Seemingly Universal Atonement and Free Will Vocabulary

by Dr. Ken Matto

God predestines and then elects the believer for salvation. However, there are two words which seem to indicate that the atonement of Christ was universal in nature and not just for the elect. The main one is "pas," (pas) and the second one is "hostis" (ostis) These words are used so many times in the Bible that it would be impossible to look at every verse. "All" is used a total of 5621 times in 4664 verses in the entire Bible. It is used a total of 1245 times in the New Testament alone. To make this study biblically logical, I am going to quote a verse and then apply a question to that verse to amplify the meaning in view. One of the main tenets of understanding proper English is to study how a certain word is used in a sentence. For example the word "love."

If I say to someone "I love you." Does it carry the same weight and meaning as, "I love chocolate candy." The answer, of course, is no. The word "love," in both instances, is a qualified term. If I say to my girlfriend or wife "I love you" it carries with it a deeper meaning than if "I love" a chocolate bar. One cannot love a candy bar in the same way one loves a woman. Do you send flowers to your candy bar? Do you take your candy bar out on a date? Do we marry a candy bar? (The way some of us look from the side, maybe we do!) We send flowers, go on a date, and marry a woman? So as we see, the single word "love," spelled the same in both instances, carries a different meaning because of its use in the sentence. It is the same with our study words. Their meanings are based on the context in which they are used. Let us attend to our study words lest I bore you.


The word "all" in the New Testament is the Greek word "pas" (pas) which carries with it the meaning of, "all, every, each, everyone, everything." As we see, the word carries with it the meaning of completeness and total inclusion. Is that the final word? No, because remember if we are going to properly interpret we must look at the context without preconception regarding theological slant. For example, a great disservice we do to the Bible is on the subject of the return of Christ. Theologians, from different camps, tell us there is biblical evidence for the:

• Pre-Trib Rapture

• Mid-Trib Rapture

• Post-Trib Rapture

• Last Day Rapture

The Bible tells us that Christ will return, BUT NOT IN 4 DIFFERENT WAAAYS!

Will someone tell me how He is going to return in four different ways? Modern Christianity has created a Tower of Babel in the area of biblical understanding. The Bible teaches explicitly a last day rapture. The other 3 views are in error resulting in theory not reality. Now to "ALL."


(Mat 2:3 KJV) When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Did every person in Jerusalem hear Christ and was everyone troubled?

(Mat 3:5 KJV) Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

(Mark 1:5 KJV) And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.

Did everyone in Judaea and all the surrounding region come out to see John the Baptist and then get baptized?

(Mat 10:22 KJV) And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Does this all include Christians?

(Mat 25:31 KJV) When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

(1 Tim 5:21 KJV) I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

Here we see that all the holy angels are the elect angels of God!

(Mark 1:37 KJV) And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.

(Rom 3:11 KJV) There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Does everyone seek Jesus? Better Question does anyone seek Him?

(Rom 5:18 KJV) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

Is The second "all" equal in meaning to the first "all"?

(Mark 9:23 KJV) Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

If I believe I can I fly, should I jump off a building?

(Mark 13:23 KJV) But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

Did Christ tell us when He is returning?

(Luke 2:1 KJV) And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.

Did the Inca's, the Chinese, the American Indians have to pay a tax too?

(Luke 2:10 KJV) And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Does the unbeliever rejoice in Christ or do they celebrate Santa Claus?

These questions were not meant to be mocking or disrespectful to the Bible but merely to expose the reality that as God uses the word "pas" He qualifies the use of that as we shall see in the next section as we see when "all" is "all."


When "All" is "All"!

(Luke 2:20 KJV) And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

The Shepherds rejoiced over all the things they heard and saw.

(Luke 2:47 KJV) And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Those who were present to hear the words of Christ in the temple.

(Luke 3:16 KJV) John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:

Here we see that John the Baptist spoke to all who heard him.

(1 Cor 10:1 KJV) Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;

Did not all the Israelites pass through the Red Sea and were under the cloud as spoken of in Exodus? (Exo 40:36 KJV) And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:

(Rom 9:6 KJV) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Here God speaks of two Israels. He states that not all those of national or physical Israel are of the Israel of God, which is the redeemed body of Christ.


We have taken a few verses and we have easily seen that God uses the word "all" in two ways: First, to show completeness of what is in view (when all is all); secondly, to show a completeness within the context of entirety. (when all is not all) Here is an example of that:

The news comes on and reports that an airliner crashed in New York City and all were killed. Who was killed? Those in the airliner or all those in New York City? Do you see the principle of completeness within the context of entirety? The inhabitants of the plane were killed but not everyone in New York City. The same careful method of linguistic application must be applied to biblical interpretation or a wrong conclusion will be arrived at. The sorry reality is that the majority of Christians neglect (whether intentional or unintentional it is still neglect) this method of interpretation to cling to an emotionally palatable doctrine because they REFUSE to believe what the Bible teaches. Now let us go on to the words that seem to say that man controls their spiritual destiny.

[At this juncture let me insert that the Greek word "pas" does not carry with it an element of time or timing. It just synonomously translates as "all, every, each, everyone, everything," without any timing reference. This means that those who try to make this word into a word of "timing" a.k.a. "don't leave tonight until you get saved" are forcing a meaning and usage on this word which does not exist.]

(John 3:14-16 KJV) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: {15} That whosoever (pas) believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. {16} For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (pas) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

(Mat 7:24 KJV) Therefore whosoever (pas) heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

(Mat 10:32 KJV) Whosoever (pas) therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

(John 11:26 KJV) And whosoever (pas) liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

(Acts 2:21 KJV) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever (pas) shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

(Acts 10:43 KJV) To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever (pas) believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

(Rom 10:13 KJV) For whosoever (pas) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We have looked at enough verses to give us the understanding that the word "pas" does not carry with it timing, rather it discloses a certain group. As we have previously seen in our study that the whosoevers are the ones which God calls because only they can: believe, hear, confess. does the commands of Christ, live the spiritual life, call on Him. Let us look at our second word which seems to relate a free-will manner of salvation.

"Hostis" (ostis)

"Hostis" is a word which is also translated "whoever, who, whichever, whatever, anyone who." This word, like "pas" does not carry a reference to a time or timing but is understood in the context of how it is used. Let us look at some examples:

(Mat 10:32-33 KJV) Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

(Mat 12:50 KJV) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

(Mat 18:4 KJV) Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

(Mark 8:34 KJV) And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

(Luke 14:27 KJV) And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

(Gal 5:4 KJV) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

(Gal 5:10 KJV) I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.

As we can plainly see this word also speaks of a group of people who: confess, do the will of God, humble themselves, and come after Christ. This word also shows us another group of people in these verses. Those are the ones who: deny Christ, does not bear the cross, justified by the law, and those who trouble Christians. In other words, this one word is used in the grammatical context of describing both believers and unbelievers, yet the meaning of "I can accept Christ anytime and anywhere I want" is forced on this word also without regard to its true meaning.

Another aberration of the interpretive process instilled upon Scripture is done to the phrase "whosoever will." The free will proponents take "will" in that context to mean that you (the whosoever) is exercising your will to be saved. Whosoever WILL! Again the same situation applies. Let us look at some examples in Scripture of this phrase:

(Mat 16:25 KJV) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

(Mark 8:34-35 KJV) And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. {35} For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.

(Rev 22:17 KJV) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The word "will" in all these verses comes from the Greek word "qelw" (thelo) which carries the meaning of "to wish to have, desire, to be willing, or to purpose to do." The primary meaning of "thelo" is desire. As we have seen in many verses that man is spiritually dead and only God can open our spiritual eyes to biblical truth and give us the desire to seek Him. The word "thelo" is used 210 times in the NT in 33 different inflections. It never carries a meaning of the exercising of a free will in regards to salvation. Let us look at just a few of those verses:

(Mat 17:12 KJV) But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

(Luke 18:13 KJV) And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

(1 Cor 14:35 KJV) And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

(2 Pet 3:5 KJV) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:5 is interesting as it shows us that people "desire" to be ignorant.