Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 20060807-20110806)
The Bible says we are chosen by God and predestined to be called. What does that mean exactly? When did it happen?
Christian Churches of God
(Copyright © 2006, 2011 Wade Cox)
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Knowing the Future
The question of the Predestination of the Elect concerns the matter of God’s Omniscience. God is said to be omnipotent, meaning He is all-powerful and able to be omnipresent, meaning He can be everywhere at once. He achieves His omnipresence through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in much the same way spiritually as electricity can be sent to multiple locations at once from the same source physically.
Omniscience can be defined as knowing all true propositions. It is a matter of fact that people have been able to divine the future over recorded history. The Bible records that the demons also are able to prophesy and foretell future events (Acts 16:16).
God forbade that system to Israel. God said through the Angel of the Presence to Moses:
Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire. Or that uses divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. (KJV)
Yet God used the spirit of prophecy in Israel through the prophets, and the prophets were consulted on the New Moons as a rule to guide and prophesy to Israel.
Was this a double standard? No, it was a regulated control of divination proceeding only from recognised prophets of Israel as servants of the One True God. The demons also use prophecy to affect the thinking of the nations that rely on them. These capacities are not simply made up. They do indeed possess the capacity to view future events. However, their capacity is limited in many ways.
An observer of times is an astrologer. All the people referred to in the text in Deuteronomy 18:10 are associated with systems that are not sanctioned by God. The demons lie almost as though it is game to them. The oracles often played these sorts of tricks on people consulting them.
However, God does sanction divination through the Urim and the Thummin. In this way the Holy Spirit was able to communicate with Israel in a recognised way while the Holy Spirit had not been made available to the general populace.
It is accepted that God planned the Creation and saw the end from the beginning, and declared that end from the beginning. It is a declared position of the Bible that He is the Alpha and the Omega (see the paper Arche of the Creation of God as Alpha and Omega (No. 229)). He gave that power to Christ on his resurrection from the dead.
The demons are not omniscient but they do possess the facility to see the age and the process of time. They see it only darkly but they can and do prophesy. They spend a lot of time monitoring us, and what happens with the Church, and they, and the whole Angelic Host long to look into the things that are revealed through us.
We are to proceed by faith and that is why divination, except through a prophet of God in the approved biblical manner, is forbidden to us.
God uses the elect to accomplish His purpose.
God sets His servants as “foreheads of flint” to the adversaries of Israel, and also often to the congregation of Israel itself.
In the days before the Church God raised up His servants the prophets to do His will. These prophets, and their works, were known before they were even conceived. We know that the prophecies of the OT were to be fulfilled often thousands of years later, as we see from the texts in Genesis. Isaiah foretold of the Christ in exact details, as did David in the Psalms. Revelation speaks of the Lamb slain and refers to the term, “before the foundation of the world”.
These prophecies did not just concern Messiah. God predestined Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 1:1-19 The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilki'ah, of the priests who were in An'athoth in the land of Benjamin, 2 to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josi'ah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoi'akim the son of Josi'ah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedeki'ah, the son of Josi'ah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month. 4 Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth." 7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, `I am only a youth'; for to all to whom I send you you shall go, and whatever I command you you shall speak. 8 Be not afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, says the LORD." 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand and touched my mouth; and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant." 11 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" And I said, "I see a rod of almond." 12 Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it." 13 The word of the LORD came to me a second time, saying, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north." 14 Then the LORD said to me, "Out of the north evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, lo, I am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, says the LORD; and they shall come and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And I will utter my judgments against them, for all their wickedness in forsaking me; they have burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, gird up your loins; arise, and say to them everything that I command you. Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the LORD, to deliver you."
God made Jeremiah a prophet, and predestined him before he was formed in the womb. Jeremiah was not only to see the kings of the north brought down to encamp at the walls of Jerusalem and set up their throne there, but he was also set over nations to pluck up and to break down. God placed His words in the mouth of Jeremiah and defended him and delivered him. He was also to prophesy against the kings and the cities of Judah. Jeremiah was to utter judgment against the nations of the north and against Israel. As prophet of God, Jeremiah was made a fortified city, a bronze pillar, and walls of bronze, against the whole land and the kings and the people of Judah also.
God knew him and God ordained his works and set him as prophet against his own people, as well as the Gentile nations. He was given power to pluck up and break down. The Church also is given this power in the Last Days.
When exactly is a person who is predestined of God determined in the mind of God?
Paul tells us and so does John.
Ephesians 1:1-23 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. 5 He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
The One True God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the World. That is the katabole (SGD 2602) or laying down of the world. In other words, the Bible says that the omniscience of God extends to the absolute foreknowledge of the existence of not just Jesus Christ, but of the entire lineages of the descendants of Adam, from the first to the last, through all of their marriages and the matrixes of human reproduction, with all its errors and mistakes and choices. That is the power of God. The demons access this foreknowledge, as time to them is not a linear proposition, but they often see linear times slightly incorrectly. They try to interfere with this matrix to stop us being born, and continue to stop us being baptised. They will try to unequally yoke us if they cannot kill us or prevent our birth.
Paul goes on to speak of the redemption afforded us in the sacrifice of Christ.
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 8 which he lavished upon us. 9 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory.
God’s plan is made known to us as it concerns the fullness of time. In other words, He gives us the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God, as they are to unfold in His plan. That plan and purpose was set forth in Christ, and that plan is revealed to us as we are to serve the plan of God. These things are according to God’s will and we were destined and appointed to live for the praise of His glory.
Thus, we were predestined to be called and given the Mysteries of God and to steward those Mysteries according to the counsel of the Will of God, as revealed to us in the Holy Spirit for the praise of His glory. Paul speaks of us having heard the word of truth, being sealed by the Holy Spirit.
13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
Thus the Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. It is the testimony of our love for the brethren. It is for this reason:
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; 22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all. (RSV)
The Church is the body of Christ, and God, through the Holy Spirit, fills all in all. To this end, God becomes all in all. We are given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God so that we understand the hope to which we are called, and so that we can explain that hope within the revelation of God. God achieves that power in us who were called to believe according to the power and works of God. The power was accomplished in Christ whom God raised from the dead and made him sit at His right hand. God set Christ above every rule and authority, and above every name, not only in this age but also in the age to come. God put all things under the feet of Christ and made him head over all things for the Church, which is the body or Temple of God, which Temple we are. God knew us before we were born and predestined us to be called.
What of those who fail? Paul deals with the process in Romans chapter 8, where he talks about the Law and the spirit of grace that is set upon those who are called.
Romans 8:1-39 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.
That does not do away with the Law, but rather sets us free from the problems that we face in trying to deal with the weaknesses of the flesh in dealing with sin, which is transgression of the Law (1Jn. 3:4).
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The requirements of the Law are just and are fulfilled in us. We walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, which is the distinction that Paul makes in dealing with the law and the faith in the Spirit.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. 6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot;
Paul makes the comment here that the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, as it does not submit to God’s Law and indeed cannot submit to God’s Law. That is the root cause of the problem concerning those who preach that the Law of God is done away, or nailed to the stake on which Christ was crucified (Col. 2:14). The “handwriting of ordinances” was the bill of indebtedness or the Chierographon that stood against us for our sins in transgression of the law.
8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.
So, those who are alive in the Church are dead because of sin in transgression of the law, but alive because of the Spirit through grace.
God raised Jesus from the dead. It is His Spirit that is to dwell in us as the Holy Spirit of God. That is the Spirit that gives life to our mortal bodies.
11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh -- 13 for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.
So the deeds of the body result in death. We live according to the Spirit and so truly have life. Those elect who are led by the Spirit are sons of God. They have received the spirit of the sonship.
14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" 16 it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
We are children of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ. We are to become elohim as he was given to become elohim, provided we suffer with him so that we are glorified with him. Paul then goes on to explain the process of this glorification.
18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
The sufferings of the world that we face now are not worthy to be considered when we look ahead to the glory of God in the promises held out to us as the elect and children of God. The creation will also share in the promises held out to us.
The creation groans under the oppression of sin. We who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan as we wait for the adoption as sons of God, which will be granted to us on the resurrection of our bodies from the dead at the First Resurrection.
22 We know
that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; 23
and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the
Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our
It is the hope of the resurrection that is not seen that we were saved through grace.
24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
We wait for that in patience. During that wait the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what to ask for but it makes supplication for us. God searches our hearts with the Spirit.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. 27 And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
The will of God is the direction of the Holy Spirit in searching our minds and hearts. Thus all things work together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. In this is the key to predestination.
28 We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Here we see the sequence of predestination.
31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?
The elect, who are predestined to be chosen and called, do not fail. Hence the comment “many are called but few are chosen”. God does not call people to fail. Some are called but were not chosen. That is not held to their account. They will be raised in the Second Resurrection, which is the time God had allocated for them to be called in the first place.
33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies;
Thus who is to judge us when it is God that justifies us?
Again, who is to condemn us when it is Christ that has saved us by his ascension and his intercession? There is no other possible intercession other than through Christ.
34 who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us?
There is no one that can separate us from Christ and the love of God, except ourselves in sin, and then only to relegate us to the time that God foresaw as the time allocated to bring us to Him.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (RSV)
Paul outlined the whole structure of predestination and the role of Jesus Christ and the Church in the plan of God. In the same way God revealed the structure to Christ who revealed it to John in the book of Revelation.
Revelation 5:1-14 And I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals; 2 and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, "Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth; 7 and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints; 9 and they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth." 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!" 14 And the four living creatures said, "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshiped. (RSV)
The elect are to become a kingdom and priests and will reign on the earth. This is from the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, and it will be from Jerusalem; and it is about to dawn on us. This is the hope that lies within us.
Revelation 13:1-8 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. 4 Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" 5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; 6 it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain. (RSV)
Note that the names of those of the elect were written, before the foundation of the world, in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain. No one dictates to God. No one gets in by the back door. The elect were predestined to be chosen and called and hence justified and glorified. That is why they are called the elect or chosen.
The elect are very often the weakest and most despised in the world's eyes.
1Corinthians 1:26-31 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth; 27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 therefore, as it is written, "Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord." (RSV)
God calls the weak of the world for two main reasons: firstly, so they cannot (or are less likely to) boast that it was their own talents, natural intelligence or goodness which put them among the elect; and secondly, so that the wise, powerful and oppressive of this world would eventually be shamed into repentance. If we are to boast at all it is to boast or glory (Gk. kauchaomai) that we are of God (Jer.9:23-24; Ps. 44:8). If there is anything good in us it is His doing, not ours; and it is God's Spirit that empowers the elect.
Zechariah 4:6 …. "This is the word of the LORD to Zerub'babel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts. (RSV)
The elect or chosen are called and given to Christ when appropriate, and they are allowed to endure whatever it is that they must endure for the Faith and the glory of God. If they are to go into captivity, then it is to captivity that they will go. The elect are judged on what they do and those who seek to harm them will in that way be rebuked.
Those who seek to kill them will be killed in like manner. Those who seek to destroy them will be destroyed in like manner, while those who seek to defame them will be held up to everlasting shame.
Continuing Revelation 13:
Revelation 13:9-18 If any one has an ear, let him hear: 10 If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. 11 Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men; 14 and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived; 15 and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast should even speak, and to cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six. (RSV)
(cf. note for 666 in Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C)).
God has foreseen all that is to come to pass and all that is to happen to us. He allows some things as a witness for the Faith and tests those of the elect even unto death.
Be strong in the Faith and you will stand before the throne in your place at the end of days.