God, it appears, wrote the Bible in a very generic fashion. What I've come to understand as conditional statements. This simply means that words like All, they, these, them, Israel, Judah, Jerusalem, my people etc. are conditioned by the rest of the Bible. In other words the context of a verse should be the deciding factor on the overall meaning.
Consider the following:
I have a basket of three types of fruit: 10 apples, 10 oranges and 10 bananas. Let's assume the apples are eatable. The oranges are rotten and should not be eaten and the bananas have some good ones and some bad ones.
If I said to you: I've got a basket of fruit and they're all good. Is that a true statement? It's true if I'm only talking about the apples and false if I include the other fruit. What if I said the following: This basket that I'm holding; these are some bad fruit. True or false? Again it can go both ways. My last statement: Some of my fruit are good to eat. True or false? The answer is true only if I'm talking about the apples and some of the bananas. Get the picture? In order for us to understand these statements, we have to know the condition of ALL the fruit in that basket; otherwise we may come to the wrong conclusions about these fruit in the light of the above statements.
The Bible is written the same way to a high extent. This is a significant technique the Lord uses that could highly impact how we understand His Word. To understand individual statements, we have to have an overall understanding of the rest of the Bible. The words ALL, These and Some in the above statements are conditioned by the state of the fruit in my basket.
Some Examples in the Bible:
1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die (Everybody), even so in Christ shall all be made alive (those elected to salvation).
Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; (those elected to prophesy); and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
Isa 66:16 For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh (All those within the church - before the separation of wheat and tares): and the slain of the LORD shall be many (the unsaved who remain under judgment today).
Isa 51:3 For the LORD shall comfort Zion: (believers within the body) he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.
Zep 3:8 ...for all the earth shall be devoured by the fire of my jealousy (fire identifies with God's word Jer 23:29 and the earth, the kingdom of God - churches.) This pointing to the judgment that comes on the corporatate church during the tribulation. However, during the latter part of the tribulation (judgment), the believers are brought back from the sword, but God's fire continues on those who are cut off.
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (It's easy to conclude that this is talking about the whole church. But careful analysis of the Bible will reveal this as the 1st part of the tribulation when the two witnesses are killed; making this statement conditional).
Eze 39:21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen (believers who've come out of Babylon today) shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.
In the above passage, we know God has to be talking about the true believers because the Bible teaches elsewhere that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The unsaved do not come into His Glory. At the beginning of the tribulation, believers were among the tares and from the standpoint of a corporate body, God is calling everyone "heathen". True believers, however, come back to the Lord as He separates them from the rest of the Body.
Lord willing, I'll be sure to add other scripture references where God uses conditional statements as they come to mind. If you can think of some, please don't hesitate to share.