Joy to the world – but some in the world go to hell?

I wonder how Christians can sing “Joy to the World” at Christmas-time and also believe that some people in the world end up in hell. The whole idea behind Christmas is that Jesus was born to rescue us from hell, in the same way he rescued Israel from the hell of slavery in Egypt. He came to begin a Second Exodus, this time for all humanity.

The words in ‘Joy to the World’ plainly show that. In the first verse, “the Lord has come, let earth receive her King,” describes what Jesus came for. He came to rule this planet as its Lord and King, which means that “hell” – however we describe it – doesn’t rule this earth anymore, nor does the devil, not do pagan powers or terrorists, nor does any power inside or outside our universe. That’s why we Christians can announce “joy” to the world with such confidence, because every power and force in existence now submits to Jesus’ rule, and his rule carries the same power today that wrenched Israel out of the grip of a vicious Pharaoh bent on genocide in the past.

We sing Joy to the World, because with Jesus as Lord and King there is nothing in our world that can stop him rescuing every human being and all creation – just as nothing could stop him rescuing all Israel from Egypt. And obviously whoever wrote Joy to the World understood it that way too, because in verse 2 he writes “the Saviour reigns.” Our Rescuer not only ripped us out of hell, he also “reigns.” He’s also in complete control of what happens to us from now on. And that’s the point in verse 3, that Jesus “rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of his righteousness, and the wonders of his love.”

In other words, what happens to the nations since Jesus took charge will PROVE just how righteous and how loving he is, just as the First Exodus from Egypt proved to the nations of that time that “I am the Lord,” Exodus 12:12. The First Exodus proved there was no god as powerful, or as caring, or as faithful, as the God of Israel, because against all odds he got them all out of their hell.

On Christmas Day, therefore, we get our reminder every year that Jesus will repeat what he did in the First Exodus for Israel in a Second Exodus for the whole world, and for the same reason too, to prove he has the power to get us out of hell, no matter how dark things may appear.

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