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
You see, tens of thousands of his saints 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.
Supporting this point in Revelation, the ones that sing “we shall reign on earth” as “kings and priests” (ref. Revelation 5:10) are twenty-four elders (ref. Revelation 5:8). And the number of them that are round about the throne, “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands”, refers to angels, not the elders (ref. Revelation 5:11).
So, after the reaping of the harvest, which will be done by the Son of man (ref. Revelation 14:14), which is to say the salvation of every individual is a matter between that individual and Jesus Christ, some of the reaped will remain in heaven while others will return to earth.
Those that return to earth will have the privilege to serve Jesus Christ as priests and kings, that is to say, as nobles of the kingdom of God and 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
Concerning salvation generally, for those who don’t know, to be saved, one must have faith in Jesus Christ, and also keep the commandments of God, especially the first commandment (ref. Revelation 14:12, Revelation 22:14). In other words, one must have faith, and one must be faithful or loyal.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.Revelation 14:12
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 be lost and damned, meaning ultimately you will burn in the lake of fire.
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 by servants of Jesus Christ.
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 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 may well be some Christian men who are left behind. Certainly, if someone is not Christian enough, he will not be reaped at the time of the harvest.
However, 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 is still alive. 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, to the interesting part, my new discovery.
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. So, to agree with TULIP is not necessarily to be a Calvinist.
Anyway, Calvin’s thesis regarding TULIP, simply put, is that God has predestined some individuals to salvation and others to damnation.
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, in my opinion, 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!
Remember, 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. This is only to say that Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 are meaningful.
By the way, this discovery also explains the parable of talents (ref. Matthew 25:14-30) and the parable of pounds (ref. Luke 19:12-27). Few preachers go there, because both suggest Christians can be punished for not doing enough.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.Matthew 25:30
The parable of talents does not fit with the notion that salvation is not of works, popular among some Protestants.
Still, it makes sense if you realise that the Son of man, Jesus Christ, himself said about his return: “unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (ref. Luke 12:48).
Likewise, there is this: “masters”, meaning preachers or teachers, shall “receive the greater condemnation” should something go wrong (ref. James 3:1-4).
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.Matthew 7:21
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).
Of course, some professional pastors and priests may have been called by God long ago (ref. Romans 10:12-15).
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 10:14-15
I consider all of the mainstream denominations potentially ok: Catholic, Orthodox, Coptic, Anglican, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. From what I can gather, all these denominations have doctrinal errors, but still are Christian enough to pass. If a denomination had to be 100%, no one would be able to pass, because in these last days, Christendom is prophesied to be in “apostasy” (ref. 2 Thessalonians 2:3).
What matters is that a priest or pastor is faithful to Jesus Christ, and able to overcome the many evil spirits that are now roaming about.
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
Now, what an individual has been called to do and when and how is entirely a matter between that individual and God.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.Revelation 3:11
It might be different for each person.
I think, all who have been chosen have experienced something supernatural. Paul, for example, was blinded by a shining light on the way to Damascus and then healed. He was blind and then he could see.
If the average Christian is a “soldier of Jesus Christ” (ref. 2 Timothy 2:3-4), then those of us that have been chosen are like Victoria Cross types, having daring devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.Matthew 10:38-39
During the final forty-two months, when the Beast and the False Prophet are at the height of their power, the Bible prophesies that some Christians who are behind enemy lines will do exploits to instruct many.
… 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, with a cross and a lion and a crown.