Predestination is a biblical doctrine. It comes from Romans 8:28-39 and Ephesians 1:4-14. However, Calvinism has got it wrong. This new thing that I have figured out settles the matter of whether one is saved by faith or by works, in light of James’s remark that “faith without works is dead” (ref. James 2:17-26).
First, my discovery: a Bible prophecy, no less.
On the day of the LORD, after the reaping of the harvest which is commonly known as the rapture (ref. Revelation 14:14-16), some Christians will return to earth to serve as kings and priests of Jesus Christ (ref. Jude 1:14-15), while others will remain in heaven before the throne of God to serve him that sits on the throne there (ref. Revelation 7:9-17)!
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.Jude 1:14-15
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… And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.Revelation 7:9-17
These are two different groups of Christians. Tens of thousands will come back with Jesus Christ, but a great multitude which no man can number will remain in heaven before the Lamb.
As for Jesus Christ here on earth and the Lamb in heaven simultaneously, that can only be understood by the Trinity: one essence and three persons, or one and three at the same time.
Those that return to earth will have the privilege to serve Jesus Christ as priests and kings, or in other words, as nobles of the kingdom of God and as nobles of the commonwealth of Israel.
Be ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.Isaiah 61:6
It is a reward from God.
… he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.Revelation 22:11-12
Those that are to return to earth to serve Jesus Christ have been chosen, or predestined, to do so by God.
This is the correct way to think about the doctrine of predestination or election.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his willEphesians 1:3-5
Concerning salvation generally, for those who don’t know, to be saved, one must have faith in Jesus Christ, and one must keep the commandments of God, especially the first commandment (ref. Revelation 14:12, Revelation 22:14). In other words, one must have faith in God, and one must be faithful or loyal to God.
What does this mean in the days ahead? It means, if you worship the beast and his image, or if you take the mark of the beast (ref. Revelation 14:11), or if you serve the beast or fight in combat for him, then you will not be saved – you will be damned for taking the side of Satan – meaning ultimately you will burn in the lake of fire at the time of the second death.
It is a precept of common law that ignorance is no excuse. Likewise, no one that is lost will be able to plead ignorance, because information about the beast has been made available ahead of time by servants of Jesus Christ.
So, the doctrine of predestination does not apply to the saved generally.
Salvation is available to everyone. That is to say, everyone and anyone can be saved. It is simply a matter of choice. Being Christian and going to heaven is a choice and a result of faith.
While anyone can be saved, not anyone can serve Jesus Christ as a priest on earth during the Millennial Reign. Those that are to serve have been chosen and predestinated before the foundation of the world.
Among Christians left in heaven will be women and children.
During the Millennial Reign, there will be no female priests (ref. 1 Corinthians 14:34-35), and women are not to teach, nor usurp authority over the man (ref. 1 Timothy 2:11-15).
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.1 Timothy 2:14-15
And surely an infant cannot suddenly become a priest.
This is why the idea of babies being raptured is silly. And if a baby is to be left behind, then naturally so too will the mother.
The American movie “Left Behind” (2014) and the American TV series “Leftovers” (2014) both deliberately suggest babies will be raptured so as to provoke anger against God.
This brings me to my next point. A person who is left behind on the day of the LORD is not necessarily lost!
Also, do not believe the deception that the rapture is pre-trib and so all who are left behind are to suffer the wrath of God.
On this point, what the American movie “The Remaining” (2014) says is unbiblical and nonsense.
The Bible says, if you are Jewish and you have endured unto the end, you are saved and thereafter you are holy (ref. Matthew 24:13, Isaiah 4:3)!
If you are an atheist or an agnostic and you have survived the war, you will have every opportunity to become a Christian and be saved during the Millennial Reign. Indeed, this is precisely why there will be priests of Christ during the Millennial Reign (ref. 1 Corinthians 15:24-25).
If you are a Christian woman or a child, you will be able to continue your life as a human. The clue to this, I think, is in Isaiah 34, “none shall want her mate” (ref. Isaiah 34:16).
Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.Isaiah 34:16
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escape of Israel.Isaiah 4:1-2
I suppose, there might well also be some Christian men who are left behind. A man who has not been chosen to serve as a priest of Christ need not be born again and made immortal on the day of the LORD.
However, any man, woman, or child that did die faithful to Christ during the great tribulation will be resurrected, born again, made immortal and sent to heaven on the day of the LORD.
Of course, every person who worshipped the beast during the tribulation, or took his mark, or fought for him in the war, is damned even if he or she survives the war. Everyone in this category will burn in the lake of fire at the time of the second death (ref. Revelation 20:12-15).
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:14-15
Now, about Calvinism.
John Calvin’s theology of predestination has been contentious ever since Jacobus Arminius raised five points against him, which brought about the acronym TULIP, which stands for total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance of the saints. Nowadays, TULIP is attributed to Calvinism. Calvin’s “Institutes of the Christian Religion” (1536) actually says more about Christian theology than TULIP. Anyway, Calvin’s thesis, simply put, is that God has predestined some individuals to salvation and others to damnation.
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?Romans 9:21
Calvin’s understanding of predestination comes from Romans 8 and Ephesians 1.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.Romans 8:29-30
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed himself. That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own willEphesians 1:4-11
In the above passages, the idea that God has predestined some to be saved is unmistakable. The words “predestined” and “predestinate” occur several times.
Naturally, many Protestants are troubled by this view because it is widely believed, and rightly so, that any individual can become a Christian if he or she decides to be one.
At first, there is grace, which may be the Holy Spirit, or the work of an angel of God, or the preaching or teaching of another Christian using the Bible, and then the person decides to believe or not – the act of faith. Always a person is saved by grace and through faith.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?…Romans 10:12-15
The Bible also says, the Lord is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (ref. 2 Peter 3:9). In other words, God would that all were saved.
So how to reconcile the two?
Well, the way I read it, the aforementioned passages of Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 are not about salvation generally, but rather they speak to individuals who have been predestined to serve Jesus Christ, during the Millennial Reign, on earth as kings and priests!
Let me give you an example. Paul is one of the apostles. He will take Judas’s spot and rule over one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.Matthew 19:28
Paul used to be Saul, a Jewish man who persecuted Christians and even stoned Stephen to death. Yet Paul was chosen and subsequently transformed through grace. Because Paul will judge one of the twelve tribes during the Millennial Reign, his salvation was predestined. Paul’s salvation is an example of unconditional election and irresistible grace, if I may borrow two phrases from TULIP.
This is not to say that John Calvin understood what he was talking about when he spoke of predestination.
The passage of Ephesians 1 also suggests that if the will of God is not a mystery to you, then you may well have been called to serve him (ref. Ephesians 1:9, Colossians 1:26).
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saintsColossians 1:26
I am inclined to think, all who have been chosen have experienced something supernatural.
Paul was blinded by a shining light on the way to Damascus and then healed. He was blind literally and metaphorically, and then he could see.
Every individual that has been called must still overcome evil in this life.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.Revelation 2:26-28
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.Revelation 3:21
By remaining faithful to God, he will hold on to his crown.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.Revelation 3:11
Everyone that has been predestined and chosen to serve Jesus Christ for the glory of the kingdom of God is even now, in a way, “a soldier of Jesus Christ” (ref. 2 Timothy 2:3), fighting the good fight (ref. 2 Timothy 4:7).
… the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days.Daniel 11:32-33
For this reason, I thought it appropriate to use the image of the Victoria Cross, which brings to mind the victory of the cross, and also a crown (Στέφανος, “stephanos”) and a lion.