This first portion of this article is highly based upon the 1973 booklet by the old Worldwide Church of God titled "Predestination - Does The Bible Teach It?," with many scriptures updated and expanded, as well as with new commentary.
Predestination. You have heard about it and probably wondered about it.
Is your ultimate fate decided for you in advance? This idea has baffled, perplexed, and worried many people.
THE very fact of wartime casualties, deaths of children, and accidental deaths has caused a great deal of added sorrow and grief that is entirely unnecessary — if we understand God's plan! Many have grieved in the belief that loved ones died eternally "lost" — when, if they understood the truth, these probably were not lost at all.
Now perhaps it should be mentioned that what is called TULIP Calvinism basically teaches that one has no choice but to be saved or lost. Basically it indicates that about 2% of people will be saved because of God's love (the vast majority seem to be of European heritage) and the remaining 98% will fry in torment for all eternity (for more details, see John Calvin, Calvinism, TULIP, and What is Predestination?). This is a wrong concept, but millions have believed it thoughout the past several centuries.
Here is a link to a related video sermon: Predestination: What it is and what it is not.
But all this perplexity and worry has arisen from another general assumption — one of the greatest errors of this time, yet almost universally taken for granted without so much as a thought to inquire into it. That is the assumption that there are only two classes, living or dead — the saved, and the lost. How many sermons have you heard based on the theory "there is no middle ground. Either you are this minute saved, or you're a lost soul!"
This teaching has led to untold suffering and unnecessary grief.
Many are grieving over departed loved ones who had never made a profession of Christ. Perhaps over one who really lived wickedly; perhaps over one who lived a "good" life in the worldly sense, but still had never accepted Christ or been converted.
Still others grieve because of a doubt — they are not sure whether some loved one died saved.
If this article does no more than dispel some of this needless grief, and bring a little enlightenment and comfort to some of our readers, it will have been worthwhile.
It's important that you understand. Supposing this universal assumption were true, see where it leads us. This teaching comes from the supposition, also generally taken for granted without question, that this is the one and only age and time when God is trying desperately to save the world — that the mission of the Church is to save the world — that this is the only day of salvation, and it is now about over.
"Probation" as one minister called it, is about to close. Soon it will be too late.
We know, of course, the Bible plainly says there is but one name given under heaven among men whereby we may be saved — the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12). There are millions upon millions who, in spite of various missionaries sent to various lands, have never so much as heard that only name! And to have properly heard about Jesus, and the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God, over 7 billion, who really do not know the truth of the Bible.
Think of it. Most of the earth's population have never heard the truth about Christ and His message! They simply do not know about salvation from sin — God's plan for eternal life — have never heard the true gospel.
They cannot be saved!
And now let us ask, can we believe that a God of love brought these individuals into the world without their knowledge or consent, permitted them to live and die without ever having heard the precious gospel — that God has simply consigned them to eternal punishment because they never had a chance?
Or, do we believe that in some manner God saves them, if they live up to the best they know, without having known and accepted Christ — without having been converted? Is there, then, some other name — some other way to salvation and life eternal, than through Jesus Christ our Lord? Certainly we can find no such teaching in the Bible. Then what is the truth?
The amazing, startling truth is that this is not the age in which God is trying to save all the world!
It is not the only day of salvation.
Rather, we are nearing, now, the end of the six working days of the millennial week allotted to Satan.
Scripture plainly reveals Satan as the god of this world — this age; the prince of the power of the air; the actual spirit ruler of this present world. Notice:
3 But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, NKJV throughout unless otherwise indicated)
God's way is hidden to those who are remaining part of this world and who will pass away with it (1 John 2:17).
Yet, for now Satan is in now power!
He offered to turn over this power to Jesus, if He would only worship Satan. Jesus actually won the right to that power — to dethrone and replace Satan in power — by resisting him in that temptation.
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
10 Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'"
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. (Matthew 4:8-11)
When Christ comes to rule, Satan shall be dethroned and utterly shorn of power.
But he has power, now!
Satan retains that power only by God's express permission (cf. Job 1-2).The first humans, Adam and Eve, disobeyed God under Satan's sway and sin entered the world. God then sentenced the human family to 6,000 years of spiritual exile, during which the human family is, as a whole, cut off from the possibility of salvation (except for those few He would choose for a special purpose; see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).
God has, for all practical purposes, turned over six days of one week — an approximate millennial week, each "day" an actual thousand years — to Satan.
A day is as a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as a day.
8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
This six thousand years forms an overall period of time. God's principles remain. Applied to this millennial "week," God has said to Satan, in effect: "Six 'days' shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work."
Satan's work is a labor of deception — of deceiving mankind upon earth — of turning God's truth upside down — causing honest sincere people to accept a counterfeit for the genuine — deceiving the people into sin. And how successfully he has worked at his occupation for six thousand long years!
We are nearing, now, the end of the first six days of Satan's "week." And the coming seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Lord our God. The first six days God has turned over to Satan, and given him free reign to influence and to deceive. But the coming seventh millennium is God's Day — it shall belong to Him. In it, Satan shall not do any work — he shall be chained, restrained, thrown into the symbolic "bottomless pit" (Revelation 20:1-4) — he shall not deceive while he is bound.
That day shall not belong to him, thank God — it shall belong to God, who shall rule through Christ!
Jesus plainly said He is "Lord of the Sabbath."
And as this millennial Sabbath dawns, Jesus shall return to earth in person — as King of kings not only, but Lord of lords. He is coming not only to reign and to rule, as King of kings. But as Lord of lords, He is coming as High Priest to SAVE!
The fact we must now see — the astounding fact, almost unbelievable in the light of erroneous traditions, yet true — is that we have been living in the age of Satan's dominion — while Satan, with God's express permission, has been ruling — and not in the age when God has set His hand to save the world!
Notice carefully, now. Shocking as this truth may seem to many, yet it is the plain truth. During this time while Satan has been permitted to reign, it is simply not given to all to understand God's truth!
For instance, most people suppose Jesus spoke in parables in order to make His meaning clearer. But He didn't. He spoke in parables to hide His real meaning — to cover it so they could not understand. After Jesus had spoken the parable of the sower and the seed, notice: Mark 4:10-12; Matthew 13:10-13.
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?"
11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (Matthew 13:10-13)
10 But when He was alone, those around Him with the twelve asked Him about the parable. 11 And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12 so that
'Seeing they may see and not perceive,
And hearing they may hear and not understand;
Lest they should turn,
And their sins be forgiven them.'" (Mark 4:10-12)
Notice, Jesus plainly said that except to His disciples whom He had called, "it is not given" to even know of the Kingdom — even to them who actually saw Jesus and heard Him speak in person. They were not permitted to understand! That's astonishing! But there it is, in your own Bible — read it!
But there is no injustice with God (cf. Genesis 18:25; Galatians 6:7).
He wants all to be saved:
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
He denies no one an opportunity of salvation.
These many are simply not called now-- at this time -- in this, Satan's age. This is simply not the time when God is trying to save everyone. If He were -- and of course we know Satan is trying to deceive people into loss of salvation -- then Satan surely would seem to be getting the better of the contest.
But it is not a contest between God and Satan, as God has a plan that will come to pass. God alone rules in high heaven, and what Satan does he does not do in competition or in spite of God, or contrary to God's will -- he does it only by God's express permission -- and God gives that permission for an express and wise purpose. Some day we shall fully understand! But God denies no one a chance.
There is no injustice with God. Everyone is to have his full chance. But God does things His way and in His time, and in His plan all are not being called now. Millions who have died without a chance shall be resurrected and given their full chance -- and without a devil to tempt them.
The space of this article does not permit a full explanation of this here, but the 37th chapter of Ezekiel is one very definite revelation of this fact. (See our free article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis for a fuller explanation.)
Notice, something the Apostle Paul wrote:
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. (1 Corinthians 1:22-26)
Notice, "to those who are called" Some are called. All are not called, at this time -- during this age of Satan's dominion. "For you see your calling, brethren" -- Paul is speaking only to those he calls "brethren"-- those who had been called -- "that not many" -- notice it, "not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble" -- not many of these in the world are called!
Did Jesus say the gospel was to be preached to CONVERT all nations?
No, only as a news announcement for a witness!
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
After the end comes (Daniel 11:44) and the seventh trump sounds, the new age when the reign of Christ shall replace that of Satan will come.
While, during the present age, many in number are called, yet it is a few comparatively. And those who are called are called to a calling, and what is it? First, a calling to a changed life -- a life of overcoming sin and self. And notice what Jesus said of those now called, who do grow in grace and in knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), who endure unto the end, and who overcome. Notice their ultimate calling:
26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations — 27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron.... (Revelation 2:26-27).
When Jesus was here on earth it was His custom, as recorded in Luke 4:16, to preach the gospel every Sabbath day. And when this great millennial Sabbath dawns Satan will be imprisoned, and Christ will come not only to rule -- He shall also preach!
One of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible is the eleventh of Romans. Few seem to understand it -- yet it's plain. Some, today, say God has rejected and utterly cast away the Jewish people. They suppose the Jews are Israel, whereas actually they are of the House of Judah, which separated from the House of Israel in the days of kings Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Nevertheless, Romans 11 speaks undoubtedly of all the tribes of Israel. This marvelous chapter says God has not cast away His people Israel. But it reveals that only a small portion of Israel (our English-speaking peoples are the birthright tribes of Israel) are of the election of GRACE at this time.
The rest are blinded spiritually, and GOD has allowed them to be blinded -- deliberately and for a purpose -- not permanently, but until the "fulness of the Gentiles be come in" -- and then what?
Notice what we read in Romans:
25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:
"The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins. (Romans 11:25-27)
Israel is spiritually blinded, now. God blinded them. They are not now being called to salvation. They are not being given any chance, now, at all! The wonderful opportunity that shall come to them after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in -- after the Deliverer comes, and they are no longer blinded -- shall not be a second chance -- they have never yet had any chance. And, if we can but understand, this chapter dealing with national fleshly Israel refers to our own race -- our American and British descended peoples, as well as to the Jewish people. (For proof, check out the article Anglo - America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel) It includes, undoubtedly, most of these departed loved ones who died without having accepted Christ and becoming converted. They may have heard the name of Christ, but they did not understand. God never called them, during their lifetime in this age.
Of course they did not die automatically saved -- but, on the other hand, neither did they die lost! That's the comforting truth. The overwhelming majority of our peoples, today, are neither saved nor lost -- they simply have not, yet, been called.
But if God is not trying to save the whole world now -- if most are not now called, or given opportunity for salvation — why does God call any during this age? What's the purpose of calling some now?
That great purpose is to be trained to rule with Christ, and to teach, under Him, when He comes in His Kingdom -- when all Israel shall be saved. We are being trained, prepared, fitted, through trial and test, through hardship, through persecution, through tribulation, with continual Bible study and prayer, growing in grace and in knowledge, to be able, then, to fill the high office of a king or a priest -- either to rule in the civil sense, or to preach God's truth when the time comes that all may be privileged to understand, and to be called.
What a glorious mission is the true Christian life! So don't grieve over departed ones you have felt were lost. The chances are they were simply not then called -- it was not given to them to understand -- their chance had not yet come. But they shall be resurrected, their spiritual blindness removed, and, if you are one of the called, and if you are faithful and finally chosen, you may be used then to minister to them, and to lead them into salvation and life eternal.
Oh, what a glorious hope! What truly good news, is the true gospel of Christ, which most people today simply have never heard. They are hearing a false gospel today!
But Paul in Romans 11 shows that salvation has come to the few, the elect in Israel, and to some of the Gentiles. And why? He explains it in verses 31-32:
31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. (Romans 11:31-32)
They are blinded, now, that through our mercy who are now called, they may obtain mercy and salvation after Jesus comes as the great Deliverer. How plain, and how wonderful!
But now, how about the billions of people who never heard? Will Gentiles -- heathen Gentiles -- have a chance of salvation after Christ returns?-- after the Kingdom is set up to rule over all nations? Flesh and blood, remember, cannot inherit the Kingdom. Only those finally born again -- born of the Spirit -- those who shall have become Spirit, and no longer flesh and blood (John 3:1-8) shall be in the Kingdom. And they are the saints of this time, now called, changed, then, to immortality (see 1 Corinthians 15:50-54).
They are those called during this dispensation who have endured unto the end, and proved overcomers. And they shall rule, and teach, the nations (Rev. 2:27; 3:21; 2 Corinthians 6:2).
Is this the one and only age and time when God is trying desperately to save the world?
Some have been confused by 2 Corinthians 6:2 which seems to say that now is the only day of salvation.
This verse improperly has been translated. Notice two examples of that:
2 For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. KJV
2 For He says: "In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you." Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. NKJV
But the word "the" in the King James and New King James versions is actually misleading, because it is absent in the Greek, as a review of the original makes clear. Not one of the three times "the" is included is it in the Greek. Notice two actually more literal translations:
Berean Literal Bible
For He says, "In the acceptable time I listened to you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." Behold, now is the time of favor; behold, now is the day of salvation.
Young's Literal Translation
for He saith, 'In an acceptable time I did hear thee, and in a day of salvation I did help thee, lo, now is a well-accepted time; lo, now, a day of salvation,' --
The use of italics in the Berean Literal Bible shows that the word "the" was improperly inserted several times.
Actually, 2 Corinthians 6:2 was quoted by Paul from the Old Testament. Paul is quoting Isaiah 49:8 (the NKJV still inserts "the" improperly, so I did not quote it):
Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
English Standard Version
Thus says the LORD: “In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages,
New American Standard Bible
Thus says the LORD, "In a favorable time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
King James Bible
Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
Holman Christian Standard Bible
This is what the LORD says: I will answer you in a time of favor, and I will help you in the day of salvation. I will keep you, and I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land, to make them possess the desolate inheritances,
International Standard Version
"This what the LORD says: "I'll answer you in a time of favor, and on a day of salvation I'll help you. I have watched over you, and given you as a covenant for the people, to restore the land, to reassign the inheritances that have been devastated;
This is what the LORD says: "At the time I decide to show my favor, I will respond to you; in the day of deliverance I will help you; I will protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, to rebuild the land and to reassign the desolate property.
JPS Tanakh 1917
Thus saith the LORD: In an acceptable time have I answered thee, And in a day of salvation have I helped thee; And I will preserve thee, and give thee For a covenant of the people, To raise up the land, To cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
New American Standard 1977
Thus says the LORD, “In a favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
King James 2000 Bible
Thus says the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant to the people, to establish the earth, to cause them to inherit the desolate heritages;
American King James Version
Thus said the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you: and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
American Standard Version
Thus saith Jehovah, In an acceptable time have I answered thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages:
Darby Bible Translation
Thus saith Jehovah: In a time of acceptance have I answered thee, and in the day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the land, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
English Revised Version
Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I answered thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;
Webster's Bible Translation
Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages:
World English Bible
Thus says Yahweh, "In an acceptable time have I answered you, and in a day of salvation have I helped you; and I will preserve you, and give you for a covenant of the people, to raise up the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritage:
Young's Literal Translation
Thus said Jehovah: 'In a time of good pleasure I answered thee, And in a day of salvation I helped thee, And I keep thee, and give thee, For a covenant of the people, To establish the earth, To cause to inherit desolate inheritances.
The Hebrew text of Isaiah 49:8 does not have a definite article for "the" either. Neither does the Greek text of 2 Corinthians 6:2.
The first part of the verse is more correctly rendered as follows: "I have answered thy prayer, he says, in a [not the only one] time of pardon, I have brought thee help in a [not the only one] day of salvation" (Knox translation).
Certainly, this is the day of salvation for those who have been called and whose minds have been opened to His truth by God. Now is their chance — their opportunity to qualify for His Kingdom. This is the day of salvation for them. But it is not the day of salvation for the vast majority. They will receive their chance — their first and only chance — at a later time. It is a day of salvation, but not the only day of salvation.
Consider also that if it were the only day of salvation in Paul's time -- then it is closed to us today. But Paul was quoting a scripture hundreds of years old.
Was that time -- in the days of Isaiah -- the only day of salvation?
Obviously NOT. Today, as in the time of Paul, it was only one of several times of salvation.
The Bible shows that Christians shall reign on the earth, not up in heaven:
9 And they sang a new song, saying:
"You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10)
They shall rule the nations -- ordinary mortals of all races, on earth:
26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations —
27 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels' —
as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)
They shall thus rule, and teach, for one thousand years -- Christ's millennial "Sabbath":
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6).
Those now called, during this time, are called to a life of training -- spiritual character training, -- to fit them for positions of high responsibility in the Kingdom.
The one, for example, who multiplies ten times over in spiritual character what God gives him at conversion shall be qualified to rule ten cities.
11 Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. 12 Therefore He said: "A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'Do business till I come.' 14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We will not have this man to reign over us.'
15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. 16 Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.' 17 And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' 18 And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.' 19 Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief. 21 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.' 22 And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow. 23 Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
24 "And he said to those who stood by, 'Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.' 25 (But they said to him, 'Master, he has ten minas.') 26 'For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 27 But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.'" (Luke 19:11-27)
The one who overcomes, and grows in grace and knowledge only five times shall be qualified to rule over five cities. The one who thinks he "got saved" merely by "accepting Christ" and, deceived by the "no works" teaching, did not grow or develop in his Christian life at all, will have taken from him even the salvation he thought he had.
But who shall these converted immortals reign over? One glimpse into this millennial rule is found in Isaiah 11. It portrays Christ ruling the world in righteousness. It is a time when wild animals are tamed. Babies are being born, and nursing babes and weaned babies shall be playing with wild animals and deadly snakes — now tamed and harmless. Now notice: Isaiah 11:10-11:
10 "And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious."
11 It shall come to pass in that day
That the Lord shall set His hand again the second time
To recover the remnant of His people who are left,
From Assyria and Egypt,
From Pathros and Cush,
From Elam and Shinar,
From Hamath and the islands of the sea. (Isaiah 11:10-11)
The "Root of Jesse" is a reference to Jesus. To Christ, then ruling, shall the Gentiles seek! And then, as the returned Deliverer, shall He set His hand again the second time to recover Israel and Judah -- the time when the spiritual blindness is removed!
Notice again Micah 4:2:
2 Many nations shall come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths."
For out of Zion the law shall go forth,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Micah 4:2)
And now what of those Gentiles who never heard?
15 For behold, the Lord will come with fire
And with His chariots, like a whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For by fire and by His sword
The Lord will judge all flesh;
And the slain of the Lord shall be many.
17 "Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves,
To go to the gardens
After an idol in the midst,
Eating swine's flesh and the abomination and the mouse,
Shall be consumed together," says the Lord.
18 "For I know their works and their thoughts. It shall be that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see My glory. 19 I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles. (Isaiah 66:15-19)
God is going to stop pagan practices and call people from the ends of the earth!
When Jesus, the Great Deliverer shall come, the dead in Christ (those who have been called, and who have accepted the call and been finally saved) shall be resurrected out of their graves immortal (1Corinthians 15:50-53); and together they shall be caught up into the air to meet the coming King, with whom they shall reign. Thus they shall be separated from all earth's mortals -- mark that! The separation between mortal and immortal is made before Christ ever touches this earth. They meet the King Eternal up in the clouds.
Where do they go from there? The first four verses of Zechariah 14 reveal that Christ's feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, from whence He ascended. Then, upon this earth He shall take over His throne -- the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32). That, then, is the throne on which the saints made immortal shall sit with Him (Revelation 3:21).
Those now called to salvation are merely the "first fruits" of God's salvation (James 1:18). They are called, now, to prepare for the office of "king" or "priest," to become the instrumentality through which Christ will really save the world, when His time comes. What a glorious plan and gospel!
But consider that the teaching of "firstfruits" implies other fruits. Just as there were two harvests in Palestine, the smaller Spring harvest and the greater Fall harvest, so too does God have a plan to harvest those not predestined and/or who did not accept the call in this age.
But, some will say, is not this the doctrine of a second chance? Absolutely not!
One text ought to make that plain.
26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26-27)
Those to whom it has not been given to understand those not now called — have not received the knowledge of the truth. Most do not really grasp it — they do not really understand. Because the truth is spiritual knowledge, and spiritual knowledge cannot be transmitted naturally to a mortal human mind. Spiritual truth is revealed by God!
None receive it, though their ears hear the words, or their eyes read them, except as God opens their understanding, and by His Spirit reveals to them the truth. But, if one has been truly called of God, convicted by God's Spirit, his/her mind opened to the precious spiritual knowledge of the truth, then if that one sins willfully, deliberately, intentionally, without resistance, and continues that way -- that one is through! That one has had his/her chance. See also What is the Unpardonable Sin?
Those who shall then be saved are those who have not, until then, been called and truly understood. They are those who never had a previous chance. In God's own time, according to His plan, all shall have their chance. But each in his order. Those who were born and lived first receive theirs last. And those born last come in first.
The illustration of the "valley of dry bones" in Ezekiel 37 shows the whole House of Israel -- those spiritually blinded who lived and died without a real chance -- resurrected in mortal bodies to mortal life, as before. It shows their understanding being opened -- the knowledge coming to them for the first time. Then God puts His Holy Spirit within them, and they are saved!
And so it follows, now, that most of our loved ones who have died unsaved in all probability did not die lost. In all probability they were not called, during this age. But their call is coming later.
They shall be resurrected back to life, and given their fair chance. The "rest of the dead" come up after the millenium is over (Revelation 20:5). They will be resurrected (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?) and have an opportunity for salvation! See also Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.
Notice what the New Testament and the Old Testament plainly teach:
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:6)
10 And all the ends of the earth shall see The salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:10)
Notice that many who will be first come from places (like Asia in the east, Russia in the north, Africa and Latin America in the south, plus all the islands) that will end up being first in the Kingdom of God according to what Jesus taught in Luke 13:29-30:
29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.
Yes, there will be some from the west, but notice that they are no more prominent than those from the other regions. How does your church understand this? We in the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, specifically in the Continuing Church of God, understand that God will offer salvation to everyone in this age or the age to come and those in non-biblical nations will respond.
And you, if you are called -- if God reveals this wonderful truth to your mind -- are having your one and only chance now -- your chance to prepare and fit yourself to be used of Christ in the loving labor of helping to save them, then! Oh, what great meaning we begin to see in the Christian life! What glorious purpose! What grave responsibility! Will you make your calling and election sure? And now, in the light of this wonderful revelation of truth, we should be able to understand this matter of "predestination."
Very few understand what "predestination" is. First, consider what it is not. There is no teaching in the Bible that says the decision you are to make — your final fate of becoming either saved or lost, is already pre-determined, and that you are destined finally to arrive at that fate. Absolutely no text anywhere in the Bible says anyone is predestinated to be lost. But doesn't the Bible say anything about predestination? Certainly. But it does not say what people seem to think. People seem to think it says we are predestinated to be either saved or lost. Some to be saved -- others to be lost. Let us read the only texts in the Bible speaking about "predestination." And see if you can find anything in any of them about anyone being predestinated to be lost. The difficulty is that people have assumed and taken for granted what is not true.
Let's look at where the Bible mentions predestination directly.
Ephesians 1:4-6 Paul teaches:
...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
While some are predestined to be called in this age, most of humanity has NOT been predestined to be lost.
11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:11-12)
Those predestined are predestined, not to be lost, but to be the praise of His glory.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)
Notice, none of the places in the Bible where predestination is mentioned says anything about anyone being predestinated to be LOST -- predestinated to reject Christ. No one is predestinated to make a certain decision -- to accept or reject Christ -- to be saved or lost. But some have been predestinated to be called to salvation, now!
Of those called now, in this age, notice when we were called!
8 ... God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began; (2 Timothy 1:8-9)
God had a plan for YOU, if you are being called, BEFORE TIME BEGAN!
And, as in Ephesians 1, quoted earlier, notice carefully what it says: God chose us in Him, when? "Before the foundation of the world"! "Having predestinated us" — what for? To be lost? No,"to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself." "Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Ephesians 1:11).
Were any predestinated, then, to be lost? Is it God's will that any be lost? He says it is not! Then can't we see that "predestination" has nothing to do with whether we shall be lost or saved -- with our decision -- with our ultimate fate?
Notice carefully, now! "Being predestinated ... that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Those predestinated are the first to trust in Christ -- merely the first preliminary soul-harvest. And now do you begin to see the glorious truth -- that predestination has nothing to do with your making a decision or your fate -- it has only to do with the time of your calling -- whether you are called now, in this age, or later.
Notice it in the passage in Romans 8:28-30 (KJV): "For whom he did foreknow ...." How great is God! If you are one now called, God "foreknew" you. And "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate" -- to be lost? No, "to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called ...."
Not will call in the future — called, now, in this age.
There it is. Note it. "Whom he did predestinate, them he also called."
Predestination has to do with being called. Not with being saved or lost. Those now being called, in this age, were foreknown, and PRE-destinated to be called now -- to be the first to put their hope in Christ.
All others have their call later.
God does not decide for you, in advance, whether you shall be saved or lost. He did decide far in advance which ones He would call in this first calling, to be a priest or a king in His Kingdom -- to have part in the saving of others. How wonderful are God's ways, when He opens our understanding to reveal them to us. Let us make our calling and final election sure. Let us not grieve over departed loved ones who probably were not called, in this life. God is able to raise them up again. They will come up in the Great White Throne Judgment. And in that judgment, the book of life shall be opened, and many shall then find it. Judgment, now, is upon the true Church of God -- those now called (1 Peter 4:17). And we are later to judge the world!
Jesus taught that the true church would be a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), hated by the world (Matthew 10:22), and persecuted (Matthew 10:23). He also taught only a few would find the way to eternal life in this age (Matthew 7:14; 20:16). The Apostle Jude indicates that the number of saints was relatively small (Jude 14), while the Apostle Paul called the small group a “remnant” (Romans 11:5). And the New Testament is clear that God has to do the calling (John 6:44; 1 Corithians 12:3).
1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul states:
3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.
In other words, no one can be saved unless God gives an opportunity through the Holy Spirit. Is God intending to condemn those that had no chance?
John 6:44, Jesus clearly taught:
44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
Similarly in John 6:65, Jesus taught:
65 "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
God the Father must call for any to come to Jesus. But God has not called all now. Certainly a loving God understands that and does not condemn those that do not know or are not able to see.
Notice that only a few are chosen now as in Matthew 20:16, Jesus teaches:
6 "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."
But also notice that those called last can be first. Hence just being called now does not mean that others called later cannot be "first."
Revelation 17:14 shows that Christians will have to be faithful:
14...He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.
Christians were predestined to be called, but must choose whether or not be faithful. You do have a choice.
Luke 12:32 shows that the faithful, until God's kingdom is given, will be small:
32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Notice that only a few will find Christ now, as in Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus teaches:
13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
This is the same Jesus who came to save more than a few. And He will, not in this age (as there will only be a few now), but in the age to come as few will remain faithful in this age).
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, Paul teaches:
13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, 14 to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:1-5, Paul shows that while God has not cast away his people forever, He only has called a remnant now:
1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
Zechariah 10:6 shows:
6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside;
How can people be as though they were not cast aside if they will not have an opportunity for salvation? (These clearly include those who were cast off in Hosea 9:16-17.)
Mark 4:33-34 shows that Jesus only explained what He meant to a few:
33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.
John 12:37-40 shows that many cannot believe, even though they saw Jesus' miracles, because they have been blinded:
37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke:
"Lord, who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?"
39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:
40 "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them."
Thus, the Bible is clear that people were blinded so that even when they saw the signs from Jesus they could not be converted now. This is because this was not the age for many to be saved as God's plan, which involves the age to come, will result in the most possible percentage of people being saved.
Also notice Job 17:4a and Luke 13:24:
4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding...
24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
Some, including some who wanted to know, have been prevented from understanding!
But there is no partiality with God as Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, and Acts 10:34 show:
11 For there is no partiality with God.
9...there is no partiality with Him.
34 In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.
Hence, there must be a plan for the rest. A plan for those NOT called and chosen in this age as God is NOT partial, nor does He love them any less.
Notice that Isaiah 9:2 is clear that those that walked in darkness will see the light:
2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.
Notice that Isaiah 42:16-18 teaches that and this includes those who had followed idols:
16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. 17 They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.' 18 "Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see.
Jeremiah 6:10 shows that many simply cannot hear God's message:
10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed.
Thus, not only can some NOT SEE, some apparently CANNOT GIVE HEED.
Luke 8:9-10 shows that God only wanted few to understand now:
9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?" 10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that
'Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.'
Is that fair? Is God fair?
Well, the God I worship is fair and does have a plan for those who are not called in this age. Notice that God says in Ezekiel 18:25-32 that some disagree, but that His ways are fair:
25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?
30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!
Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus explains that parables were spoken so that only some will understand now, and that this is to prevent some from understanding and being spiritually healed now:
10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.'
16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Notice that Jesus said many wanted to know, but were not allowed to know. Because God is a God of love, this is probably because they many if they truly understood would be unfaithful in this age. This is apparently why only a relative few are being called now.
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Paul explains part of why some are not being called now:
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
Since God is intentionally not calling certain ones now, do you believe He intentionally has doomed them to eternal torment?
Notice that the Bible, in Ezekiel 14:23, is clear that God does things for a reason:
23 And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it," says the Lord God.
Matthew 19:23-26 shows that humans on their own cannot enter the kingdom of God:
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
At this stage Peter did not fully understand how God would save most, but also clearly felt that God had to have some type of plan (which Peter knew no later than shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, Acts 3:19-21).
1 Peter 2:9-10 Peter teaches:
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light".
The same concept, already quoted, was also in Ephesians 1:11-12.
We are the praise of His glory be living as He did:
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:6)
Though Jesus came to be King, He did not live as a King as His kingdom was not of His world.
What about those predestined in this age?
While we are to be kings and priests and reign with Him (Revelation 5:10), we do not see that now:
6 But one testified in a certain place, saying:
"What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
7 You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet."
For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying:
"I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You."
13 And again:
"I will put My trust in Him."
"Here am I and the children whom God has given Me." (Hebrews 2:6-13)
Did you know what, according to Protestant sources, the second most looked up verse in the Bible is? The first is John 3:16, but the second is is found in Jeremiah. Here are two Protestant translations of it:
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11, New Living Translation)
Certain Protestants tend to quote the first verse as proof that God has a plan for them. But they tend to not consider the verse in context.
Notice what the Bible teaches:
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
Notice that the plan was exile. To be a sojourner. That is still the plan for Christians in this age.
Does that mean that we do not go anything and just wait?
No. God did not call us to be hermits:
24 "Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.'
26 "But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. (Matthew 25:24-28)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:22-27)
We are to live as ambassadors of Jesus Christ and the gospel of God's coming kingdom:
20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ...(2 Corinthians 5:20)
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:17-20)
This means we live differently than the world:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
2...Babylon...4...Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
As ambassadors, Christians are to be God's examples and witnesses. Ambassadors do not just hide and take care of themselves--they support the work of their government. The coming government of the Kingdom of God.
Getting back to Jeremiah's writings:
28 For he has sent to us in Babylon, saying, 'This captivity is long; build houses and dwell in them, and plant gardens and eat their fruit. (Jeremiah 29:28)
Notice that those in exiles were to plant and build and produce fruit. Planting takes faith. Translating materials into multiple languages, including many that we had no members who understand takes faith--but that is part of the work that we in the Continuing Church of God are part of (for some details, see
Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word). And just like the exiles, we are to produce fruit.
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit (John 15:16)
42 Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? 43 Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. 45 But if that servant says in his heart, 'My master is delaying his coming,' and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. 47 And that servant who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:42-48)
The plan God has for you is to live in exile from this world, yet produce fruit, so that you can be rewarded after He returns.
Christians will reign with Jesus:
9...You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9-10)
6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:4-5)
And the good news is that Jesus will return and will usher in a time that ultimately will result in no more pain or sorrow (Revelation 21:3-4).
And that is part of the good news of being a Christian as we reign with Christ in that Kingdom.
God will finish the work He started in you:
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:3-11)
30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:30-32)
If you continue in love (cf. Hebrews 13:1) God will continue with you.
You are to live the 'give way of life,' not the 'get way' that the world, under Satan's sway (Revelation 12:9) has accepted. You are to support the end time work of God and reach people with the good news of the coming kingdom of God (see also The Gospel of the Kingdom of God).
In the Old Testament, Job understood that God had a later plan for him when he stated to God, "You shall desire the work of Your hands" (Job 14:15). What Job meant was that after he was resurrected (this is discussed in the verses prior; see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrections?), Job knew that God had a specific plan, a "meaning of life," for him personally. Something for him to do in God's kingdom. God also has a specific plan for you.
In the New Testament, Jesus taught the same thing. When He taught:
2 In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself (John 14:2-3).
Jesus was saying that He would prepare a place for YOU if you were one of the Father's children.
Furthermore, notice the following:
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked (1 John 2:5-6)
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:9-11).
We are to love and receive love.
Those who are depressed about the suffering in today's world need to understand that the Bible teaches,
21 God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21:3-4).
And the happiness we will experience will be beyond that which humans can imagine (1 Corinthians 2:9).
God's plan for you is to show you love through the forgiveness of sins, to ultimately reveal His loving plan of salvation to all, to give you more than you can even imagine, and for you to be able to show love to others throughout eternity.
End time Philadelphia Christians strive to reach the world with Christ's gospel of the kingdom (see also The Gospel of the Kingdom of God) and teach all things that Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). This is a great opportunity in this age as we try help all.
The biblical reality is that overwhelming majority on earth today are neither saved nor lost. Their chance has not yet come. This is not their time--though God wants a proper witness to them (Matthew 24:14). But the opportunity for them to have salvation (Luke 3:6; Isaiah 52:10) is coming as certainly as God's Word is true. This is not the age when Christ is desperately contesting Satan as to whether all humanity shall be saved or lost. If it were, as most seem to believe, a controversy for souls now, between Christ and Satan, then Satan surely is winning the contest, and a one-sided contest it is. But Satan is not more powerful than God. We near, now, the close of the sixth working day of Satan's week.
Soon will come "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." Satan shall be chained, Christ shall rule — and preach, and save!
If you will accept His calling and live His Way in this age, God has predestined you to greatness.
Here is a link to a related video sermon: Predestination: What it is and what it is not.
Thiel B. Predestination: Did God really call You? Why? http://www.cogwriter.com/predestination-call.htm COGwriter (c) 2016 0403
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