And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me John 12:32 This verse has been the battleground for those who see differently on the issue of Limited verse Universal Atonement. The question arises: What does Christ mean by "draw all men"? This is the question to pursue. Fortunately the Bible helps provide a definition for this word - in the other occurrences of this word "draw". An understanding of the drawing, looking at other Biblical occurrences of the word, should lead to a better understanding of the verse before us - and also show that provisional universal atonement (the belief that Christ's death made salvation possible for all) is not a biblically justified doctrine. HOW DOES THE BIBLE use the term "draw"? There are eight occurrences of "draw" in the New Testament. Studying these eight verses shows that this verb describes more than just the Spirit's gentle tugging on the heart concerning the work of Christ. Peter's and the other disciple's tugging was more than "tugging", yet their efforts did not qualify as "drawing" (John 21:6). Later, they do draw the net full of fish. "Drawing" is also used of the ones who dragged Paul and Silas to the rulers (Acts 16:19). You can read the rest of the verse to see that all of them assume a strong meaning to draw. So, getting back to John 12:32, how can this not also be a strong pulling toward Christ? Not merely a notion implanted in all men as in "Maybe there is some truth to this Christianity, after all", but - if the other occurrences are any guide - an unmistakable bringing closer to Christ of the ones who are thus drawn. Has this happened to all people? Is this right now happening to all people? Certainly not. But if it is not, then we must either change the meaning of "draw" - into a meaning foreign to all Biblical usage - or we must look again at that "all". The far easier way to understand this verse is to see that the "all" is to be understood as "all types of" from out of all possible. This is a common use of "all" (See Matt.4:23, 23:27; Acts 2:5, 7:22, 10:11-14, 13:10; Romans 7:8 and 1st Timothy 6:10). If we see that this is indeed a strong pulling toward Christ, then it is a description of the work of God in gathering His elect, from among all nations, tribes and languages and over all the centuries, a multitude that no one will be able to count (Rev. 7:9). I believe this makes the best sense and is the most compatible with other verses. John 6:44 (below) and other verses bear this out. Here are the uses of the word translated "draw": (John 6:44) No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 12:32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. (John 18:10) Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. (John 21:6) And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. (John 21:11) Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. (Acts 16:19) And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, (Acts 21:30) And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. (James 2:6) But you have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? History plainly shows that many evil men were not drawn to Christ in the Biblical sense. I believe that John 12:32 cannot be used to teach universal atonement, for the simple fact that there was not a universal drawing of men to Christ according to the normal understood use of the word. Yet, if it was not universal, it was particular. Yet although it is particular, it is also thorough; everyone that Christ draws will be saved (Here are the I and P of the TULIP), since "He that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out".