The Star of Bethlehem

Matthew 2:1,2

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star at its rising and have come to worship him.”

Matthew tells us that after Jesus’ birth, magoi (magicians or astologers?) from the anatolon (east) had seen an astera at its anatole (rising in the east) and came to Jerusalem in order to proskynesai (worship) the one who was born basileus ton Ioudaion (king of the Jews). Gentile magicians desired to offer divine worship to the king of the Jews.

How long after the birth of Jesus? The text indicates it was 2 years.

Matthew 2:7,16

Then Herod secretly summoned the wise men and determined precisely from them the time when the star appeared.

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been deceived by the wise men, became very angry, and he sent soldiers and executed all the children in Bethlehem and in all the region around it from the age of two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined precisely from the wise men. Then what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled, saying,

Josephus the historian records the death of Herod the Great which is placed on our modern calendar at 4 BCE. So the sighting of the star which is linked to the birth of the king would be 6 BCE or 7 BCE.

The implication here is that the magoi attached the star sighting to the prophecy of Balaam.

Numbers 24:17

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star will go out from Jacob, and a scepter will rise from Israel; it will crush the foreheads of Moab and destroy all the children of Seth.

There is no way for us to know what method the magoi used to bridge their astronomy and astrology. Something about this heavenly manifestation gave instructions to the magoi. These instructions pointed the magoi to the Scriptures. This “star” was not merely a physical astronomical object. If that were so, the wise men could never have known specific information about the newly-born king.

The text does not say that the Bethlehem Star guided the magoi to Jerusalem. The magoi went to Jerusalem because they expected to find a king there. Their arrival in Jerusalem indicates that the magoi were not familiar with Micah but were familiar with Psalm 2.

Psalm 2:6-8

“But as for me, I have set my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” I will tell the decree; Yahweh said to me: “You are my son; today I have begotten you. Ask from me and I will make the nations your heritage, and your possession the ends of the earth.

Jerusalem sat on the mountain where the begotten son of YHWH would be established as king. The magoi expected to worship (proskynesai) this child. We see the divinity and kingship of Jesus in both Psalm 2 and Matthew 2. Furthermore, the magoi brought treasures that reiterated their expectation to see a king who was God.

Matthew 2:9-11

After they listened to the king, they went out, and behold, the star which they had seen at its rising led them until it came and stood above the place where the child was. Now when they saw the star, they rejoiced with very great joy. And when they came into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. And opening their treasure boxes, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh.

I am only aware of one other place in Scripture that the three gifts come together. The altar of incense was covered with gold, anointed with sacred oil containing myrrh (smyrna), and upon which sacred incense that included frankincense (libanos) was burned. This holy altar was reserved exclusively for the worship of the one true God. See Exodus 30:22-38 and Exodus 37:24-29.

John 1:14

And the Word became flesh and took up residence among us, and we saw his glory, glory as of the one and only from the Father, full of grace and truth.

When the magoi left Jerusalem, they encountered a source of joy as the astera appeared again. This time the star led them (proegen – preceded) and stood above (estathe epano) where the child was. Again, this type of specific information cannot be derived from observing an astronomical object, a star or a comet or a constellation, from 4.2465 light-years away. This astera was providing location information within a very short distance and traveling with a specific motion that is not possible for simple stars or comets. This supernatural star belongs in the same category as the mysterious seven stars in the hand of Christ in the book of Revelation (Rev. 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1). The Star of Bethlehem was a living being that could light the way and provide a specific message of guidance.

Revelation 1:20

“As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

How to Find the Innkeeper in the Christmas Story

Luke 2:4-7

So Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered together with Mary, who was legally promised in marriage to him and was pregnant. And it happened that while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

What was the inn?

The inn was a guest room in the house. This southern residence in Bethlehem belonged to Joseph and likely belonged to his father Jacob before him. Joseph was living and working up north in Nazareth in Galilee.[a]Some teachers believe that Joseph was a craftsman working on the city of Sepphoris (which Herod the Great was rebuilding) and staying nearby in Nazareth. Bethlehem is in Judea in the south, 70 miles south of Nazareth. The winding mountainous roads would make the trip something like 100 miles. If they travelled 20 miles per day, the trip would take five days.

When Joseph arrived to his Bethlehem home, it was not empty. Wise Joseph did not leave the family home abandoned and unmanaged. Other family members were already staying there or living there while Joseph was away.

Who was the Pandocheus?

However, if the Bethlehem house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. This host person is the equivalent of an innkeeper/πανδοχεύς, one who receives all.

So, deduced from Scripture, there was an “innkeeper/host” necessary because of Joseph’s absence when he was in Nazareth.

Notes[+]

How to Ruin Christmas

Strip the nativity Bible narratives of all human traditions that have been added to the birth of Jesus.

  • Luke 2:4-7. Mary did not ride a donkey to Bethlehem.
  • Luke 2:9-15. There is no “innkeeper[a]However, if the house belonged to Joseph, and the guest chamber/κατάλυμα was already full, then Joseph clearly had a host who managed the house and residents while he was away in Nazareth. … Continue reading(and “inn” is a poor translation of the word for an “upper room”).
  • Matthew 2:9-11. The star was capable of standing still above a single house as a supernatural guiding light, not a giant incandescent body like our sun.
  • Matthew 2:9-11. We don’t know how many wise men. Three types of gifts are given.
  • Matthew 2:9-11. The wise men were not at the manger with the shepherds.
  • Matthew 2:11. The wise men visited a house, not a barn or stable.
  • Luke 2:9-15. There was no angel at the manger.
  • Luke 2:9-15. There was no angelic choir or singing to the shepherds.
  • Luke 2:16. There is no mention of a stable or barn. (Mangers were common features found inside houses.)
  • Luke 2:9-15. There were no animals at the birth of Jesus.
  • Luke 2:9-15. There was no drummer boy… or even a shepherd “boy.”
  • Luke 2:9-15. There were no talking animals not even at midnight.
  • There is no Santa Claus, Rudolph, or Frosty. No Christmas tree or Christmas stockings. There is no gift exchange.

Be divisive and argumentative about Christmas traditions.

…if you have no interest in bringing others to Christ, no interest in being a peacemaker, but only want to prove your own arrogance.

Here is advice from 2 Timothy 2:

Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, a worker having no need to be ashamed, guiding the word of truth along a straight path. But avoid pointless chatter, for it will progress to greater ungodliness…

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. [b]2 Timothy 2:15,16,23-26

We have many extra-biblical traditions every day of the year, not just at Christmas. We have birthday traditions, graduation traditions, sports traditions, family traditions, wedding traditions, and so on. Perhaps a person can consider human traditions as decorations or adornments that are useful for celebration without elevating those traditions as if they were the central truth.

Notes[+]

How to Pray

Prayer is talking to God. Someone told me that they did not pray because they did not know how. If you can talk to me, you can talk to God.

Jesus taught how to pray and started by telling his disciples how NOT to pray.

Don’t pray because you want to impress other people.

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. [a] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:5,6.

Prayer is not a talent show. Prayer is not a competition for best prayer. You have an audience of one, God. It is senseless to try to impress Him. He knows who you really are. He is far more intelligent than you will ever be.

Save your fancy words with ornaments and decorations for someone else. Prayer works best with plain and simple words.

Don’t criticize the simple prayer.

Don’t fill your prayer with empty phrases.

Don’t think that God will hear your prayer because of how many words that you use.

Not too many words:

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. [b]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:7,8.

The demonstration of God’s spiritual power does not require lofty speech at any time.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. [c]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 1 Co 2:1–5.

Look at the example of prayer that Jesus provided to his disciples.

Prayer is not a shopping list for God.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
 Give us this day our daily bread,
 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. [d]The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Mt 6:9–15.

If the Model Prayer were a list:

  • Review the divine attribute of holiness
  • Request that God’s will be accomplished
  • Give us a piece of bread for today
  • Our need to forgive and be forgiven
  • Resistance to temptation to evil

Only one item is a personal request, asking God to give us something: daily bread.

The first item on the list is reviewing the truth about God’s nature prior to asking for anything else. The prayer in Acts 1 reads, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” Peter and company begin by describing the attribute of God that applies to their request for guidance while choosing a replacement for Judas. In their prayer, the attributes are related to God’s omniscience and ability to see into the human heart. It reminds me of the Lord’s instruction to the prophet Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” It makes me think that the church leaders were also remembering the attributes of God that are recorded in Holy Scripture and including them in this prayer.

The remaining items on the Model Prayer list could be categorized as asking God to work through us. May your heavenly kingdom come to earth through me. Accomplish Your will on earth through me. May I forgive others. May I be forgiven. May I resist temptation and be spared from sin.

I would propose that we accept this pattern in our own prayers. 1. Begin by reviewing who God is, ascribing glory to His Name, looking into the Scriptures to reveal His nature as relates to our prayer. 2. Simply ask God to provide what you need. 3. Spend more time asking God to work through you than asking Him to work for you. Focus upon God accomplishing His will and bringing Kingdom practices into your earthly life and relationships with others.

 

Notes[+]

Should I live however the #*@% I want to live?

Recently, a medical colleague asked me if I thought that vaccination cards were the Mark of the Beast.

I knew that this was a reference to Revelation 13:11-18.

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. [a]All Scripture on this post is from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

I responded that I believed that there must be some connection between the Mark of the Beast and allegiance to the Beast. I said this because of the worship of the Beast and judgment from God described in Revelation 14:9-11.

And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

My colleague countered that vaccination cards will be required to buy and sell, therefore creating a control by an ungodly government regime which, in essence, is a forced allegiance.

So, I switched my tactic.

If this is the Mark of the Beast and these are the last days and Jesus is returning soon, “How should we live then?” because my mind pulled up 2 Peter 3:11-13.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

My colleague launched into an attack on the church. “Churches are the only ones who shoot their wounded.” Churches act hypocritically superior and self-righteous against any ordinary person who enjoys getting drunk and sleeping around. Jesus died to forgive all sins, so since I am a Christian, “I can live however the f*** I want to live.” This statement appeared to be the conclusion of the discussion as my colleague started for the door.

I knew that the expletive was intended to shock me. I knew that I could say 1,000 things in rebuttal. I also hoped that I would be able to provide a future testimony, so I ended with, “This was an interesting conversation.”

True faith is inseparable from faithfulness. True followers of Jesus Christ will be faithful to Jesus Christ. You cannot declare allegiance to Jesus while rejecting loyalty to Jesus.

A vaccine card is not worship of a false god. However, whether or not you believe vaccine cards are signs that we are closer to the return of Jesus Christ, what should we do? We should live more faithfully to Jesus Christ. We should live in holiness and godliness.

See the next verse, 2 Peter 3:14.

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.


Additional Scripture for Consideration

Matthew 25:1-13

“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Titus 1:16

They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Titus 2:11-14

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1 John 3:2-6

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

Revelation 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “ ‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Revelation 19:7,8

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

Revelation 22:12-17

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
And let the one who hears say, “Come.”
And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.


Further Helpful Information

Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine contains luciferase (Lucifer Race) DNA and receiving an injection will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not contain luciferase, but it can be used in research related to viruses. Luciferace is an enzyme that causes luciferin to give off visible light. Luciferin is an organic substance, present in luminescent organisms such as fireflies, that produces light when oxidized by the action of the enzyme luciferase. So if you let your children play with fireflies, they have already been exposed. There is no spiritual component to either luciferin or luciferase. [b]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferin

Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine has the patent number 666 or 06 06 06 which is the Mark of the Beast. Taking the vaccine will damn your soul.
Truth: The Covid-19 vaccine does not have this patent number. There was a patent number WO2020060606 which was filed in June 2019 with the World Intellectual Property Organization by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC. This patent deals with a system of cryptocurrency mining through tasks assigned to human activity and does not mention injections or vaccines or Covid-19 in any way. [c]https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2020060606

Notes[+]

How to Beat Your Slaves

I have been told that the Bible endorses slavery and that it allows a master to beat a slave nearly to death. This statement did not come from someone who actually reads the Bible beyond a verse out of context from time to time. So I wanted to take a look.

I started with the Christian Scriptures (the teachings of Jesus and letters of the Apostles). There are at least five passages that came to light.

  • 1 Corinthians 7:20-24
  • Ephesians 6:5-9
  • Colossians 3:22-4:1
  • Philemon 8-21
  • 1 Peter 2:18-21

These passages are directed toward anyone that is already a slave (doulos)[a]δου̂λος when they began to follow Christ. There is no passage that suggests a Christian should own a slave.

These Bible passages do indicate that a slave should be sincerely submissive to their master (kurios)[b]κύριος working as unto the Lord, whether a master is gentle or unreasonable [c]σκολιός – skolios.

It is important to note that slaves are encouraged to obtain their freedom if possible. Furthermore, the Scriptures instruct followers of Christ to live as slaves to Christ only and not to become a slave to men. This reveals that Paul and Peter were writing about those that enter servitude voluntarily.

Sometimes a noun can have a broad spectrum of meaning or interpretation. If you send me to the garage to bring you a “tool,” I will look to see if you are driving a nail or removing a bolt, since “tool” can mean hammer or screwdriver or wrench and so on.

Most Christians are familiar with the Greek word doulos[d]δου̂λος that can indicate many things on the spectrum including slavery, servanthood, debtor and so on.

It is unfair to read the New Testament only through the lens of the American Civil War and our struggle to abolish slavery and emancipate slaves. Paul was writing about First Century citizens who owed a debt and were voluntarily committed to repay that debt as a doulos/servant/slave.

Since I accept the Christian Scriptures as the most important commentary on the Hebrew Scriptures, I reject the proposition that the Bible teaches the acceptance of slavery as it was practiced by Americans. When someone makes the blanket statement that the Bible endorses slavery and allows slaves to be beaten nearly to death by their masters, I must conclude that the statement is made from an uninformed position.

I plan to address statements on slavery from the Hebrew Scriptures in another article.

Notes[+]

God loves some of us.

Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

God’s eternal love has specific recipients.

The love of God is fundamental to the atonement, John 3:16.

James Montgomery Boice differentiates between value and intention in regards to the atonement.

The value of Jesus’ death is infinite. The question rather is what is the purpose of Christ’s death, and what He accomplished in it. Did Christ intend to make salvation no more than possible? Or did He actually save those for whom He died? Reformed theology stresses that Jesus actually atoned for the sins of those the Father had chosen. He actually propitiated the wrath of God toward His people by taking their judgment upon Himself, actually redeemed them, and actually reconciled those specific persons to God. A better name for “limited” atonement would be “particular” or “specific” redemption.[a]Whitlock, Luder G. et al. The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995. Print.

The love of God must be similar to the atonement. His love is infinite but intended only for those the He will save.

God loves people of His own free will. To the Reformed person, God’s will is irresistible. Therefore, God’s love is irresistible as well. And therefore, Reformed theology limits the scope of the enduring love of God to the elect.

The world is not everyone in the world.

The Reformation Study Bible affirms that God loves the whole world, so long as we accept a doublespeak definition of world.

As always in the New Testament, “we” or “us” as the objects and beneficiaries of redeeming love means “us who believe.” “We” or “us” does not refer to every individual belonging to the human race. When “the world” is said to be loved and redeemed (John 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 John 2:2), that “world” is the great number of God’s elect scattered worldwide, in every nation (cf. John 10:16; 11:52). The redeemed “world” is not each and every person who ever did or will exist. [b]Luder G. Whitlock et al., The Reformation Study Bible: Bringing the Light of the Reformation to Scripture: New King James Version (Nashville: T. Nelson, 1995).

 

What conclusions do I make?

If we accept the position toward irresistible grace and particular atonement, then we must conclude that God’s enduring love is only for some of us. However, we will need to wrangle our vocabulary to make sense out of it.

a) If God’s grace cannot be resisted and
b) if God gives grace to those that He loves and
c) if God unconditionally loves each and every one who has ever existed,
then one would conclude that Jesus has saved everyone without regard to their own will or their own beliefs. Everyone goes to heaven whether they want to or not.

a) If the atonement for sin is limited or particular or specified and
b) if God saves those that He loves,
then God limits His love to those for whom He provides atonement. God loves some of us. Otherwise, He would save all of us.

A different conclusion based upon a different perspective.

However, there is no contradiction when we believe that God loves everyone and sent His only Son, but that some people will still choose not to acknowledge the free gift of love and grace and salvation.

If God’s sovereignty includes a full knowledge of this free will, then the sovereignty of God is not threatened when His human creations reject His grace. The great sovereignty of God considers the will and the results of the free will of those made in His own image. Man is morally responsible for his choices. His choices were not predetermined or decreed by God. Rather, before he created humans, God decreed in His sovereignty that man would be responsible to will, to choose, to respond to God.

When we isolate the Scriptures about predestination and election from the rest of the Bible, we can reduce those verses into a theological form of determinism. If we look at the entire scope of Scripture, we will need to accept verses that describe God’s foreknowledge as well as those that describe the truth about human will and moral responsibility to God.

…and we can believe that God loves everyone.

Notes[+]