The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Does "all" in John 12:32 refer to drawing all God's wrath?


I was wondering what everyone’s thoughts were regarding the view that pantas refers to all nationalities/ethnic groups (i.e., both Jews and Gentiles) as opposed to every person without exception. This is the view I held when I was a Calvinist, and is thought to derive its strength from the fact that, in the immediate context, John tells us that there were some Greeks who came to Philip and requested to see Jesus, which could thus make Jesus’ words a foreshadowing of the inclusion of non-Jews into the New Covenant church (which he seems to do elsewhere - e.g., John 10:16). While I think this view is possible, I’m inclined to see it as being correct only in what it affirms, and not in what it denies. While it’s true that Christ’s death tore down the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile, and opened up the way for people from all nationalities and ethnic groups to become members of Christ’s body (e.g., Eph 2:11-22) - and that, consequently, Jesus’ drawing all people to himself cannot mean less than this - I think there is still reason to understand that it means much more. As has been noted, John earlier had Jesus mentioning the Father drawing certain people to himself (with the implication being that not all people were being drawn by the Father at this time). But Jesus’ words in 12:32 seem to stand as a contrast to what he said earlier about the limited, selective drawing of some by the Father. But I suppose that even this contrast could be understood as a Jew only/Jew and Gentile contrast, without necessarily being understood in an all-inclusive sense.



Thank you for your very thorough and respectful response. Below are the verses in which the word helko appears:

verses in which this word appears (8x)
Joh 6:44
…hath sent me draw him: and I…
Joh 12:32
…from the earth, will draw all men unto…
Joh 18:10
…having a sword drew it, and smote…
Joh 21:6
…were not able to draw it for the…
Joh 21:11
…went up, and drew the net to…
Act 16:19
…and Silas, and drew them into the…
Act 21:30
…took Paul, and drew him out of…
Jas 2:6
…oppress you, and draw you before the…

you said: Relatedly, at John 6:44, what is being “dragged” or drawn to Christ (by the Father this time) is not punishment upon Christ but persons. Which persons?–what is the extent? “All” {pan} that the Father has given to Him; these shall come to Him, and He shall lose none of them but rather shall raise them on the Last Day, nor shall He cast aside anyone who comes to Him.

Aaron37: Yes, I agree. John 6.44 is one of the great truths of the Bible. Mankind is so destitute that they can’t even seek God on their own. John 6.45 tells how God draws man…by the word of God. God has to draw us to Himself through the ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:7-11) by the word of God. This is why Isaiah admonishes us to “seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isa. 55:6). We can’t come to God when we get ready. We have to come while He is drawing us. This is why blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable (Mark 3.29). Once the Holy Spirit quits dealing with us, we have no hope of repentance or remorse.

John 12.31 speaks of the “Judgment of this world”. The judgment Jesus was about to endure was all of God’s wrath due to mankind. In other words, Jesus was drawing all of God’s wrath unto himself to satisfy the penalty of sin. God is not angry anymore with mankind because Jesus drew all of it unto himself…there is no more wrath to go around. The drawing here refers to Jesus absorbing all of God’s judgment for the sins of the world… not drawing all men unto himself.


Agreed - sorta! Christ did that - irrespective of the verse in question. That’s why there is no condemnation in God and explains the justice behind that surprising fact. It also explains why God is not counting mens sins against them - they’ve (our sins) have already been dealt with.



you said: It also explains why God is not counting mens sins against them - they’ve (our sins) have already been dealt with.

Aaron37: Yes, but man still has to take action and believe and receive what Jesus did for them or you will die spiritually dead.


Are we reading the same passage? Where does it say anything about the wrath of God, or Jesus “absorbing” that wrath?

He says “there will be a judging of the world” and “the prince of the world will be cast out” and Jesus will draw all to himself. I can think of a couple of different ways to understand this saying, but yours is not one.

It seems clear that the result of the judging is that Christ becomes the new ruler of all.

The context of this passage is the coming of Greeks to see Jesus. Everything he says here is his answer to being told that Greeks are seeking him. He says “shall I say ‘remove this cup from me?’ but for this reason, I have come to this hour.”

I think if you try to understand the*** whole*** passage, you will make better sense of it. As it is you are reading meanings into the passage that are not there. You appear to be interpreting the passage according to your theology, instead of letting the scripture (and the Spirit) teach you.

Try this: Drop all your man-taught ideas and just read the plain words! (It’s not easy at first, but it gets easier with practice!) :wink:




you said: It seems clear that the result of the judging is that Christ becomes the new ruler of all.

Aaron37: What do you think " Now is the judgment of this world and I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all to me" means? The world is guilty because of sin. Jesus is taking the judgment due to the world upon himself. He is paying our penalty, Sonia. Jesus was drawing all of God’s wrath unto himself to satisfy the penalty of sin.


OK - of course, and the action I see all men taking is bowing and confessing - which you should find satisfying as well.

But here, your argument for your interpretation of the verse in question runs into trouble and starts working against itself. You say ‘all’ in the verse means ‘all judgment’ was laid on Christ. Fine. But now you seem to be saying that some judgment is removed or held back or taken back for use on some sinners. So the verse really doesn’t say or, rather, mean ‘all judgment’ or ‘all men’ to you.

Let me ask you: Is God’s fire a judgment against those sinners who haven’t confessed?


Can’t you see that you’re adding your interpretation to this passage?

Where does it say “wrath”?
Where does it say “paying our penalty”?
Where does it say “drawing all of God’s wrath unto himself”?

READ THE PASSAGE!!! *and stop adding things
You’re not trying to understand what he is saying–read the passage like you’ve never heard of Christianity!!! What do the plain words say?

You are imposing your own belief system* onto* the words!!** (It’s an easy mistake to fall into–we all have to watch ourselves for it.)




you said: But here, your argument for your interpretation of the verse in question runs into trouble and starts working against itself. You say ‘all’ in the verse means ‘all judgment’ was laid on Christ. Fine. But now you seem to be saying that some judgment is removed or held back or taken back for use on some sinners. So the verse really doesn’t say or, rather, mean ‘all judgment’ or ‘all men’ to you.

Aaron37: No. Your Faith appropriates what Jesus has already provided by Grace. Let me say it this way: Faith is a positive response to what Jesus has already done by grace. If you reject it you don’t receive it.


Agreed. Now, is the confession of Christ as Lord a positive response to what Jesus has already done by grace?



Ok. Do you understand the world was guilty of sin before Jesus went to the cross? Jesus was being judged for the world’s sin. Judgment involves God’s wrath…Intense anger. All of this judgment was laid upon Christ. Have your heard of the word propitiation? Propitiation = the act of appeasing (as by acceding to the demands of) or satisfying God’s wrath. 1John 2:2 and he is our propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also of the whole world."



you said: Agreed. Now, is the confession of Christ as Lord a positive response to what Jesus has already done by grace?

Aaron37: Yes and no, because it has to come from the heart. Confessing Jesus as Lord alone does not save you. Romans 10:9 says believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and you shall be saved.

Btw, the reason you need to act and believe what Jesus did for you is because if you don’t you will die spiritually dead. No one sees heaven spiritually dead… you must be spiritually alive or born again. You don’t go to hell because of your sins…you go there because you reject Jesus and die spiritually dead.


Probably so, but writing something like ek pantas (from all people) would have clarified that an inclusion of all people groups was intended.

I think this is one of those cases where the implications are put together from comparisons with other texts; which in the long run, exegetically speaking, would be all of them I guess. :mrgreen:

So for example, I can imagine a plausible argument being made that, even if (or even though!) checking similar uses of that statement in GosJohn builds up a logical picture A, the case against A is so strong elsewhere (inside and/or outside GosJohn) that we should not in good conscience accept (A), even though this may result in more difficulties trying to figure out what this particular collection of testimony is testifying to. That would be one way to get around a universalistic interpretation of John 12:32 built from thematic comparisons of the sort I provided above. Another way, potentially, would be to provide an even tighter and more coherent joint-interpretive exegetical argument by appeal to a different set of texts (in combination with 12:32). Another way, potentially–and this might be easier in some regards than my last suggestion–would be to expand the thematic analysis such that it coherently includes the material I provided along with at least as tight and coherent a joint-interpretation exegesis of the expanded set where the result is non-universalistic.

Aaron37; I’ll look at your reply more closely after dinner. :slight_smile:


Agreed. God is not glorified by lying lips - He is Glorified by a confession from a heart filled with love for him - a true confession of Christ as Lord and Savior - just as you say.


*Aaron37, since you are possibly digging a little deeper, evidenced by your work on Jn 12:32, I am laying out a list of verses you might also want to dig into.

Here is a list of scripture references that expound on the truth of the Reconciliation of All Things. This compiled list, includes the key words in each scripture verse. Please look them up and report back with an argument for or against each scripture being a proponent of UR. We can discuss one at a time if you like. *


1:31 every - good
3:15 bruise
12:1-3 all families
13:16 dust
14:19 possessor
14:22 possessor
15:5 stars
18:18 all - nations
18:25 judge - right
22:17 stars - sand
22:18 all - nations
24:3 God - heaven - and - earth
24:60 thousands of millions
26:4 stars - all - nations
28:14 dust - all - families
32:12 seed as - sand - cannot

9:29 earth
19:5 all - earth - mine
32:13 seed as - stars

14:21 all - earth - filled
16:22 spirits - all flesh
27:16 spirits - all flesh

10:14 heaven - heaven of heavens - earth - all

2:11 God heaven - and - earth
3:11 Lord - all - earth
3:13 Lord - all - earth

14:14 devise means-not expelled

8:43 all people
8:60 all people

19:19 all - kingdoms- know

29:11-14 all

20:6 none - able - withstand

9:6 all

12:10 all mankind
33:18-24 pit - ransom

9:8 judge - righteousness
16:10 not leave - hell
24:1 earth - they
25:10 all - paths - mercy - truth
32:1-2 imputeth not
33:4-8 all
33:11-15 all
46:10 exalted - heathen
47:2 all
47:7 all
48:2 whole
50:12 world - fullness
59:13 ruleth - ends
65:2 all flesh - ends
65:5 all flesh - ends
66:3-4 enemies - submit - all
67:2 all - all
67:7 all - all
68:18 rebellious - dwell
68:31 unto
69:34 every thing
72:8 dominion - all
72:11 dominion - all
72:17 dominion - all
72:19 dominion - all
82:6 all of you
82:8 all nations
83:18 all - earth
85:1-6 forgiven - covered
86:9 all nations - worship
89:11 fullness
96:1 all - earth
97:5 Lord - whole
97:6 all see
98:3 all
98:4 all - earth
103:9-14 not always chide - father
103:19 ruleth - all
105:8 thousand generations
110:1 enemies - footstool
115:3 pleased
119:64 full - mercy
126:1-6 turn again
130:3 who - word - all
130:5 who - word - all
130:8 who - word - all
135:6 pleased
138:4 all - kings
139:7-12 there
143:1 faithfulness
145:9-17 satisfiest - all
145:21 all flesh

16:4 for - purged
16:6 for - purged

2:2-4 all nations
6:3 whole earth
9:7 zeal - perform
11:9 knowledge - cover
14:24-27 purposed
24:22 after - visited
26:29 judgements - learn
40:5 glory - all flesh
42:3-4 judgement - truth - till
45:7 evil - all
45:12-13 evil - all
45:22-25 all - every
46:10 declaring - end - pleasure
46:11 purposed - do it
49:26 all flesh
51:6 not - abolished
52:10 all - see
52:15 shall - see, shall - consider
53:6 iniquity - all
53:11 travail - satisfied
54:5 God - whole earth
54:7-8 mercies - kindness
54:13 all - taught
57:16 not contend - neither - wroth
60:5 shall come
61:11 as - so - all nations
63:17 made - err
65:1 sought - found - not called
66:18 I - gather all
66:23 all flesh

3:12 not keep anger
31:31-34 new covenant
32:27 all flesh
32:36-42 evil - good
33:22 sand - seed

3:31-32 not cast off

16:48-55 took - away - good - return (Matt 10:15; 11:23; Jude 6-7)

2:35 stone - filled
7:13-14 all people
7:27 all serve
9:14 evil - righteous - all
9:24 end of sins - reconciliation

1:10 as - sand - cannot
13:14 ransom - redeem
14:4 love - freely - turned

2:28 all flesh

4:1-5 many nations - every man
7:18-19 delighteth - mercy

2:14 knowledge - cover

2:11 all - every
3:8-9 determination - pure language

2:7 all nations

14:9 king over all

1:11 Gentiles - heathen


1:21 shall save
3:12 thoroughly
5:19 in
5:21-26 till
10:15 more tolerable
11:22-24 more tolerable
12:18 shall show
12:20 judgement unto victory
12:21 Gentiles trust
12:32 world (eon)
12:41-42 judgement - shall condemn
18:8-9 better
18:14 not the will
18:23-35 till he should pay - so likewise
22:44 enemies - footstool
23:13-35 till ye shall say

3:29 eternal (eonian)
6:11 more tolerable
9:43-37 better
9:49 every one shall
12:36 enemies - footstool

1:68 redeemed his
1:77 knowledge - remission
2:10 all people
2:14 peace - goodwill toward
2:30-31 salvation - all people
3:6 all flesh
3:17 thoroughly
6:35 kind
9:56 come - to save
10:12-14 more tolerable
11:31 queen - south
11:32 men - Ninevah
19:10 seek - save - lost
20:38 all live unto him
20:43 enemies - footstool

1:3 All things
1:9 every man
1:29 taketh away - sin
3:16 loved - world (mankind)
3:17 world - saved
4:42 Saviour of the world
5:22-23 all - honour - son
6:33 life unto - world
6:37 all - shall come
6:39 lose nothing
6:45 all taught - heard - learned - cometh
6:51 life of - world
12:32 will draw all
12:47 to save - world

1:24 knowest - all
2:17 all flesh
2:34-35 foes - thy footstool
3:21 restitution of all things
3:25-26 all - blessed - every one
4:24 made all
7:49 made all
10:15 hath cleansed
10:28 any man
10:34 no respector
10:35 every nation
10:36 Lord of all
11:9 hath cleansed
13:47 ends of the earth
14:15 made - all things
17:24-31 all
24:15 hope - just and unjust

2:5 righteous
2:6 every man
4:13-18 heir of the world - all the seed
5:6-19 ungodly - while - reconciled- free gift - all men - life
8:20-22 made subject - not willingly - shall - whole creation
8:32 for us all
8:35-39 who - neither - nor
9:9-26 purpose of God
10:12 Lord over all
10:20 found - sought me not
11:11 fall - salvation
11:12 fall - fulness
11:15 casting away - reconcilinc - world - receiving - life
11:26 all - saved
11:29 without (god’s) repentance
11:32 all - unbelief - mercy upon all
11:36 of - through - to - all things
14:10-12 all - every - every one
15:21 shall see - shall understand

3:11-15 saved - by fire
4:5 every man
5:1-5 destruction - flesh - spirit - saved
8:6 all things
10:26-28 earth - and the fullness
11:3 head - every man
11:7 man is image of God
11:12 all things of God
12:6 all in all
12:7,11 every man
15:22 for as - even so
15:23 every man
15:25 all enemies
15:26 enemy - destroyed
15:28 God - all in all
15:38-43 every seed - dishonor
15:49 as we - we shall
15:51 all be changed

5:14-21 reconciling - world - not imputing

3:8 all nations

1:4-11 purposed - gather together - all
2:5 hath quickened
2:14-16 reconcile
3:9 all - all
3:15 whole family - named
4:6 all
4:8 led captivity captive
4:10 fill all
4:13 we all

2:10-11 every
3:21 subdue all

1:16-17 all - for him
1:20 reconcile all
1:28 every man perfect
3:11 all

3:12 all

2:8 Wicked - destroyed

1:15 to save
1:18-20 may learn
2:1-6 all
4:10-11 all men - command and teach
6:13 God - quickeneth all things

1:9 hath - purposed - given - before

2:11 all men
2:14 all iniquity
3:4 toward man
3:5 regeneration - renewing
3:6 which he shed on

1:2-3 all
1:13 enemies - footstool
2:8 all - subjection
2:9 every man
2:10 all things
2:14 destroy - devil
2:17 reconciliation
3:4 built all
8:10-11 not teach - all shall know
8:12 no more
9:26 put away sin
10:10 once for all
10:17 no more
11:12 innumerable
12:10-11 chastened - profit

3:18-20 unjust - spirits - disobedient
4:6 preached - to - dead

3:9 not willing - all

2:2 propitiation - sins - whole world
3:5 take away
3:8 destroy the works
4:10 propitiation
4:14 Saviour of the world

1:6 unto (until)

1:5 washed - our sins
1:7 every eye - they - which pierced him - all
3:9 I will make - come - worship - know
4:11 all - for - pleasure
5:13 every creature
7:9-10 no man could number
10:6 created - the things
11:7-13 kill them; they - rejoice; fear fell; gave glory - God
11:15 kingdoms of - world - become
14:6 preached - to every
15:1 last - filled up
15:4 all nations
15:8 plagues - fulfilled
16:7 true and righteous - judgments
20:13 judged every man
20:14 death and hell - cast into - lake of fire - second death
21:5 all things new
22:2 healing of the nations
22:3 no more curse
22:12 my reward - to - every man
22:17 come - freely


*Note:This list was taken some years ago from Harold Lovelace’s site. *


Yep, those are the ones. (There is a different word, {suro}, that means basically the same thing, but even more forcefully.)

Not quite sure why you listed them. Certainly, in no case is the Son found to be helkoing the Father’s wrath down onto Him! But I wouldn’t deny such a thing in principle based on its lack of application in regard to one particular word. Or even two: the Son is not found to be suroing the wrath of the Father down onto Himself either. :wink: But perhaps the same idea is expressed elsewhere in other terms tantamount to having to forcefully pull that wrath down onto Him. I’ve been studying the scriptures for 30 years or so, and I don’t recall any such thing, but I learn new things every day, so…

Not that I disagree about men being unable to seek God on their own without God’s help; but 6:45 doesn’t say anything specifically about God drawing man by means of the scriptures. Nor by the Word of God. But in 12:32, the Word of God Himself says that He shall draw all persons (or all things) to Himself; and there are probably other places where the Logos/Memra of God is mentioned as being the means by which God draws all to Himself.

As a general rule, though, since the Son Himself is the Word of God (as in both the Johannine and Lukan prologues, for example–Luke’s sources were certainly not servants and eyewitnesses of the scriptures!) it is better to check first to see if the term may be referring to the Son Himself, when it is found in either the NT or the OT. (Sometimes contextually it cannot be, of course; but often it very well can be.)

Consequently, I have no problem in the least affirming that God draws man by the Word of God (also by the Spirit of God). But I suspect from your context you only (or primarily) mean the scriptures. (Certainly I agree about that, too; but I don’t put God in an evangelistic box by only or primarily restricting His witnessing activity to the scriptures.)

Or existence at all for that matter! But we could have a very large discussion over whether the Holy Spirit ever quits exhorting sinners to wash their robes in the river of life that flows from the always-open gates of the New Jerusalem, and to drink without cost, and to so obtain permission to enter the city and eat of the leaves of the tree of life. (i.e. RevJohn indicates the Spirit never quits, and expects the Bride to keep evangelizing with Him. :wink: ) I will only point out for now that neither at Mark 3:29 nor in any other account of the unpardonable sin, does the Holy Spirit quit dealing with us.

In other words, not the judgment of Jesus. :wink: Not by God anyway. He was about to be judged by the world, who ironically was about to cast out the Chief of this world. The statement is effectively the same as the parable of the landowner’s son, over in the Synoptics. (Which, by the way, would have been given not more than 24 hours prior to this scene, historically.)

But, that is beside the point. I demonstrated from the Greek text why neither {pantas} nor {panta} (whichever one was original) can be considered grammatically linked to {krisis}. Even if I accepted your version of penal substitution (which as an orthodox trinitarian theist I reject; also on exegetical grounds, not least of which is that Jesus testifies in GosJohn that the Father is always with Him and never abandons Him), your interpretation is totally at odds with the grammar of the verse in Greek. This is not something to be lightly ignored or brushed aside as irrelevant.

At best, you are totally reading this into the verses, against the grammar; not reading it out of them.

Simply repeating what you said before, without addressing why I have argued this cannot be true, is very quickly going to turn into a non-discussion.



Topic spamming Aaron37 with several dozen brief scriptural references for “discussion”, is not appropriate for this particular thread, which is supposed to be about the proper interpretation of John 12:32. Send that to him in private mail. If you want to make the list public, set up a thread for it.

(You can either remove it voluntarily or I’ll remove it later at my convenience after giving you an opportunity to do so yourself.)



It isn’t always wrong to read beliefs developed elsewhere into the scriptures. (Though I think it’s ironic that Aaron37 starts off this thread by talking about how people have “spiritualized” the word {pantas} to mean all persons. Isn’t the Bible a spiritual book, the spiritual meaning of which can only be understood by spiritual people etc? :wink: But actually people translate it that way due to Greek grammar.)

The problem in this case, aside from whether Aaron’s version of penal substitution (or any version) is correct, is that there is no way to read that idea into this verse without going totally against the Greek grammar; whereas drawing “all people” to Himself has plenty of thematic support not only in GosJohn but elsewhere. Even so, that idea could stil be fairly said to be read into the verses, too, from contextual support elsewhere.

That being said, Aaron37 isn’t doing exactly wrongly by looking around to see what {pantas} might be referring to contextually. {krisis} is nearby, and closer than the references to the Greek seekers after all. His attempt is incomplete, and fatally founders on the shoals of the grammar (as I and others have argued), but it wasn’t a bad idea to look that way. He would have done better to present it as a question for discussion, along with his argument (so far as he knew to present it), than to announce “we” were wrong about the translation. In fact, I think I’ll change the title of the thread to something more descriptively accurate.



There’s a pretty good chance, in fact, that Sonia has read this extensive commentary on the use of the term “propitiation” in the NT. Have you?

(I know I have. :mrgreen: I thought I should mention it in case you feel like replying to me as you did to Sonia. Quoting 1 John to me is going to very quickly get very technical; and it isn’t going to solve your major grammatic problem with interpreting John 12:32 the way you want to.)



you said: In other words, not the judgment of Jesus. :wink: Not by God anyway. He was about to be judged by the world, who ironically was about to cast out the Chief of this world.

Aaron37: I don’t believe this verse is talking about the world judging Jesus, but Jesus taking the worlds judgment unto himself. Here’s why:
John 12:31

Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

Jn. 12:31: There is still a future judgment of the world coming where the wicked will be separated from the righteous and cast into the lake of fire . This verse is referring to the fact that the sins of the world were about to be placed on Jesus and He would suffer our punishment (Rom. 6:23).

Jesus suffered God’s punishment upon our sins, so there is no reason we should have to suffer for them too. The price for sin has already been paid by the only one who could fully pay it and that is Jesus. All Jesus asks of us to make His redemption ours is faith in Him (Rom. 10:9).

Jn. 12:31: The only reason Satan ever had any right to become a prince or rule over us was because we yielded ourselves to him through sin (Rom. 6:16). Since Jesus “bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Pet. 2:24), Satan no longer has power or authority over those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. Satan has been “cast out” – stripped of any power he had. Now he can only deceive, and if we fall for his lies, we stop God’s blessings in our own lives.