Esau Have I Loved, Jacob Have I Hated

Dr. Brian Wagner raised an interesting issue in an earlier discussion that I wish to address more fully here. I’ve included his argument below my comments for your consideration as well.

On Calvinism, God is never described as hating the elect or loving the non-elect for salvation. In fact, Calvinists typically appeal to Romans 9:13 in order to show that God’s saving love is unchangeably set before anyone was even born.

However, Scripture does describe all people being under wrath and thus “hated” by God prior to their coming to faith in Christ. This is a point even Calvinistic brethren affirm. According to Calvinists, all people are born under wrath and thus hated enemies of God, yet the Calvinist attempts to maintain that Jacob was loved prior to being born.

Was not Jacob “by nature [a child] of wrath [hated], just as the others?” (Eph. 2:3). We all should affirm that Jacob remained under wrath [hated] until he came to a point of faith and forgiveness. Even if he came to that point by some “effectual” means, as proposed by the Calvinist, it does not change the fact that he was born under Divine wrath and thus God’s hatred. Would Calvinists have us believe Jacob is born both hated and loved by God?

How does the Calvinist reconcile their belief that God loved Jacob before he was born (when dealing with Romans 9:13), yet maintain their belief that all men are born hated enemies of God (when dealing with Ephesians 2:3)?

Do you remember “The Two Will of God” defense proposed by John Piper and other Calvinistic scholars? Well, there is also a  Two Kinds of Divine Love defense within some forms Calvinism. They argue that there is a general or common love that God has for all creatures, but there is also a special “salvific love” reserved for His elect. These explanations allow the Calvinist to maintain their seemingly contradictory perspective of God expressing something (I love and want all) when in reality He does not mean it (I only love and want some). One can quickly understand why some “higher” forms of Calvinism debunk this approach as being “contradictory,” and as making God out to appear “schizophrenic.” <see this link>

I suppose some Calvinists would attempt to describe the ‘hatred’ for Jacob prior to his conversion, as not being the same kind of hatred he had for Esau? Maybe there is a “Two Kinds of Hate” defense for some Calvinists as well? When Paul said, “we were by nature children of wrath [hated], just as the others,” maybe he meant the “others who are elect” and not all really “all the rest?”  Who knows?

For a much less confounding explanation of God’s choice of one brother over the other, please consider this interpretation instead.


 

Thank to Dr. Brian Wagner, one who provides regular commentary on the blog, for bringing this issue to the forefront. Below is an argument he crafted for  your consideration:

It is certain that Calvinists like camping on the reverse of that phrase (in Rom 9:13) to try to prove individual election before birth and even before creation. One might initially wonder how God can hate any baby, even Esau, before it does not do anything “good or bad” (9:11). But careful observation reveals the divine hated of “Esau”, based on the context of Paul’s quote from Malachi 1:1-5, is connected to his national posterity, Edom, not to him individually.

Having done some more thinking about all this has led me to discover a new biblical twist that reveals a big contradiction in the Calvinist’s attempt to use Paul’s quote from Malachi to prove individual election before creation. That is why I say, “Esau have I loved, Jacob have I hated” is also true, Scripturally speaking.

Does God ever “hate” the elect? Does God ever “love” the non-elect for the sake of their salvation? The Calvinist would probably say, “No!” to both these questions. But Scripture says God does formerly hate those who become “elect” in Christ, but only before they become one of the elect. And it says God also does have a love for the not-yet elect because of those who are already among the elect. Can God have a type of love and a type of hate for the same person during the same time, that is, before their salvation? I believe so!

Consider Ephesians 2:3 – “…among whom also we all [now elect] once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath [hated], just as the others.” Isn’t Paul admitting that he was once hated by God, by stating he was under God’s wrath?

Consider Romans 11:28 – “Concerning the gospel [they are] [non-elect] enemies for your sake, but concerning the election [they are] beloved [non-elect] for the sake of the fathers.” And this is a love with the hope of some of them being “grafted in” again to the covenant blessings of Israel, bringing the opportunity for individual salvation. [I take the “branches” in this passage not as individuals, but as individual “generations” of Israel and Gentile nations who are being given gospel awakenings as people groups, or who are being hardened from such opportunities because of national rejection of God’s truth.]

Consider also Rom 8:33, 35 – “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? [It is] God who justifies…. Who shall separate us [the elect] from the love of Christ? [Shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” The Calvinist must have the elect being loved before creation, then separated from that love at their birth, and placed under God’s wrath (hated, if you will), and then loved once again after their moment of regeneration. But this passage infers that once elect, then always loved. In my view, the elect are always loved, never unloved. But the not-yet elect are loved for the gospel sake, though hated for their sin sake. This love/hate has nothing to do with individual mental choice by God before creation.

Consider now Genesis 33:10 – “And Jacob said, ‘No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight [Esau], then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face [Esau] as though I had seen the face of God, and you [Esau] were pleased with me.’” What does such a reaction by Esau tell someone about the state of his heart? I believe it points to Esau having become one of the elect!

In support of this think of Jesus’ words found in Luke 7:47 – “Therefore I say to you, her sins, [which are] many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves little.” Did not Esau demonstrate that he was in possession of divine forgiveness, because he obviously demonstrated loving forgiveness to Jacob? Did not he run to Jacob, fall on his neck and kiss him (33:4)? Who does that remind you of? (cf. Luke 15:20)

So what is my conclusion? If Jacob had been loved as an elect individual before creation, according to Calvinism, then he would have been “hated” at least from his birth to his conversion, which I think was up to the night before he met Esau. Jacob would have been under God’s wrath until then.

Let’s grant that Esau was “hated” as an individual, being a profane man, filled with hatred from being tricked by Jacob, and rejected from his father Isaac’s blessing, which he sought afterwards with tears, but found no change of mind (repentance) in Isaac. However, he then must have later humbly accepted God’s mercy for his own soul, and became one of the “elect”, as seen in his loving forgiveness towards Jacob. Though Esau’s lineage was never to be used in God’s redemptive plan, he himself, and other individuals from Edom, would still be “loved” by God because of Abraham and Isaac (their elect/saved fore-fathers). God would still draw individuals of Edom to have an opportunity of salvation, and to individually become part of the elect, even if their nation would corporately always represent rejection by God!

So my argument is that elect individuals are never hated! I believe no Scripture teaches any individual is elect before creation, except Christ, and that no other individuals existed before creation to be loved (or hated), except the members of the Godhead. When anyone is born, they then enter the state of being under God’s wrath, and all become “hated” in that sense. When anyone is saved, they then enter the state of being one of God’s elect, and all of them are loved with a special everlasting love that begins at that point, never to be discontinued.

There is however, also, a gracious divine love offered to the not-yet elect that comes from their connection to the elect, which flows out from God to their family/nation, designed to provide opportunities for members of their family/nation to be offered individual salvation.

Consider Romans 11:13-14 – “For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles [and one of the remnant elect of Israel], I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy [those who are] my flesh and save some of them.” Paul, as one of the elect, was being used an expression of God’s love to all the Israelites (9:1-3, 10:1), who are all “beloved,” for the elect sake, to lead as many as possible to salvation.

Compare with – 1Corinthians 7:14, 16 – “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife [but not yet saved], and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy [but not yet saved].….For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save [your] husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save [your] wife? [Or your children?” One sees in this final passage of this discussion how God’s special love for the elect/saved spouse brings a unique love and opportunity for salvation to their unsaved spouse and children, and for them to become one of the elect also, when they place their personal trust in Jesus.

Yes, every not-yet saved person is under God’s wrath, because of their unbelief (John 3:36), so that they are “hated” in that sense. But they are also loved, because of the Elect One – Jesus, so that God is reaching out to all of them, giving them the adequate opportunity for repentance, to escape His wrath and forever become one of His specially loved elect in Christ!

134 thoughts on “Esau Have I Loved, Jacob Have I Hated

  1. I have yet to see any comment from Reformed adherents which properly addresses the problem they have with the concept of election. This word is used in at least two different contexts and these are rarely if ever differentiated.

    In one sense the term elect is used for those who are saved, whose eternal destiny is secured and who are predestined to adoption as sons. All Christians are seen as elect.

    But in another sense, elect is used for those whom God has ‘chosen’ who will then respond at some later date to his ‘effectual’ call.

    However, if we read the scriptures we find that the elect are given the status of being ‘in Him’. Yet if this is the case, those who hold to this unconditional election have some explaining to do. If people are ‘elect’ in eternity past then they must also have been ‘in Him’ in eternity past. In which case, they were already saved and secure before they were born. Something is seriously wrong here. If people truly are elect when they are ‘in Him’ then they (Reformed) must choose another word to describe their being ‘chosen before the foundation of the world’. They cannot use the same word to mean two states which appear to be mutually exclusive.

    Reformed/Calvinist teaching it would appear is advocating a double election. The ‘elect’ are chosen and then those ‘elect’ are then added to the elect at salvation.

    Whatever those who hold to the Reformed view on election want to believe, they cannot find support for God hating Esau from birth. It simply isn’t there. But this blessing or lack of blessing from birth follows a pattern. God never cursed Hagar or Ishmael but rather blessed them. Isaac was the son of promise but Ishmael also was to become the head of a mighty nation. In the same way we find that Rebekah is simply told that she was going to have twins and that the older would serve the younger. There is no hint of God hating or refusing blessing to Esau from birth. All we have is a reversal of the normal rules for inheritance in that the older boy would be subservient. Jacob was more blessed, true, but Esau was not cursed or hated from birth. When Jacob and Esau are restored, it is clear to see that Esau has also been blessed, at least, he certainly thought so. History shows that the descendants of Esau were not as accommodating as their forefather, hence the enmity between the two nations. The passage in Malachi 1 speaks of having hated Esau (Edom) and if you look at their behaviour, you can see why. But it took hundreds of years of this behaviour to merit God’s wrath.

    The Reformed/Calvinists really do miss the point of Romans 9. God’s purpose in choosing Jacob was not that he would select an ‘elect’ who would be saved, but that he could accomplish what he wanted to through the most unlikely of channels. Despite all the failings of Jacob and his descendants, God shows he is able to achieve his purpose of bringing salvation to the world. It’s not about limiting salvation to an elect few, but bringing grace and mercy to all.

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    1. Exactly, Barker, you put your finger on a vital issue that exposes their inconsistencies. They want to talk about “a real and actual atonement” and not a Jesus who “potentially saves” yet they will admit under fire that the elect were under the wrath of God at some point. I tried to see their response here in this post ( http://forums.carm.org/vbb/showthread.php?251108-Are-the-elect-ever-under-the-wrath-of-God-and-how-can-that-be-an-quot-actual-quot-atonement ) but as usual they fall back to doublespeak.

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      1. dizerner writes, “…[Calvinists] will admit under fire that the elect were under the wrath of God at some point.”

        This a conclusion from Ephesians 2:3, “All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.”

        How do you understand this verse?

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      2. My theology has no trouble saying the elect were under wrath, because I believe in a potential atonement based upon our faith in grace not irresistibly given to us.

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  2. Dr. Flowers writes, “..the Calvinist attempts to maintain that Jacob was loved prior to being born…Would Calvinists have us believe Jacob is born both hated and loved by God?”

    Essentially, Yes. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The us is Paul and those to whom he is writing – believers in Rome. So, while believers – even like Jacob, – were still sinners and objects of God’s wrath, Christ died for them because of God’s love for them.

    Malachi has, “The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” (Malachi 1)

    We see that God’s love or hate for a person is displayed in the manner God treats that person. God is said to love Jacob because Jacob, like Issac, was the child of promise. God is said to hate Esau (despite giving him riches) because of the way God treated both Esau and his posterity – by not bringing them to salvation (so far as we know).

    In Galatians 2, Paul has this interesting testimony, “…when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem…”

    So, God sets Paul apart from birth for His purpose but it is only after Paul terrorizes the believing Jews that God brings Paul to salvation. As God set Paul apart from birth, could we not say that God loved him and sent Christ to die for him? Yet, Paul “… persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it….” As God hates, iniquity might we conclude that God hated Paul for his iniquity?

    The issue seems to be whether God can both hate and love the same person (e.g., His elect). Believers can affirm that God can hate them because their is nothing in them that God might find to love yet in His love for them, God can send Christ to die for them. “In love
    God predestined [believers] to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ…” Paul, writing of believers, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ…” (Ephesians 2) Believers were objects of God’s wrath but God had a great love for them.

    You have barely scratched the surface, I think, in sorting out God’s love relative to His hate. Much more work is needed on this.

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    1. It is you, Roger that has “barely scratched the surface” by selectively discussing what you have agreed with from the post above, and ignoring all the rest! What about the love/hate relationship that God has with all the not-yet elect that was shown above? What about Esau’s individual salvation as shown in the evidence provided above?

      And there is nothing in Scripture about loving anyone before creation, except Christ. Your example of God’s choice of Paul from birth to serve Him, and according to a plan for him, that Paul says that he was obedient to (Acts 26:19), does not prove it was irresistible, nor does it disprove that God has such a plan for all who are created in His image, though many end up disobedient to it by their rejection of His offer of grace to each of them.

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      1. brianwagner writes, “It is you that has “barely scratched the surface” by selectively discussing what you have agreed with from the post above, and ignoring all the rest! ”

        I agree. The issue has much more that awaits investigation.

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  3. Reading Genesis now for my devotions. The nation element is all through it especially in the later chapters where Jacob blesses his sons and it’s clear he knows they will become tribes/people groups even as he blesses them as individuals. I see this as important in the Old Testament view of election.

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    1. That makes sense, Seeking Disciple, doesn’t it, when you consider that Moses was writing Genesis for the tribes of Israel as they prepared to enter Canaan and become a federation of tribes as one nation under God?!

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      1. The seeking Disciple writes, “It’s just amazing to me that Calvinists see individual election in many NT passages quoting from the OT when the OT is full of corporate election within Israel.”

        That the OT is full of corporate election does not negate individual election in either the OT or NT.

        Do we have examples of individual election? Abraham and David would seem to be examples of this. Jeremiah writes, ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Paul makes a similar claim in Galatians 1. It seems obvious that there is individual election.

        But, the issue is election to salvation. Here Paul writes, “it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.” By ” children of promise” we understand that God speaks of those who are saved as Paul also writes, “At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.” The son “born by the power of the Spirit” was Isaac (but Jacob was also a child of promise). Jesus said, ““I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Does not the Spirit operate on individuals rather than the corporate church and that to salvation? So, there is evidence of the election of individuals – including the election of individuals to salvation.

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  4. I’m not a Calvinist but OF COURSE there are different kinds of divine hatred in Scripture. Otherwise you’d have a tough time reconciling there being hated folks — for ancillary reasons, like reasons of wrathful recompense per deeds — vs. Elihu’s revelation, speaking on behalf of God and unrebuked therefor, that “God is mighty, and despises nobody; God is mighty, and firm in purpose.”

    Don’t be quick to accuse of contradiction when “sense-parsing” must be invoked by any dutiful Christian on this issue.

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    1. Hi Stan! Though in my post above I didn’t get down into the “weeds” of words and their meanings, where you play so well, I agree with you that careful word studies reveal that God’s hatred in both the OT and NT never contains the element of “detesting” of the person, as you have pointed out from Elihu’s words. I think “rejection” is the primary idea behind the word divine “hatred.”

      Where we may disagree, is that God’s wrath towards sin will remain forever upon those who reject His offers of saving mercy during their lifetime. He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, Ezekiel reminded us (18:23, 32). There is no detestation in His execution of wrath either! But that wrath will be executed in the everlasting way that Jesus described it – “everlasting punishment” (Matt 25:46).

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      1. I don’t think it is that large of a “stack of issues”, at least not large based on the number of them, my friend! 🙂

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    1. Stan, am I the bigger or smaller circle in that “Venn-overlap”? 🙂

      Trusting Jesus alone for salvation from sin, dedicated to trying to please Him, endeavoring to build each other up in the faith that is judged by inerrant Scriptures, and trying to persuade the lost to repent and believe the gospel… if you and I hold all that in common, not much else really becomes significant!

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      1. Yep. There’s this sad pattern where agreements can feel “stale” and disagreements can feel “exciting” and thereby distort our view of their importance. It may be one of the main catalysts for historical divisions in the church.

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  5. Dr. Leighton writes,
    Consider now Genesis 33:10 – “And Jacob said, ‘No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight [Esau], then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face [Esau] as though I had seen the face of God, and you [Esau] were pleased with me.’” What does such a reaction by Esau tell someone about the state of his heart? I believe it points to Esau having become one of the elect!
    In support of this think of Jesus’ words found in Luke 7:47 – “Therefore I say to you, her sins, [which are] many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loves little.” Did not Esau demonstrate that he was in possession of divine forgiveness, because he obviously demonstrated loving forgiveness to Jacob? Did not he run to Jacob, fall on his neck and kiss him (33:4)? Who does that remind you of? (cf. Luke 15:20)

    Here Dr. Leighton broad jumps, using gymnastics with the Word of God, into believing Esau has been chosen in temporal time to be elect. Wrong for two reasons,

    First, it is Jacob being gracious to his brother, nowhere in Scripture do we find evidence of Esau being saved. The last reference in Scripture of Esau outcome is in Hebrews12:16,17 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

    He had fully apostatized, and was forever outside the pale of God’s grace. He went on “sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth,” and there no longer remained any sacrifice to cover his sins (Heb. 10:26). https://www.gty.org/resources/print/bible-qna/BQ040913

    Secondly, the ELECT have clearly been chosen before the foundation of the world.
    If we let the Word of God speak for itself, we can understand the relationship God has for THOSE WHOM HE FOREKNEW

    To all THOSE LOVED BY GOD in Rome, CALLED to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Romans 1:7

    And we know that all things work together for good for THOSE WHO LOVE GOD, who are CALLED according to his purpose, Romans 8:28

    For those whom HE FOREKNEW, He also PREDESTINED to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
    and these whom He PREDESTINED, He also CALLED; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Romans 8:29,30

    For HE CHOSE US in Christ BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. Ephesians 1:4

    The arminian/traditionalist/molinist/open thesist must suppress the truth by utilizing contextual gymnastics. Pulling from unrelated texts a context that is foreign to what the Apostle Paul has clearly written, as he is carried along by the Holy Spirit.
    This is God’s Word.
    Soli Deo Gloria

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    1. Hey Steven… Actually those were my words, and not Brother Flowers’.

      “By there fruits you will know them!” The last reference to Esau in Scripture does not guarantee his everlasting state. In that context only his “fruit” before his rejection of the first-born’s blessing was being used as an illustration. We can let others judge the “fruit” of his life after that time as illustrated in Genesis, especially 33:4, 10.

      But you may also want to take into account to other verses.

      Deut 23:7-8, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he [is] your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.”

      Amos 9:11-12 “’On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the LORD who does this thing.”

      If Edomites could get saved… why not Esau?

      And I answered your same responses above about Eph 1 and Rom 8 on the previous post you just replied to with the same information, but here it is again, in case you missed it there.

      >> Keep reading Steve the biblical responses already given for your chosen interpretations of those passages! God does not have a fantasy love for someone before they exist. And the “called” designation is not “to be” in the future (“to be” was added by Anglo-Catholic translators) but what they already were in Christ, the moment He placed His love on them (came to “know” them in a special way) when they were saved. Once saved they are from that point on – foreknown, predestined, called, justified, glorified (seated in the heavenlies in Christ).

      There is no “contextual gymnastics” utilized when seeing that one of the “spiritual blessings” in Ephesians 1 that Paul is talking about is not “elect to be in Christ” but “elect in Christ to be holy and blameless.” I have used this following illustrations before, but I put them here again for you.

      Any Messianic Jew today can say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would just be recognizing that as an individual, being now in Christ, he would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land, because of the promise made to Abraham.

      Or I could say, I was chosen before I was born, or even thought of as a possibility by my father, to receive an inheritance of my father’s riches when he made out his will just after he got married! No “contextual gymnastics”, but a clear parallel to how Paul was speaking in Ephesians 1. There were no other individuals to choose from and to love, before creation, then the members of the Godhead! It takes contextual gymnastics, in my opinion, to try to force those ideas into the contexts of Rom 8 and Eph 1.

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      1. Brian writes,“ By there fruits you will know them!” The last reference to Esau in Scripture does not guarantee his everlasting state. In that context only his “fruit” before his rejection of the first-born’s blessing was being used as an illustration. We can let others judge the “fruit” of his life after that time as illustrated in Genesis, especially 33:4, 10.
        In both these passages, Jacob is being very gracious to his brother, there is no evidence in this verse that Esau repented of his sins. Many have shown temporary fruit in the Old Testament and they are referenced in Hebrews 6 and 10. Hebrews 12 follows and is the last full mention of Esau, so your claim is baseless. Besides even those who reject God can show forgiveness and love to their family.
        For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. Isaiah 64:6

        Brian writes,
        If Edomites could get saved… why not Esau?, with these 2 examples in Deuteronomy and Amos.
        Deut 23:7-8, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he [is] your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD.”
        Amos 9:11-12 “’On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the LORD who does this thing.”

        When everything is all said and done there will be no remnant of Edom. It is made very clear that they will be completely gone. God hates them and brings them to a complete end.

        Jeremiah 49:10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbors, and he is not.

        Obadiah 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble,(fuel) and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

        According to the Word of God Brian, your question about Esau is answered.
        Brian writes, Any Messianic Jew today can say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would just be recognizing that as an individual, being now in Christ, he would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land, because of the promise made to Abraham.
        Or I could say, I was chosen before I was born, or even thought of as a possibility by my father, to receive an inheritance of my father’s riches when he made out his will just after he got married! No “contextual gymnastics”, but a clear parallel to how Paul was speaking in Ephesians 1. There were no other individuals to choose from and to love, before creation, then the members of the Godhead! It takes contextual gymnastics, in my opinion, to try to force those ideas into the contexts of Rom 8 and Eph 1.

        Where has Jeremiah 1:5 been discussed here,
        “Before I FORMED YOU in the womb I KNEW YOU, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
        Where can you show me in Scripture where ‘BEFORE’ does not mean ‘ETERNITY PAST’?

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      2. Thanks Steven for attempting to reply to the Scripture evidence I provided. I hope you are willing to say that you will follow Scripture evidence where it leads no matter what you may have wrongly thought it meant before.

        Jacob was acting out of fear, and even lied to Esau when invited to return with him to Seir. Esau’s actions, as I pointed out, were just like the father’s to the prodigal son. And Jacob recognized the divine quality to it. Read Gen 33:4 and 10 again.

        Amos 9:12 is quoted and explained in Acts 15:17 showing that God will have saved people from every tribe, tongue and nation, even Edom, and I believe it will include Esau! The Day of the Lord will, like Obadiah prophesied, bring a physical end to whatever seed of Esau that is still alive at that time, for Edom as a nation did always illustrate rejection of God’s will.

        And Jeremiah 1:5 probably only means that God’s plan for Jeremiah was fashioned at his conception, before he was formed in the womb. There is no hint that “before I formed you” means “before creation! You must force that onto the text. The parallel – “before you were born” in the next line seems to support my view, as well as the implications of Psalm 139:16.

        When we are conceived, God does have a plan for our lives, just like a potter has for a vessel He is forming. But like the clay in Jer 18:1-11, we may not fulfill His original plan for us, and so He then freely makes a new plan for us to fulfill that fits into His overall plans for displaying His mercy and justice.

        Do you really think that every where the word “before” is used by God in Scripture it always means “eternity past”?

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      3. brianwagner writes, “Jeremiah 1:5 probably only means that God’s plan for Jeremiah was fashioned at his conception, before he was formed in the womb.”

        The key phrase is “probably only.” Jeremiah 1:5 says, ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,…” The issue is the meaning of “I knew you,” and what it is that was known to God about Jeremiah and when God knew it. I see no reason not to think that God had a plan for Jeremiah as Brian suggests but to say that God only formulated that plan at the point of conception is a stretch.

        Given all the plans of God revealed in the Scriptures from Genesis 3 through the Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc. regarding the coming of Christ and events surrounding both Christ’s first and second coming, we should anticipate that God had planned Jeremiah’s role in His plan from the beginning – the point of God’s conception of the universe. According to some, God has always had this plan.

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      4. So who, Roger, is stretching the context in Jeremiah? God could have easily said “from My conception of the universe.” But He said, “from before you were born.” Who is doing the stretching? Not me!

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      5. brianwagner writes, “God could have easily said “from My conception of the universe.” But He said, “from before you were born.” Who is doing the stretching? Not me!”

        At the least we know that God “knew” before Jeremiah was conceived that which He was going to do with Jeremiah. Even you agree that God knew all possibilities before He created the universe. So, God knew that Jeremiah would be born (after all, it is God who determines the conception and birth of any person so Jeremiah’s birth was certain). Thus, the issue is whether God was able to factor in all of His actions even allowing for any inability to know the choices people would make (but, even here, God is active in restraining certain choices as with the initial desire of Joseph’s brothers to kill Joseph and to leave the iniquity of Sodom unrestrained because He wanted to destroy it). I see no reason to deny God the knowledge of His plans for Jeremiah from eternity given that His omniscience certainly includes everything He has decided to do – which would include using Jeremiah for his purposes.

        A rabbit trail for you to ponder – When Jesus says, “I never knew you” in Matthew 7:23, what do you think “never” means in the context of that which Jesus “knew”? In your system, should not Jesus have said, “I don’t know you”?

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      6. Actually Roger, you know my position is that within God’s infinite understanding God knew Jeremiah “could” be born and it became “would” be born in His understanding once He determined it to be so. There is nothing in Scripture that says He made that specific determination concerning Jeremiah before creation.

        And would be more precise to say – “At the least we know that God ‘knew’ before Jeremiah was conceived that which He [intended or wanted or was able] to do with Jeremiah [within the possibilities He was still permitting for Jeremiah’s future].

        God knew before creation that Jeremiah could be born, not “would be”, unless He had predetermined before creation for it to be so, for which there is NO indication in this Jer 1 context that He had done so.

        And you have committed the logical formal fallacy of affirming the consequent when you say – “I see no reason to deny God the knowledge of His plans for Jeremiah from eternity given that His omniscience certainly includes everything He has decided to do – which would include using Jeremiah for his purposes.” His omniscience certainly “includes everything He has decided to do” but you have not proven that it includes that He has decided before creation everything He will do.

        If you concede Him free to make just one decision, changing something within His omniscience for possible to certain, then you must concede He is free to still make future decisions from among possibilities that still exist. And this is how the Scriptures reads!

        I love chasing rabbits! 🙂 God never “knew” those mentioned in Matt 7:23 in the sense of His special relational knowledge that He has and starts with each one that actively accepts His saving grace, the moment they accept it. As far as I am aware, the most intimate use for “know” between husband and wife is uniquely of biblical origin in language. It is equal to “love”.

        But I believe this type of divine knowledge is not possible until an actual person exists and can reciprocate. It doesn’t just happen in God’s mind for an individual before they exist, or without any knowledge of their person being taken into account… that would be just plain silly!

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      7. brianwagner writes, “you know my position is that within God’s infinite understanding God knew Jeremiah “could” be born and it became “would” be born in His understanding once He determined it to be so. There is nothing in Scripture that says He made that specific determination concerning Jeremiah before creation.”

        As you have God increasing in knowledge as people make decisions, so God is increasing in understanding of that increased knowledge. Thus, you necessarily limit God’s understanding so that it cannot be “infinite.” It might become infinite when all is said and done, but it cannot be infinite right now under your system. Scripture says that God has infinite understanding and that is a quality He has from eternity since God is eternal. Because God’s infinite understanding is eternal, that which God has determined is covered by His understanding and is also eternal.

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      8. Roger, you know that I think it is reasonable that a change within God’s infinite understanding be not seen as an increase or loss to His perfection. But let me ask you, do you think God can suffer loss of any kind? Did He not suffer a loss of some kind on the cross? But we would not see that loss as a loss to the perfection of His nature!

        The key is to let Scripture interpret God’s perfection, not philosophy! Does “I never knew you” mean God is deficient in some sort of knowledge? Of course not! Neither does a change in His infinite understanding from something being known as possible to being known as eventual.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “…you know that I think it is reasonable that a change within God’s infinite understanding…’

        A change can occur if God’s understanding is finite allowing for change. An infinite understanding does not allow for change because change means that it was not infinite in the first place.

        What you want/need to do is set a boundary/context for God’s infinite understanding. For example, we know that there are an infinite number of points on a line between the numbers 1 and 2 but that this infinite number of points does not describe the entire universe of points on a line. However, we can speak of an infinite number of points between any two numbers and we have a reference point for discussion. I think you are wanting to do the same thing with God’s infinite understanding. That’s fine if the Scriptures support your position. So, do they?

        We read in Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” We have a statement of fact without any limitation by context – it is an all encompassing statement. I am not aware of Scripture that suggests otherwise. Have you run across anything that would suggest otherwise?

        Then, “…do you think God can suffer loss of any kind? Did He not suffer a loss of some kind on the cross? But we would not see that loss as a loss to the perfection of His nature!”

        What do you mean by a “loss”? Christ’s death was ordained by God and was done for gain to bring many to salvation. So, I think you need to define what you mean by a loss that God would incur as a consequence of something happening in His creation or elsewhere.

        Finally, “Does “I never knew you” mean God is deficient in some sort of knowledge? Of course not! Neither does a change in His infinite understanding from something being known as possible to being known as eventual.”

        Oh, Brian!!! We recognize different nuances of meaning in the word “know.” This is based on a distinction in context between one Scripture and another in which the term is used. Do we have a distinction made between two Scriptures regarding God’s understanding that would lead us to conclude that His understanding can both be infinite but different from one Scripture to another based on context?

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      10. Yes! Roger your eyes are starting to crack open! 🙂 The different nuances for God’s immutability and omniscience are there in Scripture, just like for the word “know” as it relates to His knowledge.

        God the Son was forsaken by God the Father while on the cross, and suffered death! If that is not loss, we cannot discuss the normal meaning of words anymore! I know you have trouble with the word “became” normally meaning a change of some kind, so I am fearful you will now tell me that death is not “loss” for God!

        Why be so loyal to philosophical definitions over Scripture? Are you afraid to stand outside the “camp” with Christ on this? The word “change” only is forced to mean “finite” if you say so as a tautology. But you have no proof! And the Scripture’s proof is abundant of God making decisions as we have discussed before! Decisions are changes in thought!

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      11. brianwagner writes, “God the Son was forsaken by God the Father while on the cross, and suffered death! If that is not loss, we cannot discuss the normal meaning of words anymore! I know you have trouble with the word “became” normally meaning a change of some kind, so I am fearful you will now tell me that death is not “loss” for God!”

        Again, you have not defined what you mean by the term, “loss.”

        Death is not necessarily a loss. “I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24) Christ said this referring to His death. Then, “The man who loves his life will lose it,…”

        It is critical that you define what you mean by “loss” and if you can, give some Biblical examples to illustrate your definition of loss.

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      12. Roger, I did define loss and gave an illustration – Christ’s death. Just because you do not accept them as such does not mean they are not what they are! The truth is however that these “losses” do not diminish God’s perfection. I think you would agree. But they are losses, and changes in God’s experiential knowledge which inform the proper definitions of immutability and perfection. I am taking God at His Word!

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      13. brianwagner writes, “Roger, I did define loss and gave an illustration – Christ’s death.”

        Christ’s death is an illustration of that which you identify as a “loss.” In itself, it does not define a “loss.”

        You should be able to provide a definition of “loss” such that Christ’s death would be a loss to God. Did you mean to define “loss” as the cost of forsaking a person who subsequently dies? That would make sense only if the person cannot be brought back to life. As God was able to raise Christ from the dead, there is not a real loss.

        Anyway, you have confused me.

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      14. Sorry for the confusion, Roger! I don’t think you would want to concede that God suffered loss, but got it back again, so in the end did not lose anything, for you have to forfeit immutability to even go there! God was forsaken by God

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      15. brianwagner writes, “I don’t think you would want to concede that God suffered loss, but got it back again, so in the end did not lose anything, for you have to forfeit immutability to even go there! God was forsaken by God.”

        Again, what is to concede if you cannot define the term, “loss.” If you could do it, you would have done so. There is still the need for a definition of “loss” that will allow the conclusion that Christ’s death was such a “loss.” Without a definition any statement to the effect that Christ’s death was a loss to God is nothing more than nonsense. One might as well say that Christ’s death was a jdhg to God which makes no sense until we understand what “jdhg” means.

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      16. Again Roger, I have defined it… but you have not accepted the definition, that I believe many would. God was forsaken by God! Being forsaken is a good example of loss, even if it was only for a shortened period of time! He suffers the loss of the opportunity to love those He created to love and to serve Him, when He must damn them for their rejection of His grace! God grieves… which is only possible because of suffering loss!

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      17. brianwagner writes, ‘I have defined it… but you have not accepted the definition, that I believe many would. God was forsaken by God! Being forsaken is a good example of loss, even if it was only for a shortened period of time!”

        Do you mean to define “loss” as “being forsaken by another” rather than using it as an example of a “loss” as you do above? So, anytime one person rejects another, the person rejected is said to suffer loss. Is that it or were you going in a different direction?

        Then, “He suffers the loss of the opportunity to love those He created to love and to serve Him, when He must damn them for their rejection of His grace! God grieves… which is only possible because of suffering loss!”

        You were using Christ’s death to define “loss” and now you switch to the unsaved. God is responsible for that loss because He has the power to save all people and chooses not to do so (for whatever reason He has chosen to limit what He will do to save all people). Thus, God willfully ordains this outcome and is the cause of His “loss.” God chooses to be rejected by man rather than save them. So, God’s will is that He suffer loss through an outcome He brought about.

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      18. brianwagner writes, “Why be so loyal to philosophical definitions over Scripture? Are you afraid to stand outside the “camp” with Christ on this? The word “change” only is forced to mean “finite” if you say so as a tautology. But you have no proof! And the Scripture’s proof is abundant of God making decisions as we have discussed before! Decisions are changes in thought!”

        We are not into philosophy here but math and the mathematical concepts of infinite and finite.

        We read in Psalm 147:5, “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.” So, what does that mean? If, “infinite” is a proper translation of the Hebrew text, then the definition of “infinite” is that we normally associate with the mathematical concept. Is there any other definition? Even if we allow that God is making decisions, these decisions would reflect His infinite understanding – they would not require that God add to His understanding in order to make the decision. God understands everything already.

        As you seem to allow that God knows all possibilities in the future and is thereby able to decide how He would respond to each possibility, then the decisions He is said to make in the course of time need only be those decisions He decided earlier. As God’s understanding is infinite, there would never be a point where God lacked understanding, so all His decisions could be made in eternity past.

        However, you are evading the issue. Psalm 417 states a specific fact about God. Do you have other Scriptures specifically dealing with His understanding that would alter our understanding that God has infinite understanding? Obvious not since you did not try to argue against Psalm 147. That God makes decisions does not argue against Him having infinite understanding – it only means that His decisions reflect His infinite understanding.

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      19. You keep avoiding Roger, that God has infinite freedom and was not locked into making all His decisions from all the possibilities that are within His infinite understanding before creation. You also continue to avoid that you should not use the word “decision” when talking about God in your position, for nothing, in your view, was ever undecided and then decided. No divine decision was ever made. But the biggest problem that remains is that the Calvinist view of eternity and sequence in God’s reality as described in the normal reading of Scripture must be overturned taking the Bible from the layperson’s hands!

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      20. brianwagner writes, “God has infinite freedom and was not locked into making all His decisions from all the possibilities that are within His infinite understanding before creation.”

        That God makes decisions is to attributed to His freedom. That God makes all His decisions in eternity past does not affect His freedom in any way.

        However, let’s delve into this a little. At the beginning, God knows that Adam must decide to eat the fruit or not eat the fruit. Under your system, God does not know what Adam will do until Adam acts. However, God completely understands the situation and knows how He will respond in either case. Once, Adam makes his decision, Adam then makes a subsequent decision based on the first decision and the ramifications of that first decision (e.g., getting kicked out of the garden). God knows these possibilities and knows how He will respond to Adam’s second decision. That decision has ramifications leading to more decisions. In every case, God knows how He will respond to the decisions Adam makes (as well as Eve and Cain, etc).

        In God’s eternal plan, there is a pathway to the crucifixion of Christ and this pathway is certain regardless what decisions men make. God has an end game that he is pursuing and while your system does not allow God to know the decisions man will make, those decisions do not obstruct God’s plan. God does not learn new information along the way – He is omniscient regarding all possibilities and His understanding of those possibilities is perfect (infinite) so that God reaches His goal regardless the decisions men may make. Then we allow that God actively intervenes in the lives of people to influence the decisions that are made. For example, God kicks A/E out of the garden. God preserves Cain’s life leading to Cain killing Abel. God destroys the world with a flood. God destroys Sodom. God restrains Joseph’s brothers from killing Joseph so that they sell Joseph to the Midianites. God sends dreams and visions to people, heals people, preserves the lives of people, and who knows what else to a degree that is unknown to us such that His influence in the affairs of men guarantees that He gets what He wants.

        As God has a plan, we can be certain that His plan will prevail (given that He is also intervening to ensure that it will happen), so that all God’s decisions are effectively made and have been made from eternity.

        Then, “You also continue to avoid that you should not use the word “decision” when talking about God in your position, for nothing, in your view, was ever undecided and then decided. No divine decision was ever made.”

        That just highlights the shortcomings of the english language in describing a God who is essentially incomprehensible. We do not know how God even thinks except perhaps that He is always perfectly logical in His thinking. However, using a word such as “decision,” still conveys the idea of God’s active involvement in His creation – God did not just wind it up and let it go where ever it would. It is useful even if it does not convey how God is involved as precisely as we may want.

        Finally, ‘But the biggest problem that remains is that the Calvinist view of eternity and sequence in God’s reality as described in the normal reading of Scripture must be overturned taking the Bible from the layperson’s hands!”

        Oh Brian!!!! The normal reading of Scripture is not the real issue. The issue is how to sort out everything the Scriptures tell us so that we can understand what it is saying in its totality. You have this habit of excising certain Scriptures from the rest of Scripture as if that has some value. Why don’t you bite the bullet, so to speak, and when you cite your pet Scriptures, tell us how those Scriptures fit in with the rest of Scripture and thereby advance the discussion. Be a helper.

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      21. brianwagner writes, “God never “knew” those mentioned in Matt 7:23 in the sense of His special relational knowledge that He has and starts with each one that actively accepts His saving grace, the moment they accept it. As far as I am aware, the most intimate use for “know” between husband and wife is uniquely of biblical origin in language. It is equal to “love”.”

        So, there was never a time in their lives when they actively accepted His saving grace – thus no special relational knowledge. However, you have all babies going to heaven (earlier you wrote to Steven, “I think all the babies that died in the flood are in heaven…”) It would seem that Christ does have a special relational knowledge with all people from birth until some point where that relationship is lost and then reacquired only if the person actively accepts saving grace. It seems that “never” runs from from some point in childhood to the person’s later standing before Christ at judgment. Christ could not say to a baby, “I never knew you,” could He?

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      22. We would all agree Roger that as far as the salvation of infants who die, it is all in the disputable matters category (Rom 14:1). At some point, probably after their death, they receive saving grace based on Christ’s redemption.

        Whether actively or passively received by them, we’ll find out perhaps some day. But at that moment of reception they become “known” by God in that intimate relational sense!

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      23. brianwagner writes, “Whether actively or passively received by them, we’ll find out perhaps some day. But at that moment of reception they become “known” by God in that intimate relational sense!”

        So, “at that moment of reception they become “known” by God in that intimate relational sense!” How then does Christ say to them later, “I never knew you,” when He did know them as infants? Should Christ have said, instead, “I do not know you.”

        Also, “We would all agree Roger that as far as the salvation of infants who die, it is all in the disputable matters category (Rom 14:1). At some point, probably after their death, they receive saving grace based on Christ’s redemption.”

        Are we agreeing that it is God who saves infants? If yes, then I adhere to one plan of salvation – God saves, while you have two plans of salvation – God saves infants and God helps adults come to salvation.

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      24. Hi Roger! “I do not know you” is not as precise as “I never knew you” but it means the same thing – that is – “I did not ever enter into a relationship with you that could be characterized by the word ‘know'”. He will never say those words to infants in heaven, for at some point He did come to “know” them that way.

        All salvation is connected to the redemption of Christ, so the plan is the same in that regard. What I am suggesting is that infants become known by God, either actively responding to His presentation of salvation to them after their death or passively responding to His gift of it after their death. The Bible is not clear, so this is only based on extrapolation an inference from Scripture.

        We will find out though, won’t we? 🙂 But for those who are alive and who become accountable when their conscience is awakened (Rom 7:9), they must actively/freely receive God’s offer of grace when it is presented to them, and not harden their hearts against it (Heb 3:7-8). God enables them to receive it, but does not make that reception irresistible. He is willing to suffer the loss of their rejection!

        That is clearly a part of the plan of His salvation for all those who can understand His Word. How that works for dying infants or imbeciles who cannot be brought to understand His Word, we will have to wait to find out!

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      25. brianwagner writes, ““I do not know you” is not as precise as “I never knew you” but it means the same thing – that is – “I did not ever enter into a relationship with you that could be characterized by the word ‘know’”. He will never say those words to infants in heaven, for at some point He did come to “know” them that way.”

        So, are you saying that it is only those infants who die that God enters into a relationship with them by which they are saved and this happens at the point of death (unless you allow God to know before that point of that outcome)? Thus, infants who do not die and who then, as adults, are those we read of in Matthew 7, were never in a relationship with God, even as infants, thereby allowing Christ to say to them, I never knew you.” I sense a distinction in your use of “infants in heaven” versus infants in general. All infants would not have a relationship with God, only those who die in infancy.

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      26. Exactly… no salvation is granted to them (everlasting life) until they first die in their state of “innocence” (not guilty of actual sin). God has graciously to take away their sin nature at/after their death and give them (passively or actively received) everlasting life. This is so much conjecture on my part, but reasonably fits with Rom 7:9 and other passages.

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      27. brianwagner writes, “Exactly… no salvation is granted to them (everlasting life) until they first die in their state of “innocence” (not guilty of actual sin). God has graciously to take away their sin nature at/after their death and give them (passively or actively received) everlasting life. This is so much conjecture on my part, but reasonably fits with Rom 7:9 and other passages.”

        At least we seem to agree that a person has two problems that God must deal with – the person is a sinner and the person sins. Infants are innocent of having committed sins (so far as we understand) but are still accounted sinners having a sin nature. Thus, they are in need of salvation. We also agree that only God can save them as they are infants and have no capacity to do anything toward their salvation. Adults are no different but they like to think they are.

        The question is whether God saves all infants who die. Does He? The example of David with the child born of his adultery with Bathsheba suggests that God saves the infants of His elect. There is no evidence that God saves the infants of the reprobate that I know and the examples of the flood of Noah and the destruction of Sodom and all the infants who died in those cases suggests that God does not.

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  6. Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, CALLED AN APOSTLE and SET APART for the gospel of God— Romans 1:1
    to all who are BELOVED OF GOD in Rome, CALLED AS SAINTS: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 1:7

    Paul describes being called in the context of predestination,

    But when the One who SET ME APART IN THE WOMB and CALLED ME BY HIS GRACE was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Galatians 1:15-17

    When Apostle Paul uses the words kaleo (29 times), klesis (8 times) and kletos (7 times), it is almost always used with the sense of divine calling.
    Apostle Paul understands that the calling is the process by which God calls those who are elected before the foundation of the world.
    And He does that for the elect in order to justify them and sanctify them.

    He is the one who SAVED US AND CALLED US WITH A HOLY CALLING, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, GRANTED TO US in Christ Jesus BEFORE ETERNAL TIMES, but NOW HAS BEEN REVEALED by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 2 Timothy 1:9-11

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    1. Hi Steven, It would be good if you treated your input in a dialog fashion… addressing directly your comments to someone, like I am now doing to you. It would also be good if you responded to information that was offered in reply to your previous statements. Just providing other verses and comments that you feel support your position does not move the conversation forward as effectively. Do you have no other response to the comments I directed to you explaining Rom 8 and Eph 1?

      There is no “before creation” in the Rom 1 or Gal 1 passages that you just mentioned above, so why force that idea into those contexts, unless you just feel obligated to because of your theological assumptions. The Galatians passage specifically points to divine actions starting at Paul’s birth (or gestation) and not to anything before his conception.

      I believe everyone is formed in the womb with a divine plan formed for them at that time, a plan for them to serve God with their life and to come to a point of enlightenment and an opportunity of repentance (John 1:9, 2Pet 3:9). Paul was obedient to that plan for his life (Acts 26:19). Many are not. And when God’s intention (plan) for them fails, He is free to mold them into another vessel as “seems good” to Him to do (cf. Jer 18:4). The Calvinist’s system cannot allow for such a divine free-will, because for him everything must have been all predetermined before creation!

      The same explanation I gave for Eph 1:4 fits also for 2Tim 1:9. Do you see the same “in Christ” phrase in both contexts? Will you comment on the illustrations that I gave that help in understanding the rhetorical device (anachronism) the Paul was using in both contexts? Paul, and no one else, except the members of the Godhead, were present before creation, to be chosen or given anything!

      The Son was chosen back then to be the Christ, the Anointed one to pay for salvation. And He possessed in Himself back then the grace needed to be given to all who might come to trust Him for it in the future. That is what Paul is talking about! He became a recipient of that grace in his life the moment he actively received Christ as his savior, by faith. That grace had been set aside for people like him, before creation.

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  7. Brian writes,
    Amos 9:12 is quoted and explained in Acts 15:17 showing that God will have saved people from every tribe, tongue and nation, even Edom, and I believe it will include Esau!

    Brian fails to understand the context (see below) of ‘possessing the remnant of Edom, and therefore Amos 9:12 is in no way a salvation for Edom or Esau text.
    Here is my attempt to disprove your opinion on your prooftexts for Edom and Esau.

    The MT citation comes from the last chapter of Amos, where the tone is more hopeful than in the earlier parts of the prophecy. Judgment has come upon the people, but there will be restoration, specifically of “the booth of
    David”; this odd phrase can hardly refer to the temple (which was not built by David) but could refer to the “house of David,” the
    term “booth” signifying its weakness and temporarin
    ess until God sees fit to restore it “as in the days of old.”

    POSSESSING THE REMNANT OF EDOM
    implies the conquest of neighboring lands instead of the Israelites themselves being invaded and overcome.

    WHAT NATIONS ARE CALLED BY GOD’S NAME?
    The answer seems to be the nations that are conquered by him
    2 Sam. 12:28
    Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name.

    So the passage envisages that God will bring about a change in Judah’s
    fortunes expressed in the categories of the time.

    In the LXX the first part of the prophecy is much the same.

    THE CLAIM THAT THE TEXT IN ACTS IS CLOSER TO THAT IN 4Q174 (DE WAARD 1965: 24–26; WILCOX 1965: 49; HANSON 1983:
    17) IS RIGHTLY REJECTED (Bruce 1990: 340; Barrett 1
    994–1998: 726; Stowasser 2001: 48–
    50). Nevertheless, some of the changes cause Ådna (
    2000: 136) to conclude that the
    citation is not dependent on the LXX.

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    1. Hi Steve! Thank you for your response and links. Do you really believe that no Edomite will be in heaven? That there is one tribe and tongue not represented before the throne (cf. Rev 7:9)? Do you also believe that James was wrong in his use of the word “remnant” (Acts 15:17) from Amos 9:12, but your modern scholar (M. Sheiser) was right? Also, your other link did not even include the verses from Amos 9 or any from Obadiah, which makes one wonder.

      Ultimately, whether Esau was truly saved later in life is only secondary to my two main points which are, first, that God has saving love for the not-yet elect that He shows through, and because of, those who have become a part of the elect. And second, that those who are a part of the elect were once hated when they were not-yet elect.

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      1. Brian, let us step back from this at dig deeper as to why Amos 9:12 and Acts 15:7. This is why exegesis into the earlier greek text is so valuable.
        James is correct, the suspect is the Hebrew in Amos 9.

        What we may have in Amos 9:12 is a metaphor for mankind, and or a scribal error.

        How does the LXX get “remnant of humanity” from “remnant of Edom” as well as changing “possess” to “seek”? In both cases it may be a simple revocalization of the Hebrew text, that is, supplying different vowels to the Hebrew consonants. Edom is close to Adam, for example. Further, Edom may function as a metaphor for hostile nations that are now included among the people of God. “Possess” has the similar consonants as “seek.” The Greek translators, for whatever reason (perhaps a different Hebrew reading or a deliberate hermeneutical strategy like what is evidenced at Qumran; cf. Richard Bauckham, “Jews and Gentiles [Acts 15:13-21]” in History, Literature and Society in the Book of Acts), substitute “seek” for “possess.” Whatever the case the LXX makes clear that some Jewish readers of Amos understood the text to mean the inclusion of the Gentiles rather than a “possession” (militaristic) of the nations. Even the original reading of “possess” may have included a sense of inclusion as evidenced that the nations would be called by the name of Yahweh. Either way, James’s point stands: the inclusion of the Gentiles is something with which “the prophets agree”.
        http://johnmarkhicks.com/2013/05/10/james-interprets-amos-911-12-acts-1513-18/

        Brian writes,
        your other link did not even include the verses from Amos 9 or any from Obadiah, which makes one wonder.

        Wonder about what?

        Brian writes,
        Ultimately, whether Esau was truly saved later in life is only secondary to my two main points which are, first, that God has saving love for the not-yet elect that He shows through, and because of, those who have become a part of the elect. And second, that those who are a part of the elect were once hated when they were not-yet elect.

        Your two main points involve a temporal election, and the Word of God speaks of an eternity past election of individuals.

        Ephesians 1:4-6
        just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
        He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
        to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

        Like

      2. I responded before to you, Steven, to the fact that individual election in not in view in Eph 1:4 for the cogent reason that no individuals, except members of the Godhead, existed before creation to be chosen from. I also provided the sound example of grammatically explaining “in him”, but you did not respond to it. Here it is again, to give you another chance.

        Any Messianic Jew today can say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would just be recognizing that as an individual, being now in Christ, he would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land, because of the promise made to Abraham.

        I am glad you accepted the positive meaning James gave for remnant and possess from Amos 9:12, over the negative meanings the article you had pointed to had given!

        Like

      3. Brian writes,
        Do you really believe that no Edomite will be in heaven?

        Not according to the Word of God,
        Jeremiah 49:10 But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: HIS SEED IS SPOILED, and his brethren, and his neighbors, and he is not.

        Like

      4. When was the prophecy of Jeremiah fulfilled? He is quoting directly from Obadiah in that context, and Obadiah speaks of the seed being cut off finally in the day of the Lord!

        Do you really think God would have said – Deut 23:7-8, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he [is] your brother. You shall not abhor an Egyptian, because you were an alien in his land. The children of the third generation born to them may enter the assembly of the LORD”… if no Edomite would ever enter the assembly of the LORD?

        Do you think John was not including some from the Edomites when he said – Rev 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

        What about little Edomite babies that die before the age of accountability? I think you desire to see Jeremiah 49:10 as damning all the Edomites throughout all of history is not following good contextual, grammatical rules of interpretation.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Brian writes, I believe everyone is formed in the womb with a divine plan formed for them at that time, a plan for them to serve God with their life and to come to a point of enlightenment and an opportunity of repentance (John 1:9, 2Pet 3:9). Paul was obedient to that plan for his life (Acts 26:19). Many are not. And when God’s intention (plan) for them fails, He is free to mold them into another vessel as “seems good” to Him to do (cf. Jer 18:4). The Calvinist’s system cannot allow for such a divine free-will, because for him everything must have been all predetermined before creation!
    Brian what you believe and what Scripture reveals are not parallel.
    Your understanding of John 1:9 does not agree with this analysis,
    The context of John 1:9-13, however, suggests that another interpretation is the most probable.

    The word enlighten(phōtizō) refers not to inward illumination but to the exposure that comes when light is shed upon something. Some are shown to be evil because they did not know or receive Jesus (John 1:10-11), while others are revealed to be righteous because they have received Jesus and have been born of God (John 1:12-13). John 3:19-21 confirms this interpretation. Those who are evil shrink from corning to the light because they do not want their works to be exposed (v. 20). But those who practice the truth gladly come to the light so that it might be manifest that their works are wrought in God (v. 21). The light that enlightens every person does not entail the bestowment of grace, nor does it refer to the inward illumination of the heart by the Spirit of God. Rather, the light exposes and reveals the moral and spiritual state of one’s heart. C. K. Barrett rightly says that “the light shines upon every man for judgement, to reveal what he is.”

    Or, as Carson remarks, “Inner illumination is then not in view” but “the objective revelation” that occurs at the coming of the “true light.”

    John 1:9 is not, therefore, suggesting that through Christ’s coming each person is given the ability to choose salvation.

    The purpose of the verse is to say that the coming of the true light exposes and reveals where people are in their relationship to God.
    https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/pdf/schreiner_prevenient.pdf

    Your view of 2 Peter 3:9 is inconsistent with the context,
    First, the text is not a salvation passage, it is an end time passage.
    Second, ‘ALL’ has a qualifier, the pronoun ‘YOU’, unbelievers elsewhere are called ‘them.’ Peter is writing to Christians, believers. This is a Christian Epistle, not a Church Epistle where some unbelievers could be present.
    Peter writes to those “with a faith like ours”
    ‘All’ are the ‘Elect’ that have yet to come to repentance.

    Like

    1. Thank you, Steven, for interacting with my comments on John 1:9 and 2Pet 3:9. I hope you will interact with what I said from Jer 18.

      Concerning John 1:9 you said – “Or, as Carson remarks, ‘Inner illumination is then not in view’ but ‘the objective revelation’ that occurs at the coming of the ‘true light.’ John 1:9 is not, therefore, suggesting that through Christ’s coming each person is given the ability to choose salvation. The purpose of the verse is to say that the coming of the true light exposes and reveals where people are in their relationship to God.”

      Even conceding this definition for “enlighten”, why present “objective revelation” about the “true light” to every man? And isn’t it assumed that presenting such revelation is with the hope of its acceptance? See John 20:31. Also, why reveal to each person where they are in their relationship to God, if not to encourage a change in that relationship, if needed? My God wants to show mercy to all (Rom 11:32) to invite them to His salvation, that is why He shines His light on all of them.

      I disagree with you and say that the book of 2Peter is like the church epistles, written to an audience of those professing Christianity, but having in their midst some not yet truly saved. The “precious faith” in verse 1 is the objective revelation received by those making that profession.

      A reading of all the “you” pronouns in this epistle will show this clearly. But I still also contend that the specific “you” or “we” in 3:9, since it is such a generic/gnomic verse about God’s dealings, should be viewed as the generic/gnomic use of the pronoun, like in the other examples I gave you. Praise the Name of the Lord, that He is longsuffering, waiting for all to get the opportunity for repentance!

      Like

      1. Brian writes,
        Do you think John was not including some from the Edomites when he said – Rev 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”

        I believe there is no remnant of Edomites are found in Rev. 7:9.
        The Word of God is consistent and so must I, there are too many prophecies condemning Esau and his seed to reconsider. I take the warnings and prophecies seriously.

        According to Romans 9, Jacob was chosen for God’s mercy and love, and Esau was left in his natural state to show God’s justice and wrath.
        Just as Christ perfect sacrifice on the cross

        Jesus had to be the God-Man, so that all the wrath, justice, and holiness of God could be illustrated and seen with clarity, at that one place, at that same time as the fullness of his mercy, love, and grace.
        See the balance. Consistent.

        Brian writes,
        What about little Edomite babies that die before the age of accountability? I think you desire to see Jeremiah 49:10 as damning all the Edomites throughout all of history is not following good contextual, grammatical rules of interpretation.
        What about all those babies that died in the flood? Why are you not concerned about them?
        And your denial of God’s condemnation of Esau and his decendents, and sidestepping the fact that James interprets Amos, and you making a case for Edom salvation by invoking Amos 9.
        I have not seen contextual, grammatical rules of interpretation on your end.
        All you provide has been opinion and conclusions lacking foundation.

        God’s holiness supercedes His love.

        Like

      2. Steven, Do you have a verse in support of “God’s holiness supercedes His love.” How about what James 2:13 says – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

        I think all the babies that died in the flood are in heaven (cf. Rom 7:9). And I believe you need to consider how judgments against nations, which “Jacob” and “Esau” represent in Malachi 1:1-4, quoted in Rom 9, and God’s mercy to every individual, which Rom 11:32 guarantees!

        The prophecies against Edom are against Edom… once one leaves and joins the congregation of Israel (Remember Deut 23:7-8) they are no longer a part of Edom… just like once one is joined to Christ, he is no longer a Jew or Gentile!

        In Rev 7:9 the word “all” is singular and can more clearly be translated “each”. It would be hard to see any of the prophecies against the nation of Edom meaning no individuals of Edom will end up before the throne of God, redeemed!

        I believe your loyalty to trying to prove individual e;election/reprobation before creation in Romans 9 is blinding you to seeing the argument Paul is making about corporate election, not based on race, but personal faith in the promise identified with an individual that God chose to bear, and beget, that Promise!

        Like

  9. Brian writes,
    Steven, Do you have a verse in support of “God’s holiness supercedes His love.” How about what James 2:13 says – “Mercy triumphs over judgment”?

    Revelation 4:8
    Each one of the four living creatures had six wings and was full of eyes all around and inside. They never rest day or night, saying:
    “Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God, the All-Powerful, Who was and who is, and who is still to come!” Revelation 4:8

    They placed the ark of God on a new cart that they might bring it from the house of Abinadab which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, were leading the new cart.
    But when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out toward the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen nearly upset it.
    And the anger of the LORD burned against Uzzah, and God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God. 2 Samuel 6:3,6,7

    There’s an old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” that could apply in this case. Uzzah, having been around the ark in his own home, could very likely forget the holiness that it represented. There are times when we, too, fail to recognize the holiness of God, becoming too familiar with Him with an irreverent attitude.

    We need to listen carefully to what God has to say to us,

    and in obedience strive to do all He commands. Yes, God is loving and merciful, but He is also holy and He defends His holiness with His power, and affronts to His holiness sometimes bring about His holy wrath. “It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”

    In truth, the more we try to bring God down to our WORLDLY WAY OF THINKING AND REASONING, the further away He will seem to us. Those who would draw near to God and have Him draw near to them are
    those who approach Him in reverence and holy fear.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your response, Steven! I hope you see that none of the verses, you shared, state or prove “God’s holiness supersedes His love!” At least, you should concede that the verse I gave clearly states His mercy (which is part of His love) supersedes His judgment (which I think you would see as part of His holiness).

      Actually, I see His holiness as His “separateness” in His nature from man’s nature, not mainly pointing to His incommunicable attributes, but pointing instead to the intensity and perfection of His communicable attributes, which include His love and His righteousness.

      And I am sure that you would agree from knowing Jesus’ interaction with His disciples, that God does not just want a Master/servant relationship, but also a friend and brother relationship with man!

      That kind of relationship can only come about through exercising personal trust in Jesus for salvation for sin(s) and dedication to knowing Him intimately through obedience to His will, including worship and service for His glory! The warnings from passages you gave are for the lost who have no trust or love for God, and those warnings should inspire the fear of death. But the only true fear that remains for the believer is the fear of displeasing and grieving the Father and of hindering others from coming to His mercy!

      Like

  10. Brian writes,
    I believe your loyalty to trying to prove individual e;election/reprobation before creation in Romans 9 is blinding you to seeing the argument Paul is making about corporate election, not based on race, but personal faith in the promise identified with an individual that God chose to bear, and beget, that Promise!

    Here we have:
    Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater.

    He writes about CORPORATE ELECTION
    “First, allow me to clarify the issue: By corporate election I suppose you mean that only those who will be in Christ are chosen and that God does not specifically choose individuals but only chooses the sphere (“in Christ”) in which the elective purposes of God can take place. Thus, if one embraces Christ he is chosen.”
    “If that is what you mean by corporate election, then I would reject it. Here are the reasons why:”
    First, the authors you cited seemed to make a conceptual-lexical equation (i.e., if the word “elect” was used, only groups were in view; ergo, election is only corporate). That view has been regarded by linguists and biblical scholars as linguistically naïve.
    Second, I think that there may be a false antithesis between corporate and individual election.
    As Douglas Moo argues in his commentary on Romans (pp. 551-52),
    … to call Rom. 9-11 the climax or center of the letter is going too far. Such an evaluation often arises from a desire to minimize the importance of the individual’s relationship to God in chaps. 1-8. But the individual’s standing before God is the center of Paul’s gospel.… Individual and corporate perspectives are intertwined in Paul.
    Evidence for this can be seen in Romans 9 itself: the examples that Paul uses to show the meaning of election are individuals: Pharaoh, Jacob and Esau, etc. Yet, these very examples—these very individuals—also represent corporate groups. If only corporate election were true, Paul could not have written Romans 9 the way he did.
    Third, going back to the conceptual-lexical equation for a moment: let’s look at the evidence. See verses cited at https://bible.org/article/corporate-election
    Thus, election is seen to be initiated by God and effected by God. Those who are chosen—whether individuals or groups—become what they are chosen for. Corporate election simply ignores this consistent biblical emphasis.
    Fourth, when we look at the broader issue and involve words other than from the κλεγ— word-group, we see that the concept of God’s initiation and efficacy is very clear. For example, in Acts 13:48 we read that “as many as had been appointed for eternal life believed.” This is a group within the group that heard the message. The passive pluperfect periphrastic σαν τεταγμένοι indicates both that the initiative belonged to someone else and that it had already been accomplished before they believed.

    Fifth, this leads to the issue of election in relation to depravity. If corporate election is true and if total depravity is true, then no one will ever get saved because no one will ever freely choose to be in Christ. Only by the gracious initiative of God does anyone ever choose Christ.

    Sixth, corporate election offers no assurance of anything to the individual. If election is corporate only, then the promises given to the elect are only given to them corporately. This would mean that we cannot claim individual promises about our salvation. This would include the promise of eternal security.
    If election is only corporate, then eternal security is only offered on a corporate plane. No personal assurance can take place. The irony is that those who hold to corporate election often also hold to eternal security. They don’t realize the extreme inconsistency in their views. You can’t have it both ways: either we are individually chosen by a free act of God’s will and are eternally secure, or we are neither.

    Seventh, Rom 8:29-30 seems to be decisive on this issue: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” The relative pronoun throughout refers to the same group each time: no one is lost—from foreknowing,2 through predestination, through calling, through justification, and to glorification. At any point if we wish to broaden the group beyond those who are actually saved, we violate the grammar of the text and the point of the apostle. Thus, unless we want to hold to universal salvation, we must surely view this text as being restrictive. God’s initiative and efficacy in our salvation are clearly indicated here.
    What is significant here is that the choice of Judas actually illustrates that election is entirely unconditional. Judas certainly did not possess the kind of character that made him suitable to be an apostle. Yet Jesus chose him anyway—knowing his character and what he would do.
    As I’m sure you’re aware, God’s foreknowledge in the NT does not refer simply to knowing beforehand, but to God’s loving selection beforehand. Otherwise, the significance of the death of Christ has to be reinterpreted (Acts 2:23)!https://bible.org/article/corporate-election

    Now, the question here is:WHO IS BLINDED?

    Like

  11. Brian writes,
    I believe your loyalty to trying to prove individual e;election/reprobation before creation in Romans 9 is blinding you to seeing the argument Paul is making about corporate election, not based on race, but personal faith in the promise identified with an individual that God chose to bear, and beget, that Promise!

    Here we have:
    Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently professor of New Testament Studies at his alma mater.

    He writes about CORPORATE ELECTION
    “First, allow me to clarify the issue: By corporate election I suppose you mean that only those who will be in Christ are chosen and that God does not specifically choose individuals but only chooses the sphere (“in Christ”) in which the elective purposes of God can take place. Thus, if one embraces Christ he is chosen.”
    “If that is what you mean by corporate election, then I would reject it. Here are the reasons why:”
    First, the authors you cited seemed to make a conceptual-lexical equation (i.e., if the word “elect” was used, only groups were in view; ergo, election is only corporate). That view has been regarded by linguists and biblical scholars as linguistically naïve.
    Second, I think that there may be a false antithesis between corporate and individual election.
    As Douglas Moo argues in his commentary on Romans (pp. 551-52),
    … to call Rom. 9-11 the climax or center of the letter is going too far. Such an evaluation often arises from a desire to minimize the importance of the individual’s relationship to God in chaps. 1-8. But the individual’s standing before God is the center of Paul’s gospel.… Individual and corporate perspectives are intertwined in Paul.
    Evidence for this can be seen in Romans 9 itself: the examples that Paul uses to show the meaning of election are individuals: Pharaoh, Jacob and Esau, etc. Yet, these very examples—these very individuals—also represent corporate groups. If only corporate election were true, Paul could not have written Romans 9 the way he did.
    Third, going back to the conceptual-lexical equation for a moment: let’s look at the evidence. See verses cited at https://bible.org/article/corporate-election
    Thus, election is seen to be initiated by God and effected by God. Those who are chosen—whether individuals or groups—become what they are chosen for. Corporate election simply ignores this consistent biblical emphasis.
    Fourth, when we look at the broader issue and involve words other than from the κλεγ— word-group, we see that the concept of God’s initiation and efficacy is very clear. For example, in Acts 13:48 we read that “as many as had been appointed for eternal life believed.” This is a group within the group that heard the message. The passive pluperfect periphrastic σαν τεταγμένοι indicates both that the initiative belonged to someone else and that it had already been accomplished before they believed.

    continued

    Like

  12. Fifth, this leads to the issue of election in relation to depravity. If corporate election is true and if total depravity is true, then no one will ever get saved because no one will ever freely choose to be in Christ. Only by the gracious initiative of God does anyone ever choose Christ.

    Sixth, corporate election offers no assurance of anything to the individual. If election is corporate only, then the promises given to the elect are only given to them corporately. This would mean that we cannot claim individual promises about our salvation. This would include the promise of eternal security.
    If election is only corporate, then eternal security is only offered on a corporate plane. No personal assurance can take place. The irony is that those who hold to corporate election often also hold to eternal security. They don’t realize the extreme inconsistency in their views. You can’t have it both ways: either we are individually chosen by a free act of God’s will and are eternally secure, or we are neither.

    Seventh, Rom 8:29-30 seems to be decisive on this issue: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (30) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” The relative pronoun throughout refers to the same group each time: no one is lost—from foreknowing,2 through predestination, through calling, through justification, and to glorification. At any point if we wish to broaden the group beyond those who are actually saved, we violate the grammar of the text and the point of the apostle. Thus, unless we want to hold to universal salvation, we must surely view this text as being restrictive. God’s initiative and efficacy in our salvation are clearly indicated here.
    What is significant here is that the choice of Judas actually illustrates that election is entirely unconditional. Judas certainly did not possess the kind of character that made him suitable to be an apostle. Yet Jesus chose him anyway—knowing his character and what he would do.
    As I’m sure you’re aware, God’s foreknowledge in the NT does not refer simply to knowing beforehand, but to God’s loving selection beforehand. Otherwise, the significance of the death of Christ has to be reinterpreted (Acts 2:23)!https://bible.org/article/corporate-election

    Now, the question here is:WHO IS BLINDED?

    Like

  13. Brian writes, I think all the babies that died in the flood are in heaven (cf. Rom 7:9). And I believe you need to consider how judgments against nations, which “Jacob” and “Esau” represent in Malachi 1:1-4, quoted in Rom 9, and God’s mercy to every individual, which Rom 11:32 guarantees!

    You think and I believe,

    Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

    Like

  14. Brian writes, Thank you for your response, Steven! I hope you see that none of the verses, you shared, state or prove “God’s holiness supersedes His love!” At least, you should concede that the verse I gave clearly states His mercy (which is part of His love) supersedes His judgment (which I think you would see as part of His holiness).
    Your answer is in direct opposition to 2 Samuel 6:7. Where is the mercy you believe suppressed judgement on Uzzah?
    Brian writes,
    Actually, I see His holiness as His “separateness” in His nature from man’s nature, not mainly pointing to His incommunicable attributes, but pointing instead to the intensity and perfection of His communicable attributes, which include His love and His righteousness.

    I expected your answer because you place love above Holiness. Did not God love Uzzah, like you side claims God loves everyone the same way.
    I believe if you were in Uzzah’s place, you would have touched the ark.

    Like

    1. Brian writes,
      Thank you for your response, Steven! I hope you see that none of the verses, you shared, state or prove “God’s holiness supersedes His love!” At least, you should concede that the verse I gave clearly states His mercy (which is part of His love) supersedes His judgment (which I think you would see as part of His holiness).

      Your answer is in direct opposition to 2 Samuel 6:7. Where is the mercy you believe suppressed judgement on Uzzah?

      Brian writes,
      Actually, I see His holiness as His “separateness” in His nature from man’s nature, not mainly pointing to His incommunicable attributes, but pointing instead to the intensity and perfection of His communicable attributes, which include His love and His righteousness.

      I expected your answer because you place love above Holiness. Did not God love Uzzah, like you side claims God loves everyone the same way.
      I believe if you were in Uzzah’s place, you would have touched the ark.

      Like

  15. Brian writes,
    That kind of relationship can only come about through exercising personal trust in Jesus for salvation for sin(s) and dedication to knowing Him intimately through obedience to His will, including worship and service for His glory! The warnings from passages you gave are for the lost who have no trust or love for God, and those warnings should inspire the fear of death. But the only true fear that remains for the believer is the fear of displeasing and grieving the Father and of hindering others from coming to His mercy!

    This is the inconsistency and the hypocrisy we see when your side claims
    Jesus died for everyone on the Cross
    God loves everyone the same,
    God gives same grace to everyone.

    You say,
    The warnings from passages you gave are for the lost who have no trust or love for God, and those warnings should inspire the fear of death.

    We are talking exclusively about God’s love, not the lack of theirs.

    Like

    1. Hi Steve, I would be interested in knowing if you like to hold conversations with someone who goes on and on about a large number of subjects and makes you wonder if they really want you to respond to all of them or even if they will listen carefully if you respond to any of them! You have posted a lot to respond to!

      You input from Wallace and Moo did not reject what I was sharing concerning corporate election for I have affirmed with them that corporate election and the benefits to any individual who joins the group is directly related to the election of the individual in which that group was first founded! As for the Calvinistic translation of Acts 13:48 (not pluperfect, but perfect) and the Calvinistic imposition of “before creation” on both Acts 13:48 and Rom 8:29, both of these passages have been discussed by me on other pages on this site. But if you like, I can do it again! Let me know if you have a hard time finding the specific posts relating to those passages.

      I agree that – “Only by the gracious initiative of God does anyone ever choose Christ.” But the Scripture clearly teaches that He takes that initiative with all and does not force their response to it! They can reject His grace! You need to ask yourself the question… Is God able to suffer loss?

      You said – “If election is corporate only, then the promises given to the elect are only given to them corporately.” That is just silly! I have already discussed above the benefits are individual, tied to the founding individual, first chosen, and granted to each individual once they join the group. At that moment of their being added in Christ, they become “foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified” as an individual… not before.

      You said – “the choice of Judas actually illustrates that election is entirely unconditional…” I think you should drop that premise! Judas was chosen because he was an adversary to perform the duty of betrayal! He then lost his life and his apostleship, and was never truly saved. I don’t think you want any of these ideas to help illustrate the election relating to salvation.

      You gave the quote – “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689” That is a good example of how the words of men tied to biblical passages can be shown faulty. The verse references listed do not teach anything about the saving of infants or even the idea of elect infants. Why would you trust such a faulty man-made authoritative document!

      There is no way to prove or disprove from the Uzzah story whether he will be in heaven or not! It was God’s love for Israel that was the reason for revealing the importance of following His Word concerning the ark of the covenant, by Uzzah’s untimely death, even though one would have called it a sin of ignorance, with a positive motivation behind it! I think many Calvinists in their loyalty to a traditional/philosophical theology are being just as disrespectful to the clear teaching of God’s Word, though they are doing it ignorantly and with a positive motivation which they think is honoring to God!

      Finally – There is no inconsistency in holding to the Scripture’s teaching that – “Jesus died for everyone on the Cross, God loves everyone the same, God gives same grace to everyone” and “warnings should inspire the fear of death.” Those warnings are demonstrations of His love to help draw them to their opportunity of salvation!

      Think of the warning – “Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart” (Heb 3:7-8)! That warning could not be for the Calvinist’s elect for he cannot harden his heart once He has heard God’s irresistible call! It also could not be for the Calvinist’s reprobate, for he cannot hear God’s voice and needs no warning not to harden his already hard heart that never will believe! This warning is for everyone who is not yet saved telling them they better respond to this call while they have this opportunity and to humbly trust in Christ!

      I hope God opens your eyes to the clear teaching of Scripture about God’s mercy as you keep reading! And since you seem to like pointing to scholarly authority… would it help to let you know the I also have a PhD and teach Greek and Hebrew on the graduate level! It shouldn’t be that important, because it doesn’t take much research to find out how much PhDs disagree with each other! 🙂 The key is to find out who is taking the Scriptures out of the layman’s hands the most by saying this passage really doesn’t mean what you think it is saying!

      In the future, how about focusing on one thing (preferably a Scripture) at a time and then moving one when we either come to as much agreement as possible on that one thing, or at least, agree to disagree, and to pray for each other! Then we can move on to another passage?

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  16. “However, Scripture does describe all people being under wrath and thus “hated” by God prior to their coming to faith in Christ. This is a point even Calvinistic brethren affirm. According to Calvinists, all people are born under wrath and thus hated enemies of God,”

    Really? I’d love to see what Scripture says about God hating babies. Or how you reconcile this belief with John 3:16. Does God love the world or does he hate it? The world is populated by sinners, but God sent his Son to save sinners. Which is it? God loves sinners or he hates sinners?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good questions Mike! I have discussed my position on infants being in an “uncondemned” state in other comments’ sections on other posts, basically formulated from my understanding, and others, of Romans 7:9. When I said “all people… prior to their coming to faith in Christ” I was intentionally excluding infants and viewing it from the position of those who can read and understand the Scriptures who have already been confirmed in disobedience (Rom 11:32).

      God will permit this disobedience to happen to all when their conscience is awakened by the commandment and confronted by their sin nature. But He then will have “mercy on all” at least a few times to draw them to His grace, which is the demonstration of His love, even while they are under His wrath. As discussed in the comments above, divine hatred and divine wrath do not contain the detesting of the individual that often accompanies our human hatred and wrath. These words for God basically mean “rejection” of the individual and “vengeance” against their sinful rebellion, but with grief (love) for them in their lost condition! (cf. Mark 3:5).

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    2. ➡ Does God love the world or does he hate it? The world is populated by sinners, but God sent his Son to save sinners. Which is it? God loves sinners or he hates sinners?

      God both hates and loves the world, that is, God conditionally loves the world through Jesus, Jesus [b]is[/b] God’s love for the world, and all who receive him receive God’s love. But Jesus was sent because the world was sick and needed a physician. There’s no good news without bad news first, right? If God already loved the world unconditionally, why even send Christ. He would be superfluous and unnecessary, but no, he is the Savior of the world. So God hates sinners and loves sinners simultaneously, but he no longer wants to hate sinners, he takes no pleasure in the death of the unrighteous, however God [b]sets real requirements[/b] on receiving his love, and it is all by grace. The Bible doesn’t teach universalism and it doesn’t teach salvation by good works. It teaches salvation by truth in Jesus, faith in grace. All the curse came with Adam, and all the redemption comes through Christ, and we are in one or the other. God so loved the world only because the world was hated by him and perishing. We were drowning and God threw us a lifeline. The alternative to God’s love in Christ is God’s wrath, and the Bible never pussy foots around that fact or backs down. Conditional love none of us deserve, is the answer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. dizerner writes, “[The Bible] teaches salvation by truth in Jesus, faith in grace.”

        Calvinists, by contrast, teach salvation by grace through faith in Christ.

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  17. Brian writes,
    As for the Calvinistic translation of Acts 13:48 (not pluperfect, but perfect) and the Calvinistic imposition of “before creation” on both Acts 13:48 and Rom 8:29, both of these passages have been discussed by me

    So your saying that when ἦσαν precedes τεταγμένοι, this isn’t a passive periphrastic pluperfect? What year Greek have you taught?

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    1. You are correct Steven! I was reading too quickly. Sorry for the oversight. It is indeed a perfect participle but in a pluperfect periphrastic construction because of the imperfect form of ειμι with it.

      I disagree however that this participle is passive. I believe the context supports better it being middle in voice. All the other verbs in this verse are actions performed by the Gentiles and are being contrasted to the actions in the previous verses done by the Jews who were refusing for themselves eternal life. The Gentiles were placing themselves forward in line to publicly profess their faith in Christ, probably be getting baptized.

      This same perfect middle participle is used of ships getting in line, according to an example found in Liddell Scott. This verb is used in middle form elsewhere in the NT and in a middle idea in 1Cor. 16:15, that may help you see how that middle idea also fits here. The translation “ordained” in the KJV is an unwarranted theological choice from the bias of the Calvinistic translators.

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  18. Brian writes, I have already discussed above the benefits are individual, tied to the founding individual, first chosen, and granted to each individual once they join the group. At that moment of their being added in Christ, they become “foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified” as an individual… not before.

    This is completely rejected by Dan Wallace,

    “By corporate election I suppose you mean that only those who will be in Christ are chosen and that God does not specifically choose individuals but only chooses the sphere (“in Christ”) in which the elective purposes of God can take place. Thus, if one embraces Christ he is chosen.” Dan Wallace.

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  19. Brian writes,
    “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8 The London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689” That is a good example of how the words of men tied to biblical passages can be shown faulty. The verse references listed do not teach anything about the saving of infants or even the idea of elect infants. Why would you trust such a faulty man-made authoritative document!

    Well Brian for this reason, even though you are blinded by the truth.

    Elect infants, all elect persons fall under these verses on Election.

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
    Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5
    “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    John 3:6
    “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

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    1. Those verses Steven are certainly about the new birth, but if you are seeing the words “infants” and “elect” in those verses, those must some special glasses that you are wearing! 😄 Actually I think it is your theological lenses that are keeping you blinded from seeing what those verses really are saying.

      Remember, John carefully chose to write those things that would help any unbeliever come to trust in Christ for everlasting life (20:31). And Jesus was saying those specific things to help an unbelieving Nicodemus come to trust in Him!

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      1. Brian writes, Remember, John carefully chose to write those things that would help any unbeliever come to trust in Christ for everlasting life (20:31). And Jesus was saying those specific things to help an unbelieving Nicodemus come to trust in Him!

        Nicodemus will only come to trust Jesus, IF Nicodemus was one of His sheep.

        “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3

        The problem here with Brian’s premise is that he is looking at ‘might’ and ‘if’ in John as if they are prescriptive, due to his misunderstanding of unconditional election. But in fact might and if are descriptive, describing the faith that is in the Elect.

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      2. Jesus is not discussing how or when someone becomes one of His sheep, only how they respond to Him as the shepherd. That is descriptive! And though I can agree with you that often subjunctives are used to be descriptive in the NT, there are enough prescriptive universal commands and warnings to demonstrate God’s plan to make salvation available to everyone, but not force it upon them irresistibly.

        The gospel is not just for the some supposed preselected group of individuals, but for each and every person, for Christ died for them all! Praise His name! Paul says that his motivation is to warn every man and teach every man with all wisdom so that he should present every man perfect in Christ! Col 1:28 That doesn’t sound like Paul thought there was a preselected group to me!

        The most obvious fallacy that remains is that your view of election has God making choices from a group of individuals that don’t even exist before creation! Only the Godhead existed back then. It’s all smoke and mirrors, for the Calvinist also doesn’t even believe that God makes any choices before creation for everything just already eternally exists as fact in His will, not choice, and this one human history forever was/is eternally a necessity of His nature, though they will deny it when pressed.

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  20. Brian writes,
    ” That is a good example of how the words of men tied to biblical passages can be shown faulty. The verse references listed do not teach anything about the saving of infants or even the idea of elect infants. Why would you trust such a faulty man-made authoritative document!

    Here Brian shows his disdain for Confessions, because from:

    “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases; so also are all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word. John 3:3, 5, 6; John 3:8

    is very clear that the verses connect all elect persons, who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.

    “Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit; who worketh when, and where, and how he pleases.

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    1. Steven, it is ok to have a discussion and address me directly instead of talking about me as if I am not even in the room! 🙂

      Also, I do indeed have a disdain for any document that makes bold dogmatic statements, which become authoritative in deciding people’s acceptance into local congregation membership or positions of pastoral leadership, and yet those statements are not tied to clear Scriptures!

      And the fact that those documents presume to be tied to Scriptures by a list of references attached, that anyone can read for themselves, and can see that those verses to do not clearly support the premises of the document is very harmful! For people trust those leaders that made that document, and begin to assume that those leaders must know what the Bible is saying even though the people themselves can’t see it… and so those people give up trying to understand the Bible for themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Brian, you wrote,
    I disagree however that this participle is passive.
    I believe the context supports better it being middle in voice.
    All the other verbs in this verse are actions performed by the Gentiles and are being contrasted to the actions in the previous verses done by the Jews who were refusing for themselves eternal life.
    The Gentiles were placing themselves forward in line to publicly profess their faith in Christ, probably be getting baptized.

    Brian, is it not true that all the major translations have ‘ τεταγμένοι ’ verb participle perfect PASSIVE nominative masculine plural in Acts 13:48,
    and ‘ τέτακταί ’ verb indicative perfect PASSIVE 3rd person singular in Acts 22:10

    Brian, can you give us a translation that HAS THE MIDDLE VOICE for the verses shown here?

    Acts 13:48
    And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as HAD BEEN APPOINTED to eternal life believed.

    Acts 22:10
    “And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go on into Damascus; and there you will be told of all that HAS BEEN APPOINTED for you to do.’

    In fact, Brian, the Alexandrinus (a), and the The New Testament in the Original Greek Byzantine Form contain the PASSIVE.

    Brian, you said,
    The translation “ordained” in the KJV is an unwarranted theological choice from the bias of the Calvinistic translators

    Then in your mind, all the above translations and original Greek manuscripts made unwarranted theological choices .

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  22. Brian you also said,
    This same perfect middle participle is used of ships getting in line, according to an example found in Liddell Scott. This verb is used in MIDDLE FORM ELSEWHERE in the NT and in A MIDDLE IDEA IN 1Cor. 16:15, that may help you see how that middle idea also fits here.

    Well the middle form is only found in one verse in the NT, and three in the OT.
    Exodus 8:8
    1 Samuel 20:35
    2 Samuel 20:5

    Matthew 28:16
    But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had DESIGNATED.
    ‘ ἐτάξατο ’ verb indicative aorist MIDDLE 3rd person singular
    Do you believe the middle voice helps your case here?

    1 Corinthians 16:15
    Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they HAVE DEVOTED themselves for ministry to the saints),
    ‘ ἔταξαν ’ indicative aorist active 3rd person plural

    So Brian, here is your middle idea in ACTIVE voice, far from being close to the grammar forms God breathed in His Word.
    On top of that ‘THEY HAVE DEVOTED THEMSELVES’, not even close to above
    Texts.
    It is evident that the anti- Calvinist, anti-Reformed, cannot let God’s Word speak for itself.

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    1. Thank you Steven for the discussion of Acts 13:48 and the form – τεταγμένοι which could be middle or passive. The verse you pointed out as the only clear middle, Matthew 28:16 proves that this verbal idea can be used in the reflexive sense of the middle voice. Thank you for the OT examples, also proving the verbal idea functions clearly in the middle voice. Jesus was appointing for Himself a place to meet with His apostles in that Matthew 28 context. The active voice is used in 1Cor 16:15, but once again the action of this verb is being directed reflexively by the subject. The household of Stephanas was appointing themselves (putting themselves forward) to the work.

      This verb is only used 9 times in the NT and twice are in the active voice, with the one example mentioned above being caused by the subject on themselves. The other, Acts 15:2, the elders arranged for Paul to represent them in Jerusalem. Of the seven other instances, one is clearly middle in form, with a reflexive idea as I mentioned in the previous paragraph. The last six are middle or passive in form, so the context must determine which fits.

      The Middle reflexive idea fits best for Matt 8:9, Luke 7:8, and Acts 28:23. The Passive idea, where the subject receives the action, arranged by someone else, fits best for Acts 22:10 and Rom 13:1, and in those two contexts God can be assumed to be the one doing the arranging, though there is no hint that He had to do it before creation in those contexts.

      Our text, as I pointed out, contextually points to the middle, reflexive idea for two main reasons. The first is that the Jews had “thrust aside” Paul’s message and had “judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life”. This parallels nicely with the Gentile response of arranging themselves to publicly accept Paul’s message of everlasting life. The second is that all the other verbs in 13:48 are actions with the Gentiles as the cause.

      Granted, that all major translations have taken this participle as passive. But even conceding that point does not clearly prove the dogmatic Calvinistic notion that God had “ordained” these Gentiles before creation to receive everlasting life. Paul and Barnabas could be the once “directing” these Gentiles towards everlasting life, and Luke is recording that as many as Paul and Barnabas directed to receive everlasting life opening professed their faith that day!

      Or Luke might be giving an editorial comment about God’s divine activity that had just started that day, so that as many as God had drawn of the Gentiles to hear the gospel concerning everlasting life, did not refuse it, though they were able to, but actively received it by faith. These last two alternatives, which retain the passive idea are much more consistent with the Scriptures concerning how God works than the Calvinist imposition on this passage. But I still think the middle voice has the most contextual, grammatical evidence leaning in its favor! 🙂

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      1. Brian, you wrote,
        Thank you Steven for the discussion of Acts 13:48 and the form – τεταγμένοι which could be middle or passive. The verse you pointed out as the only clear middle, Matthew 28:16 proves that this verbal idea can be used in the reflexive sense of the middle voice. Thank you for the OT examples, also proving the verbal idea functions clearly in the middle voice. Jesus was appointing for Himself a place to meet with His apostles in that Matthew 28 context. The active voice is used in 1Cor 16:15, but once again the action of this verb is being directed reflexively by the subject. The household of Stephanas was appointing themselves (putting themselves forward) to the work.

        Brian, you wrote,
        Thank you Steven for the discussion of Acts 13:48 and the form – τεταγμένοι which could be middle or passive.

        Brian, in almost every reponse you lead in with an inaccurate statement. I will summarize, but first.

        You state that ‘τεταγμένοι ’ could be middle or passive.
        Wrong, ‘τεταγμένοι ’ will always be passive, for it to be middle voice it must be in the ‘ ‘ ἐτάξατο ’ form.

        You say you teach Greek, and yet you keep making these simple mistakes. Just like you not recognizing the pluperfect hina clause in Acts 13:48
        And how long have you been arguing against the syntax of this verse.
        Arguing against the author, Luke. But most of all not believing that God’s Word is inerrant, infallible, that you do not agree with what has been revealed.

        Brian, you wrote,
        The Passive idea, where the subject receives the action, arranged by someone else, fits best for Acts 22:10 and Rom 13:1, and in those two contexts God can be ASSUMED to be the one doing the arranging

        Assumed? It is very clear, not assumed who is doing the ordaining, appointing in Romans 1:3 and Acts 22:10, why would you, assume?

        Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is NO AUTHORITY EXCEPT FROM GOD, and those which exist are ESTABLISHED BY GOD. Rom 13:1

        And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And THE LORD SAID unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which ARE APPOINTED FOR THEE to do. Acts 22:10

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      2. Good morning Steven. Thank you for your retraction, making this a more personal discussion with a greater display of brotherly kindness. I wish God’s best for you in your walk with Him.

        I also want to affirm that I believe the Scriptures are inspired, infallible and inerrant, and should have been more careful when saying “assumption” for the Rom 13 use of τασσω, for I was mainly just thinking of the Acts 22 passage. Thank you for pointing that out.

        I hope I can be some help in your understanding of NT Greek by this discussion. The participle in Acts 13:48 that we are discussing, τεταγμένοι, is a Perfect Middle or Passive Participle, Nominative Plural. It is not in a hina clause but in a periphrastic construction, and since the ειμι verb is in the imperfect, it is called a pluperfect periphrastic use of the participle.

        You can confirm that I was correct in my discussion of all the instances of τασσω in the NT on Biblehub.com. That site parses all the words for you in its interlinear section and Strong’s Number word search section. In the Greek Tenses – Present, Imperfect, and Perfect, the Middle and Passive forms are spelled exactly the same, as I guess by your retraction you have discovered. In the Future and Aorist there are unique forms for Middle and for Passive.

        I would also recommend that you click on the commentary section in Biblehub.com for this verse to see the variety of grammatical understandings that have been suggested for this participle, including mine. If nothing else perhaps you and I could agree that this phrase is not clearly defined in context which is why it has allowed for these various views based on grammar and context, and therefore should not be used dogmatically to prove individual election before creation or to prove personal responsibility for accepting or rejecting the offer of everlasting life.

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      3. brianwagner writes, “But even conceding that point does not clearly prove the dogmatic Calvinistic notion that God had “ordained” these Gentiles before creation to receive everlasting life.”

        This point is made by Paul elsewhere.

        “Christ redeemed us (Paul and the Galatians) from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Galatians 3:13-14)

        “…he made known to us (Paul and the Ephesians) the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:9-12)

        “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:8-11)

        “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men (Both Jew and Gentile)–the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle…and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.” (1 Timothy 2:5-7)

        That God always had in mind the salvation of the Gentiles seems clear enough. This was the “eternal purpose” in Ephesians 3. “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” (Galatians 3:8)

        I suspect your quibble is not with “the dogmatic Calvinistic notion that God had “ordained” these Gentiles to receive everlasting life,” but that this was done “before creation.”

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      4. Again Roger you, like many, present verses that do not clearly state what you want them to prove. Your premises must be read into them, and I have just as good grammatical, contextual meanings that show these passages do not mean individual election before creation!

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      5. brianwagner writes, “Again Roger you, like many, present verses that do not clearly state what you want them to prove. Your premises must be read into them, and I have just as good grammatical, contextual meanings that show these passages do not mean individual election before creation!”

        I think what you are trying to say is that God had always intended to save Gentiles, in general, and not specific individual Gentiles. But, I am not sure.

        The issue is whether “God had ‘ordained’ these [particular] Gentiles before creation to receive everlasting life.” That He could have is not precluded by these verses. Certainly God had ordained that Gentiles, in general, were to be saved. That eliminates the “no gentiles were going to be saved” option. It seems to me that, within your system, God had to be guessing about this because He didn’t really know that even one Gentile would be saved and the no Gentiles being saved option would still have been viable.

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      6. Actually I do not hold, Roger, to that interpretation of corporate Gentile election before creation, in this passage. I do see it as grammatically possible. But I hold to the action of the participle as middle voice, being performed by the individual Gentiles there that day.

        However, since God sees all possibilities, He therefore saw before creation all individual Gentiles that could ever come into existence and He determined that each, if they would come into existence, would not perish because any such planning for them to perish, but that they each would get an opportunity to repent. It only requires from that point His longsuffering to wait for many individuals to accept His grace! And that is what Peter said God is doing (2Pet 3:9f)!

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      7. brianwagner writes, “Actually I do not hold, Roger, to that interpretation of corporate Gentile election before creation, in this passage.”

        I would make in “generic” and not “corporate” as a contrast with “individual.” Maybe no real difference.

        Then,”…I hold to the action of the participle as middle voice, being performed by the individual Gentiles there that day.”

        Not sure which passage you had in mind. Could you provide your middle voice translation of the passage you had in mind so I don’t get the wrong one.

        Finally, “However, since God sees all possibilities, He therefore saw before creation all individual Gentiles that could ever come into existence and He determined that each, if they would come into existence, would not perish because any such planning for them to perish, but that they each would get an opportunity to repent. It only requires from that point His longsuffering to wait for many individuals to accept His grace! And that is what Peter said God is doing (2Pet 3:9f)!”

        You say, “God sees all possibilities.” I say, “God knows all possibilities.” In your sense, God sees and thereby discovers who would be born thus gaining additional information. This reinforces your view that God is not omniscient. It also precludes God from having infinite understanding as His need to look into the future to learn something provides a logical sequence of seeing-learning that denies the “infinite” part of understanding that, to be infinite, would entail knowing those things one has not yet seen to exist.

        2 Peter 3:9 has:

        “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

        The issue here is whether “us-ward (or you)” (believers) is antecedent to “any” and “all.” It is valid to read “any” and “all” to identify with “us-ward” as the antecedent.

        However, if “any” and “all” are to be viewed in a larger context as referring to all people, then the need is to explain why God is specifically longsuffering to “us-ward (or you)” when context says that God is actually long-suffering to all people – thus His delay. I have yet to see anyone with your view explain the argument that Peter is making.

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      8. Roger… I think I will keep spinning my wheels to answer your questions, for I have answered all these same ones for you before! Let me respond to the 2Peter 3:9 passage, for I do not recall addressing this one with you.

        I will say that the “us”/”you” in 2Pet 3:9 I take as generic for all unsaved people. The “some” who do not consider God as faithful to His promise to return is the same term as “any” who He has not planned to perish but has planned to come to an opportunity of repentance. This is the same as the “you”/”us”, but is being address to those needing repentance for not believing God and He is being longsuffering towards them. Check Heb 10:26 and Rom 8:13 for the same kind of generic use of the personal pronouns to address those not yet saved.

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      9. brianwagner writes, “I will say that the “us”/”you” in 2Pet 3:9 I take as generic for all unsaved people.”

        We have–
        8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
        9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        Should we not trace back “us/you” to the “beloved” in v8? Are you relying on some rule of grammar to jump over “beloved” and trace back to the scoffers of v3? Then, Peter is writing the epistle to believers and not to the scoffers, isn’t he? Do you have an argument for taking this in the generic sense or is this basically an accommodation to make your understanding of the following pronouns work as you want them?

        Then, “The “some” who do not consider God as faithful to His promise to return is the same term as “any” who He has not planned to perish but has planned to come to an opportunity of repentance. This is the same as the “you”/”us”, but is being address to those needing repentance for not believing God and He is being longsuffering towards them. Check Heb 10:26 and Rom 8:13 for the same kind of generic use of the personal pronouns to address those not yet saved.”

        I don’t see how Romans on Hebrews identifies with Peter.

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      10. Do you understand the concept of generic use of the pronoun? It is when “you” or “we” is used for the general audience reading the book, but not for everyone single person in it, and usually in gnomic statements. When Paul used “you” for both lost and saved readers in Romans 8:13, and Barnabas used “we” for not yet saved professing Christian readers in Hebrews 10:26.

        If you follow the word “you” throughout 2Peter you will see that Peter is talking a normal audience of readers, professing Christians, including seekers that are not yet saved. “Beloved” would fit for all of them for as my post above indicates, all are loved/hated before salvation.

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      11. brianwagner writes, “Do you understand the concept of generic use of the pronoun? It is when “you” or “we” is used for the general audience reading the book, but not for everyone single person in it, and usually in gnomic statements. When Paul used “you” for both lost and saved readers in Romans 8:13, and Barnabas used “we” for not yet saved professing Christian readers in Hebrews 10:26.”

        Romans 8
        1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,..
        12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
        13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
        14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

        What is in view: a general audience that might read the book or the audience to whom the author specifically names (those who are in Christ Jesus)? The audience to whom Paul writes are believers. v13 is a statement of fact to emphasize the point that Paul makes to believers. If they were to live according to the sinful nature they would die…but brothers, we have an obligation and it it is to the sinful nature.

        I see no basis for taking Romans 8 to be addressed to unbelievers even though Paul describes a true condition that is also true for unbelievers. Paul’s focus is to teach believers. One may extrapolate to unbelievers, but what of it – unbelievers do not care about the things of which Paul writes. What is accomplished by extrapolating Paul’s thought to unbelievers? Other than the argument that the Holy Spirit would use this to convict unbelievers which, of course, applies to anything in the Scriptures.

        Hebrews 10
        19 Therefore, brothers,…
        22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart…
        23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,…
        26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
        27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
        28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
        29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
        30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”
        31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

        The immediate audience consists of believers. v26 applies a teaching technique – the negation of the previous verses to make a point: Contra drawing near to God and holding to the hope – If we instead…

        Hebrews expresses a truth that we can extrapolate to a larger audience. v26 is a verse the Holy Spirit could use to convict the unbeliever of the dire circumstances in which they find themselves (as would be true of all the Scriptures). However, the original intent is to drive home the point made by the author to believers in the preceding verses.

        Regardless, any truth we find in the Scriptures addressed to believers can be extended to unbelievers simply because it is truth.

        Then you write, “If you follow the word “you” throughout 2Peter you will see that Peter is talking a normal audience of readers, professing Christians, including seekers that are not yet saved. “Beloved” would fit for all of them for as my post above indicates, all are loved/hated before salvation.”

        OK. Let’s follow the “you.”

        2 Peter
        Chap 1
        1 Simon Peter…to them that have obtained like precious faith with us…
        2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you…
        3 [God] has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,…
        4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature,…
        9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
        10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling…
        11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
        Chap 2
        1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,…
        3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you:
        Chap 3
        1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you;…
        2 That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets,…
        3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,…
        5 For this they willingly are ignorant of,…
        8 But, beloved, be not ignorant…
        9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to [you], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        It seems obvious that Peter is writing to believers – “them that have obtained like precious faith with us” and “[God] has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,…”

        The last verses of Chap 2 speak to certain people within the congregation who are “seekers.” It is a dire warning. Then, Peter returns to his focus on believers in chap 3 – “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you;…’ – introducing a new topic.

        I contend that “you” refers to believers, especially in chap 3. You contend that Peter means to address “seekers” within the congregation, also. Can you walk us through those verses you see transitioning from believers to believers + seekers? Do you see the term, “beloved” intended in 1:1 where believers are in view and then, where do you see a transition to the broader audience – believers + seekers?

        I understand you to apply 3:9 no further than to the believers + seekers in the congregation and not to the world at large. Is that true?

        Also, 3:9 expresses a truth – “[God] is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” If applied only to believers, past, present, and future, then we have a Calvinist position. If applied broadly to all people in the world, we have the universalist position. If we apply it to believers + seekers, we have a non-universalist position and maybe Calvinist. But how does Peter expand his epistle to include seekers? Can you show us where you see this happening?

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      12. I think you agree that Paul and Barnabas are keeping in mind there may be readers not yet saved, even though they are generally addressing believers. Peter is doing the same thing, which you probably noticed in his exhortation to the reader to make his calling and election sure! To assume any reader of Scripture is a seeker is a fair assumption. You can have the last word, Roger, for I am assuming I am not able to be of much help to you in these things. God will need to use someone else. All the best!

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      13. brianwagner writes, “I think you agree that Paul and Barnabas are keeping in mind there may be readers not yet saved, even though they are generally addressing believers.”

        No. I think the human authors of Romans and Hebrews are focused on believers because they cannot discern the one from the other except in the extreme. The Holy Spirit would be using Romans and Hebrews to deal with both believers and unbelievers simply because He knows one from the other.

        You went as far as you are able. Thanks for the effort.

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      14. Good morning Roger! As I was praying for you last night I felt conviction in my mind from your words… “as far as you are able”. I believe I should have at least invited you to state what you believe 2Peter 3:9 more clearly teaches and then offer a critique, instead of just defending what I think it says.

        I would love to hear your understanding of “some… you/we… any”, and what “longsuffering”, “willing”, “perish” and “repentance” means in this context. If you just want to just provide an expanded interpretive translation that would be good as a start. Thanks.

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      15. brianwagner writes, “I would love to hear your understanding of “some… you/we… any”, and what “longsuffering”, “willing”, “perish” and “repentance” means in this context.”

        2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”

        Rather than “my” understanding, let’s follow rules of grammar to determine what is said. Words such as “some,” “you,” “any,” and “all” are generic terms that have no meaning apart from context. To discover their meaning, we look for earlier antecedents, the specific terms that are later recalled by the generic terms.

        We read, “as some count slowness.” We ask, who are the “some” that Peter speaks of.

        1. Earlier Peter writes that “scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” We could identify “some” as the scoffers of v3-4. Thus, we could read v9,” “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as [scoffers] understand slowness.”

        2. “Some” can refer to believers who are burdened with the harsh life they are enduring and are anxious. We can read v9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some [of you who are anxious] understand slowness.” That would explain God’s patience with them expressed in the next part – God is patient with you believers in your impatience and anxiety over Christ’s delay in coming.

        We then read, “He [the Lord] is patient with you,…” Without objection, we take the generic “He” to be “the Lord,” the specific term beginning the sentence. We now want to discover what “you” refers to.

        1. Perhaps Peter is addressing the “scoffers” and is saying to them “God is being patient with you scoffers.” That Christ has not returned to judge the ungodly can be seen as God’s patience toward them.

        2. v8 identifies another group, the “Beloved,” – “beloved, be not ignorant.” The chapter begins, “This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you…” As the “you” in v1 identifies those to whom Peter is writing, we can take the “you” of v9 is this same group. Had Peter meant to refer to the scoffers, the better term to use would have been “them” – “The Lord is patient with them.”

        3. Some translations have “us” instead of “you.” By “us” Peter would include himself with the beloved but it might be argued that “us” could incorporate the scoffers also. Calvin seems to do this, but he does not get into the minutia of grammar and stays above the fray – rather than write commentary, he starts preaching when he comes to this verse.

        One might argue that Peter is addressing scoffers in v9, but I find that a difficult argument to make from the context.

        Finally, are the terms, “any” and “all,” “[The Lord is] not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”

        1. The universalist says that “any” and “all” refer to people, in general, so God will not allow any person to perish and will bring all to repentance.

        2. The Calvinist says that “any” and “all” are constrained by the earlier context to be Peter’s audience – the beloved to whom he writes – but that God, as the behind the scenes author, is referring to His elect (those He is bringing to repentance). God does not want His elect to perish and delays Christ’s coming until all His elect have been brought into the fold – this means being patient with those who are impatient for Him to go faster

        3. The Arminian, and similar, extends the context to apply it to those who freely choose not to perish – “…not wanting any to perish who don’t want to perish and who prove this by repenting.”

        Ultimately, one must make decisions about the context. The key phrase seems to be “He is patient with you…” I see the strongest argument is that “you” refers to the “beloved” identified in v1,8. Once that is decided, then the previous “some” and the following “any” and “all” would also be tied to this group.

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      16. Thank you Roger for your thorough consideration and presentation of your view of 2Peter 3:9. I appreciated your willingness to consider tying the some-you-any-all to the scoffers in the earlier context, even though you reject that choice.

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      17. I keep hitting ctrl/enter thinking I’m in Facebook, 🙂 and it posts what I said before I’m finished! Anyway, Roger, I hope you will realize that you have split the pronouns “some-you-any-all” between two groups.

        One group is your living elect that are reading 2Peter 3:9 who may be impatient for Christ’s return, but not as bad as the earlier mentioned scoffers. The other group is your not yet regenerated elect, including those not yet even living.

        I think you are saying it this way – “God is not slow concerning His promise as some of you already regenerated elect are considering Him slow, but is being longsuffering with you already regenerated elect in spite of your impatience with Him, for He is not willing that any of His not yet regenerated elect should go to hell, but that all should come to their opportunity of repentance and salvation.” Would that be a fair analysis of your view?

        Your first group is a fair grammatical understanding that it is believers that are accusing God of being slow. But though the “you” fits well with that “some” it would not fit naturally with the “any” or “all”, for the “some… you” have already been planned not to perish and have already come to their opportunity of repentance.

        I think it is significant that the “some… any” are the same Greek word and in my mind both point to the same group of scoffers, and therefore cannot be two different groups. Therefore the generic “you” fits for that unsaved reader who is shown this verse, who was one of those “scoffers”, and begins to sense God’s call on his life to repent.

        There is also another alternative to election and universalism choices for the “any… all” and that you left out. God has never planned for any to perish, because His plan was never that complete before creation. But He did plan or have the intention, that all would get the opportunity for repentance. The wording of this verse does not guarantee the experience of repentance, only the place or opportunity for it.

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      18. brianwagner writes, “I think you are saying it this way – “God is not slow concerning His promise as some of you already regenerated elect are considering Him slow,…”

        Let’s backtrack then and get the correct perspective. God is the author of the Scriptures and when the Scriptures speak, they speak from His perspective despite the temporal issues involved. While Peter speaks to believers personally known to him, God sis using Peter to speak to all of His elect throughout time (even under your system). God’s elect eagerly anticipate the return of Christ in their lifetime and can grow frustrated as time passes and nothing happens. This is more frustrating for them when they are being persecuted. Peter writes his epistle to a slice of God’s elect, but God is speaking to all His elect using Peter’s words. That person who is a believer, no matter when he lives, can pick up Peter’s letter and read it as if God is speaking directly to him but knowing that it speaks to the condition of all the elect of all time.

        So, you and I can read 2 Peter 3, and we see it speaking to our day and time. We see scoffers running around denying that God exists and laugh at the idea that Christ will return to judge them. It’s not a big deal because we are not persecuted, so we like to think that Christ would return today, but we are not greatly distressed or frustrated when He does not. Such is the riches that we enjoy.

        This is what the words of Peter say to you and I – and to all His elect at the same time – from God’s perspective (amplified by me):

        1. I have written…to stimulate you and all God’s elect to wholesome thinking.
        2 I want each one of you to recall the words spoken…by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.

        3 First of all,…scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
        4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
        5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water.
        6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
        7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

        The following seems to be an aside or personal note:
        8 …do not forget this one thing…: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
        9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise to you that Christ will return, as some of you are thinking. Rather, God is patient with each one of you as He is with all His elect, not wanting His elect to perish, but all of them to come to repentance.

        Now, back to our story.
        10 …the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

        So, God is speaking to both groups at one time which are one generic group – His elect..

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      19. Nice try Roger! You still must bring to this text the unproven presupposition that the elect is made up of individuals eternally a part of God’s frozen will before creation. My presupposition that no such settled future conforms better with the normal reading of all of Scripture makes my understanding of “any…all” in this passage just as possible grammatically, if not more likely. Either way, there is no hint of elect before creation in this context itself.

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      20. brianwagner writes, “there is no hint of elect before creation in this context itself.”

        I agree. I don’t think the point of this verse is to tell us that God knows His elect from eternity past. God is speaking to His elect and the message He speaks applies to all His elect across time – the message never becomes outdated. Like much of what God tells His elect, the passage is encouraging, reiterating that God has everything under control and everything is proceeding according to His plan.

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      21. There you go again, speaking to me in third person, after all this time! I thought we were better friends. 🙂 I agree the passage is very encouraging. Thank you for conceding that this passage can not be used to prove “God knows His elect from eternity past.”

        But there is also no hint that Peter has in mind that his use of “any…all” includes an already settled group of individuals elected to salvation, or that the “you” or “beloved” in his mind includes that kind of group.

        You are bringing that theological viewpoint to the passage, even though there is no clear biblical passage to support that viewpoint. There are only some passages that have been used to taking from them a theological inference and making it into a dogmatic tenet to then use to interpret passages like this one.

        Everything is proceeding according to His plan which is still open in parts and allows for freedom of His will and man’s will to be exercised!

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      22. brianwagner writes, “Thank you for conceding that this passage can not be used to prove “God knows His elect from eternity past.””

        Oh, Brian!!!! That was never an issue. No concession is required.

        Then, “But there is also no hint that Peter has in mind that his use of “any…all” includes an already settled group of individuals elected to salvation, or that the “you” or “beloved” in his mind includes that kind of group.”

        We read-
        8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
        9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to [you], not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

        The you in “but is longsuffering to [you]” begs for an antecedent just because it is a pronoun. The first available noun in “beloved” in v8. That actually is a pretty solid hint.

        However, in one sense, you are correct. Peter writes as he is carried on by the Holy Spirit, so he may not have a hint what God is saying (but I tend to doubt that in this case).

        Finally you express an opinion you have stated several times, “Everything is proceeding according to His plan which is still open in parts and allows for freedom of His will and man’s will to be exercised!” But, it is always good to rehearse that which you believe.

        Also, “There you go again, speaking to me in third person,…”

        Is this because I begin with “brianwagner writes”? Otherwise I didn’t see what caught your attention. Nevertheless, with so many people commenting, I find it necessary to do this to avoid confusion (and where I don’t do it, it means that it does not matter).

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      23. I think, Roger, you would agree that the “Beloved” are only those who are alive, already viewed as possessing salvation (though Peter wants them to make sure 1:9), and would not include any who are not saved. Tying “you” in 3:9 to that group is grammatically legitimate. Tying it to those not yet saved

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      24. brianwagner writes, “the “Beloved” are only those who are alive, already viewed as possessing salvation (though Peter wants them to make sure 1:9), and would not include any who are not saved. Tying “you” in 3:9 to that group is grammatically legitimate. Tying it to those not yet saved tying “you” in 3:9 to those not yet saved, is what both of us are trying to do, I think, but if you tie “you” to “Beloved” then it would not work, for they are already saved.

        Tying “you” to a generic reader who would also include unsaved fits better I believe. But “any…all” do definitely point to people who are not yet saved.”

        We have two authors of this epistle. One is Peter who writes through his eyes and perspective. The other is God who uses Peter to write from His perspective. Thus, Peter writes “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:” (1:1) These are the beloved to whom Peter then refers in 3:8, and they were physically alive in Peter’s day.

        At the same time, God is using Peter to write to His elect – those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith comparable to Peter’s. Thus, any believer who lives after Peter – like you and I – can read this epistle and find that it applies as much to us today as it did to those who read it in the 1st century. While the “beloved” to whom Peter wrote would see themselves as the “you” in 3:9, we who read the epistle today would understand that we are the beloved of God and are the “you” of 3:9.

        We can tie “you” to the generic reader but only to the elect. To the person who is unsaved, this epistle makes no sense – the unsaved rejects this epistle at 1:1 because he has no faith. It is only those whom God has saved who are attracted to the things he reads in this epistle.

        I agree with you that “‘any…all’ do definitely point to people who are not yet saved,” but only to those unsaved who are also God’s elect. However, even for the elect prior to their salvation (as Paul prior to the Damascus road), this verse has no meaning and will have no meaning until they come to faith and read the epistle with eyes of faith and a mind that is being renewed – their perspective being changed so that the epistle becomes meaningful – through this epistle and the rest of Scripture.

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      25. Here we are again, Roger, at the same dividing line. I believe God brings every reader, through enlightenment, to understanding that they can freely accept or reject concerning His grace. You believe God irresistibly brings those necessarily created to be His elect, to read and accept passively His grace.

        On a side note, I believe the faith in 2Peter 1:1 is objective revelation, not subjective trust.

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      26. brianwagner writes, ” I believe God brings every reader, through enlightenment, to understanding that they can freely accept or reject concerning His grace. You believe God irresistibly brings those necessarily created to be His elect, to read and accept passively His grace.”

        We know that God enlightens some (I presume because they are His elect) because they accept salvation. However, does God enlighten those who reject salvation? No way to know from our vantage point. For you to say that He did is conjecture on your part and cannot rise above that.

        Nonetheless, given that the two people are the same before enlightenment – both lost sinners – and the only thing that changes for them is what God does – He enlightens them – then the different responses to God’s enlightenment can only be attributed to what God did – God must have discriminated between the one who accepted and the one who rejected as the two people were equal in all other aspects. Two different response can only occur where God has discriminated in some way between the two as there is no other factor to account for the differing responses.

        Then, “On a side note, I believe the faith in 2Peter 1:1 is objective revelation, not subjective trust.”

        So, we would have, “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received an objective revelation as precious as ours:…For this very reason, make every effort to add to your objective revelation goodness; etc.”

        That would seem to describe a works-based salvation.

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      27. You are free to keep believing your view Roger. But – to say “No way to know from our vantage point. For you to say that He did [enlighten everyone] is conjecture on your part and cannot rise above that.”

        It is not conjecture. John 1:9 says it plainly, as does Job 33:14-30. The universal warning of Heb 3:7-8 would make no sense if only given to the Calvinist’s selected few. And God has chosen that it is not only up to His “discrimination”, though a Calvinist does not really believe God’s thoughts ever change which is necessary for discrimination to take place. But it is also up to man’s discrimination which God allows and enables!

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      28. brianwagner writes, “It is not conjecture. John 1:9 says it plainly, as does Job 33:14-30. The universal warning of Heb 3:7-8 would make no sense if only given to the Calvinist’s selected few. And God has chosen that it is not only up to His “discrimination”, though a Calvinist does not really believe God’s thoughts ever change which is necessary for discrimination to take place. But it is also up to man’s discrimination which God allows and enables!”

        “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)

        Let’s allow that the light here is sufficient for each and every individual to accept salvation (their starting position is that of rejection). Let’s also allow that God ensures that all the other necessities are also provided – LFW, faith, conviction of sin, (whatever else you might include). If one person accepts salvation, then all should do so (unless choices are made by flipping a coin, so, by chance). There is no point on which people can be distinguished from each other relative to the choice before them. Thus, all should come to the same conclusion – especially since it is so obvious. This is essentially the universalist argument as I understand it. That then engenders the Calvinist-Arminian debate to explain how some could actually continue indifferent to salvation if this light is what the universalist (and you seem to) claim.

        “God does all these things to a man–twice, even three times– to turn back his soul from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.” (Job 30)

        Again, we have the universalist claim that God does not rest –twice, even three times (or whatever it takes being implied)– to bring a person to salvation. The issue is, again, how does a person resist God’s efforts except God be playing favorites and trying harder with some and not others?

        “So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert,…” (Hebrews 3:7-8)

        I read this to be directed to believers and to be an issue of obedience. But, let’s allow that it deals with salvation (by reading “if” as “since”). We still have the issue presented by the universalist – if one person accepts salvation, then all will accept salvation because all are equally corrupt and God is dealing with each equally. What factor is present that allows one to accept salvation while another remains indifferent to “his voice”?

        If the decision is left to man’s determination, the bottom line is to find a reason for one person choosing one way and another, the opposite, when both are equal in every respect as far as these verses are concerned. One explanation is that these verses don’t describe actions intend to bring a person to salvation but only to render their judgment unassailable. We might also include Romans 1 but here, it appears that all continue rejecting God and His salvation.

        So, you just need to find an exception to show that the universalist position does not have to prevail.

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      29. The same reason, Roger, you freely reject the evidence your just explained so well! 🙂 The light, as you did “allow” is “sufficient” as you said, and the man who rejects is without the excuse – “But you made it impossible for me to believe!”

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      30. brianwagner writes, “you freely reject the evidence your just explained so well! 🙂 The light, as you did “allow” is “sufficient” as you said, and the man who rejects is without the excuse – “But you made it impossible for me to believe!””

        Going further in John, we read. “Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) and “Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:44-46)

        The issue is still to explain why a person would reject Christ and salvation. If the light is “sufficient” then in what sense is it sufficient. Normally, sufficient means that it produces the desired effect – in this case, salvation. If not, then we would say that it is necessary to salvation but not sufficient to salvation.

        As I said, sufficiency is the argument pressed by the universalist. Unless you are also universalist, I think your position is that the “light” is necessary to salvation but not sufficient to produce salvation.

        So, if you mean “sufficient,” you just need to find an exception to show that the universalist position does not have to prevail.

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      31. I have no such need! The Scriptures are sufficient in their explanation enough for both of us but we have freely chosen different sides! Blessings my friend!

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      32. Oh Brian!!!! Why can’t you just admit the obvious – that you have no idea how to account for two seemingly equal people choosing differently on the issue of salvation absent God’s direct involvement in their decisions? What’s the big deal, anyway; no one else has ever come up with an explanation. Just chalk it up to mystery – for now.

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      33. …tying “you” in 3:9 to those not yet saved, is what both of us are trying to do, I think, but if you tie “you” to “Beloved” then it would not work, for they are already saved.

        Tying “you” to a generic reader who would also include unsaved fits better I believe. But “any…all” do definitely point to people who are not yet saved.

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      34. Actually, Roger, I take back that the corporate Gentile election view is grammatically reasonable in Acts 13:48. The correlative pronoun – ὅσοι – “as many as” which goes with the “were appointed” (or as I think “arranged themselves”) points to individuals who were there that day and not to them as a collective group.

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      35. brianwagner writes, ” I take back that the corporate Gentile election view is grammatically reasonable in Acts 13:48. The correlative pronoun – ὅσοι – “as many as” which goes with the “were appointed” (or as I think “arranged themselves”) points to individuals who were there that day and not to them as a collective group.”

        Thus, my confusion – I had not cited Acts 13 and thought you were referring to one of the passages I had cited. It makes sense now.

        Acts 13:48
        “When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.”

        I think you translate this, “…all having appointed themselves for eternal life…”

        That translation raises questions. Do all who hear the gospel appoint themselves to eternal life? If not, what accounts for two different reactions to the gospel? Pastor Flowers has proposed that God has judicially hardened those who are observed to reject the gospel (who choose not to appoint themselves to eternal life). This, consistent with 2 Corinthians 4, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ…” an action Satan cannot accomplish except God give him the freedom to do so (as God did in the case of Job).

        Nonetheless, whenever people hear the gospel preached and some accept while others reject, something has influenced those who reject such that the gospel is negated in their eyes. Those who appoint themselves to eternal life are protected (presumably by God because they are His elect) from that influence so that the gospel has full force with them.

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      36. Same ground again, Roger! You need to profess what you do because you need to reject the Bible teaches the sufficient ability God gives all at some point through His enlightenment so that their will is freed enough to accept or reject! You only reject this clear biblical teaching because you choose to hold that all individuals exist in God’s eternal mind as created to be saved or lost, with only the semblance of free choice existing for Adam, and that’s a mystery to you!

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      37. brianwagner writes, “You need to profess what you do because you need to reject the Bible teaches the sufficient ability God gives all at some point through His enlightenment so that their will is freed enough to accept or reject!”

        That’s fine, but the task here is to explain how two people equally enlightened with their wills freed can make such opposite choices – given that the two options are extreme opposites. The decision is a no brainer – if one has been enlightened and his will is free – and all should choose salvation. To reject the gospel under those circumstances tells us that something is wrong. What accounts for a person rejecting the gospel? That is the unexplainable once you presume that such people have been enlightened and their wills freed. You were careful not to attempt an explanation (probably because no one else has offered an explanation either).

        Then, “You only reject this clear biblical teaching because you choose to hold that all individuals exist in God’s eternal mind as created to be saved or lost, with only the semblance of free choice existing for Adam, and that’s a mystery to you!”

        What’s the mystery for me? You lost me.

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      38. Roger… I guess the Lord is going to have to enlighten you to the truth that I was trying to explain through someone else! Blessings, my friend.

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  23. Brian, I would like to retract this statement I made recently, please disregard.

    Brian, in almost every reponse you lead in with an inaccurate statement. I will summarize, but first.

    You state that ‘τεταγμένοι ’ could be middle or passive.
    Wrong, ‘τεταγμένοι ’ will always be passive, for it to be middle voice it must be in the ‘ ‘ ἐτάξατο ’ form.

    You say you teach Greek, and yet you keep making these simple mistakes. Just like you not recognizing the pluperfect hina clause in Acts 13:48
    And how long have you been arguing against the syntax of this verse.
    Arguing against the author, Luke. But most of all not believing that God’s Word is inerrant, infallible, that you do not agree with what has been revealed.

    You are right, You state that ‘τεταγμένοι ’ could be middle or passive.
    I was inaccurate and not gracious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Steven do you yourself actually know koine/NT Greek or not?

      I ask this because it seems clear that Brian Wagner knows the Greek on the Acts 13 passage while you do not (as shown by your retraction and prior statements).

      If you do not know Greek it may not be wise to post comments on Greek as if you do. It is not absolutely necessary to know Greek in order to comment on NT passages. However if one does not know Greek one should not present comments regarding the Greek text suggesting that you know the Greek when you do not.

      You also have a habit of throwing in these statements that are really off base and things you do not know nor are you in the place to know.

      For example you wrote: “It is evident that the anti- Calvinist, anti-Reformed, cannot let God’s Word speak for itself.” How do you know that those of us who are not Calvinists “cannot let God’s Word speak for itself”??? We do this every time we faithfully preach a sermon or lead a Bible study. When I stand in front of a few hundred inmates and deliver a message I had better be letting scripture speak for itself or I have no right to be preaching it.

      You also said to Wagner “Arguing against the author, Luke. But most of all not believing that God’s Word is inerrant, infallible, that you do not agree with what has been revealed.”

      Wagner may be mistaken about open theism and some other issues, but He holds to inerrancy. And again, just because we may disagree with your Calvinistic interpretations of scripture it does not follow that we are “arguing against the author, Luke” or whomever we are exegeting. I don’t think that any of us posting here intentionally tries to argue against the authors of scripture. We may disagree on interpretations of particular texts, but you do this as well. You might want to scale back some of your comments and stick to discussions of the texts themselves rather than claiming non-Calvinists do not let the scripture speak for itself, do not do the best they can to properly interpret scripture, do not intentionally oppose biblical authors, etc..

      Liked by 1 person

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