Elect according to the foreknowledge of God

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

God’s election (or selection) of the saved vs. the unsaved is solely based on His foreknowledge (1 Peter 1:2, Romans 8:29) of their obedience.

Examine the following verses:

Romans 8:29
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.

1 Peter 1:2
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.

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Angels or Saints? Part 1

John says:

Did the Lord describe coming back from Heaven with anyone OTHER than His angels at His second coming? No. Only His angels:

Matthew 25:31- “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”

Again, nowhere did the Lord describe coming back with the church/body/bride/elect. That’s something which Hunt likes to sweep under the carpet. What an odd omission of Scripture that would be if we really do come back with Him. Many assert that 1 Thess 3:13 and Jude 14 are “evidence” that we do indeed come back with Him, because He is said to return with His “saints”. The problem with that interpretation is a failure to understand the Greek term “hagios”. It is not synonymous with “church saints”. On the contrary, it only refers to “church saints” a minority of the time it’s used in the NT. If [Dave] Hunt would only use a concordance, he’d realize that the Greek words for “holy angels” in Matthew 25:31 are “hagios aggelos”. So the Lord already TOLD us who the “hagios” are who he comes back with: His “hagios aggelos” (“holy angels”). No need for us to plug in “church saints” in 1 Thess 3:13 or Jude 14. What’s more, Paul tells us who comes back with the Lord at His second coming, in no uncertain terms:

2 Thessalonians 1:6-8: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”

Where does Paul have us until the time of the Lord’s second coming (the word “revealed” is the Greek “apokalyptos”)? Right here. And who does Paul say that the Lord returns with? His angels.

James says:

There are many issues that I could take you to task on but for the sake of time I will concentrate on just one: the word “only” does not appear in Matthew 25:31 so can you explain how you know that God does not come additionally with all his saints? We are told that Christ comes with His saints in the the Old Testament as well (See Zechariah 14:5 – … and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee). Even if I were to stipulate that your unwarranted limitation of the semantic range for the Greek term “hagios” is allowed, you must account for the fact that the Hebrew word for saint in Zechariah 14:5, qâdôsh, is never interpreted as angel. So, if God does not come with his saints as you suggest in your critique then how do you explain away Zechariah 14:5?
John says:
First of all, I think one could argue that the two “saints” (qowdesh) in Daniel 8:13,14 are angels, as a prophetic timeline is being given. Regardless, even if it were referring to the elect, that verse doesn’t clarify whether we come with Him from Heaven, or the sky (which is where we “meet” Him).
James says:
If the only thing needed to argue that someone is an angel is the existence of a prophetic timeline, then based on that hermeneutic we should argue that the apostle John, the author of the book of Revelation, must have been an angel; but I do not think you would be content with that conclusion. Daniel uses the Hebrew word for angel in Daniel 3:28 and Daniel 6:22 so if his intent was for Daniel 8:13-14 to refer to an angel he certainly had no impediment to doing so. Nothing about Daniel 8:13-14 necessitates identification of these “holy ones” as angels.
John says:
Regardless, even if it were referring to the elect, that verse doesn’t clarify whether we come with Him from Heaven, or the sky (which is where we “meet” Him).
James says:
Nowhere in the bible is there a notion of Christ coming from the sky to go elsewhere so why do you look for this? Yes, we meet Him in the air when He comes for His elect but that is the extent to which a sky is involved.
John says:
Furthermore, “qaydesh” in it’s references to humans in the OT, referred to Jews. So if anything could be surmised, it’s that Jewish believers are coming with Him (i.e. “tribulation saints”) in your likely eschatologic vernacular.
James says:
How can you argue like this? There is nothing in Zechariah 14:5 that suggests that the saints must be Jewish is there? Have you actually looked at each of the 12 times that the Hebrew term qâdôsh is translated as saint in the Old Testament? I have, and there is only one passage that requires the saint to be Jewish, this passage is Psalm 106:16 where the saint in question is Aaron the brother of Moses.
John says:
As for Matthew 25:31 not containing “only”, there should be some other Scripture to substantiate your claim. The Lord never described us coming with Him from Heaven. Jude 6 and 1 Thess 3:13 aren’t going to help your case, knowing that the Lord used “hagios” in Matthew 25:31 to describe the angels.
James says:
On the contrary, it is you who must not muzzle the word of God. You cannot limit who God can come with, the grammar does not allow you to do such, that is my whole point about the word “only.” Also, I do not accept your hermeneutic in regards to the verses that clearly convey that saints are following Christ at His return (Jude 1:14, 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and Zechariah 14:5). The Greek word “hagios” when used as an adjective describes something that is holy such as a holy angel or the Holy Ghost or the Holy City. When it is used as a noun, it always means a saint. Therefore “hagios” NEVER is and NEVER can be interpreted “angel.” Of the 62 times that “hagios” is interpreted as a noun and not an adjective, 100% of the time it means saint – I’ve examined each verse and there are no exceptions! If you can provide me just one time where the word “hagios”, when used as a noun is translated as angel, then perhaps we could get somewhere; but otherwise, I’m afraid that you are without a defense on this matter. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6:2-3, a clear distinction in the biblical usage of the terms “angel” and “saint” unfolds as we are told that it is the “saints” that will judge the “angels.” Also, the clear demarcation between “saint” and “angel” occurs in Revelation 8:3-4 among other verses.