Wednesday, August 1, 2018

A Ransom For All: Why Every Human Being Will Be Saved (Part One)


In response to the question of why only some people will ultimately benefit from Christ’s death and receive salvation, the answer given by most Christians could be said to reflect either a “Calvinist” or an “Arminian” viewpoint.[1] The main differences between these two doctrinal positions within Christianity could be summarized as follows:

1. According to the Calvinist position, God is completely sovereign over the salvation of human beings, and his plan has always been that only a limited number of human beings (i.e., the elect) be saved. Because God can ensure that his will is not thwarted by the will of his creatures, he will succeed in saving every person he has unconditionally chosen for salvation. Although Christ’s death is understood by Calvinists as being sufficient for the salvation all, it is only effectual for those whom God has chosen beforehand to be saved. In accord with God’s plan to save only those chosen beforehand, the purpose and design of Christ’s sacrificial death was to benefit this definite number of people only. Thus, according to Calvinism, God gets exactly what he wants with regards to the salvation of human beings. Those whom God has predestined for salvation will inevitably benefit from Christ’s death on their behalf, while the rest of humanity (the non-elect) will receive no redemptive benefit from Christ’s death, and will be lost forever.

2. According to the Arminian position, God desires that all people be saved, and sent his Son into the world to make salvation available to all. However, God also wants all people to play a necessary and decisive role in the securing of their own salvation, and has given them the power of “free will” for this purpose. Since God cannot ensure that beings with free will use their freedom in a way that is consistent with his desire for them to be saved, many people (usually understood to be the vast majority of mankind) will be lost forever. According to Arminianism, then, God does not get everything he wants in regard to the salvation of human beings. Christ’s death on mankind’s behalf did not actually secure the salvation of anyone; it merely made it possible for people to be saved through the proper use of their free will. However, due to the misuse of their free will, the majority of people will, tragically, receive no redemptive benefit from Christ’s death.

Despite these (and other) important differences, there is one fundamental belief that both Calvinistic and Arminian Christians have in common, and in which they are in complete agreement. According to both positions, it is only a part of humanity that will actually benefit from what Jesus Christ accomplished by his sacrificial death on the cross. The rest of humanity, it is believed, will fail to receive any real and lasting benefit from Christ’s death, and will forever remain under condemnation (a fate which most Calvinists and Arminians understand to involve “eternal conscious torment”).

It is this shared belief between Calvinists and Arminians which, in this study, I will be arguing is completely inconsistent with what scripture affirms concerning the design and ultimate outcome of Christ’s sacrificial death. I will argue that, although there is an important sense in which Christ died for - and secured the salvation of - a select number of people (i.e., the chosen or “elect”), it is also true that Christ died for - and secured the salvation of - all humanity.

To reach this conclusion, I will be considering two passages of scripture in which the term “ransom” is connected with Christ’s death: Matthew 20:28 (where we read that Christ came to “give his soul a ransom for many”) and 1 Timothy 2:5 (where the apostle Paul referred to Christ as a “correspondent ransom for all”). In addition to shedding much light on the subject of Christ’s death and what it means for both believers and humanity as a whole, I believe that the truths being expressed in these verses completely undermine both the Arminian and the Calvinist positions regarding what, exactly, Christ died to accomplish (and what he did, in fact, accomplish). The first verse (Matt. 20:28) reveals that Christ died to secure the salvation of a chosen group of people, while the second verse (1 Tim. 2:5) reveals that all humanity will ultimately benefit from what Christ accomplished through his death.

I will conclude this study with a defense of the following position: it is death (rather than “eternal torment”) that is the condemnation of which our sins have made us deserving, and from which Christ died to ransom all mankind. Because Christ gave himself a “correspondent ransom for all,” all who have come under the condemnation of death because of their sins will, ultimately, be saved (although not all at the same time). And this salvation will involve being “vivified in Christ,” and thus placed beyond the power and dominion of death.


In Matthew 20:25-28 (cf. Mark 10:42-45), we read that Christ declared the following to his disciples:

“You are aware that the chiefs of the nations are lording it over them, and the great are coercing them. Not thus is it to be among you. But whosoever may be wanting to become great among you, let him be your servant, and whoever may be wanting to be foremost among you, let him be your slave, even as the Son of Mankind came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His soul a ransom for many.

The Hebrew and Greek words translated “soul” in most translations of scripture - nephesh and psuche, respectively - denote both the capacity for sensation possessed by humans and animals (Gen. 35:18) as well as – by extension - the sentient being itself (Gen. 1:20-21, 24, 7).[2] In Matthew 20:28, Christ seems to have been using the term “soul” in accord with the first meaning. Understood in this way, he was referring to his capacity for sensation (or sentience) as that which he would “give” as “a ransom for many.” But in what sense was Christ’s capacity for sensation “given” as “a ransom?”

On page 84 of his book All in All, A.E. Knoch expressed the view that the words “give his soul a ransom for many” refer to “[Christ’s] humiliation and suffering during His life---not death.” Knoch went on to say that “the expression includes His sufferings on the cross, but is not limited to that. The ransom…is the whole of His humiliation.” Although I would highly recommend this particular book by Knoch to all of my readers, I’m not convinced that Knoch is correct here. I’m inclined to believe that, in the verse under consideration, Christ was, in fact, referring primarily – and possibly exclusively - to his death on the cross. Christ’s sacrifice was, of course, his ultimate act of service on behalf of those whom he came to serve, and so this understanding of the words “give his soul a ransom for many” would certainly fit the immediate context just as much as (if not better than) Knoch’s interpretation.

Moreover, this understanding of what Christ had in view in Matthew 20:28 finds support from Christ’s words in John 10:11 and :14-18. In these verses, the same word “soul” (psuche) is used in reference to the death that Christ would die for the sake of a certain company of people that he referred to as his “sheep”: I am the Shepherd ideal. The ideal shepherd is laying down his soul for the sake of the sheep…I am the Shepherd ideal, and I know Mine and Mine know Me, according as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. And My soul am I laying down for the sake of the sheep…Therefore the Father is loving Me, seeing that I am laying down My soul that I may be getting it again. No one is taking it away from Me, but I am laying it down of Myself. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to get it again. This precept I got from My Father.”

By the words “I am laying down my soul,” Christ seems to have been referring more directly to his sacrificial death than to anything else (this seems to be confirmed from the fact that Christ almost certainly had his resurrection in view when he spoke of “getting [his soul] again”). Moreover, the word translated “give” in Matthew 20:28 is elsewhere used in reference to the voluntary nature of Christ’s death (Luke 22:19; Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:25; Titus 2:14), so the expression “give his soul” could be understood to reflect this meaning. In view of these considerations, the expression “give his soul a ransom for many” in Matt. 20:28 can easily be understood as a reference to Christ’s sacrificial death for the sake of the people he had in mind here.

But what does it mean for Christ to have given his soul a “ransom?” In his entry on the word “ransom” in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Archibald M'Caig remarks as follows concerning Christ’s words in Matthew 20:28:

The word He uses bears a well-established meaning, and is accurately rendered by our word “ransom,” a price paid to secure the freedom of a slave or to set free from liabilities and charges, and generally the deliverance from calamity by paying the forfeit. The familiar verb luo, “to loose,” “to set free,” is the root, then lutron, that which secures the freedom, the payment or forfeit; thence come the cognate verb lutroo, “to set free upon payment of a ransom,” “to redeem”; lutrosis, “the actual setting free,” “the redemption,” and lutrotes, “the redeemer.” The favorite New Testament word for “redemption” is the compound form, apolutrosis.

After providing some general cases of the usage of the word “ransom” in the Old Testament, M’Caig continues as follows:

But perhaps the most important passage is the law concerning the half-shekel to be paid by every Israelite from 20 years old and upward when a census was taken. It was to be the same for rich and poor, and it was called “atonement money,” “to make atonement for their souls.” In the opening words of the law, as given in Ex 30:12 (the King James Version), we read “Then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord”--the Hebrew kopher; the Septuagint rendering is lutra tes psuches autou, “a ransom price for his soul.” All the people were thus considered as doomed and needing atonement, and it is significant that this atonement money paid at the first census furnished the silver for the sockets of the tabernacle boards, intimating that the typical tabernacle was built upon atonement.

The same thought, that the people’s lives were forfeited, comes out in the provision for the consecration of the Levites, recorded in full in Nu 3:40-51. The firstborn represented the people. God claimed all the firstborn as forfeited to Himself, teaching that Israel deserved the same punishment as the Egyptians, and was only spared by the grace of Yahweh, and in virtue of the sprinkled blood. Now He takes to Himself for His services the Levites as the equivalent of the firstborn, and when it was found that the number of the firstborn exceeded the number of the Levites, equivalence was maintained by ransoming at a certain price the surplus of the firstborn males. In the Septuagint account, lutra occurs 4 times, twice for the phrase “those to be redeemed,” and twice for “redemption money.” Thus the idea of ransom for the forfeited life became familiar to the people as educated by the typical system, and redemption expressed the sum total of their hopes for the future, however faulty might be their conception of the nature of that redemption.

Based on the above scriptural data (see the full entry by M’Caig for more examples), we can conclude that the word translated as “ransom” (lutron) really does refer to a payment that releases someone from some kind of bondage (such as that of slavery or debt), or from some sort of penalty to which they’ve become exposed. It can also be reasonably concluded that those for whom Christ said he would “give his soul a ransom” will, in fact, be released from whatever it is they are in bondage to, and that Christ would not have used the word “ransom” if this weren’t the case.

Concerning this fact, Calvinist author Loraine Boettner notes that “the nature of a ransom is such that when paid and accepted it automatically frees the per­sons for whom it was intended. Otherwise it would not be a true ransom.”[3] Boettner is, I believe, absolutely correct here, and those who think that Christ could’ve given his soul a ransom for people without it resulting in their freedom would do well to reflect on his point. Unless the “many” for whom Christ said he was going to give his soul a ransom are, in fact, ransomed (and thus freed), the “ransom” that Christ paid could not be understood as a true ransom. In light of this reasonable, common-sense point, consider now the following argument:

1. Anyone for whom Christ gave himself a ransom will be ransomed as a result.
2. Anyone ransomed as a result of Christ’s death will be saved.
3. The “many” for whom we’re told Christ gave himself a ransom will be saved.

Not only is this argument logically sound, but - more importantly - I believe it to be scripturally-informed and supported. In order to demonstrate why I believe this to be the case, the identity of the “many” referred to in Matt. 20:28 needs to be considered.

The identity of the “many”

Concerning the people that Christ had in view in Matthew 20:28, Boettner went on to note that “this verse does not say that He gave His life a ransom for all, but for many.” Although I disagree with what Boettner, as a Calvinist, infers from this fact (which is that none others will benefit from Christ’s death), I agree with him that Christ did not mean “all” in Matt. 20:28. There is no indication from this verse or the immediate context that the “many” for whom Christ gave his soul a ransom consists of anything more than a part of humanity (as opposed to every human without exception). Some have tried to squeeze the “all” of 1 Tim 2:6 into the “many” of Matthew 20:28 (and vice-versa), but there is no need to do so. As we’ll see in part two of this study, Christ is expressing a different truth in Matt. 20:28 than is being expressed by Paul in 1 Tim. 2:6 (with the latter verse involving a much broader category of people than is in view in Matt. 20:28).[4]

But who did Christ have in mind here when he referred to “many?” Earlier – when defending my understanding of Christ’s use of the word “soul” in Matt. 20:28 - I quoted Christ’s words from John 10:14-18. Here, again, are verses 14-16: “I am the Shepherd ideal, and I know Mine and Mine know Me, according as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. And My soul am I laying down for the sake of the sheep. And other sheep have I which are not of this fold. Those also I must be leading, and they will be hearing My voice, and there will be one flock, one Shepherd.

In these verses, those whom Christ referred to as “Mine,” his “sheep,” and “one flock” are clearly a definite number of people for whom Christ died, or “laid down his soul.” I submit that the individuals to whom Christ was referring in these verses are the same people (or are in the same category of people) as the “many” of Matt. 20:28. In order to come to a better understanding of whom, exactly, these individuals are, let’s compare this verse with Christ’s later words in Matt. 26:27-28:

Matthew 20:28
“…the Son of Mankind came, not to be served, but to serve, and to give His soul a ransom for many.”

Matthew 26:27-28
And taking the cup and giving thanks, He gives it to them, saying, “Drink of it all, for this is my blood of the new covenant, that is shed for many for the pardon of sins.

In both verses, Christ is speaking of his death as something that he would undergo on behalf of a certain category of people who are referred to as “many.” It’s therefore reasonable to conclude that the “many” being referred to in both verses consists of the same individuals. Now, in the second verse, Christ connects his death to the new covenant (with the implication being that, through his death, he became the mediator of this covenant). That Christ is the mediator of the new covenant is confirmed from Hebrews 9:15-17, where we read the following:

For if the blood of he-goats and of bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the contaminated, is hallowing to the cleanness of the flesh, how much rather shall the blood of Christ, Who, through the eonian spirit offers Himself flawless to God, be cleansing your conscience from dead works to be offering divine service to the living and true God? And therefore He is the Mediator of a new covenant, so that at a death occurring for the deliverance of the transgressions of those under the first covenant, those who are called may be obtaining the promise of the eonian enjoyment of the allotment. For where there is a covenant, it is necessary to bring in the death of the covenant victim, for a covenant is confirmed over the dead, since it is not availing at any time when the covenant victim is living.

As the mediator of the new covenant, Christ “ratified” or “confirmed” the covenant by means of his sacrificial death (this fact is reaffirmed elsewhere in Hebrews; see Heb. 7:22, 8:6, 10:29, 12:24, 13:20). We also know that the actual realization/implementation of the covenant that Christ ratified awaits a future fulfillment, and will take place when “those who are called may be obtaining the promise of the eonian enjoyment of the allotment.” More information concerning the new covenant, its blessings and its beneficiaries is provided in Heb. 8:7-12. Quoting from Jeremiah 31:31-34, the author of Hebrews wrote:

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.

Here, the “called” who will be “obtaining the promise of the eonian enjoyment of the allotment” are identified as the “house of Judah” and “house of Israel.” Does this mean that everyone who is ethnically descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will, during the eons to come, be the recipients of the new covenant blessings described in this passage? No. We must be careful to distinguish between ethnic Israel and the believing, chosen remnant within ethnic Israel. Paul, for example, makes this important distinction in Romans 9:6-8 and 11:1-8 (cf. Rom. 2:28-29). In Galatians 6:16, I believe Paul identified this latter category of chosen Israelites as “the Israel of God.”

I believe that the apostle Peter addressed Israelites belonging to the “Israel of God” in his letters, and referred to them as having been “chosen…according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:1-2; cf. 2:7-10). He went on to refer to this category of saints as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a procured people” (2:9), and contrasted them with “the nations” among whom they lived as “sojourners and expatriates” (2:11-12). James, I believe, had those in the “Israel of God” in view when he wrote his letter to “the twelve tribes in the dispersion” (James 1:1). It is those among this category of chosen Israelites who I believe will constitute the “house of Judah” and “house of Israel” during the eons to come, and with whom God promised to establish a “new covenant.”

Based on Christ’s words in Matt. 26:27-28 and the above passages from Hebrews, it would be reasonable to conclude that the “many” for whom Christ declared he came to give his soul a ransom are the beneficiaries of the new covenant that he ratified by his death. That is, everyone who will end up benefitting from the new covenant will constitute the “many” of Matthew 20:28.

Before moving on, I need to address what some might see as a possible objection to this view. In Matthew 22:14 we read that Christ declared to his disciples, “For many are the called, yet few are the chosen” (cf. Matt. 7:14 and Luke 13:23-24). Some may see this verse as undermining the view that the salvation of the “many” of Matthew 20:28 was secured by Christ’s death. For if only few who are “called” are “chosen,” then how can the “chosen” be referred to as “many” in Matthew 20:28? I believe there’s a fairly simple solution to this apparent problem. First, it’s reasonable to believe that, in Matthew 22:14, Christ had in view “the called” and “the chosen” that were alive on the earth during his generation. However, in contrast with the number of the chosen on the earth in Christ’s day (or at any given time), the total number of the chosen from every generation could, indeed, be considered “many” (rather than “few”). Thus, we can understand the “many” of Matthew 20:28 as being the total number of the “chosen” from every generation in which they have been (or will be) alive on the earth.

That the total number of Israelites who will be saved for the eons to come can be described as “many” is evident from what we read in Revelation 7. In this chapter, the chosen Israelites who will survive the future time of “great affliction” (and who will thus be saved at Christ’s return to earth) are divided up into two groups: (1) those who will number “a hundred forty-four thousand” (cf. Rev. 14:1-5) and (2) those who will comprise “a vast throng which no one was able to number,” and who will be from “out of every nation and out of the tribes and peoples and languages.” These Israelites alone could appropriately be referred to as “many.” However, we must also include all of the chosen, believing Israelites throughout Israel’s history - including those who will be martyred during the time of great affliction - who will take part in what John referred to as the “former resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6), and which Christ referred to as “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14; cf. Daniel 12:2, 12-13). When we add these resurrected saints to the total number of saved Israelites throughout Israel’s history, Christ’s use of the word “many” in Matthew 20:28 is more than justified.

From what are the “many” ransomed?

Having considered the meaning of “ransom” and the identity of the “many” in Matthew 20:28, the next question I want to try to answer is this: from what did Christ die to ransom the “many?” One verse that I believe can help us answer this question is a verse we’ve already considered. I have in mind Matthew 26:27-28: ”And taking the cup and giving thanks, He gives it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it all, for this is My blood of the new covenant, that is shed for many for the pardon of sins.’Notice the expression, “shed for many for the pardon of sins.” The Greek word translated “pardon” here is aphesis (FROM-LETTING), and is derived from the term aphiemi (FROM-LET).[5] Like aphiemi, the word aphesis expresses the idea of a person’s sins being “sent away” from them, and of God’s no longer reckoning their sins to them. Other imagery that expresses the truth found in the word “pardon” includes that of sins being “blotted out” or “erased” by God, so that he no longer “remembers” them (Psalm 51:1, 9; Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; Jer. 18:23; Neh. 4:5; cf. Acts 3:19; Col. 2:14). Thus, for people’s sins to be pardoned means that God is no longer relating to them as if they’d committed the sins of which they were guilty. And this fact can only mean that those who’ve been pardoned have been released from the penalty, or negative consequences, of their sins.

In light of Matthew 26:28 and the meaning of “pardon,” I submit that it is from their sins that the “many” of Matthew 20:28 are to be understood as being ransomed by virtue of Christ’s sacrificial death. This is further supported by the fact that, in Matthew 1:21, we’re told that Christ would be “saving his people from their sins.” Consider also Revelation 1:5, where John – a chosen Israelite (and thus a beneficiary of the new covenant) - declared that Christ “is loving us and looses us from our sins by His blood…” The verb translated as “looses” in this verse is luo. As noted by Archibald M'Caig in the article quoted earlier, this word is the root of the word translated “ransom” in Matthew 20:28 (i.e., lutron).

We’ve already noted the relationship that the “many” of Matthew 20:28 have to the new covenant that Christ – the mediator of the new covenant – ratified by his death. Here, again, are the new covenant-based blessings promised by God to Israel: ”I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” The author of Hebrews quoted this passage again in Hebrews 10:15-17, and then commented as follows: “Now where there is a pardon of these [i.e., pardon of iniquities and sins], there is no longer an approach present [or “offering”] concerned with sin.” The author therefore understood the quoted passage as promising the pardoning of Israel’s iniquities/sins. Although it was “impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats to be eliminating sins” (Heb. 10:4), the shed blood of Christ – which is elsewhere referred to as the “blood of the eonian covenant” (Heb. 10:29; 13:20) - is more than able to accomplish the elimination of the sins of the “many” for whom Christ gave his soul a ransom.

The author of Hebrews went on to point his believing Jewish brethren to the time when this elimination of sins will occur: when the new covenant comes into effect. It is at this time that those constituting the “many” will finally be “perfected to a finality,” and God will “under no circumstances still be reminded” of their former sins and lawlessness (vv. 15-18). This agrees with what Paul wrote in Romans 11:25-27: “For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the nations may be entering. And thus all Israel shall be saved, according as it is written, Arriving out of Zion shall be the Rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them whenever I should be eliminating their sins.

[1] The terms “Calvinist” and “Arminian” aren’t the only terms that have been used to describe the theological positions associated with them (at least some – if not all - of the doctrinal distinctions of each position date back more than a thousand years before either John Calvin or Jacobus Arminus began developing their respective theologies). However, these terms are undoubtedly the most recognizable and commonly-used today, and are adequate for the purpose of categorizing Christians according to what they believe concerning certain doctrinal subjects pertaining to salvation.

[2] In accord with this second usage, the term was sometimes used as an emphatic way of referring to persons themselves as sentient beings. For example, when the prophet Jeremiah declared, “They have dug a pit for my soul” (Jer. 18:20), this was an emphatic way of saying, “They have dug a pit for me.” Similarly, when Job lamented, “My soul is weary of life” (Job 10:1), it was simply an emphatic way of saying “I am weary of life.” And when David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting” (Ps. 35:13), he meant, “I humbled myself with fasting.” It is also said in Psalm 22:9 that no one can “keep alive his own soul” - i.e., keep himself alive. And in Psalm 89:48, it is rhetorically asked whether one could deliver one’s soul from the power of the grave - i.e., keep oneself from the power of the grave. And when Samson declared, “Let my soul die with the Philistines” (Judges 16:30), he meant, “Let me die with the Philistines.”

In Lev. 5:1-4, a soul (nephesh) is said to see, hear, touch and speak with lips. In Deut. 14:26, it is said that souls can hunger and thirst. In Jer. 2:34, souls are said to have blood. In Lev. 7:20-27, it is said that souls can eat and be killed. The Law of Moses commanded that any soul which disobeyed certain laws should be “cut off,” or killed (e.g. Ex. 31:14; Lev 17:10; 19:8; 20:6; Num. 15:27-31). Through the prophet Ezekiel, God warned the Israelites that “the soul that sins shall die” (Ez. 18:20; cf. James 5:20). We are further told that souls can be strangled or snared (Prov. 18:7; 22:25; Job 7:15), torn to pieces by lions (Ps. 7:2) or utterly destroyed by the sword (Josh. 11:11; cf. Josh. 10:30-39; Ez. 22:27; Prov. 6:32; Lev. 23:30). See also Acts 2:41-43; 3:23; 7:14; 27:37; Rom. 2:9; 13:1; 1 Cor. 15:45; James 5:20; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:14; Rev. 18:13.

[3] The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, p. 155.

[4] It may be objected that Paul used the expression “the many” to refer to all humanity in Romans 5:15 and 19. However, the immediate context of these verses makes it clear that Paul is distinguishing all mankind (“the many”) from Adam (who is referred to as “the one man”) and Christ (who is referred to as “the One”). However, unlike in Romans 5:12-18, there is no contextual reason to understand the “many” of Matthew 20:28 as a reference to all mankind. And without such contextual indicators, I submit that the most natural reading of Matthew 20:28 is to understand the “many” being referred to as consisting of a part of mankind, rather than humanity as a whole (and, based on what we read in Matthew 26:27-28 – which we’ll be considering below – I believe this understanding of Matthew 20:28 is justified).

[5] For more on the meaning of this word and its usage in scripture, see my article, “Concerning the Meaning and Application of the Word Translated “Pardon” in the Concordant Literal New Testament” (

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