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Posts Tagged ‘Predestination’

“Wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? (Ge.29:25)”

Jacob’s flight to Haran and his sojourn in the House of Laban were foreordained. While at Bethel God had visited him and also blessed him thus: ‘..In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ Sounds familiar is it not? We read it the chapter 12 when God called out Abraham from Haran. God’s promises are not scaled down because Jacob was deceitful and had unfairly won the birth right from his elder brother. God introduces Himself as ‘the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac:’ Predestination does not mean that man is not responsible for his actions good or bad.

Having deceived his aged father and won the blessing reserved for Esau, he met his match at last in Laban. He slaved for seven years for the hand of Rachel. What are seven years or seventy, for that matter? (By the way the number seven is significant, meaning a period that would in the lexicon of the Spirit mean ‘adequate under the circumstance’, and perfect). His love for Rachel was such the years seemed unto him but a few days. This love like his earnestness to covet blessings that birth right carried, is not a trifle but required time to be placed in proper perspective of God. Man calls it suffering when his expectations are dashed. In Jacob’s case Laban played the bait and switch game of a con artist and it worked. Jacob in his own way had set it up. God let him mature in hard service under one who ever kept changing his word. When God had taken over his life (even before he was born) he compensated the seven years stint in the House of Laban which works even now.

We are in the House of Laban in a manner of speaking. We serve a hard taskmaster who always shortchanges our blood and sweat and rewards with wealth that never can keep us in comfort we crave. Gift of God? Love. Such was love that Jacob felt for Rachel. It took the sting out of his existence.

What we call as sufferings is often our own making. We cut into fair share of another without a second thought, and later when we are denied justice in most atrocious manner by another, we hardly remember we had set the ball rolling. Thus it was with Jacob whose expectations were dashed and also sweat of his labour was only to keep the wily father-in-law in luxury. So at human level we reap what we sow but for a child of God there is post script written by God namely: “All things work together for good …who are the called according to his purpose (Ro.8:28).”

Benny

 

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Predestination is conditional. If God’s promise to Abraham was foreordained, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed God ‘ would not have necessitated God to renew the same blessing to the son. He commanded Isaac ‘Go not down into Egypt..(Ge.26:2).’Interestingly enough God had let Abraham move to Egypt earlier in a similar circumstance ‘when there was a famine in the land’ (Ge.12:10). Consequently Isaac dwelt in Gerar in obedience to His commandment.  After Abraham was buried by his sons, God appeared unto Isaac and renewed his promise to his father. It was conditional where faith of Isaac like his father had to match with His faith. It is personal . Misconception of predestination as taught by some sects makes Atonement a feeble copy of God’s glory. SFor the same reason denying free will would be heresy. We have its perfect example in Jesus. He was God the Son and yet he obeyed God. Free will was not his personal glory but laying it for the greater glory of his Father. He did so he fitted the expression, ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Re.13:8)’. So predestination of God is Obedience on the part of the Son for the glory of the father. It must be thus with every one who would be called child of God. Hunting with the dogs may be activism of the evangelicals and on Sundays running with the hares cannot be called as the hallmark of Christians.

In the parable of the Two Sons (Mt.21:28-31) the elder refused to go to the vineyard. His free will allowed him to say no to his father. But he regretted of letting down his father so he went to the vineyard after all. In his obedience he glorified his Father. His younger brother paid lip service to his father but exercised his free will. From this we have the significance of predestination and free will.

For those who are interested may I suggest a few books: Marginalia in 2 volumes The Immanuel Factor.Under Bible Study Helps I recommend my readers.

Benny

 

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“And by thy sword shall thou live, and shall serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that shalt break his yoke from off thy neck (Ge. 27:40).”

Here we can understand that Blessings of God carry responsibility. It is between God and Man. Blessings flow from the greater to the lesser. When you examine this still further what do we get? Predestination of God and free will of man.

Predestination is a characteristic of Power and Wisdom of God and it is not completely hidden from man. God had acquainted Abraham in broad strokes at the outset how that would be in his case. His seed shall sojourn in Egypt for long and He would bring them back with a mighty hand in his Time. Time is of essence.

Having blessed Jacob what might have been his, Isaac had for Esau some consolation that would occur only in case Israel failed to live up to the promises of God, This blessing,- a left-handed blessing, enlightens us to the above concepts.

Predestination is conditional. Patriarch Isaac had to know Him as his father did. For this reason after Abraham was buried by his sons, God appeared unto Isaac and told him ‘Go not down into Egypt..(Ge.26:2)’ Interestingly enough God had let Abraham move to Egypt earlier in a similar circumstance ‘when there was a famine in the land’ (Ge.12:10). Consequently Isaac dwelt in Gerar in obedience to His commandment. Free will for a saint is to make sure the faith component is same. Obedience it is called. We have its perfect example in Jesus. He was God the Son. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name (Phi.2:8-9).” He had free will seeing all things were made by him and through him (Jn.1:3; Col.1:16). As Son of man he set an example. Predestination in his case is explained by the expression, ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Re.13:8)’. Using the same reply he gave John at the water baptism by Jordan ‘For thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness (Mt.3:15) He submitted himself from the foundation of the world to reveal righteousness of God in his form. Here we have obedience in its perfect form.

In denying free will some sects are hacking at the very doctrine of Atonement. Obedience of the Son made his sacrifice perfect.

Benny

 

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“And Isaac intreated the Lord for his wife, because she(Rebekah) was barren…(Ge.25:21)”

Who was Isaac? He was the elect already in the eyes of God. God visited Abraham at a period of distress over Ishmael who was cast out by Sarah along with the lad’s mother. He had at the end assured the patriarch thus: ‘…In Isaac shall thy seed be called (Ge.21:12).’ It turned out later that Rebekah was infertile. Isaac intreats God for relieving her condition and we read that ‘the Lord was intreated of him and Rebekah his wife conceived.’ Predestination had settled on Isaac as the elect but his faith had to be nudged and raised to the level God required. Isaac interceded for his wife. Rebekah like Eve was brought into the promise through her association with Isaac. While the Spirit uses Eve as a forerunner of the Church, Rebekah prefigures Jerusalem ‘which is mother of us all,(Ga.4:26).’ In the case of two nations that struggled in her bowels we have one who shall be deemed the elect and the other left out church.

The Bride of Christ shall be made up of believers of both gentile and Jewish persuasion. A remnant of the nation of Israel shall be saved. Predestination is not merely made up of the entire nation of Israel but the elect but who made the calling and election sure.

Benny

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While on one level the Spirit chronicles the history of the nation of Israel there is a secondary purpose and it is in revealing God’s ways with man. The promise of God to Abraham was conditional. In order to instruct us we have the story of Rebekah faced with two nations from the same bowel. It challenges us to understand God’s ways, which are consistent throughout.

When God separated light from darkness he saw it was good.  So whatever good in the eyes of God must belong to the promise of God who is perfect. As the Son of man attested only his Father was good (Mt.19:17). This idea is affirmed by the writer to the Hebrews, ‘For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater he sware by himself (He.6:13).’ What was his creative act but faith (He.11:3) and it was good (Ge.1:3). Thus when we are reading the election of Jacob it was not his deceit but faith that passed the muster. As in the case of Abraham who was ready to sacrifice his son Isaac on the mount, he proved when he prevailed over God at Peniel. Faith is a personal commitment Jacob possessed. All other traits a man shall ever hold, both noble and ignoble are, in course of time, straightened out about faith, which is the quintessence of God. When we consider Jacob and Esau we see Jacob was cunning and deceitful as Esau more forgiving and open. Be that as it may such faith that made Jacob struggle over his elder brother while in the womb gives Predestination another facet: without faith it is impossible to please God.

In the Creation Day when the glory of God gave a form to the earth the Spirit instructs us that what was visible did attest to it.(Ro.1:20). In the case of Jacob in the pre-natal state imbibed as though it were, naturally pursued birth right  even after delivered from their mother’s womb. Whereas Esau dismissed his birthright as a trifle.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them (Mt.13:12-NIV)”.

Benny

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If Adam in the Garden explained the ground zero of history of nations we have in Abraham the history of nations set at human terms. Faith is what separates the history of God’s people and those of nations that try to write history as series of events where man is the doer.

Abraham on the other hand let God write it for him.

God called Abraham out of his father’s house ‘to a land that I will give thee (Ge.12:1)’. When God would allow him take possession of it was not specified. The time was determined by God and not by his ‘here and now’ basis. If it were conditional it would not have been faith but merely a transaction.  By shared experience of faith God enlightens him as to the future of his family. Naturally the question arises: why He did not let him possess the Promised Land?

God said “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee (12:17).” In chapter 23 we read of Abraham buying before witnesses a burial place and it marked the burial place for himself and his wife. Having informed of his ‘seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs’ He makes a covenant saying, ‘Unto thy seed have I given this land…(Ge.15:18). Here we get a clue why God did not allow him to possess in his life time. “For the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full (15:16).” Abraham accordingly lived as a stranger in the land God had promised to his seed. Through Abraham we have been blessed. Naturally children of God through their faith in the power of resurrection have to wait for God’s Time in order to inherit the kingdom. Jesus Christ promised us, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.(Lk.12:32-NIV).” How is our faith? Is it the kind of activism the Pharisees and teachers of law employed? When the Christians jump the bandwagons of political parties that is not faith but something else.

Coming back to Abraham who are these Amorities? The gentiles are descendants of Noah through Ham.(Ge.10:6-16)

Core Will of God carried divine blessings that were to come upon all families of the earth through Abraham. These Amorites among other gentile nations, the Girgashites, the Jebusites to name a few, are also included but God’s Time drew distinction between the seed of Abraham through Sarah from all others and it had specific reference to the covenant that God made with Abraham (Ge.15:18-20).

History of man as we see it written down is set according to earth time. Thus we have had description of England before the beginning of 20th century as the island nation on which the sun never set. Compare her history now. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream indicated qualities of nations where gold silver brass and iron refer to world-kingdoms according to their pomp and circumstance. Despotism of the ruler, as in the example of Nebuchadnezzer has steadily degrade to a state of affairs as we see in our times. Clay and iron of governance is very much in evidence. The very lack of solutions is only matched by a nature freaked out. Drought, flash floods snow storms and tornadoes are facets of our times. The king’s vision in the book of Daniel only need the stone cut without hands to make it a reality.

Predestination is God’s Wisdom and Power overriding the free will of man. God’s Time determines the rise and fall of nations and history is simply a catalogue of blessings that would culminate when Jesus Christ as the stone cut without hands sets up ‘a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed…(Dan.2:44)’ When the holy city of God is revealed we find there shall be nations which are saved and they shall walk by the light of it (Re.21:22-24).

Benny

 

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God had called out Abraham and he departed Haran trusting in God and it was counted as righteousness unto him. He was strong in faith and he became the friend of God on account of his faith. Lot, his nephew went with him. Considering his trust was in Abraham rather than in God shall reveal the consequences in a stark contrast later on. When the land could not contain them both Abraham let Lot take precedence over him. “If thou wilt take the left hand then will I go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left (Ge.13:9).”

Consider this verse: “…Unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make thee a great nation, and I will bless thee..(Ge.121-3) We need to remember that God had already told Abraham that a land He had already in mind and yet he was willing to risk it for the sake of maintaining harmony between his nephew and him. For Abraham the promise of God to bless him was enough. What about his nephew whose faith was more tied up in a human way that of blood ties?

God had upheld Abraham despite of letting his nephew first.Lot saw the plains of Jordan most suited to his conveniences and journeyed east.We read that ‘Lot lifted up his eyes and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. It was solid common sense that appealed to Lot.

Predestination of God is to be understood in either or choice of man. Lot exercised free will and it was based on solid common sense borne out of experience. Predestination of a Christian is based on his faith in Christ Jesus.

Benny

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