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Is the Church, 'The Elect'?
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This is in response to an article I read concerning 'The Elect.'
 
If the term elect simply meant the Church or Christians grafted into Israel then why did Paul say this.
 
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God's word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2)
 
Here Paul is talking about the elect being a group that still needs saving. Cannot be the Body of Christ.
 
Notice the definite article before 'elect'. It is 'tous' in the greek.
 
He even says 'my gospel' is the reason he is being persecuted by 'The Elect', those that still needed saving.
 
What was his gospel?
"25 Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, 26 but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him-- 27 to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen." (Romans 16)
It was a message of pure grace to all, not just to Jews (Acts 10:44-48; Acts 16:31)
 
Compare this to the message Peter preached to the 'House of Israel'. (Acts 2:38)
 
This group are the Jews and are identified with a definite article.
 
It would not make sense to say that 'The Elect', is the church.
" If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matthew 24:22)
Here again, if 'the elect' was the church why didn't Christ just say that.
 
He already said that in the future there would be a church. (Matthew 16)
 
Why would the church have to be concerned about 'keeping the Sabbath?' (20)
 
An 'abomination of Desolation' is something that Jews would be concerned about. (vv.15ff ; Daniel 9:25-27)
 
The word 'elect' is again preceded by a definite article (tous ekletous) and made them a particular group of people not just individuals that have been chosen for a particular task.
 
So who is going to be gathered when Christ comes back to earth?
 
Well, let's look at the same chapter verse 31 which says:
"31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matthew 24)
 
In the translation of the word 'elect', we do not see the definite article but looking at the Nestles Interlinear Greek-English New Testament this is what it says: "Tous Ekletous".
 
Somehow the translators didn't know to include the translation of the definite article 'tous' as 'the'.
 
So 'The Elect' are the Jews, sometimes more specifically Jewish Believers, as Context and the Greek make clear here.
John 13:18, 15:16
 
"18 "I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill the scripture: 'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.' "
 
This greek word for 'chosen' is more of an action, rather than representative of a group as the other more often used word for 'chose' or 'elect' is.
 
1586 Eklegomai: to select, make choice, choose, chosen
 
"16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last.
 
Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name."
 
This is also Eklegomai, which is more of a verb. 1586
 
I guess the point here is that 'chose' means elected, though that only proves that the Jewish Disciples were chosen/elected.
 
Nothing about this being a term to be used of all Christians across the board.
 
The Gospels speak of Jesus going around choosing his disciples, so that applies to the twelve.
 
Acts 15:22, 15:25
 
"22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, two men who were leaders among the brothers. ...25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul-- "
 
Well, some have decided to make any verse that speaks of choosing into 'the Elect' which is more of a noun, in an attempt to prove their point any time someone is chosen for any kind of task. 1586
 
This is quite silly.
 
Silas and Barsabbas were chosen to do something. This does not prove they are 'The Elect' because they were chosen to do a specific thing.
 
What Was Israel chosen for?
"10 You are my witnesses," declares the Lord, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. 11 I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior." (Isaiah 43)
 
Did they understand Him when He said, 'I Am He'?
 
"12 Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. (Isaiah 44:6; Rev. 1; 22:) 13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together. ...
16 "Come near me and listen to this: "From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there." And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me, with his Spirit." (Isaiah 48)
 
Did they understand the Triunity mentioned here?
 
Did the Jews believe and Understand that when Jesus said: 'I Am He' that he was speaking of his Deity?
 
"I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." (John 8; NIV)
 
"24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8; KJV)
 
Did 'The Elect' know and believe and understand Christ when He said I am him?
 
Some of them did.
 
Paul says: "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." (Acts 13)
 
Did 'The Elect' become unelected because many of them rejected Messiah.
 
"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? 2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. 3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? 4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Romans 3)
 
"The Elect" is still a particular group of Jews in the end that God is not finished with yet but are not the Church, the ones that are chosen for a particular purpose as well and with its own glorious destiny.
When there is a definite article before the word 'elect', that tells us something, it is identifying a specific group of people in contrast to others.
 
Romans 8:33, 16:13
 
"33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies." 1588
 
No Definite article in the Greek Interlinear.
 
Again what are they being chosen for?
 
"13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me, too." 1588
 
There is a definite article here, he might be a Jew.
 
27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. (1 Corinthians 1) 1586
 
These verses are using the Greek word Eklegomai, which is more of an action than a noun.
 
Chosen for What?
 
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love (Ephesians 1:4) 1586-Action
 
Chose here is a verb, not a noun and chosen for a particular purpose.
 
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3) 1588
 
Here in the Greek the definite article follows the word 'Elect' or 'chosen people'.
 
Lets see if we can get any clarification on this from other translations.
"11 where there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, servant, freeman -- but the all and in all -- Christ.
12 Put on, therefore, as choice ones of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humble-mindedness, meekness, long-suffering, " (YLT)
 
Every dispie knows that in this present dispensation we are chosen of God and there is no difference spiritually between us.
 
This doesn't mean that in the future 'The Elect' don't have a special purpose and destiny, in fulfillment of the prophecies regarding Israel. (Ezekiel 36; Matthew 24)
"5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?" (James 2) 1586
 
Chosen here is a verb and is from 1586...to select ..make choice
 
Lets also see who James is talking to in chapter One, at least according to the KJV:
 
"1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."
 
The YLT, RSV, NRSV, TASV, TNASB all agree with the KJV.
 
So obviously James is addressing Jews, and if Jews then he must have had something unique to communicate to them.
 
Also the KJV and other translations translate one verse in James this way:
"2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; " (James 2)
But the ASV and other translations translate it this way:
"2 For if there come into your synagogue a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there come in also a poor man in vile clothing;" (James 2)
 
The Greek confirms this with 'synagogoo' which is a synagogue.
This is clearly a Jewish Audience that he is speaking to.
 
So the context and Greek of James tells us that he is mainly speaking to Jewish believers.
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-- (Titus 1) 1588
 
No definite article before 'elect'
 
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: (1 Peter 1)
 
Who have been chosen, this sounds like he is referring to more than himself.
 
Look at what the KJV says in this same verse:
 
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Peter is speaking of more than himself.
 
The KJV defines the elect as 'the strangers scattered...' sounds like Jews.
 
The RSV, NRSV, TASV, NAS, YLT agrees.
 
It looks like NIV might be in the minority on this one.
 
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2)
 
If Peter starts this epistle with, 'the strangers scattered throughout' then that means that the chosen people here are Jewish believers not Gentile Believers.
 
When have Gentile believers ever been referred to as a 'nation', though no definite article is before 'chosen' here anyhow.
 
13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. (1 Peter 5)
 
14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings--and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers." (Revelation 17)
 
Here we are looking at the book of Revelation and during the Tribulation, though there is No Definite Article before chosen, so this could still be anyone saved during this period.
 
It looks like whenever Elect is preceded by a definite article or context is speaking of Israel, we cannot apply this to the church.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."
 
After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." (Revelation 3:22ff)
 
I haven't come to a final conclusion on this yet but it looks like the Church is not 'The Elect' and there is still a difference between the two.
 
Bj Maxwell 10/01/2006
 
Copyright
 
Presently, it is salvation by Grace through faith alone, for all  but this is not always the way it was and may not be the way it is for Israel in the Book of Revelation.  Yet some more distinctions between the Body of Christ and 'The Elect'.
 
 
Israel Past:
 
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10)
 
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.(Mark 16)
 
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
 
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2)
 
Speaking to the 'House of Israel' here repentance and baptism was necessary for salvation.
 
United Pentecostals have applied this to themselves.
 
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. ...
 
14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone....20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? (James 1:1; 2:14ff)
 
Faith alone doesn't save Jews, according to James.
 
Body of Christ (Jew and Gentile individually) Present:
 
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. 3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4)
 
Abraham was justified = Declared Righteous when he believed, before he did anything.
 
Here faith alone is what saved Abraham and us.
 
44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. (Gentiles) 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. (Acts 10)
 
Not Baptism until after Salvation and filling with the Holy Spirit.
 
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (Acts 16)
 
Belief in Jesus = Salvation Then One is Baptized.
 
Exactly opposite of what Christ and Peter preached to Jews.
 
If you are One of his you will endure until the end:
(Philippians 1:6;2:12,13)
 
"6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" (Philippians 1)
 
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (1 John 2)
 
It seems that the Body of Christ is eternally secure, Israel is not.
 
Israel Future:
 
In the time of Jacob's Trouble Salvation comes IF one endures until the end.
 
"13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matthew 24)
 
Could it be that United Pentecostals, Church of Christ, Catholics, Jewish Wannabes all get confused because they don't recognize the differences between the Church and Israel then and in the future?
 
There Are Two Programs Mentioned in the New Testament but only one being played out presently.
 
Why?
 
One reason is because God is not finished with Israel Yet. (Ezekiel 36)
 
God Keeps His Promises (Romans 3:1-4)
 
But in this present dispensation 'there is no difference' spiritually, because we are all guilty and all need a saviour.
 
This is not to say there are no differences at all, else, Christians ought to be moving to Israel and keeping the Sabbath.
 
If there are no differences at all then there would have been no need for the twelve to preach to Jews while Paul preached to Gentiles.
 
 
Bj Maxwell 10/2/2006
 
Copyright
 
I do believe that each successive time the good news was preached, it built on, or got more specific and more closer to the 'whole counsel of God' on the subject. (Acts 20:24ff)


It wasn't until Paul that the mysteries were revealed to Jew and Gentile alike, and part of that is 'we (Jew and Gentile), are saved by Grace through faith...(Ephesians 2:8), because of who Christ was and is and his work on the cross.
 
But what was the good news prior to that.
 
Did Jesus and the twelve teach salvation by Grace through faith, and if not why?

 
The Jews had some specific repenting to do (Acts 2:38; 1 Thess. 2).

"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, YE HAVE TAKEN, and by wicked hands HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN:...

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. (Acts 2)

"For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the JEWS: 15 WHO BOTH KILLED THE LORD JESUS, AND THEIR OWN PROPHETS, AND HAVE PERSECUTED US; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men:

16 FORBIDDING US TO SPEAK TO THE GENTILES THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the
uttermost." (1 Thess. 2)


The Jews are specifically blamed here. The cross is offered as a condemnation to the Jews, so as to 'conclude all in unbelief'.
 
Then they were told that baptism was required for salvation.
 
We certainly don't and shouldn't preach that today.

In fact the kingdom was delayed because of the continued rejection of Messiah by the Jews. (Romans 11:24-27:Luke 21:20-24)
 
To be resumed in the end when 'the fulness of the Gentiles are come in.' (Romans 11:24-27)
 
'Christ died for us according to the scriptures.'

If we look at the OT scriptures we see that the death of Christ or the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was never offered as a means of salvation but rather pointing to Israel's guilt. (Isaiah 53)

It wasn't until Paul that the cross was offered as the way to salvation for all who are guilty. (1 Corinthians 15; 1 Cor. 1:18)


Why is this and why should you care?


God first had to conclude ALL in unbelief, so that he could have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32)


The Jews had to be shown that they were guilty of the body and blood of Jesus Christ and were no spiritually better off than the Gentiles.

Christ died because of and for our sins.

Christ dying because of our sins was the first part of the NT, Christ dying for our sins was the second part.

Why do Catholics still have Jesus impaled on the cross?
 
Why do Catholics often have Jesus as a baby or limp in Marys arms?

Because despite what they might say, they can only see that Christ died because of our sins and not also FOR our sins, for our salvation.
 
They present a powerless savior that needs his mothers help.
 
"This emphasis on Christ's physical agony is repeated in Roman Catholic devotional material, prayers, and of course the Passion of the Christ. The theology of the bible however points out to us that the grand importance of Christ's crucifixion lay not in His physical suffering, but in His once for all propitiation of God's wrath (1 John 4:10). Lest we forget, the greatest torment that Christ experienced on the cross was not caused by the nails driven into His flesh, but in His being made 'sin for us' and vicariously suffering the righteous punishment of the Father in our place. Even the worst physical torments inflicted by the Sanhedrin and the Romans upon Jesus were nothing by comparison to the anguish of having the sins of all the elect imputed to Him and making full satisfaction for them. Satisfying the justice of the Romans on a cross was comparatively easy, thousands of condemned men and women including Spartacus and several of the Apostles did that, but only Christ could satisfy the justice of God."
 
 
But prior to repentance for the specific sin of crucifying the saviour they were still guilty. All these things were what the OT Jews did to do penance (Acts 2:38) because of their guilt.

Many religious groups still have Jesus on the cross, in their hearts.
 
As long as people only recognize Jesus as good but not God or a savior that needs his mothers help they cannot make it to the next step which is the 'cross', the 'power of God unto salvation.' (1 Corinthians 1:18)


It is time for the whole counsel of God, which tells of both who Christ is and What He did.  (Acts 20:24ff)

So what is the truth that can make sense and complete the different salvation messages in the bible, the contrasting ministries of the twelve with Paul?

It is this:

"Christ died for/and because of our sins " (1 Corinthians 15)
 
"Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. " (Acts 20)
 
Here Paul links God with the eternal sacrifice and then warns about those that would lead the sheep astray.
 
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2)
 
Here Paul links who Christ is with What He accomplished.
 
Most of the time the identity of the saviour is linked with His eternal sacrifice.
 
The Jews just like many Jews today and cults don't recognize the identity of the one who gave His life.
 
When one doesn't recognize the nature of the sacrifice, the sacrifice is not enough and salvation is no longer through faith alone.
 
Walter Martin says:
 
"...for it is axiomatic that that if the doctrine of Christ Himself, i.e., His Person, nature and work are perverted, so the identity of the life-giver is altered, then the life which He came to give is correspondingly negated. ...The Person and work of Christ is indeed the very foundation of Christian faith. And if it is redefined and interpreted out of context and therefore contrary to its biblical content, the whole message of the Gospel is radically altered, and its value correspodingly diminished." (Kingdom of the Cults, Martin, pg. 334,335) "
 
Not recognizing who Christ is diminishes His work on the cross.
 
If He wasn't God, then His sacrifice is not enough and we are still in our sins. Then we try to work our way to heaven.
 
This is what the cults are doing.
 
The apostle Paul preached the mysteries.
 
The First mystery was 'God manifested in the flesh' in Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 3:16)
 
Rejecting the identity of this savior resulted in Jew and Gentile on the same level before God.
 
This introduces the next mystery and that is the 'partial blindness of Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles are come in.'  (Romans 11)
 
This mystery results in God concluding all in unbelief so that He can have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32)
 
The next mystery is Jew and Gentile in one body through faith. (Ephesians 2; Colossians 1:26,27; Ephesians 1)


See, it is so deep that a child can understand it.

Now when the body of Christ is raptured, Jews will endure Jacob's Trouble and continue what was delayed in the gospels.

You might ask, will the guilt of the Jews still be the purpose of the Tribulation, as it was in the gospel accounts and the first part of Acts?

Well let's take a look. Zechariah talks about the second coming of Christ.

It says, 'And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: AND THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and THEY SHALL MOURN FOR HIM, AS ONE MOURNETH FOR HIS ONLY SON, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.' (Zechariah 12)

So you see that even in the end, the Jews (12 tribes, not two or ten), will acknowledge Israel's guilt and will mourn.

And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart.... (Zechariah 12)

6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?

Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. (Zechariah 13)
 
But in the end the salvation message seems different than the message for all today.
 
Notice:
 
"Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6 "At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7 "Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9 "'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10 "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11 "Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12 "But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13 "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25)
 
Nowhere in this passage does it say these are the brides.
 
 
AND
 
"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 28 "'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29 For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' " (Matthew 25)
 
"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' 46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life." (Matthew 25)
 
This doesn't sound like Grace or faith alone does it?
 
By the time one gets done with this chapter, ones chance of entering heaven is about as hopeful as a snowball surviving in hell.
 
Don't Throw yourself off a cliff yet, there is hope.
 
Why did Jesus speak this way?
 
To whom was He speaking?
 
He was speaking to Israel of course and why he speaks and will speak this way to them in the end is because:
 
"... I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. 3 Since they did not know the righteousness that comes from God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. 4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." (Romans 10) 
 
Why the returning to a works oriented salvation in the end?
 
The tribulation will pick up where it left off when the delay of the Jewish program began, which was approximately in 70 AD. (Romans 11:24-27; Luke 21:20-24)
 
I suppose some still need to see the futility of trying to work their way to heaven.
 
Notice that the Rich Young Ruler was told by Jesus 'why call me good, there is only one that is good and that is God' and that keeping the commandments was how he was to 'inherit eternal life.'
 
We know that the Law only reveals how sinful we are. (Romans 7; James 2 )
 
Then why would Jesus say this since we know He was God and why list the commandments as the way to eternal life?
 
Because of who He was talking to.
 
So why did Jesus give this way to eternal life, if it was impossible.
 
The Rich Young Ruler didn't recognize who Christ was (God) and thought he was keeping the commandments from childhood.
 
He may have even got close.
 
"Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
 
Jesus seemed to agree with one exception:
 
21 "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." 22 At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
 
This is what the disciples asked: "26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?" 
 
What was impossible, the keeping of the commandments or salvation?
 
"27 Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."  (Mark 10)
 
Some still need to see the futility of trying to ascend to God so that God the Son can descend to them.
 
Man cannot reach God and that is why God himself became a man. (Philippians 2)
 
'God shed His Grace on thee.' and before one can see the redemption that comes through acknowledging this grace we must first recognize what Grace is dealing with.
 
Before we trust a Savior we must recognize that we need one.


BJ Maxwell
 
Revised 10/10/2006
 
Copyright