Rabbi Schneider - Understanding Election in the Scriptures
I am really excited about the series that we're in right now. We're beginning today, season 2 of a series that I'm calling, How Jesus Completes Biblical Judaism. In season 1 I began to show you how the Bible, the Old Testament, which in Judaism we call the Tanakh and the New Testament, fit together like a hand in a glove; That God never meant them to be two disconnected books so to speak, two disconnected testaments. But in reality, the Bible is a flow of progressive revelation. That's why the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, begins in the first chapter of Matthew with these words. "This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham".
So the New Testament begins by tracing Yeshua's genealogy all the way back to the book of Genesis. So in season 1 I talked about the Bible as being progressive revelation. I really want to encourage you to get that complete series. But today, beloved ones, we're beginning season 2. And I want to talk today as we begin, I want to talk about the plan of salvation. Often times what happens is, people read the Old Testament or the Tanakh and then they turn to the New Testament and they don't see how everything fits together. And what we're endeavoring to do in this series, is once again, show you how the Old and New Testaments do fit together. It's seamless revelation. One flows into the other and God's culmination of revelation comes to us through Jesus. And so to help illustrate that today, we're gonna begin looking at the plan of salvation and how it unfolds. What we're really asking our self, beloved one, is really this, was the plan of salvation in the Tanakh or the Old Testament different from the plan of salvation that we find revealed in the New Testament or have they always been the same?
I'm gonna show you, because once again, this series is about how the Old and New Testaments fit together like a hand in a glove and how Jesus completes Biblical Judaism. I'm gonna show you how the plan of salvation has always been the same, that in the Hebrew Bible we find the plan of salvation as fully revealed in the New Testament, we see it revealed, listen now, we see it revealed in its primitive form in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament. So let's begin.
Father God once again we ask You to come. Bring revelation Father into clarity for us. In Jesus' name, amen.
I want to begin with a doctrine that many people have not been taught and has been very controversial for many, many years. I want to talk to you, beloved, about the sovereignty of God as it relates to salvation. We sometimes speak of this doctrine as the doctrine of election. It's a clear, Biblical doctrine. I'm gonna show it to you in the Word of God. Again, some of you have not been taught this before and it may potentially make some very uncomfortable. I like to ask you, would you just stay with me for a few episodes here and rather than reacting, I want to ask you just to hold your emotions and let me walk you through the Word of God. And be willing to hear the Word of God. The reason that I'm gonna teach this is not because I want to create controversy, but the reason that I want to teach this, beloved, is because number one it's so clearly revealed in the Word of God. It's such an important pillar in the word of God. And thirdly, church, because I believe that by receiving it you can greatly be helped and be blessed.
So to begin I want to take you now to the book of Genesis chapter number 12. I'm gonna read here, verse number 1. We're gonna be looking at the life of Abraham. We know that Abraham is called in the New Testament, the father of all believers. Abraham is the patriarch of Judaism. When we speak of the patriarchs of Judaism we speak of who? Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So everything really begins with Abraham in terms of our faith really becoming defined. We find in the New Testament that the blessing of Abraham has come upon all those that believe. So Abraham's life story is really critical and very important for us to understand. So I want to begin today as we talk about this doctrine of election, of God's sovereignty as it relates to salvation. I want to go back to the life of Abraham, since Abraham is known as the first believer. We know that others believed before Abraham, but Abraham is really defined in scripture as the one through whom our faith is launched through.
Let's look at Genesis chapter 12 verse 1. "Now the Lord said to Abram, 'Go forth from your country, and from your relatives and from your father's house, to the land which I will show you; And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing'". And the scripture goes on here. What we find here is that God comes, He speaks to Abraham. He calls Abram to follow Him and He makes a promise to Abram. "Abram you follow me. I'm gonna make you a great nation and I'll make you a great blessing," the Lord eventually says to him. "To all the peoples in the face of the earth". God said to Abram, "In your seed Abraham, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed".
We know that God changed Abram's name to Abraham, so whether I speak of Abram or Abraham, I'm referring to the same individual. The question, beloved ones, that I want you to consider with me for a moment, that I want you to ponder for a second is this, how did Abraham come to faith in the one true God? We know that Abram's family were idol worshipers. They had no revelation of the fact that there was one true God. They did not know the God of Israel. So how did Abram come to faith in the Creator? And how did Abram become the individual that was the one that released the revelation of monotheism, the fact that there's one God to the world through? How did Abram become that individual? Was it because Abram was simply sitting on a rock meditating one day and through his meditative efforts and through the strength of his will as he focused in his mind to try to understand spiritual realities, he came to the eureka moment that he realized there was one true God?
In other words, did Abram's revelation of the fact that there's only one God come to him because Abram was meditating hard enough, because he was spiritual enough, because he was religious enough, that he pushed himself into that revelation? Is that how it happened? Or did it happen conversely instead, because God Himself descended to make Himself known to Abram? I hope that the answer is obvious. The point is, is Abram did not come into this revelation that there was one God on his own, but rather Abram came to faith in the true Creator, the God of Israel, who is also the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, because, listen now, God came to him and revealed to him. God appeared to Abraham, we read in the book of Bereshit or the book of Genesis. Here in Genesis 12, "Now the Lord said to Abraham".
Abram was not able because of his great spiritual ears to hear God's voice simply because he had better spiritual ears. Rather, listen beloved one, God sovereignly spoke to him. We read that God again appeared to Abraham in the book of Bereshit, in the book of Genesis, at the oaks of Mamre. The point is beloved, that Abraham's faith in the Creator was given to him as a gift. The Creator didn't appear to everybody. The Creator didn't speak to everybody. Abram received faith, because the Creator spoke to him and appeared to him. You see, Abram's faith, listen now, was a gift that had sovereignly been given to him by the Creator. We find this same circumstance happening in the book of Genesis chapter 17 verse number 1. Listen, "Now when Abram was ninety nine years old, the Lord," listen to this, "appeared to Abram and said to him, 'I am God almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless'".
So the point is, is that God almighty didn't appear to everybody. That's why everybody didn't have faith, because they hadn't received the revelation. You see revelation produces faith and faith is the gift of God. This is why Jesus said at one point in His ministry, He said, "Father I thank You that You revealed these things to the babes and hid them from the wise and prudent". In other words, people have faith when they receive revelation and people can only receive revelation when God Himself chooses to give revelation. This is why Jesus said, "No one knows the Father but the Son and whoever the Son," listen now, "chooses to reveal Him to". I'm trying to make the point, beloved, that Jesus made. Jesus said, "No one comes to Me unless it's been granted from the Father". He said, "All that are taught from the Father will come to Me".
The point that Jesus was making in John 6 regarding these things, is that the only ones that would come to Him were those that had received revelation and the only ones that received revelation are the ones whom the Father sovereignly gives it to. Jesus was reiterating the same point in the Gospel of John chapter 15 when Jesus said, "You did not choose Me," Yeshua said, "But I chose you". Let me say it again. These are the words of Jesus Himself," You did not choose Me, but I chose you". I'm gonna get into these things a little more specifically. Let's just continue on with some of the text here. The point that I'm trying to make is, even as Abraham didn't come into the revelation of the one true God, the God of Israel through his own meditative efforts or somehow because of his own righteousness, so also today beloved ones, you and I have not come to faith in Jesus because of anything we've done; but rather because of what God's done, that God chose to reveal Himself to you and I, if we're true believers. Even as God sovereignly chose to reveal Himself to Abram.
We're going to the Torah now. Listen, the Torah is the foundation of the Bible. I want you to understand this. When Jesus was in the wilderness, the devil came to try to destroy Him, what did Jesus do? He quoted from the book of Deuteronomy four times to defeat the devil. The book of Deuteronomy, beloved, the Torah, this is the foundation of our faith. Everything comes from the Torah. Jesus said, "Don't think I've come to abolish the law and the prophets. I haven't come to abolish, but to fulfill". So with that said, knowing that the Torah is the foundation of our faith and that's why it's so important to know the Torah, so that we're building our faith on a firm foundation; that we can't know truth, beloved, in a very refined way without knowing the Hebrew Bible.
Let's go to the book of Deuteronomy chapter number 7 verse 6 and 7. Hear the Word of the Lord. The Lord is speaking to Israel here. I want you to get this. If you want to understand truth, beloved one, in a refined manner, we have to have some familiarity with the Hebrew Bible, because truth flows out of the Hebrew Bible. We can't just look at the New Testament in a vacuum and think we're gonna come up with a good comprehension of Biblical truth. We have to understand the New Testament's relationship to the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament. And as we know how the two fit together, we're gonna be able to understand truth much more accurately. This is why Jesus said in the book of Matthew chapter 13, He said that, "Every scribe" and a scribe was someone who wrote copies of the Hebrew Bible. They knew the Hebrew Bible. Jesus said, "Every scribe that becomes a disciple of Mine will be like an owner of a mansion that brings forth out of the mansion treasures old and new".
In other words, we need to appreciate the revelation in the Hebrew Bible. We can't discount it. We have to understand this is foundational. Let's look at Deuteronomy 7 verse 6 and 7. The Lord is speaking once again to Israel. "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you". Notice here, God is saying to Israel, listen, He chose them. I want you to get this, because the same God that chose Israel is the God that gave us the New Testament. He's not a different God. The God we see revealed in the Torah is the same God, beloved, that gave us the New Testament. He's not a different God. It's the same God. So we need to be willing to soften our hearts and receive revelation from the foundation. Deuteronomy 7 verse 6, "For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you," He said to Israel, "To be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are of the face of the earth".
There's a few things that are obvious here. Number one, that it's the Lord that chose Israel. Isn't that what He's saying? "For the Lord your God has chosen you". He didn't say that Israel chose God. I know that many people out there teach that God offered the Torah to all the peoples of the world, but only the Jewish people would receive it. That's not true. The Word of God is very clear on this. God chose Israel. You did not choose Me, I chose you. "For the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people," now listen, "for his own possession out of all the peoples". Get that again, God said to Israel, "I chose you out of all the peoples who are of the face of the earth". Isn't it obvious? Isn't the meaning, beloved one, at face value easily understood? God chose Israel out of the world, out of all the peoples of the earth.
It wasn't that Israel chose God. God said, "I chose you". It wasn't that God chose everybody. God said to Israel, "I chose you out of all the peoples of the face of the earth". God singularly chose Israel and the truth is, is that most New Testament believers don't have a hard time receiving that. We know the Bible over and over again says that God made a very specific relationship with the Jewish people, that God's favor was on the Jewish people. Now listen what the next verse says in verse number 7 of Deuteronomy. "The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all the peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers".
In fact not only did the Lord say to Israel He didn't choose them because they were great, God went on to tell us that Israel was a stubborn people, that they were an obstinate people. Jesus said to them when He walked upon the planet, He said, "Which one of the prophets did you not persecute? Which one of these prophets did you not murder"? In other words, God did not choose Israel, because they were better than the other people. He chose them simply because He loved them and He was honoring the oath that He made to Abram. And remember Abraham's faith was given to him as a gift. The point is, is that we often times teach that God treats everybody the same way and we bind Him as someone who has to treat everybody the same and we think that unless God treats everybody the same, He's not fair.
That's the way we think as human beings. But the Word of God is very different, because God did not choose all the people on the face of the earth. He didn't treat everybody the same. We just got done reading He chose Israel out of all the peoples on the face of the earth. So we see that God did make a distinction and it wasn't because Israel was great, because God said to Israel, "You were the fewest of people. I chose you, because I loved you and I'm keeping the oath that I made to Abram". And we read in scripture that the Jewish people, God described them as an obstinate people. Moses right before he died said to Israel, "You are a stubborn people and I know you're going to reject the ordinance of the Lord when I die".
So God who is all knowing and can see into the future, certainly didn't choose Israel, because He knew that they would follow Him. He did it, beloved, out of His own sovereignty. And what I'm gonna be teaching next week is this, even as God chose Israel out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, not because they were better, but simply because He loved them and it was His sovereign choice to do so. The Bible clearly teaches, that so too, in the present time God has a chosen people in the earth; People from the Jewish, you know from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob's descent. But not only the Jewish people, from amongst Gentiles, people in America, people in Africa, people in Asia, people all over the planet. God has a chosen people. And we're gonna see that what God does, is He reveals Himself to His chosen people and He supernaturally gives them faith as a gift and draws them to His Son. When you know you're chosen, beloved, your faith is gonna be anchored and you're gonna receive a boldness and a confidence that you may have never known before.