Intercession & Predestination

[1] Basic overview of what is a High Priest

When Jesus entered into the Covenant with His Father, the specific way the Father asked the Son, to represent mankind and save them, was through the role of a High Priest.  A High Priest is nothing more than a particular way to be a mediator between two people who are at odds.  A High Priest type of mediator was invented by the Father to be Christ’s way to mediate between God and man. The Father asked the Son to fulfill all the requirements of a High Priest mediation in the Covenant of Grace.

With the understanding that God ordained blood to be a type of life-currency, we move on to the explanation. Leviticus 17:11, “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”   It is not that blood has an intrinsic value. Rather, because God in His sovereign, arbitrary choice, gave blood such a definition, it therefore gets its value from God’s definition of it. Arbitrary, in the sense that God is in absolute authority and chooses according to His own individual discretion. The objector in Romans 9 to Paul was about this arbitrariness of God’s choices to love one but hate the other, among other things. From the same neutral lump, God chooses to make some evil and some good. There is no law for God to follow; there is no authority over Him. There is no one to give Him advice. All created things get their value, or valueless state by God’s own definition of it. This is the God of the Bible. He creates all things and He defines His own creation as He so wishes. He also absolutely and directly controls all things He creates, and thus He controls ‘x’ and ‘y’. Therefore, God controls all thoughts, so that God is the metaphysical author of all evil and sin.[2] All Christian epistemology is God’s revelation. All Christian metaphysics and ontology is God’s direct and absolute sovereignty. [3]

Thus, why is it a correct definition that all people born after Adam were born created with a sinful nature and death, when they did not do the sin themselves? Because God thinks so. Why is it a correct definition that sinful people are credited with Christ’s righteousness and blessings, when they did not do it themselves? Because God thinks it so, and defines it so.

Hebrews 9 tells us, it is obvious the blood of animals cannot atone for the different and more valuable category of a human soul, made in the image of God. Because God’s decrees start with the intention first and work backwards to the starting point, we therefore know, that Jesus’ bloodshed was the first decree—regarding redemption and blood. And so, as Paul says in Galatians 4, the law was a tutor or shadow, to instruct us about the first and the real, Jesus and His ministry. Thus, the blood of animals was a tutor to inform us about the end goal God had designed.

The role of the High Priest is to shed the blood of the sin offering (the first) and take its blood into the Holy of Holies. However, this reconciliation of Christ is two parts. For next, the priest would then intercede for the people to whom the blood was shed for.  For example, the high priest did not pray for Moab or the Philistines; rather, he only prayed for the Children of Israel (or those who abandoned their previous lives, epistemologies, culture and ways, and then made Yahweh their knowledge, way and life, such as Rahab or Ruth[4]). This blood, or life-currency for the soul, was for them. God’s love is special, near, particular and personal.

The “interceding” of the high priest may be looked upon as a person telling a bank teller, where they want the money deposited, or to whose account that is. Even Jesus told us to pray for God, to forgive us our “debts.”  Christ’s blood was the valuable currency.[5] The Father was the Bank Creditor who held all the record of debts against us.  Jesus dies, in the place of the elect. However, to ensure precise reconciliation for those He loved, he then went to heaven, to present Himself to God.  Hebrews 9:24, “For Christ did not enter into a sanctuary made by hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” Jesus gives his blood in payment to God, certifying the blood goes to the right accounts. These accounts were already stipulated in the covenant before the world was created. Hebrews 9:16-18. “For where there is a will, it is a necessity for the death of the one who made the will to be established.  For a will is in force concerning those who are dead, since it is never in force when the one who made the will is alive.  Therefore, not even the first covenant was ratified without blood.” Not only is a Last Will and Testament (which is another way for describing the covenant of grace) ineffective without death and blood, but it is also ineffective if there are no names in it. Who gets the money? Who gets the benefits of Jesus’ death?

For example, if I went to the bank and placed a briefcase with a million dollars on the counter and then just walked off, how would the bank know where to put the money?  They would not.  Likewise, if Jesus went to heaven after His death, to then show His blood to the Father (Hebrews 9:12) but then just walks off, then NO one would have been saved.  Jesus must intercede or tell His Father who He shed His blood for (was it for man, angels, for all, for a group: who?).  The names were first part of the eternal decrees, then part of the covenant, then part of Jesus’ intercession as a High Priest.

By seeing His death was an act for me, for my sins, for my healing, for my help, for my glorification then there is a mountain for faith to stand upon. All fears are drowned in an ocean of Christ’s gospel accomplishments.

The High Priest, [1] sacrifices to get the blood (to ratify the Last Will), and [2] then goes to the Holy of Holies (the bank) and [3] then intercedes (tells the bank to whose account He wants the money to go.)

The point to examine is that God does not give us a means so that we might save ourselves later in a choice.[6]  Rather, God gives us Jesus as a High Priest, who at a definite place and a definite time, did shed His own blood for us and paid it to the Father. To ensure this, Jesus interceded for His elect whose   were written in the Covenant Grace. As Hebrews says (as I paraphrase), “When there is forgiveness of sins, there no longer remains any point for any more sacrifices.”

 

The Gospel According to our High Priest

Isaiah 53: 5,4,12 (LEB)

However, he was the one who lifted up our sicknesses,

    and he carried our pain,

yet[g] we ourselves assumed him stricken,

    struck down by God and afflicted.

But[h] he was pierced[i] because of our transgressions,

    crushed because of our iniquities;

Therefore, I will divide to him a portion among the many,[y]

    and with the strong ones he will divide bounty,

because[z] he poured his life out to death

    and was counted with the transgressors;

and[aa] he was the one who bore the sin of many

    and will intercede for the transgressors.

Galatians 3:5,13. (LEB)

Therefore does the one who gives you the Spirit and who works miracles among you do so by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

…  Christ redeemed us from the curse … in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

John 17:9,12

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.…  Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost.

 

This gospel of Jesus Christ is not only about the forgiveness of sins. It is also about all the benefits it acquired, at that definite time and place, and that were given to us then. Galatians says that faith in Jesus grafts one into the promised blessing of Abraham. What does this promise of God mean? This promise includes, according to Paul, the Spirit and miracles. Thus, Jesus’ death and intercession grants this blessing for all individuals who have faith in Him. This is said on the relative level ontology. On ultimate level ontology, it was not accomplished by their faith; rather, Jesus’ atonement did, and it was accepted and declared as final and good by the Father. As stated earlier about God’s direct and arbitrary-sovereignty that gives all things their definition, the same is true here as it is for all things. God’s sovereign choice decided that based on Jesus’ work the Elect are righteous and worthy to be adopted as His son’s. This act is good and righteous for God the judge to do so, because God thinks it is so. Therefore, faith as a purchased gift is sovereignly worked in those to whom this reconciliation was for. The Elect’s souls are far too weak to resist God’s power to awaken their tiny souls into the unstoppable power and life of His Spirit.

Isaiah says that Jesus as a High Priest, accomplished healing for His elect. In fact, Matthew 8:17 quotes this passage as demonstrating Jesus fulfilling what God promised. The point is that the blood and intercession of Jesus purchased this healing gift for those who take it by faith. Thus, it is not surprising to discover that faith for forgiveness of sins is accomplished by the same way. Jesus’ blood and intercession purchased it and all individuals predestined to be in the Covenant, will have faith to take it. Jesus says in John 15 we are “appointed,” or that is predestined for good works. To Jesus this predestination of fruit includes loving others and having faith to ask and get anything from God.

Hebrews 10:29  (NLT)
Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us.”

To say you can have faith, but God still might not heal you, logically means, you trash the bloodshed of Christ as nothing.  It despises the compassionate nature of God. Healing is a provision of the Blood of Jesus as a High Priest, which is stated in Isaiah 53, and reaffirmed in the New Testament (Matt 8:17).  At that definite time and place of Jesus’ atonement, both forgiveness of sins and healing was accomplished.  Furthermore, the blessing of Abraham was accomplished by the same means. Both are based on the finished atonement of Jesus Christ. Therefore, if you negate “faith healing,” because it is produced by the bloodshed of Jesus as a high priest, then you logically negate “faith forgiveness,” because the bloodshed of Jesus is the cause of both. If you throw out one, you throw out the other. Bye, bye, forgiveness of sins: see you later.  There is only one Bible and one definition of the atonement. And this definition makes both healing and forgiveness based on the finished work of Jesus and received by faith.

Paul describes in Romans 5-6 that the freely credited righteousness of Jesus to the elect’s account, necessarily gives them justification of life, immeasurable life and eternal life by the Holy Spirit. This life includes receiving not only forgiveness, but also all the health, wealth and baptism of the Holy Spirit for missional power.

Romans 6:6, 9-10 (LEB), “knowing this, that our old man was crucified together with him, in order that the body of sin may be done away with, …Knowing that Christ, because he* has been raised from the dead, is going to die no more, death no longer being master over him. For that death he died, he died to sin once and never again.”  A death that was once for all, and to which Christ dies no more. The Elect, in addition to the effect of Adam’s imputed death, are now identified with Christ’s death by the Father’s Will. God has taken us out of one cause and effect and has place us into a new metaphysical and ontological category. God considers their old mortal bodies to be buried with Christ, once and for all.  The NLT translation is a poor paraphrase when it read, “so even though your body will die because of sin.” The context of Romans 6:10-13 is not future tense; rather, the context is past tense. The Chosen ones are already identified with being buried with Christ and His death, by the Will of the Father. The elect are to assent [reckon] this is an accurate description of metaphysics regarding them.

Romans 5:21 (LEB) “as sin reigned in death, so also grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  That is, because of imputed sin and death from Adam, the result is that sin “rules”, “controls” or “dominates” man. However, because of Jesus Christ’s imputed righteousness to the Elect, grace—by the Spirit living in them—now dominates them in endless power of life. This life is foundationally first an intellectual light. It is about the mind being transformed into the image of Christ’s mind. Paul says the Spirit of God, who alone knows God, is now in us. We are renewed in the knowledge of Christ, who is the image that we were created from. Also, endless life is broadly speaking about the believer partaking of all the good things and benefits of the Father of Glory, accomplished by Jesus Christ, (Psalm 103, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16, Matthew 15:24-26, Luke 13:16, Acts 2:28).

 

Predestination and Baptism of the Holy Spirit

 

Acts 2:38, Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” NLT.

After Jesus did the work of the atonement, He left to sit at the Father’s right hand. From here, Jesus dispenses the benefit of not only faith for forgiveness, but also faith for the power of the Holy Spirit. “Therefore, having been exalted to the right hand of God and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out this that you see and hear,” Act 2:33, LEB. To which Peter said, not only is the promise of forgiveness of sin certain for those with faith, but also the baptism of the Spirit that they “see and hear,” in verse 38. Peter then ties both this promise of forgiveness and the baptism of the Spirit into the doctrine of predestination, or that is, ultimate level ontology. “For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all those who are far away, as many as the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Thus, (p) If predestined for faith for repentance, (q) then predestined for faith for baptism of the Spirit.

If saved from your sins, then empowered by the Spirit.
You are not empowered by the Spirit.
Thus, you are not saved from your sins.

The reformed are fond of their pet doctrine of predestination, but apart from applying it in the narrowest sense of forgiveness of sins, they cast it aside under their boots. When the doctrine does not suit their traditions, then they ignore but then still wanting to look like they hold to it will, turn God’s sovereignty into invisible providence (where it becomes unclear), “God’s Will,” and make God into a covenant breaker by sovereignly not keeping His promises. Yet, despite their mishandling of this doctrine, God is still sovereign, and He still controls all things directly and absolutely. God is the author of all things directly, so that He is even the metaphysical author of sin and evil.[7]  There is no ontological dualism in Christianity.

The doctrine of predestination is against a person who only wants to applies it to themselves for forgiveness and hidden providence, but not to the other things predestination applies to. The bible applies predestination to answered prayers, and to the baptism of the Spirit. In the past, I had people tell me they do not have faith for Jesus to save them, because God has predestined them not to believe. These people claim they cannot receive God’s promise because of God’s sovereignty. One issue that I will not diverge much here is that they are mixing up Christian ontology and ethics. It is irrelevant what God has caused you to do, what you ought to do is obey His commands. God caused Pharaoh to not listen to Him, but Pharaoh is not judged by God’s decree, but by His commend. The issue here is the more they abuse God’s sovereignty to explain why they had not received the promise the more they make themselves to be children of reprobation. The Charismatics ought to use this doctrine of predestination against the cessationist, because they doubly do not believe in God’s sovereign decree. Their favorite doctrine is against them exceedingly more than it is against those they criticize with it.

Let us conclude with a crucial point. The Bible uses God’s sovereignty to explain why some people cannot believe the gospel, and therefore cannot receive the promise of God (John 6:44, 65, 10:26, Romans 9:18). They are doomed, and will not be saved. The Bible never uses God’s sovereignty to assert that some people could believe the promise and still cannot receive because of the will of God. Therefore, the more someone claims that he does not receive the promise of God because of the will of God, the more he insists that he is reprobate, made for damnation, and reserved for everlasting torture in the fires of hell. His doctrine is not the voice of Christ, but the screech of Satan.[8]

Predestination cuts both ways. God predestined all things. God predestines, by direct control, the unbelief in the reprobates as directly as He predestines, by direct control, the faith in the Elect. Yet this is mostly said about invisible spiritual realities, such as forgiveness of sins. However, this is only one application for faith. We are commanded to have faith for all sorts of things that are given to us by the bloodshed and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If God has predestined you to have faith for healing, then you will have faith for it, just as if God predestines you to have faith for forgiveness, then you will have faith for it. But the issue here is that the accomplishments of Jesus atonement (antecedent) has necessary consequences (logically speaking, like a modus ponens). If the consequent is not there, then the antecedent is denied as well.

On the relative level ontology, which is how Jesus mostly speaks to us, we are commanded to acquire all these good blessings by faith in Him. Christian ethics are God’s commandments. These are not suggestions.

Thus, if there is no sanctification, then we would say, there is no proof of faith in the atonement. (I say this enthymeme as premise 2 and 3 of a modus tollens). Here are a few modus ponens (first premise only) with such gospel accomplishments and effects.

(p) If true faith for forgiveness of sins, (q) then necessarily sanctification will be evident.

(p) If faith in God’s love, (q) then necessarily love for your brother will be evident.

So far so good, but most do not connect these implications the way Jesus did in other applications of faith. For example, consider, Jesus when he replied,

John 15:7,8,15.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.
My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit [i.e. praying and getting what you want], and prove to be my disciples.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed [i.e. Predestination] you that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.

 

Vincent Cheung commenting on this says,

God has chosen us, and predestined us. Predestined for what? There was more to what Jesus said: “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.” God predestined us to bear fruit. What is this fruit? Christian teaching often assumes that fruit refers to spiritual and ethical effects such as improvements in character, works of charity, and also works of ministry, such as saving sinners and building churches. This is not entirely wrong, but the biblical idea of fruit includes much more, and Jesus clearly had other things in mind when he made the statement.”

God will give me whatever I ask. I will have whatever I ask. What I ask, I get. And I am predestined for this. So I am chosen to get whatever I ask. I am predestined to get whatever I ask. It is my foreordained destiny to receive whatever I ask God in the name of Jesus. If you have never heard this, then you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of predestination, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of prayer, you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of the name of Jesus, and you have never heard the Bible’s doctrine of discipleship. Just several verses earlier, Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (15:7-8). Getting whatever we ask from God is intertwined throughout his discourse with the notions of bearing fruit, being his disciples, and loving one another. Thus getting whatever we ask from God is as pervasive as the gospel itself. It cannot be taken out and thrown away without tearing apart the entire gospel, and thus also our salvation. Here bearing fruit is almost the same thing as getting whatever we ask from God, and by getting what we ask from God, we show ourselves to be true disciples of Christ.[9]

 

Thus, what are the implications? Remember, it was not some guy on TBN, but Jesus who said you “prove” you are His disciple by getting whatever you asked for, from Him. This is something that no unbeliever can mimic or fake.

(p) If faith in Jesus, (q) then necessarily asking and receiving anything you wish.

(p) If predestined to have faith for forgiveness in Jesus, (q) then predestined for faith to receive anything you ask for.

 

M.1. (P) If Jesus has predestined you for salvation, (Q) then Jesus has predestined you to be His disciple.
M.2. (Q) If Jesus has predestined you to be His disciple, (R) then you have been predestined to bear fruit of a disciple.
M.3. (R) If you have been predestined to bear fruit, (S) then you are predestined to ask whatever you want from God and you receive it.
M.4.  ~(S) It is not the case, that you are ask whatever you want from God and receive it.
M.5. Therefore , ~(P) you have not been predestined for salvation

What we are taught through Jesus’ resurrection and purchased gift of the Holy Spirit, is that one is a necessary consequence of the other.  The broadest viewpoint is that if Jesus saved you (you doing nothing for it), then necessarily you will be empowered (like Joshua) by heaven’s supernatural program. If the consequent is denied, then so is the antecedent (i.e. modus tollens). The book of Acts, makes it clear what the power of the Holy Spirit looks like. Peter in the first apostolic sermon says that forgiveness of sin, is an entrance in God’s kingdom, so that one might then receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism that leads to healings, speaking in tongues, prophecy, teleportation and miracles. There was a rare example of Christians not being baptized in the Spirit, but these were so out of ignorance, and not from willful unbelief.

 

Here is Vincent speaking from The Edge of Glory,

Moses

God appeared to Moses and sent him to confront Pharaoh. Although Pharaoh resisted, God was in control. It was time for God to astound all nations by wrecking the world’s superpower — without swords or soldiers, but with words and wonders only. He wanted to remind humanity that he was not like all the idols they worshiped. He was the only God, “majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders” (Exodus 15:11). This would also prepare the way for his people as they moved toward Canaan. Do Christians think that God wants something different today (Acts 5:5, 19:17)?

Pharaoh would have surrendered too easily. But he resisted, because over and over again, God hardened his heart even when he was about to give up (Exodus 8:15, 8:32, 9:12, 9:34, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:8; Romans 9:17). He explained to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 10:1-2). God pinned down Pharaoh and kept beating him in the face, and did not allow him to surrender. He had a list of plagues to run through, and he refused to be interrupted.

God did it all by himself. The people of Israel did not fight Egypt. They were passive. Even Moses did not have to take up the sword. He only relayed God’s messages, and when God instructed him, he would point his staff over here, or over there, or stick it into the river, and so on. Moses did not fight. Israel did not fight. The significance will become more clear later….

Joshua

The nature of Joshua’s mandate was different from the one Moses received. It was a second stage of Israel’s experience distinct from and subsequent to their liberation from slavery. It was intended to be taken soon after their exodus, but it was delayed because of their unbelief. At the time of liberation, God did all the fighting. The people were passive. At this time of possession, they would fight to seize what God had promised. Now there would be full participation from the people. They would be God’s fellow workers (1 Corinthians 3:9). Their victory was guaranteed, but they would have to fight. The land already belonged to them, but they would have to take it.

The first stage was liberation from their masters in Egypt. The second stage was eviction of their enemies from Canaan. They would not be escaping, but they would be attacking. Under Joshua’s leadership, the people would have to fight. It was not to liberate their friends, but to exterminate their enemies. They would not be fighting for survival, but for prosperity. In fact, this was the reason they were taken out of Egypt in the first place (Exodus 3:8). Freedom was never the final end. They would take possession of God’s promises, of the “milk and honey.”

The Christian experience mirrors Israel’s history. If crossing the Red Sea was like baptism into Christ for freedom (1 Corinthians 10:2), then the distinct and subsequent experience of crossing the Jordan could be taken as baptism with the Holy Spirit for power (Acts 8:14-16, 19:1-2). Centuries later, John the Baptist announced at the Jordan, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 3:11, Acts 1:8). This is no longer about salvation in terms of the forgiveness of sin. The blood of the lamb was applied back in Egypt. And it is no longer about maintaining a self-sufficient life, or the sanctification of the individual. They lived in this sufficient condition for forty years in the wilderness. Salvation in this sense was never intended as the final end.

Thus in Peter’s first recorded sermon, or the first apostolic manifesto, he made believing in Christ itself as only a necessary step to receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). And to him the Holy Spirit referred to miraculous and prophetic powers for full participation from God’s people: “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Acts 2:16-18, Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8). All of God’s people would have the Spirit (Numbers 11:29). All of God’s people would have the power to speak and the power to act. This is not an ethical power, but a missional power….[10]

 

I Do Not Pray For the World: The Gospel According to Jesus

 

Some say the Father directly gave to Christ all of humanity to suffer and intercede for.  This is not the case for Christ denies it, “I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me” (John 17:9).  Remember an earlier verse in Hebrews 9 where it mentions the yearly ministry of the high priest. Thus, Hebrews 9 says Jesus presents Himself to the Father to intercedes for us, as in Hebrews 7 also mentions. The question is if the Scripture reveals any aspect of this intercession Jesus does in His role of high priest to the Father? The answer is yes, at least in the broad sense. Jesus says he does not intercede for the world, but only those who the Father gave Him, and this is recorded as infallible revelation.

Untaught people forget that the sacrifice and intercession of a high priest is inseparable.  If one or the other is left out, then no atonement is accomplished. You might not think that Christ’s intercession is so important, but who cares what you think. Recall an earlier point about God’s right to give definitions to the world He created. God thinks Jesus intercession is vital and important; this is why He is wise and you are a fool.

If Christ did not intercede for the whole world, then Christ did not sacrifice Himself for the whole world to begin with.  The only way this can be refuted is if the sacrificing and intercession of Christ can be separated in His office of High Priest.  This is impossible for the Father has already sworn by Himself, “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, “You[Christ] are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”(Psalm 110:4).  The prophet Isaiah speaks plainly of this inseparable sacrificing and intercession of Christ as a High Priest, “He (1) bore the sin of many, And made (2) intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).  Therefore, Christ as our High Priest plainly says He did not intercede for the world, “I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me … that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me”( John 17:9,24).  Therefore, Christ did not aim as High Priest to save the whole world but only those the Father Himself chose in His mercy to save and give as a gift to His Son, so that they will behold the Son’s Glory forever.

When Christ interceded He is telling the Bank (His Father) to whose accounts He wants His blood to be deposited into. “I do not pray for the world.”  That is, Jesus does not want His “Life-currency” to be deposited to everyone’s account.

Some might object in verse nine of John 17 when it states that Christ did not pray for the world that in context it is only dealing with the disciples.  I respond by quoting John 17:9,12, “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.…  Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost.”  Christ in His prayer says He does not pray for the world but only the ones whom the Father gave Him as a gift.  Christ then goes on to say that not one of the persons whom His Father gave Him was lost.  Christ made sure that not one of His disciples were lost.  The exception was Judas who had been predestined for the purpose of betraying the Son.

Does Christ in the rest of His prayer give proof exegetically that He does not pray for the whole world?  Is John 17:9 only referring to the disciples?  I respond with this quote from verse 20, ” I do not pray for these (disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”  Christ in His High Priest office does not pray for the world but instead prays for “those” who will believe in His Name.

And again, in context Jesus’ says in verse 2, “[Father, You] have given [Me] authority over all flesh, that [I] should give eternal life to as many as You have given [Me].”  Here, Jesus says that Father only wants Jesus to die and give eternal life to those who He gave His Son.  This is why Jesus only prays for them, the believers.

Yet, Jesus goes further than saying He does not pray for the world, but that He does not die for the world either, for in verse 19 He says, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”  This “sanctify Myself” is Jesus referring to His death.  And so, here Jesus is saying, I die onlyfor their sakes,” that is those who the Father gave Him, the disciples and all believers.

Jesus in the same Gospel of John gives further light in what it means that some believe and some do not believe. He states that it is God’s election and causation that makes any given person to believe (John 6:44,65). Thus, Jesus at one point says in the same gospel (10:26) that, “you do not believe, because you are not my sheep.” And so, the apostle John who records Jesus’ intercession in his gospel gives context to show faith is a decree and sovereign work of God, and not ultimately from the person. That is, on ultimate level ontology God is the cause of all things, and thus, He is the cause of all faith, and all unbelief.  In summary, God elects and causes certain persons to believe. Jesus then says it is only these people He saves with His death.

Hebrews10:10, “By [the Father’s] will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  Speaking of salvation in ultimate ontology, all saints “have been sanctified” already—at that place in time—in Christ’s death, because God defines it so by His choice.  It was the Father’s “will” that by Christ’s death we became sanctified (past tense according to the verse)—at that place and time—once and for all, and not when we believed. (On the relative level ontology, when an Elect declares faith in Jesus, the Father declares them righteous as a public declaration. In fact, their faith in God is one-way God publicly declares them righteous. That is, he who God secretly declared righteous by already accepting Christ’s blood for them, is now made public. ) It was stipulated in the covenant between Father and Son. Jesus did it. The Father accepted it, then and there in Christ’s blood and resurrection. God defined redemption. Jesus accomplished it.  If the Father did not accept Christ’s righteousness for the church’s accounts—at that place and time—then we were not sanctified (past tense) as the verse so clearly indicates. Again, salvation is a subcategory under ontology. I am speaking of it on the ultimate level, not relative level.  If the Father did not already accept Christ’s blood to the church’s account there, then, there is No News to report, for salvation (sanctification) has not happened yet.  The gospel is news, for not only did Jesus died for sins, but the Father has already accepted it for the accounts Jesus interceded for. This is news, because it is about salvation that has already happened, and therefore, is to be reported.

It gets even clearer when v.14 says, “by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”  We were “perfected” pass tense in the mediation of Jesus Christ as our High Priest. We were “declared righteous”, on the account of “Christ’s blood,” when said in ultimate level ontology (Romans 5:9). In the relative and public ontology, we are “”declared righteous by our faith” in Jesus (Romans 5:1).  We could not have been “perfected” if the Father did not accept Christ’s blood for the elect’s accounts then and there. In the context of a High Priest the blood is particularly viewed as life-money and sin as debt.  Therefore, for us to be “perfected” in this context, it means, as viewed by God, who holds all records, our accounts are perfected, then and there.  It is accepted publicly for all saints who have already died and are waiting for the end of times. But accepted privately between the Son and Father for all future Elect. Then, God at his own individual discretion gives faith to these and by doing so publicly announces their redemption accomplished by His Son.

He has (1) perfected forever those who are (2) being sanctified.  This shows the distinction of the gospel accomplishment and the gospel effect that we have from this. These effects are about God’s causality making you behave like the new metaphysical category that He has already defined you as. And thus, these effects are not to be looked upon as something separated from the gospel itself. They are like a necessary connection of the ‘p’ and ‘q’ of a modus ponens. Because it is a necessary connection, it cannot be rationally or scripturally seen as something separate. It is the difference between a private declaration and a public one.  The Father identifies us with His Son’s death and His life, as a Judge making a declaration. At the time of Jesus’ death and intercession God’s forensic declaration is like a Judge or jury making the decision behind closed doors. The decision is final, and the votes cast. The Judge coming out to publicly declare it is when God gives faith to His Elect. This is true of things like faith for the receiving of the baptism of the Spirit and for healings. Jesus, as already shown in Isaiah 53, includes healing and the blessing of Abraham as part of His death and intercession. This is the gospel. The Father accepted this already and the proof of this gospel, as a public declaration, is when the Father gives faith for repentance in Jesus, faith for healing, faith for baptism of the Spirit and faith to receive anything they pray for. This is the one gospel. For those predestined to be conformed into Christ’s image, this is fantastic news. It is wonderful news.

Some are trained well-enough to realize that Jesus accomplished our “forgiveness” in His death; therefore, we have all freedom and joy to ask God to forgive us of our sins today, for Jesus has accomplished our forgiveness.  But sadly, some do not make this connection to sanctification (being made holy); those who do not make this connection can find themselves bound up by legalism.  Still, others do not make the connection to Abraham’s blessing that is already ours, or to healing that is already ours by Christ’s death and the Father’s acceptance of it

We need to distinguish that we were not there; we were not involved in accomplishing the gospel of our salvation.  Therefore, we do not add or contribute to sanctification or to healing or the countless benefits of Abraham’s blessing; rather, this gospel affects all today to whom it was accomplished for!  We do not live the gospel or add to it; it adds, re-creates and affects us by God’s definition and His causation. Therefore, there is no boasting, for God is the one who saves, heals and blesses. Faith, is assenting to these truth, and thus, faith by definition cannot add to the gospel, relative to ultimate level ontology.

 

——-Endnotes——-

[1] Select passages from some of my legacy books and updated.

[2] I got this phrase “metaphysical author of evil,” from Vincent Cheung.

[3] I will not use time to talk about how man is not free, and how it is precisely this that makes make accountable for his actions. See my essay, “Scripture & Logic: Why is Pharaoh Punished.”

[4] Ruth 1:16  (LEB) But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you! For where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people and your God will be my God.”

[5]  Leviticus 17:11, “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

[6] We will just forgo a long explanation that relative to God there is no freedom, and this includes human choice.

See Vincent Cheung, Systematic Theology.

See also my articles, Scripture and Logic: Romans 9 and Romans 3

[7] I want to give credit to Vincent Cheung for this phrase “metaphysical author of evil.”

[8] Vincent Cheung. The screech of Satan. From, Fulcrum. 2017. Pg. 77.

[9] Vincent Cheung, “Predestination and Miracles,” also, found in, TRACE, 2018 chapter 18.

[10][10] Vincent Cheung. The Edge of Glory.

Found in “Sermonettes,” Vol. 9. 2016. Pg 85-87.