was a relatively relaxed rule and by and large the

Jews were allowed to govern themselves. The people did not remember the humbling experiences of their enslavement in Egypt and Babylon, they only remembered the glory stories; that their God delivered them from two powerful civilizations, loved them so much he provided them a blueprint on how to live their lives and watched over them. This utter love and respect of

God led to three things.

1. A great affection for God

2. It led them to jealously guard God from other races

3. It gave them a ‘perceived superiority’ over those who did not share their


And hence the discrimination began

 For you are a people holy to the LORD your

God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth

 Male

 Practicing Jew

 Not of Samaria

 100% Healthy

If you did not tick all these boxes you were an outcast and therefore discriminated against.

Women, Gentiles, Lepers and even

Samaritans were looked down upon

He [the Jew] should not press his fellow [Jew] for payment

...the foreigner [Gentile] you may press for payment."Deuteronomy 15: 2-3

You must not make your brother pay interest, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything on which one may claim interest. You may make a foreigner

[Gentile] pay interest but your brother [fellow Jew] you must not make pay interest.Deuteronomy 23: 19-20

And strangers [Gentiles] shall stand and feed your flocks, strangers shall be your plowmen and vinedressers; but you shall be called the priests of the LORD, men shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory.Isaiah 61:5-6

Universal Salvation was “the teaching that

God, through the atonement of Jesus, will ultimately bring reconciliation between God and all people throughout history. This reconciliation will occur regardless of whether they have trusted in or rejected Jesus as saviour during their lifetime.”

Or more simply as Luke states- All flesh shall

see the salvation of God. --Luke.3:6

Biblically Universal Salvation was the message that God was available to all, Gentile or Jew.

After spending the timeline of the Old

Testament creating and shaping ‘His’ people,

God shifted his gaze globally and opened his arms to the marginalized through the preaching of Jesus and welcomed them to worship him openly without fear of retribution

PSALM 145:3-17:

“Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.

They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to ALL; he has compassion on ALL he has made.

ALL you have made will praise you, O LORD; your saints will extol you. They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that ALL men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward ALL he has made. The LORD upholds ALL those who fall and lifts up ALL who are bowed down. The eyes of ALL look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of EVERY living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward ALL he has made.”

I believe this commentary sums this Psalm up perfectly

“Wow! This passage says it ALL! God has compassion on ALL he has made. He is loving toward ALL He has made. He upholds ALL who fall.”

God promises to love, protect and look after

ALL: everyone, not just His chosen people

As succinctly as possible this is the message of Universal Salvation

Luke 6:20-26 Blessings and Woes- “Blessed are you who are poor for yours is the kingdom of God”

“When Jesus speaks the beatitudes, he is announcing to these people the happy news that they have been chosen by God to share in God’s kingdom, which will

end their hunger and exclusion” (Tannehill 1996)

The message of the beatitudes is Universal Salvation but more than that the Beatitudes offer hope to the marginalised. Jesus declares that everything will be reversed in heaven: the rich will be poor and the full will be hungry whilst the poor will be rich and hungry shall be full.

Luke 14:15-24 Parable of the Great Dinner-

”None of those who were invited will taste my dinner”

This parable is as much a warning to the Jews as it is a message of Salvation to the marginalized.

Jesus warns that those who expect to be at the table of God are not guaranteed a place whilst those who thought they had no chance are told they have as much of one as their neighbour.

This parable is the promise of Salvation to all those who have faith in God and a warning to the Jews that the Lord is not just for them.

 All these texts despite being chronologically separated by hundreds of years, preach a similar message: The Kingdom of God is not just for Jews it is for everyone who places their faith in God. But also those who do not place their faith in God, Jew or Gentile, will not be allowed to sit at the table of God.

Luke’s audience were Gentiles, non-Jews, until Luke the wide held belief was that the Jewish God was only for Jews.

If Luke did not successfully convey the message of Universal Salvation as preached by Jesus acting as the mouthpiece of God then the message of his Gospel would be rendered mute, and his work reduced to merely a well written piece of literature.

Conversely if the Gentiles bought into the idea of Universalism then

Jesus mission was accomplished.

Jesus was sent to Earth as a messenger of God to preach his word but most importantly, crush the misconception that His Father was only to be worshipped by Jews.

Luke used miracle stories and parables to convey the message of


The significance of Universal Salvation to Jesus and Luke's communities is one and the same. Both wished to spread the word of God and make it clear that ALL should place their faith in Yahweh and those who did not would not be recognized by God

Biblical Quotes Regarding Israelite/Jewish

Supremacy, May 2011. Retrieved May 5 2011, from http://www.truthbeknown.com/judaismquotes.htm

The Great Debate:Universal Salvation or Calvinism,

June 2007. Retrieved May 5 2011, from http://richardwaynegarganta.com/debate/

Old Testament Scriptures

Supporting Universal Salvation, 2009. Retrieved May 5

2011, from http://www.heavenandhellpage.com/oldtestament.html

Tannehill, Robert 1996, LUKE, Abingdon Press,