Discourse 120 - The parable of the tares among the wheat and the sons of the kingdom




Predestination.

Can the tares become wheat?

God’s chosen people of Israel.

The flaw in predestination.

In the crucifixion, was Israel just God’s "vicarious agent"? / Anonymous 00, 2016-02-27

The Passover festival – the Great Sabbath .

The tamid – the daily, constant sacrifice.



Predestination

The parable of the "tares in the field" is well known for its being frequently cited by advocates of the doctrine of Predestination (election) as one of the proofs of the latter. As this theme has already been treated in detail in Discourses 69 and 100, I would like here, for the better understanding of what follows below, just to give a brief explanation of this doctrine in the light of a few statements.

(See also discourse 69: “Predestination and the chosen.”)

(See also discourse 100: “Johannes Calvin: True and False Predestination.”)


This doctrine of Predestination (doctrine of election / pre-election) goes back to Johannes Calvin (the founder of Calvinism), and asserts the following:

Predestination is defined as ‘God’s eternal decree whereby all creatures are predetermined to eternal life or death’, and what is known as ‘double predestination’ is described as follows:

"God determines or elects on the basis of his eternal decrees the one group of human beings to eternal
blessedness and condemns the other group to eternal damnation."
(Donald McKim)


Naturally no indication is given of where these "eternal decrees" can be found or are referred to in scripture. – So if, according to Calvin’s doctrine, people are chosen by God without any action on their part, completely arbitrarily and based on the "sovereignty" of God – the one group to eternal damnation and the other to eternal life – then neither the one nor the other can do anything to change their final destination which has supposedly been willed by God. That is, the non-elect could lead a holy life pleasing to God, and would still end up in damnation. The elect, on the other hand, could become the biggest sinners in the world, and as supposedly they cannot be lost, in the end they would enter into God’s eternal life notwithstanding. We can hardly imagine any more complete mockery of the absolute justice of God. 

Ascribe greatness to our God! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.

Deut 32,3 "For I proclaim the name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God! 32,4 "The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. Deut 32, 3- 4;

For the LORD your God is the God of gods who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.

Deut 10,17 "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. 10,18 "He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. Deut 10,17-18;



The above biblical passages are just two of many proofs which confirm the absolute justice and incorruptibility of our God. There are also countless statements to the effect that God has not chosen individual human beings, but rather wishes for all human beings to be saved.

God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1Tim 2,3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 2,4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2,5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 2,6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 1Tim 2, 3- 6;



But if we want to make a big issue of God’s sovereignty, here’s what it amounts to:

God has determined, in his sovereignty, love and grace, that every human being who confesses to his Son shall be saved.


So much for the doctrine of Predestination, and for what the Bible has to say on this subject. – But here now is a commentary from an earlier discourse (Discourse 83), in which an advocate of this doctrine did in fact reply to me by referring to the parable of the tares in the field.

(See also discourse 83: “Is the omniscience of God a contradiction of human free will?”)



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Can the tares become wheat? / Anonymous 00, 2006-03-09)

I would be happy to agree with your arguments in this Discourse, if it were not for Romans 9, for example. Somebody would also have to explain to me in a convincing way whether the tares that are to grow to maturity alongside the wheat are allowed to remain untouched on the off-chance that perhaps at some point they may yet become wheat. I mean, if you are referring to this parable here. According to Scripture the tares are left there so that the wheat may not be prematurely uprooted. But the fact is that the tares have always been tares and remain tares, and the same goes for the wheat. As in the case of the tares we here have to do with a plant that closely resembles wheat (darnel), it will only become visible at the end of things what is what. Wheat yields fruit and darnel does not.

(…)



For all those readers who are not entirely familiar with this parable, here now is the complete text:


The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Mt 13,24 Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 13,25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. 13,26 But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. 13,27 The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 13,28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 13,29 But he said, No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 13,30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’ Mt 13,24-30;

Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.

Mt 13,36 Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." 13,37 And He said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 13,38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; 13,39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. 13,40 "So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. 13,41 "The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, 13,42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13,43 "Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. Mt 13,36-43;


Anyone who has read the text with some attention will find that the question of the above commentator, "whether the tares that are to grow to maturity alongside the wheat are allowed to remain untouched on the off-chance that perhaps at some point they may yet become wheat", is in fact a very pertinent question. There is no field in the world where tares are going to be transformed into wheat. But although on the whole I prefer the realistic interpretation of the Lord’s parables, there are also statements which evidently resist an interpretation of this kind.

If, for example, we just stay with the "wheat" of the passage above, this stands for the good people, the Christians – for the reason that these bring forth "good" fruit. The wheat does this by forming grains of wheat on the ears. But if we now try to compare this in a realistic way with human beings, we come up against difficulties. Because human beings, in the sense of this parable, are not "good" because they bring forth a lot of children, but because their good example or their preaching causes many others to come to the right faith. Here the realistic interpretation reaches its limits, because in the parable too a switch takes place from the literal to the spiritual level.

And in reality as well we can demonstrate this in the light of a good example. If we start by analyzing the background to this parable, we should first of all ask ourselves who the wheat is actually supposed to refer to. We are told here that it is the sons of the kingdom. But who are the sons of the kingdom? Here the Lord has given us a second point of reference, in saying that he has sown this good seed – the sons of the kingdom, that is – himself. So if we assume that the wheat stands for the Christians, then it must be the very first Christians.

In this connection we also need to point out a mistranslation in the above biblical passage. Although this is the text of the Lutheran Bible, and Luther has translated Mt 13,38 quite correctly as "the sons of the kingdom", here some "text improvers" – clearly in the interests of "gender mainstreaming" and political correctness – have emended it to "children of the kingdom". Anyone who takes a look at the original Greek can easily establish the fact that the word that is written there is "nioi", "sons" that is, not "children".

And if the Lord here speaks of "sons", this is not a restriction to male Christians, and definitely is not intended to exclude female Christians – it is rather a question of viewing human beings from the point of view of their eternal existence. Our Lord explained it in the same way to the Sadducees who denied the resurrection, and asked him the trick question about the seven brothers who all had the same wife – so whose wife would she be in the next world?

They are like angels, and are children of God.

Lk 20,34 Jesus said to them, "The sond of this age marry and are given in marriage, 20,35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; 20,36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. Lk 20,34-36;


In eternity, in God’s New Jerusalem, there are neither women nor men, for people will become sexless like the angels. This answer of the Lord is confirmed by a logical consideration: if human beings in eternity are not going to die and will live forever, they do not need to propagate – so they do not need different sexes either in order to generate descendants.

And when we take a closer look at this answer of the Lord’s, we find it was not just an answer to the question whether there would be men and women in eternity, but at the same time it resolves the question whether a woman must define herself by her husband, as is the case in many eastern cultures and in some western groups too to the present day. The Lord’s response makes it clear that in the face of the justice of God, every human being is solely responsible for his or her own actions. 

With such astonishing but overall entirely logical statements of the Lord’s we can recognize that he is not presenting us with any kind of arbitrary fantasy, but is speaking quite simply of what for him is the reality of the other dimension, of eternity. But we can only recognize all this when we take a closer look at the "sons" in the above passage. If we read "children" here, on the other hand, everything seems clear and so you carry on reading and thus miss out on some important biblical realizations. So although in the worldly sphere political correctness may have its points, biblical translation should be spared it, seeing that this could result in distortion of the text and make interpretation more difficult.

This good seed which the Lord himself has sown – "the sons of the kingdom" – then is the very first Christians, and so they are undoubtedly also to be identified as the twelve apostles, whom the Lord chose personally and made his disciples. But as we know, there were changes – and not just in relation to one of these disciples (Judas Iscariot – Matthew , Acts 1:15-26), there was also a thirteenth apostle called by the Lord. And it is just this thirteenth apostle by whom the doctrine of the Calvinists can be refuted in reality and in the most prominent way. He was chosen, certainly, but not "from the beginning of creation" and not by "the sovereignty of God", as the Calvinists postulate, but in a quite normal way on the road to Damascus and by the Son of God.

We are talking here, of course, about the apostle Paul. Originally called Saul, Paul came of a highly regarded family and was himself a scribe. He was part of the Jewish-Mosaic clerical hierarchy and persecuted the Christians. He had even taken part in the stoning of Stephen (Acts 22:19-22), as he acknowledges himself. And this Saul was then commissioned by the high priest to go to Damascus, arrest the Christians there and bring them to Jerusalem. On this journey to Damascus, the Lord appeared to Saul and asked him: "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" This was when Saul became Paul (the whole story can be read in chapters 9, 22 or 26 of Acts).

And with that we can answer the questions of the commentator above, who asks:

"Somebody would also have to explain to me in a convincing way whether the tares that are to grow to maturity alongside the wheat are allowed to remain untouched on the off-chance that perhaps at some point they may yet become wheat. I mean, if you are referring to this parable here."

Well then, first of all YES! The tares – in this case Saul, who was a persecutor of the Christians and so a "son of the evil one" – became wheat (Christian), when he was converted on the road to Damascus and changed into Paul.

And then NO! The following assertion of the commentator:

"But the fact is that the tares have always been tares and remain tares, and the same goes for the wheat."

is incorrect, as we can establish by the example of Paul. The tares (darnel in this case) became wheat. Thus before his conversion Paul was one of the bitterest persecutors of Christians, and so was a part of that Jewish-Mosaic community of faith whom the Lord described as "serpents" and a "brood of vipers" (Mt 3:7; 12:34; 23:33), and of whom he said that the devil was their father (Jn 8:44).

So if we have identified the apostles of the Lord as the "sons of the kingdom" or the good seed in the above passage, so these statements of the Lord’s in the above biblical passages likewise permit us to identify the "sons of the evil one" – they are the adherents of the Jewish-Mosaic religion. Not just because they believe in Moses, but – quite on the contrary – because they have falsified the laws of Moses with their "lying pen" (Jer 8:8; Mt 15:6) and persecuted the Messiah..



God’s chosen people of Israel.

And so we come to this chosen people of God who are of Israel. Unlike the Calvinists, they were in actual fact chosen by God. They were – if you like to put it in this way – God’s "first love" among human beings. But some two thousand years ago they committed the biggest mistake in their history, in that they rejected the Messiah who had been long prophesied by their scriptures and handed him over to be murdered by the Romans. 

This attitude, this stubbornness of the Israelites of that time unfortunately remains unchanged to the present day. Even today many Jews abuse Jesus Christ as an impostor and blasphemer. Their fathers handed over the Son of God to the cross, and on his death the veil of the temple was torn in two (Mt 27:51). This was the moment at which Almighty God left the Holy of Holies behind this curtain, the temple and the people of Israel. As a punishment, God then brought it about that Jerusalem was leveled with the ground by the Romans in the year 70 and the temple was destroyed by fire.

(See also discourse 111: “The destruction of the Temple.”)

 

Now of course the annihilation of Jerusalem and the temple was already a catastrophe for the Jews, still more so when they were driven completely into the diaspora 65 years later in the 2nd (or 3rd) Jewish-Roman war (Simon bar Kochba, 135 AD). But as we know today, after almost two thousand years the diaspora came to an end, and today most Israelites are again living in their own country. But what determines the fate of the Jewish people right up to the present, and will continue to do into the Last Days, is a circumstance that the Jews of that time, as well as those of today, are hardly aware of. .

Already at the time of Israel’s wanderings in the desert, when God called for the consecration of Aaron, the brother of Moses, and his sons as priests, he ordered them to set up an altar (an altar of burnt offerings, Ex 27:1-8) before the tent of meeting (what later became the temple), and on it sacrifice two yearling male lambs every day as a regular and constant burnt offering (Ex 29:38-46). Right at the back of this tent of meeting, separated by a curtain, was the "testimony" (later the rearmost room of the temple, the Holy of Holies), that room where the Lord, their God, dwelt among the sons of Israel.

In the time of Jesus this altar of burnt offerings stood in the temple courtyard, in front of the temple in Jerusalem, and it was of particular importance for the Israelites because all the prescribed burnt offerings (offerings for sin, offerings for guilt etc.) had to be sacrificed on this altar before the temple and nowhere else, in order to be in conformity with the Law and so be acknowledged by God.

But when Jerusalem was annihilated by the Romans in the year 70 AD, the Israelites no longer had a temple or an altar of burnt offerings on which to be able to offer their sacrifices – especially the offering for sin – in keeping with the ritual requirements. And this is precisely what the Lord prophesied to them while he was still alive:

Unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins.

Jn 8,21 Then He said again to them, "I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come." 8,22 So the Jews were saying, "Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?" 8,23 And He was saying to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 8,24 "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins." Jn 8,21-24;



If we now take a closer look at this prophecy of the Lord’s, it contains two components. First the statement, "You will die in your sins". That is a fearful threat. Not of course for the godless and unbelievers of this world, who would hardly pay it any attention and in the best possible case would just laugh about it. But for believing Israelites and Christians, that is hell in the truest sense of the word. They would probably do anything they possibly could in order to get out of this situation.

And just that is now the other component of this prophecy. "If you do not believe that I am he, that I am the Messiah," is what it says here. And where you find an "if", you also find an "if not". There is an escape route, an option for avoiding this fate. And we have any number of proofs of this, if we turn to the New Testament::

No one comes to the Father but through Me.

Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Jn 14, 6;

But he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

Jn 3,35 "The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. 3,36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Jn 3,35-36;

Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

1Jn 2,22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 2,23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also. 2,24 As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.1Jn 2,22-24;

He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

Jn 5,22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 5,23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Jn 5,22-23;

The Father gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.

Jn 5,26 "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5,27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Jn 5,26-27;

He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

1Jn 5,10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 5,11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 5,12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 1Jn 5,10-12;


As we can see, from this point in time on the Israelites have been a God-less people. Having been "wheat", they have become "tares" – just to express it in comprehensible form and in the Calvinist terminology. But they too have been left by God, in his grace, that option which he offered to all human beings of this world: faith in his Son. This is the "good news", the euangelion: there is no human being on this earth who is excluded from this offer of God’s. Believe in Jesus Christ as your redeemer and you are saved. 

The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

Mt 21,42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 21,43 "Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 21,44 "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust." Mt 21,42–44;

The sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness.

Mt 8,11 "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 8,12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Mt 8,11–12;

Some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.

Lk 13,25 "Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 13,26 "Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; 13,27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart form Me, all you evildoers.’ 13,28 "In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. 13,29 "And they will come from east and west and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. 13,30 "And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last." Lk 13,25–30;

Mt 19,29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 19,30 "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. Mt 19,29–30;


And there is no restriction in terms of time either. This gospel, the good news of salvation through grace, was even preached after the death of the Son of God to those who had died up to this point in time. Of course they could not be aware of this sacrilege by the Israelites and the change of paradigm in the Mosaic religion which had resulted from it, seeing that they had died previously. In the kingdom of the dead the Lord raised the spirits of the dead for a short time (3 days) after his death, and offered this choice to them as well.

He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth.

Eph 4,8 Therefore it says, ‘when He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.’ 4,9 Now this expression, ‘He ascended,’ what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 4,10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. Eph 4, 8-10;

The gospel has been preached even to those who are dead,

1Pet 4,6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God. 1Pet 4, 6;

He will rise again from the dead the third day.

Lk 24,45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 24,46 and He said to them, Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day. Lk 24,45-46;




But as things look today, all this – at least where the living Israelites are concerned – was just labor lost. They refuse right up to the present day to believe in Jesus as their Messiah and the Son of God, and have been abusing him for two thousand years as an impostor and blasphemer. And so they have had no forgiveness of their sins for the last two thousand years either, and have died in their sins. Unless they have in fact come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, they will be condemned by him at the Last Judgment and will go to damnation. And that applies in equal measure to all future Jews who will be born in future up to the start of the Millennium, the Thousand Years Kingdom of Peace of the Son of God.

After God, on the death on the cross of his Son (ca. 30 AD) left the temple in Jerusalem, abandoning the people of Israel, and had the city and temple destroyed by the Romans (70 AD) and finally brought about the expulsion of the Israelites from their own land into the diaspora (132 AD), Theodor Herzl gathered together a part of the sons of Israel and brought them back to their land (1948) and although the vast majority of the population of Israel today is de facto atheist, the few remaining Jews of the Mosaic faith will actually rebuild the temple in the Last Days. But the curse of godlessness will remain on the people of Israel until the time when he whom they pierced comes again and they mourn for him.

Behold, your house is being left to you desolate until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!

Mt 23,32 "Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 23,33 "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? 23,34 "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 23,35 so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

23,36 "Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. 23,37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 23,38 "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 23,39 "For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’" Mt 23,32-39;

Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him

Rev 1,4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 1,5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood – 1,6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1,7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 1,8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Rev 1, 4– 8;

They will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son.

Zech 12,10 "I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. 12,11 "In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. Zech 12,10-11;

The families of the house of David that remain will mourn for Him whom they have pierced.

Zech 12,12 "The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves; 12,13 the family of the house of Levi by itself and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself and their wives by themselves; 12,14 all the families that remain, every family by itself and their wives by themselves. Zech 12,12-14;


That is then the beginning of the Thousand Years of peaceful rule of the Son of God on earth. The Israelites who have survived the catastrophes of the Last Days will convert to Jesus, their Messiah, and many of the peoples of the nations will also say: "Let us go with you to Jerusalem, for we have heard that God is with you."

All the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

Zech 8,20 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. 8,21 ‘The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, "Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go." 8,22 ‘So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.’ 8,23 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you. Zech 8,20-23;


Together they will rebuild the temple which was destroyed once again – for a third time – in the reorganization of heaven and earth and the catastrophes of the Last Days, and God will once again make his dwelling in the Holy of Holies of the temple.

Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD.

Zech 6,15 "Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD."Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the LORD your God. Zech 6,15;

The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former.

Hag 2,6 "For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. 2,7 ‘I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. 2,8 ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts. 2,9 ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts." Hag 2, 6– 9;


(See also chapter 08: “The reorganization of heaven and earth.”)


At this point in time, at the start of the Millennium, all Christians have already been raised from the dead in the Rapture and taken into heaven with the Lord, so that only godless people are now left on earth. But since God has shown his wrath, his power and his strength in the catastrophes of the Last Days, many of the godless of Israel and of the entire world will now recognize their fatal error and convert to him and to his Son Jesus Christ, who is now the ruler of the world.

But in the Millennium not all human beings will convert to God by any means. After Satan has been released again, so many people will allow themselves to be led astray by him that at the end of the thousand years, when the time comes for the last battle with Satan, there are people "like the sand of the seashore" who follow him and who will be annihilated along with the devil in this last battle.

Satan will deceive the nations to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

Rev 20,7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 20,8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 20,9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 20,10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev 20, 7-10;


(See also chapter 10: “The Millennium.”)


We can see from this that even in the Millennium there is no compulsion – there too people have freedom of decision and can choose whether they want to listen to God or to Satan. In some denominations this is frequently misinterpreted. Just as we find a place in heaven and 99 virgins being promised to suicide bombers in Islam, so for example the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that in the Millennium there will only be believers – who of course will be Jehovah’s Witnesses. You only have to study the Bible carefully, and you will recognize that this is a false doctrine.



The flaw in predestination.

To conclude our reflections on this topic, we are naturally inclined to ask how it was that Calvin came to hold this view at the time, and how it is that even today, after 450 years, there are still people who believe in a tyrannical God – one who completely arbitrarily gives preferential treatment to one lot of people while sending the rest to damnation. As always, the answer to this is multi-layered. First of all, as is always the case with false Christian teachings, there is of course the desire to put oneself on a pedestal, to make oneself higher than others. And this is something that people are actually glad to hear, and respond favorably to the message. As Paul has written:

But wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.

2Tim 4,3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4,4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2Tim 4, 3- 4;

(See also discourse 106: “The false teachings in the Christian congregations.”)


And on the other hand – and this again is a frequently repeated phenomenon – it is purely and simply a case of incorrect interpretation or – as is here the case with Calvin – of mistranslation. Though it is not Calvin, as a matter of fact, who is to blame here, but Martin Luther. The crucial passage is the Lutheran translation of Rom 8,28, which Calvin also uses in his exposition:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined.

Rom 8,28 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.
8,29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 8,30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Rom 8,28-30;


This was – reasonably enough – interpreted by Calvin along the lines of today’s Calvinist preaching: 

"There Paul says that those whom he had chosen - that is to say, preselected - he also predestined to become conformed to the image of his Son. And then again he says in Rom 8,30: ‘Whom He predestined, these He also called’."  (Wolfgang Nestvogel in seiner Predigt bei der BEG-Hannover am 22. 5. 2005)


And yet if we compare this with the Greek text (see Nestle-Aland) and all other international translations, we can easily demonstrate that the translation of Romans chapter 8, verse 9 in the Lutheran Bible is quite simply wrong. The Greek verb which here stands for the supposed "foreknew" is "proegno". "Pro" is a prefix and stands for "before". The syllable "gno" occurs in the following words: gnomo = knower, gnoriso = recognize, gnoripso = recognizable, gnosis = knowledge.

The right translation of this passage must therefore read: "whom he recognized previously", as actually translated by the Elberfeld and all international Bibles, and not "whom he preselected", as in the Luther Bible’s highly tendentious and incorrect formulation.

It is a similar situation with 1Ptr 1,2, which Luther likewise incorrectly translates with "preselected", whereas the Elberfeld Bible and American translations give us the correct "according to the foreknowledge of God".

And with this setting the record straight, all Calvin’s interpretations based on the passage fall away, and there emerges a quite different significance in this statement of Paul’s from Rom 8,29: God has not preordained those whom he has "preselected", but rather in his omniscience (foreknowledge, prior understanding) he has previously recognized, before the foundation of the world, those people who in their life on earth would convert to him and his Son.

For if God has recognized these people in his omniscience, it follows that this "recognition" must necessarily have been preceded by a search. And for a search, you need to have a search criterion. And we find this very search criterion of God’s in the decision for faith of every individual human being in his or her life, and the faith of these people in him and his Son.

Before the beginning of the world, God in his omniscience [1] sought for, recognized and selected and/or foreordained to eternal life all those people who would make, in their lifetime, a decision for him and his Son, and entered their names in the Book of Life (Phil 4:3). These people are the property of God, and they too are the ones whom the Father has given to the Son (Jn 17:24). And it is just this connection, by the way, between the prior recognition (precognition) of God and the selection and predetermination for eternal life which is subsequent and based on it which we find confirmed by Peter in his first letter:

Peter, to those who reside as aliens, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

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


And there we have the biblically grounded proof that God has not quite arbitrarily predetermined a random selection of people to eternal life, and others to eternal damnation, but rather – as our Lord Jesus Christ tells us on repeated occasions – that it is only the decision for faith, in the life of every individual human being, which makes all the difference as to whether he or she enters into eternal life or not.

Jn 3,36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." Jn 3,36;
 

Jn 11,25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 11,26 and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" Jn 11,25;

Jn 12,44 And Jesus cried out and said, "He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me. Jn 12,44;
 

Jn 12,46 "I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.12,47 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. Jn 12,46-47;


Jn 3,14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 3,15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 3,16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  Jn 3,14-16;


We have in the above passages a repeated and unmistakable indication from our Lord Jesus Christ: "Whoever believes in me has eternal life." So nobody is excluded. Everyone who believes is saved. Thus the criterion is freely chosen faith, and not some kind of "pre-election". The completely wrong view of the advocates of predestination, according to which God has foreordained a part of humanity to eternal life and the rest to eternal damnation, is purely and simply attributable to superficial study of the Bible, or (which would be still worse) to a deliberately slanted interpretation, with the aim of having a basis for that "arrogant exclusiveness" and "exclusion of others" (Karl Barth).



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.) 

(In the crucifixion, was Israel just God’s "vicarious agent"?  / Anonymous 01, 2016-02-27)

(…) What I find less convincing is your answer to Ms. Damkani in this article  (Diskurs 1112: "Is Jesus at work to fulfill his promises in Israel?" / FH).  She asks there: "Did you ever come to realize that the stumbling of Israel over the stone which the Lord laid in Zion has to do with God’s intention to bless the world?" – whereupon you suggest to her that she is trying to make God responsible for the stumbling of Israel and the killing of his own Son.

In his omniscience God must undoubtedly have known how the Israelites would react, and would have prevented it, if it had not been his plan – as Ms. Damkani writes – to save the world through the death of his Son.
(…)



Thank you for your visit to Immanuel.at and for your comments..


Yes, you are completely right. In his omniscience (see above), God must certainly have known how the Israelites would react, and that they would hand over his Son to be crucified. However, the conclusion that you and Ms. Damkani draw from this, that Israel is therefore without guilt, and should – quite to the contrary – be seen as the "savior of humanity" as it were, is from a biblical point of view incorrect.

Based on numerous scriptural passages we can assume that our God is an absolutely just God. This is also the reason why he gives human beings complete freedom of action. But of course this also means that human beings must take full responsibility before God for their actions and decisions.

So seen in this light, Israel had complete freedom whether to accept its Messiah or not. Trying to pass off the responsibility onto God by some circuitous route is patently a trick of the Messianic Jews, with the aim of drawing a veil over the godlessness of Israel, and so, from a Christian point of view, rejecting it.

But above all, too, the following consideration suggests itself. If God, in his foreknowledge, had not sent his Son to Israel at all, but had then, at the Last Judgment, made the Jews responsible for the fact that they would have killed their Messiah if he had sent him, the Israelites would have contradicted him vehemently, asserting that if he had only sent the Messiah, they would quite definitely have accepted him.

And so we can understand God’s omniscience to some extent: God knows everything that is going to happen, and how people are going to decide in their lives, but he lets it happen – indeed his justice obliges him to let it happen, so that human beings may make their decisions and commit their actions, whether these are good or evil.

Thus it is then possible for them to be held responsible in all justice for all they have done. Otherwise of course anyone could claim that they have been judged unjustly, on the grounds that they would undoubtedly have kept God’s commandments if they had only had the opportunity.

(See also discourse 1114: “The teaching of the Messianic Jews - the Analysis.”)


And incidentally, of course it is not the case that God gives people no kind of possibility of considered judgment in taking their decisions. It is only the lack of interest, and in some cases the stubbornness of certain people – like the Jews, for instance – which prevent them from recognizing the arguments for coming to a correct decision. And of that we have an exemplary illustration in the biggest mistaken decision of all times – the rejection and killing of the Son of God on the cross.

And this is not just based on our point of view and level of understanding today, as one is always wiser with hindsight, all the more so after two thousand years. No – it remains the case in the light of the situation of the time, based on the justifiable assumption that these scribes of the Sanhedrin who condemned the Lord must have been familiar with their scriptures and the Law – the commandments of God.

So for example the prophet Micah had spoken of Israel’s Messiah in the scriptures of the Tanach (the Old Testament), when he announced in the name of God: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Mic 5:1-14). So if someone claimed to be the Messiah, you only needed to ask his family where the man had been born.

Then in the fourth book of Moses (Numbers) we have the report of the revolt of the people of Israel, when they were on Mount Hor and had no bread and no water. And they complained once again to Moses and Aaron: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?" Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and the serpents bit the people, so that many of the people of Israel died.  

When the people acknowledged their sin, Moses prayed to the Lord. And God told him to make a serpent of bronze and nail it to a standard and set it up in the midst of the camp.

If a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

Num 21,4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. 21,5 The people spoke against God and Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food." 21,6 The LORD sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 21,7 So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from us." And Moses interceded for the people. 21,8 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live." 21,9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. Num 21, 4- 9;


That was the very first prophecy of the expiatory death on the cross of the Son of God – and it is to be found in the Jewish Torah!! Just as at that time the bronze serpent was lifted up, and those Israelites who gazed on it had their sins forgiven and were saved from certain death, so too the Son of Man was lifted up on the cross. And anyone who believes in this vicarious sacrifice will have their sins forgiven, will be saved and will have eternal life. This was actually confirmed for them by the Lord:

As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

Jn 3,14 "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 3,15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. 3,16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 3,17 "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 3,18 "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jn 3,14-18;


And what is more, the Jews of the last two thousand years above all should have been able to test the truth content of the statements of their Messiah. Take for example the well known prophecies relating to the "Servant of God" in Isa 53:1-12. With the state of knowledge of the descendants of the Israelites of former times, they too – like us Christians – can unambiguously allocate these texts from their own scriptures to Jesus of Nazareth, his suffering and his death. And in this connection, the special date of his death is again extremely revealing.



The Passover festival – the Great Sabbath.

For thousands of years Judaism has observed the Passover festival – the "Great (annual) Sabbath". It recalls the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The narration (haggadah) of this event, recorded in the book of Exodus in the Tanach (the second book of Moses in the Old Testament), links each new generation of the Jews with their central experience of liberation. Back then in Egypt the Israelites wanted an end to their slavery and wished to leave the country. But Pharaoh refused to let them go, and so God visited the country with nine plagues. After each plague Moses asked Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. But each time Pharaoh declined (Ex 11:1-10).
 
Then God commanded Moses that on the evening of 14 Nissan (in the Jewish lunar calendar) each Israelite family should sacrifice a yearling male lamb, smear the blood on both doorposts and paint it on the lintel of the houses where they ate the meal. The lamb they should roast on the fire, and eat it the same night with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, dressed ready for travel, and burn what was left over. For that same night the Lord would pass through Egypt and kill the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. Only where the angel of death saw the sign of the blood on the doors would he pass by (Ex 12:1-29). This day – the 14th day of the first month (Nissan) of the Jewish calendar – was to be solemnly celebrated by all Israel every year from generation to generation.

(See also discourse 87: “The Passover”)



As recent studies have found, it was precisely this Pessach festival, this "Great" Sabbath, which Jesus celebrated with his 12 disciples at the Last Supper. So it was not – as commentators have incorrectly assumed in the past – the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, but the preparation day for the Great, annual Sabbath, the supreme day of festival for the Jews – as we can see from the following table:

 (Please note: In Jewish division of the day, the day begins with 6:00 p.m. and ends on our today's next day at 6:00 p.m.)

 Day   Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
 Time        6pmspan>  6am6pm  6am6pm  6am6pm  6am6pm  6am6pm  6am6pm
13th Nisan 14th Nisan 15th Nisan 16th Nisan 17th Nisan 18th Nisan 19th Nisan         
        Day NightDay   NightDay   NightDay   NightDay   NightDay   NightDay           




















Preparation Day
for Passover


after 6:00 p.m.
the Lord's supper

Capture in
Gethsemane


Crucifixion

3:00 p.m.
Death on the
Cross


~6:00 p.m.
burial



Begin
Passover

Great Annual
Sabbath















Preparation Day
for Sabbath

Purchase of
Spices and Perfumes














Weekly Sabbath














~6:00 p.m.
Raising up



First Day of
the Week

Women arrive at
the empty tomb

































        
 

(Time: (With a screen resolution of about 1300xXXX the Jewish newday at 6 pm will be shown correctly.)

The cause of this mistake was the fact that the gospels always mention just the "day of preparation" and the "sabbath" (Saturday), and because the exact date was not known nobody hit upon the idea that this week in particular was the week when not only the weekly day of preparation (the day before the sabbath) and the sabbath itself were celebrated – it was also the occasion of the celebration of the annual Great Sabbath (the Passover [easter[), along with its day of preparation.
There could have been an indication of this in the fact that Mt 28,1, in the original Greek text, speaks of "sabbaths" in the plural ("but after the sabbaths"). But seeing that people always assumed that just the weekly sabbath was meant, the translators paid no attention to this. But then there were a number of discrepancies in the proceedings around the death of the Lord, where different events apparently could not be made to agree in temporal terms, and these gave occasion to make a more detailed analysis of the circumstances.

And these studies then led to the realization that there were actually two sabbaths in this week: the annual Great Sabbath, on Thursday 15th Nissan, with its preparation day preceding on the Wednesday 14th Nissan, and the normal weekly sabbath, on Saturday 16th Nissan, with its preparation day preceding on the Friday 15th Nissan (see the table above).

(See also discourse 87: “The three days and three nights.”)


And with this correction, another symbolic prophecy becomes evident. The term "Pessach" for this all-important Mosaic festival, which reminds all generations of Israel of the exodus from Egypt, comes from the Hebrew, and is explained by WIKIPEDIA as follows:

The Hebrew word pessach (פסח) is derived from a root with the meaning of "pushing up / against / away" or "rebounding". In Ex 12,13 EU it refers to the "passing over", "omission" or "overleaping" of Jewish houses during Yahweh’s execution of judgment on the firstborn males of Egypt on the night of the exodus. The Hebrews were to have been spared, because they had marked their doors with a protective sign (Ex 12,27 EU).


And in the etymology referred to above ("pushing up / against / away") we can recognize a prophecy, even back then at the time of the exodus from Egypt, of the great crime of the Israelites which this people were to make themselves guilty of – the "pushing away" or rejection and killing of the Son of God, their Messiah. 

But then too, and above all, the special date of this execution – on this very same great festival in commemoration of the exodus from Egypt – makes it possible for correctly believing Christians to recognize the entire import of the gospel. This lamb, which back then was slaughtered and whose blood saved the Israelites from the angel of death, not only explains the biblical title of our Lord Jesus Christ as the "Lamb of God", it also casts light on the words of the Lord at this Last Supper:

Take, eat; this is My body. Drink from it, all of you, For this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

Mt 26,26 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." 26,27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; 26,28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. Mt 26,26-28;
 

This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood

22,19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 22,20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood". Lk 22,14-20; (Mk 14,22-24)


This is the New Covenant of God with all human beings. Just as the Israelites in Egypt were saved by the blood of the lamb, so too through the blood of the Lamb of God all human beings are redeemed from their sins.

But there is one last thing that this prophecy still has to tell us. As a result of this New Covenant of God with all human beings, the old covenant with the Israelites has been dissolved. Through the rejection and killing of his Son, the Israelites have broken their covenant with God. God has abandoned them, and now, in his grace, has accepted the death of his Son on the cross, as a sacrifice and atonement for the sins of all human beings who want to avail themselves of this redeeming sacrifice and make it their own.



The tamid – the daily, constant sacrifice.

The Israelites, of course, were not unfamiliar with this commandment of their God: "Anyone who sins (breaks God’s commandments) must die." They were aware of it not just because of the Passover festival, where God killed all the firstborn male of the Egyptians because of their disobedience. It was also, and in particular, something they were aware of because of the "tamid". This was an animal sacrifice which had to be offered by the priests alongside the occasion-related sacrificial ceremonies of Mosaic Judaism (Ex 29:36-46). 

The word tamid means literally "the constant", and stands for the "abiding forgiveness of the sins (the forgivable sins) which God grants to human beings in view of this sacrifice." For this purpose, two male lambs one year of age had to be sacrificed one at a time mornings and evenings on the altar for burnt offerings of the temple (and nowhere else!!). In reliance on this sacrifice, every Israelite could ask for forgiveness of his guilt, without having to be personally present at the sacrificial ceremony.

But after the temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Jews no longer had an altar where this sacrifice could be offered in conformity with the proper rites, and so, from this point in time, they not only had no God, they had no forgiveness of their sins either. And this is just what the Lord meant, when he prophesied to Israelites in Jh 8,21-24: "If you do not believe that I am he (the Messiah), you will die in your sins."

What the Jews of the time did not understand, and the Jews do not want to understand to the present day, is the fact that since the death of the Son of God they do not in fact need this sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. They no longer need any temple, altar or animal sacrifice, but can present to God this vicarious sacrifice of the Son of God in atonement for their sins and so obtain forgiveness. They are justified by grace, and can stand as righteous persons before their God and pray to him, in just the same way as correctly believing non-Jewish Christians.

For this reason Jesus Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Hebr 9,11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;

9,12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

9,13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 9,14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 9,15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. Hebr 9,11-15;


There are no "elect", no "chosen people" any more! Not among Jews, and not among Christians either. Jesus Christ is the mediator of a New Covenant. Not with blood of rams and bullocks, but with his own blood, and once and for all, he performed the sacrifice and obtained eternal redemption. Before God, all human beings are now equal. They are different from each other now only in one respect: whether they have decided for faith in Jesus Christ, and for the acceptance of this redeeming sacrifice of the Son of God for their own sins as well, or not.

Only in the Millennium, when God will dwell again in his temple in Jerusalem, and his Son will be world governor in his Thousand Year Kingdom of Peace, will the time of faith, of salvation by grace, have come to an end. From this point on there can no longer be any "faith in Jesus Christ", because the Lord Jesus will be present before human beings in bodily form and they will be able to see him with their own eyes. And then God will fulfill what he promised to Israel in Hos 2:16-25, and Israel will again be the chosen people of God on earth.

(See also chapter 10: “The Millennium.”)








[1]

Of course God’s omniscience is a mystery for human beings. But with a view to better understanding the biblical passages that refer to it, we can try to form a rough idea on the basis of approximate analysis. We human beings live in a universe of space and time. God’s dimension is spaceless and timeless eternity. One reason for God’s omniscience is to be seen in the fact that neither space nor time exists for him, so he can move in time in any way he pleases. That is in a way comparable to a maker of nature films, who has made a video of a flying bird. Now he looks at the video, and can follow the flight of the bird for the length of the film – let’s say 10 minutes. If he wants to check out a particular setting again, he finds the point in the video and plays it. And just as this maker of nature films, in this time of ten minutes, can repeatedly play over and view the actions of the bird, so too God can revisit and observe all the events of this universe he has created.