Who Are The Elect?

The following was written by Phillip Stratton, a friend of Soteriology 101, and posted with full permission. Thank you, Phillip!

To both Calvinists and Arminians, the identity of “the elect” is widely accepted as “the saved ones”. Even if the sides disagree how one becomes saved the usual consensus is that new covenant believers are “the elect”. To see if that definition fits, let’s take a look at one passage in the New Testament where the term “the elect” is used as well as the term’s Old Testament roots .

2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV), “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Who were/are “the elect” for whom Paul was willing to suffer with much hardship?

The two most widely accepted interpretations are the unconditional elect and/or the conditional elect.  According to Calvinism, the former, the elect are those predestined and predetermined by God for salvation from eternity past.  This group is certain and locked in.  The elect will be saved and the non-elect will be lost.  Period.  According to Arminianism the elect are those foreseen by God who will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by their own free will; ie. conditional elect.  Those who are “in Christ” are the elect of God.  In short, one becomes elect when he or she elects to believe.  However, neither of these widely accepted interpretations fit the content and grammar of the text.  

Who Are the “They Also”?

Look, again, at the text….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

John Calvin writes… “When Paul says that he endures everything for the sake of the elect, he reveals how much more important the edification of the church is for him than his own safety. For Paul is not only prepared to die but even to be known as a criminal in order to promote the welfare of the church.” (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, pp.134-135)

If the elect, and the elect alone, are guaranteed salvation, why the “they also”?  For Calvinism to be correct the word “also”, or “too” would have to be omitted.  John Piper does as much when he preaches on this verse (please see video link provided).

Three times Piper quotes this verse and all three times he omits the word “also”.  Once might be a mistake.  But three times?  Then what about the elect “may” obtain salvation?  In Calvinism, the elect are guaranteed salvation.  There is zero chance that one of God’s elect will be lost.  So why would Paul say “may” obtain, clearly suggesting that they “may not”?  If Paul was preaching Calvinism, the verse would have to read….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they (alone) will (not “may”) obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

The Arminian definition of the elect also suffers problems with this verse.  Again, according to Arminianism, the elect are those “in Christ”.  Here’s how Brian Abasciano defines the Arminian view of election….  

“By way of summary, there are two different views of election conditioned on faith. First, individual election is the classic view, in which God individually chose each believer based upon his foreknowledge of each one’s faith and so predestined each to eternal life. Second, corporate election is the main alternative view, holding that election to salvation is primarily of the Church as a people and embraces individuals only in faith-union with Christ the Chosen One and as members of his people.”

He clarifies this statement with the following….

“In the New Testament, only believers are identified as elect.”


Is that true?  The book of Timothy is found in the New Testament.  Let’s see….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of those in Christ Jesus (or believers), that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

But haven’t those in Christ already obtained salvation?  Can someone be “in Christ” and still be lost?  Doesn’t make sense.  And we still have the problem of the “they also”.  Since the “also” or “too” introduces another category of people, in this instance, the other category would have to be those not “in Christ” or the Lost (unbelievers).  Inserting “believers” in place of “the elect” suggests that non-believers can and, indeed, have obtained salvation as well.  It just doesn’t work.  A non-believer can obtain salvation, but only by becoming a believer.  Thus a non-believer will not obtain salvation. 

Whoever the elect are, Paul definitely considers them to be lost.  And the “they also” inserts the notion that someone other than the elect can obtain salvation as well.  If “they” refers back to “the elect”, then the “also” means someone other than the elect can obtain salvation as well.  That “other category”, in context, would have to be the non-elect. That makes hash of Paul’s purpose and theology. There is a much easier explanation.

If “The Elect” are not the “Saved Ones”…?

So who are the elect?  What do the scriptures say?

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isaiah 45:4 (NKJV)

O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

Psalm 105:6 (NKJV)

Nowhere in God’s word is there a more clear and concise rendering of who the elect are.  It is Israel.  And its not limited to the Old Testament.  We find the word “elect” 4 times in the gospels and each time Jesus is referring to the Jews (Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31, Luke 18:7).  But does it work within the scope of 2 Timothy 2:10?  Let’s see….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

That interpretation seems to work perfectly within the text.  Paul is saying he is enduring hardship for his fellow Israelites so that they also, along with the Gentiles to whom he was an apostle, may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  But does Israel fit the immediate context?  Let’s look at the previous verses….

Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David (a Jew from the tribe of Judah; one of the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel), was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble (at the hand of the Jews) as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:8-10 (NKJV)

Yes.  Israel, or the Jews, fits the immediate context.  How many times do you hear Calvinists screaming “Context, context, context!”  Well, we have context.  Do we have any other scriptural support that suggests Israel being Paul’s focus here?  Yes.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites

Romans 9:3-4a (NKJV)

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

Romans 10:1 (NKJV)

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

Romans 11:13-134 (NKJV)

For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

Acts 28:20 (NKJV)

Was Paul willing to be eternally cut off from Christ for the Gentiles?  Nope.  Was it for the hope of the Church that Paul was bound with chains?  Nope.  Paul’s heart, focus and goal was always for the salvation of his fellow Jews because the Gentiles were accepting the Gospel while his countrymen spurned it.  The very ones who hunted him down, stoned him, and left him for dead (Acts 14:19), and even had him imprisoned.  Paul could just as easily have said….

“I endure all things for the sake of the circumcision, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Grammatical Analysis

“2Tim 2:10 – διὰ τοῦτο πάντα ὑπομένω διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ σωτηρίας τύχωσιν τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου

My literal translation – ‘on account of this, these [things] I am enduring on account of the elect [ones] in order that even to/for/with/by them salvation/deliverance they should obtain/experience, the [kind that is] in Jesus, with everlasting glory.’

The και – meaning ‘even’, has to do with Paul’s introducing another category of people, besides the Gentiles to whom he is an apostle, and whom he is wanting to see saved. This other category he also wants to see saved and is willing to keep enduring all things so that might happen.

That other category is ‘elect ones’, and so Phillip has context and other passages on his side pointing to ‘elect ones’ here meaning Jews who are not yet saved, but on account of whom (their forcing Paul’s arrest and trial by Rome) he is enduring his current imprisonment.”

“The context leans towards identifying the ‘elect’ as the same ones ‘on account of which’ he is willing to endure suffering, that they also (the ones causing the suffering) ‘may obtain’ salvation… but not certain they will.”

From longtime friend of the Soteriology 101 blog, Brian Wagner

Brother Brian’s analysis and rendering is spot on.  What can we take from these observations?

1. “The elect” are the elect if they obtain salvation or not
2. There is a high probability the “the elect” will not obtain salvation
3. The elect are the ones who have imprisoned him and want him dead

What has been provided is sound exegesis.  We have context, grammar, and other scriptural support.  Both the Calvinist and Arminian interpretations have nothing.

A Category Error

So when Calvinists or Arminians alike assume “the elect” are the new covenant believers, they are not speaking in the same categories as the biblical authors do. The OT is abundantly clear that Israel is the elect of God.  Nothing in scripture says He ever abandoned Israel.  Jesus confirms their election during His earthly ministry when speaking of His second coming in the last days.  The apostle Paul states that Israel never lost their election (Romans 9:4-5, Romans 11:2, Romans 11:28, 2 Timothy 2:10).  Saved or lost, they are still His chosen people.  God swore He would never forsake His chosen people (1 Samuel 12:22).

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the Jews, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the circumcision, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Each works perfectly within the context and grammar without doing damage to the word of God.  Even though Paul was called by God to be an apostle to the Gentiles, his heart was always for his fellow Israelites and their salvation. Calvinists will tell you that we preach the gospel indiscriminately to everyone because we don’t know who “the elect” are.  Well, Paul knew precisely who the elect are and, apparently, so did Timothy.  Of course the apostle should have known who the elect were.  The OT scriptures told him plainly.

658 thoughts on “Who Are The Elect?

  1. Richard, there are a few things I agree with you on, and there are also a few things I disagree with you on, in your last post.

    I agree:
    1) That Paul was primarily addressing the Jews in Rom. 9-11 (but sometimes the Gentiles).
    2) I agree with the connection you made to Mth 7:21: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven — is the truly of Israel.
    3) That Jesus said I WILL (Future) build my church, Mat 16:18, which began in Acts 2. I agree that that’s when the church of Jesus Christ began. But the efficacy of His death also went back in time to the faithful who lived and died long before the cross.
    4) You asked: What advantage then hath the Jew? I agree, “Much in every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” But Paul was primarily speaking of the OT here! But note v.3, some were without faith (the Jews who rejected the promised Messiah) and their advantage comes to nothing.

    The real Jew, (Romans 2:25-29):
    The profit of circumcision (vv. 25-27). Circumcision was the token of the covenant relationship of Israel with God (Gen. 17: 10-14). The advantage of it was in being among the people who had the law. But if one did not keep the law, that advantage was nullified and circumcision became a sign of nothing, a senseless mutilation of the body (cf. Phil. 3:2). The important thing was not circumcision as a mere sign, but the keeping of the law. And if the uncircumcised man kept the law,
    a. God would not hold his uncircumcision against him, and
    b. He would judge (condemn) the Jew who had all the advantages but did not keep the law.

    The true Jew (Romans 2:28-29).
    Being a Jew involves more than an accident of birth, or the removal of a bit of flesh from the body. The real descendant of Abraham is the one who has Abraham’s faith, and does his works (cf. Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:6-9; 5:6; 6:15-16; John 8:39-40). The real contrast is between one to whom the law is nothing more than an external document, and one who has the law written on his heart.

    1. Galatians teaches the OT ekklesia was a child under a custodian ( the old Law) and the new testament church is a mature Son. So once again continuity. It is the NT teaching.

      1. Do you believe gentile converts to Judaism whobredeive circumcision who converted to Judaism after the Christian era are deemed children of Abraham?

  2. DN John said:

    Do you believe gentile converts to Judaism whobredeive circumcision who converted to Judaism after the Christian era are deemed children of Abraham?

    If they converted to Rabbinic Judaism, no. If they converted to Messianic Judaism, then yes because Jesus would be their Savior.
    But “converting” to Judaism isn’t the issue. Judaism is a religion, where in contrast, Jew is an ethnic heritage. There’s no way to convert to that, you have to be born into that genetic line. And Jesus made it clear, being born into that lineage will not save you, you must believe in Him. It is there, that Jew and Gentile share in the favor of the Messiah, Rom 15:27, seed of Abraham spiritually.

  3. Richard wrote:
    “Jew is an ethnic heritage…Jesus made it clear, being born into that lineage will not save you, you must believe in Him.”

    My Response:
    Now you’ve finally got the gist of Romans 9-11.😉

    1. However, the belief is among Zionists, that the Land Promise to Abraham and his seed…means that Jews are unconditionally given the Land of Israel by virtue of their ethnicity without stipulations and Gentiles regardless of their incorporation into Christ are excluded from that promise. Perhaps I am misunderstsnding….if so, please tell me, Richard. Other non Zionist interpreters say that although the stipulations are not recorded in every passage, there are conditions to this promise in other scriptures, which the ethnic jews have never fulfilled up to this time.

      Paul argues differently than Zionism in Galatians. He argues, that Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham, the singular seed and those in Him by faith are sons of Abraham and heirs according to promise, even if by physical ethnicity they are gentiles. This division of Jew and Gentile being done away by the cross. This can only be a new heavens , new earth fulfillment. In this way Abraham gets the whole earth with his seed.

      This Israel of the one people of God is the true Israel. The faithful remnant has always been the true Israel, the unfaithful ones just benefited by association until God brought his chastisement to them to call them back to repentance and faithfulness. Now in our time this means obedience unto Christ, the Prophet like unto Moses…who is the Divine Word of God incarnate.Those who refuse that Prophet are cut off from the people…but the People as a whole is not cut off as God keeps the remnant unto himself. He has added to this remnant through incorporating the Nations into the olive tree of Israel when they are in Christ, born anew in Water and the Spirit so as to enter the Kingdom of God.

      1. DNJohn, it seems to me that one of the major mistakes dispensationalists make, is the idea that all (physical) Israel will finally be saved. But that’s not the meaning of Romans 11:26– “And so all Israel will be saved.”
        The term “And so” in v.26 means (in this manner), look it up in the greek. It means “in this manner,” which is defined by v.25 to mean ‘under these circumstances’– i.e., with “a hardening in part” persisting in Israel all through the ages until the end of time when the last Gentile has been converted. It is under these conditions that all the real Israel (9:6); that is, those who believe will be saved. “And so” is not “and then” as many have assumed. Paul is not referring to a salvation of all National Israel at the end of time, but rather, TO A PROCESS that was going on even in his day and which proceeds all through the age.

        Compare vv. 30-32 with vv. 11-14 and the “condition” in v.23: Paul did not expect a turning to God on the part of all (physical) Israel. And even though God wants ALL to avail of His mercy, not all Gentiles will avail of His mercy, and not all Jews will avail of His mercy!

        Romans 11:30-32 NKJV
        “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He MIGHT have mercy on all.”

        Romans 11:11-14 NKJV
        “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

        For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh AND SAVE SOME OF THEM.”

        Romans 11:23 NKJV
        “And they also, IF they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

        Unfortunately, it seems like the majority of them will continue in obstinate unbelief until the end of time!

      2. Many are hopeful that a large number of Jewish people will come into the Church before the Last day. Paul seems to see three phases…remnant….nations added…jews added back in. Not all of Jews or all of Gentiles but many jews before the end. Many see it that way who are Amillenialists. Maybe the faithful witness of Christians in the face of Antichrist will inspire people of Jewish heritage to come to the Lord? This is speculative but it definitely would be awesome to see.

      3. It would be nice to see many come to the Lord from both sides, Jew and Gentile; but narrow is the way that leads to life, and only a few will find it. God shows no partiality, whether Jew or Gentile, they will be saved in the same way equally through the gospel. If the Jews won’t be saved when Christ came, I don’t have much hope for them if an anti-christ comes.

      4. I am not sure if Paul meant the fullness of the Gentiles as in all individual gentile persons converted or if he meant it in terms of whole nations, when all the nations get the gospel message, as in all nations have been evangelized with the true gospel of Christ. It is the same Greek word. I think the latter may be correct??

      5. Perhaps both are true together! Either way, the fullness of the Gentiles refers to that which will finally come in at the end of time. And if what Paul is saying is true, the hardening in part will continue until that day!

  4. Dn John said:

    “Many are hopeful that a large number of Jewish people will come into the Church before the Last day.”

    You have it backwards, Gentiles join the Jews. The first church was Jewish; the twelve Apostles were Jews.
    Joh 4:22….salvation is from the Jews. Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    Rom 11:24  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature(Gentiles), and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree(the Jews): how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
    Even if your church is 100% Gentile, you’re believing in the Jewish Messiah, Mat 1:1, Rev 5:5 

    1. Thank God for the Holy Jewish forefathers. I named my son after one of them, Josiah. I know that Jesus had a Jewish lineage and therefore Salvation is of the Jews.
      I also have a great appreciation for the Jewish style of worship. Eastern Orthodox Christian worship is patterned after ancient synagogue and temple liturgy. It is like glimpses of heavenly worship from the book of Revelation. Reminds me of: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Much use of the Psalms too. So very thankful for that sacred tradition that came from the Jews. Nothing I said indicated that I thought Gentiles founded the Church or that the Church is a Gentile Church. I have read dispensationalists who write that Jesus’ Church is the Gentile Church, which is contrary to NT Doctrine to say such a thing. Much honor and veneration to the Jewish forefathers. See Sirach chapters 44- 51. I am indebted to them.

    2. Another demonstration from Holy Scripture showing Israel is the Church and the Church is Israel. There are two approaches one may find among those who hold to an Amillenial view . One is that the Church is a replacement of Israel, a kind of ” new israel” instead of “renewed” Israel. The nuance is important. Those who hold to so called , “New Testament Theology” espouse the Church as the new Israel. I think that view is wrong and it is not the ancient view of the Church.
      The other view is that the Church is Israel and there is continuity from the OT to the NT…same people of God through the faithful remnant. The sheep given by the Father to Jesus to be the basis upon which Jesus grows his Church.. This is often called Covenant Theology. My view is close to covenant theology except I disagree with reformed folks about the Mosaic Law being divided into three parts moral, ceremonial, and civil, with the moral part remaining for Christians. The mosaic law is an indivisible unit and we live within the Law of Christ instead of the Law of Moses,, which certainly has the eternal moral aspects but it is from Christ, not Moses. Christ is superior to Moses.

      1 Corinthians 9 ( DRB)

      19For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. 20And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: 21To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. 23And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof.

  5. Richard, yes the Messiah was Jewish, but it is evident that His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal! In Daniel 7 we get a vivid picture of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. He ascends with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days and is given a kingdom in which all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. That kingdom is the church!

    Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV
    “I was watching in the night visions,
    And behold, One like the Son of Man,
    Coming with the clouds of heaven!
    He came to the Ancient of Days,
    And they brought Him near before Him.

    Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
    That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    Which shall not pass away,
    And His kingdom the one
    Which shall not be destroyed.”

  6. Aidan said:
    “Richard, yes the Messiah was Jewish, but it is evident that His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal!”

    Response: Firstly, the Messiah still is Jewish, Rev 5:5, and secondly, you’re going to have to make up your mind.
    You said the church is Israel, now you’re saying it isn’t, well which is it?
    The New Jerusalem will have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the gates, and the names of the twelve Apostles, all Jews written on the twelve foundations. Not a Southern Baptist, Pope, Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox name to be found anywhere.
    Salvation is universal, but God has his order of operating his Kingdom.

    1. Richard wrote:
      “Firstly, the Messiah still is Jewish, Rev 5:5, and secondly, you’re going to have to make up your mind.
      You said the church is Israel, now you’re saying it isn’t, well which is it?”

      My Response:
      I think you may be mixing me up with DNJohn in regards to telling you that the church is Israel. In speaking of Romans 9-11, I said the context revealed that Paul was referring to who the “real Israel” was, from among (physical) Israel (9:6) – not the church! And besides, it is erroneous to connect my statement that “His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal” with the statement “the church is Israel.” The statement that “the church is Israel” is symbolic, and has nothing to do with the church being Jewish, or of ethnicity. And I would be careful how I approached Rev. 21:9-21.

      No one is trying to undermine the role that Israel played in God’s scheme of redemption. But let’s not make so much out of ethnicity in the church! We need to be careful about causing division and showing partiality! Has Christ not brought peace, who has broken down the middle wall of separation, and reconciled them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity (Eph. 2:11-18)? We don’t need to be building walls of separation again between Jews and Gentiles; certainly not after all that Jesus did to bring reconciliation and peace!

      You said the Messiah is Jewish! Yes, but more importantly, He is the Son of Man–which makes Him Universal. It was Jesus “the Son of Man” who received dominion, glory, and a Kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him (Dan. 7:13-14)! This is the greater point; that He is the Son of Man which identifies Him with all men making Him a universal Messiah for all, not His ethnicity, and not the ethnicity of the church.

      1. I am reminded of the passage about the Kingdom where Jesus says this:

        Matthew 13:52 NASB1977

        And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

        There is both continuity and newness in the Kingdom.

  7. Richard wrote, the Messiah still is Jewish. But Paul wrote “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer” (2 Cor. 5:16).

    1. Hi Aidan and Richard, I have also been thinking of the future tense of Jesus’ words: “upon this rock, I will build my Church….” I wanted to share some thoughts about that..

      The Church in the wilderness had been delivered from Egypt. But they were still in bondage in spiritual Eqypt, in bondage to death and the devil. They needed a new Pascha ( passover) to bring them out of bondage in the world of the dead i.e sheol/hades. Christ is our Passover! ( 1 Corinthians 5;7) [That is why the Orthodox church calls the the celebration of Christ’s ressurrection: PASCHA. In fact in most languages it is called that or a derivative of it.] The old testament faithful who had died were held in Sheol, the world of the dead, waiting for the promised deliverance. They were in bondage, like ” spirits in prison” and Jesus won them for himself and delivered them when he died and went to them to proclaim their freedom. Jesus had given his life and shed his blood as a ransom to death to deliver them from death. Jesus won the victory and trampled on death by death. He “abolished death” ( 2 Tim 1:10) , “led captivity captive” and won a people for himself.( Ephesians 4:8)The Church in the wilderness, became in that deliverance, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way he purchased the Church with his own blood. We too are loosed from our sins in his blood [ Rev. 1:5,6]. Jesus in his ressurrection became Lord of the dead and the living ( ROMANS 14:9).

      These became members in the same fold of Christ with the faithful remnant, i.e true Israel and the other sheep brought into it. This is how the Church became the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the transition from the typological church under the old Law to the fulfilled people of God under the new Law. This is the continuity of the Israel of God.

      Jesus wanted to make his own and a continuation of his incarnation on this earth. Jeus make the church into something more …into his own mystical body in union with Him and Into the living temple of God. This church was not this before but Jesus was planning to build it on the Rock of right confessing apostles and prophets with himself as the cornerstone, the solid Foundation, and build it up with Living Stones.

      In order to be the true temple of God it must be a permanent dwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is what happened at Pentecost and continues to happen as new members are Baptized and anointed for the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      Jesus did begin building his Church on Pentecost but it is in the context of the existing Church which he had redeemed from death and won unto himself, purchasing it with his own blood. We are brought into that very same church of all the Old testament saints that Jesus saved at his death and the living Jews who believed at that time and the gentiles grafted into this one ransomed people of God and then all becoming the living temple of God at Pentecost.

      At this time Jesus begins building his church as new living stones are added. Jesus was looking forward to Pentecost when he speaks in the future tense about building his church but it does not break the continuity of his one people.

      There is more typology that can be discussed but I wanted to talk about the old testament believers being in the church of the wilderness which becomes the church of the Lord Jesus Christ…which becomes the body of Christ and temple of God.. It is continuity, redemption, fulfillment and renewal, not two peoples of God. It continues the unity and makes it union. Disunity is healed. It the one people of God brought to fullness and completion.

      See 1 Peter 2: 1-25, 1 Peter 3: 18-22; 4:6 Ephesians 2, and Ephesians 3: 8, Colossians 2

      1. Hi DNJohn! You mention the church in the wilderness: What would your view be of those who were faithful to God in the Patriarchal age, how would you see them? Also, would a lot of what you shared in this post be the official teaching of the Orthodox church or much of your own thoughts on the matter?

        Regarding 1 Peter 3:18-20: It is thought by some that Christ went and preached to spirits in Hades (the realm of the departed spirits) while His body was in the tomb. I would be inclined to question this position! The question of WHERE the preaching was done is not as straightforward as these people assume. It can hardly be answered with certainty until it is determined WHEN the preaching is done. One depends upon the other! Whatever the answer, it must harmonize with all else revealed in scripture. On the one hand it should be observed that nothing in the text DEMANDS the conclusion that the preaching occurred while the spirits were in prison. In fact, the fair import of the language would lead one to conclude that the preaching was done “in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared.” Peter simply speaks of them as they were at the time that he wrote the letter (spirits in Hades), and not as they were when the preaching was done (disobedient people in the days of Noah). Remember, the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets of old testifying “beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Pet 1:11). Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5) and through him Christ preached to the wicked before the flood.

      2. I am familiar with that take on that passage but that has never been the view of the Church. Even the Apostles creed confesses : “He descended into hell( hades).
        This happened after he was ” put to death in the flesh and enlivened in the spirit.” We believe as Orthodox that Christ descended into hades and took captivity captive and abolished death on that holy Saturday and delivered those who were held in sheol. He harrowed hell and was the conqueror of it. The cross is a symbol of that triumph and victory. Collosians 2: 15 talks of this as well . This is the ancient understanding. He delivered all the dead in a deliverance no less glorious but exceedingly more glorious that the Passover. Christus Victor!!! So the old testament saints are saints of the Church. We are in communion with them in Christ.

      3. I don’t think it’s correct to say that Christ descended into hell, or even the torment side of Hades. Hades has two basic sides, the torment side, and then the “bosom of Abraham” which probably refers to the ‘paradise side’ of Hades, where Jesus said the thief would be with Him that same day (Luke 16:19-31). It is also erroneous to say that Christ “abolished death.” Christ doesn’t abolish death until the last day at the general resurrection (1 Cor. 15:24-26; 52-57).
        The spirits preached to were the disobedient in the days of Noah. Why, then, would Jesus preach only to this limited number while in this realm of departed and disobedient spirits? Why not preach to all of them? Would this not make Him a respecter of persons? Yet, the bible plainly says that He is not (Acts 10:34). The view that Christ preached to such with a view to saving them contradicts all the passages that teach that at death our destiny is sealed. Judgment, remember, is based upon the deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10). Furthermore, this view contradicts the lesson taught by Jesus in Luke 16:19-31. There is a great gulf between the righteous and the wicked in Hades, over which none can cross – they are eternally separated. Nothing done after death can change the eternal destiny of man (Heb. 9:27).

      4. Christ did abolish death definitively but it will be worked out historically and at the Resurrection. See it here in St. Paul’s Letter to Timothy

        2 Timothy 1:10

        Revised Standard Version
        10 and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

      5. Hi DNJohn, I am glad you qualified 2 Tim. 1:10 in terms of it’s ultimate fulfillment when death is destroyed in the resurrection.

      6. Hi Aidan,

        He is not limiting it to only the disobedient of Noah’s day but he mentions it as a case in point because in the larger context he speaks of the flood of Noah as a type of Salvation as they were saved through the Water as they were in the Ark and the antype which is holy Baptism.

      7. Hi DNJohn, I’m afraid that is your opinion that he is not limiting it to the disobedient in Noah’s day, the text clearly says that it is. If this is a general statement as you claim, not only does it contradict scripture on so many levels, it also implies universal salvation for both wicked and righteous. I’m sorry but your view of this passage is unscriptural.

      8. I am not a universaliSt. Only those made righteous by God’s grace are saved. He preached to them and if they were enabled ,in this extraordinary circumstance, of the redemption of the whole world, not excluding them, but including all men, to be sanctified then our Lord could set them free. I don’t know how many of them did become cleansed by Christ…what I do know is that he rescued the righteous who were in the realm of death and allowed to go to paradise.
        Prior to Chrost’s death the gates of paradise were closed to hand. The flaming sword guarded the tree of life. Man was barred. But God became man to reconcile the world to himself and he went to announce that reconciliation and deliverance to the spirits in prison. He does have the keys of hades and of death.
        There will be those who are not saved at the last day…so I am not a universalist. Did you look up Zechariah 9:11?

      9. “Prior to Christ’s death the gates of paradise were closed to man…” forgive the typo in that sentence in my last post. I am typing with thumbs on my phone 🙂

      10. I do not believe that Hades is the final hell but more of a temporary place of the dead till the judgement. The wicked get a foretaste of their future judgement there. Hell is cast into the Lake of Fire, which is equivalent to Gehenna and the second death. The OT righteous were comforted there in Abraham’s bosom seperate from the wicked until they were saved by Christ on Holy Saturday. The rich man and Lazarus story is a parable so one cannot be too literalistic with the details but look more for the main message of it.

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