Journal Rev 13 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “… and all who dwell on earth will worship it (the beast), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.” Rev 13:8
Observation: What does “this” mean; and “that”? A lot of people can get caught up in the mysteries of Revelation and miss some obvious building blocks of Doctrine.
Analysis: In the Book of John’s Revelation, note that no one has the definitive answer of what everything means—there are significant mysteries.
But there are certain concretely spoken doctrinal statements that should not be ignored. The above reference is not about worshiping the “beast” but of the doctrine of Election. Elected folks will not fall victim to the “beast” (according to the Scripture above).
I have an acquaintance in New York who is adamant that God somehow restructures His Omnipotence, Omniscience and Sovereignty to make it possible that Man has independent and sovereign Will to choose Christ as his Savior. And yet, God says in a number of places and a number of ways that certain names are written and known before the foundation of the earth; documented in a volume called the Book of Life. I have to think of it this way (according to the Scriptures): Before Genesis, the Book of Life exists and there are names listed; there aren’t any blank spaces for names to be listed after “Let there be light…”
Why is this important to note? Why can’t I go on believing in “free will” as a gift of God?
- It perpetuates an idea that God can suspend His Attributes. After all, if God can suspend His Omniscience for even just a moment, what else can He (and does) suspend? If He suspends His Omniscience even for a moment, He literally suspends His Sovereignty and relinquishes being the Almighty God of Creation.
- It creates a “false God.” I want the idea that I am not a puppet. Therefore, I create the idea that “out of “love” God allows me independent, free, sovereignchoice to choose Salvation—making of my own imagination and wishes for a god that can make himself anything I can imagine of him.
- If I can imagine God relinquishing his Might for even a second, then I should be able to imagine a God that doesn’t need the Gospel for man to be saved by, right? And if I can imagine that, then I can have “salvation” without Jesus?
Candidly, the only way I can handle the Doctrine of Election is to understand it is academic knowledge, not practical knowledge: I cannot “practice” Election in witnessing anywhere in the Scriptures. I cannot (and must not) apply Election based discretion in preaching the Gospel. Election is the only way to affirm His Sovereignty in Salvation.
I cannot practice Election applications even to the face in the mirror. I must acknowledge I am saved by the Gospel every day, that Jesus died for my sin, that because of him my sin has been atoned for.
Prayer: Father, I try to not jump on the Election thing when I see it baldly in Scripture. But there are times where it is right to write about. I am still wringing out all the implications and I suppose I will to the end of my days, never completely getting it.
How did you unravel all the possibilities of the future? Because the future for me isn’t the future for You—while I can say this, it is difficult to assimilate in my mind. Just the same, I am glad that I am known, now and forever.