Sermon Notes

Studies in the Word of God

 

 

Home

 

Doctrine

 

Holy Days  and Holidays

 

Christian Living

 

Life and Death

 

Prophecy

 

History

 

The Church

 

Other Sermons

 

Booklets and Articles

 

Sermon Audio Tapes

 

Statement of Beliefs


 

Predestination and the Elect

 

FORWARD

 

Many modern religions paint a picture of God and his angels in a continual battle against Satan and his demons. It is the well known "good versus evil" theme. Judging on the appearances in the world around us, more often than not, it looks like the forces of evil are triumphing over the forces of good. Is that the way things are really happening behind the scenes in the spiritual realm?

Such a scenario pictures God struggling against Satan and it makes us wonder who is really in control. Is the devil able to conquer his Creator, the Most High God of the Universe? We can gain insight into the truth of the matter by hearing what our Master has to say on the subject of predestination and the elect. By exploring in depth the word of God, our Creator reveals the ultimate plan of mercy and redemption for all mankind.

 

 

Predicting the Future

 

Mankind has been fascinated over the centuries with the notion of knowing what will happen in the future. Whether it be pictured on television shows or Shakespearean plays or novels of fiction, the quest for knowing the future has been an often repeated theme for authors and a fascination for audiences. Think of the movies youíve seen. Whether itís a mystery or science fiction, the subject of being privy to future events has formed the basis of many intriguing plots. So far though, in the real world, no human has been found who can reliably and unerringly predict the future without fail.

There is one, however, whom most of the world has overlooked. He cannot only predict the future but he unerringly knows the future. His name is God the Father. In Isaiah 46:9, God states as a matter of fact his sure knowledge of the end, even from the ancient times.

(Isa 46:9-11 NKJV) Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,' {11} Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man who executes My counsel, from a far country. Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.

Those are powerful words. Think about their meaning. It is through the purpose and will of God that he executes his counsel and from the beginning he knows the end that is still far off. Some might say that Jesus Christ as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords also knows the future. While that might be true to some extent, Christ, by his own admission when he spoke about the timing of his return to earth in Matthew 24:36, acknowledged that the Father knows more than he does about the future.

(Mat 24:36 NASB) "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

 

The Fatherís Advance Knowledge

If the Father knows more than anyone about the future, how long has he known it? Look at the historical background set in the scriptures to shed more light on just how long ago God knew about the distant future. In Isaiah 40:28, we can gain a greater appreciation of the depths of the knowledge of God.

(Isa 40:28-29 NASB) Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. {29} He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power.

The Fatherís understanding is truly inscrutable. The NIV renders the verse as "his understanding no one can fathom." Letís be even more specific, though, about instances in scripture where God gives unfailing evidence of a definite event to happen over months, or years, or hundreds of years, or even thousands of years in the future. In Isaiah 25:1, the prophet speaks of the wonders of God executed now but planned in the distant past.

(Isa 25:1 NASB) O LORD, Thou art my God; I will exalt Thee, I will give thanks to Thy name; For Thou hast worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

In Isaiah 37:25, speaking against the blasphemy of Senacharib, the king of Assyria, God recounts his own accomplishments against formerly great nations.

(Isa 37:25-26 NASB) 'I dug wells and drank waters, And with the sole of my feet I dried up All the rivers of Egypt.' {26} "Have you not heard? Long ago I did it, From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps.

In Genesis 17:19, God specified that Abraham would have a son of promise born of himself and his wife, Sarah.

(Gen 17:19 NASB) But God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

In the next chapter, God specified, through his servant, the exact time of the birth of Abrahamís son.

(Gen 18:10 NASB) And he said, "I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son."

In Genesis 21:2, we see that God was on time. He kept his word and delivered his promise at the time he had specified.

(Gen 21:2-3 NASB) So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him. {3} And Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.

Earlier in the book of Genesis in chapter 15 and verse 13, God had foretold the future of Abrahamís descendants. It was not merely a case of knowing future events just a year in advance but actually hundreds of years in advance.

(Gen 15:13-16 NASB) And God said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. {14} "But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve; and afterward they will come out with many possessions. {15} "And as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. {16} "Then in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."

Now look at the fulfillment of the scripture we just read. Exodus 12:40 shows us that God knew even more than 400 years in advance what was going to happen to the children of Abraham.

(Exo 12:40-41 NASB) Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. {41} And it came about at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

When God split the Kingdom of Israel from the Kingdom of Judah as punishment for Solomonís sins, God spoke to the first king of the northern Kingdom of Israel through one of his prophets. When the new King Jeroboam was establishing the false religion of idol worship that would cause his country to be defeated and taken into captivity hundreds of years later, God spoke through his prophet of the one who would ultimately defeat the false priests being established by Jeroboam. Start in 1 Kings 12:26 to get the full background of the incident.

(1 Ki 12:26-33 NASB) And Jeroboam said in his heart, "Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. {27} "If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah." {28} So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt." {29} And he set one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan. {30} Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. {31} And he made houses on high places, and made priests from among all the people who were not of the sons of Levi. {32} And Jeroboam instituted a feast in the eighth month on the fifteenth day of the month, like the feast which is in Judah, and he went up to the altar; thus he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves which he had made. And he stationed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. {33} Then he went up to the altar which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised in his own heart; and he instituted a feast for the sons of Israel, and went up to the altar to burn incense.

Continue in chapter thirteen.

(1 Ki 13:1-5 NASB) Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense. {2} And he cried against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, "O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, 'Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.'" {3} Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, "This is the sign which the LORD has spoken, 'Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.'" {4} Now it came about when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, "Seize him." But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself. {5} The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.

In 2 Kings 23:1, we can read of the fulfillment of Godís foreknowledge, hundreds of years later, by the new King Josiah.

(2 Ki 23:1-16 NASB) Then the king sent, and they gathered to him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. {2} And the king went up to the house of the LORD and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests and the prophets and all the people, both small and great; and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant, which was found in the house of the LORD. {3} And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to carry out the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people entered into the covenant. {4} Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second order and the doorkeepers, to bring out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, for Asherah, and for all the host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. {5} And he did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the host of heaven. {6} And he brought out the Asherah from the house of the LORD outside Jerusalem to the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and ground it to dust, and threw its dust on the graves of the common people. {7} He also broke down the houses of the male cult prostitutes which were in the house of the LORD, where the women were weaving hangings for the Asherah. {8} Then he brought all the priests from the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba; and he broke down the high places of the gates which were at the entrance of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on one's left at the city gate. {9} Nevertheless the priests of the high places did not go up to the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, but they ate unleavened bread among their brothers. {10} He also defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass through the fire for Molech. {11} And he did away with the horses which the kings of Judah had given to the sun, at the entrance of the house of the LORD, by the chamber of Nathan-melech the official, which was in the precincts; and he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. {12} And the altars which were on the roof, the upper chamber of Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made, and the altars which Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of the LORD, the king broke down; and he smashed them there, and threw their dust into the brook Kidron. {13} And the high places which were before Jerusalem, which were on the right of the mount of destruction which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, and for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the sons of Ammon, the king defiled. {14} And he broke in pieces the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherim and filled their places with human bones. {15} Furthermore, the altar that was at Bethel and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel sin, had made, even that altar and the high place he broke down. Then he demolished its stones, ground them to dust, and burned the Asherah. {16} Now when Josiah turned, he saw the graves that were there on the mountain, and he sent and took the bones from the graves and burned them on the altar and defiled it according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these things.

What an astounding prophecy and what explicit fulfillment! In their Commentary on the Whole Bible, authors Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown state, "This is one of the most remarkable prophecies recorded in the Scriptures; and, in its clearness, circumstantial minuteness, and exact prediction of an event that took place three hundred sixty years later, it stands in striking contrast to the obscure and ambiguous oracles of the heathen. Being publicly uttered, it must have been well known to the people; and every Jew who lived at the accomplishment of the event must have been convinced of the truth of a religion connected with such a prophecy as this."

In Adam Clarkeís Commentary on the Bible, he states: "This is one of the most remarkable and most singular prophecies in the Old Testament. It here most circumstantially foretells a fact which took place three hundred and forty years after the prediction; a fact which was attested by the two nations. The Jews, in whose behalf this prophecy was delivered, would guard it most sacredly; and it was the interest of the Israelites, against whom it was levelled, to impugn its authenticity and expose its falsehood, had this been possible. This prediction not only showed the knowledge of God, but his power."

In his Notes on the Bible, Albert Barnes writes, "Divine predictions so seldom descend to such particularity as this, that doubts are entertained, even by orthodox theologians, with respect to the actual mention of Josiahís name by a prophet living in the time of Jeroboam. Only one other instance that can be considered parallel occurs in the whole of Scripture - the mention of Cyrus by Isaiah."

The instance just mentioned by Mr. Barnes is another occasion of Godís incredible foreknowledge. The prophet Isaiah lived during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, almost 100 years before Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Isaiah spoke of the magnificent foreknowledge of God in Isaiah 44:28 where he named the very person who would be used by God to initiate the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple of God, more than one hundred years before that man was even born.

(Isa 44:28 NASB) "It is I who says of Cyrus, 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.' And he declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.'"

Continue in chapter 45.

(Isa 45:1-5 NASB) Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him, And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: {2} "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze, and cut through their iron bars. {3} "And I will give you the treasures of darkness, And hidden wealth of secret places, In order that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name. {4} "For the sake of Jacob My servant, And Israel My chosen one, I have also called you by your name; I have given you a title of honor Though you have not known Me. {5} "I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known Me

Continuing in the next verse, we can see how God views men, both small and great, as tools of his own creation to serve for his great purposes.

(Isa 45:6-12 NASB) That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, {7} The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these. {8} "Drip down, O heavens, from above, And let the clouds pour down righteousness; Let the earth open up and salvation bear fruit, And righteousness spring up with it. I, the LORD, have created it. {9} "Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker-- An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, 'What are you doing?' Or the thing you are making say, 'He has no hands'? {10} "Woe to him who says to a father, 'What are you begetting?' Or to a woman, 'To what are you giving birth?'" {11} Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: "Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, And you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. {12} "It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, And I ordained all their host.

Even the apostle Peter spoke of Godís purpose in appointing some who would be obedient and some who would be disobedient.

(1 Pet 2:7-8 NASB) This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone," {8} and, "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

So, weíve seen that God has incredible, detailed, advance knowledge about even specific worldly kings and individuals he will use in the future to achieve his physical purposes. On the other hand, what about Godís foreknowledge of the individuals he will call to achieve his spiritual purposes? In Jeremiah 1:1, look at what God says about one whom he chooses to use as a prophet.

(Jer 1:1-5 NASB) The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, {2} to whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah, the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. {3} It came also in the days of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the exile 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 have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

One might say itís not surprising for God to know about big things happening in the future but what about God knowing the little things? Certainly God canít be bothered with the small, daily happenings of life. Does God pay attention to the smaller issues? Does God know about the small things happening in the lives of individual people? In Matthew 10:29, Jesus spoke of the little things of life and of our value in the eyes of God.

(Mat 10:29-31 NASB) "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. {30} "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. {31} "Therefore do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.

 

Godís Purposes to be Achieved

So, itís plain to see that God knows virtually everything from the greatest of men and events to the smallest of his creatures and happenings. Truly God is almighty and awesome, yes utterly awesome, beyond our small abilities to fully comprehend. We saw earlier in Isaiah how God spoke of mankind as his creation being molded and used as a lump of clay in the hands of the potter. In Romans 9, beginning in verse 17, we can see how Paul extends that same metaphor.

(Rom 9:17-22 NASB) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH." {18} So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. {19} You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" {20} On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? {21} Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? {22} What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Look at that. Verse 21 says that God, as the potter, has the right to make different vessels for different uses. Verse 22 goes on to say that some of those created vessels used for wrath were created for the purpose of destruction. So, clearly, God knows what he has planned for his human creations long before our births.

We can see another example of how God used one of his own choosing to achieve his purpose. Remember, in Genesis 45, how Joseph the son of Israel, was used by God to preserve the lives of Israel and all his children during the seven years of drought and famine? Joseph even admitted it to his brothers in Genesis 45:3 when he said that what had been an evil deed, God used for good to achieve his purpose and to preserve lives.

(Gen 45:3-8 NASB) Then Joseph said to his brothers, "I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?" But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. {4} Then Joseph said to his brothers, "Please come closer to me." And they came closer. And he said, "I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. {5} "And now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. {6} "For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. {7} "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. {8} "Now, therefore, it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh and lord of all his household and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

 

Are We without Choice?

The fatalist or pessimist will say, "then there is no free will because God has scripted everything in advance." In Luke 13, Jesus sheds light upon that fatalistic view of life.

(Luke 13:1-5 NASB) Now on the same occasion there were some present who reported to Him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. {2} And He answered and said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered this fate? {3} "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. {4} "Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? {5} "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

In the United States many still mourn the loss of life from the terroristsí kamakazi attack on the twin towers of the World Trade Center. We can see how Christ would answer todayís questions of bewilderment as we note his words we just read concerning the tragic collapse of the tower in Siloam in his day. Remember the words of his answer: "Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? {5} "I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Jesus said those who suffered from the calamity were no worse sinners than anyone else. The point he made was that no man knows the future and what will befall him, so we should act on the spiritual knowledge we have been given and repent of our sins and change our lives now. Christís admonition was much the same as the observation and wisdom given by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:11.

(Eccl 9:11-12 NASB) I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift, and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise, nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to men of ability; for time and chance overtake them all. {12} Moreover, man does not know his time: like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.

In Psalms 139, even David knew and spoke of Godís great knowledge of each one of us as his creations.

(Psa 139:1-6 NASB) (For the choir director. A Psalm of David.) O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me. {2} Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar. {3} Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways. {4} Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, Thou dost know it all. {5} Thou hast enclosed me behind and before, And laid Thy hand upon me. {6} Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it.

In verse 12, David continues to extol the greatness of God in his knowledge of the unseen and the not yet formed.

(Psa 139:12-18 NASB) Even the darkness is not dark to Thee, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to Thee. {13} For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. {14} I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. {15} My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. {16} Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them. {17} How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! {18} If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with Thee.

Letís go back to the pessimist for a moment. He says that if God already knows every detail in our lives, then everything we do is inevitable and we have no real freedom of choice. At first, that may make sense but letís look at what he is really saying. In so doing, he is limiting God. He is looking at and judging God from his limited human perspective. One of the witnesses which testifies to us every day of Godís greatness is the intricately interconnected nature of the glorious Creation in the world around us. Think about it. Even though we can only appreciate the greatness of Godís Creation from our limited human perspective, we can still see and understand enough of it to recognize some of the glory that is the greatness of God. Look at the interdependency of the life in the desert, for just one small example. What appears at first to be an area void of life is, in actuality, full of life. The small creatures, as well as the snakes and the lizards, that burrow in the ground or hide in the rocks during the heat of the day, come to vibrant life as they search for food at night. Look at the hummingbirds of southern Arizona that migrate for thousands of miles in the winter. One of their major sources of food on their migration is the blossom on the Ocotillo tree. The hummingbirds only migrate at the appropriate time of the Ocotillo blossoms but itís not just a one-sided story. The Ocotillo tree, with its deep-throated flowers needs the long beak of the hummingbird to be able to pollinate its flowers. So, again, we see complexity and interdependence. As we learn more about the complexity of Godís Creation, we see and understand more about the greatness of our Creator.

Look also at the scriptural example of Abraham, "the father of the faithful." In Genesis 22, we see the great test of faith written for our admonition.

(Gen 22:1-2 NASB) Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here I am." {2} And He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."

So, we are told that God was testing Abraham. In the scientific laboratory, a test is a trial to see if the action will match the scientific hypothesis or prediction. Continue the account in verse three.

(Gen 22:3-10 NASB) So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. {4} On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. {5} And Abraham said to his young men, "Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you." {6} And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. {7} And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." And he said, "Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" {8} And Abraham said, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." So the two of them walked on together. {9} Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. {10} And Abraham stretched out his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

You see, the action did match the hypothesis. Abraham was willing to slay his son in obedience to God. Now look at Godís statement in verse twelve.

(Gen 22:12 NASB) And he said, "Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."

"Aha!" The skeptic might retort, "God doesnít know everything in advance." We have already shown, however, the mountain of evidence that God does know everything in advance. Do we then have a contradiction in scripture? No, we donít because we come back to the issue of freedom of choice. God knew in advance that Abraham would be obedient to the command of God but Abraham had the freedom of choice to not obey God. The test showed, however, that the actions did match the hypothesis.

Thereís more to it, though, than the simple scenario we just read. Abraham was a man of obedience to God and we have Godís testimony of that, years later, given to Abrahamís son, Isaac in Genesis 26:5.

(Gen 26:5 NASB) because Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes and My laws."

We know that God does not go against the standards of righteousness which he established in his commandments, statutes and laws. We also know from the statement made in Hebrews 6, that it is impossible for God to lie. Abraham knew it also and he knew that God would not violate his own laws. Abraham was no dummy. He was an intelligent, educated, and trusting servant of the Most High God. Paul tells us of his great faith or trust in God in Hebrews 11:17.

(Heb 11:17-19 NASB) By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac; and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; {18} it was he to whom it was said, "IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED." {19} He considered that God is able to raise men even from the dead; from which he also received him back as a type.

Abraham knew that God would not act contrary to his own standards of righteousness but, even if he did, Abraham was secure in the knowledge that God is "able to raise men even from the dead."

The skeptic still says that if God knows our decisions before we make them, then humans are just robots and have no free will. Again, he limits the greatness of God. Letís debate his doubt with a more understandable example from our limited human perspective. Parents often know how their children will behave in advance of their actions. That foreknowledge generally comes from extended observation of behavior, in addition to possible genetic predisposition. If the child is faced with a choice, say in choosing a new dress, the parent often knows what the childís choice will be before she makes the choice. Does that mean the parent made the choice for the child? No, it means that the parent knows the child so well that, even though the child still has the freedom to make the choice, the outcome is known beforehand. Can we see better now the greatness of our Creator? Our Father not only knows the end from the beginning but even knows the minutest details of everything to happen in between and he knows our every thought before our actions reveal them. David even spoke of Godís greatness and insight in Psalms 94.

(Psa 94:8-12 NKJV) Understand, you senseless among the people; And you fools, when will you be wise? {9} He who planted the ear, shall He not hear? He who formed the eye, shall He not see? {10} He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct, He who teaches man knowledge? {11} The LORD knows the thoughts of man, That they are futile. {12} Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O LORD, And teach out of Your law,

 

Ancient Israel Chosen

God not only foreknew the patriarchs and prophets we saw earlier in Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel, he also foreknew the nation of Israel that he would call to be his people. God knew more than 400 years before the exodus from Egypt that he would call the sons of Israel out of that country to be his special people. In Deuteronomy 4:32, Moses recounted how God had foreknown Israel before it was even a nation. He went on to describe the extra steps to which God had gone to coddle his new nation.

(Deu 4:32-40 NASB) "Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? {33} "Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived? {34} "Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? {35} "To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. {36} "Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. {37} "Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, {38} driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today. {39} "Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other. {40} "So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time."

Moses spent a large part of the book of Deuteronomy reminding Israel of the special treatment they had received from God. God, however, prophesied to Moses in Deuteronomy 31:16 about the rejection of God that would come from his chosen people.

(Deu 31:16-21 NASB) And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers; and this people will arise and play the harlot with the strange gods of the land, into the midst of which they are going, and will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them. {17} "Then My anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide My face from them, and they shall be consumed, and many evils and troubles shall come upon them; so that they will say in that day, 'Is it not because our God is not among us that these evils have come upon us?' {18} "But I will surely hide My face in that day because of all the evil which they will do, for they will turn to other gods. {19} "Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, in order that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. {20} "For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. {21} "Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore."

So, just as a loving parent knows how his children will act beforehand, so God gave testimony many years in advance of the rebellion that would take place among his chosen people. Despite the betrayal of their Creator, God stated in Isaiah 54:5 that he would once again have compassion upon Israel.

(Isa 54:5-10 NASB) "For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth. {6} "For the LORD has called you, Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, Even like a wife of one's youth when she is rejected," Says your God. {7} "For a brief moment I forsook you, But with great compassion I will gather you. {8} "In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting loving-kindness I will have compassion on you," Says the LORD your Redeemer. {9} "For this is like the days of Noah to Me; When I swore that the waters of Noah Should not flood the earth again, So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, Nor will I rebuke you. {10} "For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My loving kindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken," Says the LORD who has compassion on you.

In fact, in Romans 11:1, Paul affirmed that God has not rejected his chosen people Israel.

(Rom 11:1-2 NASB) I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. {2} God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.

Whether it be for mercy or for wrath, for glory or for destruction, Godís plan will stand and he will be the one who determines the purpose for each of his servants. In Romans 9:18, Paul likens the process to what Isaiah said about the master potter determining the ultimate use of the vessels he makes. We read this passage earlier but letís look at it again for the line of authority in the plan of God it displays for us to see.

(Rom 9:18-23 NASB) So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. {19} You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" {20} On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? {21} Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? {22} What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? {23} And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

 

Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of Mercy

Weíve seen examples of how God creates some of his human creatures for the express purpose of being destroyers or for being destroyed themselves, all in the process of implementing Godís own purpose and will. God, however, as the master potter, does not make all humans for such destruction. There are others whom he creates and shapes into being what we have heard called "vessels of mercy." Those are the ones to whom God chooses to reveal his spiritual knowledge and the ones on whom he chooses to pour out his Spirit and his mercy. Earlier, we read Romans 11:1-2. Now, letís go beyond that to see if we can fill in more of what Paul had in mind with the term "vessels of mercy."

(Rom 11:1-2 NASB) I say then, God has not rejected His people, has He? May it never be! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. {2} God has not rejected His people whom He foreknew.

Paul says that God foreknew his chosen people, Israel. Paul used the example of the physical chosen people, not to invalidate the promises made to them but to go beyond the physical and raise the covenant to a higher spiritual level based on better spiritual promises made to Godís new spiritual Israel, the Church.

(Rom 11:2-5 NASB) Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? {3} "Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED THY PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN THINE ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE." {4} But what is the divine response to him? "I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL." {5} In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice.

The remnant of which he spoke was and is the New Testament Church of God. In Ephesians 1:3, Paul showed the spiritual implications of being foreknown and chosen by God before the foundation of the world.

(Eph 1:3-6 NASB) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, {4} just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love {5} He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, {6} to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Skip down to verse nine.

(Eph 1:9-12 NASB) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him {10} with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. In Him {11} also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, {12} to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

In 1 Peter 1:1, the apostle refers to those in the church scattered throughout the gentile areas of the Middle East.

(1 Pet 1:1-2 NASB) Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen {2} according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure.

Did you notice what he said? Peter stated that those residing in the various gentile areas he was addressing were aliens. While some or all might have been native born to their localities, it is obvious that Peter was speaking of them as spiritual aliens because, by following in the footsteps of the faith of Abraham, they sought "a better country." As citizens of that "better country" yet unseen, they (and we) are aliens in our present countries.

Look at another example in Acts 13:48 of the foreknowledge of God toward the Gentiles.

(Acts 13:48 NASB) And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Notice that Luke uses the past perfect tense, "as many as had been appointed to eternal life." That means it had already been determined by God at some time in the past that many of the Gentiles would be appointed to eternal life. We can read more of that predetermination to appointment of the Gentiles in Galatians 3:6.

(Gal 3:6-9 NASB) Even so Abraham BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. {7} Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. {8} And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "ALL THE NATIONS SHALL BE BLESSED IN YOU." {9} So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

Abraham set the standard of belief, not only for his physical progeny, the Israelites, but also for his spiritual progeny, the Gentiles. Paul spoke again of the quality of that calling in 2 Timothy 1:8.

(2 Tim 1:8-9 KJV) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; {9} Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Look at it again. Letís remove the clauses from verse nine to see what it actually says. God called His people with a holy calling. That calling was given before the world began. Think of how special that makes you, brethren. God designed, planned, and formulated our calling millions of years ago before the very foundation of the world.

Do you despair at times? Many people do. When that occurs, however, snap out of it because you have no real cause for despair. Just think of how special is your calling. Youíre not merely one out of millions or billions. You are so special to God that he knew you and chose you to be a part of his plan not just hundreds or thousands of years before you were born. He chose you millions of years ago. You are special to your Creator and that is value beyond belief.

 

The Book of Life

In Romans 8:20, Paul continues the theme of the pre-ordained will of God but he goes beyond to show our part in that will.

(Rom 8:28-31 NASB) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. {29} For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; {30} and whom He predestined, these He also called; and 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 is against us?

What an astounding statement. Thousands of years before we were born, in fact, even thousands or millions of years before our first parents Adam and Eve were created, God foreknew each one of us and predestined each of us to be called according to his purpose. In his foreknowledge and predestination, God determined to enroll us in his plan of salvation. That plan begins with Godís calling or the revealing of his spiritual knowledge to each of us. Development of that knowledge and repentance from our sins brings Godís justification through the acceptable sacrifice of his son and our elder brother, Jesus Christ. Through lifelong repentance and justification, we can ultimately go on to glorification which is the reward that Christ brings with him at his return.

In Daniel 7, we can gain a clearer understanding of that coming glorification by seeing a glimpse of the throne of God in heaven. We can see the picture of the judgment process before Godís throne.

(Dan 7:9-10 NASB) "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. {10} "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.

Notice that: "The court sat, and the books were opened." Continue in verse 11.

(Dan 7:11-14 NASB) "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. {12} "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. {13} "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. {14} "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Skip to verse 26 for the culmination.

(Dan 7:26-27 NASB) 'But the court will sit for judgment, and his [that is, the evil world ruler] dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. {27} 'Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'

That is our destiny: to rule and to judge the world under the jurisdiction of the Messiah. Letís look even further at the judgment process.

First though, there is to come the great and terrible Day of the Lord. The sun, the moon, and the stars will be darkened. A third of the world's forests will be burned up and a third of the fish in the sea will die. Revelation 9:15 states that a third of humanity will be killed. God will, however, save a remnant of the nations of Israel through his divine protection but how will his messengers [his angels] know who is to be protected? Daniel 12:1 shows how Michael, the supreme angel used by God to protect his people will know who is worthy to receive that protection.

(Dan 12:1 NASB) "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.

So, there is a book that has recorded in it the names of those of Godís choosing who have been deemed to be worthy of rescue. Letís see what else we can learn about the book. In Luke 10:17, Christ, when speaking to his disciples, referred to their names being recorded.

(Luke 10:17-20 NASB) And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." {18} And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. {19} "Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you. {20} "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

So, the names of the disciples were written in heaven but what about future disciples since the time of Christ? What about the saints? In Philippians 4:3, we can find the answer.

(Phil 4:3 NASB) Indeed, true comrade, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

So, the names of Paulís fellow workers in the gospel are also recorded in the book of life. That was years after Christ spoke of his disciplesí names being recorded in heaven.

We need to ask the question, "is it important to have your name written in the book of life?" Look at Revelation 3:5 for some answers. Even after chastising the Church of God at Sardis for being spiritually dead, Jesus did have a few positive things to say about some in the Church.

(Rev 3:4-5 NASB) 'But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white; for they are worthy. {5} 'He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.

It certainly looks like it is desirable, in fact even essential, to have our names written in the book of life. It is, apparently, a reward merely to not have our names erased from the book of life. Weíve read many times how it is that those who overcome are the ones who will be rewarded at Christís return. Donít you want Jesus to confess your name before his Father and before his angels in heaven? After all, as we can see in Revelation 13:8, such is not the fate of most of the worldís population who worship the beast and the dragon.

(Rev 13:8 NASB) And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

So far, weíve seen that the disciplesí and the saintsí names were written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. Weíve also seen that the names of most of the worldís population were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world. What about those few who were called by God in the Old Testament? In Exodus 32:32, we can see that Moses knew of Godís book. Even after Israel sinned repeatedly against God, Moses was willing to sacrifice his rewarded place in Godís book for the sake of saving Israel.

(Exo 32:32-33 NASB) "But now, if Thou wilt, forgive their sin-- and if not, please blot me out from Thy book which Thou hast written!" {33} And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.

Look at Godís reaction to Mosesí offer: "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book." Therefore, itís no great exaggeration to conclude that unrepentant sinning is a sure way to eliminate your name from Godís book. In Revelation 17:8, we can see another statement about the worldís population who will be amazed at the coming world beast power.

(Rev 17:8 NASB) "The beast that you saw was and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth will wonder, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

So, thatís another case of names not being written in Godís book of life from the foundation of the world. Letís look to see if there is more we can glean from the scene of the judgement throne of God pictured in Revelation 20.

(Rev 20:11-15 NASB) And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. {12} And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. {13} And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. {14} And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. {15} And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Wow! Look at the consequences for not having your name written in the book of life. It looks like itís not just an option where you can say, "oh, I donít mind if my name is not written in the book of life." If your name is not there, itís the death penalty: death forever.

Even in the New Jerusalem that will come down from God in heaven, the standard will be the same, as we can see in Revelation 21:27. Where the foundation stones are of fine jewels and the gates are made of pearl and the street of the city is made of pure gold, there will be no compromise with sin.

(Rev 21:27 NASB) and nothing unclean and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Not only the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem but even the visitors will be those whose names are written in the book of life. No one shall ever come into it whose name is not written in the book of life. That is a real no-compromise position with sin.

 

The Book of Remembrance

While the book of life is, obviously, the most important book that determines our ultimate future with God, is it the only book of importance? We read right over something back in Revelation 20:12. Letís take another look.

(Rev 20:12 NASB) And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.

Notice it says, "books were opened; and another book... which is the book of life." So, what are the books (notice, itís plural) that are, apparently, separate from the book of life. Well, a clue is to be found at the end of the verse where it says, "and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds."

If their deeds are to be stacked up against "the things written in the books," then it only stands to reason that the standards by which they are to be judged are set in those books. What do we know today about the standards of God by which we are measured? We know that we are to be measured by the standards set forth in the word of God and the books of his word, the Bible.

Are there any other books by which we might be measured? Yes, there is at least one other book. In Malachi 3:16, we can read of another, special book of God. This time, letís read from the New International Version.

(Mal 3:16-18 NIV) Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll [or book] of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. {17} "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. {18} And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

While it appears that the names were either written or not written in the book of life before the foundation of the world, the special book of remembrance being compiled by God is a work in progress. Not only will God spare those whose names are written in that book, he will have compassion on those and will make up his treasured possession from those special ones.

 

Our Ultimate Goal

I donít know about you but I certainly want to be among that treasured possession of God. What can we do now to help ensure that our names will be found in that special book? The answer is found in verses 16 and 18. First of all, we are to fear God always. Secondly, we are to talk with each other about that fear of God. Thirdly, in order for God to make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, we are to make a distinction in our lives between righteous and wicked deeds. Finally, we are to serve God always according to his standards.

We have discovered a lot about predestination and the elect. We have seen that it is no great stretch of the imagination to envision that, as parents can know in advance the choices to be made by their children, so can our great Father. In fact, since he knew us and chose us before either we or our first parents were ever formed, it is no surprise that he knows in advance our every thought and action.

Does that mean we are robots? No, it doesnít. It simply means that our Father is so great that he knows in advance the actions we will take and the decisions we will make. He chose to call us before the world was even made but we still have the freedom of choice. As the ancient Israelites were told at Mount Gerazim, "choose life or choose death." God admonished them to choose life. They had the freedom, though, to make their own choice.

We have been given a special opportunity through the availability of the special calling we have received from God. We need to make the most of that opportunity now. Choose life. Talk often to one another about Godís righteousness and do your best to ensure that you are among the jewels or special treasure of God in his book of remembrance.

 

 

© Philip Edwards

2006

 

Studies in the Word of God
 

Church of God Most High
P.O. Box 89741 
Tucson, AZ 85752-9741
USA

 

E-Mail

 
No limitation is placed upon reproduction of this document except that it must be reproduced in its entirety without modification or deletions. The publisher's name and address, copyright notice and this message must be included. It may be freely distributed but must be distributed without charge to the recipient.