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(1) Can We Choose?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will (Eph. 1:3-5).
The Bible tells us the plan of redemption was formed in the mind of God before the world was created. This plan will be completed on the “last day.” The Bible also tells us God knew who would be saved. But the question is: How does He know?
Calvinism teaches that God has decided the fate of each man before the world began. I do not agree. I believe each person decides his own destiny. When all is said and done, everyone will have been given the opportunity to repent and turn to Christ for salvation. Some will; some won’t. The decision is ours. Even those who do receive Christ don’t deserve to be saved. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
It seems that man has a spirit which cannot be annihilated. The body of the unrepentant will perish, but the spirit will exist on for eternity—without God. Mark 9:43 says, “It is better for thee to enter into life maimed than . . . to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched” Apparently God could not create our spirit and then make us cease to exist if we did not turn out good. He could not create us with a perfect free will and then violate that will. Ecclesiastes 11: 3 indicates that God has “put eternity” in the heart of man (NKJV).
God does not get pleasure in punishing His disobedient sons. His judgments on individuals, nations, and the world are for correction. And He certainly takes no pleasure in confining one to an eternal hell. But if you reject His love and refuse to change your evil ways, God is left with no alternative but to destroy your body and soul and confine your spirit. Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 indicate that man is a triune being, composed of body, soul, and spirit. Jesus says, “Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,”a but He says nothing about the spirit.
You may ask: If God knew who would be lost in eternal misery, why did He create them?
I do not believe God created the spirit of anyone knowing in advance he would be forever lost. What the Bible teaches about predestination has always been hard to explain. But the Bible gives a very simple and reasonable answer.
(2) The Cherubims
And I [Ezekiel] looked, and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man (Ezek. 1:4-5).
In Ezekiel 10, God gave him another vision of the four living creatures and called them, “the Cherubims.” Ezekiel saw the Cherubims depart from the temple and stand by the eastern gate, waiting to leave Jerusalem. Not long after this, the temple and city were destroyed.
We can be reasonably certain that the Cherubim is an assembly of angels. Many believe Lucifer at one time was “the anointed cherub.”b He is now called, among other things, a false “angel of light.”c Isaiah calls him the “son of the morning.”d He was present when the Lord “laid the foundations of the earth. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 7).
God did not explain to Ezekiel what the vision of the Cherubims meant. The four living creatures had the likeness of a man. They had the hands of a man under their wings and the face of a man, but they were not human, they were angels.
(3) Is the Cherubim Perfect?
Behold, he [God] put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly (Job 4:18).
Some have attributed qualities to the “elect angels” they don’t have. The general thinking is that most of the angels have always been perfect. But Job 4:18 implies that all the angels were not “good” little angels “all” the time. Perhaps all were disobedient and when the Lord began correcting them, many began to have a burning hatred toward the Word of God—a hatred that has never cooled. All children are disobedient to their parents but most do not turn against them.
You might say: Since the “elect angels” are called “holy angels,” doesn’t this mean they have always been perfect? God’s prophets are called “holy prophets,” but they were far from perfect. Compared to the evil angels, the elect could be called perfect and holy, but compared to God’s Perfect Holiness, there is no comparison! Only God is perfect, and if He didn’t have perfect mercy, we would all be condemned.
The law, which no one but Christ has kept, was placed in the ark. The ark was covered with a solid gold mercy seat with a golden cherubim at each end. Their heads were bowed toward the mercy seat,f indicating that they also needed mercy. They, and the whole human race, could be called Tarnished Angels. The writer of Hebrews, which may have been Paul, wrote about this but was not allowed to explain it at that time. Paul was “caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which is not lawful for a man to utter” (see 2 Cor. 12:1-4, Heb. 9:5).
God’s plan of redemption called for the Creator to die for the created, a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was “the Lamb of God,” a “lamb without blemish.”g If the angels are perfect, one could argue, as some do, that the created could die for the created. Some teach that Jesus was an angel in the flesh. I believe we have seen what angels are in the flesh—and it’s not good! The Bible says only “God” is “good” and we will “judge angels” (Mark 10:18, 1 Cor. 6:3).
As we have said, the Evil One spoken of in Ezekiel 28, which is generally believed to be the Lucifer of Isaiah 14, was once a member of the Cherubim; in fact, he was the “anointed cherub.” Ezekiel and Isaiah indicate he will one day have a body which will be destroyed, and his spirit will be sent to “hell.”
It seems all the angels at one time were members of the Cherubim. Now there are different ranks. The ones who chose Lucifer and rejected the Lord are no longer members of the Cherubim. They have been demoted and are called demons and devils. The ones who chose the Lord as their Lord are called the “elect angels.” They elected Him and He elected them for eternal blessings. The elect angels are His “chosen.” Many of the elect are still members of the Cherubim; others may have been promoted to a higher rank, called the Seraphim.
(4) The Seraphims
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. . . .
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin is purged (Isa. 6:1-3,5-7).
This is the only place in the Old Testament that these celestial beings are mentioned, and they have been a mystery. The New Bible Dictionary says, “It would appear that for Isaiah the Seraphim constituted an order of angelic beings responsible for certain functions of guardianship and worship. However, they appear to have been distinct moral creatures, not just projections of the imagination of personification of animals. Their moral qualities were employed exclusively in the service of God, and their position was such that they were privileged to exercise an atoning ministry . . .”1
The Cherubims in Ezekiel’s vision had four wings each. The Seraphims had six each. Four is the number for the earth and six is the number for man. With two wings they covered their head; with two they covered their feet; and with the other two they flew. The covering of their head and feet is taken to mean they had a deep sense of reverence and humility. The other pair of wings may signify they are ministering spirits and special messengers for the Lord, flying back and forth from heaven and earth.
Another interesting difference between the Cherubims and the Seraphims is the worship of the Seraphims. They sang holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of host. Matthew Henry said the Holy, Holy, Holy “may refer to the three persons in the Godhead, Holy Father, Holy Son, and Holy Spirit (for it follows in v. 8, Who will go for us?)”2
The Cherubim in Ezekiel’s vision seems to have been the protector of Israel. The Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision seems to be of a more spiritual nature and deals with the sins of man in a redemptive role.
The Cherubim in Ezekiel’s vision was below the throne of God. The Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision stood above it. Many believe this indicates the Seraphim is of a higher order of angels, especially since they took part in cleansing Isaiah of his sin. I believe they were. It has been said the Seraphim seems to be a “transfigured cherubim.”
We don’t know what Isaiah’s specific sin was. But whatever it was, a member of the Seraphim brought a fiery coal in his hand and cleansed Isaiah’s lips.
It seems the Seraphims had almost a human character. Isaiah had been bitten by the flying fiery serpent—sin. I believe the Seraphim was well aware of and understood Isaiah’s problem and the remedy. The live coal he brought from heaven was simply used to illustrate the Holy Spirit’s work in Isaiah’s heart. After his lips were touched and his sin purged, he “heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah replied, “Here am I, send me” (Isa. 6:8).
(5) The Twenty-Four Elders
Around the throne [in heaven] were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads (Rev. 4:4, NKJV).
You may ask: Who are these people?
This question has been asked since John wrote the book of Revelation, and the controversy has continued to this day. Some believe they must be angels. Others believe they are men who have been redeemed from the earth.
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary says, “They are not angels, for they have white robes and crowns of victory, implying a conflict and endurance. . . . They represent the Heads of the Old and New Testament churches respectively, the Twelve Patriarchs . . . and Twelve Apostles.”3
Dr. William R. Newell says, “We can only assume, not prove, that the ‘elders’ are not of our race at all. The cherubim are not; nor the seraphim.”4
Tim LaHaye says, “When we take the term ‘elders’ into consideration and understand that there is a mistaken rendering of a passage in the King James (Rev. 5:8-12), we may properly conclude that these elders are angels.”5
Unger’s Bible Handbook says, “These ‘elders’ evidently represent redeemed Old Testament and New Testament saints, for the term ‘elder’ is never applied to angels or other heavenly and unfallen order of beings, nor do angels have crowns or occupy thrones; only redeemed men are promised such . . .”6
The Revised New Bible Commentary says, “From the characteristics of the elders, as they appear in the subsequent visions, it is manifest that they are angelic beings. . .”7
Dr. Harry A. Ironside said, “These persons are not angels. They are redeemed men . . .”8
In his book Angels: God’s Secret Agents, Billy Graham says, “The time is coming when the twenty-four elders of His angelic creation will fall down before the Lamb and sing their new song.”9
Lehman Strauss says, “We know they are not angels, but human beings, for the song they sing shows them to be redeemed ones. ‘And they sung a new song, saying. . . . Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation’ (Revelation 5:9).”10
Hal Lindsey says, “Many Bible scholars feel that they are a special group of angels who minister to God and assist in the administration of the universe. That’s a possibility, but I personally believe that they are representative of the Church. . . . You’ll notice that these twenty-four enthroned Elders are clothed in white and are wearing gold crowns. Both of these are true of born-again humans, but not of angels.”11
These are just a few of the varied opinions as to the identity of the elders. I believe both opinions are partly right. The elders may be of those raised after Christ’s resurrection.h Since they have been in heaven for over 1900 years in their redeemed bodies, they certainly could be called “elders.” They may be the Elders of the Church yet to be redeemed.
Now we want to take a look at another group of beings who have raised even more questions.
(6) The Four Living Creatures
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” (Rev. 4:6-8, NKJV.)
We could say that Ezekiel’s Cherubim, Isaiah’s Seraphim and John’s Four Living Creatures are very strange and mystifying creatures. Hal Lindsey, commenting on the Four Living Creatures, says, “While we can’t be dogmatic about it, these Living Beings seem to be angels . . .”12
Tim LaHaye says, “These four living creatures are seraphim, described by Isaiah in his vision of the throne of God (Isa. 6:1-3). They have six wings and cry, ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God Almighty.’ ”13
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary says, “The cherubim here have six wings, like the seraphim in Isaiah 6; whereas the cherubim in Ezekiel 1:6 had four wings each.”14
Unger’s Bible Handbook says, “They are a special order of created beings associated with the throne of God, apparently combining characteristics both of the cherubim . . . and the seraphim . . .”15
In his Bible Commentary, Charles Ellicott makes an interesting observation. He says, “The ‘living creatures’ of Rev. 4:7, 8, seem to unite the forms of the cherubim of Ezek. 1:5-11 with the six wings of the seraphim of this passage. Symbolically the seraphim would seem to be as a transfigured cherubim . . .”16
The number six stands for man, and the Seraphim has gained an extra set of wings over the Cherubim.
Many believe the Twenty-Four Elders are literal people. King David picked 24 priests to serve and represent the entire priesthood of Israel.i The King of kings may have picked 24 who will represent the resurrected Church, which is the Living Creatures of Revelation. The Cherubims might be the angels who have not been tested on earth as men yet; the Seraphims might be men who have come to earth as angels and returned to heaven, awaiting their resurrection. And the Four Living Creatures of Revelation 5 may be the assembly of the redeemed in their resurrected bodies. This may explain the difference and similarity between the Cherubim, the Seraphim, and the Four Living Creatures of Revelation.
Revelation 5:8-10 clearly tells us that the Twenty-Four Elders and the Four Living Creatures were redeemed from the earth and will return to earth to rule with Christ.
If the King James Versions have the correct rendering of Revelation 5:9-10, and I believe they do, then we were once angels. This clears up the mystery of how God knew “before the foundation of the world”j those who would be saved. This also would prove that God did not create anyone knowing in advance he was doomed for eternal misery. This would also show the extent of God’s love and forgiveness for all of His created beings and explain the mystery of why redemption is offered to men but not to fallen angels. Redemption is offered to the fallen angels in the person of men in hope that some will accept it.
I believe we made our decision before the world began, and we reaffirm it in this world.
In Psalm 82:6-7, God said, “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men.” Jesus quoted the Pharisees verse 6 and said if God called men gods, why were they against Him for claiming to be the Son of God? (See John 10:34-36.)
The Hebrew word “Elohim” can be translated “God” or “gods.” The context determines the meaning. It can be referring to the Godhead or to the angels, especially the fallen ones. Many have tried to explain these verses, but I believe the best explanation is: We were once angels, the sons of Job 38:4-7. All angels “are children of the Most High,” but they “shall die like men.”
You might say: I don’t have any knowledge of once being an angel! I don’t either, and I doubt anyone else does. Isaiah 65:17 suggests in the new heaven and earth we won’t even remember all this, so it would be no problem for God to give everyone a good case of amnesia concerning any prior existence as an angel.
The first two times I thought about all this, I dismissed it. I assumed man had his spiritual beginning at the end of the sixth day. I also assumed all the angels were perfect when God made the world. In August of 1983 it dawned on me that sin was present before the world began, and we may have been involved in it. Man was made in the “image” of God and “became a living soul” in the Garden of Eden, but it seems our spirits were created before God created the earth.” (See Job 38:4-7.)
(7) Which Version Can You Believe?
And when he had taken the book, the four beast [the four living creatures] and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb. . . . And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open its seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made US unto our God kings and priests: and WE shall reign on the earth (Rev. 5:8-10, emphasis mine).
There are some manuscripts that replace the words US and WE with MEN, THEM, and THEY. This would make the Four Living Creatures angels who are speaking of men being redeemed from the earth. What probably happened is someone saw that the living creatures were angels and this would make them redeemed men, which they thought couldn’t be, so they changed it. It is very unlikely that someone would have changed it from “them” to “us.”
Most all the newer translations come from a different set of manuscripts than the King James Version and the New King James Version. Although there are some variations and omissions in other versions, like the adulterous woman of John 8, for the most part they say about the same thing concerning salvation and other important doctrines. For some of the finer points, however, I believe the KJV and NKJV are based on the correct manuscripts.
The beauty of the KJV is unsurpassed, but it is not the first translation I would hand to a new Christian. I remember the first time I picked up the Bible and began to read it. This was in December of 1970, and the 1611 King James English was all Greek to me. My wife gave me a New Testament version called Good News for Modern Man, and I found eternal life by reading it. It was an amazing time for me. I would recommend using many translations in your Bible study.
(8) God’s Foreknowledge
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate 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: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:28-31.)
When God predicts something, He’s got the power to make it happen. Over 2500 years ago, He promised that He would bring the Jews back to their land in the “latter days,” and He has kept His word.k He can work in the minds of individuals and world leaders to make things happen according to His predetermined plan. But does this explain predestination? Does God make someone go to heaven or hell? NO!
We were not made as robots and programmed to obey Him. We were made with the freedom of choice. God saw the heart of each and every son mentioned in Job 38:4-7, and He knows by ages of observation that “all” will sin in the flesh. He also knows who will repent and turn to Christ. God could have created perfect robots which would have never given Him any trouble—but they could never love Him or anyone else the way He intended.
Romans 8:29 tells us God “did foreknow” us and “predestinate” us. God knew us just as He “knew” the prophet Jeremiah “before” he was even conceived. He said, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer. 1:5).
Concerning the die hard followers of Satan, Revelation 13:8 and 17:8 speaks of their names not being in the book of life, which was written before the earth was created. Concerning the “elect” we were promised eternal life “before the world began,”and our names are written and will remain in the book of life (Titus 1:1-2, Rev. 3:5).
(9) Jacob and Esau
In Romans 9, Paul deals with the predestination of Jacob and Esau. Jacob and Esau were twins, but Esau was born first. God knew beforehand which one He wanted to establish the nation of Israel, and it was through Jacob. Paul says, “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil [in the flesh], that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Rom. 9:11-13).
You may ask: How could God love Jacob and hate Esau, even before they were born? Paul says in verses 14 and 15, “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
Again Paul answers the question that might arise, accusing God of injustice. He says, “Who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:20-23).
I do not believe Paul was speaking about the spirit of Jacob and Esau. When he compared God as the potter making one vessel for destruction and one for salvation, he was talking about the body. A vessel is simply a container that holds something. The body is the vessel that houses the spirit. Paul was not saying that God created Esau with an evil spirit and ordained him to hell and Jacob to heaven (see Acts 13:48) .
If Jacob and Esau were angels before the world began and Esau had already made his decision to follow Lucifer, then this would explain why God had mercy on Jacob and not Esau. Jacob certainly needed mercy, because he was a crook before God changed him. But Esau apparently died the way he was born, with an evil spirit that rejects the Lord. God doesn’t hate anyone. He only hates what a person has become.
(10) The Sons of God
There were giants in the earth in those days: and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown (Gen. 6:4).
Some believe that these sons of God are the evil angels referred to by Peter and Jude. Peter says, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:4-5).
Jude 6 tells us, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”
Those who believe the sons of God of Genesis 6 are not angels say these sons must have been from the line of Seth.
Many who have studied Genesis 6 realize it is a perplexing problem as to the identity of these “sons of God.” Were they men or angels? Some who believe they were angels say these angelic sons married women and their children became giants. But Matthew 22:30 indicates angels do not marry, and Genesis 6:4 implies that human giants already existed. These angelic sons may have entered the human race before their time. They saw human giants having sexual relations and incarnated themselves in the women. These angelic sons also became physical sons. They grew up and “became mighty men” and “took them wives of all whom they chose” (Gen. 6:4, 2). Their bodies were destroyed in the “flood” and their spirits were cast into “hell,” where they will remain until “the judgment of the great day” (2 Peter 2:4-5, Jude 6).
The “sons of God” are also mentioned in the book of Job. In chapters 1 and 2, Satan came before the throne of God where the sons of God were gathered. Satan accused Job of staying true to God only because God had blessed him. So God allowed Satan to take his wealth, kill his sons and daughters, and inflict him with a painful sickness. But in all his troubles Job never accused God of injustice, even though his wife told him to “curse” God (Job 2:9).
Job also had three well-meaning friends who came to comfort him. Instead of helping him, they made matters worse. They told him all this would not have happened if he was a true man of faith. (Sounds like some people today.) After a while all this got to Job, so he began to tell his know-it-all friends how much he knew about God and His creation.
Neither Job nor his friends knew half as much as they thought they did, so God asked Job the question, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. . . . When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 7).
The third time we see the term “sons” of God used in the Old Testament is in Hosea 1:10. But this time it is looking toward the New Testament and speaking about the recreated sons of God by the new birth.l Paul says we are a “new creation” in Christ (Gal. 6:15, NKJV).
(11) Angels Called Men
The first time the word “angels” occur is in Genesis 19:1. It is speaking of the two “men” who were with the Lord in Genesis 18. The Lord is one of the “men” of chapter 18, but He was not a man until His virgin birth years later.
Throughout the Bible the terms used for men and angels are often interchangeable. “Sons of God” is used for angels and men. Luke calls Gabriel “the angel Gabriel,”m but Daniel calls him “the man Gabriel.”n Judas was called “a devil,”o which is to say, a fallen angel. Job 38:4-7 uses literal stars to symbolize “the morning stars” singing when the Lord created the earth. Jude 13 refers to evil men as “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” In Daniel 8:9-14, good men are also called “stars.” They are the “host of heaven,” who are trampled on earth by the evil ones.
Angels are called spirits. Men have a spirit. Hell was prepared for the evil angels, and the spirits of unrepentant who reject Christ will go there. First Peter 3:18-20 tells us after Jesus was raised “he went and preached to the spirits in prison” who were disobedient while the ark was being prepared. First Peter 4:6 tells us these spirits are the departed spirits of men, apparently the evil “angels” who are mentioned in 2 Peter 2:4-5.
Luke 24:23 says the women went and told the disciples they had seen angels. But Luke 24:4 says the angels were “men” in “shining garments.” Mark 16:5 has “a young man clothed in a long white robe” sitting in the tomb of Jesus. It seems this “young man” was also an angel.
Many of the angels mentioned in the Bible may have already had their time of testing on earth and are now God’s secret agents and “ministering spirits.”p An angel appeared to John when he was on the island of Patmos: One who had apparently died and was now a special messenger for the Lord. John said, “I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel.” But the angel said, “Do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God” (Rev. 22:8-9).
The angels of the Lord and redeemed men are called “saints” and “elect.” Paul says, “God’s elect” wait “in hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:1-2).
It seems the “elect” were once citizens of heaven and are now “strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”q Jesus said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” He said to the religious hypocrites, “Ye are from beneath . . . ye are of this world” (John 17:16; 8:23).
You may ask: If we are the “sons of God” mentioned in Job 38, why didn’t God make all this clearer? I don’t know. But I could ask: Why didn’t God make clearer that Christ would become a man, die, and then be resurrected? Jesus scolded His disciples and said they should have seen it. The resurrection of Christ is clearly taught in the New Testament. But God, in His wisdom, chose not to clearly reveal it in the Old Testament, though it is there to see if one will open his eyes. Some Orthodox Jews are still quoting Scripture, saying the Messiah shall abide forever. Exactly right. But He first had to die for sin and then be raised, never to die again.
You may also ask: If we were once angels and God already knows who will be saved, what is the point of evangelism?
The point is: God has commanded us to preach, teach, and live the Gospel. Perhaps some of the fallen angels will learn from human experience and turn to Christ for salvation. Regardless, God doesn’t want any to “perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
When all this is all over “God’s elect”r will have learned their lesson. Hopefully, the others also will listen and learn.
Psalm 68:18, speaking of Christ and His grace, says: “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.”
John 17:4-5, 1 Peter 1:19-20 and Revelation 13:8 tell us the sacrifice of Christ for our sins was “foreordained before the foundation of the world.” I believe we were there and charged with “folly.” We also have proved in this world that we have a sinful spirit which must be recreated by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said we “must be born again” (see John 3:1-17).
Scripture References [a] Matt. 10:28, [b] Ezek. 28:14, [c] 2 Cor. 11:14, [d] Isa. 14:12, [e] Rev. 11:19, [f] Ex. 25:16-20 [g] John 1:36, 1 Peter 1:19, [h] Matt. 27:52-53, [i] See 1 Chr. 24, [j] Eph. 1:4-5, [k] See Ezek. 38, 39, [l] John 3:7, [m] Luke 1:26, [n] Dan. 9:21, [o] John 6:70-71, [p] Heb. 1:14, [q] Heb. 11:13, [r] See Rom. 8:28-39, Eph. 1:1-13, Titus 1:1-2.
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