How Were We Chosen?
The Bible from beginning to end shows that God is Almighty. This means the Godhead is in charge of all that happens in the universe and nothing occurs within the heavenly or earthly realm that God is not supervising. He is in complete control of everything. His utter and His thorough power is summed up well by King David:
“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is yours; yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come of you, and you reign over all; and in your hand is power and might; and in your hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.”
1 Chronicles 29:11
So powerful is God that Satan the Devil obeys every command that God gives to him (Job 1:6–12; 2:1–8). There is no controversy between God and Satan because there is no match and/or comparison between the two. Satan’s power is merely a reflection of that which emanates from God, and God could cut off the power and authority of Satan by a snap of the finger if He so wished. Also, the Bible shows that God governs the evil found in the universe and is ultimately responsible for it. Yes, God is the Almighty. He is in charge of all things, whether evil or good.
James stated that God knows all things that He has planned from the beginning and that the details of that plan will be carried out precisely according to God’s dictates (Acts 15:18). God projected that Christ would enter the world and die in place of mankind for their sins. He would be “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). Christ was prophesied to be put to death at a particular time, in a certain spot, by a select group of people, all according to the strategy devised by God from the beginning.
The crucifixion of Christ (God’s own Son) was the greatest evil ever planned within the foreknowledge of God the Father. Every precise detail of the crucifixion was prophesied beforehand and was an evil planned by God. Indeed, we are told in the Bible that God not only creates good that He dispenses to any in the universe as He pleases, but He also creates evil and uses it in the best way to accomplish His purposes. God says:
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.”
Yes, God creates evil. See all of Isaiah 54:16 and Amos 3:6 for two of the many scriptures that show that God creates and uses EVIL in any way He wants. In a word, God is in charge of all affairs on earth.
Let us understand one thing clearly, however. In the Bible “evil” and “sin” are two different things. In no way does God ever “sin” because “sin is the transgression of law” (1 John 3:4), and since God is solely responsible for the creation, and allowance of all laws, then all God needs to do is change any law (even one that He legislated as being the most holy). He then can do just the opposite of what He once commanded, without the slightest “sin” being attached to His character. But “evil” is something different. It is a relative term that simply signifies actions we consider as “bad things.” While all sin is “bad” (or evil), not all bad things that God allows to happen are “sin.” Evil in the Bible can be described by such words as calamity, misery, woe, hurt, wickedness, and of course bad.
Examples of such evil would be a hurricane that destroyed a section of south Florida, a tornado that leveled a Kansas town, or a rampaging river system that flooded millions of acres of valuable farmland causing vast numbers of people to be in misery or to suffer calamity. The word evil describes such things in the Bible, and “sin” is never associated with the term when God is creating and performing that evil by His free will and by the supreme power that He has. Indeed, in courts of law, such evil events as these are called “Acts of God.” And so they are!
The crucifixion of God’s own dear Son was in the plan of God the Father before the foundation of the world, and it has to be reckoned as one of the greatest evils that God ever created and performed. In order to accomplish this task, God needed some actors. What He did was to choose certain people who were “ordained by God” beforehand to do the heinous deed. Jude (who was the legal half-brother of Christ) describes these kinds of people. He said:
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Those ordained by God in the long ages of the past to do these terrible acts were people like Judas whom Christ selected to betray Him, and others like the authorities in Jerusalem who gave the order for Christ’s crucifixion.
The apostle Peter was well aware that Christ was crucified by the express command of God the Father, planned before the world’s foundation. He said:
“Him [Christ], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge OF GOD, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
Indeed, Judas and the Jerusalem authorities were appointed by God Himself to crucify His own dear Son. “Whereunto also they were appointed,” said Peter (1 Peter 2:8). Christ knew from the commencement of His ministry that Judas would become His adversary (John 6:70). “For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him” (John 6:64). Christ knew He was going to suffer by the action of Judas. That is why He said,
“‘The Son of man goes as it is written of him [he was prophesied by God to be crucified]: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man [that Son of man] if he [if Judas] had not been born.’ Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, ‘Master, is it I’? He said unto him, ‘You have said’.”
Note the play on words. Christ knew that Judas was foreordained in a special way to betray Him, so if the prophesied one (Judas) would not have been born into this world to betray Christ, it would have been good for Christ in a personal way.
However, it was in the plan of God for Judas to do what he did. (In fact, Judas could not have escaped doing the preordained task he was selected to do.) If he had not done so, Christ would not have been able to die for all mankind, raise them up, and deliver them all to God the Father as members of His divine Family. Judas was ordained of God to perform his task and so were the Jerusalem authorities that crucified Christ. They were selected before the world’s foundation to fulfill the acts they did, though they were unaware they were doing deeds preordained for them. The crucifixion of Christ was an evil accomplished expressly by God the Father in order to give something good to the entire human race.
How were Judas and the Jerusalem authorities selected to perform their preordained deeds? They were selected to do that evil in the same way that all of us were selected to believe in Christ and to accept His forgiveness in this age in which we now live. All of the people elected before the world’s foundation were selected by lot! That is right! The Bible shows we were chosen in the fairest way that God the Father could devise.
In the Father’s plan there were to be certain people who would betray Christ and certain ones (such as you and I) who in spite of our faults would be selected to hear and accept the message of Christianity in this life. The roles were open (both those for evil and those for good) and God in His own way had a lottery. Yes, you read me correctly. God conducted an unbiased and unfixed LOTTERY to determine who would do the evil against Christ and His mission throughout the ages. This was the same for those who would do good to perpetuate the Gospel of Christ. The apostles made this point clear in the Gospels.
In the original Greek, the apostle Paul actually said that all of us who are now called saints (the holy ones of God) are “partakers of the lot” (Colossians 1:12) which in Ephesians Paul said made us to be “in Christ.” We were “chosen by lot” (Ephesians 1:11) in the period before the foundation of the world (verse 4).
In both verses above, the King James translators rendered the word “lot” by the English word “inheritance.” Those translators simply did not know what Paul meant when he said that our ability to understand the deep secrets of God at the present time was because we were selected “by a lottery” which God conducted before the world was created. He did this in order to be fair and equal with the entire human race in carrying out all parts of His divine plan.
This principle of being chosen before the world’s foundation in a divine lottery was well known to the apostles. Note that Peter said the elders who taught Christians in his day should not lord it over the Christians in their congregations (whom he called people chosen by “the lots” — 1 Peter 5:3). These were the ones chosen at the precreation time when the divine lottery was held to determine who would be given the knowledge of Christ during this age. See 1 Peter 5:3 where the King James translators render the Greek words “the lots,” by our English words “God’s heritage.” The English translators simply did not understand the ancient lots system of choosing important people to perform roles in the presence of God. An example of the lots system in action is that of Zacharias the priest who was the father of John the Baptist. He was assigned his duties in the Temple at Jerusalem by means of the customary lots system well understood by the Jewish authorities.
“According to the custom of the priest’s office, his LOT was to burn incense when he went into the Temple of the Lord.”
The King James translators further misunderstood what Luke was stating when he recorded an incident in Northern Greece concerning people who had been converted to Christ by Paul’s teaching. Luke called these newly converted people “the allotted ones,” that is, “the ones of the lottery” (Acts 17:4). Luke meant they had been ordained of God when the lottery took place that selected them in a favorable sense to know and to accept the Gospel in this age. The King James translators did not know what Luke meant, so they simply translated the Greek by the English word “consorted.” Again, they were wrong.
The apostle Peter addressed all Christians in the upper region of Asia Minor by saying that they were the ones who had “obtained BY LOT” the precious faith of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1). The King James translators were again wrong by rendering the Greek word meaning “to receive by a lottery,” by the English word “obtained” alone. They gave no hint that Christians were called by a lottery as Peter actually wrote. The use of the lottery was the election process God used.
Nevertheless, we who received the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ and have accepted it, were not the only ones involved in that ancient lottery conducted before the foundation of the world. In the eyes of the apostles, all who now know and receive Christ were selected by lot to receive good things concerning the Gospel in this life, while others were not. Others were selected by lot to perform negative things on earth. They were elected by the lottery (before they were born) to do evil in God’s plan. It was an election by lot.
“When Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calls), it is said unto her, the elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”
The apostle Paul in the plainest of words states that Jacob was elected by God to be loved (even before he was born), and Esau was elected to be hated by God (also before he was born). Paul said Pharaoh who failed to let Israel leave Egypt was obstinate because God willed him to be that way. Pharaoh consented to let Israel escape Egypt long before God wanted them to leave (Romans 9:15–18). Actually, God appointed Esau and Pharaoh before the world’s foundation to be negative concerning the truths of God. Paul said they were “vessels of wrath” as we are “vessels of mercy, which he [God] had afore prepared” (Romans 9:22–23).
Now some may say this is unfair because how could God find fault with evil people for their ways since God appointed them to do what they did? Indeed, this is the very question that Paul himself raised. He said:
“You will say then unto me, why does he [God] yet find fault? For who has resisted his will?”
Paul answered such a question simply by stating that the potter has power over the clay to make a pot good or to make one bad, and this means that God also has the power to do the same thing. In fact, Paul went on to state that God the Father had deliberately blinded the eyes of most Israelites who lived in his day from accepting Christ Jesus. He said God would continue to blind their eyes from accepting Christ until the full appointed number of the Gentiles come into their pre-ordained relationships with God. This does not mean, however, that God has abandoned Israel and the promises He made to them for salvation. Paul said:
“For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in, and so ALL Israel shall be SAVED.”
All Israelites (every single Jew and all those of the other tribes) will one day be saved in Christ. They have been promised this salvation and they will receive it without doubt. This is the plain teaching of the Bible.
“For as concerning the Gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance [on the part of God]. For as you in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God has concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all.”
Notice that God purposely blinded the eyes of most Israelites to prevent them from accepting Christ. Some people (and even entire nations) were elected by use of the divine lottery before the foundation of the world to accept the truth now; others were elected by the same divine lottery to be negative to acceptance of the truth.
This lottery was the fair way of letting all people and nations have an equal chance to be selected to do God’s will regarding specific events pre-ordained in God’s plan to redeem the human race to Himself. When one surveys the Holy Scriptures regarding this divine lottery to determine who was to do what, and at what time in history, the fairness, and equality of God can be seen in action among all the people He created.
The Japhetic race of people could have been the ones chosen by God to do what the Shemitic races have in fact done in this world, had the lottery fallen in their favor instead of Shem. The Hamitic races also could have had the same blessing had the lottery fallen out to favor them. The simple truth is, the lot fell to favor Shem, and to specific children of Shem to have the fullness of the teaching of God given to them in this age, and through them to bring forth the Messiah who would arise to save the world from their sins. God chose the lottery as a method of being fair with all people created and will all bring into His Family in the future.
This is why none of us who have the truth now should boast. The lot fell to us before the foundation of the world, before any of us were created or born. In fact, when one looks at the lives of (let us say) Jacob and David who got favorable positions from their lot, they did some pretty bad things that would cause any normal person to wonder why God picked them as His servants, while some of their contemporaries were people far better in character. Yet God picked Jacob and He picked David, no matter what their faults, because the lot fell out to favor them instead of others. Therefore, God retained His favor for Jacob and David and with their offspring. It is so with all of us in spite of our faults.
We have all been selected by lot in what God calls His divine election, performed before the world was ever created. None of us were there at the time, but God and Christ knew each of us in precise detail back at that period. At a certain time designed by the Father, He sent out a call to each of you to respond to the Gospel — and you have done so. This is why everything about your election and call to God comes by grace on the part of God and Christ. You had nothing to do with your call (or election). Before the foundation of the world, you were selected by divine lottery in a very personal way (the lot fell in your favor) for you to come to a knowledge of the truth during this age. This is the simple teaching of the Gospel of Christ.
God designed the divine lottery to give good and positive positions to some people throughout history, which came to them by grace, while He chose others, also by lot, to receive bad and negative positions as their lot. Once this principle is understood we can better recognize that the salvation of mankind cannot be based on peoples’ works (good or bad) simply because God elected beforehand who would be assigned bad positions and good positions. Even in this, however, salvation must be given by grace and not by works because even those of us given the positive positions of knowing the Gospel and accepting Christ in this age still find ourselves not being perfect. We are sinners like the rest of mankind and must equally be saved by grace along with those who had negative positions allotted them by God the Father. The fact is, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that includes us who are now “in Christ” and reckoned by the Father as saved.
For example, Israel as a people was assigned by lot to have a good position on earth. However, this does not mean that all Israelites are perfect and good. Many have done badly on earth (as we all have), yet Paul states dogmatically that “all Israel” shall be saved (Romans 11:26) because God promised they will be saved, and His promises will always be kept.
But understand one thing clearly. People are not saved by God to be bad or to continue to be bad. They are saved to do good. One day, in the resurrection, when humans become full members of the divine Family of God, they will always do good in pleasing God. For us now who were granted good positions on earth by a favorable lot before the foundation of the world, Paul says this,
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Along with the good positions of knowing and accepting Christ in this age, there is also the command of God that we should always practice good works as it lies in our power to perform them. Even here, we are told by Paul that it is the Father’s will and efforts that are being worked out in us (Philippians 2:13). We should be thankful for that.
This present life on earth is a learning experience for the entire human race. All humans are here to gain an acquaintance with “good” and “evil” (or, with “bad,” recall again that the word “evil” simply means “bad”). Being able to recognize the good, and the bad, and to familiarize us with their consequences, is the very reason mankind was given some seventy odd years of life. This is a learning situation for all humans and something that will create in us a knowledge of what “good and bad” are all about, and why it always pays to practice “good” and to refrain from “bad” (or evil). It is the recognition of such things that makes us to be like God.
Recall that God commanded our first parents not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). But Satan enticed Adam and Eve to partake of that very fruit. He said they would become like “God” (Elohim) if they did (Genesis 3:5). Though it was Satan who said they would become like “God” (Elohim), he told the truth in that instance. Mankind was made to be like God. Indeed, Moses immediately recorded:
“And the Lord God said, ‘Behold the man is become as one of US, to know GOOD and EVIL: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever,’ therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.”
Our first parents were forbidden to eat of the Tree of Life and to become immortal. They would one day die and return to the ground from whence they came. Only by resurrection from the dead at the end of the age will Adam and Eve live again. Only God and Christ are immortal (1 Timothy 6:16).
Mankind now has to endure “good and evil” only for the span of their earthly life. In experiencing “good and evil,” all humans are becoming more like “God” all the time. What we are learning is that “evil” (especially to ourselves, to other humans and to the rest of creation) does not pay. This is what God is teaching us during this life and why this life is valuable for all the human race whether they know the Gospel of Christ in this age or not. The human race is undergoing a learning experience in what “good and bad” (“evil”) is all about, comparing the “good” from the “bad,” and why choosing the “good” is better.
What God through Christ will give to us by their grace, is a position of authority equal to themselves (though they will always be in rank above all of us). We have been created for a majestic and glorious purpose; and God wants us to know that purpose. Our personal part in that plan was selected by lot before the world’s foundation.
As the Holy Scriptures abundantly affirm, we are all given — by a lottery — a glorious manifesto of freedom and equality the likes of which the world has never seen, nor has it ever come into their minds. In the next chapter I present what we could call God’s Declaration of Freedom to mankind. It can be titled: “God’s Manifesto of Human Rights and Privileges.” This Preamble of freedom from the Father releases mankind from all social, political and religious requirements. This means all requirements, whether those engendered by humanity or even those formerly commanded by God.
This Manifesto shows plainly what the legal standing of each Christian (indeed, each human) happens to be with God the Father. And what will we see? It is a Manifesto for freedom and equality for all humans (both males and females) that is glorious beyond compare. Of course, God will always be the top authority, and His Firstborn Son (Christ Jesus) will retain His august rank and position, but all humans will be inducted into that same Family of God as members with equality among ourselves.
The earlier promise of the New Covenant (that Israel would inherit a physical kingdom of God to last for a Millennium) is still valid for those who want it. King David and the 12 apostles will have as their reward governance over Israel in their new resurrected bodies — called “terrestrial bodies” in 1 Corinthians 15:40 — for that 1000 year period. We of “the Mystery,” however, have been awarded something more glorious. Our reward is to have “celestial bodies” (1 Corinthians 15:40–41) with which we will govern all regions of the universe in the 1000 years (except the earth).
Most Protestants and Catholics today, however, are striving for a New Covenant relationship with God. They are oblivious to what “the Mystery” is all about. The main reason is that they are reading their New Testaments in the order of the books that Jerome in the 5th century erroneously saddled on the world. This topsy-turvy arrangement of the biblical books has caused great confusion in understanding the progressive teachings of the Bible. Because of this, most find it difficult to comprehend even the simplest of biblical truths. Christians are so deceived over this matter that the majority of Protestants and Catholics want to be called “New Covenant Christians” and their denominations called “New Covenant Churches.” This is fine if that is what they want, but they are aiming for a lesser inheritance than what the final revelation of God, “the Mystery,” affords to all people who aim for a position next to the Father Himself. To be “in Christ” now is much more glorious than to be “in Christ” under the New Covenant relationship with the people and nation of Israel.
Yes, God will keep His New Covenant agreement with Israel, with King David, and the first 12 apostles. However, we of “the Mystery” are granted something much more than a Kingdom phase of salvation that will occur on earth. We are now a part of the very Family of God and our throne (on the right side of the Father) is in the heavenlies at the headquarters of the universe. This is what Paul wanted (2 Timothy 4:18). Through the teaching of “the Mystery,” we now know that we are no longer a part of either physical or spiritual “Israel.” We now make up the divine family of God as God’s own redeemed children sitting on His right hand in Christ (John 10:34; 1 John 3:2). We are accorded that right even now.
The systematic disclosure of “the Mystery” was made known to the world in all its glory in 63 C.E. It was brand new teaching. It was a Manifesto of complete human freedom. As the apostle Paul put it,
“The mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations but NOW is made manifest to his saints. ... this mystery which is Christ in you the hope of glory [attaining the very glory of God].”
Yes, we are destined to obtain the precise glory now enjoyed by God Himself. Since we are now “in Christ” and Christ now represents the very embodiment of the Godhead itself, we are reckoned to be in the Godhead too. Paul said,
“For in Him [in Christ] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you [Christians] are complete in Him [we complete or make up “the Godhead bodily”] which is the head of all principality and power.”
We now with the Father and Christ, comprise “the Godhead bodily.” We even now participate in the Godhead. We are reckoned by the Father (who is over all principality and power that exists) even in our present human state to be sitting (legally) on His right hand in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). We also live now by heavenly rules, not those of Israelites on earth. Yes, God even now shares His glory with us because we are His divine children (1 John 3:1–2).
In our present state of divine majesty, God has given us a statement of emancipation from all human rules regarding all religious matters. He has provided us with a Manifesto of Human (and Divine) Rights. We will now look at that Manifesto.
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