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Written by John H. Fisher   

The Banner of Love 

"Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands, crucified and slain." "Whom God raised up."

These men did crucify Jesus with wicked hands. These men did this wicked work, but God did not do it. God suffered this work to be done; but He did not crucify and kill His own Son, but did raise Him from the dead.

The above Scripture is Acts 3:28. "God hath made all things for himself, even the wicked for the day of evil." Yes, God made the rattlesnake and the sharp nettles by His rain and sunshine. Just like He made the wicked but these things developed after the curse for sin was on the earth. When God created man, he was not wicked, but man by transgression became sinful. God did not make him such.

I will quote several Scriptures that are supposed to teach that God has directly predestinated sin as He did righteousness.

"The Scriptures saith unto Pharoah, even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth."

"Thou wilt say then unto me, why doth he yet find fault? For who had resisted His will?"

"Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus?"

But does this mean that God directly made Pharoah wicked?

The Scripture does say that God hardened Pharoah’s heart. Yes, but the exact thing that hardened Pharoah’s heart did soften the hearts of the children of Israel.

If you set a bowl of butter out in the hot sunshine, and then set a ball of soft clay by it, the same sun that softens the butter will harden the clay. Is the sunshine to blame? No! It is because one is of the earth earthy, and the other subject to gracious influence.

Pharoah got madder and madder at God and Moses, and Aaron, but the children of Israel felt to love them more and more and rejoiced at the power of God.

God did get glory out of Pharoah as the Bible says, but that glory was not in Pharoah oppressing the children of Israel. By no means. He did not get any glory out of Pharoah until His mighty arm overthrew him, as He will do all the wicked. His glory is shown when God pours out His judgements and not in the acts of sinners.

Watch this point. The Legislature and the State Government does not get glory out of murder, and horse stealing, but when that criminal is caught and punished, the law is vindicated and honored. Not in the crime, but in the punishment of the crime.

I want to go to final record on the subject of predestination. The Dallas Peace meeting went to record this way: "The only way in which God’s predestination embraces, is that of suffering it." The article is not before me, but I think this is about the exact wording.

Yes, God suffered Pharoah to oppress the people of God and finally overthrew him.

God suffers wicked men to go so far and when His time comes, He punishes them according to His holy law.

I have never denounced the London Confession of Faith, yet, that is only a human document. John Gill and Hassell held along the lines of the London Confession, but many of the extreme brethren deny what that Confession says about God giving Adam ability to keep the law. Here is a wide difference. Did God tell Adam, "I am giving you a law that you are compelled to violate, yet it leads to death? Did God give Adam a law that involved death and ruin, and then fixed it so he had to violate it? I say no.

That idea would destroy all church discipline, all family government, all civil law and would be a contradiction of the laws of God to the children of Israel. Would a teacher punish a pupil for doing what it could not keep from doing for the life of it? Would a parent punish a child for some thing that it was impossible to avoid? A thousand times no. Most all the extreme predestinarian brethren in my acquaintance believe have gone almost out in Texas urging these extreme ideas. They needed to turn the scale and preach more human accountability. This would beget more activity. Did God decree all things? Well, He decreed to influence and cause righteousness, but only decreed to suffer wickedness. Can’t we all agree here? Did He predestinate all things that come to pass? Only to suffer the wicked part, for as the sun can not cause darkness, so God can not cause sin.

God foreknows all things and says, "Declaring the end from the beginning." God perfectly foreknows every event: knows that lots of folks could do better than they are doing, and there is nothing in His foreknowledge to prevent them from doing better, yet God knew they would not do it. It is not right to say they could not do better if God foreknew they could do better.

The Lord knew and foreknew every event in the matter of Joseph’s going into Egypt. We rejoice in the doctrine of God’s sovereignty in ruling in the matter to bring it out to wind up as to save much people alive. But His honor was not seen in the wicked envy that was in Joseph’s jealous brothers. You take this principle of jealousy, it blinds a preacher or editor when it gets well into his system. It has no more feeling than a rattlesnake. What did they care for Joseph’s tears, and misery that they were putting on him? God suffered them to do this, having determined to over rule it and punish it. Joseph’s brethren finally repented of their dirty conduct and then they found respite. God did not decree for that woman to lie on Joseph, only to the extent that He suffered her to do this like He did all this other meanness.

But God knew it would be all brought to judgement. God did help Joseph, by His grace and spirit, and knew exactly how it was all going to turn out.

So He did with the crucifixion of Jesus, the great Mediator. He knew exactly when and how they would take Jesus, and how He would be betrayed and then nailed to the Cross. He suffered it all because Jesus had agreed to come and bear this suffering, and Jesus was delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. God determined to suffer it to take place just exactly as it did take place, because He foreknew it all. I would not say that He predestinated it, but rather say He foreknew it and suffered it to take place just that way. The blame for the crime was on the wicked Jews.

Now, these men that killed the Prince of Life, did not make the atonement by killing Christ. They did kill Him. 1 Thes. 2:15. But the eternal Spirit, the three in one God, did make this atonement in the moment of the death of the humanity of Jesus. As the lamb with its blood, in a sense, put away the sins of Israel for a year, Jesus in the moment of the death of His humanity, put away the sins in an eternal sense. The divinity of Christ offered the humanity, and the eternal Father accepted it for all eternity. So then these wicked men that crucified Jesus did not make the atonement for sin.

Joseph was given grace to help him resist evil, but not in a way to destroy his accountability, nor his reason or personality all the way through. God did not draw him away from the woman, else we would give no credit to Joseph. All people love and honor Joseph because he was virtuous and true; but we despise the woman because she acted under lust and wickedness: but not in a way to destroy her accountability. If she had been forced to as she did, we would not blame her. But she acted in a way that she was guilty. She was to blame and we dispose her memory. If she were forced to do as she did, we would not blame her. But she acted in a way that she was guilty. She was to blame and we despise her memory. If she were forced to do as she did, there would be no guilt. The doctrine that destroys the guilt of the wicked, is from the devil himself, for it would destroy all difference between right and wrong. There are a great number of Scriptures that look a little like God fixed it for people to commit a crime, but if you will watch it carefully, you will see that God always suffers the wicked side, and then helps on the other side. He certainly could not be the mover on both sides. God does not lead people to do both good and bad: just as well to say that the sun sends out both darkness and light.

Now, everything in this universe is present now with God, and there is nothing new with him under the sun. "All things are open and naked unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

But this does not hinder the fact that He rules the people justly and according to His laws; He has a right to do as He pleases, and gave such a lay as suited Him, and none of us have a right to question His authority, for He has made all things, and works after the counsel of His own will. He is not under law, but the law expresses His character which He can not violate.

"Great and marvelous are thy works Lord God Almighty, just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints." When God kills a man, it is done justly, but when the Jews killed Christ they did it with wicked hands as all murders are done. Jesus laid down His life and at the end could have kept from it if it had been the Father’s will.

But justice claimed the victim since all the sins of the church were upon him. The sword of justice as commanded to awake against the sin bearing Shepherd.

But this is to fulfill the eternal covenant of grace that was ordered in all things and sure, before the foundation of the world.

So God perfectly foreknew that the Jews would kill the soul or the divinity of Christ. And this divinity offered the humanity as it was dying to purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Did Joseph find a reward—a blessing in doing right? He certainly did. How would you like this saying? "We are not benefited by good works, nor are we injured by wicked works." Now I call this last statement blasphemy. It denies the law of God, and all difference between black and white, good and bad, God and Satan, heaven and hell, and it jungles them all together as one and the same line of things. Infidels are no worse.

But God did approve of the life of Joseph. So do all people call you blessed when you lead a clean, honorable life, but whoremongers, and adulterers, God will judge. The study of the life of Joseph puts a sweet taste in your mouth, but that of the woman that wanted to disgrace Joseph, we abhor. We love to think of Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul, Dorcas, Pheobe, Mary, Daniel, and many others, but abhor Pharoah, King Saul, Judas, Absolom, Ahab, because they lived wickedly.

David said, "In keeping them (commands) there is great reward." If language means anything, God has always blessed His people in a special way that walk in His commandments.

They do not receive eternal life for doing right but receive clearness of conscience, prosperity in many ways. But none are exempt from chastisement, for none are perfect.

God’s eternal sovereignty runs through the history of the Bible. God could write in his mind the history of the entire world to perfection, for He knew it all from the beginning. This is that omnipotent, eternal, unchangeable being that created the earth, the sun, the moon, and the stars. In the beginning God created both the heaven and the earth. None of it has deceived or fooled Him whatever. He predestinated all of His works, and they show forth His power and praise.

We despise a puny god that has lost all his authority and would do something if the people would let him: He is going to do all His pleasure, no men nor kings nor devils can stop Him." "He rules in heaven above and in the earth, and none can stay his hand or say unto Him, Jehovah, what doest thou?"

I rejoice to believe in the God that has all power both in heaven and earth. Not one part of His purposes will ever be overthrown, but shall be fulfilled to a jot and tittle. "Come behold the works of the Lord, what desolation he hath made in the earth." Ps. 46

"Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah." Glorious hope. Here I rest my case, and in this God I hope to fly away to glory and reign with Him as He reigns over heaven and earth.

God’s predestination is engaged in the mind and purpose of God to save each and every one of His people. He has predestinated their justification, resurrection, and glorification. This God is for us and if this God is for us, who can be against us?

Predestination is generally used in connection with the Salvation of God’s people like choice of election. If we can use this like the Bible there need be no backbiting nor confusion. The doctrine of rewards is taught more frequently than is predestination, and we as people need it. This extreme predestination has almost killed out the interest where it is preached, and I believe it is best to watch the spirits or try them and when they show bad, we should forsake them and turn to better things.

"Now the God of peace, that brought again form the dead our Lord Jesus, that the Great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every Godly work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever."—Amen

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 September 2006 )
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