This people, to whom the Kingdom is to be given, gathered out of the nations, becomes the elect nation.
PROPOSITION 62. This people, to whom the Kingdom is to be given, gathered out of the nations, becomes the elect nation.
This cannot be otherwise, owing to their incorporation with the elect Jewish nation as the seed of Abraham by virtue of their faith in, and union with, Christ. To keep up this elect the Gentiles are engrafted, and hence are called, on account of their identification with the elected people of God, “the elect according to the foreknowledge of God” (1 Pet. 1:1, 2), “a chosen generation” (2:9, 10) “which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God” (comp. Eph. 1; 1 Thess. 1:4; Col. 3:12; Rom. 9, etc.). If we take the language and promises applied to this elect people, they are identical with those originally given to the line of election, and summed up in the expressions “a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” etc. (comp. Ex. 19:5, 6; Deut. 10:15, etc.).[*]
Note. The certainty of being engrafted, and thus becoming of “the elect,” is not found in a process of reasoning, or in a mere connection with the Church, or in observance of religious rites, but is alone found in a Christian consciousness of acceptance, resulting from justification by faith in a personal Saviour, an appropriation of the Messiah which is evidenced by the accompanying fruits of the Spirit. To this self-consciousness, supported by a fruitage, the Scriptures constantly appeal; to this reality, affording a satisfactory assurance of salvation, believers in successive generations have continually referred; and it alone can afford a soul-satisfying proof, inspiring love, hope, joy, and peace. Personal, individual experience on this point is essential to happiness, for then is verified such declarations as “I know in whom I have believed,” “I am known of mine,” etc. Comp. Dr. Sprecher’s Groundwork of Theol., where this is admirably presented and urged.
Obs. 1. The term “elect” is used with reference to their being “chosen” for this kingdom. 2 Pet. 1:10 exhorts brethren “to make your calling and election sure,” and adds that by so doing they shall enter “the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” How make it sure? (1) The Jews are elect (Prop. 24, etc.); (2) since their national fall (as a punishment for sin) the Gentiles are invited to become, by faith, the seed of Abraham that shall inherit the promises; (3) by thus becoming the seed of Abraham they enter into the covenanted line and also become the elect; (4) it is by faith in Christ, in whom as the predicted David’s Son are centered “exceeding great and precious promises,” that they become the elect; (5) hence, to make our call as Gentiles to become children of Abraham, and our election to the promised Kingdom sure, we must live a life of faith in Christ. In the very nature of the case, the foreknowledge of God is thus manifested “having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5) in order that the covenanted inheritance may be obtained by “the elect of God” (Col. 3:12; James 2:5, etc.).[*]
Note. Before God took the Israelites to Canaan He first provided a sufficient number of people, even under great trial and sorrow, who should be able to occupy the land, drive out their adversaries, and enjoy their imparted possession. So now God has promised a rich inheritance, even the whole earth, to the saints under a Theocratic ordering, which they are to realize in a peculiar, exalted way; but before this inheritance is given God is engaged in gathering out this people, even under trial, temptation, and tribulation; and when the chosen, elected number is complete (known only to Him), then the possession will be received, the adversaries will be judged and overthrown by them as associated in Rulership with the Lord Christ.
This will enable us to discriminate between Auberlen and Fairbairn. The latter (On Proph., Ap. K, p. 510), takes Auberlen to task for making the saints of Dan. 7:18–22 “the people of Israel,” calling it “an unwarranted license,” etc. Now that Auberlen is right as to the phrase itself, there can be no doubt, seeing that the saints, including the engrafted Gentiles, are truly the seed of Abraham, incorporated among the elect, and accounted “the people of Israel.” So also a writer (Proph. Times, Oct., 1870, Art. 1, p. 148) observes that “the saints of Daniel are Jews, and not Gentile Christians,” under the idea that Daniel’s vision only relates to the Jews when speaking of the saints. The latter is true, but it includes Gentile believers who are incorporated as Jews, and to whom, as we shall hereafter show, the Kingdom is in an especial manner given. We know of no “Gentile Christians” separate and distinct from the Jewish election, and hence Daniel is correct in speaking of the saints relating to the future, without the least intimation of a change from the Jewish to a Gentile standpoint.
Obs. 2. This doctrine of the Kingdom in its covenanted aspect gives us the key to the doctrine of election. The language referring to election is based (1) on the Divine Purpose relating to this Theocratic Kingdom; (2) on the Plan embraced in that Purpose, of gathering out a people,—whose character, etc., is predetermined—to whom it can be entrusted; (3) on the acceptance of the conditions by persons through which they come into the line of that purpose. The election then (a) is, so far as God is concerned, pre-ordained; such a people will be gathered (as even Moses predicted) for such a Kingdom of kings and priests to be established, and, as God changes not, it will most assuredly be carried into execution; (b) on the part of man, he comes in the line of the predestinated order, or elect, or chosen, just so soon as he accords or falls in with the determined process of engrafting through faith in Jesus Christ.[*]
Note. Hence, in view of the conflicting and mystical opinions on this point, Dr. Auberlen (Div. Rev., p. 232) justly observes that the doctrine of predestination sprung out of a misapprehension and erroneous interpretation of the history of the Kingdom of God on earth, transferring what only belonged to such a Kingdom “to eternal religious relationships,” etc. The term “elect” has then an ulterior reference to the fact (which will appear hereafter) that after this number is completed, who are to be associated with Christ in the higher Theocratic positions, no others can or will be added. They alone form that chosen body counted worthy of co-heirship with Christ, and hence even the common ordinary meaning of the word as given e.g. by Macnight (Prelim. Essays, essay 4, S. 40, to his Epistles), signifying “the most excellent, chief, the most precious,” among other things of the same kind, because excellence is the reason why some things are chosen preferably to others, etc. (illustrated by “the elect captains” Ex. 15:3; “the elect angels” 1 Tim. 5:21 the “elect lady” and “elect sister” of 2 John 1:13, etc.), may be aptly retained. “The times of the Gentiles” are indeed preordained, but only in view of this foreordained number of the elect. The foreknowledge of God comprehended the delay in gathering out, and determines the end accordingly.
Obs. 3. The believing Gentile, becoming through his faith a “Jew inwardly,” is elected or chosen in the place of “the children of the Kingdom” (Matt. 8:11, 12), who, through unbelief, are cut off from the nationally covenanted Kingdom. Therefore, these chosen ones, becoming such through adoption, “shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob (to whom the covenant was given) in the Kingdom of heaven,” etc.[*]
Note. Lincoln (Lects. on Epis. of St. John, p. 80) rejects the idea of “adoption,” making it to mean “son-placing”—a son’s place, saying, “He (God) has taken children, but He does not adopt them,” for He makes them such by “actually communicating His own nature and life;” “it is not by adoption, but that it is by the actual impartation of God’s own life,” in resurrection life, etc. While we fully acknowledge the impartation of the divine in resurrection and glorification, yet the word “adoption” (which includes this result) is used in the Scriptures as applicable to a believer now being one accepted, and destined for divine glory (Eph. 1:4, 5; Rom. 8:15; comp. with Gal. 3:26; John 1:12; 1 John 3:1, 2). The higher evidence and realization is in res. power (Rom. 8:23), and is given to those thus recognized (Gal. 4:5, 6).