Election of Israel
True Israel, True Prophecy
by James Jacob Prasch
In the past we have spoken of those who have the most radical positions against the prophetic purposes of God for Israel and the Jews and for the election of Israel, the most extreme radical or most radical Replacementists. You have people like John Piper in America, a man who is misled and who misleads others on this point and on others. But, in more recent years, you have Hyper-Charismatics, people caught up in Post-Millennialism, Dominion Theology, influenced by people like George Eldon Ladd, the Theologian, and extrapolating things from what he wrote. Many of these people began right but then began going off. One of them who began right and began going off was someone called Arthur Wallis. His earlier books were quite good; then he went off. It is not always easy to see where these people really began to go off. They will always attribute things to people like Austin Sparks. Now Austin Sparks said many good things, but whether Austin Sparks really believed all the things that these people, in retrospect, attribute to him is debatable. Clearly, however, George Eldon Ladd was misled and so John Piper is misled and so are a number of these people. It is not our purpose now, but some of you are new so I have to point something out. We have a recording called “The Twin Pillars of Madness” and we explain about Hyper-Charismatics who get into Replacement Theology. Now, I myself believe in all the gifts of the Spirit, understood and practiced biblically. I don’t believe in the deceptions and counterfeits happening today. I don’t believe in Charismania, but I do believe in charismata. Cessationism is an un-biblical doctrine. However, are we talking about charismata? No we are talking about Charismania. People like Rick Godwin promote this very anti-Israel position in America and it is throughout the Restoration Movement. Now, the term Restorationism itself is a big question. They always talk about restoring the Kingdom. The one place the Bible speaks about restoring the Kingdom is Acts Chapter 1. “Lord, is it at this time you are restoring the Kingdom to … the Church?” To Israel! The New Testament never teaches God is going to restore the Kingdom to the Church because Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world. Their whole premise is false. The only way these people’s belief system can hold together is based on a presupposition that is a faulty foundation. Once you remove the foundation, their belief system collapses. I will come back to this in a moment. Again, just a brief word about the Twin Pillars of Madness, I don’t want to go into it, most of you, I assume, have heard it. Hyper-Charismatics are people who have no doctrinal theology. Their doctrine was always based on clichés, mysticism, and experience. A lot of people who get caught up into these errors get their doctrine, if you want to call it doctrine, from mindlessly singing choruses, not understanding the New Age origins of what they are doing. It is effectively a mantra. They just keep repeating the thing over and over until it becomes spiritually ingrained into them, whether or not it is true or false is irrelevant. And much of the pneumo-centric worship is certainly false. All of the Dominion Theology virtually, as they understand it, is false but they just keep saying it and saying it and saying it and they get mesmerized with it, like a Hindu. This is a mantra. If you notice, it is like the Vineyard, they just sing the same choruses over and over and it predisposes people to hypnotic induction, for falling down and the rest of it. Now again, this is in no way to question authentically biblical manifestations of the Holy Spirit. It is simply to separate what is scriptural from the counterfeit and what predominates today, in those circles, is the counterfeit. So these people have no doctrine, no theology and quite frankly, some of them and even their pastors would not be knowledgeable enough to have theology.
I once asked a friend who is an Anglican theologian, not a charismatic himself but a born again Christian and himself a Replacementist, I asked him, “Steve, how is it that so many Anglican clergy go into what they call “The Renewal of the Holy Spirit,” the people who followed Michael Harper, who has since turned Greek Orthodox, and they get into following crazy people from America, or so forth, they get into the Kansas City Prophets, Paul Cain, the homosexual and alcoholic, who becomes their prophet. And whatever this drunken homosexual says to them, that was the Word of God to them. He would prophecy over them and this drunken alcoholic would be the Word of God to them; that would be their source of doctrine. He turned out to be exactly that, a drunken homosexual, and always has been, but that was their “Prophet.” Whatever he said was the Word of God to these people. So I asked “How do they get into this?” and he said “Because for generations Anglican seminaries have not taught doctrine. They have taught literary and historical criticism, an academic knowledge of the scripture but not a doctrinal knowledge.” In other words, they taught people about the Bible but they did not teach people what the Bible was about.
Now this is not to say--when you do a degree in Theology, it is not a degree in doctrine … it is a degree in History and Literature. That is what it is, it is a degree in History and Literature. You are simply studying the scriptures in the original languages as History and Literature. If you go to an Evangelical institution, like London Bible College, they are teaching you how to refute liberal higher critics. If the liberals in the university can produce scholarly people who don’t believe, we can produce scholarly people who do believe, that was that. So what you have is believers fighting liberals, but doctrine, which is what the Bible is supposed to be about, takes second place. Now this is not to demean the importance of Apologetics in refuting liberals, and it is not demeaning the importance of the Bible as history and literature, it is that, but it is more than that. The Bible is like Jesus. Jesus is fully human and fully divine, so the Bible is the Word of God in the word of man. The epistle to the Romans is fully the word of Paul, but it is fully the Word of God. It is not 50/50, it is one hundred/one hundred. Jesus is not 50/50, he is one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man. The Bible is the Word of God and the word of man. Now, as the word of man, we need to understand it as history and literature. But as the Word of God, we need to understand it as doctrine, Holy Spirit inspired revelation. They miss that. Evangelical institutions have become reactionary. They are only trying to produce people who know how to refute liberals. Basically, what most Bible colleges do today, if they are good ones, is teach the future ministers and pastors how to answer questions nobody is asking. The other thing they teach you is secular marketing techniques and psychology as if that is supposed to make the Church grow. This is a sad state of affairs.
So you have Hyper-Charismatic and Hyper-Pentecostal, (now this is a generalization, there are exceptions), but you’ve got these Hyper-Charismatics. Where do they get their doctrine? Where do these people get their doctrine? Well, I always put it bluntly, “Where does a kook get their doctrine? They get it from another kook.” So, the Hyper-Charismatics will go to the hyper-Calvinists, to the people into Reconstructionism, to the people who believe the Church is Israel; that is where they get it. They have no wherewithal to arrive at doctrine themselves. So, they just go get it from a Calvinist. Now, in theory these people should be mutually exclusive. Well, think of it this way, if you looked at the ideology to which they professed to ascribe, Hitler and Stalin were at opposite poles of the ideological spectrum. But, if you were to read “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich,” and if you were to read “The Gulag Archipelago” you quickly discover that beyond all the pretenses of conflicting ideology, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler where six-of-one, half-dozen of the other. They were the same. There was no difference between those two people. It did not matter what they said ideologically, it is not important what people say, it is only important what people do, and they did the same stuff. They were the same kind of people.
Well, although Hyper-Charismatics and Hyper-Calvinists would claim to be different, it is not important what people say, it is only important what they do. What they say is only important if it’s matched by their actions, not by what they profess. So, they get this Replacement Theology from Hyper-Charismatics, who get it from Hyper-Calvinists. We are looking at election, the Greek word, eklektos. The only thing it means is chosen. That is the only thing it means, chosen, that is all it means. In a Judeo-Christian approach to scripture, the biblical interpretation to hermeneutics, you would use things like typology. The early Brethren understood this, so did many of the Puritans. You would use Midrash; the New Testament uses Midrash in handling the Old Testament. If you want to know why the Gospels handle the Old Testament the way they do, in the formula citations, they are using Midrash. They are giving Pesher interpretations. However, in Biblical Judeo-Christian hermeneutics, in the biblical way of interpreting the Bible, you never, ever, ever base a doctrine on a type or an allegory. That is something that comes from Gnosticism. It had its roots earlier in someone called Philo, but it got into the Church, particularly in Alexandria, under the influences of people like Origen and there was a big dispute in the early Church. The Antiochians looked to a more literal one but they tended to forget things like typology and allegory. The Alexandrians looked at everything allegorically and dismissed literal meaning. The New Testament is not like that. The New Testament begins with the literal meaning that is called the peshat, from the Hebrew word, pashoot, simple straightforward meaning. The further spiritual interpretation of it is called the pesher. But, to arrive at the correct pesher, you have to understand the peshat. Now, again, some of you know this from our teachings but we have people who don’t, so I’ve got to go through it quick.
Hosea 11:1: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Quite simply, it is talking about the Exodus of the Jews, that is the peshat, the simple, straightforward, literal meaning. However, Matthew gives the pesher interpretation. When Herod dies, Jesus comes out of Egypt. What happened to Israel prefigures the Messiah. The Dead Sea Scrolls handle the Old Testament the same way as the New Testament does, essentially, Midrash, peshat, pesher. Now, there is much more to it than this. So, the Antiochians were right in what they affirmed, wrong in what they negated. They were right in what they affirmed, wrong in what they negated; however, at least they were safer, they were not going to go into any heresy. They just were not going to receive the full depth of what the Bible meant, but they were not going to go into heresy. The Alexandrians were the opposite. They just went straight to the typology, or straight to allegory. They were right in what they affirmed, but because they were wrong in what they did not affirm, they went into immediate error. You cannot base a doctrine on a symbol. Yes, the Passover Seder illustrates and demonstrates the Doctrine of Atonement. All you have to do is set up a Passover table and you can illustrate how Jesus is the lamb and how he took our sin, and how the matzah is striped and pierced because he was pierced for our transgressions and by his stripes we are healed. You can use the peshat to illustrate the doctrine of atonement, but the doctrine of atonement is not based on the ritual symbolism of the Passover. It simply illustrates it, it illuminates it, it helps us understand it on a deeper level, but that is not the basis of it. The basis of it is God became a man and took our sin, and rose from the dead to give eternal life. That is what it is about. During the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church got into the Alexandrian stuff. In a reaction to this, the Reformers came along and they wanted a more literal approach. This came as a result of something called “Christian Humanism” and they went back to the Antiochians. In other words, the Reformers were right in what they affirmed, or right in what they did, wrong in what they failed to do. They left infant baptism in place. They left the un-biblical marriage of church and state, Erastiansm in place, they left Replacement Theology in place, they left Patristic Authority in place, and they left Antiochian hermeneutics in place. They were right in what they did, wrong in what they failed to do.
Now, others, like the Puritans came along and realized that the Reformation did not go far enough and tried to make it more right, but then they got caught up into Calvinism and it did not work. There were ones who did understand it, like John Bunyan, he really understood things, but he was in the era of the Puritans and his ideas did not predominate above those of John Owen and Cromwell’s men because they had the political power. It goes on like this. However, in both Judeo-Christian hermeneutics and in Western hermeneutics, and by Western, the Church is Hellenized. Western Christendom is Hellenized. It was rewritten as a Platonic religion by Augustine following Plato, based on Plato’s philosophy, and then it was rewritten again as an Aristotelian religion by Thomas Aquinas. Now again, I apologize to those who know this. It is just background to what we are going to look at. But, in both you have the text, context, co-text. Whenever you take a text of the Bible out of context, and, in isolation from its co-text, you have a pretext. Again, a text out of context, in isolation from its co-text is a pretext. The script is already written; they come with a presupposition. “The Church is Israel.” That is a presupposition. It is a pretext. A pretext you can only arrive at by taking a text, out of context, in alienation from its co-text. With these things in view, let us look at the subject of election in Romans 9.
People have a problem. Election! “Why should God elect the Jews! Is God a racist? Does he favor one nation and one people above another?” Already they have made two mistakes. Their first mistake is that they don’t understand the nature of election. We will look at that in a moment. Their second mistake is they are asking the wrong question. People who have a problem with God’s election of Israel really do not have a problem with God’s election of Israel, they have a problem with the doctrine of election. So, the response is, “Why are you worried about why God elected Israel? Let me ask you a more relevant question, why did God elect you? How come you got saved and the guy across the street didn’t? How come you are born again and your siblings are not? If you’ve got a problem with election, why did he elect you? Don’t worry about Israel, let’s talk about your election. You are born again? You’re saved, you trust Jesus for your salvation? You got a problem with that?” The Bible makes it clear our salvation is not of ourselves. We didn’t do anything right. It is grace; we couldn’t save ourselves. Jesus had to come and save us. Our salvation is not an action of ourselves. Even our response to it is God’s grace, not to get Calvinistic about it but it is. When they throw this election thing at you that is the response. “Wait a minute, before we talk about the election of Israel, let’s talk about election. I don’t know why you are so worried about why God elected Israel, let’s talk about why God elected you. How come you are saved? How come I am saved? What did we do?” Well, the answer is, we did nothing. If you can understand why God chose you, then you will understand why God chose Israel. Now 1st Corinthians, chapter 1 gives us some illumination as to this mystery of the divine prerogative.
1 Corinthians 1:26-27 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, [and powerful].
I’ve always pointed out that it is easier for poor people to get saved than rich ones. If God wanted to choose a nation based on its achievements and accomplishments, to be his lights to the nations, in the ancient world, he certainly would have chosen the Greeks, wouldn’t he? Herodotus, Hypocrities, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Pythagoris … everybody was a Greek. If he wanted to choose somebody great, he would have chosen a Greek, but then the Greeks would have taken the glory. The Greeks had a humanistic view of God. Their god was anthropomorphic. The Greeks made God in their image and likeness. They gave their gods human attributes. You could lie to them; you could cheat them and all of this kind of stuff. You could placate them. The Hebrews had a revelation of the true God. The Hebrew God said that God is not anthropomorphic but people are theopomorphic. We are made in His image and likeness. God does not have human attributes; we have divine ones, not to be confused with the little gods rubbish of Cerullo and these guys.
So, God chooses people who are less likely, but let’s talk more about this election. Let’s look please, at Romans 9 very carefully.
Romans 9:1-5 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.
When you see somebody wishing they were accursed for the sake of the people, this is the character of Christ, put on them by the Holy Spirit. Remember, Moses said “If you are going to blot these people out, blot me out.” This is the character of Christ; he was willing to become accursed of the Father for the salvation of the world. It is not a thing a human is truly capable of, if they are telling the truth, except by the Holy Spirit. It is not a burden that you take on; it is a burden that God puts on you. Now, we have explained this in our teaching on intercessory prayer. You can pray for somebody but you cannot intercede for somebody unless the Holy Spirit puts the burden on you, the Greek word intupsis, Hebrew apgias, to intercede. You have to be bruised on behalf of somebody. You cannot engage in intercessory prayer arbitrarily. The Holy Spirit must put the burden on you. You can pray for somebody but you cannot intercede for somebody unless the Holy Spirit puts the burden on you. Both the Hebrew and the Greek make a distinction between prayer and intercessions.
Now, it says here that Jesus is Jewish, doesn’t it; the Messiah according to the flesh? We have people today saying Jesus was a Palestinian Christian and the Jews killed him. There are so-called Christians, so-called Protestants saying that. Several years ago, the Elim Cult published an article saying that Jesus Christ had no Jewish blood, written by one of their elder statesman, George Jeffreys. Well, what was his blood? He was too ignorant to know that he was bordering on an ancient heresy known as Docetism. He was too ignorant to know it. But what do you expect from them? You know the song, “When they go to kp and they’re too blind to see, that’s a moron.” “When they talk like a jerk because Elim’s their church, that’s a moron!” They didn’t know, this is Docetism, virtually, that he only appears to be human. Well, the Bible says he was human and he was Jewish. The New Testament says directly that Jesus was a Jew.
Romans 9:6-7 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named."
From an anthropological perspective, this speaks of Abraham’s descendents who are not traced through Isaac and Jacob, anthropologically. Spiritually, it means ultimately what you read in Romans 11, that Jews who reject their own Messiah are cut off from their own olive tree, they are cut off from the olive tree. They are counted as a pagan and a nonbeliever. They are not going to be included in Israel in eternity. Jesus said directly that those who reject him, “Many will come from the East and West and recline with Abraham and the fathers but you will be put to outermost darkness, where men will weep and gnash their teeth.” Unbelieving Israel will be cut off and will, in eternity, not be part of Israel. Those accepting Jesus, who have been grafted in, will be co-heirs with the Jews under the promise of salvation. Remember, Abraham was a Gentile God converted to Judaism. That is how he can be the father of all who believe because he was a Jew and a Gentile. The lineage of David, through which Jesus came, beginning in the book of Ruth, which we see in Matthew 1, it comes from a marriage of Jew and Gentile, doesn’t it? Boaz and Ruth, the Davidic line of salvation, the regal line of Israel, would come through a Jew-Gentile intermarriage, would begin a lineage, the pedigree of the Messiah. The Messiah would die for both Jew and Gentile. That is why Abraham had to be both a Jew and a Gentile. That is why the lineage of Jesus had to come from a Jew-Gentile intermarriage, but he, himself, was biblically a Jew.
Romans 9:10-24 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
This is the election chapter upon which Calvinism in its extreme form stands. Remember, you’ve got the Replacement Theology and you have this idea of election, that God created people to go to hell, that if you are destined for heaven, you are going to heaven and if you are predestined for hell, you are going to hell, end of story. That is what they believe. And you have no choice in it because the sovereignty of God has so decreed who will go to heaven and who will go to hell. Grace becomes irresistible. Man lost his free will in the Garden of Eden with the fall of Adam, that is true. Unsaved people do not have a totally free will. He who commits sin is slave to sin, there is a bondage of the human will, Luther was right about that. Calvin, of course, took that further. However, free will was restored at the cross. The slave died. Once a slave dies, he is no longer a slave. Unsaved people are slaves to sin. Because of the Holy Spirit, Christians don’t have to live in sin, the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed. At the new birth, the freedom that we lost through the fall is restored in Christ. We have a free will. This is the meaning of quickening. Unsaved people are spiritually dead. When a corpse is dead, it doesn’t get cold, it doesn’t get hot, because it does not metabolize. You can talk to it all you want, but it is not going to answer you. It has an inability to communicate. So is fallen man. They are spiritually dead. Unsaved people are dead. When someone is convicted by the Holy Spirit, something takes place called an eklentic, meaning a conviction. When this eklentic, when the theological term from the Greek takes place, a measure of life is put into somebody, we usually translate it quickening. A measure of life is put back into the corpse, as it were, making it possible for the corpse to communicate. God puts enough light back into an unsaved person so his Spirit can convict him of their sin and give them a desire to respond to his grace. At that point, the unsaved person, having been given a measure of life, must either accept it or reject it. There is nothing this unsaved person can do to quicken themselves because they are dead. However, once the Holy Spirit quickens them and the Father draws them, then the onus is upon them. There are two extremes: One is an extreme form of Arminianism called Finneyism that was propounded by someone called Charles Finney. Charles Finney essentially was a hair’s breath of being a heretic called a Pelagian. He virtually denied original sin. Because of original sin people are dead. He denied this. That is one extreme. That says “You can choose Christ.” Most of the cheap grace preaching—“Just put your hand up, close you eyes, every head bowed” that comes from Finney. You cannot choose Christ. The Holy Spirit must quicken you, convict you of sin. The Father must draw you, and then you can choose Christ. Unsaved people cannot choose Christ. Christ has to choose them. Now, why is it that some people get quickened and respond, some won’t respond to the gospel? Many are called, few are chosen. The ones who respond are chosen. The other extreme are the Calvinists, they deny all of this. “That’s it, it is irresistible.” That is their first perversion of election. Their other perversion of election is, of course, Replacement Theology, “We are now the elect, Israel is not.” Now, bear in mind there are moderate Calvinists who do not believe this. And, in fact, the Puritans, who were very Calvinistic, did not deny God had some kind of future agenda for Israel. And it was that first Puritan scholars in the Western world, particularly John Lightfoot, who said “Look, the New Testament writers used Midrash.” We are never going to understand the Gospels and the New Testament in their totality until we begin reading them from the point of view of Midrash as a Jewish book. I am not saying all Calvinists were bad and I am not saying all are bad. What I am saying is that extreme Calvinism is demonic. Hell was not made for people; it was made for Satan and his angels. Nobody should have to go there if God became a man and took our place on the cross so we would not have to go there. Nobody should have to go to hell. Hell was not made for human beings. It was made for demons and Satan. It was not made for people. Now, there is a verse that says “God created all things for a purpose, even the wicked for the day of Judgment,” but that is not people. Jesus said plainly that it is a place prepared for Satan and his angels. So understand now this wrong view of election. “The Church replaces Israel, we are now the elect, particularly the Reformed Church and people are elect or they are not elect.” Romans 9, 10 and 11: The text, in its context, in light of its co-text. Is it speaking about individuals or is it speaking about a nation? If you read the first eight chapters of Romans, it is talking about how Jesus fulfils the Torah, how he fulfils the law, how the prophets and the law were to point to him. There are different purposes of the law, but the main purpose was to demonstrate through Israel and the Jews the fallen nature of man. The inability of the Jews, of Israel, to keep the law shows or demonstrates man’s inability to meet God’s standard of righteousness. God demonstrates the human condition through Israel. But, he also demonstrates his grace to Israel because of his election. Israel is a way that God had to be a light to the nations. Through this nation, I am going to show people their fallen state, but I am also going to show them my grace and I will use them as my messengers to the nations, because through them will come the Messiah, according to the flesh. I will give my Word through them and I will send salvation through them. Having shown man’s fallen state through them, and my grace through them, I will then use them to be lights to the rest of the world. Through them, all the peoples of the earth shall be blessed, as I promised Abraham.” That is election. That is the election of Israel.
Now, suppose God said to you, “Hey, Jack, come up here, bring your wife Jill with you. This is Jack and Jill,” and he begins reading out a list of their sins, so everyone can see how no good they were. Would you like to be Jack or Jill? Then he says, “However, I want to show you how forgiving I am; I am going to forgive Jack and Jill.” That is what election is about. Israel was elect. We are elect. Election has to do with elected for service as sons and daughters. In other words, Israel was elect and there are two aspects to the election: Salvation is both eternal and temporal. Yes, we are elect to go to heaven. We are elect to be God’s children and co-reign with Christ forever; but we are also elected to do something in this life and in this world, to be his light to others. Just like in Matthew 25; whether or not we do this and how faithfully we do this, is going to determine our reward when we do this. That is election.
Now, a text, out of context, in isolation from its co-text is a pretext. What these people say is this: Ronnie showed you on the map how Israel is the most fought over place in history because it is where three continents come together. It was from there the gospel could spread north, south, east, and west. It spread in all directions. But we have heard people say “We’re elect: and on the day of this election some unspeakable things happened: The war crimes of the Puritans against the Irish. If you want to throw rocks at the Roman Catholic Church, throw one for me. Better yet, throw a hand grenade. But don’t throw rocks at Catholic people. Then the Puritans decided that they were the true elect; the other Calvinists, the Presbyterians were not, so they had a war. They massacred each other in the name of Jesus Christ. It was all politics. The Southern Baptists in America, “We can own Black slaves, we’re the elect.” The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa, “We can have apartheid; we are the elect.” This is a wrong view of election. We are elected to service, to be lights to the nations, not to lord it over them. The first problem: “God elected some to go to heaven, some to go to hell, that’s it.” That is what they say. A text, out of context, is a pretext. A text, out of context, in isolation from its co-text is a pretext. Up to chapter eight, he is talking about the fulfillment of the Torah. This automatically raises the question to the readers, “Well then, what about Israel, what about the Jews? They’ve been around for 2000 years, what about them?” So he has to explain the relationship of the church to Israel, that’s chapters 9, 10 and 11, it emerges from the flow of the letter. We treat it as parenthetical but actually it is the natural question that would have arose from what he wrote in the first 8 chapters. Now, let’s go further.
Election; a text, out of context, in isolation from its co-text is a pretext. “God created people to go to hell; look what he did to Pharaoh, look at the two sons, the two twins, Jacob I loved, Esau I hated.” Let’s look at the text in the context. It is talking about a nation, not a person. But let’s go to the co-text.
Jeremiah 18:1-11 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD saying, "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I shall announce My words to you." Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. ut the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make. Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. "At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom … (barchut goy etmor basilia in the Septuagint, not an individual). “To uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it. "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it.
Jeremiah 18:9-11 "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it. "So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the LORD…,’
He talks about the judgment that is going to come with the Babylonian captivity. This is exactly Romans 9, 10 and 11. What does Paul say in Chapter 11? If God didn’t spare the natural branches, he won’t spare you either. If this, the Jews, were unfaithful, God went and he got the Gentiles. If the Gentiles are unfaithful, which they are, he will go back to the Jews. He exercises his sovereignty according to the fidelity or infidelity of the nation and people. The text, in its context, in light of its co-text says:
1. It is about nations, not about people.
2. When God exercises his sovereign power, it is always in response to their actions. He doesn’t create anybody for destruction for the sake of doing it.
To arrive at Replacement Theology, to arrive at the Calvinism that begets it, you must take a text, out of context, in isolation from its co-text. “I witnessed to him but he didn’t get saved. Maybe he is not of the elect. If he was of the elect he would have got saved.” It just does not work that way. He wants none to perish but all should reach repentance. He is the Savior of all men, especially those who believe in Him. Their god is not the God of the Bible. They give him a very different character. The God of the Bible does not want anybody to go to hell, except those for whom it was created. It is a nation. It is not a person. And, what God does with it will depend on what they do with him. Now, notice what it says. If the clay vessel does not turn out so good, what does he do? He reforms it. He doesn’t throw it away and take a new lump of clay. He does not say “This one’s no good, chuck it, bring me some more clay.” He takes the same vessel, breaks it up and remolds it. He doesn’t get rid of Israel because of their sin and rejection! He reforms Israel on the wheel, and ultimately this will happen. All Israel shall be saved. Those who survive the Great Tribulation “Will look upon him who they have pierced and mourn as one mourns for an only son.” He will remake the vessel; he has never thrown it away. To arrive at this nonsense, you must the text out of context, and in isolation from its co-text--bad exegesis.
Now, it is strange that Calvinists pride themselves on their exegesis. While these people would very much shun things like allegorical interpretation, they themselves, as I have pointed out in the past, have no qualms about engaging in open Gnosticism. They assign some spiritualized meaning to what the Bible plainly says. Israel? “Oh, that’s the Church.” Millennium? “Oh, that’s a symbol.” Well, do you believe the 3-1/2 years are literal? “I guess so.” Then why not the thousand? This becomes pick and choose. There is no consistency in their hermeneutic; that is why their history is so ugly. That is why they have done at least as much harm as they’ve done good, if not more and they are doing harm today. The danger that exists now is something Dave Hunt was very aware of. Because of the money preachers from America and South Africa, because of the hype artists, because of the Charismaniacs, because of the Toronto’s and the Pensacola’s and Alpha and all that stuff, a lot of people and most of us have probably met them, who saw this stuff were alienated by it, were burned off by it. What do they go to? They go into Cessationist, Replacementist Churches. They go to something they think is the opposite of what they came out of. Charismania—Cessationism, they go to the other side. You don’t correct error with error, you correct error with truth. What they are doing goes all the way back to Antioch and Alexandria. They correct error with error. Once the Devil gets you correcting error with error, he’s just got you in another error. But let’s go further. They will then say “What about Pharaoh? God says he raised up Pharaoh just for this purpose. “Yes, he did. “God hardened his heart.” Yes, he did, but looking at the text in its context, in light of its co-text, did God arbitrarily harden Pharaoh’s heart, as they suggest? Let’s look at the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, the text, out of context, in light of its co-text.
Exodus 7:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Pharaoh's heart is stubborn; he refuses to let the people go.”
In Hebrew it actually says “His heart is hard and heavy.” His heart was already hardened before God hardened it.
Exodus 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts; and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
Notice it says “Pharaoh hardened his heart” and he did it this time also. In other words, all the previous times, he was hardening his own heart. He hardened it, he hardened it. He indeed hardened his heart.
Exodus 11:10 And Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.
Not until you get to chapter 11 does God harden Pharaoh’s heart. Why? Because Pharaoh hardens it in chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, then God says “Now, I am going to harden your heart. Now you can’t repent. Now you can’t believe. I am going to harden your heart. You will not let my people go. I will deliver them by my own hand.” God didn’t just harden his heart. He hardened his own, chronically and repeatedly, to the point there was no repentance. No matter what happened, one sign, one judgment after another, one warning after another! He rejected it. And even when he began to relent, he would always revoke his words. To arrive at this nonsense you have to take the text, out of context, in isolation from its co-text and create a pretext. That is all Replacement Theology is; a pretext. That is all the Calvinism that has engendered it with an evangelical Protestantism is; a pretext. It is all a pretext invented by men. Now let’s understand this just a bit more.
This hardening that happened to pharaoh is exactly what has happened to Israel. God has hardened the heart of Israel. I have witnessed to Orthodox Jews until I was blue in the face; I have witnessed to Rabbis. I’ve showed them arguments they could not really refute biblically. They would just go to the Talmud, so I would go to the Talmud and I would show them from the Talmud, “Look, even Talmudically we can justify our interpretation that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews.” It just became a choice. Now, I have not only seen this with Jews. I have seen it with Roman Catholics in Ireland, particularly, I have seen it with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I’ve seen it with Mormons, and I’ve seen it with Moslems. Again, the Jews are a microcosm of the human condition. In other words, Jews are like everybody else, only more so. What it comes to is this; you see it with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’ve seen it with the Mormons, you see it with the Roman Catholic Clergy, it comes to this. “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.” This is something very serious. This is what we see in John’s Gospel, Chapter 9 and 10: “I came that those who see will become blind and those who are blind will see.” Once people are no longer simply blind; we are all blind until we see the light. Jesus makes a difference. God makes a difference between being blind and being willfully blind. When people are willfully blind, they are in big trouble because they have hardened their heart chronically and repeatedly. Then God says, “Now I will harden your heart.” And he hardened the heart of Israel and the Jewish people. Now if God has hardened the heart of his own people, his own covenant people, are we surprised at the state of this nation or America? You show them the evidence from the Bible, “This is wrong, ordaining homosexuals is not scriptural, God hates divorce, you cant do….” God is hardening the heart of the Church. Now, let us look at Romans 11 again:
Romans 11:25 “That a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.”
This hardening of Israel’s heart is partial and temporary. The author of salvation has always been available to Jews individually and you’ve always, throughout the darkest times of history, found individual Jews who believed. “A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in.”
Well, now there is a partial hardening of the Church. The Church will no longer listen to the truth anymore than the Jews did who rejected Jesus. A remnant of Jews accepted him, a remnant. If you are a Christian who is discerning, who sees through these things, who understands the nature of what we have talked about in the past, about Alpha promoting homosexuality in America, about the Emergent Church, “The Bible is not absolute truth, never was,” about Rick Warren and his yoga lessons on the same program. If you see through that stuff, you are very much for this time in history what Peter, James, John, and Mary were for the first century. The same as they were the faithful remnant of Israel ready for the first coming of Jesus, by the grace of God, you people will be the faithful remnant of the Church ready for his second coming. But to the others, their hearts are being hardened. This is frightening! This is terrible! Look what happened to Israel, look what happened to the Jews! Look what happened—chosen for what? Think of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof—“Why didn’t you choose somebody else?” This is a terrible thing. Do you know what is most terrible about this? It should not happen! If he didn’t spare the natural branches, he won’t spare you either. Learn from Israel’s mistakes! Why did God deal with them for so long?
Romans 15:4 For whatever was written in earlier times [the Old Testament, the Tanakh] was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
That is the upside. Let us look at the downside, the co-text:
1 Corinthians 10:6-8 Now these things happened as examples for us, that we should not crave evil things, as they also craved. And do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did.
Israel is God’s teaching tool to the rest of us. It teaches about the human condition. Why did God spend 2000 years getting Israel ready for the Church to come? Remember, from the time of Israel’s history until the coming of Christ is the same as the age of the Church. Peter, James and John would have talked about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the way we talk about Peter, James and John. That is how long it was. It would have been a long time, but it was approximately the same, give or take 100 years or whatever, approximately the same. These things were written down so that it would not happen to us. You look at Kings and Chronicles, revival, backslide, revival, backslide, revival, backslide. Look at your life and my life as a Christian, what is it? Walking with Jesus Monday, Tuesday I’m down, Wednesday…. That was written so we would not be like that, but we are like that. Hopeless!
It is hopeless except for one thing—election … being chosen. The Grace of God, otherwise it would be hopeless. A partial hardening has happened to Israel. The same as God hardened Pharaoh, he has hardened Israel. Now, slowly but surely, that hardening is going away. When I lived in Israel there were a few hundred believers in the country. We don’t know how many there are now; an educated guess might be somewhere between eight and eleven thousand, in 20 years! The United States? Tens of thousands! I have been to Russia--Thousands! Their hardening is beginning to change. The same as God hardened the heart of the Jews and turned his grace to the Gentiles, now he is hardening the heart of the Gentile Church and turning his grace to the Jews. We have a teaching explaining this: The Time of the Jews and the Time of the Gentiles. The point is this: The Lord is in the business of softening hearts, but he is also in the business of hardening them. We have to keep ours soft. Those who harden their hearts, God will harden. It is not something He wants to do. It is not something He wanted to do to Israel and it is not something He wants to do to the Church. God does not want this. The question is, why did Israel want it? Why does the Church want it? Anybody who wants this stuff must be out of their mind. Election. Election. Don’t ask me why God elected me, why He chose me. As many times as I drop my cross and do wrong things, things I should not do, He forgives me. Why? I don’t know! The only thing I know is that it is nothing to do with me, as such. That’s the only thing I know. Why has God elected Israel? I don’t have to worry about why God has elected Israel because I can’t even figure out why He elected me.