Is This the Only Day of Salvation? - Part II

by Charles E. Bryce

Is This The Only Day of Salvation? Part II

Today we are going to pick up with part 2 of the subject we covered last time, which was “Is this the Only Day of Salvation?” In other words, is God trying to save the world now?

Let’s begin by turning to John 6:44. This is a key verse in understanding this entire subject. Notice what Jesus Christ said. Please get your Bible and follow along and let’s look at God’s Word and let’s prove everything from scripture, then we know we are right.

It says here in John 6:44,

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

See, the Bible says what it means and means what it says. And what did Jesus Christ say here?

Nobody, no one, can come unto me.

44 — except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

In other words, any individual who comes to salvation must be personally called by the Father in heaven, must have their mind opened by the Father in heaven. Otherwise, they cannot understand, they cannot come to Christ. They cannot be saved.

Let’s notice right here in the same chapter of John 6:65. This is repeated, yet once again, verse 65.

65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man —


65 — can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

That’s what it means. Now what about the millions and even billions of people who have never even heard of Jesus Christ, much less have been given an opportunity to come to Jesus Christ through the calling of the Father? Well, most people who have ever lived never had that opportunity. And yet some have. And they have taken that opportunity. And they are in the process of moving toward salvation at the resurrection. So why did God give a few people, relatively few people, that opportunity and yet the vast majority He did not give that opportunity?

We saw last time that God is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t play favorites. He doesn’t show partiality. So if some have had that opportunity to have their mind opened and be given salvation at the resurrection when Christ comes again, what about the rest who haven’t been given that opportunity? When will they be given that opportunity?

In order to be saved, we must be called by God. Our minds must be opened by Him as we’ve just read. And He’s done that to a comparatively few people early—the first fruit harvest, spiritually speaking, the first–fruit–harvest.

Let’s read about that over here in 1 Corinthians 1:26. It talks about that calling. It doesn’t make anyone better just because they’ve been called earlier, than those who are going to be called later. It just means that God knows when a person is ready to have their mind opened. And He calls them when they are at the best time in their life to understand. And only God knows that.

Then those who are called early have a big responsibility placed on their shoulders: to be preparing to be kings and priests later on, and teachers to help teach those who are called later, and to do the work that God has given His church to do in this end time.

Notice here in 1 Corinthians 1:26. Paul wrote:

26 For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

The standards here are not those of analyzing people for their worth. The standards mentioned here are the standards used by the world regarding who is wise, who is noble, who is foolish. But in God’s sight, those He calls are very precious. He didn’t call a bunch of stumbling idiots. But He called people who were not famous, people who were not well connected, people who were unknown in this world, and yet precious in His sight.

26 For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world —

Not of God, but of the world, they are viewed as being foolish.

27 — to confound the wise; —

The wise of this world, but not wise in God’s sight.

27 — and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:

And why does He do this?

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

30 But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Verse 31, a very important verse.

31 That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Eternal.

So He calls people who can come to realize they are nobody. And then when God does great things through them, they give Him all the credit and all the glory and all the honor, because He’s the One who did it.

But if He called people who are the high and mighty and He did great things through them, they would take the credit themselves. So we have to be called in order to understand the truth and in order to move forward towards salvation. And not many wise people are called today, according to the standards of this world.

But now, what about other people being called? I want to read from the book, Mystery of the Ages written by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong. He says it just about as well as it can be said regarding this subject of, is this the only day of salvation? and is God trying to save the world now?

I want to read from this wonderful book, Mystery of the Ages, by Mr. Armstrong, starting on page 215, breaking into a paragraph here: “A professed Christianity believes precisely the opposite”—regarding the truth about salvation.

“This false Christianity teaches that God is calling and trying to save everybody in this present time. If that were so, then Satan is certainly winning a great victory over God. For the overwhelming majority of mankind know little or nothing about Christ or salvation through him.”

And yet the Bible says, as we have already gone into in part 1 of this series, there is no other name under heaven whereby men can be saved other than the name of Jesus Christ. But most people have never known about that name. So therefore, when will they know about that name and be given the opportunity to know about that name? That’s the point Mr. Armstrong was making right here.

Of course, we know that God wins every battle so He is not going to lose a battle to Satan regarding who is going to be saved and who is not going to be saved. He is going to win that battle. He has a plan of salvation that does everything in the right order. Right now, He is not trying to save the world. People are not saved or lost. They are simply not called right now, except for a few.

Now I’ll continue on page 215 of this book: “God’s master plan calls for offering salvation and eternal life to every person ever born, but his plan calls for doing that in a time-order.”, Mr. Armstrong writes.

“Those called out of the world and into the Church at this time are called for a specific purpose and a specific work. This specific work was to make possible the spiritual training to aid in the conversion of humanity as a whole. They are called at a time when they are persecuted and fought against by Satan and by the rest of the world. The rest of the world will be called at a time when Satan is removed and they are aided and helped by Christ and the saints then made immortal in the kingdom of God.”

Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving world and the professing traditional “Christianity” to this fact.

You can read that in 2 Corinthians 4:4.

“Satan has deceived the entire world, including a professing traditional ‘Christianity’.”

You can read that in Revelation 12:9.

Mr. Armstrong concludes by saying this:

“Neither professing Christians nor their scholarly theologian leaders today comprehend the major purposes for which Jesus Christ came!”

And so, Mr. Armstrong, in a very cogent way explains the core understanding of this subject regarding, is this the only day of salvation?

I want to turn to a particular scripture on that subject and clarify it. Let’s go over here to 2 Corinthians 6:2. Paul wrote:

2 (For he says, I have heard you in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured you: —

Or helped you.

2 — behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Now that’s quoting a scripture in Isaiah 49. So to really understand what that means, we have to let the Bible interpret the Bible. We cannot interpret the Bible. The Bible must interpret itself, if we are going to get the true meaning.

So, the scripture that was quoted is Isaiah 49:8. When we turn there, you see the proper translation. And then that clarifies 2 Corinthians 6:2. It’s not talking about the day of salvation. It’s talking about a day of salvation—just like it says in the beginning sentence— “in a time accepted.”

But let’s just see this clarification by turning over here to Isaiah 49:8. Keep in mind now this is the verse that was quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:2. Let’s see what this verse says in Isaiah 49:8. It says:

8 Thus says the Eternal, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

It is a day of salvation today for those that God has called early. It will be the day of salvation for all humanity later.

Now, that plan of salvation for all humanity to have their opportunity, all who have ever lived, that plan involves 3 general resurrections to its ultimate fulfillment, spread out over a long period of time, 1,100 years to be exact.

Now let’s talk about the first resurrection for the early harvest, the first fruits that God calls early to carry out His work and to be in training to teach others later when they are given their opportunity.

Let’s turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Notice here, it talks about the first resurrection. It says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13. Paul writes:

13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, —

Which just means dead.

13 — that you sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

You know, death is sad and death can be traumatic. But really, it’s not permanent. It’s not final. It’s actually an interruption. When an individual dies, they are dead. They have no thoughts. They don’t know anything. Their thoughts perish and they return to the dust. But that’s not the end. Their next waking moment will be the resurrection. And if they have been called and chosen and yielded to God and walked with God all their life, it will be a resurrection to eternal life. That’s what he’s talking about here.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not precede them which are asleep.

Or dead.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Of course, the Lord will not continue in the clouds. He then descends to the Mount of Olives and sets up the Kingdom of God. And we will descend with Him and help set up that Kingdom of God for 1,000 years. This is the first resurrection. This is the resurrection to eternal life of those who have endured in God’s way and died obeying Jesus Christ.

Let’s read a little bit about that right over here in Revelation 20. Now, Mr. Armstrong mentioned in this particular quote from the Mystery of the Ages that Satan would not be around when mankind begins to be given their opportunity for salvation. Let’s read that right here in Revelation 20:1.

1 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.

2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

So he is out of commission. He and his demons are rendered null and void. They are shut up and bound and absolutely shut down for a thousand years. They cannot do anything. They cannot say anything. They cannot have any influence over anything or anybody. They are no longer a factor for a thousand years.

Now, that’s one of the times when a vast number of humanity will be given their opportunity for salvation. Let’s just continue here. It says, verse 4.

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: —

These are the ones who were resurrected in the first resurrection.

4 — and I saw the souls —

Or lives.

4 — of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; —

And what happened to them in the first resurrection?

4 — and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. —

That’s a parenthetical phrase. You can put a parenthesis in front of the word “but” and a parenthesis behind the word “finished.” That is a parenthetical phrase that should be tied in with the last part of verse 4.

5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.

So when are they going to live? They are going to be resurrected at the end of the thousand years. But what is it referring to when it says:

4 — and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

It is referring to this sentence.

5 — This is the first resurrection.

6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

The reason the second death has no power is because they are now spirit beings in the family and government of God—in the Kingdom of God.

Now, what does this mean in terms of humanity and in terms of those who have never had an opportunity? When Christ comes again, there is going to be tremendous destruction because the nations are going to fight against Him—the battle of Armageddon. And of course, He is going to win. And many people will be slaughtered. But there will be many people who are still left alive physically.

They are going to live over into this millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and they are going to be healed. And they are going to have their minds opened, and they are going to be taught the truth. And so for one thousand years, the population on this earth of physical human beings will begin to multiply and replenish the earth.

People will have children and the parents will grow old and die, and their children will have children and so on. And the cycle of life will continue and get better and better and better and more abundant and more wonderful throughout the entire millennial reign of Jesus Christ for one thousand years. And they will have their minds opened to the truth. And now they will make a choice, over a period of time, as to which way they are going to go with this precious life they have been given. Will they go God’s way or will they go against God?

That pattern will be set as they are being judged. And when their life is done, then God will be able to make the judgment. They obeyed me, they chose my way, they are going to be in my family. Or they did not obey me, they did not choose my way. They had their opportunity, their full chance (everybody gets one, nobody gets two) but they chose the wrong way, then that’s it for them.

So a big number of human beings will be given their opportunity for salvation in the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ—the millennial reign of the Kingdom of God on this earth. As the cycle of life in physical terms will continue, with people living then growing older and dying, and the children they have living, growing older, and dying. And the population increasing all the way to the end, and having their minds opened. Because as we read in the last part of this series, when you check Isaiah 11, it says, the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the ocean beds are covered with water, to paraphrase that.

So everybody will understand the truth and everybody will have their minds opened. And everybody will have their chance, who lives in the thousand year period.

But what about those who do not live in that thousand year period? Which in actual fact is the greatest number of human beings. The greatest number of human beings since Adam and Eve will live and die and never have the opportunity for salvation. And that would not be a chance for them in the millennium, because they are not going to be resurrected at the beginning of the millennium. They are still going to be in their graves.

Now, we read right here in verse 6 about the first resurrection. Well that must mean there is more than one, otherwise why would it say the first resurrection?

I mean, if you and I were trying to go see somebody and we were told it is the first house on the right down that street. Wouldn’t that tell you that there are more houses than one? Otherwise, the directions would simply say, it is the only house on that street. But since the directions would say, it is the first house on that street. That means there is more than one house.

Well it says here in verse 6.

6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: —

Well that means there are more resurrections than one. There are more resurrections than one, because there is what we might term, for clarity sake, the second resurrection and the third resurrection. And both the second and third resurrections are mentioned right here in this chapter of Revelation 20.

In fact, we often refer to 1 Corinthians 15 as the resurrection chapter. You can refer to Revelation 20 as the resurrection chapter as well. Because it mentions the first resurrection and the second resurrection and the third resurrection right here in the same chapter.

Let’s notice over here in Revelation 20:11. John in vision, under inspiration of God, says:

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

The Great King judging from His throne, the humanity that has never heard the truth before. Some estimate 40 billion. Some say as high as 70 billion people since Adam and Eve if you mathematically start to calculate how human beings reproduce and multiply over 6,000 years.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: —

That’s the Bible. You can check the Greek on that.

12 — and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Just like we are being judged today according to our works if we’ve had our minds opened and have been given the opportunity for salvation now. They will be judged according to what they do, strengthened by God’s Holy Spirit and having their minds opened. And how will they be judged? Well, according to what the Bible says and whether or not they choose to obey or choose to rebel against it. And they will have free moral agency.

The Bible indicates that this period of time—after the millennium by the way, after the thousand year reign of Jesus Christ—this resurrection will take place (this general resurrection) and it will be a resurrection to physical life. That’s what it says.

12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; —

It says that they would be judged. This is a physical resurrection, and notice verse 13.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

So we see this is absolutely talking about a physical resurrection of people who have never had the opportunity for the truth, and now they have that opportunity to understand and to be given salvation, depending on how they live their lives in obedience to God or rebellion toward God. And the Bible indicates it’s a period of time of perhaps 100 years.

Let’s notice here in Isaiah 65. We can’t be absolutely sure about that but it certainly indicates that. Here in Isaiah 65:19. It says:

19 And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.

Verse 20, Isaiah 65 —

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that has not filled his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old; but the sinner being hundred years old shall be accursed.

In other words, he had 100 years to understand and to grow and overcome and live God’s way. And if he has decided he did not want any part of that and he wanted to go his own way, then he has had his chance and he is going to be sentenced to the lake of fire.

But it’s a physical resurrection.

21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.

And those who are in the Kingdom of God from the first resurrection will be instrumental in teaching them God’s way—and they’ve been trained to do that. And that’s one of the things that they are learning in this life right now.

Let’s notice right over here in Isaiah 30:20.

20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers:

21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.

It will be done in a loving and kind and patient way, but powerful as well, where power is needed. So that people who are resurrected back to physical life, from the life they lived before they died—and then restored and their health restored and their minds opened up. And they are now for the first time introduced to the truth about God and Jesus Christ and His word and His plan of salvation and His law and His way of life. And then they’re helped along that way until they begin to fully engage in it and live it and make choices that are right and good. And therefore they will be headed toward the resurrection into the family of God of spirit beings.

Or if they choose to rebel and disobey and go the other way, the wrong way, then if that’s the way they choose, they’ll be put into the lake of fire and destroyed along with everyone else who has had that opportunity and who rejected it. And it will be a full opportunity, over a period of time. But those who determine and incorrigibly committ to rebellion against God; and they cannot be reached anymore and they don’t want to be reached anymore and they don’t want any part of God’s truth; they want to go the other way and they know they are doing the wrong thing but they want to do the wrong thing; they then will be in what we call the third resurrection, for clarity. And that is also mentioned in Revelation 20.

So let’s go there and notice what it says here in Revelation 20:14 about this third resurrection, and it says:

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

And they’re burned up. They don’t writhe and scream and yell and fry forever and ever and ever, not ever able to die. No, because they will not change and they are in the state of rebellion, they want to be in a state of rebellion and they will always be in the state of rebellion. God in His mercy and love puts them out of their misery. And then they cannot harm themselves or anyone else. So He simply burns them up and destroys them in the lake of fire.

It does not say this is the second life here in Revelation 20:14. It says this is the second death. Eternal death. Done. Never ever to have life again. And that’s because of their own doing and their own choosing. Now, you know what this means?

This means all who are alive after this third resurrection will be spirit beings in the family of God. All will be wonderful, great, glorified, magnificent spirit sons and daughters—beings in the great family of God, headed up by the Father Himself and led by the King, Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord and Master.

Let’s just notice right over here, while we are right here in this book of Revelation. Notice Revelation 21:6. Look what it says here about those who overcome and grow and change and endure to the end and choose the right way. And are resurrected into the family of God. Just notice here in Revelation 21:6.

6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

7 He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

My daughter, my child.

So everybody will have a chance to know the truth. Everybody will be given an opportunity to overcome and change and grow, through Jesus Christ who strengthens them. And therefore will be given an opportunity to be resurrected into the Kingdom of God, either in the first resurrection and also living over into the thousand year period, or for the vast majority, in the second resurrection . And then after that, those who have chosen the wrong way, they will be in the third resurrection and be burned up in the lake of fire.

Notice what verse 8 says.

8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

And so now, all who are alive are going to be spirit beings given eternal life in the family of God. And now God’s plan will be unveiled, which will involve eternal life throughout the entire universe of happiness, joy, building, productivity, challenge and glorious, tremendous fulfillment according to God’s way, God’s Word, and God’s plan.

This is Charles Bryce with the Enduring Church of God.

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