A Defense of Unlimited Atonement


An Analysis Of Key Scripture Passages

Isaiah 53:6


The term "all we" or "us all" (literally "all of us") is used twice in this verse. It is most natural and normal to assume that this Hebrew term refers to the same company of people each time it is used in verse 6. For whom did Christ die? He died for "all of us" who have gone astray. All men are invited to go in at the first "all" (as they acknowledge their guilt and waywardness), and to come out at the last "all" (receiving their pardon through the atoning sacrifice).

The universal extent of Isaiah 53:6 is felt even by the opponents of unlimited atonement. For example, John Murray strongly denies that Christ died for every man. Yet this is what he wrote concerning Isaiah 53:6:

It would be easy to argue that the denotation of the "all" in the last clause is just as extensive as the number of those who have gone astray and have turned everyone to his own way. If so, the conclusion would be that the Lord laid on his Son the iniquity of all men and that He was made an offering for the sin of all. --article entitled "Redemption" which appeared in the Sword and Trowel.

This is indeed our conclusion and we are sorry that Murray’s theological system has forced him to understand "all of us" to mean "some of us," in spite of what the text clearly says.

Let us LIMIT Christ’s death in this way: The Lord Jesus died only for those people who HAVE GONE ASTRAY! He did not die for those who are not lost! We have good news for every lost person without exception: Christ died for you!

It is possible that the expression "all of us" could be limited to the nation Israel (Isaiah’s immediate audience), but it is very unlikely that we should limit it even further to refer only "elect Israel." Many of the Jews that Isaiah ministered to refused to believe and were never saved (compare Isaiah 6:9-10 and 53:1). They would be included in the "all of us." On the other hand, it is probably better to understand the expression "all of us" to refer to all mankind because New Testament passages apply Isaiah 53 to all men, not just to Israel (Acts 8:30-35; 1 Peter 2:24-25).

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