Hidden in Plain View

TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY (LUKE 2:10-11)

UNIVERSAL RECONCILITATION BY THE NUMBERS

A passage of scripture quoted every year in Christmas programs and in the text of Christmas sermons all over the world contains a startling message. It is startling if you, like me, have been giving it a cursory read when revisiting the Christmas story. It has been right under my nose the whole time and I never saw it. I am going to read it again with the attention it deserves.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 KJV)

The angel told the shepherds, in plain English (if you are reading an English translation), that they brought good news and that that news would bring great joy to all people – a savior is born, which is Christ the Lord.

I realize the distinction is a slight one, but important. It is the joy and not the news specifically that is to all people.

Consider these other English translations of Luke 2:10:

  • …I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. (CEV)
  • …I am here announcing to you Good News that will bring great joy to all the people. (CJB)
  • …I am announcing-as-good-news to you a great joy which will be for all the people. (DLNT)
  • …I have some very good news for you—news that will make everyone happy. (ERV)
  • …I am bringing you good news that will ·be a [or bring] great joy to all the people. (EXB)
  • …I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. (GNT)
  • …I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. (GW)
  • …I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people, (NCV)
  • …I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people. (NET)
  • … I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all the people. (NIRV)
  • …I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. (NIV)
  • …I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. (NLT)
  • …I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. (NOG)
  • …I proclaim Good News to you, which will be great joy to all the people. (TLV)

Most of the 61 English translations I looked at read substantially as the King James does – certainly a wonderful reading, but not as clear as these other translations. While the good news is certainly meant for all people, in this passage, it is specifically the joy which is universal. So, what does that mean?

This edition of UR by the Numbers has one point and it is this:

  1. If the good news of a savior brings joy to all people, in the end all people must be saved. How can the news mean joy to someone who is in torment for ever in the lake of fire?