Category Calvinism Answered

Did God or Satan Create Evil and Freewill?

Corrupting the Image 2: Angels Created with Freewill

The origin of evil is a question many people have. Some assume the devil is responsible for evil. Evil in its simplest form is simply the ability to choose contrary to the desire of our Creator. To appreciate that ability we need to go back before anything was, before the blackness of space, when there was only the Most High who existed within and as His own dimension.

Imagining God in and of Himself is a challenging mental exercise, for we should not imagine God was floating around in the darkness of space in eternity past, (which I used to imagine as a boy). Neither space nor darkness had yet been invented! We cannot speak of where God existed, as “where” had not yet been created. God does not exist in a place nor in a dimension. There is no space, dimension or reality outside of who God intrinsically is. This hurts our heads a bit, but it necessarily must be true since to suggest otherwise would mean that something existed apart from Him creating it, and Scripture is replete with verses saying that all things have been created by Him.

According to the study of higher dimensions, the tenth dimension is both timeless and space-less.[1] It is pure information. Such a mathematical description of reality closely parallels biblical theology. God is both timeless and space-less. He is the mind from which all matter emanates. Mathematically, He is the tenth dimension from which all others proceed. Interestingly, the Big Bang theory has come to a similar conclusion—all matter, including space itself, was tightly packed in a dot smaller than a period on this page. Some have postulated that the dot was not actually there. Nevertheless, if all matter AND space itself was within the dot, where was the dot? The answer is hyperspace: a dimension beyond our own.

The best minds of quantum physics over the last one hundred years have concluded that behind the matter of the universe is a mind. Max Planck, often considered the father of quantum physics, stated matter comes from a Mind:

As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear-headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.[2]

Einstein’s famous equation, E=MC2 essentially states that energy and mass (matter) are interchangeable; they are simply alternate forms of the same thing and under the right conditions, mass can become energy, and energy can become mass.[3] Indeed, Einstein stated there is no matter: Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.[4]

Thus, before Creation there was no differentiation (outside of God Himself and His indescribable tri-unity). On that first day, God created things that were not. The first day was the beginning of differentiations. He created a space outside of Himself; He created darkness which had never been (Isa 45:7), for God is light and there is no darkness in Him whatsoever (I John 1:5). Thus, the absence of His glorious light in the newly created void was new and different. For the first time ever, there was darkness. God revealed this to the prophet Isaiah:

I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) evil (ra’ רָ֑ע): I the LORD do all these things (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Until that moment, darkness (the absence of light) did not exist. Therefore, before day one (or Genesis 1:1–3) when He created the void, which is space, it initially was devoid of God’s light and did not even have photons. Until God conceived of the absence of light, there was no such thing as darkness; it was His idea. When God decided to create a space / dimension outside of Himself, which was not automatically filled with His light, He then by necessity, created the potential of the absence of light which God called darkness. God then created physical light, photons as waves and / or particles, in order to fill the space.

In the same way, God is good (Exodus 34:6), and no evil or sin or imperfection is in Him. We might say that God has the corner on the market when it comes to good. Good, according to the Bible is defined as what is in accord with God’s will, desire or plan. Therefore, any deviation from that is by definition not good and is therefore “evil”. Thus, when God desired to give the angels, including Satan, and man the option to follow Him or to disobey, He must have by default, created the potential for them to completely exercise their own will by not choosing the good (that is God’s will, desire or plan). It is self-evident that no one can choose that which does not exist. Henry Ford once said that people could choose any color Model T, so long as it was black. It is also similar to the infamous communist regimes where the people are allowed to vote, but there is only one candidate. In reality, having only one candidate (or one color to choose from) is no choice at all.

What is Evil?

Isaiah 45 states that God is in fact the very One who created evil: “I form the light, and create (בֹורֵ֣א) darkness: I make peace, and create (בֹורֵ֣א boreh) evil (רָ֑ע ra’): I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7 KJV).

Some translations render the word evil (ra רָ֔ע)[5] as “calamity”, which is an option in the context of Isaiah 45:7. Nevertheless, the word is the same in which we are first introduced in Genesis 2:17, where God commands man to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע).

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (ra רָ֔ע) you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2:16–17).

God is also the essence of all that is good. Following God involves doing what is right and good. Thus, if Adam could only choose from all the “good” things that God had made, then there really was not free choice at all. That, in a nutshell, is why God created the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; there had to be a way for Adam to exercise his own will independently, even if it meant it would be contrary to God’s will.

God defines evil in Isaiah saying they “did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight” (Isaiah 65:12; 66:4). This gives us an amazingly simple definition of evil: “doing something in which God does not take pleasure.” God, the master programmer, had to code into this reality the potential to choose contrary to His wishes. He had to create the potential for His creatures to exercise their own will and choose something in which He does not delight. Just as there was no darkness until He made it possible, so too was it impossible to choose something besides His desire.

The creation of evil[6] is what made choosing contrary to His wishes possible, and it is what makes choosing to follow, obey and love Him meaningful. For God’s creatures to genuinely love Him, the option to reject Him had to be available. Satan, the angels, Adam and Eve—all had to have the opportunity to choose against His will to be able to truly choose Him and hence,

have true love for Him. Therefore, it is true that God created evil; yet, He never caused any one to choose evil. Giving individuals the choice between two real and viable options is not the same as making us choose the bad option.

The creation of evil is analogous to a large rock on a cliff. The rock has potential energy; a tiny nudge will turn the potential energy into kinetic energy. The rock’s potential energy need never be triggered, or made kinetic; so too, mankind’s choosing contrary to God’s desire need not have been actualized. God, in a sense, told Adam not to push the rock and warned him of the consequences if he did, but Adam, of his own free will, pushed it and suffered the consequence when the rock’s energy became kinetic and killed him.

God created two options: one in accordance with His desires, which leads to life; and, one contrary to His wishes, which leads to death. Angels and humans have the ability to determine their paths. Satan chose the path contrary to God’s wishes.

Learn more in this video: https://youtu.be/XDv_rM8nuYs


[1] Rob Bryanton, Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space Paperback, 2007

[2] Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, RePg. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)

[3] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/lrk-hand-emc2expl.html. Not surprisingly, the Bible is millennia ahead of both Planck and Einstein. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God is fluttering (merachefet מרחפת) over the face of the waters. The Hebrew term is the same action as a bird brooding, fluttering, or hovering over its nest.

[4] http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/einstein/lrk-hand-emc2expl.html

[5] The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (TWOT) notes the noun “evil” is defined as “being that condition or action which in his (God’s) sight is unacceptable (Jer 52:2; Mal 2:17; cf. Neh 9:28),” (TWOT רָ֔ע ra).

[6] Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology defines evil in the following manner: “what is right was what was ordained by God, and what is wrong was what was proscribed by him, deviation from this paradigm constitutes what is evil.” Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology (1996): Evil.

Bible Study With Douglas Revelation 2 (video) The Church of Ephesus

Douglas begins Revelation chapter 2 by examining who is in the Church of Ephesus. The conclusion may shock many because the Jewish people are the “we” in the book of Ephesus and the “you” are the gentiles. This demonstrates the Jewishness of the book of Revelation and how the book needs to be viewed through Jewish glasses first and foremost. Read the article: Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists to get a better understanding of who are the “elect” in Scripture.

 

Sorry Calvin, God Foreknew Israel (Part 2 of 2)

Foreknowledge

Foreknowledge is a companion of election – but just like election, foreknowledge is a general reference to God having known the Israelites beforehand. Consider Paul’s definitive statement: “So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin.God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω].” (Rom 11:1-2)  The word foreknow, like election, has nothing to do with having predestined someone to eternal life or eternal damnation, as Calvin suggested. “Foreknow” and “foreknowledge” are simply a verb and noun of the same basic stem. Look at the following verses that demonstrate that knowing something ahead of time is not only possible for God but for man as well and it does not entail the Calvinistic concept whatsoever: “They knew me from the first[proginosko προγινώσκω], if they were willing to testify…” (Acts 26:5) “You therefore, beloved, since you know [thisbeforehand[proginosko προγινώσκω], beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness…” (2 Pet 3:17) In both of the verses, the word is the same – foreknowing and neither is God’s foreknowledge; it is simply man’s. Certainly neither of those two examples carries any sense of Calvinistic predestination. Peter speaks of Jesus being foreknown before the beginning of the world and is just now made known “He was foreknown [proginosko προγινώσκω] before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake“(1 Pet 1:20 NET) We witnessed before how Peter was addressing the Jews in his epistle whom he states to be elect according to God’s knowing beforehand: “…to the pilgrims of the Dispersion…elect according to the foreknowledge [prognosis πρόγνωσις] of God the Father…” Therefore, when we come to Romans 8 we ought not to jump to the Calvinistic definition, but to the God-foreknew-the-Jews definition. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.For whom He foreknew [proginosko προγινώσκω], He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined these He also called; whom He called…” ​(Rom 8:28-30)​​​​​​​ Even the act of calling we find spoken of concerning Israel in the book of Isaiah “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, ​And He who formed you, O Israel: ​Fear not, for I have redeemed you; ​I have called you by your name; ​You are Mine.” (Isa: 43:1; see also: 54:6; 1 Pet 1:15, 2:9, 5:10)  Insofar as we Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree, then we share in the common purpose that God has for His elect, the Jews. “You, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,” (Romans 11:17)

The Remaining Verses of Election

There remain a number of verses that speak of the elect in the New Testament. In light of all that we have studied we can confidently know that they have nothing to do with the Calvinistic idea of predestined to salvation or damnation. Furthermore, in almost all of the cases, understanding them to be a reference to the Jews, God’s chosen people, is warranted. Let’s briefly consider those remaining. When Jesus spoke of God avenging “His own elect who cry out day and night to Him,” (Luke 18:7) He was talking about the Jews. “Rufus, chosen in the Lord,” (Rom 16:13) may be speaking of him being Jewish. This would make the most sense given that of the many other (obviously) believing brothers and sisters in the chapter, only Rufus is called elect. Why would Paul refer to only him as being elect, if the Calvinistic definition of election were true? Were the others not also heirs of eternal life? Understanding that elect/election is not salvation and is generally a reference to the Jews the passage makes complete sense. It must be noted that Priscilla and Aquila, from Rome, were also Jewish and yet were not called elect. Could it be that because Paul had nothing else to say about Rufus that he simply stated that he was chosen/elect in the Lord? Ephesians 1:4 ought to be viewed in light of the chosen people, Israel: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Eph 1:4). We know that Paul traveled to Ephesus and there spent three months reasoning with the Jews in the synagogues (Acts 19:1-8). Thus, Ephesians seems to be once again, for “the Jew first and then the Gentile” paradigm. The mention of elect in Colossians is probably also a reference to Jews: “…as the elect of God, holy and beloved…” (Col 3:12) Colossae was in Asia (minor) and we have seen how Peter wrote to those in the dispersion who were in Asia. We also know that Paul first entered the local synagogue wherever he went in order to persuade the Jews first. Thus, his letter to the Colossians, located in Asia is most likely a letter written in the principle of “Jews first and after that the Gentiles.” This is confirmed by looking at the Jews present on the day of Pentecost: “And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven.Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another… how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs…”(Acts 2:5,  7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

The letter to the Thessalonians is also a letter to the Jews first and then the Gentiles. In Acts 17 we read “they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures… and some of them were persuaded and … joined Paul and Silas.”​ (Acts 17:1, 2, 4) With that in mind, we can see why Paul would say “we give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers… knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. (1 Thes 1:2, 4) Once again, election is not Calvinistic in its definition, but Jewish. Likewise in Titus 1:1 Paul speaks of the faith of God’s elect which very possibly was a reference to the faith of the Jewish people. The Apostle John wrote to “the elect lady and her children…” (2 John 1:1) Though there is debate whether this is addressed to an individual woman and her immediate family or to the larger community is not material for this study. However, the term elect would again point to a reference to someone ethnically Jewish. The salutation also points to someone who is ethnically Jewish. “The children of your elect sister greet you.” (2 John 1:13) We cannot help but think back to Peter’s address to the elect Diaspora and how the elect-together-with-you in Babylon (that is, fellow Jews) greeted them. The final mention of the elect is found in Revelation 17 “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”(Rev 17:14) We have seen that the elect and chosen do not refer to the Calvinistic concept of election. We have also seen that elect in the New Testament almost always refers to  Israelites. When the Lord Jesus comes back his entourage will absolutely include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their seed. The question, however, is will Gentiles also be among that group? Given the fact that we Gentiles are grafted into Israel (Rom 11:24) and enjoy blessings that come with that, we can be confident that we will be in that number returning with the Lord.

Conclusion

We thus come to the end of our study having seen that elect and election have nothing to do with salvation, predestined to eternal life or death, nor any Calvinistic definition whatsoever. God elected priests, kings, disciples, Messiah, angels, and Jerusalem – all of which had nothing to do with being predestined to salvation. We also saw that elected/chosen was used of foolish things and of false gods (on man’s part) – again, the term had nothing to do with being predestined to salvation. We then came to the election of Israel and saw that in no less than eight verses in the Old Testament God declared Israel to be His elect! Thus, when we turned to the New Testament we could see that elect/election/chosen never was there as a reference to being predestined to salvation; in fact, nearly every reference of the elect was to Israel. We looked at the elect in the tribulation and saw that it was speaking of the Jews. We looked at the epistles of Peter and found the mention there of elect was to the Jews. We looked at the book of Romans and again, the Jews were the elect. We examined the remaining verses that spoke of election or God’s choosing and found that they more than likely refer to Israel as the elect. Finally, we considered the term foreknowledge/foreknow and found that it is not a salvific term but simply God or even man, knowing something in advance. With all that we have seen we must therefore conclude that elect is not salvation. The definition that Calvin gave “Of the eternal election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation and others to destruction,” is completely lacking in Scripture. Election has nothing to do with salvation or damnation. It is simply God or man making a choice. However, the term “the elect” is more often than not, a reference to Israel/Jews who are of course God’s chosen people. The New Testament references of the elect are never speaking one’s eternal destiny but of God having chosen someone for a particular purpose. In almost all of the New Testament references, the elect are in fact the Jews! It turns out that the New Testament is more Jewish-centered than most of us ever imagined! The epistles of Paul, James, Peter, Hebrews and John are written to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. Personally, I am quite satisfied that God’s plans center around Israel; we Gentile believers have been grafted in which is good enough for me.

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Hebrew Scripture quotations are from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Copyright © 1967/77, 1983 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Used by permission. The Greek Old Testament Scriptures are from the Septuagint. New Testament Greek quotations are from the Greek New Testament according to the Byzantine Text form, edited by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, 2000 edition. Scripture quotations marked “KJV” are taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version, Cambridge, 1769. Scripture quotations marked “NET” are taken from New English Translation [computer file]: NET Bible. electronic edition. Dallas, TX : Biblical Studies Press, 1998. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All Scripture quotations have been retrieved using theWord Bible Software www.theword.net. All emphasis of Scripture verses is mine. All rights reserved. This publication may be reproduced so long as proper credit is given to Douglas Hamp with www.douglashamp.com clearly posted on the copy.

 

Sorry Calvin, God Elected Israel (Part 1 of 2)

The biblical usage of “election” has absolutely nothing to do with salvation contrary to the teaching of Calvinism. Calvin Sorry Calvin, God Elected Israelsummarizes this foundational doctrine in his book Institutes of the Christian Religion (Book 3 chapter 21): “Of the eternal election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation, and others to destruction.”He qualifies his summary by stating:

The predestination by which God adopts some to the hope of life, and adjudges others to eternal death, no man who would be thought pious ventures simply to deny…By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death. (Calvin Institutes 3:21:5: 06 all emphasis in this article is mine)

Calvinist James White reiterates Calvin’s words demonstrating that Calvin meant what he said. White states: “God elects a specific people unto Himself without reference to anything they do. This means the basis of God’s choice of the elect is solely within Himself. His grace, His mercy, His will. It is not man’s actions, works, or even foreseen faith, that “draws” God’s choice. God’s election is unconditional and final.  (James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom, Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2000, p. 39) This is also echoed by Loraine Boettner, in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

“The Doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as Boettner Taught Double Predestinationtruly as others are foreordained to life. The very terms ‘elect’ and ‘election’ imply the terms ‘non-elect’ and ‘reprobation’. When some are chosen out others are left not chosen. The high privileges and glorious destiny of the former are not shared with the latter…Those who hold the doctrine of Election but deny that of Reprobation can lay but little claim to consistency. To affirm the former while denying the latter makes the decree of predestination an illogical and lop-sided decree. The creed which states the former but denies the latter will resemble a wounded eagle attempting to fly with but one wing.” (Loraine Boettner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination 1932 from 2000 bible study centre™ DIGITAL LIBRARY p. 104-5)

The good news, however, is that “election, elect, chosen” (and the derivatives) are terms that have nothing to do with one’s eternal destiny. Scripture does speak at length of “the elect” and “the chosen” but these terms are devoid of the Calvinistic sense of someone who has been chosen to receive eternal life. The term elect and its derivatives therefore are not salvific in meaning but simply refer to persons or things that are chosen for a particular purpose and the purpose has nothing to do with eternal life. Once the definition of the word is established biblically, the foundation of Calvinism will be undermined and will collapse and arguing the tenants of TULIP will become inapplicable. The word elect (Greek verb: eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι; Hebrew verb: bakharבָּחַר) means to choose, select. The elect or chosen (as nouns or adjectives) are those people or things that have been elected, selected, or chosen for a particular purpose by someone. Scripture bears witness that elect and its derivatives have nothing to do with someone being chosen specifically to eternal life.

The Election of Priests, Kings, and Disciples

In the Old Testament, we see times when God chose and people chose. God chose Levi to minister forever “… the LORD your God has chosen[bakhar בָּחַר Greek LXX eklexetai εκλεξηται] him…” Deut 18:5 (see also 1 Chr 15:2) . God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. What is fascinating about King Saul is that he was chosen both by God and the people: “…Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen(Hebrew and Greek are the same roots as above)…’”(1 Sam 10:24) Two chapters later he was chosen by the people: “…here is the king whom you have chosen and whom you have desired. And God Elected Davidtake note, the LORD has set a king over you.” (1Sam 12:13) Saul’s election by God had nothing to do with eternal life. Saul was chosen, elected by God for the purpose to be king over Israel and with that he had all of the potential to be a good king and for his lineage to be the lineage of the Messiah. Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD? … Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, ​and to heed than the fat of rams.For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, ​And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. ​Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, ​He also has rejected you from being king.”(1 Sam 15:19, 22-23) It is only after repeated disobedience is Saul rejected and David chosen to take his place. Saul’s election by God to be king had nothing to do with eternal life and his removal from being king likewise had nothing to do with eternal life – he was simply removed from his post. Saul is analogous to Judas in many ways because both he and Judas were chosen yet they both forfeited their election. “Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose [eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι] you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” (John 6:70) God elected David to be king and passed over the other seven sons of Jesse. “The LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him’ … Neither has the LORD chosen this one…the LORD has not chosen these.”(1 Sam 16:7-10). The choosing or election had nothing to do with eternal life according to the Calvinist definition: God chose David because of what He saw in the heart and He chose him to be king – not for the purpose of eternal life. See Luke 6:13; John 13:18, 15:16, 19; Acts 1:2, 24, 15:7 concerning Jesus choosing of the disciples, one of whom was a devil (John 6:70).

The Election of Messiah and Angels

God’s election of Messiah further demonstrates that the term election is devoid of the Calvinistic concept of eternal life. Jesus, the Messiah-God-Incarnate, certainly has no need of salvation or eternal life; He is the source of life! “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One [LXX: eklektos εκλεκτος] in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him… (Isa 42:1, see also Isaiah 49:7) This very title was used of Jesus on the cross “…the rulers with them sneered, saying, ‘He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.’” (Luke 23:35). Peter further confirms God’s election of the Messiah: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious” (1 Pet 2:4, see also 1 Pet 2:6). Jesus was unquestionably chosen, elected, predestined by God to be the Messiah but His election was not for His salvation. He was chosen by the Father to give us eternal life! In a similar fashion we find that angels can be elected – demonstrating that “elect” does not mean chosen to eternal life (see also Heb 2:16 regarding the fact that God only offers salvation to mankind): “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the electangels…” (1 Tim 5:21)

The Election of Jerusalem

God also elected (chose) Jerusalem to be His city proving that election has nothing to do with eternal life. “Yet I have chosenGod Elected Jerusalem Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.”(2 Chr 6:6) “…the city which You have chosen…” (1 Kgs 8:44)“…and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen…”(1 Kgs 11:32), “…the city which I have chosen for Myself, to put My name there.”(1 Kgs 11:36) “For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place.” (Ps 132:13) In all of these verses we see thatGod has chosen or elected Jerusalem for a purpose and the word election does not entail eternal life.

The Election of False Gods and Foolish Things

In Corinthians we learn that God has chosen foolish, weak, base and despised things: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,” (1 Cor 1:27-28; see also James 2:5) Not only is election used to describe God’s choosing of people, places, and things for His special purposes, it is used for men’s choosing of the true God and of false gods. “So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him…” (Josh 24:22) “Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.” (Judg 10:14) Jesus points out others who chose poorly in the Gospel of Luke: “Jesus noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, He told them a parable. He said to them…when you are invited…do not take the place of honor.” (Luke 14:8) Our conclusion from the above verses is that election has nothing to do with predestination to eternal life. God chose priests, kings and Jerusalem for His purposes and man chose both God and idols. We would be wrong to try to insert the concept of predestination into the term election.

The Election of Israel

While election is made by God and men of people and places, there is a usage that stands out uniquely in Scripture: God’s chosen people, the elect, are the Israelites. The title “chosen/elect” is in no less than eight verses in Scripture. The use of the title “elect” to describe Israel becomes very important when we venture into the New Testament because it clears up many theological, soteriological, and eschatological issues.

  1. Seed of Israel His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! (1 Chr 16:13)
  2. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. (Ps 33:12)
  3. Seed of Abraham His servant, you children of Jacob, His chosen ones! (Ps 105:6)
  4. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. (Ps 105:43)
  5. For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, ​Israel for His special treasure.(Ps 135:4)
  6. For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect… (Isa 45:4)
  7. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, And from Judah an heir of My mountains; My elect shall inherit it, And My servants shall dwell there. (Isa 65:9)
  8. For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isa 65:22)

The verses above demonstrate how God has specifically called Israel, Jacob, the Seed of Abraham His chosen. Thus the term “the chosen” or “my chosen” and “the elect” is a reference to ethnic Israel.  This point is proven by Paul who, in a synagogue on the Sabbath day in Antioch, read from the Law and Prophets and then spoke to his fellow Jews: “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: ‘The God of this people Israel chose our fathers…’” (Acts 13:16, 17) Thus, the election of Israel was true in the Old Testament and the New Testament as well.

The “Few Chosen” Are Israelites

With the definition of “the elect/chosen” established, we are now ready to proceed to the teachings of Jesus Whom we must remember was Himself Jewish. In Matthew 22 Jesus, speaking with the Pharisees, compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a King who prepared a wedding feast for His Son. Those that were invited to the wedding feast were not interested in coming so the King sent His servants out calling everyone who would come. That the invited guests to the wedding were the Israelites is certain. Jesus Himself confirms this in His rebuke to the Pharisees: “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 8:11) There are also many passages in the Old Testament that speak of the Messianic age in which the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be God’s special people (See for example: Isaiah 2, 4, 11, 60-66). Therefore, Jesus’ statement “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matt 22:14; see also Matt 20:16) must be interpreted in light of who are the chosen – that is the Jews! The chosen, elect (the Jews) were the ones to whom the promise of the Messianic Age was first given. However, when the bridegroom came they were not willing to come and therefore God the Father gave instruction for all (the many) to be called to the feast. Understanding who the elect are unlocks the passage for us. Knowing that the elect are the Jews completely rules out any Calvinistic interpretation of the passage. Note that both the called and chosen still needed salvation as indicated by the wedding garment and he who was found in the feast without a garment was cast out.

The Elect in the Tribulation

We next come to the references to the elect in Matthew 24 in which Jesus is telling the disciples of what the days of the tribulation would be like. Armed with the knowledge that the elect are the Jews, we can consistently interpret the passage; the elect in Matthew 24 are not Gentile believers in the tribulation, but are God’s chosen, that is the Jews. “And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened… For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt 24:22, 24) Mark’s Gospel adds “…for the elect’s sake, whom He chose…” (Mark 13:20) emphasizing those whom God chose: the Jews. If the elect are interpreted as those whom God has predestined to eternal life, then a conundrum arises, in particular, for those of us of a pretibulational perspective; who exactly is being gathered at the end of the tribulation? “He will send His angels with a great Angels Gather Israel, the electsound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” (Matt 24:31) There can be no question that this gathering happens after the events of the Great Tribulation and yet, if it is referring to the same catching up of believers in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, then the teaching of the pretribulational rapture would be nullified. However, once we realize that the elect here are not believers in general but specifically the Israelites/Jews then the matter is resolved. Two-thirds of the (up to then non-believing) Jews will tragically perish and the one-third (Zech. 13:8) remaining will be gathered at the end of the Great Tribulation. It also fits in with Revelation 19 where the believers return with Jesus to the earth because they have already been caught up to Him. The Old Testament proves that the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24 must be speaking of the Jews. Jesus used the language of Isaiah 11 to describe the gathering of the elect, an obvious reference to the Jews:“He will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”(Isa 11:12) The gathering of the Jews is further predicted in Isaiah 43:5, 54:7, and Zechariah 2:6. When we realize that the usage of “chosen” or “elect” has nothing to do with (predestined to) eternal life then many of the difficult Bible passages are easy to interpret.

The Elect in Peter’s Epistles Are Jewish

Peter likewise uses the term elect to describe the Jews. We know so because Peter says as much: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…”(1 Pet 1:1-2) The word “dispersion” (Greek diaspora διασπορά) was used to describe the scattering among the nations that God had promised to the Jews (Israel) if they would not follow Him (Lev 26:33; Deut 4:27; Neh 1:8, etc.; the LXX uses the same Greek word as the NT). James, in his epistle, could not be any clearer that the diaspora is Israel when he says: “To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad [en te diaspora εν τη διασπορα]: Greetings.”(James 1:1). The twelve tribes are of course Israel (the Jews) and they are in the diaspora – the same group to which Peter was addressing his letter. At the end of his first epistle, Peter further establishes that the elect were none other than Jewish believers, who were also in the diaspora. He writes (in the NKJV) “She who is in Babylon, elect together with [you,] greets you.”(1 Pet 5:13) Now at first glance it appears that Peter might be referring to some woman by the use of the word “she” (aute αὐτή) – which by the way, is absent from the Greek text. The word in the text is the feminine article (he ἡ) which is referencing back to something that was already addressed in the letter. We know that the something in question is also elect and is an adjective modifier to the something because “elect” is feminine singular (suneklekte συνεκλεκτὴ). The question is, however, what is the something that the article and adjective refer to? The answer is to consider to whom the feminine something is sending greetings. That takes us back to the first chapter where Peter established already that he was writing to the pilgrims who were in the diaspora. Diaspora is a singular feminine word and hence it fits the bill perfectly. Certain translations, like the NET Bible for example, have translated the feminine article in 1 Peter 5:13 not as “she” but as “the church”. Their selection at first appears justified since Peter is obviously writing to believers in Jesus and of course, the word (ekklesia ἐκκλησία) is singular feminine. The weakness of the translation, however, is proven by the fact that the word ekklesia does not appear even once in either of Peter’s epistles. The word diaspora does appear and fits both in number and gender.

Lastly, we must acknowledge two important points: 1) Peter was the apostle to the Jews. In Galatians 2:7-9 Paul states that he “was entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised just as Peter was to the circumcised” (Gal 2:7). 2) Babylon was the third largest Jewish center in the ancient world. When the Jews were given leave under Cyrus to return to Israel in 536 BC, only a small remnant returned while many thousands stayed in Babylon. The writing of the Babylonian Talmud gives concrete proof to the fact that Babylon was a major center of Jewish life and culture. Since Peter was the apostle specifically appointed to take the Gospel to the Jews, then finding him in Babylon (not Rome!) in the company of Jews is simple enough to grasp. Whether or not Peter ever ventured to Rome as church history would have us believe is therefore in question though it remains outside of the scope of this brief study. Nevertheless, we see that Peter is writing from Babylon, in the company of other Jews (the chosen) to fellow chosen ones who were also in the diaspora (that is, not living in Israel). Realizing that Peter is the apostle to the (elect) Jews and is writing from Babylon to other (elect) Jews facilitates the interpretation of the two epistles. In 1 Peter chapter two Peter writes concerning his Jewish (believing) brethren: “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.But you are a chosen generation [note: the Greek word is genos (race) not genea (generation) see: NASB], a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Pet 2:5, 9) These same words were used repeatedly in the Old Testament to describe the Jewish people:

God Elected Israel

 

  • Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine.(Ex 19:5)
  • ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.(Ex 19:6)
  • “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth. (Deut 7:6)
  • “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. (Deut 14:2)
  • For the LORD has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure. (Ps 135:4)

He continues speaking to these Jewish pilgrims: “You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:10) The passage is taken from Hosea 1:9 where God, speaking to Israel, states “Then the LORD said: “Name him ‘Not My People’ (Lo-Ammi), because you are not my people and I am not your God.” (Hosea 1:9) Peter is demonstrating that their previous condition has been undone in Jesus Christ. This truth is given by God through Hosea “However, in the future the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea which can be neither measured nor numbered. Although it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “You are children of the living God!”(Hos 1:10, see also Hos 2:23)

Elect but Not Saved

Thus when we read in 2 Peter: “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble”(2 Pet 1:10) – we know that Peter is talking to Jews and that their election has nothing to do with salvation. Therefore, this is not a Calvinistic call for us to somehow make sure that we have been chosen to eternal life! It is rather a reminder to the chosen people to embrace the fact that they were elected, chosen by God to be His special treasure. However, their election is by no means an absolute guarantee that they will inherit eternal life. Paul corroborates this fact so clearly in 2 Timothy: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2 Tim 2:10) Note well that Paul must endure for the elect, the Jews, so that they too might be saved. As we have seen, election has nothing to do with salvation. Furthermore, election is generally a term used of the Jews, who are of course, the chosen people. This is confirmed yet again in Romans 11, where Paul, who is speaking about the Jews, states “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” (Rom 11:28)

The Elect in Romans Are Israelites

Part of the challenge of understanding Romans is to recognize that Paul is speaking to the believers in Rome who are both Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish). We learn that from the way that he addresses his readers: “…the gospel of Christ … is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) “Jew and Greek” is a combination that he uses throughout the book, see for example Romans 2:9, 10; 10:12. Romans 2:17 Paul speaks specifically to the Jews “Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, (Romans 2:17) Paul then asks what advantage the Jew has (Rom 3:1) and he answers his question with “Much in every way! Chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God.”(Rom 3:2) In chapter four Paul speaks of Abraham who was their father according to the flesh “…Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh… (Rom 4:1 KJV). Thus, Paul was essentially describing Abraham as: “our genetic (birth) father.” The NET Bible confirms that translation “Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh” (Rom 4:1 NET) Finally, Paul bridges the apparent polemic between the Jews and Greeks of the Roman church with the following conclusion “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.” (Romans 10:12) Having seen that the book of Romans was written in large part to the elect, the Jews, (see also Acts 18:2 and Romans 16:3 concerning Roman Jews) as well as Gentiles, we can now see that the many uses of the word “elect” are not references to salvation, predestination etc. Rather they are reference to the Israelites (elected by God) “to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came…” (Rom 9:4-5) Therefore, Paul’s question “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?” (Rom 8:33) is not Calvinistic (predestined to eternal life) but is a reference to the elect Jews (see above: 1 Chr 16:13, Ps 33:12, Ps 105:6, Ps 105:43, Ps 135:4, Isa 45:4, Isa 65:9, Isa 65:22). This concept is consistent throughout the book. Romans 9-11 is the great defense of Scripture, par excellence, that God has not cast away His people. Paul begins the section by showing how God began with Abraham and then chose Isaac over Ishmael, and then Jacob over Esau. Speaking of the two nations in Rebecca’s womb, Paul says: “for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election[eklogeεκλογη] might stand, not of works but of Him who calls.” (Rom 9:11) The election has nothing to do with Calvinistic predestination but with God choosing Jacob rather than Esau to be the one who would receive the oracles of God etc.

Election of Grace

Paul continues in Romans 11 “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election [eklogeεκλογη] of grace.” (Rom 11:5) This was spoken of the encounter of Elijah and the 400 Israelite prophets of Baal. Just when Elijah thought all was lost, God informed him that He had reserved 7000 that had not followed the evil ways of Baal. And thus in like manner, most of Israel, who had been chosen, elected by God to be the conduit of blessing to the world, had rejected that special calling. This concords with what Jesus stated in Matthew 22:14 that “few [the Jews] are chosen” and that small group had for the most part rejected the special RSVP that God had sent to them to come to the wedding feast. Paul continues“What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect[eklogeεκλογη] have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Rom 11:7) It must be noted that the word elect here is in fact feminine singular– demonstrating that it is not speaking of “the elect ones” (masculine plural eklektoi εκλεκτοι) but “election”. This means that in both Romans 11:5 and 11:7 the term is “election” – thus God’s action of selecting Abraham, Isaac, Jacob to the be the recipients of the promises (Rom 9:4-5). (The Wesley translation properly maintains the nuance of the noun the election [eklogeεκλογη] hath obtained…” Rom 11:7 Wesley) The entire context of the elect and election has to do with Israel as evidenced by Paul’s following statement of how they, the Jews, “have not stumbled so as to fall… On the contrary, because of their stumbling, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make the Jews jealous.” (Romans 11:11) The biblical “election of grace” is not Calvin’s idea of God choosing some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation; it is rather God choosing the Jewish race, which was based purely on God’s grace and not their righteousness. Moses plainly stated that early in their national history: “It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD your God drives them out from before you, and that He may fulfill the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” (Deut 9:5)

That the election of grace is referring to God’s choosing of the fathers is further established in chapter eleven: “Now if their stumbling means riches for the world, and if their fall means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:12, 15) Israel, nationally speaking, rejected the invitation to come to the wedding feast when the Bridegroom came which thereby translated into riches for the Gentiles. However, the election of grace, that is God’s making promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their seed, was an irrevocable call which is why Paul says about the unbelieving Jews: “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:28-29) Paul probably had Jeremiah 31:35-37, among other passages, in mind when speaking of the irrevocability of God’s promise. God had called Israel to himself and would never let them go completely. “God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.”(Rom 11:2) Peter also confirms that God foreknew the Israelites: ​“to the pilgrims of the Dispersion elect according to the foreknowledgeof God the Father” (1 Peter 1:2). God chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants for a special purpose. His choosing them (election) had nothing to do with the Calvinistic idea of predestination to eternal life and eternal damnation. Though the Jews were elect, they were not automatically saved. They for the most part had rejected the invitation to the wedding feast and as such were blinded but they would be restored in the end. We will discuss foreknowledge in the next post.

 

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Porque Dios No Eligio a Los Calvinistas: El Concepto Bíblico de Elección Nunca Significa Predestinado a la Salvación y Comúnmente Se Refiere a Israel

Porque Dios No Eligio a los Calvinistas

El Concepto Bíblico de Elección Nunca Significa Predestinado a la Salvación y Comúnmente Se Refiere a Israel

Por Douglas Hamp

Traducido por Fabián Zamudio

www.douglashamp.com

Costa Mesa, CA

Julio 2011

El uso bíblico de “elección” no tiene absolutamente nada que ver con salvación contrario a las enseñanzas del Calvinismo. El Concepto Bíblico de Elección Nunca Significa Predestinado a la Salvación y Comúnmente Se Refiere a IsraelCalvin resume esta doctrina fundamental en su libro Instituciones de la Religión Cristiana (Libro 3 capitulo 21): “De la elección eterna, por la cual  Dios ha predestinado a algunos para salvación y otros para destrucción.” El califica su sumario al declarar:

La predestinación por la cual Dios adopta algunos para esperanza de vida, y adjudica a otros a la muerte eterna, ningún hombre quien podría pensarse piadoso se aventura simplemente a negar…Por predestinación nos referimos a el decreto eterno de Dios, por el cual el determino consigo mismo lo que él quiso que pasara con respecto a todo hombre. No todos son creados en los mismos términos, sino que algunos son pre ordenados a vida eterna, otros a condenación eterna; y, como corresponde, como cada uno ha sido creado para uno u otro de estos destinos, decimos que él ha sido predestinado para vida o para muerte. (Instituciones de Calvin 3:21:5: 06 todo énfasis en este artículo es mío).

El calvinista James White reitera las palabras de Calvin demostrando que Calvin quiso decir lo que dijo. White declara: “Dios elige a gente específica para sí mismo sin relación a nada que ellos hagan. Estos significan las bases de la elección de Dios de los elegidos esta únicamente en él mismo. Su gracia, Su misericordia, Su voluntad. No son las acciones del hombre, obras, o aun fe anticipada, que “atrae” la elección de Dios. La elección de Dios es incondicional y final.” (James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom, [La Libertad del Alfarero] Amityville, NY; Calvary press, 2000, p. 39) también Loraine Boettner hace eco de esto, en The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (La Doctrina de Predestinación Reformada)

La Doctrina de la Predestinación absoluta por supuesto lógicamente sostiene que algunos son pre ordenados para muerte tan cierto como otros son pre ordenados para vida. Los mismos términos ‘elegir’ y ‘escoger’ implican los términos ‘no elegidos’ y ‘reprobación’.  Cuando algunos son elegidos otros son dejados sin elegir. Los grandes y gloriosos privilegios de los primeros no son compartidos con estos últimos…Esos que sostienen la doctrina de Elección pero niegan la de Reprobación pueden reclamar muy poco de consistencia. Afirmar la primera  mientras se niega la segunda hace el decreto de predestinación un decreto ilógico y desequilibrado. El credo que declara lo primero pero niega lo segundo se parecerá a una Águila herida tratando de volar solamente con una ala.” (Loraine Bottner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination [La Doctrina de Predestinación Reformada] 1932 de 2000 bible study centreTM [centro estudio bíblico 2000] LIBRERÍA DIGITAL p. 104-5)

Las buenas noticias, sin embargo, es que “elección, elegir, elegidos” (y sus derivados) son términos que no tienen nada que ver con el destino eterno de uno. Las Escrituras hablan extensamente de “los electos” y “los elegidos” pero estos términos están desprovistos del sentido Calvinista de algunos que han sido elegidos para recibir vida eterna. El termino electo y sus derivados por consiguiente no son salvíficos en su significado sino simplemente se refieren  a personas o cosas que han sido elegidas para un propósito en particular y el propósito no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna. Una vez que la definición de la palabra es establecida bíblicamente, la fundación del Calvinismo será minado y colapsara y argumentar los inquilinos de TULIP ya no aplicara más. La palabra electo (verbo griego: eklegomai εκλέγομαι; verbo hebreo: bakhaחר בּ) significa elegir, seleccionar. Los electos o elegidos (como sustantivos o adjetivos) son esas personas o cosas que han sido elegidas, seleccionadas, o escogidas para un propósito en particular. Las Escrituras testifican de qué electo y sus derivados no tienen nada que ver con alguien siendo escogido específicamente para vida eterna.

 La Elección de Sacerdotes, Reyes, y Discípulos

En el Antiguo Testamento, hay veces cuando Dios escoge y gente escoge. Dios escogió a Levi para ministrar para siempre ”…le ha escogido [bakhar  La LXX griega eklexetai εκλεξηται] Jehová tu Dios…” Deut 18:5 (ver también 1 Cr 15:2).

Dios eligió a Saúl  para ser el primer rey de Israel. Lo que es fascinante sobre el rey Saúl es que él fue elegido por Dios y por la gente: “…Samuel dijo a todo el pueblo: ¿Habéis visto al que ha elegido Jehová?  (El Hebreo y el Griego son la mismas raíces que anteriormente)…” (1 Sam 10:24) Dos capítulos después fue elegido por la gente: “…he aquí el rey que habéis elegido, el cual pedisteis; ya veis que Jehová ha puesto rey sobre vosotros.” (1 Sam 12: 13) La elección de Saúl por Dios no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna. Saúl fue escogido, elegido por Dios con el propósito de ser rey sobre Israel y con eso tuvo todo el potencial de ser un buen rey y de que su linaje fuera el linaje del Mesías.”

¿Por qué, pues, no has oído la voz de Jehová? …Ciertamente el obedecer es mejor que los sacrificios, y el prestar atención que la grosura de los carneros. Porque como pecado de adivinación es la rebelión, y como ídolos e idolatría la obstinación. Por cuanto tú desechaste la palabra de Jehová, él también te ha desechado para que no seas rey. (1 Sam 15:19, 22-23)

Solo después de repetida desobediencia que Saúl es desechado y David escogido para tomar su lugar. La elección de Saúl por Dios para ser rey no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna y su destitución de ser rey y de la misma manera no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna. El simplemente fue removido de su posición. Saúl es análogo a Judas en muchas maneras porque ambos el y Judas fueron escogidos aun así ambos perdieron su elección. “Jesús les respondió: ¿No os he escogido [eklegomai εκλέγομαι] yo a vosotros los doce, y uno de vosotros es diablo?” (Juan 6:70)

Dios eligió a David para ser rey y paso sobre los otros siete hijos de Isaí. “Y Jehová respondió a Samuel: ‘No mires a su parecer, ni a lo grande de su estatura, porque yo lo desecho’…Tampoco a éste ha escogido Jehová…Jehová no ha elegido a éstos.” (1 Sam 16:7-10). El escoger o elegir no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna de como dice la definición Calvinista: Dios escogió a David por lo que vio en su corazón y lo eligió para ser rey, no con el propósito de vida eterna. Ver Lucas 6:13; Juan 13:18, 15:16, 19; Hechos 1:2, 24,15:7 con respecto a Jesús escogiendo a los discípulos, de los cuales uno era diablo (Juan 6:70).

La Elección del Mesías y Ángeles

La elección de Dios del Mesías demuestra adicionalmente que el termino elección es desprovisto del concepto Calvinista de vida eterna. Jesús, el Mesías, Dios encarnado, ciertamente no tiene necesidad de salvación; ¡Él es la fuente de vida! “He aquí mi siervo, yo le sostendré; mi escogido, [LXX: eklektos εκλέκτος] en quien mi alma tiene contentamiento; he puesto sobre él mi Espíritu… (Isa 42:1, ver también Isaías 49:7) Justamente este título se le dio a Jesús en la “…los gobernantes se burlaban de él, diciendo: ‘A otros salvó; sálvese a sí mismo, si éste es el Cristo, el escogido de Dios.’” (Lucas 23:35). Pedro confirma la elección de Dios del Mesías: “Acercándoos a él, piedra viva, desechada ciertamente por los hombres, más para Dios escogida y preciosa,” (1 Pe 2:4, ver también 1 Pe 2:6). Jesús fue incuestionablemente escogido, elegido, predestinado por Dios para ser el Mesías pero su elección no fue para su salvación. ¡Él fue escogido por el Padre para darnos vida eterna! En una manera similar encontramos que los ángeles pueden ser elegidos, demostrando “elegido” no significa escogido para vida eterna (ver también Heb 2:16 con referencia al hecho de que Dios solamente ofrece salvación a la raza humana): “Te encarezco delante de Dios y del Señor Jesucristo, y de sus ángeles escogidos…” (1 Tim 5:21)

La Elección de Jerusalén

Dios también eligió (escogió) a Jerusalén para ser Su ciudad probando que elección no tiene nada que ver con vida eterna “Mas a Jerusalén he elegido para que en ella esté mi nombre, y a David he elegido para que esté sobre mi pueblo Israel.” (2 Cr 6:6) “…la ciudad que tú elegiste…” (1 Rey 11:32), “…ciudad que yo me elegí para poner en ella mi nombre.” (1 Rey 11:36), “Porque Jehová ha elegido a Sion;  La quiso por habitación para sí.” (Sal 132:13)  En todos estos versos vemos que Dios he escogido o elegido a Jerusalén con un propósito y que la palabra elección no implica vida eterna.

La Elección de Dioses Falsos y Cosas Imprudentes

En Corintios aprendemos que Dios ha escogido lo necio, lo débil, lo menospreciado: “sino que lo necio del mundo escogió Dios, para avergonzar a los sabios; y lo débil del mundo escogió Dios, para avergonzar a lo fuerte; y lo vil del mundo y lo menospreciado escogió Dios, y lo que no es, para deshacer lo que es,” (1 Cor 1:27-28; ver también Santiago 2:5) elección no es usada solamente para describir la elección de Dios de personas, lugares, y cosas para Su especial propósito, es usado para la elección del hombre del Dios verdadero y de dioses falsos. “Y Josué respondió al pueblo: Vosotros sois testigos contra vosotros mismos, de que habéis elegido a Jehová para servirle…” (Josué 24:22) “Andad y clamad a los dioses que os habéis elegido; que os libren ellos en el tiempo de vuestra aflicción.” (Jueces 10:14) Jesús señala otros quienes escogieron pobremente en el evangelio de Lucas: “Observando cómo escogían los primeros asientos a la mesa, refirió a los convidados una parábola, diciéndoles: Cuando fueres convidado…no te sientes en el primer lugar…” (Lucas 14:7-8)

Nuestra conclusión de los versículos anteriores es que elección no tiene nada que ver con predestinación a vida eterna Dios eligió a sacerdotes, reyes y a Jerusalén para Su propósito y el hombre eligió a ambos a Dios y a ídolos. Estaríamos equivocados al tratar de insertar el concepto de predestinación dentro del término elección.

La Elección de Israel

Si bien elección es hecha por Dios y el hombre de personas y lugares, hay un uso que sobresale en forma única en las Escrituras: los escogidos de Dios, los elegidos, son Israelitas. El título “escogido/elegido” está en no menos de ocho versículos en las Escrituras. El uso del título “elegido” para describir a Israel se hace muy importante cuando nos aventuramos en el Nuevo Testamento porque aclara muchas cosas teológicas, soteriológicas, y escatológicas.

  • “oh simiente de Israel, su siervo, hijos de Jacob, sus escogidos. (1 Cr 16:13)
  • Bienaventurada la nación cuyo Dios es el SEÑOR, el pueblo que Él ha escogido como herencia para sí.” (Sal 33:12)
  • “oh simiente de Abraham, su siervo, hijos de Jacob, sus escogidos.” (Sal 105:6)
  • “y sacó a su pueblo con alegría, y a sus escogidos con gritos de júbilo.” (Sal 105:43)
  • “Porque el SEÑOR ha escogido a Jacob para sí, a Israel para posesión suya.” (Sal 135:4)
  • “Por amor a mi siervo Jacob y a Israel mi escogido…” (Isa 45:4)
  • “Sacaré de Jacob descendencia y de Judá heredero de mis montes; mis escogidos la heredarán, y mis siervos morarán allí.” (Isa 65:9)
  • “No edificarán para que otro habite, ni plantarán para que otro coma; porque como los días de un árbol, así serán los días de mi pueblo, y mis escogidos disfrutarán de la obra de sus manos.” (Isa 65:22)

Los versículos anteriores demuestran como Dios ha llamado específicamente a Israel, Jacob, la simiente de Abraham Sus elegidos. Por lo tanto el termino “los escogidos” o “mis escogidos” y “los elegidos” es una referencia al Israel étnico. Este punto es probado por Pablo quien, en una sinagoga en el día del Sabbat en Antioquia, leyó de la Ley y los profetas y luego hablo a los judíos: “Hombres de Israel, y vosotros que teméis a Dios, escuchad: ‘El Dios de este pueblo de Israel, escogió a nuestros padres…” (Hch 13:16,17) Así, la elección de Israel fue verdad en el Antiguo Testamento y en el Nuevo Testamento por igual.

Los “Pocos Son Escogidos” Son Israelitas

Con la definición establecida de los “elegidos/escogidos” ahora estamos listos para proceder con las enseñanzas de Jesús Quien debemos recordar el mismo era Judío. En Mateo 22 Jesús, hablando con los Fariseos, compara el reino del Cielo con un Rey que preparo un banquete para la boda de Su Hijo. Los que fueron invitados a la a la boda no estuvieron interesados en venir entonces el Rey envió a Sus siervos a llamar a todos los que quisieran venir. Que los invitados a las bodas eran los Israelitas es cierto. Jesús mismo confirma esto en Su reprimenda a los Fariseos: “Y os digo que vendrán muchos del oriente y del occidente, y se sentarán a la mesa con Abraham, Isaac y Jacob en el reino de los cielos.” (Mat 8:11)

También hay muchos pasajes en el Antiguo Testamento que hablan de la era del Mesías la cual los descendientes de Abraham, Isaac, y Jacob serán la gente especial de Dios (por ejemplo: Isaías 2, 4, 11, 60-66). Por tanto, la declaración de Jesús “Porque muchos son llamados, pero pocos son escogidos” (Mat 22:14; también Mat 20:16) debe interpretarse en luz de quienes son los escogidos, esto es los judíos. Los escogidos, elegidos (los judíos) fueron a los que primero se les dio la promesa de la Era del Mesías. De cualquier modo, cuando el novio vino no quisieron venir  y por ello Dios Padre dio instrucciones para todos (los muchos) a venir a la fiesta. Entendiendo quienes son los elegidos nos abre el pasaje. El saber que los elegidos son los judíos desecha cualquier interpretación Calvinista del pasaje. Noten que ambos los llamados y los escogidos aun necesitan salvación como lo indica el traje de boda y el que fue encontrado en la fiesta sin vestido fue echado.

Los Elegidos en la Tribulación

Enseguida venimos a las referencias de los electos en Mateo 24 en el cual Jesús le dice a los discípulos de cómo serán los días de la tribulación. Armados con el conocimiento de que los electos son los judíos, podemos consistentemente interpretar el pasaje; los electos en Mateo 24 no son creyentes gentiles en la  tribulación, sino que son los escogidos de Dios, esto es los judíos “Y si aquellos días no fuesen acortados, nadie sería salvo; mas por causa de los escogidos, aquellos días serán acortados… Porque se levantarán falsos Cristos, y falsos profetas, y harán grandes señales y prodigios, de tal manera que engañarán, si fuere posible, aun a los escogidos. (Mat 24:22,24) El evangelio de Marcos añade: “más por causa de los escogidos que él escogió…” (Mar 13:20) enfatizando a los que Dios escogió: los judíos. Si los elegidos son interpretados como a los que Dios ha predestinado a vida eterna, entonces surge un acertijo, en particular, para esos de nosotros que tenemos una perspectiva de pre tribulación; ¿Quiénes exactamente están siendo juntados al final de la tribulación? “Y enviará sus ángeles con gran voz de trompeta, y juntarán a sus escogidos, de los cuatro vientos, desde un extremo del cielo hasta el otro.” (Mat 24:31) No puede haber duda de que esta reunión sucede después de los eventos de la Gran Tribulación y aun, si se está refiriendo al mismo alcance de creyentes en 1 Tesalonicenses 4:17, entonces la doctrina de del rapto pre tribulación seria anulada. De cualquier manera, una vez que notamos que los electos aquí mencionados no son creyentes en general sino específicamente los Israelitas/ Judíos entonces el asunto es resuelto. Dos tercios de los judíos (hasta ese momento no creyentes perecerán trágicamente y el tercio restante (Zac 13:8) serán reunidos al final de la Gran Tribulación. También concuerda con Apocalipsis 19 donde los creyentes regresan con Jesús a la tierra porque han sido previamente arrebatados por El.

El Antiguo Testamento prueba que la reunión de los electos en Mateo 24 debe estar hablando de los judíos. Jesús uso el lenguaje de Isaías 11 para describir la reunión de los electos, una referencia obvia a los judíos: “Alzará un estandarte ante las naciones, reunirá a los desterrados de Israel, y juntará a los dispersos de Judá de los cuatro confines de la tierra.” (Isa 11:12)  La reunión de los judíos es predicha en Isaías 43:5, 54:7, y Zacarías 2:6. Cuando nos damos cuenta de que el uso de “escogido” o “electo” no tiene nada que ver con (predestinado a) vida eterna entonces muchos de los pasajes difíciles de la Biblia son fáciles de interpretar.

Los Elegidos en las Epístolas de Pedro son Judíos

De la misma manera Pedro usa el término electos para describir a los judíos. Sabemos esto porque Pedro dice: “Pedro, apóstol de Jesucristo: A los expatriados, de la dispersión en el Ponto, Galacia, Capadocia, Asia y Bitinia, elegidos según el previo conocimiento de Dios Padre, por la obra santificadora del Espíritu, para obedecer a Jesucristo y ser rociados con su sangre…” (1 Pe 1:1-2) La palabra “dispersión” (Griego diáspora διασπορά) era usada para describir la división entre las naciones que Dios prometió a los judíos (Israel) si no lo seguían (Lev 26:33; Deut 4:27; Neh 1:8, etc.; la LXX usa la misma palabra griega que el NT). Santiago, en su epístola, no pudo ser más claro de que la diáspora es Israel cuando dice: “A las doce tribus que están en la dispersión [en te diáspora εν τη διασπορα]: Salud.” (Santiago 1:1)  Las doce tribus por supuesto es Israel (los judíos) y ellos están en la, el mismo grupo al cual Pedro dirigió su carta.

Al final de su primera epístola, Pedro además establece que los elegidos no eran otros sino creyentes judíos, quienes estaban también en la diáspora. El escribe (en la LBLA)  “La que está en Babilonia, elegida juntamente con vosotros, os saludan…” (1 Pe 5:13) A primera vista pareciera que Pedro se pueda estar refiriendo a alguna mujer por el uso de la palabra “la” (aute αὑτἡ) que además, no se encuentra el texto griego. La palabra en el texto es el articulo femenino (he η) la cual se está refiriendo a algo que ya ha sido señalado en la carta. Sabemos que el algo en cuestión es también elegida y es un adjetivo modificativo de el algo porque “elegida” es femenino singular (suneklekte συνεκλεκτὴ). La pregunta es, en todo caso, ¿qué es el algo al que el artículo y el adjetivo se refieren? La respuesta está en considerar a quien el algo femenino está saludando. Eso nos lleva de regreso al primer capítulo donde Pedro ya ha establecido que esta escribiendo a los expatriados que están en la diáspora. Diáspora es una palabra singular femenina y de ahí que quede como anillo al dedo perfectamente. Ciertas traducciones como la Biblia RV60 por ejemplo, ha traducido el articulo femenino en 1 Pedro 5:13 no como “ella” sino como “la iglesia”. Su selección parece justificada a primera vista ya que Pedro esta obviamente escribiendo a creyentes en Jesús y por supuesto, la palabra (ekklesia εκκλησία) es singular femenino. La debilidad de la traducción, sin embargo, es probada por el hecho de que la palabra ekklesia no aparece ni siquiera una sola vez en ninguna de las epístolas de Pedro. La palabra diáspora si aparece y encaja en ambas en número y género.

Finalmente, debemos reconocer dos puntos importantes: 1) Pedro fue el apóstol a los judíos. En gálatas 2:7-9 Pablo declara que a él “Sino al contrario, al ver que se me había encomendado el evangelio a los de la circuncisión, así como Pedro lo había sido a los de la circuncisión” (Gal 2:7).  2) Babilonia era el tercer centro judío de la antigüedad. Cuando a los judíos se les concedió regresar a Israel bajo Ciro en 536 AC, solo un pequeño remanente regreso mientras que muchos miles de ellos se quedaron en Babilonia. Los escritos del Talmud Babilónico dan prueba concreta al hecho de que Babilonia era un centro mayor de vida y cultura judía. Ya que Pedro fue el apóstol especialmente designado para llevar el evangelio a los judíos, entonces encontrarlo en Babilonia (¡no en Roma!) en compañía de judíos es sencillo de creer. Si Pedro se aventuró a Roma o no como la historia de la iglesia no aria creer esta por esto en cuestión sin embargo permanece fuera del alcance de este breve estudio. No obstante, vemos que Pedro está escribiendo desde Babilonia, en compañía de otros judíos (los escogidos) a compañeros escogidos que estaban también en la diáspora (esto es, que no vivían en Israel).

Considerando que Pedro es el apóstol a los (elegidos) judíos y está escribiendo desde Babilonia a otros (elegidos) judíos facilita la interpretación  de dos epístolas.  En 1 Pedro capítulo 2 Pedro escribe concerniente a sus hermanos judíos (creyentes): “también vosotros, como piedras vivas, sed edificados como casa espiritual para un sacerdocio santo, para ofrecer sacrificios espirituales aceptables a Dios por medio de Jesucristo. Pero vosotros sois linaje escogido [nota: la palabra griega es genos (raza) no genea (generación) ver: LALB, o/y RV60], real sacerdocio, nación santa, pueblo adquirido para posesión de Dios, a fin de que anunciéis las virtudes de aquel que os llamó de las tinieblas a su luz admirable;” (1 Pe 2:5,9). Estas mismas palabras fueron usadas repetidamente en el Antiguo Testamento para describir a los judíos:

  • Ahora, pues, si diereis oído a mi voz, y guardareis mi pacto, vosotros seréis mi especial tesoro sobre todos los pueblos; porque mía es toda la tierra. (Ex 19:5)
  • Y vosotros me seréis un reino de sacerdotes, y gente santa. Estas son las palabras que dirás a los hijos de Israel. (Ex 19:6)
  • Porque tú eres pueblo santo para Jehová tu Dios; Jehová tu Dios te ha escogido para serle un pueblo especial, más que todos los pueblos que están sobre la tierra. (Deut 7:6)
  • Porque eres pueblo santo para el SEÑOR tu Dios; y el SEÑOR te ha escogido para que le seas un pueblo de su exclusiva posesión de entre los pueblos que están sobre la faz de la tierra. (Deut 14:2)
  • Porque el SEÑOR ha escogido a Jacob para sí, a Israel para posesión suya. (Sal 135:4)

El continua hablando a estos judíos expatriados: “pues vosotros en otro tiempo no erais pueblo, pero ahora sois el pueblo de Dios; no habíais recibido misericordia, pero ahora habéis recibido misericordia. (1Pe 2:10) El pasaje es tomado de Oseas 1:9 donde Dios, hablando a Israel, declara “Y el Señor dijo: Ponle por nombre Lo-ammí, porque vosotros no sois mi pueblo y yo no soy vuestro Dios. (Ose 1:9) Pedro esta demostrando que su condición previa ha sido deshecha en Cristo Jesús. Esta verdad es dada por Dios a través de Oseas “Con todo, será el número de los hijos de Israel como la arena del mar, que no se puede medir ni contar. Y en el lugar en donde les fue dicho: Vosotros no sois pueblo mío, les será dicho: Sois hijos del Dios viviente.” (Ose 1:10, ver también Ose 2:23)

Elegidos  Mas No Salvos

Así cuando leemos en 2 Pedro: “Así que, hermanos, sed tanto más diligentes para hacer firme vuestro llamado y elección de parte de Dios; porque mientras hagáis estas cosas nunca tropezaréis;” (2 Pe 1:10)  sabemos que Pedro está hablando a Judíos y que su elección no tiene nada que ver con salvación. ¡Por consiguiente, este no es un llamado Calvinista a nosotros para que de alguna manera nos aseguremos de que hemos sido escogidos para vida eterna! En vez de eso es un recordatorio al pueblo escogido a adoptar el hecho de que ellos fueron elegidos, escogidos por Dios para ser su especial tesoro. Sin embargo, su elección no es de ninguna manera una garantía absoluta de que heredaran vida eterna. Pablo corrobora este hecho en 2 Timoteo: “Por tanto, todo lo soporto por amor de los escogidos, para que ellos también obtengan la salvación que es en Cristo Jesús con gloria eterna.” (2 Tim 2:10)  Notemos bien que Pablo debe soportar por los elegidos, los judíos, para que ellos también sean salvos. Como hemos visto, elección no tiene nada que ver con salvación. Es más, elección es generalmente un término usado sobre los judíos, quienes por supuesto son, el pueblo escogido. Esto se confirma una vez más en Romanos 11, donde Pablo, quien está hablando sobre los judíos, declara “Así que en cuanto al evangelio, son enemigos por causa de vosotros; pero en cuanto a la elección, son amados por causa de los padres.” (Rom 11:28)

Los Elegidos en Romanos Son Israelitas

Parte del reto de entender Romanos es reconocer que Pablo les está hablando a los creyentes en Roma quienes son  ambos judíos y gentiles (no judíos). Aprendemos esto por la forma en que se dirige a sus lectores: “…del evangelio… es poder de Dios para salvación a todo aquel que cree; al judío primeramente, y también al griego.” (Rom 1:16) “judíos y griegos” es una combinación que usa a través de todo el libro, por ejemplo ver Romanos 2:9,10; 10:12. Romanos 2:17 Pablo habla específicamente a los judíos “He aquí, tú tienes el sobrenombre de judío, y te apoyas en la ley, y te glorías en Dios,” (Rom 2:17) Pablo entonces pregunta que ventaja tiene el judío (Rom 3:1) y el responde a su pregunta con  “Mucho, en todas maneras. Primero, ciertamente, que les ha sido confiada la palabra de Dios.” (Ro 3:2) En el capítulo cuatro Pablo habla de Abraham quien fue su padre según la carne “…Abraham, nuestro padre según la carne… (Rom 4:1 RV60). Así, Pablo estaba describiendo esencialmente a Abraham como: “nuestro (nacimiento) padre genético.” La Biblia NVI confirma esa traducción “Entonces,  ¿qué diremos en el caso de nuestro antepasado Abraham?” (Rom 4:1 NVI) Finalmente, Pablo restablece la aparente polémica entre los judíos y los griegos de la iglesia romana con siguiente conclusión “Porque no hay diferencia entre judío y griego, pues el mismo que es Señor de todos, es rico para con todos los que le invocan;” (Rom 10:12)

Habiendo observado que el libro de Romanos fue escrito en gran parte a los elegidos, los judíos, (ver también Hechos 18:2 y Romanos 16:3 con respecto a judíos romanos) al igual que a gentiles, ahora podemos ver que los muchos usos de la palabra “elegidos” no son referencias para salvación, predestinación etc. En vez de eso son referencias a los Israelitas (elegidos por Dios) “de los cuales son la adopción, la gloria, el pacto, la promulgación de la ley, el culto y las promesas; de quienes son los patriarcas, y de los cuales, según la carne, vino Cristo…” (Ro 9:4-5) Por lo tanto, la pregunta de Pablo “¿Quién acusará a los escogidos de Dios?” (Ro 8:33) no es calvinista (predestinado a vida eterna) sino es una referencia a los elegidos judíos (ver 1Cr 16:13, Sal 33:12, Sal 105:6, Sal 105:43, Sal 135:4, Isa 45:4, Isa 65:9, Isa 65:22). Este concepto es consistente a través de todo el libro.

Romanos 9:11 es la gran defensa en las Escrituras por excelencia, que Dios no ha desechado a Su pueblo. Pablo comienza la sección mostrando como Dios comenzó con Abraham y después escogió a Isaac sobre Ismael, y después Jacob sobre Esaú. Hablando de las dos naciones en el vientre de Rebeca, Pablo dice: “pues no habían aún nacido, ni habían hecho aún ni bien ni mal, para que el propósito de Dios conforme a la elección ekloge ἐκλογή  permaneciese, no por las obras sino por el que llama” (Ro 9:11) La elección no tiene nada que ver con predestinación calvinista sino con Dios eligiendo a Jacob en vez de a Esaú para ser el que recibiría los oráculos de Dios etc.

Elección de Gracia

Pablo continua en Romanos 11 “Y de la misma manera, también ha quedado en el tiempo presente un remanente conforme a la elección [ekloge εκλογή]  de la gracia de Dios.” (Ro 11:5)  Esto se dijo del encuentro de Elías y los 400 profetas israelitas de Baal. En el momento en que Elías pensó que todo estaba perdido, Dios le informo que tenía reservados 7000 que no han seguido las obras perversas de Baal. Y siendo de este modo, la mayoría de Israel, quienes han sido escogidos, elegidos por Dios para ser el conducto de la bendición al mundo, ha rechazado ese llamado especial. Esto concuerda con lo que Jesús declaro en Mateo 22:14  esos “pocos [los judíos] son escogidos” y ese pequeño grupo ha rechazado en su mayor parte la invitación que Dios les ha enviado para venir a las bodas. Pablo continua “¿Qué pues? Lo que buscaba Israel, no lo ha alcanzado; pero los escogidos [ekloge ἐκλογή]  sí lo han alcanzado, y los demás fueron endurecidos;” (Ro 11:7) debe notarse que la palabra elegidos es de hecho singular femenina, demostrando de que no esta hablando de “los elegidos” (plural masculino eklektoi   ἐκλἐκτοί) sino “elección”. Esto significa que en ambos casos Romanos 11:5 y 11:7 el termino es “elección” así la acción de Dios de seleccionar a Abraham, Isaac, Jacob para ser los recipientes de las promesas Ro 9:4-5). (La traducción de Wesley mantiene propiamente el matiz del sustantivo “la elección [ekloge ἐκλογή] lo ha alcanzado…” Ro 11:7 Wesley)   El contexto entero de los elegidos y elección tiene que ver con Israel como evidencia de la siguiente declaración de Pablo de como ellos, los judíos, “¿Acaso tropezaron para caer? ¡De ningún modo! Pero por su transgresión ha venido la salvación a los gentiles, para causarles celos.” (Ro 11:11)

La “elección de gracia” bíblica no es la idea de Calvin de Dios eligiendo a algunos para vida eterna y otros para maldición eterna; sino es Dios eligiendo a la raza judía, la cual fue basada puramente en la gracia de Dios y no en su justicia. Moisés lo indico plenamente muy temprano en su historia nacional “No por tu justicia, ni por la rectitud de tu corazón entras a poseer la tierra de ellos, sino por la impiedad de estas naciones Jehová tu Dios las arroja de delante de ti, y para confirmar la palabra que Jehová juró a tus padres Abraham, Isaac y Jacob.” (Deut 9:5)

Esa elección de gracia refiriéndose a la elección de Dios de los padres es más adelante establecida en el capítulo once: “Y si su transgresión es la riqueza del mundo, y su defección la riqueza de los gentiles, ¿cuánto más su plena restauración? Porque si su exclusión es la reconciliación del mundo, ¿qué será su admisión, sino vida de entre los muertos?” (Ro 11:12,15) Israel, como nación, rechazo la invitación de venir a la boda cuando el novio vino lo cual así se trasladó a los gentiles. De cualquier modo, la elección de gracia, esto es Dios haciendo promesas a Abraham, Isaac, Jacob y su simiente, es un llamado irrevocable es por qué Pablo dice sobre los judíos incrédulos: “Así que en cuanto al evangelio, son enemigos por causa de vosotros; pero en cuanto a la elección, son amados por causa de los padres. Porque irrevocables son los dones y el llamamiento de Dios.” (Ro 11:28-29) Probablemente Pablo tenía en mente Jeremías 31:35-37, entre otros pasajes,  cuando hablo de lo irrevocable de las promesas de Dios. Dios ha llamado a Israel a sí mismo y nunca los dejara ir completamente. “No ha desechado Dios a su pueblo, al cual desde antes conoció.” (Ro 11:2) Pedro también confirma de que Dios conoció de antemano a los israelitas: “a los expatriados de la dispersión  elegidos según la presciencia de Dios Padre” (1 Pe 1:1-2) Dios escogió a Abraham, Isaac, y Jacob, y a sus descendientes con un propósito especial.  Su elección de ellos no tiene nada que ver con idea Calvinista  de predestinación para vida eterna y maldición eterna. Aunque los judíos fueron elegidos, no fueron automáticamente salvos.  Ellos en su gran mayoría han rechazado la invitación a la boda y como tal fueron segados pero serán restaurados al final.

Presciencia

Presciencia es un compañero de elección, pero solo como elección, presciencia es una referencia general de Dios habiendo conocido a los Israelitas de antemano.  Considera la declaración definitiva de Pablo: “Digo, pues: ¿Ha desechado Dios a su pueblo? En ninguna manera. Porque también yo soy israelita, de la descendencia de Abraham, de la tribu de Benjamín. No ha desechado Dios a su pueblo, al cual desde antes conoció. [proginosko προγινώσκω].” (Ro 11:1-2) La palabra proginosko, al igual que elección, no tiene nada que ver con la predestinación de alguien para vida eterna o perdición eterna, como Calvin sugirió. “saber de antemano” y “presciencia” son simplemente un verbo y sustantivo de la misma raíz básica. Observa los siguientes versos que demuestran que saber algo antes de tiempo no es solamente posible para Dios sino también para el hombre y absolutamente no conlleva el concepto Calvinista: “Ellos me conocen desde hace mucho tiempo [proginosko προγινώσκω] y pueden atestiguar…” (Hch 26:5)  “Así que vosotros, oh amados, sabiéndolo de antemano [proginosko προγινώσκω], guardaos, no sea que arrastrados por el error de los inicuos, caigáis de vuestra firmeza.” (2 Pe 3:17) En ambos versículos, la palabra es la misma, presciencia y ninguna es la presciencia de Dios; es simplemente la del hombre. Ciertamente ninguna de esas dos expresiones conlleva ningún sentido de predestinación Calvinista.

Pedro habla de Jesús quien fue conocido antes de la fundación del y solo hasta ahora se dio a conocer “Porque Él estaba preparado [proginosko προγινώσκω] desde antes de la fundación del mundo, pero se ha manifestado en estos últimos tiempos por amor a vosotros” (1 Pe 1:20 LBLA) Testificamos antes de como Pedro se estaba dirigiendo a los judíos en su epístola a quienes el declara ser los elegidos de acuerdo al conocimiento de antemano de Dios: “…A los expatriados, de la dispersión…elegidos según el previo conocimiento [prognosis πρόγνωσις] de Dios Padre…” Por lo tanto, cuando venimos a Romanos 8 no deberíamos brincar a la definición Calvinista, sino a la definición “de Dios conoció de antemano a los judíos”. “Y sabemos que para los que aman a Dios, todas las cosas cooperan para bien, esto es, para los que son llamados conforme a su propósito. Porque a los que de antemano conoció [proginosko προγινώσκω], también los predestinó a ser hechos conforme a la imagen de su Hijo, para que Él sea el primogénito entre muchos hermanos; y a los que predestinó, a ésos también llamó; y a los que llamó…” (Ro 8:28-30) Aun el hecho de llamar encontramos dicho concerniente a Israel en el libro de Isaías  “Mas ahora, así dice el SEÑOR tu Creador, oh Jacob, y el que te formó, oh Israel: No temas, porque yo te he redimido, te he llamado por tu nombre; mío eres tú.” (Isa 43:1; ver también: 54:6; 1  Pe 1:15,2:9,5:10) En la medida en que nosotros los gentiles estemos injertados en el olivo, entonces compartimos el mismo propósito que Dios tiene para sus elegidos, los judíos. “tú, siendo un olivo silvestre, fuiste injertado entre ellas y fuiste hecho participante con ellas de la rica savia de la raíz del olivo, (Ro 11:17)

Los Versículos Sobre Elección Restantes

Hay un número restante de versículos que hablan sobre elección en el Nuevo Testamento. En luz de todo lo que hemos estudiado podemos saber confiadamente que no tienen nada que ver con la idea Calvinista de predestinación para salvación o maldición. Es más, en casi todos los casos, entenderlos   a ser una referencia de los judíos, los escogidos de Dios, es garantizado. Consideremos brevemente los versículos restantes. Cuando Jesús hablo de Dios vengando “¿…a sus escogidos, que claman a él día y noche?” (Luc 18:7) Él estaba hablando de los judíos.

“Rufo, escogido en el Señor, (Ro 16:13) pudo estar hablando de él siendo judío. Esto podría ser lo que hace más sentido más que los muchos otros (obviamente) hermanos y hermanas creyentes en el capítulo, solamente Rufo es llamado escogido, ¿si la definición Calvinista de elección fuera verdad, no eran también los otros herederos de vida eterna? Entendiendo que electo/elección no es salvación y es generalmente una referencia  de los judíos el pasaje hace completo sentido. Debe notarse que Priscila y Aquila, de Roma, eran también judíos y aun así no se les llama elegidos. ¿Podría ser que porque Pablo n o tenía nada que decir de sobre Rufo que simplemente dijo que él era un elegido/escogido en el Señor?

Efesios 1:4 debe mirarse en luz del pueblo escogido, Israel: “según nos escogió en él antes de la fundación del mundo, para que fuésemos santos y sin mancha delante de él,” (Efe 1:4). Sabemos que Pablo viajo a Éfeso y paso tres meses razonando con los judíos en las sinagogas (Hch 19:1-8). Así,  Efesios parece ser una vez más, para “los judíos primero y después los gentiles” paradigma.

La mención de elegidos en Colosenses es probablemente también una referencia a los judíos: “…como escogidos de Dios, santos y amados…” (Col 3:12) Colosas estaba en Asia (menor) y hemos visto como Pedro escribió a los de la dispersión que están en Asia. También sabemos que Pablo entro primero en la sinagoga local a donde quiera que fue en orden de persuadir a los judíos primeramente. Así, su carta a los Colosenses, localizados en Asia es muy posible una carta escrita en el principio de “los judíos primero y después los gentiles”. Esto es confirmado al mirar a los judíos en el día de Pentecostés: “Moraban entonces en Jerusalén judíos, varones piadosos, de todas las naciones bajo el cielo. Y estaban atónitos y maravillados, diciendo:… ¿Cómo, pues, les oímos nosotros hablar cada uno en nuestra lengua en la que hemos nacido? Partos, medos, elamitas, y los que habitamos en Mesopotamia, en Judea, en Capadocia, en el Ponto y en Asia, en Frigia y Panfilia, en Egipto y en las regiones de África más allá de Cirene, y romanos aquí residentes, tanto judíos como prosélitos, cretenses y árabes…” (Hch 2:5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

La carta a los Tesalonicenses es también una carta a los judíos primeramente y después a los gentiles. En Hechos 17 leemos “llegaron a Tesalónica, donde había una sinagoga de los judíos. Y Pablo, como acostumbraba, fue a ellos, y por tres días de reposo discutió con ellos, declarando y exponiendo por medio de las Escrituras… Y algunos de ellos creyeron, y se juntaron con Pablo y con Silas.” (Hch 17:1, 2, 4) Con eso en mente, podemos ver porque Pablo diría “Damos siempre gracias a Dios por todos vosotros, haciendo memoria de vosotros en nuestras oraciones… Porque conocemos, hermanos amados de Dios, vuestra elección. (1 Tes 1:2, 4) Una vez más, elección no es calvinista en su definición, sino Judía. De la misma manera Pablo en Tito 1:1 habla de la fe de los elegidos de Dios lo cual es muy posible que fue una referencia a la fe del pueblo judío.

El apóstol Juan escribió a “señora elegida y a sus hijos…” (2 Jn 1:1) Aunque hay un debate sobre si está dirigida a una mujer en particular y su familia inmediata o a toda la comunidad no es material para este estudio. De cualquier manera, el término elegido apuntaría de nuevo a una referencia de alguien étnicamente judía. La salutación también apunta a alguien quien es étnicamente judío. “Los hijos de tu hermana, la elegida, te saludan.” (2 Jn 1:13) No podemos ignorarlo sino pensar en la salutación de Pedro a los elegidos de la Diáspora y como los elegidos junto contigo en Babilonia (esto es compañeros Judíos) los saluda.

La ultima mención de los electos se encuentra en Apocalipsis 17 “Pelearán contra el Cordero, y el Cordero los vencerá, porque él es Señor de señores y Rey de reyes; y los que están con él son llamados y elegidos y fieles.” (Apo 17:14) Hemos visto que los elegidos y escogidos no se refieren al concepto Calvinista de elección. También hemos visto que elegidos en el Nuevo Testamento  casi siempre se refiere a Israelitas. Cuando el Señor Jesús regrese su comitiva absolutamente incluirá a Abraham, Isaac, y Jacob, y su simiente. La pregunta, como sea, es ¿Estarán también los gentiles en ese grupo? Dado el hecho de que nosotros los gentiles somos injertados en Israel (Ro 11:24) y disfrutamos las bendiciones que ello conlleva, podemos estar de que estaremos en ese número regresando con el Señor.

Conclusión

Venimos entonces al final de nuestro estudio habiendo visto que elegido y elección no tienen nada que ver con salvación, predestinado a vida o muerte eterna, ni absolutamente con ninguna definición Calvinista. Dios eligió sacerdotes, reyes, discípulos, Mesías, ángeles, y Jerusalén, los cuales no tienen nada que ver con ser predestinados para salvación. También miramos que elegido/escogido fue usado para cosas absurdas y de dioses falsos (por parte del hombre), una vez más el término no tiene nada que ver con ser predestinado para salvación. ¡Entonces venimos a la elección de Israel y vimos que en no menos de ocho versículos en el Antiguo Testamento Dios declara a Israel ser su elegido! Así cuando venimos al Nuevo Testamento pudimos ver  que elección/elegido/escogido nunca fue como una referencia a ser predestinado para salvación; de hecho, casi toda referencia de los elegidos fue para Israel. Miramos a los elegidos en la tribulación y vimos que estaba hablando de los judíos.  Vimos las epístolas de Pedro y encontramos la mención de los elegidos fue a los judíos.  Miramos el libro de romanos y una vez más, los judíos fueron los elegidos. Examinamos los versículos restantes que hablan de elección o de cuando Dios escoge y encontramos que más que nada se refieren a Israel como los elegidos.

Finalmente, consideramos el termino presciencia/ saber de antemano y encontramos que no es un término salvífico sino simplemente Dios o aun el hombre, saben cosas por adelantado. Con todo lo que hemos visto debemos entonces concluir que elección no es salvación. La definición que Calvin dio “De la eterna elección, por la cual Dios ha predestinado a algunos para salvación y otros para destrucción,” no se encuentra para nada en las Escrituras. Elección no tiene nada que ver con salvación o perdición. Es simplemente Dios o el hombre haciendo una elección. Como sea, el término “los elegidos” es más que nada, una referencia a Israel/ judíos quienes son por supuesto  los escogido de Dios. Las referencias de los elegidos en el Nuevo Testamento nunca hablan de del destino eterno de uno sino de que Dios escogió a alguien con un propósito en particular. En casi todas las referencias del Nuevo Testamento, los elegidos son de hecho los judíos. Sucede que el Nuevo Testamento está centrado en los judíos más de lo que la mayoría de nosotros nunca se imaginó. Las epístolas de Pablo, Santiago, Pedro, Hebreos y Juan son escritas a los judíos primero y después los gentiles. Personalmente, estoy muy satisfecho de que el plan de Dios se centre alrededor de Israel; nosotros los creyentes gentiles hemos sido injertados lo cual es suficiente para mí.

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Al menos que se indique de otra manera, todas la citas de las Escrituras marcadas NKJV son de la New King James Versión, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson, Inc. Usada con permiso. Todos los derechos Reservados. Citas de Escritura Hebrea son de la Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Copyright © 1967/77, 1983 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Usada con permiso. Las Escrituras Griegas del Antiguo Testamento son de Septuaginta.  Las citas del Nuevo Testamento en Griego son del Nuevo Testamento en Griego de acuerdo a la forma del Texto Bizantino, editado por Maurice A. Robinson y William G. Pierpont, edición 2000. Citas de las Escrituras marcadas “KJV” son tomadas de la Santa Biblia, versión King James, Cambridge, 1769. Citas de las Escrituras marcadas “NET” son tomadas de la New English Translation [archivo de computadora]: Biblia NET. Edición electrónica. Dallas, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 1998. Usada con permiso. Todos los derechos reservados. Todas las citas Bíblicas has sido retraídas usando the Word Bible Software www.theword.net. Todos los énfasis de los versos de las Escrituras son míos. Todos los derechos reservados. Esta publicación podría ser reproducida siempre y cuando el propio crédito sea dado a Douglas Hamp con www.douglashamp.com

 

 

Sons of Seth or Fallen Angels?

The notion that Genesis 6 ‘sons of God’ is a reference to ‘the sons of Seth’ is surprisingly popular despite the fact that the Bible is replete with evidence that the sons of God in Genesis 6:1-4 were fallen angels (demons) and despite the fact that all of the ancient Jewish and Ante-Nicene Christian commentators believed the “sons of God” to be referring to demons (fallen angels).

Augustine of Hippo

The first, as far as we can see, to definitively deny the sons of God as being angels was Augustine of Hippo of the fifth century, approximately seventy five years after the drafting of the Nicene Creed. Augustine did much to spiritualize the history of the Bible and twist a simple straightforward reading of the Bible. His method of Bible interpretation made a profound impact and his legacy remains even to this day. Many centuries after Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, a doctor of the Catholic Church in the 13th century, quotes in his magnum opus, Summa Theologica, from Augustine’s work City of God (De Civ. Dei xv) concerning the sons of Seth:

Many persons affirm that they have had the experience, or have heard from such as have experienced it, that the Satyrs and Fauns, whom the common folk call incubi, have often presented themselves before women, and have sought and procured intercourse with them. Hence it is folly to deny it. But God’s holy angels could not fall in such fashion before the deluge. Hence by the sons of God are to be understood the sons of Seth, who were good; while by the daughters of men the Scripture designates those who sprang from the race of Cain. [i] Nor is it to be wondered at that giants should be born of them; for they were not all giants, albeit there were many more before than after the deluge. Still if some are occasionally begotten from demons, it is not from the seed of such demons, nor from their assumed bodies, but from the seed of men taken for the purpose; as when the demon assumes first the form of a woman, and afterwards of a man; just as they take the seed of other things for other generating purposes, as Augustine says (De Trin. iii), so that the person born is not the child of a demon, but of a man, [ii] (emphasis mine).

The Irish Giant 12′ Tall. Son of Seth or Nephilim?

Just as Augustine fallaciously suggested the sons of God were the so called “godly line of Seth,” the daughters of men have been labeled as being from the “ungodly line of Cain”. Augustine says, “By the daughters of men the Scripture designates those who sprang from the race of Cain,” (Augustine as quoted in Summa Theologica, Aquinas). We must ask the important question – where in Scripture does it say such a thing? Augustine makes the claim above that Scripture designates those daughters as coming from the race of Cain, but just where do we see that? The answer is that we simply do not. It was first tentatively considered by Julius Africanus and then completely invented by Augustine and then repeated by all who would follow in his footsteps ever since. If the term “sons of God” refers to the “sons of Seth” as so many suggest, then why does the text not simply state it? Unfortunately neither Augustine nor Aquinas substantiates the claim. They simply presume their statement to be true and offer no biblical proof. Augustine states that “Scripture designates” that the daughters of men “sprang from the race of Cain”. But where in Scripture does it say that? Sadly, their unbiblical assertion has left its mark in the modern day creating a great deal of confusion regarding what the Bible literally teaches.

Calvin’s Interpretation

John Calvin in the 17th century carried on the tradition started by Augustine that the sons of God are in fact the sons of Seth. He states in his commentary:

The principle is to be kept in memory, that the world was then as if divided into two parts; because the family of Seth cherished the pure and lawful worship of God, from which the rest had fallen. Now, although all mankind had been formed for the worship of God, and therefore sincere religion ought everywhere to have reigned; yet since the greater part had prostituted itself, either to an entire contempt of God, or to depraved superstitions; it was fitting that the small portion which God had adopted, by special privilege, to himself, should remain separate from others. It was, therefore, base ingratitude in the posterity of Seth, to mingle themselves with the children of Cain, and with other profane races; because they voluntarily deprived themselves of the inestimable grace of God. For it was an intolerable profanation, to pervert, and to confound, the order appointed by God. It seems at first sight frivolous, that the sons of God should be so severely condemned, for having chosen for themselves beautiful wives from the daughters of men. But we must know first, that it is not a light crime to violate a distinction established by the Lord; secondly, that for the worshippers of God to be separated from profane nations, was a sacred appointment which ought reverently to have been observed, in order that a Church of God might exist upon earth; thirdly, that the disease was desperate, seeing that men rejected the remedy divinely prescribed for them. In short, Moses points it out as the most extreme disorder; when the sons of the pious, whom God had separated to himself from others, as a peculiar and hidden treasure, became degenerate, (emphasis mine). [iii]

Calvin rightly describes the world as being wicked, but he vainly asserts that the world had been “divided into two parts.” Where do we see such an idea in the Bible? He also introduces his deterministic philosophy of predestination by stating that apparently the sons of Seth were adopted by “special privilege.” His denial of who the sons of God truly were creates a tremendous amount of confusion that has clouded the interpretation of the text for potentially millions of people over the centuries. Furthermore, nowhere do we see that the daughters of men are from the so called ungodly line of Cain.

Calvin continues with his unbiblical prohibition of inter-class marriages. Notice that again he does not offer any biblical support for any of his positions. He does not seek to prove his point with Scripture but with opinion and conjecture. Having simply asserted his position, Calvin then ridicules the ‘sons of God as demons [m1] ‘ interpretation.

That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious. The opinion also of the Chaldean paraphrase is frigid; namely, that promiscuous marriages between the sons of nobles, and the daughters of plebeians, is condemned. Moses, then, does not distinguish the sons of God from the daughters of men, because they were of dissimilar nature, or of different origin; but because they were the sons of God by adoption, whom he had set apart for himself; while the rest remained in their original condition, (Calvin Commentary Genesis 6:1 emphasis mine).

We have already seen how “sons of God” is used in Scripture – furthermore that there were no human “sons of God” before the resurrection of Jesus. However Calvin introduces great confusion into the text by dogmatically declaring that God’s terms are very capricious and that they sometimes mean one thing in one context and quite another someplace else. The simple biblical definition, as we have seen, is that sons of God are direct creations of God. Calvin is unable to define sons of God because of bad exegesis.

Should anyone object, that they who had shamefully departed from the faith, and the obedience which God required, were unworthy to be accounted the sons of God; the answer is easy, that the honor is not ascribed to them, but to the grace of God, which had hitherto been conspicuous in their families. For when Scripture speaks of the sons of Godsometimes it has respect to eternal election, which extends only to the lawful heirs; sometimes to external vocations according to which many wolves are within the fold; and though in fact, they are strangers, yet they obtain the name of sons, until the Lord shall disown them. Yea, even by giving them a title so honorable, Moses reproves their ingratitude, because, leaving their heavenly Father, they prostituted themselves as deserters, (emphasis mine). [iv]

Now, to support his presuppositions, he must explain away the giants (Nephilim) that are introduced in Genesis 6:4 and are the result of the sons of God (or as he would say the sons of Seth) and the daughters of men (or as he would say the daughters of Cain).

Moses does not indeed say, that they were of extraordinary stature, but only that they were robust. Elsewhere, I acknowledge, the same word denotes vastness of stature, which was formidable to those

Goliath was a Nephilim

Goliath was a Nephilim

who explored the land of Canaan, (Jos 13:33.) But Moses does not distinguish those of whom he speaks in this place, from other men, so much by the size of their bodies, as by their robberies and their lust of dominion, (emphasis mine). [v]

He downplays the fact that the fruit of the union between the sons of God and daughters of men were men of extraordinary size. He simply asserts that they were “great” in their evil. His interpretation is unfounded and he is not completely honest here for the word (Nephilim) used in both places is exactly the same. Calvin and numerous others turn to Genesis 4:26 in order to substantiate their case. Hawker’s Poor Man’s Commentary is very typical of those that leap to the conclusion that sons of God must be referring to the Sons of Seth.

Observe the different expressions: sons of God, and daughters of men. If you turn to Gen 4:26 you there discover that the children of Seth are said to call on the name of the Lord; including both sons and daughters; and hence, therefore, these are meant by the sons of God. [vi]

They suggest that this passage in some way proves that the term “sons of God” is really a hidden meaning for sons of Seth. Let’s take a look at the passage to see if their claims are valid.

Seth and His Sons

Seth appears a total of seven times in both the Old Testament and the New Testament (NKJV). We get a brief glimpse of his life by stringing together all of the passages [vii] that speak of him.

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth […], and as for Seth, to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then men began to call on the name of the LORD, (Genesis 4:25-26).
And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died. (Genesis 5:3-4, 6-8).

Here 130 years after creation, Adam has a son named Seth; then 105 years after that Seth had a son named Enosh. Thus we learn that a total of 235 years after creation men began to call upon the name of the Lord. The Hebrew term for Lord is YHWH which is the personal name of God. God told Moses: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai שַׁדָּ֑י אֵ֣ל], but by My name LORD [YHWH יְהוָה] I was not known to them,” (Exodus 6:3). Thus to think that this was the first time that humans began to worship the Lord is unfounded. Rather we simply read that they began to use his personal name at that point for some purpose. While it appears to have begun with a son of Seth, we should not infer that it was limited to that line. After all, the Hebrew text very literally says az hukhal likro beshem YHWH [בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָֽה לִקְרֹ֖א הוּחַ֔ל אָ֣ז] “then was begun (the) calling by (with, in) the name YHWH” (translation mine). The term hukhal (הוּחַל) is the passive (hophal) of begin. The subject of the verb hukhal is “calling” (likro’ לִקְרֹא). The word “men” does not even appear in the text. Thus we see that apparently, up until that point, men were not invoking God by His proper name. It could be that they didn’t know it, though we cannot be sure. Nevertheless this reading of the verse does not in any way substantiate the notion that Seth’s sons were the sons of God. Another reading is possible which may clarify the passage.

A Possible Translation

Conversely, the verb hukhal (הוּחַל) comes from the root (חלל) the basic meaning is “to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin” according to Brown Driver Briggs’ [viii] Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible. Thus, the alternative reading would be “then calling by the name of YHWH was profaned”. This alternative reading actually finds endorsement by the ancient Aramaic Targumim. Targum Onkelos interprets the passage as:

And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. Then in his days the sons of men desisted [חָלוּ] (or forbore) from praying in the name of the Lord, (Genesis 4:26, Targum Onkelos, emphasis mine).

Targum Jonathan is similar though it amplifies that reading even more:

And to Sheth also was born a son, and he called his name Enosh. That was the generation in whose days they began to err [למטעי], and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the name of the Word of the Lord, (Genesis 4:26, Targum Jonathan, emphasis mine).

While neither “began” nor “profane” supports the sons of Seth theory, the latter would seem to make more sense in light of the entire story of the Bible. The divine name seems to have been known from the very beginning of creation. Adam was familiar with it because he heard the voice of the LORD (YHWH) God in the garden after he had sinned. Calling by the name of the Lord was until that time respected and honored but it was in the days of Enosh when calling by the name of the Lord was defiled. God then destroyed the world because of the continual wickedness. Noah retains knowledge of the name and then apparently at the tower of Babel the name is forgotten or lost. God chooses not to reveal His name again until Moses has the encounter at the burning bush.

The Sons of Seth Were Not Sons of God

Regardless of which reading we take, there is simply no evidence whatsoever to support the concept that Genesis 4:26 can be used to interpret the sons of God as the sons of Seth. There is no indication that Seth’s sons were somehow more godly than the rest of humanity. Furthermore, it must not be missed that Adam lived another 800 years after begetting Seth and that he had sons and daughters. Likewise “Seth lived eight hundred and seven years and had sons and daughters,” (Genesis 5:7). All of the sons and daughters of Seth as well as the sons and daughters of Cain were in fact sons (and daughters) of Adam. Technically speaking every human ever born on this planet is a son or daughter of Adam; the Hebrew language uses the term to mean “human”. Thus the text is driving home the point that there are two dissimilar groups: the daughters of Adam on the one hand and the sons of God on the other. To suggest that the daughters of men were actually the daughters of Cain is fanciful. Rather, the daughters of Adam are contrasted with the sons of God: the daughters of men were human and the sons of God were not.

Furthermore, we can in no way infer that all of these sons and daughters remained so godly that they would be distinguished from the sons of Cain. After all, only eight people were saved out of the entire world. These sons of Seth must not have been so godly after all. Simply put, the sons of God do not refer to the lineage of Seth, but to direct creations of God, which before the redeeming work of Christ was limited to Adam himself and to angels. Therefore, the sons of God in Genesis six refers to fallen angels who had relations with human women.

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[viii] Brown Driver Briggs (BDB) Hebrew English Lexicon provides the following definition. The most common definition is “1. to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate, begin”. BDB then goes on to give the various forms of how the root is used in each of the binyanim (verbal paradigms). In the a. (Niphal) it means to: 1. to profane oneself, defile oneself, pollute oneself; b. ritually; c. sexually; 1. to be polluted, be defiled; d. (Piel): 1. to profane, make common, defile, pollute; 2. to violate the honour of, dishonour; 3. to violate (a covenant); 4. to treat as common; e. (Pual) to profane (name of God); f. (Hiphil): 1. to let be profaned; 2. to begin; g. (Hophal) to be begun”(emphasis mine). The Hophal is simply the passive of the Hiphil – therefore, if the Hiphil occasionally means to let be profaned then the one occurrence of the Hophal might also be translated as profaned rather than begin.

Reader Comments on ‘Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists’

I received this email and wanted to share it and encourage you to read or listen or watch Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists. I believe the identity of Israel is foundational for the study of the end times.

This morning I listened to “Why God Did Not Elect Cavlinists” while I was getting ready for work. Having grown up in a Bible church, spending a decade in a Christian Reformed church and being back in a Bible church for the past year the issue of Calvinism/Election/Free Will has been tough to reconcile. That is, until today! Thank you for your sound teaching. This morning it “clicked” and there is really nothing to reconcile. I had never really thought about John Calvin’s (and other reformers) propensity to interpret scripture through their anti-Semitic lens. It’s no wonder he had to apply election to salvation since he believed the Jews were irrelevant (or worse). Again, thanks! I do find it humorous that Calvin wrote that the Jews should suffer unmercifully and without pity because of their continued hard-heartedness (my paraphrase). But, if I apply Calvin’s own logic, they have no choice in the matter because it is God who draws to His irresistible grace. It makes no sense at all. I am new to your teaching and will continue to listen. Blessings to you, my friend. K. W. Grand Junction, Colorado

 

 

The Elect in Matthew 24: Jews or Gentiles?

Who are the elect that Jesus spoke of when He said “for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened”?  Who are the elect to whom “false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders…”? Finally, who are the elect He spoke of when He said “Immediately after the tribulation of those days… he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”?  (Matt 24:22, 24, 29, 31)

The Calvinist doctrine teaches “the elect” means those who have been chosen to receive eternal life (they are saved). If “elect” = “saved” then the elect in Matthew 24 would necessarily be talking about believers in general. What we see, however, is that God repeatedly calls the Jews “the elect [ones (plural)]” in the Hebrew Scriptures and we likewise see , “the elect [ones (plural)]” in the New Testament is also a reference to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that is, the Jews. Consequently, Jesus’ reference to the elect in Matthew 24 is not speaking of the believers at large, but specifically of ethnic Israel (who believe). This conclusion is more thoroughly demonstrated in my complete paper and video “Why God Did Not Elect Calvinists,” or watch the video here. Furthermore, the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24 is not referring to Gentile believers before the tribulation but believing Jews after the tribulation. John Calvin plainly taught that election meant: “All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” [1] Lest we think that is wrenching Calvin out of context, Calvinist Loraine Boettner clarifies: “The Doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as others are foreordained to life.” [2] The good news, however, is that “election, elect, chosen” (and the derivatives) are terms that have nothing to do with one’s eternal destiny. Scripture does speak at length of “the elect” and “the chosen” but these terms are devoid of the Calvinistic sense of someone who has been elected to receive eternal life. Conversely, the term elect and its derivatives are not salvific in meaning but simply refer to persons or things that are chosen for a particular purpose and the purpose has nothing to do with eternal life. Once the definition of the word is established biblically, the foundation of Calvinism will be undermined and will collapse and the true identity of the elect in Matthew 24 will come into view. The word elect (Greek verb: eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι; Hebrew verb: bakhar בָּחַר) means to choose, select. The elect or chosen (as nouns or adjectives) are those people or things that have been elected, selected, or chosen for a particular purpose by someone. For example, God chose Levi to minister forever “… the LORD your God hath chosen [bakhar בָּחַר Greek LXX eklexetai εκλεξηται]…” Deut 18:5 (see also 1 Chr 15:2).  God and the people chose Saul to be the first king of Israel: “…behold the king whom you have chosen and whom ye have desired! And behold, the LORD hath set a king over you,” (1Sam 12:13). Saul’s election by God to be king had nothing to do with eternal life and his removal from being king likewise had nothing to do with eternal life. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, ​he hath also rejected thee from being king,” (1 Sam 15:23) – he was simply removed from his post. Judas is analogous to Saul in many ways because they were both elected for a purpose (not salvation, per se) yet they both forfeited their election.[3] God’s election of Messiah further demonstrates that the term elect/election is devoid of the Calvinistic concept of eternal life. “My Servant… Mine elect [בְּחִירִי bekhiri LXX: eklektos εκλεκτος] in whom My soul delighteth… (Isa 42:1, see also Isaiah 49:7). This title was used of Jesus on the cross “… ‘let Him save Himself if he be Christ, the chosen of God.’” (Luke 23:35 see also 1 Pet 2:4, 6). Jesus was unquestionably chosen, elected, predestined by God to be the Messiah but His election was not for His salvation; He was chosen by the Father to give us eternal life because he is the source of life! God also elected for Jerusalem to be His city and for His name to be there, (1 Kgs 8:44, 11:32, 36; 2 Chr 6:6; Ps 132:13). God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Jesus pointed out that the guests chose (eklegomai εκλέγομαι) the best seats, (Luke 14:8). Our conclusion from each of the examples is that election has nothing to do with predestination to eternal life. God chose priests, kings and Jerusalem for His purposes and man chose both God and idols. Again, we would be wrong to try to insert the concept of eternal life into the term election.

The Election of Israel

While election is made by God and men of people and places, there is a usage that stands out uniquely in Scripture: God’s chosen people, the elect, are the Israelites. The title “chosen/elect” is in many verses in Scripture. The use of the title “elect” to describe Israel becomes very important when we venture into the New Testament because it clears up many theological, soteriological, and eschatological issues including the identity of the elect in Matthew 24.

  1. God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself. (Deut 7:6).
  2. The LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto Himself. (Deut 14:2)
  3. O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones! (1 Chr 16:13)
  4. The people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Ps 33:12)
  5. O ye Seed of Abraham his servant, ye children of Jacob his chosen. (Ps 105:6)
  6. He brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness. (Ps 105:43)
  7. For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (Ps 135:4)
  8. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect… (Isa 45:4)
  9. I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob… mine elect shall inherit it. (Isa 65:9)
  10. … the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. (Isa 65:22)

The verses above demonstrate how God has specifically called Israel, Jacob, the Seed of Abraham His chosen. Thus “the chosen” or “my chosen” and “the elect” (in the plural) refer to ethnic Israel.  This point is proven by Paul who, in a synagogue on the Sabbath day in Antioch, read from the Law and Prophets and then spoke to his fellow Jews: “Men of Israel… give audience: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers…’” (Acts 13:16, 17). Thus, the election of Israel is corroborated by Paul in the New Testament as well.

The Elect in Peter’s Epistles Are Jewish

Peter likewise uses the term elect to describe the Jews: “…to the strangers scattered throughout elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” (1 Pet 1:1-2) The word “scattered” (Greek diaspora διασπορά) was used to describe the scattering among the nations that God had promised to the Jews (Israel) if they would not follow Him (Lev 26:33; Deut 4:27; Neh 1:8, etc.; the LXX uses the same Greek word as the NT). James, in his epistle, could not be any clearer that the diaspora is Israel when he says: “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad [en te diaspora. εν τη διασπορα]: greetings.” (James 1:1).Thus James and Peter were writing to Jews in the diaspora. In 1 Peter chapter two Peter describes his Jewish (believing) brethren with words used repeatedly in the Old Testament to describe the Jewish people.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. But ye [are] a chosen generation [note: the Greek word is genos (race) not genea (generation) see: NASB], a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. (1 Pet 2:5, 9) “…ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people… ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation.” (Ex 19:5, 6)
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.” (Deut 7:6)
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people” (Deut 14:2)
For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.” (Ps 135:4)

Their election, however, is by no means a guarantee that they will inherit eternal life (just as Judas was elect yet foolishly rejected the invitation.) Paul corroborates this fact so clearly in 2 Timothy: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory…” (2 Tim 2:10) Paul endured many things for the elect, the Jews, which again demonstrates election has nothing to do with salvation.

The “Few Chosen” Are Israelites

Speaking with the Pharisees in Matthew 22, Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a King who prepared a wedding feast for His Son. Those that were invited to the wedding feast were not interested in coming so the King sent His servants out calling everyone who would come. Therefore, Jesus’ statement “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matt 22:14; see also Matt 20:16) must be interpreted in light of who are the chosen – that is the Jews! The chosen, elect (the Jews) were the ones to whom the promise of the Messianic Age was first given.[4]However, when the bridegroom came many of them were not willing to come and therefore God the Father gave instruction for the many to be called to the feast as well as the chosen. Knowing that the elect are the Jews completely rules out any Calvinistic interpretation of the passage and unlocks the passage for us. Note that both the called and chosen still needed salvation as indicated by the man found without a wedding garment who was cast out.

The Elect in the Tribulation

We can now consistently interpret the elect in Matthew 24; they are not Gentile believers in the tribulation, but are God’s chosen and the days will be shortened for their sake. Why? Because it is specifically called the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble (Jer 30:7).  John saw in his vision how “there was a war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon…and his angels.” (Rev 12:7). Daniel received the same information about that war in which Michael fights on behalf of the Jews, “at that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people [Israel]; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time [reiterated by Jesus in Matt 24:21]: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.” (Dan 12:1). When we continue reading in Revelation 12 we see “the dragon … persecuted the woman which brought forth the man childand went to make war with the remnant of her seed.”(Rev 12:13, 17). Again, Satan’s The Elect in the Tribulation are the Jewswrath is against the Jews. In Daniel 7 we see the same thing; the Little Horn (Antichrist) “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them,” (Dan 7:21). So too in Revelation 13 the war is against the Jews “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them,” (Rev 13:7). Also in the parallel passage, “he…shall wear out the saints of the most High…and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time, (Dan 7:25). Notice the saints (Jews are given into his hand for 3 ½ years (1260 days), which is the same as in Revelation 12 “the woman [Israel] fled into the wilderness, a thousand two hundred and threescore days,” (Rev 12:6).  In each of those parallel passages, the Jews are the ones under the gun. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble which is why Jesus spoke of the days needing to be shortened on behalf of the Jews, God’s elect.

Deceiving the Elect

Jesus said “false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect,” that is the Jews[5]. (Matt 24:24)  We know they will be deceived because they confirm a covenant in Daniel 9:27, and the abomination of desolation is successfully erected in a (deceptively) rebuilt temple (Matt 24:15 and Dan 11:31). (This is the covenant they make with death in Isaiah 28:18.) Two thirds of the Jews will tragically die during the tribulation and deception will be a means to accomplish it.

Gathering of the Elect

Then “immediately after the tribulation of those days … he shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other,” (Matt 24:29, 31). Jesus used the language of Isaiah 11 to describe the gathering of the elect, an obvious reference to the Jews: “he… shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth,” (Isa 11:12). The gathering of the Jews is further predicted in Isaiah 43:5, 54:7, and Zech 2:6. The gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 is not the church at large, but the gathering of the Jews after the tribulation. If we don’t see the pre-trib rapture in Matthew 24:31, then where do we find it? Perhaps the strongest evidence we have for a pre-trib rapture comes to us from the Hebrew Scriptures. The familiar passage in I Thessalonians 4, which speaks of the rapture, closely parallels the book of Isaiah. Both passages have the same order of events: 1) the dead rise first, 2) the living go away, hidden behind a door, 3) Jesus/God comes to punish the world. Thy dead [men] shall live, [together with] my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew [is as] the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain, (Isa 26:19-21). There is a rapture of those who believe in Jesus – for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. Thus discovering that the elect in Matthew 24:31 is not the rapture of the (Gentile) church does not invalidate the pre-trib rapture. It simply demonstrates that God has a bigger plan for the Jews, who are His elect.

Conclusion

In this brief overview we have seen that elect and election have nothing to do with salvation, predestined to eternal life or death, nor any Calvinistic definition. God elected priests, kings, disciples, Messiah, angels, and Jerusalem – all of which had nothing to do with being predestined to salvation. We then came to the election of Israel and saw that in no less than ten verses in the Old Testament God declared Israel to be His elect! Thus, when we turned to the New Testament we could see that elect/election/chosen never was there as a reference to being predestined to salvation. Peter wrote to believing Jews (elect); Paul endured things for the sake of the elect (the Jews). Therefore, “the elect [ones (plural)]” does not mean “saved,” but simply someone or something elected for a particular purpose. God specifically elected the Jews, among other things, to be the special guests at the marriage supper of the Lamb, and many rejected the invitation; they, like everyone, need to put on a wedding garment of salvation, to be accepted in. When the time of Jacob’s trouble occurs, Satan will focus on the Jewish people. It is for their sakes that the days will be shortened and false messiahs and prophets will come to deceive them in particular. Lastly, the gathering in Matthew 24:31 is not the rapture of the (Gentile) church; rather, Jesus will send out his angels to gather his elect, Israel, after the time of Jacob’s trouble.   All Scripture quotations are from The King James Version. Hebrew Scripture quotations are from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Copyright © 1967/77, 1983 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart. Used by permission. The Greek Old Testament Scriptures are from the Septuagint. New Testament Greek quotations are from the Greek New Testament according to the Byzantine Text form, edited by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont, 2000 edition. All Scripture quotations have been retrieved using theWord Bible Software www.theword.net. All emphasis of Scripture verses is mine.



[1] Calvin Institutes of the Christian Religion 3:21:5
[2] Loraine Boettner The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination 1932 from 2000 bible study centre™ DIGITAL LIBRARY p. 104-5; For a similar statement see: James R. White, The Potter’s Freedom, Amityville, NY: Calvary Press, 2000, p. 39
[3] “Jesus answered them, ‘Have not I chosen [eklegomai ἐκλέγομαι] you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’” (John 6:70).
[4] See how Isaiah 2, 4, 11, 60-66 and more passages speak of the Messianic age in which the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be God’s special people.
[5] Mark’s Gospel adds “…for the elect’s sake, whom He chose…” (Mark 13:20) emphasizing those whom God chose: the Jews.