Jesus Draws All Men to Himself, Not All Individuals

In John 12:32, Jesus says that his death on the cross will have an astounding saving effect: “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

This verse is sometimes mistakenly interpreted to mean that Jesus draws all individuals to himself.  John’s Gospel, however, will not permit that interpretation.  In John 6, Jesus says, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (6:37), and also, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (6:44).

In John 6:37 and 6:44, both verses describe people “coming” to Jesus, which is synonymous with “believing” in him (see the parallelism in 6:35 that shows how “coming” to Jesus and “believing” in him are equivalent phrases).

Also in both verses, Jesus speaks about the same people with the phrases “all that the Father gives me” and “the Father who sent me draws him.”  Those who are given are those who are drawn.  Since John 6:37 implies that not every individual is given, we can confidently say that not every individual is drawn.

In John 6, those who are “drawn” are saved.  If 12:32 means that every individual is drawn, then we must affirm universalism (the teaching that every individual will eventually be saved by God).  But since Scripture does not teach the salvation of every individual, we must reject an individualistic interpretation of 12:32.

If not every individual is drawn to Jesus, though, then what does he mean in 12:32, “I…will draw all men to myself”?

Interpreting “all men” in an individualistic way is not the correct, or the only, way to view those two words.  The words should be interpreted this way: “Jesus draws people to him regardless of ethnic distinction.”

This interpretation is strengthened and supported in three places:

(1) In John 12:9 and 12:12, Jews approach Jesus with interest in him as the Messiah, mainly because of his recent miracle in raising Lazarus (11:43, 45; 12:9-11, 17-18).  And in 12:20, some Gentiles go to Jesus as well.  John 12, then, portrays both Jews and Gentiles going to Jesus.

(2) In John 10:16, Jesus promised that he would have one flock, comprised of Jews and Gentiles.  The Gentiles are those “other sheep that are not of this sheep pen.”  Jesus, the Good Shepherd (10:11), would call both Jews and Gentiles to salvation.

(3) In John 11:51-52, the narrator says that “Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one.”  The “scattered children of God” are the elect Gentiles who will be part of the people of God through faith in Jesus.

John 10, 11, and 12 all prepare us for Jesus’ statement in 12:32: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth [=death on a cross], will draw [=save] all men [=people who are Jews and Gentiles] to myself.”

Jesus indeed draws “all men,” not because every individual is drawn but because sinners are drawn without bias to their ethnic distinction.  Jesus not only came for Jews, he came for Gentiles.  He not only came for the Jewish nation, he came to give himself for every nation!

John 12:32 teaches that people from every nation will be saved (Rev 5:9).


5 thoughts on “Jesus Draws All Men to Himself, Not All Individuals

  1. I guess sin is too strong for God to eventually save all, man’s will is actually stronger than God’s(and is a supreme god) and God will not be all in all, as the scripture clearly points out in 1 Corinthians 15:28.

    If Jesus does NOT save ALL, He is a failure. His love and mercy endures forever. That means after even after death. Jesus will deal with death and destroy it in the lake of fire. How does the carnal mind so twist something so amazing and make it into eternal punishment. You are believing a pagan Catholic doctrine of the 4th century. I challenge you to study the early church fathers and you will not find this atrocity and mutilation of God’s Holy word.

    Those who believe in this life are a firstfruit(a tithe, downpayment on the whole balance that God owns)as he explains in 1 Corinthians 15:23, Ephesians 1:12 to display the power and glory of God to those later who will be saved. There are shadows of this throughout the whole of the OT.

    You will eventually receive revelation that God has indeed saved all, all men and flesh died with Christ on that cross and all men will live with God in the Spirit(take a look at 1 Peter 3:19 and 4:6). His mercy isn’t limited to this life but His mercy endures forever and definitely into the parent realm outside the gross physical realm. God bless you, my brother, as you study to show yourself approved.

    God will save all. Billions will enter the lake of fire(purging carnality and unbelief) but the whole world has been reconciled through the First and Last, Beginning and End. And the End is Christ defeating ALL Death and infusing LIFE to all. There is no way to make any sense out of Paul’s 1 Corinthians 15 writing without Jesus doing this. Religion kills but the Spirit brings life and reconciliation.

    • Amen, Dennis. Jesus will draw ALL men (every individual) to Him, not JUST those “who believe now”.

      Paul, by inspiration of the holy spirit, says that EVERY KNEE will eventually bow and CONFESS Jesus as their Lord. This is because Jesus “IS the savior of ALL men, especially [not exclusively] of those that believe”.

      Eventually, every individual will “believe”…”as the sands of the seashore”!

      • Dennis and Jeremy,

        Phil 2:10-11 means that everyone will indeed acknowledge the lordship of Jesus, but it by no means implies that everyone will be saved. I simply point you to 2 Thess 1:8-10. Not everyone will be saved. John 3:16 teaches that if you don’t believe in Christ, you will perish.

        To insist that John 12 teaches the salvation of all men is to violate the context of that chapter, which focuses on the inclusion of both Jews and Gentiles as the meaning of “all men.”

        In Revelation 20:14, Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire, as were everyone whose name was not in the book of life (20:15), and this lake of fire is not destruction for a temporary time. There is eternal punishment. Revelation 22:15 teaches that there are people who are excluded from the New Heavens and New Earth. So Jesus teaches that not everyone will be saved in the end and enjoy the blessing of fellowship with God. Rather, unbelievers will experience his righteous wrath for their unbelief.

        In 1 Cor 15, Paul focuses on the resurrection of believers. Jesus’ resurrection was the firstfruits of those who would be raised in him (15:20). Death is defeated at the resurrection of the saints (15:26, 54-55). These facts do not exclude the previous promises of judgment of the unbelievers seen in Rev 20 and 22.

        Thanks for reading, guys, but we have serious disagreements on these points. Blessings to both of you as we all seek to study the Bible in dependence on the Spirit for the sake of knowing God through his Son.

  2. greetings the the Name of YAHUAH (the LORD). Y’shua draws ALL just as the scripture plainly says; however not all eat of Him. how do you explain judas the traitor in your reckoning of: the all = the saved? judas was clearly drawn to Messiah, but then chose against Him (judas chose death, not life). many will also make this choice, but all will have a choice to make.. if they are not drawn by the Father to the place where they must make a choice, then He would never be justified in condemning them to death. your theology, in this case, makes YAH out to be unjust. our Almighty One is eternally just. glory to YAH, halleluyah!!

    peace and love in His service.

    • Thanks for your note. In John 6, “coming to Jesus” and “being drawn” result in salvation, and the same phrasing appears in John 12. According to John’s Gospel, those that believe have been drawn, and all that the Father has given to the Son will come. See, again, John 6.

      Nowhere in John does it say Judas was drawn, so he bears no relevance to how John uses the “drawing” language.

      Furthermore, God’s basis for condemning sinners is their sin. God is not unjust because he always has a basis to righteously judge sinners: their wickedness. This is why even though people die everyday without hearing about Jesus, God is still just to condemn them.

      Not all are drawn, and God is not without a basis to judge those not drawn. Those not drawn are sinners, and on that basis they face his wrath.

      Grace and peace to you!

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