I Will Draw All Men

Posted in: 2006
By Tom L. Ballinger
Mar 4, 2008 - 9:06:32 PM

January 11, 2006


Jesus Christ said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die” (John 12:32-33).

“Lifted up” comes from the Greek word, “hupsoo,” which means: to elevate: exalt, or lift up.

He has not yet been “lifted up from the earth.” The phrase, “lifted up,” is not a reference to Him being nailed to the Cross and hoisted up into the air and, there, to die for the sins of the world. Rather, to be “lifted up” refers to being elevated in rank, or status, or to be exalted. Christ has been elevated in rank, or status. He has been exalted. But, mankind is unaware of it. The heavenly hosts, however, have “lifted Him up.” The hosts of the heavens are aware of His Triumphant Victory when He spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly (Col. 2:15) at His resurrection and ascension. Christ has been lifted up from the heavens, but not yet “from the earth.”

The word from is such a commonly used word that we do not readily understand its' strict meaning. It is a functional word used to indicate a starting point where physical movement begins ―a starting point in measuring, or reckoning. The point of origin of the “lifting up” of Christ will be the earth—it will be “from” the earth that He will be exalted by all of mankind.

From the Scriptures, we learn that Christ Jesus has been elevated, exalted and raised, even to God's Own Right Hand, far above all angelic beings in rank, or status, and has been given a Name that is more exalted than any other name. Not only in this age, but also in ages to come, and all things have been put under His feet (Eph.1:20-22).

The Heavenly Hosts know of this “lifting up.” The inhabitants of the earth, as yet, do not know of His exaltation. They don't know that God the Father has highly exalted Him and given Him a Name that is above every name (Phil.2:9). This “lifting up” of Christ by the Father is revealed in the Word of God.

His exaltation has not yet occurred “from the earth.” Mankind has not yet highly exalted Him. John 8:25-28 helps shed additional light on being “lifted up,” or being exalted, “Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them (the Pharisees), Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I Am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.” Christ told the Pharisees, in response to their question, “Who art thou?”― not Who He was, but when they will know Who He is. When the Son of Man shall be exalted from the earth, then shall they know Who He is? This will occur when the Kingdom of God becomes manifest in the earth. According to Philippians 2:10-11, they will have to be raised from the dead in order to know Who Christ is. However, they are not raised to live and enjoy the benefits of the Kingdom—but only to be forced to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord.

It must be pointed out, in John 8:28, that Jesus said; “then shall ye know that I Am.” In the text, we read “that I am He” The word “He” is in italics which means that the translators inserted the word “He.” We see real significance in what Jesus really said and meant. Here, He said that He was the Great “I Am.” A very subtle claim which most Christians overlook. However, the Pharisees knew what He alleged—He was Yahweh in the flesh. His assertion led many of the Pharisees to believe on Him (John 8:30).

Those who believed on Him were granted spiritual insight into Who He was. Those who did not believe on Him will have to await a future day when all men will acknowledge Who He is. The time is coming when all will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father (Phil.2:11). One day, all mankind will be forced to “lift up” the Name of Jesus Christ. This exaltation occurs when the Day of Christ is ushered in. During the dispensation of the Day of Christ, He will be “lifted up from the earth.” In plainer words, the whole of mankind, from the least to the greatest, will know Who Jesus Christ really is. What a glorious time this will be!

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” When He is elevated in the minds and hearts of all men; when He is exalted “from the earth;” He will, then, “draw all men unto” Himself. This will be the grand work of the Holy Spirit in the Day of Jesus Christ. When the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13) is ushered in, the whole world will be enlightened.

This is in harmony with many passages of Scripture. The blazing forth of the glory of God was never a mystery. The Old Testament is replete with references to the shining forth of the glory of God. “And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isa. 40:5).

When the glory of the LORD is revealed, everyone will see it together and at the same time. This is when the “lifting up” of Christ “from the earth” begins. The seeing is not only a visible sighting, but it is also a perception of Who Jesus Christ really is. “The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory” (Ps. 97:6). This is the Psalmist foretelling the great event when the world is illuminated concerning Jesus Christ.

When His “"lightenings” (Lu.17:24) enlightens the world ... and all the people shall see His glory (Ps. 97:4-6), then, and only then, will He “draw all men” unto Himself. This illumination will be world- wide, and all men will know, intuitively, Who Christ is and that He is the Beloved Son in Whom the Father is well pleased. This will be Christ's Day.

When He is “lifted up,” that is, exalted, “from the earth,” He, will indeed, “draw all men unto” Himself. To think that Christ is drawing all men, today, is foolishness. To make this “drawing” fit in today’s Spiritual Economy by saying, “He is drawing all men, without distinction of being Jew or Gentile," really stretches the clear meaning of the verse.

In order to get the sense, look at the word, “draw,” not in the sense of drawing a picture, but from the family of words, such as; draft (as, into the army), drawn ( as in, horse-drawn carriage) or “drawn from the breast” (Isa. 28:9), draught (as in, beer), or draw (as in, water from a well). These words carry with them the meaning, “to move forward by force in advance, an action which is gradual or continuous; to pull along; to drag; to cause to move by force; and to bring by compulsion” (Websters' 1828 Dictionary). Therefore, we should recognize that when Christ draws all men to Himself, they are compelled to yield to Him. They are forced to acknowledge Who He is.

During this Dispensation of the Grace, the Lord Jesus compels no-one to acknowledge, or serve Him. When the Dispensation of the Grace of God ends and the Day of Christ begins, all men will be forced, or compelled, to react as Paul so clearly states in Phil.2:10-11; “That at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.” The expression, “every knee shall bow,” is a figure of speech and is used for compulsory submission. This confession is the exaltation “from the earth.”

By no stretch of the imagination, can anyone in his right mind say that Christ is drawing all men to Himself today! Nor, is He compelling them to submission. In fact, the opposite is true. Men, without Christ, are compelled to walk after the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2).

The verse which states; “This He said signifying what death He should die” does not have to mean that the manner of death He was to die was that of crucifixion. Although, He certainly was to die on a cruel cross. We are of the opinion that what He signaled was some kind of sign indicating to His audience that His death was to be that of a Sacrifice. Indeed, His was a sacrificial death. Crucifixion was a common death for criminals in Palestine in those days. Probably, four others died on a cross the day our Lord did. The difference being; He was holy, harmless, without sin and died in the place of sinners.

When He signified what manner of death He should die, He very likely used a sign which was a common sign among the Jews for the death of a sacrificial lamb. John the Baptist had referred to Christ as “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

A dictionary definition of “signifying” is a means “to communicate to others by means of a nod, wink, gesture, sign, or signal.” Just as we understand certain signs today, so did those who heard His words. There are signs, or signals we are familiar with, such as; in football, when the official extends both of his hands above his head, he is signaling a touchdown. In baseball, when the Umpire extends his right arm out with his thumb in the air, he signals the batter, or base runner, is out. When a politician licks his index finger and puts it in the air, he is signifying he wants to know which way the political wind is blowing. When a TV, or movie, director places his hand, palm down, in front of his neck and moves it in across his neck, he is signaling to "cut" the scene. When a gentleman touches the brim of his hat and nods his head, he is acknowledging the presence of a lady. In the army, when a soldier salutes an officer, he is acknowledging the officer’s higher (exalted) rank.

Sign language, in this sense of the word, is a very common form of expression in any nation. Since much of the religious life in Israel was centered around the offering of animal sacrifices, they probably had signs signifying the different form of sacrifices.

Just to digress for a moment. Several years ago Gloria and I drove to Ennis, Texas, about twenty miles south of where we live. We had heard that the Livestock Auction Arena had a café that served one of the best Chicken Fried Steak dinners in this part of Texas. Real Texans will drive miles for a great Chicken Fried Steak served with cream gravy and mashed potatoes. As we went inside to have lunch, we noticed that a cattle auction was going on. After eating our Chicken Fried Steak lunch which was as good as advertised—you could cut that sucker with a fork—we sat-in on a part of the auction. It was interesting to observe the cattle buyers flashing different signs, or signals to the auctioneer. The auctioneer and cattle buyers knew what a touching of the nose, or the tugging on the ear lobe, or the flipping the brim of a cowboy hat meant. We had no clue. But, each of these signified to the auctioneer the intent of a buyer. Now, back to “signifying what death He should die.”

In keeping with Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before His shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Christ, very well, might have signified that He was to die as a Sacrificial Lamb.

The Blessed Truth of John 12:32-33 awaits a future day for fulfillment. It is not present truth. We must "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). If we do not, then the blessed truth contained in these verses is a lie, and God is not true to His Word. Why? Because, all men are not being compelled to acknowledge Who Jesus Christ is. Every knee is not, now, bowing and every tongue is not, now, confessing that Jesus is LORD to the glory of God the Father.

But, to place the passages into their proper context, they become a sublime Truth. One in which we can rejoice. One in which we can live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world looking for that blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13).

Tom L. Ballinger

End Note:

Hupsoo = “to elevate; exalt, lift up: to lift on high, to exalt. The Evangelist interprets the word lifted up … but a careful comparison of 8:28 and 12:32 renders it probable that Jesus spoke of a heavenly exaltation which He was to attain by the crucifixion. The ‘lifting up’ includes death and the victory over death: the passage itself is regarded as a glorification; cf. Westcott and Hort.” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).