Category: General Theology

Election and Predestination

Election and Predestination

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Election.

There are three Greek words pertaining to election whose meaning is to choose or select. The first is eklégō. This word means to select, choose, and is translated choose, chose, chosen, elect. It involves preference and selection from among many choices. A relationship is established between the one choosing and the object chosen. This word is used twenty-two times. The second word is eklektós. This word means to choose, to select, and is translated chosen, elect. Same meaning as eklégō, as influenced by context. This word is used twenty-two times. The third word is eklogé. This word means choice, selection, and is translated chosen, election, elect. Same meaning as eklégō, as influenced by context. This word is used seven times.

The word eklégō means the selection of some out of many. The word eklektós indicates those who have been selected. The word eklogé refers to the act of selection. The selection of some out of many never indicates malice or prejudice toward those not selected. For example, Jesus chose twelve disciples out of many disciples to be his apostles. There is no indication of anything wrong with those not chosen, no indication of future prejudice or bias against those not chosen. Those not chosen continued to be disciples, even though they were not chosen to be apostles. Nor is there any indication of merit or special character in those chosen. In Acts 6:5 the Jerusalem church chose seven men to make the daily distribution to the needy. Obviously the many from whom the seven were selected was the male population of the church who met the qualifications set at 6:3. Many males met those qualifications; seven were chosen. Those not selected continued as they were.

In every use of these words, no reason is given as to why some were selected but not others. Acts 6:3–5 and 1:15–26 are not exceptions. The conditions set in these passages establishes who will be in the total number from which the selection is to be made. There is never any prejudice against those not chosen; they are left to continue as they were before the selection was made.

When we come to God’s choices in salvation these same conditions apply. God chose to save some. The qualification required to be among the group from which the selection was to be made was to be a sinner: the entire population of human beings from Adam forward to the eternal state. The reason why some sinners were chosen to salvation and others were not is never stated. There is no action, negative or positive, taken toward those not chosen; they are left to continue in their original state.

Statement of the doctrine. Election is the choice of a sovereign God, 1) to give the gift of grace-faith-salvation to some sinners to effect their salvation, and 2) to take no action, positive or negative, to either effect or deny the salvation of other sinners. The decree of election includes all means necessary to effect salvation. An illustration of the doctrine:

The river of sinful humanity is justly racing toward the waterfall of death emptying into the lake of eternal fire; God reaches into the river and saves many; he prevents no one from swimming to the safety of the heavenly shore; he will receive any person who comes to him by way of Christ. The saved are standing on the shore urging everyone in the river to come to Christ.

The illustration communicates the important aspects of the doctrine of election: 1) every human being is a sinner and thus is justly due eternal judgment in the lake of fire; 2) God takes direct action to save some sinners from eternal punishment; 3) God does not take any action which would prevent any sinner from coming to him to receive salvation; 4) God sends his saved people to evangelize the unsaved.

Predestination

There is one word translated “predestination.” That word is proorízō. This word means to determine or decree beforehand. The word is translated “determined before, predestined, ordained.” This word is used six times. In four out of six uses the word proorízō refers to God’s purposes regarding the believer. To wit, the believer is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ, be adopted as a Son of God, to be God’s heritage, and to receive an inheritance from God. Although the Reformers, and their spiritual heirs today, use proorízō in the sense of election, the Scripture testimony is that proorízō expresses God’s decrees affecting the believer after his or her salvation. The order in which predestination works out in the decrees of God is elected in eternity-past, saved in historical-present, and then the decree of predestination begins its sanctifying work.

Statement of the doctrine. Predestination is God’s decree to (1) to adopt the believer as his son and heir (Ephesians 1:5), (2) to conform the believer to be like Christ according to certain aspects of Christ’s spiritual character and physical form (Romans 8:29–30; 1 John 3:2), (3) to give the believer an inheritance, and (4) to make the believer God’s heritage (Ephesians 1:11).

Brief explanation: the Reformation theologians (and their spiritual heirs today) often used “predestined” in the sense of election, a case of naming the cause from one of its effects. However, it is clear from the scriptures that predestination is not synonymous with election, nor is it the cause of election. Predestination is the result of election. The prior election of those predestined is seen in (1) that the elect were “called according to his purpose,” Romans 8:28, before they were predestined, v. 29, and (2) that the elect were chosen, Ephesians 1:4, before they were predestined, v. 5. Predestination is a decree affecting the future of the elect after their salvation.

Election is a decree of God by which he determined those whom he will take positive action to save, which (decree) includes all the means necessary to the redemption of those whom he has elected.

Predestination is a separate decree of God affecting the saved after their salvation, which (decree) includes all the means necessary to effect the adoption the believer as God’s son, heir, and heritage, and to conform the believer to be like Christ.

The Believer and the Law

The Believer and the Law

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

What is the believer’s relation to “The Law?” The apostle Paul said the New Testament believer is “not under law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. But then Paul said he was “not being without law to God but within law to Christ,” 1 Corinthians 9:21. Paul said, “The law is good if one uses it lawfully,” 1 Timothy 1:8, and “the law is holy,” Romans 7:12, and “the law is spiritual,” Romans 7:16. How do we resolve this seeming contradiction, as being not under law but not without law?

When Paul says the believer is “not under law,” he is speaking of the Mosaic Law—specifically the way his unsaved Jewish brethren used the Mosaic Law. The Judaism of New Testament times viewed obedience to the Mosaic Law as the only way to obtain the kind of righteousness that resulted in a saving relationship with God. Every negative use of “law” in the New Testament is a reference to this view of righteousness gained through obedience to the Mosaic Law. Paul specifically says this at Romans 9:31–32, “Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law.” Paul’s statement at Ephesians 2:9, that salvation is “not of works” is partly a reference to the Jewish effort to obtain salvation through “works of the [Mosaic] law.” (The Gentiles had a similar view of obedience to their gods as the way to pagan heaven.)

What was the real purpose of the Mosaic Law? There are three aspects to the Mosaic Law. First, the Mosaic Law revealed God’s values through its precepts. These are the values by which human beings are to conduct their manner of life. Notice I did not say “these are the commandments” but “these are the values,” because some of the commandments do not make sense in these New Testament times, but the values and principles underlying the commandments remain valid. God’s moral values from the Mosaic Law are repeated in the New Testament—what some call the Law of Christ. God’s moral values do not change, therefore obedience to those values is still required.

Second, the Mosaic Law was a moral guide to protect God’s saved people from the destructive power of sin. “The [Mosaic] law is holy, the commandment holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12). “Before faith we were kept under guard by the [Mosaic] law . . . the [Mosaic] law was our paidagōgós to bring us to Christ,” (Galatians 3:23, 24). The paidagōgós was originally a slave who accompanied the adolescent minor heir when he left the security of the home, whose purpose was to protect the heir morally and physically. One of the more frequent trips was to the school house (in modern terms) and thus the paidagōgós became identified with this frequent task. The original meaning is exactly what Paul has said, “kept under guard” by the Mosaic law.

Third, the Mosaic Law condemned the sinner by revealing his or her sin. The Mosaic Law is “a ministry of death” and a “ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:7, 9). And Romans 7:13, “But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good,” the Mosaic Law, 7:12,  “so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.”  “I would not have known sin,” said Paul (Romans 7:7), “except through the [Mosaic] law.”

So, when Paul speaks of “the law,” he is usually referring to the Mosaic Law. The New Testament believer is “not under the Mosaic law but under grace,” Romans 6:14. But is the New Testament believer without law? No. We saw above Paul said he was “not being without law to God but within law to Christ,” 1 Corinthians 9:21. The believer has been set free from the condemnation of the Mosaic Law, but obedience to the moral values the Mosaic Law expresses are still required of the believer. The believer has been set free from the worldly pursuit of righteousness and salvation through the works required by the Mosaic Law. But the believer is not free to sin because under grace, Romans 7:15. Rather, there is still a law the believer must obey—not to gain righteousness, but as the expression of righteousness received.

No careful reader of the New Testament letters can fail to be impressed by the commandments to moral behavior. For example, Paul repeats the second table of the Ten Commandments at Romans 13:9 as required of the believer—he even quotes Leviticus 19:18 as a requirement for obedience, noting that love of one’s neighbor incorporates doing the commandments. The Hebrews’ Writer gives several commandments in chapter 13. The book of James gives many commandments to “do this” but “don’t do that.” Peter in his first letter says, “let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, a busybody” (1 Peter 4:15), and positively, “honor all people love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17), and many more “do this-don’t do that” commandments. John’s first letter is full of instruction for Christian behavior. When Jude says “contend earnestly for the faith” he isn’t just speaking of doctrine, but practice also, noting all the immoral behaviors s examples of the things believers are to not do. Paul gives a rather complete list of “do this” behaviors in Titus 2:1–11. The moral commandments of the New Testament, the Law of Christ, as it is sometimes called, tells the believer how he/she “ought to walk and to please God,” 1 Thessalonians 4:1, through the commandments of Christ and the apostles, 1 Thessalonians 4:2–7.

The believer, of course, is able to obey God’s commandments and lead a life pleasing to God, just because he/she has been saved and regenerated (born-again), and continually receives grace, guidance, and power from the Holy Spirit to live the Christian life. The believer has been justified and sanctified, and therefore strives to lead a life of sanctification—through obedience to God’s commandments—as the expression of his or her sanctification, 1 John 2:6. Thus the many New Testament exhortations. Calvin brilliantly describes the believer’s relationship to the law. “The whole life of Christians ought to be an exercise of piety, since they are called to sanctification (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7). It is the office of the law to remind them of their duty and thereby excite them to the pursuit of holiness and integrity” (“Institutes,” 3.19.2).

To summarize. The New Testament writers spoke against the wrongful use of the Mosaic Law as a means to gain saving righteousness, teaching rather that salvation is not by doing but by believing. Thus the New Testament believer is not a participant in the Jewish effort to gain righteousness through obedience to the Mosaic Law. The New Testament writers, however, always exhort the believer to obey the law in the sense of God’s moral commandments, which express God’s moral values in specific precepts (thus the moral commandments of the Mosaic law are repeated in the New Testament for action by the believer), thereby urging a sanctified manner of living.

More simply, the New Testament commands obedience to God’s law as the expression of the believer’s salvific righteousness and sanctification, versus the wrongful use of the Mosaic Law as an attempt to gaining salvific righteousness and sanctification.

Understanding Heresy

Understanding Heresy

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Heresy is an oft misused term and concept in Christianity. This essay will attempt to define the idea of heresy and its proper use. My sources are Geoffrey Bromiley, Gen. Ed., “The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia” (ISBE), s. v. “Heresy.” (The initials s. v. represent the Latin phrase, “under the word.”) Everett F. Harrison, Ed., “Baker’s Dictionary of Theology,” s. v. “Heresy.” R. K. Harrison, Ed. “The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary,” s. v. “Heresy.”  Spiros Zodhiates, Gen. Ed. “The Complete Word Study Dictionary New Testament,” s. v. “139. haíresis.” Gerhard Kittel, Ed., Geoffrey Bromiley, Translator, “Theological Dictionary of the New Testament,” s. v. “haíresis” (1:180–184).

The basic meaning of the word haíresis is “choice.” The Greeks used haíresis to identify the various philosophical schools: the groups that in larger society follow the teachings of particular leaders in distinction from others. A Greek speaker looking at the FB groups I am a member of might identify the school (haíresis) of MacArthur, or the school (haíresis) of Sproul. To the ancient Greeks, a “heresy” was a teaching, a doctrine, or a school where doctrine was taught. At this time in history the word did not have the negative meaning it developed in Christian history.

The Jews used haíresis similar to the Greeks. For example, Josephus (“Antiquities,” 13.5.9) identified three religious “heresies”: Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees. Josephus used the word in the neutral sense of a party with a distinctive emphasis. The New Testament, for the most part, uses “heresy” in the same sense as Josephus. Acts 15:17, the party (haíresis) of Sadducees; Acts 24:5, Paul is called a ringleader of the sect (haíresis) of the Nazarenes; Acts 28:22, “this sect (haíresis) is everywhere spoken against.” Paul, in Galatians and 1 Corinthians, further developed the idea of haíresis into dissensions, divisions, and factions. Peter (second letter) added the idea of incompatibility of opinion to that of faction, beginning the process that resulted in the technical sense the word is used throughout Christian history.

“Heresy,” as used in the history of the New Testament church, is a doctrinal departure from revealed truth, or an erroneous view held in opposition to revealed truth. A heretic is one who causes factions in the church through his heresy.

The key to properly using the word heresy is to accurately identify “a doctrinal departure from revealed truth, or an erroneous view held in opposition to revealed truth.” The key phrase is “revealed truth.” In the most simplistic terms, revealed truth is “what scripture says,” “what God says,” “what the Bible says.” I am not denigrating the Bible in using the term “simplistic,” because I know and believe and teach that the Bible is the source of truth. What I am doing is recognizing that an accurate identification of the body of revealed truth depends on what the Bible says *and* how the New Testament Church defines what the Bible says. To the Roman Catholic I am a heretic because I do not depend on works to gain or maintain my salvation. To the Reformed Covenant theologian I am a heretic because I follow Dispensational theology. To some in the Presbyterian or Episcopalian camps I am a heretic because I practice baptism by immersion. To the Anglican—and many other modern denominations—I am a heretic because I interpret the Bible to mean homosexuality is immoral. To me, but not others in the modern Christian camp, “Mormon” doctrine is heresy.

The early church, in its first 500 years (or so) spent a great deal of time and discussion and hard theological labor answering the question, “what is revealed truth?” Modern Christians must be equally careful. Too often “heresy” and “heretic” are used in the sense, “he is a heretic because he disagrees with . . .” and here fill in the blank: “what I believe; what my church believes; what my denomination believes.” No essential doctrine of the Christian faith is without controversy and dissent. To list only modern heresies requires a book (of which there are several, usually identified by the word “apologetics” in the title). Instead of a list, I will use three examples of recurring issues on my FB groups.

The fact of the second advent of Christ is beyond doubt. “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I should go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:2b–3). Any theology that denies Christ is coming again is heresy, because Scripture makes an unambiguous statement: revealed truth. Some deny this truth with a “spiritual” interpretation: Christ has returned in every soul he saves. That is heresy. Note merely in John’s Gospel, but in other New Testament writings, Christ’s return is a fact of future history, clearly and unambiguously stated.

On the other hand, disagreement as to when Christ will return will occur is not heresy. No one can point to particular scriptures that say when—calendar date—Christ is returning. As a premillennialist I have my opinion, but amillennialism and postmillennialism is not heresy. To me, these two views are erroneous, but the revealed truth is that Christ said, “No one can know when I am returning” (summarizing all he said on the subject). If no one can know, then divergent opinions on the when of his return are not heresy.

Dispensationalism is identified by many as a heresy, primarily because the non-dispensationalist believes Dispensationalism teaches more than one way of salvation. Dispensationalists have reproved this error time and again, but the error persists. Dispensationalism agrees with revealed truth: every sinner from Adam forward to the present and into the future was, is, and will be saved by God’s grace through the sinner’s faith in God’s testimony concerning salvation. On the other hand, few Reformed theologians would declare heretical the dispensational view that the NT church is not Israel. Most Reformed recognize that if they also consistently applied the historical-grammatical hermeneutic to ecclesiology and eschatology, they also would be dispensationalists.

A third issue that continues to appear on FB, (the groups of which I am a member) is (summarizing) “do angels have sexual gender?” Angels usually appear in Scripture as male gender—but not always, as the angels in Genesis 3; Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1; Revelation 4 demonstrate. Moreover, the use of the masculine pronouns “he, his, him” is often an artifact of good English, either because not present in the original language, or a matter of syntax, not gender, in the original language. You can see my opinion in the last sentence. But some look at the same textual evidence and do believe angels are sexually male, and thus angels are capable of sexual intercourse with female human beings. Others take a different view: angels do not have sexual gender as we understand gender, and therefore cannot engage in sexual intercourse with human beings. What do the scriptures say? The scriptures do not say. Neither view is heretical, simply different opinions. There are those on both sides of the interpretation who will disagree, some vehemently, but the Bible does not say—with the same clarity of, e.g., Christ’s return—whether angels do or do not have gender as we know it. Unlike the second advent of Christ, all opinions, pro or con, concerning angelic gender are inferred from what the little the Bible does say about angels.

Christians should take careful thought before applying the label of heresy to any particular opinion or person. The list of essential doctrines and unambiguous interpretations is quite short. There is room for different interpretations where the essentials of biblical doctrine are not present.

 

 

Understanding Grace

Understanding Grace

(Guest Post by James Quiggle, ThM)

The biblical word “grace” is one of the most used words in Christian vocabulary, and one of the hardest to define. Hebrew and Greek lexicons are very good at telling the reader what grace does, but not what grace is. The definition I learned as a new Christian was “God’s unmerited favor or blessing which we in no way deserve.” (That is a little redundant, because “unmerited” means “which we in no way deserve,” but I guess my mentor wanted to make sure I understood.)

In the Old Testament grace is used more often in a non-theological setting than theological. In the Old Testament, “grace” translates, hēn, a derivative of hānan, “a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need . . . an action from a superior to an inferior who has no real claim for gracious treatment [Harris, et al., “Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament,” s. v. “694 (hānan),” “694a (hēn)”]. The word hēn, “bears the predominant sense of favor, with an undertone of meaning that the favor is undeserved” [Harrison, Ed., Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, s. v. “Grace”].

When the Old Testament speaks of grace in a theological sense, hēn may be translated “favor.” Thus, “Noah found hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in the eyes of the Lord.” God approved of Noah and looked upon him with the intent of blessing him. Moses said, Ex. 33:13, “if I have found hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you and that I may find grace hēn [grace, i.e., favor] in your sight.” Moses was asking YHWH for reassurance that he was YHWH’s choice to lead Israel (see vv. 12–23).

In the New Testament, the Greek word is cháris, from chaírō, to rejoice [Zodhiates, Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament,” s. v. “5485”]. Grace, cháris, is said in the New Testament to do a lot of things. The basic theological meaning, however, is the same as in the Old Testament theological use: undeserved favor; the goodwill of God and Christ as exercised toward human beings; divine favors, benefits, blessings, gifts conferred on human beings through Christ.”

Thus, Luke 2:40, the grace [favor] of God was upon him [Jesus]. Acts 13:43, Paul and Barnabus “persuaded them [the Jews of the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia] to continue in the grace of God,” meaning the favor and blessing that came through Jesus Christ, rather than continuing in the grace and favor that came through Moses.

That the above interpretation of Acts 13:43 is correct is seen at John 1:16–17. This verses are best translated, “16 That out of his fullness we all received, even grace instead of grace [chárin antí cháritos], 17 because the law was given through Moses; the grace and the truth came through Jesus Christ.” John’s point is a comparison between the grace that came through the Law given through Moses and the grace that came through Jesus Christ. Faith in Jesus is the means in this New Testament age by which the merit of his propitiating death is applied to the spiritual needs of the soul. Thus, Acts 13:43, Paul tells those Jews and proselytes who wanted to hear more about Christ to continue in the grace that comes through Jesus rather in the grace that came through the law of Moses.

At Acts 20:24, grace means the Gospel of Salvation, “the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Romans 6:1, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Shall God’s favor and blessing abound if we ignore the regeneration salvation has brought and continue to sin as though unsaved? Romans 12:6, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us” etc., where the word “grace” indicates the Holy Spirit’s favor in giving his saved people various spiritual gifts. For, as 1 Corinthians 12:7 says, spiritual gifts are “the manifestation [the working] of the Spirit, and v. 11, the Holy Spirit distributes his gifts “as he wills,” which is to say, the spiritual gift is undeserved, given at the sovereign choice of God the Holy Spirit.

2 Cor. 9:8, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” God supplies the spiritual power that enables the believer to perform God’s will. 2 Cor. 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s favor provides the spiritual and physical strength to persevere in God’s will. Eph. 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” A prayer for blessings in general. Favor and peace are often associated. Col. 3:16, “singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord,” is one of those occasions when the believer blesses God, which is to say, gives praise to God.

2 Tim. 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”: the blessing from Christ that gives the believer spiritual power to persevere in the faith. Heb. 4:16, “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” which is to say, come in prayer and faith to God who gives his people spiritual strength to persevere in the faith by faith, and causes all things to work together for good. James 4:6, “But he gives more grace. Therefore he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” God has favor toward those who submit to him and depend on him. 1 Peter 4:10, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” Grace as spiritual gifts. 2 Peter 3:18, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Grace in the context of knowledge and growth is the power of the Holy Spirit interpreting and illuminating the Word while convicting and empowering the believer to obey the Word.

Grace, then, is a term that depending on context may refer to God’s blessing in salvation, perseverance, spiritual strength, spiritual maturity, spiritual gifts, or God’s blessing in general. When we speak and write about grace, we should reflect on the context.

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

The Security of the Believer Pt. 3

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)
This post is the third of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation.
What is Persevering Faith?

The biblical principle of persevering faith is quite simple. Perseverance is a grace God gives the believer to overcome all spiritual and physical obstacles to faith, and persevering faith is the believer using the means of grace God has provided to continue in the faith. To persevere in the faith is to continue in the faith by faith all the way through life and death.
The doctrine of perseverance is derived from the several results of salvation.

– The believer has been given eternal life and will never lose that eternal life, John 10:28.

– The believer cannot come under condemnation, Romans 8:1, 33, and cannot be separated from the love of Christ, Romans 8:35.

– Sin no longer has dominion over the believer Romans 6:14.

– Believers are sons of God and led by the Holy Spirit, Romans 8:14, 16.

– God has predestined believers to be conformed to the image of his Son, Romans 8:29.

– God has reconciled the believer to himself, Romans 5:10.

– God loves those who are his own, John 13:1, and nothing is able to separate the believer from the love of God, Romans 8:39.

– God will complete the work begun in the believer from the day of his or her salvation, Philippians 1:6.

– Believers are kept by the power of God, 1 Peter 1:5.

The promises of God to the believer and God’s purposes for the believer must be fulfilled as decreed by the sovereign God. God, therefore, has obligated himself to preserve the believer’s salvation and cause the believer to persevere in the faith.

Bible passages that teach the necessity of striving and warn against falling away should not be used to reinterpret or contradict the clear, unambiguous verses, such as those above, that teach perseverance. Those exhortations and warnings indicate a believer is the one who abides in the Word (John 8:31) and uses the grace God gives to persevere in the faith by faith. The duty of the believer is to live a holy and righteous life. Believers are given grace and faith in order that by God’s grace and their faith they may overcome every obstacle to faith, and live the manner of life God requires, e.g., 1 John 2:6.

What we are speaking of, then, is the kind or quality of faith God gives which results in perseverance. Hebrews 10:36 speaks of the necessity of persevering faith and chapter 11 examples persevering faith at work. Chapter 11 begins with a particular definition of faith as (NKJV) the “substance (hupóstasis) of things hoped for (elpízō)” and “the evidence (élegchos) of things not seen.” The kind of faith God gives is the objective conviction that spiritual realities testified to in Scripture are genuine and are certain to be received.

Hebrews 11:1 uses three words to describe faith. The first is hupóstasis. This word means “substance” or “real presence.” Jesus is the real presence (hupóstasis) of God in the universe, Hebrews 1:3. In secular Greek hupóstasis was used to describe real property [Moulton and Milligan, “Vocabulary,” 659–660], thus, faith is the “title deed” of things hoped for. A title deed is the objective proof of legal possession. The faith God gives the believer is itself the title deed to God’s promises.

The second word in Hebrews 11:1 is elpízō. This word means hope. But not hope in the sense the world means hope. Worldly hope is anxiety: I hope this or that does, or does not, happen. Hope in Scripture is assurance. Biblical hope is certainty based on God’s Word. Faith is the absolute assurance, the unwavering certainty (elpízō), of receiving the promises. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And when I should go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to myself” (John 14: 2, 3). The believer’s hope—his absolute assurance and certainty—is that Jesus is coming again for him or her. Enduring in the world by faith in the hope of Christ’s return is perseverance.

The third word is élegchos. This word can mean subjective proof (persuasion), or it can mean objective evidence (demonstration). In the context of the “real presence-title deed” and “assurance-certainty” of God’s promises, the meaning is objective evidence. The presence of God-given faith is in and of itself the objective demonstration that the believer will receive things God has promised.

Faith, then, is the real presence (hupóstasis) of the things of which we are assured (elpízō), and is the objective evidence (élegchos) of the things we do not yet see. The kind of faith God gives—the kind or quality of faith that results in perseverance—is itself the real presence and objective evidence of the promises God has given to his saved people. The objective certainty that God gives in the promises is itself the proof the believer possesses the promises, because that kind or quality of faith comes only from God.

The believer’s subjective faith— I know, I feel, therefore I act—comes from the objective faith given by God. The biblical truth is that the believer perseveres in faith, a subjective act, because he/she has been give an objective faith in the reality of the promises.

Because we are sensual, rational creatures, I will say this in a more familiar way: faith gives the perception of immediate presence to spiritual realities. Perseverance is knowing that God said it, that settles it, I’m going to believe it and do it.

God-given faith—a quality of faith only believers possess—is the kind of faith necessary to persevere and receive the promises. Genuine believers are given the faith and grace necessary to persevere, and genuine believers receive and use the grace of perseverance to persevere.

 

The Security of the Believer Pt. 2

The Security of the Believer Pt. 2

(Guest post by James Quiggle)

This post is the second of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation. These posts are from my book “Christian Living and Doctrine,” pp. 15–20, 45–46. The New Testament presents five witnesses testifying salvation is eternal. The first post presented 1) the foundation of eternal salvation and 2) the seal of eternal salvation. This post will present 3) the assurance of eternal salvation; 4) perseverance in eternal salvation; 5) the character of eternal salvation.

THE ASSURANCE OF ETERNAL SALVATION

A believer can know for certain that he/she is eternally saved. The apostle John stated “I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life,” 1 John 5:13. Jesus said he has given his saved people eternal life and 1) they shall never perish, and 2) no person or thing is able to take the believer out of Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand (John 10:27–29). The apostle Paul wrote that “there is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1, and that no person and no thing “shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:31–39. Because the believer is no longer subject to condemnation, and because nothing can separate the believer from Christ, a believer in Christ as his/her Savior cannot lose their salvation.

PERSEVERANCE IN ETERNAL SALVATION

God gives every genuine believer the grace to continue in the faith by faith, and the believer uses that grace to continue in faith, righteousness, and holiness. Jesus said, John 10:28 “I give them [his saved people] eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Paul wrote, Philippians 1:6 “He [God] who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Peter wrote, 1 Peter 1:5, that believers are “kept by the power of God through faith.”

There are times when a Christian seems to fail, but the apostle John said that Christians have sin, 1 John 1:8, and Christians will occasionally commit acts of sinning, 1 John 1:10, but that God has made a remedy to restore the sinning Christian to fellowship with himself, 1 John 1:9. The scriptures do tell the Christian to strive to live holy and righteous lives, which some have interpreted to mean salvation can be lost if one’s life is not always holy and righteous. But the verses telling the believer to strive depend on the ability to strive and succeed, which is God’s grace of perseverance. God never commands what he does not also give. If the commandment is to strive, then God’s mighty power works in the believer so he/she can strive and succeed, Colossians 1:29. God gives the grace of perseverance and the genuine believer uses the grace of perseverance. Because every genuine believer possesses the grace of perseverance, he/she will always overcome sin and the world by the grace of perseverance. The salvation of the believer is eternal.

THE CHARACTER OF ETERNAL SALVATION

The life of the saved person demonstrates certain characteristics that an unsaved person’s life does not. The saved person habitually lives a godly life. The unsaved person habitually lives a life of sinning. The saved person may sin occasionally, but the unsaved person sins habitually. The apostle John wrote, 1 John 3:6, that every person habitually abiding in Christ is not habitually sinning, and that every person habitually sinning does not know Christ. The characteristics of daily living testify a genuine believer has eternal salvation.

The saved person is like Christ: he/she is godly. Godliness, that is, a godly life, is when the believer’s thoughts, decisions, and actions conform to the moral, holy, and righteous standard set by God’s own character. Positively, a genuine believer loves the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; he/she enjoys associating with and worshiping with others sharing the same faith in Christ; a believer has a hunger and thirst to learn the Word of God, to read the Word, study the Word, hear the Word preached and taught; the person who is genuinely saved loves to hear about Christ the Savior. The genuine believer recognizes the truth of Scripture, 1 John 2:21; but the unbeliever does not continue in the truth, 1 John 2:19.

Negatively, the person who is genuinely saved is bothered by sin and sinning. He/she is embarrassed by sinning because Christ has been disappointed. The believer takes no lasting pleasure in sin and sinning—there may be a moment of pleasure when an old sin habit is indulged, but in a short time the pleasure fades. The genuine believer is saddened when Christ is dishonored. The genuine believer is righteously angry when the Scripture is twisted to say what it does not mean. The genuine believer holds the world and the things of the world loosely, lightly, knowing he/she is to be in the world, but not of the world. Death is not a terror to the genuine believer, because physical death is merely the way Christ brings his saved people to heaven to be with him forever. The characteristics of a genuine salvation testify to an eternal salvation.

CONCLUSION

There are times of failure in the Christian life, and times of doubt. There are some verses that seem to say salvation may be lost. But the scriptures give a clear and unambiguous witness that salvation cannot be lost. So by the testimony of five things—Christ’s limitless merit; sealing by the Holy Spirit; the Scripture’s word of assurance; perseverance in the faith by faith; and the characteristics of a genuine Christian—the believer has assurance that salvation is permanent.

Of these five the first is the most important. Jesus paid the full and complete debt for sins, completely satisfying God’s holiness and justice, such that no other action, work, or sacrifice is required. A genuine believer cannot lose his or her salvation; a genuine believer is permanently sealed into salvation; a genuine believer perseveres in the faith by faith; a genuine believer knows from Scripture they have eternal life and can never perish; a genuine believer habitually practices genuine Christianity.

 

The Security of the Believer Pt. 1

The Security of the Believer Pt. 1

(Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

 

This post is the first of three on the eternal security of salvation and the personal assurance of salvation. These posts are from my book “Christian Living and Doctrine,” pp. 15–20, 45–46.

The New Testament presents five witnesses testifying salvation is eternal: 1) the foundation of eternal salvation; 2) the seal of eternal salvation; 3) the assurance of eternal salvation; 4) perseverance in eternal salvation; 5) the character of eternal salvation. This post presents witnesses 1 and 2.

 

THE FOUNDATION OF ETERNAL SALVATION

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the foundation of eternal salvation. At 1 John 2:2 the apostle John wrote, Jesus “is the propitiation for our sins.” John does not set any limitations. “Our sins” refers to every sin a believer has or may commit, past, present, and future. When “God chose us in Christ,” Ephesians 1:4, it was “before the foundation of the world,” so God had in view all sins a believer would commit. John said Jesus “is the propitiation.” The word “propitiate” has the same meaning as the Old Testament “atone,” and the English word “expiate.” A good synonym is “satisfied.” God imputed our sins to Jesus on the cross, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and through his suffering on the cross Jesus fully satisfied God for every sin—all the sins you and I have committed or might yet commit.

At 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul tells us God made Jesus Christ “to be sin for us.” God imputed the sins of the world to Jesus, 1 John 2:2, when Jesus was on the cross. Jesus suffered God’s wrath for our sins with the result Jesus made a full satisfaction to God for the crime of sin. The Bible names this satisfaction “propitiation,” Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.

Propitiation is the complete satisfaction of God’s holiness and justice that Christ made to God by enduring spiritual and physical death on the cross for the crime of sin committed by human beings, suffering in their place and on their behalf. When by faith a sinner applies Christ’s propitiation to their sins, God is completely satisfied the debt for all his/her sins was paid, and forgives all those sins past, present, and future.

On the cross, to make the propitiation for sins, Christ endured the penalty for sin, which is spiritual and physical death. Christ endured spiritual death when he was separated from fellowship with God (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46), and physical death when he separated his soul from his body (“Bowing his head, he gave up his spirit,” John 19:30).

We can understand that Christ paid the full debt for sins in three actions.

One, before his death he cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” indicating he was no longer separated from God. He had paid in full the sin debt imputed to him.

Two, when the propitiation was completed Christ cried out “It is finished,” John 19:30. The word he used, teléō, was a cry of victory, in a verb tense (perfect) indicating his work of propitiation was brought to completion. No other work is needed to satisfy God for the crime of our sin.

Three, Christ resurrected from the dead. Each member of the Trinity participated in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:4; John 10:17; Romans 8:11), showing that Christ had made a complete satisfaction for sin. As Paul stated, 1 Corinthians 15:17, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is futile” (vain, empty).

Because the propitiation completely satisfied God for sins past, present, and future a believer’s salvation is eternally secure. “There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus . . .  “Who is able to bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies . . .  it is Christ who died . . . and is risen . . . and makes intercession for us,” Romans 8:1, 33–34. The Writer of Hebrews said Jesus “offered one sacrifice for sins forever,” and then “sat down at the right hand of God.” The God-man sat down because his work was completed. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, there is never again a need for any sacrifice for sin, forever, Hebrews 10:12, 18.

The writer of Hebrews says Jesus established a new covenant with God, 8:6, and through his death offered one sacrifice for sins, forever, 10:12. The result is that God has made a commitment with every person saved through faith in Christ: “their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more,” 10:17.

At John 10:27–30 Jesus said he knew who his saved people were (his “sheep”); that he gives his saved people eternal life; that his saved people will never perish (because they have eternal life); that no person and no thing or event can remove a genuinely saved person from Christ’s hand or the Father’s hand; compare Paul at 8:38–39, Peter at 1 Peter 1:5, and John at 1 John 5:11–13.

What Christ did on the cross fully satisfied God for the sins of every person who believes on Christ as Savior. In an illustration, the finite demerit of the believer’s sins—past, present, future—are like a teardrop in the ocean of Christ’s limitless merit. Once a person is saved, he/she cannot lose their salvation, because the infinite, limitless merit of Christ secures salvation for every person who believes on him as Savior. There is no sin a believer might commit that would cause loss of salvation, because Jesus propitiated God for every sin.

THE SEAL OF ETERNAL SALVATION

Sealing the believer in salvation is an act of God the Holy Spirit occurring the moment a sinner believes on Christ as personal savior. The apostle Paul wrote at Ephesians 1:13, “having believed, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.” The “promise” is a reference to the advent and indwelling of the Holy Spirit prophesied in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:33; Joel 2:28–32), announced by Christ (John 14:16–18, 26; 16:7, 13–15; Acts 1:4–5, 8) and fulfilled after his ascension (Acts 2:17–18; 8:17; 10:44).

“Sealing” is an allusion to the method used to secure ancient documents. When a document was completed, it would be rolled up (a scroll), and a blob of wax was used to affix the end of the scroll to the rolled up body. A mark or image was impressed into the wax before it cooled. The purpose of the seal was to secure the document against damage or tampering. The purpose of the image impressed into the wax was to certify the authenticity of the document. In today’s terms, the seal was the mark of a notary, or a witness, authenticating the document and its contents. Thus, sealing indicates a completed act and means security, authenticity, genuineness, identification, and ownership.

The sealing accomplished by the Holy Spirit is God’s witness that the believer is genuinely and eternally saved. The seal of the Spirit keeps the believer secure in his or her salvation, for no one can break God’s seal. The seal is impressed with God’s mark—the image of Christ the Savior—indicating the believer is God’s property. Sealing confirms the believer’s faith from the moment of salvation forward into eternity future.

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

Dispensationalism (Guest Post by James Quiggle ThM)

DISPENSATIONALISM DEFINED

Dispensational theology is a systematic theology describing the outworking of God’s plans and processes to accomplish his purpose in creating. Dispensations are part of Dispensationalism, but do not comprise the entire system. Dispensationalism is a way of thinking about how God manages his household, a way to interpret the Bible, and a way to understand God’s basic purpose in his dealings with mankind.

Many people confuse a dispensation and Dispensationalism.

— “A dispensation is a distinguishable economy in the outworking of God’s purpose [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 28].

One might identify a dispensation in various ways. Erich Sauer provides several observations that help define how God changes his economies. He wrote, “a new period [dispensation] always begins only when from the side of God a change is introduced in the composition of the principles valid up to that time; that is, when from the side of God three things concur [Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption, 194]:

— A continuance of certain ordinances valid until then;
— An annulment of other regulations until then valid;
— A fresh introduction of new principles not before valid.

There are several ways to name or number the dispensations. I identify the several dispensations with reference to the prominent persons and events with whom a dispensation began and ended. These are:

— Adam to Noah
— Noah to Abraham
— Abraham to Moses
— Moses to Christ’s resurrection
— Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church
— Rapture to Christ’s second advent
— Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign to Christ the Judge at the Great White Throne Judgment (GWT)
— The eternal state (God eternally face-to-face with saved mankind) following the GWT

Certain dispensations might also be defined in terms of the covenants God made with mankind’s representatives.

—Adam to Noah (Adamic covenant)
—Noah to Abraham, (Post-Flood Noahic covenant)
—Abraham to Moses, (Abrahamic covenant)
—Moses to Christ’s resurrection (Mosaic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New covenants)
—Christ’s resurrection to rapture of the church (application of New covenant to individual Hebrews and Gentiles)
—Christ’s Davidic-Messianic-Millennial reign (fulfillment of Abrahamic, Davidic, Palestinian, and
—New covenants toward national ethnic Israel)

As may be seen from both lists, dispensations begin and end with a defining event that changes the economy of man’s stewardship responsibilities toward God’s revealed will.

Many people believe in dispensations and other parts of Dispensational theology, but cannot be described as Dispensationalists. Ryrie (Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 1995) states three absolutely indispensable parts of Dispensationalism. If a person does not hold to these three essentials, then he or she is not a Dispensationalist. These essentials are [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 39–40]:

— A Dispensationalist keeps Israel and the church distinct.
— The distinction between Israel and the church is born out of a system of hermeneutics [interpretation] that is usually called literal interpretation.
— The underlying purpose of God in the world is the glory of God.

“The essence of dispensationalism, then, is the distinction between Israel and the church. This grows out of the dispensationalist’s consistent employment of normal or plain or historical-grammatical interpretation [the literal hermeneutic], and it reflects an understanding of the basic purpose of God in all his dealings with mankind as that of glorifying Himself through salvation and other purposes as well” [Ryrie, Dispensationalism, 41].

Any person identifying him or herself as a classical Dispensationalist should agree with the three distinctives that compose this definition.

Michael Vlach in his book, “Dispensationalism, Essential Beliefs and Common Myths,” presents “Six Essential Beliefs of Dispensationalism” (pp. 30–50, see for his very helpful discussion). These six are:

— The primary meaning of any Bible passage is found in that passage. The New Testament does not reinterpret of transcend Old Testament passages in a way that overrides of cancels the original authorial intent of the Old Testament writers.
— Types exist but national Israel is not an inferior type that is superseded by the church.
— Israel and the church are distinct; thus, the church cannot be identified as the new and/or true Israel.
— Spiritual unity in salvation between Jews and Gentiles is compatible with a future functional role for Israel as a nation.
— The nation Israel will be both saved and restored with a unique functional role in a future earthly millennial kingdom.
— There are multiple senses of “seed of Abraham,” thus the church’s identification as “seed of Abraham” does not cancel God’s promises to the believing Jewish “see of Abraham.”

Vlach’s later book “Has the Church Replaced Israel?” expands on these themes giving them greater clarity, scriptural explanation, and defence.

I highly recommend the books by Ryrie and Vlach. (Some information in this essay is from my book, James D. Quiggle, “Dispensational Eschatology, An Explanation and Defense of the Doctrine.”

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

Progressive Dispensationalism: Our Theological Lens

As I am preparing for church planting in January, I want to clarify a theological position. I affirm Progressive Dispensationalism.

Tenets of Progressive Dispensationalism include:

Tenents of Progressive Dispensationalism

  1. Is not Replacement Theology; Progressive Dispensationalists assert that God will keep His promises made to “Israel according to the flesh,” the genetic descendents of Jacob.
  2. Acknowledges a future 7-year Tribulation followed by a 1,000 Millennium with Christ personally present and reigning from Jerusalem.
  3. Affirms that the nation of Israel (in the Millennium) will be exalted as a nation with a rebuilt Temple and sacrificial offerings (that the Messianic Age is compatible with Temple worship is demonstrated in Acts 21:17-26).
  4. Is similar to (the Messianic Jewish scholar) David Stern’s “Olive Branch Theology” espoused in Restoring the Jewishness of the Gospel.
  5. Does see the church fulfilling many Old Testament prophecies (and thus differs from Traditional Dispensationalism on this point), but in a less literal sense or incomplete sense; Progressives break rank with Traditionals by concluding that the church was anticipated in the Old Testament (but not clearly). The term “mystery,” when used in reference to the church, is not defined as “something previously unrevealed,” (as in Traditional Dispensationalism) but “previously revealed unclearly.”
  6. Views the church as being blessed through Israel; Progressives avow that God has never stopped working with Israel (some Jews now believe, and He is provoking others to jealousy); the Jews will rebuild the Tribulation Temple largely in unbelief; although the 144,000 will be saved during the earlier part of the Tribulation, most Jews will not believe until the Battle of Armageddon, as interpreted from Zechariah 12.
  7. Essentially recognizes the more literal fulfillment of prophecy (which is Traditional Dispensationalism’s strong suit) but accepts how the New Testament authors quote and apply the Old Testament to the church (Traditional Dispensationalism’s most vulnerable point).
  8. Is a “now, but not yet” viewpoint (as argued by C. Marvin Pate in The End of the Age Has Come); the Kingdom Age is breaking forth now, but will have a complete fulfillment during the Millennium.

For additional study:

http://www.theopedia.com/progressive-dispensationalism

https://www.gotquestions.org/progressive-dispensationalism.html

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Spiritual Israel?? 144,000 and the Salvation of a Nation

Text: Revelation 7

As opposed to simply providing lesson notes, which is my normal custom, I want to address objections and disputations with regard to this passage of Scripture.

Objection: The Bible says not all of Israel is Israel (Romans 9:6), so you cannot say that all of Israel will be saved in the Tribulation.

Answer: The Bible does indeed make the statement that not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel but to imply that this verse means that “all” of Israel will not be saved is specious at best. I heard a sermon from John Piper wherein he says “Israel is God’s chosen people and most of them are perishing, cut off from the Savior, Jesus Christ. And the reason it is a crisis for you, and not just for Jews, is that, if God’s promises to Israel do not hold true, then there is no reason to think his promises to you will hold true. The rock solid security of God’s elect in Romans 8 (Verse 33: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies!”) – this security that we exult in, at the heart of our faith, is worthless if God proves unfaithful to his covenant people. If God does not keep his promises to Israel, will he keep the promises he makes to us?”

Statement of Fact: A number of sound Bible teachers teach that the 144,000 are not to be taken literally and, instead, are a representation of all that will be saved during the tribulation.

Answer: This is an understandable sentiment but it is deficient for 2 reasons. First, there is no reason to assume Revelation needs to be “spiritualized” There are figurative aspects to be sure and they need to be dealt with according to the normal rules of language. Secondly there is nothing in Revelation 7 that indicates that the 144,000 and the multitude are the same. I would argue the opposite is true; the multitude and the 144,000 cannot be the same because one is from Israel and the other is from every tongue and tribe (often times referred to as ha’Goyim/the Nations) and thus the multitude are still more gentiles who are saved.

Question: Is it logically possible that all Israel will be saved?

Answer: That all Israel will be saved is, in fact, a logical possibility. Moreover it is plausible, and guaranteed. 

In two of the sets of judgments, we see the unmitigated death and destruction that the Holy God allows to be unleashed on a Christ Rejecting world. What we do not see, in Revelation, is how many of those who are killed are part of Israel and as a consequence we do not know how many Israelites are left alive to be saved although Zechariah 13:8 states that 2/3 will be cut off and die. We can, then, infer that the salvation of the remaining 1/3 as “all” Israel to be saved is logically possible. As to probability, bear with me…

7 Seals Judgment

Rev.6:3-2nd Seal: Wars on earth

Rev.6:7-4th Seal: Death released. 1/4 of the worlds population to die by plagues, disease, and beasts of the earth

Rev.6:9-5th Seal: Persecution and mass killing of God’s people worldwide

Rev.6:12-6th Seal: Massive earthquake wrath of God.

TRUMPETS

Rev.9:13-6th Trumpet: demons released and 200 million army kills 1/3 of the world’s population.

Some points from the Revelation Teaching Series by another of my mentors

  1. “shall be saved”…salvation by faith in Jesus Christ vs works

Genesis 15:6 Habakkuk 2:4 Romans 4:9 – 5:1 Romans 9:24-26 Galatians 3:16-29

  1. “all Israel”

Romans 2:25-29 Romans 9:6b Romans 9:27 Ezkekiel 20:5, 8, 13, 16-17, 33-44

 

We come to some questions:

  • When will God rule over Israel…when will God be Israel’s King?
  • When will Israel pollute His name no more?
  • When will Israel be sanctified before the Gentile nations?
  • When will Israel know that Jesus Christ is Lord?
  • When will Israel loathe themselves and their tawdry history?
  • When will the Lord purge Israel of the rebels/unbelievers?

 

The answer to all of the above questions is

During the 70th Week of Daniel  (Dan 9:24)

Ezekiel 36:16-31 Zechariah 13:8-9 Romans 11:25-29

“all Israel” are those who believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, their King and Savior

Ezekiel 40-48

Question Does any reputable Bible teacher believe all Israel will be saved?

Answer:

Dr. MacArthur points out that “all Israel” means all of those members of the nation of Israel that survive the Time of Jacob’s Trouble/Great Tribulation.

Romans 11:17- only some branches are broken off, so a believing remnant are being preserved unto/until salvation.

Before all Israel is saved, its unbelieving, ungodly members will be separated out by God’s inerrant hand of judgment. Ezekiel makes that truth vividly clear:

“As I live,” declares the Lord God, “surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I shall be king over you. And I shall bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I shall bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I shall enter into judgment with you face to face. As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord God. “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I shall purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezek. 20:33–38, emphasis added; cf. Dan. 12:10;Zech. 13:8–9)

Those who hear the preaching of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:1–814:1–5), of other converts (7:9), of the two witnesses (11:3–13), and of the angel (14:6), and thus safely pass under God’s rod of judgment will then comprise all Israel, which—in fulfillment of God’s sovereign and irrevocable promise—will be completelya nation of believers who are ready for the kingdom of the Messiah Jesus.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israeland with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israelafter those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jer. 31:31–34; cf. 32:38)

God’s control of history is irrefutable evidence of His sovereignty. And as surely as He cut off unbelieving Israel from His tree of salvation, just as surely will He graft believing Israel back in—a nation completely restored and completely saved.”

Most importantly, the reason why, at some point, the entirety of Israel looks upon Him whom they pierced, mourns, and turns to Christ is the fact that God does not change

Malachi 3:6

I, the Lord, do not change

Hosea 2:14-20

14“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness,

and speak tenderly to her. 15And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achore a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16“And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ 17For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolishf the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

1 Samuel 15:29

29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind”

Psalm 102:12 & 25-28

12 But Thou, O LORD dost abide forever; And Thy name to all generations. . . 25 Of old Thou didst found the earth; And the heavens are the work of Thy hands. 26 Even they will perish, but Thou dost endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing Thou wilt change them, and they will be changed. 27 But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end. 28 The children of Thy servants will continue, And their descendants will be established before Thee”

Beloved, I hope this is helpful. Until next time, grace to you.

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