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Saturday, August 20 2016
Ephesians 1: What Does Predestination Mean?
"Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things ... after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of Promise"
Ephesus was a major city of Asia Minor, as Turkey was then known (see also The Return Of The Home Town Apostles). Although then under the occupation of the Roman Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars), the city remained greatly influenced by the earlier Greek Empire (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
Ephesus was also famous at that time for the temple of the idol Diana, as the Romans called it (it was known to the Greeks as Artemis), as well as the great theater (the ruins of which are shown in the photograph below) that rivalled many modern theaters of today in design and capacity.
The apostle Paul visited Ephesus during his missionary journeys (see Paul, The Apostle To The World and The Intercontinental Church Of God). Despite the opposition (including a riot that started in response to his calling the idol Diana a worthless delusion; see The Miracles At Ephesus and The Idol Pedlars), believers were made in the city. It was to those "saints which are at Ephesus" that Paul addressed his epistle to the Ephesians.
The LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) provides the means for Salvation ("5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" Romans 5:8-9 KJV), but each person decides whether or not they will be saved.
Many have debated the meaning of "predestination." Some believe that everything has been determined by God and that no one can do anything to change their fate. But that is not what the Word of God says. Consider two stated examples of "predestination."
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be in the Kingdom of God - because they chose to be righteous by means of repentance. The fact that the LORD knows that they were going to make the right choice for themselves did not make their choice for them.
"8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 8:11 KJV)
Judas Iscariot will not be in the Kingdom of God - because he chose to betray the Messiah and to not truly repent of it (see Did Judas Iscariot Repent?). The fact that the LORD knew that he was going to make the wrong choice for himself did not make his choice for him.
"26:23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." (Matthew 26:23-24 KJV)
The LORD knows the future as well as the past. With that foreknowledge, the LORD can choose, far ahead of time, those He knows will make the right choice from those He knows will make the evil choice. Everyone has complete control of their own fate. It's the reason that all of the true teachers of the Word of God emphasized repentance and living according to the Word of God - your eternal life depends on it (see Faith Is The Law and What Does Grace Really Mean?).
So too Paul in his statement "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 will ... In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" (see also What Gospel Did Jesus Preach?).
"1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Paul's encouragement wasn't just about their having done what is right - he proclaimed the Messiah's warning to never stop: "24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Matthew 24:10-13 KJV).
"1:15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 1:16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, 1:19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 1:21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 1:22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 1:23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:15-23 KJV)
Fact Finder: What does the lesson of "John 3:16" actually say?
This Day In History, August 20
14: Agrippa Postumus, the grandson of Caesar Augustus (see Luke 2:1 and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars) was executed by his bodyguards. Caesar Augustus had adopted his grandson as a son, thereby making Agrippa Postumus a presumptive heir as Emperor.
636: The Battle of Yarmouk. Arab (see also What Does The Bible Say About Arabs?) forces under the command of Khalid ibn al-Walid took Syria and "Palestine" (an English rendering of the Biblical word for "Philistine"; see Where Is Palestine? and Jordan's West Bank Invasion) from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the first series of Muslim conquests outside of "Arabia" (to understand the Biblical and historical meaning of Arabia, see Paul's Geography Lesson). It also marked the beginning of the struggles of the King of the North (the Church of Rome's Europe) and the King of the South (Muslim Arabia). See The Prophet Daniel: Kings Of The North and South.
1391: Konrad von Wallenrode became the 24th Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1467: The Second Battle of Olmedo between Henry IV of Castile and his half-brother Alfonso, Prince of Asturias.
1667: John Milton published Paradise Lost, an epic poem about the fall of Adam and Eve.
1707: The first Siege of Pensacola, Florida ended with Spanish forces holding off the English.
1741: Alaska was "discovered" (native people were already there) by Danish explorer Vitus Bering.
1775: The Spanish established the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson. It is known today as Tucson, Arizona.
1794: General "Mad Anthony" Wayne slaughtered the last of the Ohio Indians at the Battle of Fallen Timbers; the genocide effectively ended (native) American resistance in the region.
1858: Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London (see Rescuing Charles Darwin From The Atheists).
1914: German troops entered Brussels, the first European capital to be occupied by an invading army since the fall of Paris in 1870. Brussels itself had not been occupied since the time of Napoleon.
1929: The first airship flight around the Earth flying eastward was completed.
1940: As the months-long Battle of Britain air war raged overhead, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in referring to the heavily outnumbered Royal Air Force fighter pilots (2,200 Nazi fighters and bombers to 700 UK Hurricanes and Spitfires) who were giving the attacking Nazi air force the mauling that caused Hitler to cancel his planned land invasion of Britain, told Parliament: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
1940: Leon Trotsky, Russian revolutionary, was fatally wounded by a Spanish communist with an ax in Mexico City. He died the next day. The Soviet government denied responsibility.
1941: When his air force failed to defeat the Royal Air Force over Britain, Adolf Hitler (see Why Does Satan Love Liars? and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion; also Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?) authorized the development of the V-2 missile that could bomb Britain while the "pilots" remained safely in Germany - beginning the modern age of "kill from the comfort of your desk" warfare.
1944: U.S., British and Canadian forces destroyed the German Seventh Army at the Falaise-Argentan Gap, west of Paris.
1950: During the Korean War, United Nations forces stopped an offensive by North Korean divisions attempting to cross the Naktong River to the city of Taegu.
1960: 2 dogs and 6 mice became the first earthlings in space, aboard the Russian Sputnik V.
1968: Elements of the Warsaw-Pact armies of Bulgaria, Hungary, East Germany, Poland and the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia to crush Alexander Dubcek's reformist government, ending the "Prague Spring"; Soviet communist leader Leonid Brezhnev warned that USSR could intervene in any communist country whose policies deviated from its standards.
1975: NASA launched Viking 1 to Mars.
1977: NASA launched Voyager 2.
1986: A mail carrier in Oklahoma shot 14 fellow postal workers dead. It was one of the first of such mass killings in the U.S. that came to be called "going postal."
1988: Eight British Army troops were killed and 28 wounded when their bus was hit by a terrorist "Provisional Irish Republican Army" roadside bomb in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.
1998: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the approval of the Federal Government.
2001: Fred Hoyle died at age 86. The British astronomer invented the term "big bang" - but never accepted the theory as the origin of the universe (see also Einstein's Holy Spirit Formula).