April 14, 2006 ©Homer
Commentary — From the Margins
What about Predestination?
The discussion of predestination---a subject of itself rather intricate---is made very perplexed, and therefore dangerous, by human curiosity, which no barriers can restrain from wandering into forbidden labyrinths, and soaring beyond its sphere, as if determined to leave none of the Divine secrets unscrutinized or unexplored.
Although Calvin said that profane persons will lay hold of something relating to predestination to furnish objections to this dogma, God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), offering salvation to one person, but not to another. Every person will be born a second time, with this birth for most of humanity in the great White Throne Judgment. Every person will be as one of the two thieves on Calvary, either seeking to save the person’s physical life, or acknowledging that the person was worthy of death. Every person will be raised up, whether resurrected from death, or lifted from the baptismal pool. Thus, salvation isn’t denied to the person who prior to death never heard the name Jesus, nor is salvation denied to those consigned to disobedience but not drawn by the Father prior to death. Salvation is only available to those human beings under judgment—and only the household of God is presently under judgment (1 Pet 4:17). Everyone else awaits judgment, awaits Satan being thrown into the lake of fire and becoming ashes under the feet of the saints, awaits in timeless slumber for the sixth day of the spiritual creation week that began with light in the form of Christ Jesus coming from the lifeless darkness in which the world was subjected from its creation.
Until a human being is born of Spirit (John 3:5), the person is spiritually lifeless, and has no preeminence over the beasts of the field (Eccl 3:18-20). All of humanity has been consigned to disobedience (Rom 11:32) and are sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2-3), but from humanity, some individuals have been drawn by the Father (John 6:44, 65) and given to Christ Jesus as firstfruits for the fulfilling of Scripture. These individuals can be likened to the early Judean barley harvest, with the bulk of humanity making up the latter main crop wheat harvest. And those individuals drawn and called in this age are vessels made for honorable and dishonorable usage—from the same lump of clay, God has made “special vessels,” as well as vessels of wrath prepared for destruction (Rom 9:20-23). Jesus as the Logos made the first Adam (John 1:3); God the Father made the last Adam when His divine Breath descended as a dove onto the man Jesus (Matt 3:16-17 & 1 Co 15:45). And as the first Eve was formed from flesh and bone of the first Adam, the last Eve, created when Jesus breathed on ten of His disciples (John 20:22), is formed from Spirit of His Spirit (Rom 8:9-11). Thus, as the first Eve bore her husband three sons, the last Eve will bear her Husband three sons, a spiritual Cain, Abel, and Seth, her third son born after Cain kills Abel and is marked for death.
Judas Iscariot was given by the Father to Jesus so that Scripture would be fulfilled (John 17:12); Judas was drawn by God to be the son of destruction that would betray Jesus, who said that it would have been better for Judas if he had never been born (Matt 26:24)…if he had never been born, Judas would not have any chance of salvation. Literally, he would never exist. And that state of non-existence would have been better than being called to be a disciple of Christ Jesus? Yes, according to Scripture.
Jesus was careful to fulfill all Scripture about Him, even to saying that two swords would be enough to satisfy the passage about Him being numbered among the transgressors (Luke 22:35-38 & Isa 53:12). Likewise, Jesus, the selected Lamb of God, could have continued walking into Jerusalem, but shortly before entering, He sent two disciples ahead to find a donkey and her colt (Matt 21:1-3) so that He would enter as the high priest would enter with the selected paschal lamb. On that 10th day of the first month (John 12:1, 13 with John 19:31), Jesus entered Jerusalem as both high priest and as the Passover Lamb that would be slain on the 14th, the Preparation Day—and He entered riding on the colt, the offspring of the donkey, to satisfy what the prophet Zechariah wrote (9:9). So He entered as high priest for the next generation of Israel, which would not be a physical nation as was the uncircumcised children who crossed the Jordan on the 10th day of the first month (Josh 4:19), but a spiritually circumcised nation that had not before been a people (1 Pet 2:9-10).
On the cross, knowing that the end of His suffering was near, Jesus “said (to fulfill the Scripture), ‘I thirst’” (John 19:28)…what becomes apparent is that at times Jesus went to unusual lengths to satisfy Scripture so that nothing would be incomplete. Therefore, His disciples today have the reliable assurance that Scripture, and especially passages of Holy Writ about the end of this present lawless age will also be fulfilled.
Besides prophesying about Jesus entering on the foal of a donkey, the prophet Zechariah also wrote:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, / against the man who stands next to me,” / declares the Lord of hosts. / “Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; / I will turn my hand against the little ones. / In the whole land, declares the Lord, / two thirds [parts] shall be cut off and perish, / and one part shall be left alive. / And I will put this third into the fire, / and refine them as one refines silver, / and test them as gold is tested. / They will call upon my name, / and I will answer them. / I will say, ‘They are my people’; / and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’” (13:7-9 — line breaks have been marked to retain the movement between clauses from physical to spiritual)
Jesus said He was the shepherd who would be struck (Matt 26:31); therefore, to fulfill Scripture, the Lord of hosts or the Most High Lord God [Theon] must strike or allow to be struck Jesus, who was the Logos or Theos (from John 1:1-2, 14). And Jesus’ disciples were the sheep scattered when Jesus was struck. These sheep were not scribes or Pharisees, or Gentiles in Greece or Egypt. So the little ones against whom the Lord of hosts will turn His hand are neither the physically circumcised nation of Israel nor the nations of the world, but disciples of Christ Jesus.
To fulfill Scripture, God will cut off and cause to perish two parts of three—if these are equal parts, two of every three disciples will perish, a comparable number to the seven of ten servants who would not be ruled by the nobleman in the parable of the ten minas [or pounds] (Luke 19:11-27). But in comprehending Scripture that is structured as Hebraic poetry, this two parts being cut off and perishing is physical. The one part remains spiritually alive to be physically refined as silver is [melted with the dross floating to the surface and skimmed off] and spiritually tested as gold is pressed against a touchstone. This third part will physically call upon God’s name, and He will spiritually answer them. God will then physically call or identify them as His people, and they will spiritually respond. So without here making the argument, the two parts that are “cut off and perish” will have one part cut off from God as Cain was cut off, and one part perish as righteous Abel was slain by his brother. The sin that lurked at Cain’s door overcame Cain and caused him to be cut off from God—and righteous Abel will not have perished for all time, but until judgments are revealed.
Thus, to fulfill Scripture, God will call disciples for the expressed purpose of cutting them off and causing them to perish. Further, He will call disciples for the purpose of refining them as silver is refined and testing tem as gold is tested; for no person can come to Jesus unless the Father draws that person from the world—or calls the person (John 6:44). No person is humanly able to come to Jesus without the Father first intervening in the person’s life by giving the person His Spirit, for the natural mind is hostile to God (Rom 8:7). Therefore, to fulfill Scripture, many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14). And some are called to be teachers of lawlessness whom Jesus will deny knowing when their judgments are revealed (Matt 7:21-23).
Why would anyone called by God become a teacher of iniquity, or lawlessness, especially a person who has done mighty works in the name of the Lord? Jesus said that whoever keeps the commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:19) so there is no mystery as to what it takes to be called great in heaven: keep the commandments and teach others to do likewise. Yet Scripture holds that some will teach disciples to be lawless; thus, to fulfill Scripture, some disciples have been drawn by the Father and given to Jesus just as Judas was for the expressed purpose of being teachers of iniquity.
This should be scary: are you a disciple who has been predetermined to teach lawlessness? Or can you repent of how you now teach young sons of God to break the commandments? You ask how you teach lawlessness? Do you not teach infant sons of God to repent of their former unbelief as the circumcised nation that left Egypt repented before that nation attempted to enter God’s rest on the following day (Num 14:40-41); do you not teach the children of God to enter God’s rest on the following day?
If you as a teacher of spiritually circumcised Israel, drawn by the Father, called by Jesus, knowingly teach disciples to ignore or to break the commandments, then you probably have been called to fulfill being denied by Christ when your judgment is revealed. It is as simple as that.
But predestination is not predetermination: you can, today, begin keeping the commandments, especially the Sabbath commandment, which serves as the test of whether you really know God and have been sanctified (Ex 31:13 & Heb 4:2-11). You don’t have to be among the many that are called, but not chosen.
The good news came to you just as it did to the Apostles on the mount, and as it did to the nation that left Egypt. But that message has no more benefited you than it profited the circumcised nation of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, the home of physically circumcised Ishmael, where natural Israel made itself the bondservant of sin through its unbelief. Except for Joshua and Caleb, liberation didn’t benefit Korah or Dathan or Abiram or any of the adults that knew Pharaoh. And your liberation from bondage to the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2) hasn’t benefited you much, for your unbelief causes you, presently covered by the mantle of Christ Jesus’ righteousness, to walk as you formerly walked, and not as Jesus walked—Jesus lived as a Judean; Peter taught Gentile converts to live as Judeans; and you won’t live as a spiritual Judean because doing so would be legalistic. You have judged the law, and have found Holy Spirit wanting.
So probably, you won’t do that which is necessary to be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Instead, you will probably condemn me as a legalist, thereby confirming your calling to fulfill Scripture as a disciple who does great work in Jesus’ name, but is denied in the resurrection.
What is the role of free will in your decision to be a teacher of lawlessness? Are you compelled to teach the children of God to break the commandment you consider least important? Do you have a choice about what you do? Or is your mindset so programmed that you must teach as one who will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, if you are even there?
I cannot answer for you, for I am compelled to teach disciples to live by every word of God, to keep His laws, to practice walking uprightly while cloaked in the garment of Grace. I don’t really have a choice although there are days when the flesh says, Why bother. You and those who have been called as you have won’t listen to the words of Jesus. There’s nothing I can do or say to convince you to mend your ways. I am merely going through the motions of fulfilling Scripture about warning you so your blood won’t be on my hands.
Is that all I am doing, going through the motions for getting your attention? If it is, then all of us might as well all go fishing.
There will shortly be a day when the Son of Man is revealed. The garment of Grace will be removed. All disciples will be empowered or filled [in the sense that sin and death are pushed out of the disciple] by the divine Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion]. And the many disciples who have been called to rebel in the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) will make themselves known to man and angel. Yes, many disciples have been called to fulfill Scripture about:
· Being delivered into tribulation and put to death,
· Hated by all nations for the sake of Jesus’ name,
· Falling away,
· Betraying and hating one another,
· False prophets arising and leading many astray,
· Lawlessness increasing
· Love growing cold.
The words of Jesus’ Olivet prophecy (Matt chaps 24-25) will be fulfilled—and disciples will be drawn, as Judas Iscariot was, to satisfy these Scripture passages.
Does a person choose to become a disciple of Christ Jesus, or is the person made a disciple despite the person’s will? Is one person “predestined” to be glorified while another isn’t?
If the creation has been “subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it” (Rom 8:20), then all that has been created, including humankind, is in a state of futility (i.e., lifelessness) by design. It wasn’t original sin that caused this futility, for then the first Adam would be responsible not just for sin or lawlessness (from 1 John 3:4) entering the world, but also for the “lifelessness” or futility of the elemental elements of the earth and of the heavens that existed prior to Adam’s creation. Obviously, no, the first Adam is not responsible for what came before him. No one is responsible for what predates the person. So only the Logos, who was born as the man Jesus of Nazareth, is responsible for the futility of the created universe, for all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made. All things mean just that: the futility, itself, was created by the Logos.
The implication of Scripture is that all things have a beginning before which there was nothing physical, or nothing able to be observed or measured by humankind. This implication carries within itself the concept of “a beginning,” which introduces the relative temporal relationships of past, present, and future, thereby necessitating the existence of “time.” The apparent solidity of matter requires one “moment” to become another moment so that matter can relocate itself, and not be forever confined to its then-existing geographical location, with the measurement of the parading moments becoming humanity’s expression for the passing of time. But if one moment truly becomes another moment and does not exist as merely an illusionary matrix, then that which has a beginning must continually be changing in a measurable way—and the universe is continually expanding through the decay of dark matter, this decay evident by the uniformity of background temperatures in all quadrants of deep space. Thus, the passage of time occurs at the decay rate of heavy mass particles, and is limited or restricted to the amount of heavy mass particles available for decay. Therefore, that which has a beginning also has an end that is discernable [in the future].
The Apostle Paul writes that the creation needs to be set free from bondage to decay (Rom 8:21); the flesh of every human being is subject to this same bondage to decay—and the expression “bondage to decay” is a euphemism for Death, as is “futility.”
Life was in the Logos (John 1:4), and this life is the light of humankind, not the light of bacteria or bruins. Except for those human beings that have been born of water and of Spirit (John 3:5), nothing living or dead truly has life. For within time, where one moment becomes the next moment through decay of dark matter, everything, including rebelling angels imprisoned in this darkness, is subject to death, and indeed, must die. Only in the supra-dimensional heavenly realm where one moment doesn’t become the next moment, regardless of activity, is there everlasting life—and any life short of everlasting is not truly life, but delayed death.
The supra-dimensional heavenly realm exists without decay, thus without beginning or end as humankind perceives these constructs. That which has life has everlasting life, for life and the absence of life [i.e., death] cannot co-exist in the same entity at the same moment…in order for an entity with life in the heavenly realm to lose that life [i.e., to die], the entity must first be confined in a dimension governed by, or subject to change, with parading moments. During one of the changes from moment to moment, life is or will be lost. Hence, the iniquity that was found in an anointed cherub (Ezek 28:14-15) produced a disharmony that threatened to jam up or bring to a halt all activity in the heavenly realm, where, because of described conditions of a paradox, all life must function as one entity for the moment doesn’t change. All activity must be coordinated to the extent that all living beings move and think as one self-aware organism, somewhat analogous to the bodily cells of a human being working together to give life to a lump of clay that is nothing more than the base elements of the creation.
The consistent analogy found throughout Scripture is that to the elemental elements of the earth, “breath” has been added to create life. And because the visible reveals the invisible (Rom 1:20) and the physical precedes the spiritual (1 Co 15:46), the discernible breath that was added to a lump of red clay to produce the first Adam (Gen 2:7) was a type of the divine Breath [Pneuma ’Agion] added to the breathing lump of clay that formed the last Adam. This divine Breath was made visible to John the Baptist, but it isn’t visible when given to drawn and called disciples. Thus, the visibility of Jesus’ receipt of the Breath of the Father becomes analogous to the visibility of the Apostles being filled with the Holy Spirit on that day of Pentecost that followed Calvary. The empowerment of future disciples will be as invisible as was their receipt of the Holy Spirit and birth from above.
Before proceeding, and because of the long standing tradition stemming from the creation account recorded in Genesis chapter one having Adam and Eve created on day six of a seven day week, a word must be said to clarify confusion: the account recorded in Genesis one is of the spiritual creation, not of the physical creation. If it were of the physical creation, then serious problems exist for the waters of the earth will be above the heavens [plural — above the heavens would be beyond outer space] as well as below, and the plants will have been created before the sun and the moon. But these problems cease to exist when a disciple realizes that the account of Genesis one is of the spiritual creation, with the earthly ministry of Christ Jesus being the light that came from darkness to form the first day.
The creation account of Genesis chapter two forms the account of the physical creation, which has Adam and Eve being driven from the garden of God before they enter into His rest.
Again, the first Adam, a type of the last Adam (Rom 5:14 & 1 Co 15:45), was created before any other life was created, and forms the lively shadow of Christ Jesus, created spiritually as the first of the firstfruits. Disciples are the children of God, born from above into fleshy tents that are subject to decay. These children of God are not the tents. Their life is not the life that is fueled by the cellular oxidation of sugars; the “life” of their decaying tents is fueled by physical breath. So it is the life of the tent of flesh that is subject to decay, not the life that comes from above through receipt of the divine Breath of God [Pneuma ’Agion]. The tent has been created as a type of, and as the temporary housing for a new creation that will be a vessel for honored use, or a vessel for dishonorable use.
For too long, the Sabbatarian churches of God have shied away from the phrasing honored/dishonorable, opting instead to substitute special and ordinary usage as a better understanding of the great White Throne Judgment emerged in the 20th-Century. For too long, modern Christianity fled from Calvin’s understanding of predestination. It became culturally offensive to teach that a person was ordained by God to fry in hell, while another person was ordained for glory. So the remnant of spiritually circumcised Israel returning to the Jerusalem above from spiritual Babylon shadowboxed with the long-dead Apostle Paul as it looked for explanations that would pull the fangs from, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory” (Rom 9:22-24).
No good explanation emerged, so predestination became a divisive subject until the mid 20th-Century when the leading edge of returning Israel began teaching that the mass of humanity wasn’t today called by God, and was not now a part of the household of God, and therefore, was not now under judgment, so upon death, would not fry in hell. Only the household of God is under judgment, with the righteous of this household being scarcely saved (v. 18). So predestination became when a person would be called from the world, and given the Holy Spirit. Those individuals who were foreknown and predestined were to be called by God in this present evil age, while the mass of humanity would await its calling until it was resurrected in the great White Throne Judgment. And as far as this teaching went, it improved upon Calvin’s understanding of predestination, but not upon his detractors.
But it also missed much of what Calvin understood: some individuals whom God has endured are vessels of wrath, meaning that these vessels have been created for dishonor just as Judas Iscariot was given by the Father to Jesus as the son of destruction. Yes, created for dishonor contains within itself that concept that the vessel has been made alive through receipt of the Holy Spirit—the vessel created for dishonor will be a Christian; that is, will have been given to Jesus by the Father, which is why both have endured the vessel.
What Calvin missed was that vessels created for dishonorable use have been made alive in the heavenly realm through receipt of the divine Breath of God. Calvin didn’t understand that until born-from-above or born of Spirit, no individual has any life in the heavenly realm. Human beings do not have immortal souls. Hence, the person who has not yet received birth in the heavenly realm is not subject to the second death, and cannot fry in hell, but awaits resurrection in the great White Throne Judgment when the person will be “born” a second time…a person must be born a second time before the person can die a second death.
So, what about the unrighteous of the household of God? What about Judas Iscariot, who was given to Jesus so that Scripture would be fulfilled? What about those disciples who will betray their brethren when the man of perdition is revealed—these disciples have been drawn by the Father and given to Jesus as Judas was drawn and given to Jesus. The great falling away must occur if Scripture is to be fulfilled, meaning that disciples will necessarily be drawn by the Father for the purpose of falling away. And if being drawn to betray one’s fellow disciple or if being drawn for the purpose of falling away isn’t being created as a vessel of dishonor, then dishonor is without meaning.
Even among Sabbatarians there are disciples who have been drawn as vessels for dishonorable usage: a disciple doesn’t have to look far, or to look hard to find swindlers and con men and cultmeisters shearing the lambs of God. Each of these spiritual reprobates has a following; some have large followings. Each comes as a “super-apostle” who fails Paul’s test of genuineness (2 Co 11:7-15). And they know who they are. They know whether they preach or teach out of compulsion, or out of the need for a vocation. And if out of compulsion, they know whether they keep the commandments—it’s not enough to teach others to keep the commandments if the teacher doesn’t also keep them.
If a disciple has been drawn for dishonorable use, shall God not have compassion on the vessel when judgments are revealed?
Herein is a question that mortal human beings do not have to resolve: if the Father draws a person from the world for the expressed purpose of the disciple betraying his or her brethren—as Judas Iscariot was drawn and given to Jesus, or as Pharaoh had his heart hardened so as to bring about the destruction of the nation representing sin—will the Father also not have mercy on the person who was drawn to fulfill Scripture? Or shall the Father and the Son break the “unclean” vessel, knowing from the beginning that the vessel’s purpose would be fulfilled by its dishonorable usage? Jesus said that it would be better for Judas if he had never been born.
If the latter case were true—and it seems to be—then every disciple who knows to keep the commandments of God and who feels compelled to do so needs to thank God by striving to keep the commandments even beyond the best of the disciple’s abilities. The disciple was created as a son of God intended for honorable use, and nothing can separate the disciple from the love of God.
If the former case were true, that the Son shall have compassion on those disciples drawn for dishonorable use so that Scripture will be fulfilled, then why are many called, but few chosen (Matt 22:14)? Is it because tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, or the sword (Rom 8:35) can or did separate the vessels created for dishonorable usage from God? Is it because those vessels had no staying power inherent in them? Did the Father draw a disciple He knew would fail as a test of the disciple, or as the means of eliminating the disciple from the main crop wheat harvest that will be resurrected to judgment in the great White Throne Judgment?
The answer is in the story of Jacob and Esau (Rom 9:10-13).
* * *
"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."