There is a sanctification that enables one to come into God’s presence on a “physical plane,” as with ancient Israel, and there is then a sanctification that additionally requires a “calling” in order to come into a spiritual relationship with God.
This has been addressed and stated in this specific manner in order to help clarify some of the “process” of how God has worked within the environment of the Church and how some aspects of this same process will work in the future. As this subject continues to unfold, it would be good to be reminded that God does not owe anyone the begettal of His spirit. Although it is God’s will and His desire that all would “receive” His favor and means for becoming part of His Family, the reality is that this brings us back to what determines such an outcome; it is a personal choice whether one will receive it or not, when it is offered.
So when considering the condition in a family where only one mate has been drawn and called by God, there is much that can be learned about a process whereby God works with those who are able to come into the environs of the Church. Some of what we are covering would not be as clearly grasped if it had been revealed during any one of the seven eras of the Church. Instead, God is giving it now as we are in the transitional period between the completed sealing of the 144,000 and their resurrection to spirit life into Elohim at Christ’s coming. As a result, we can now more readily look back at what God has created to this point concerning the God Family. We can especially come to more perfectly see how He has worked within the Church over the past nearly 2,000 years and why He has done so in the manner He has. We are being given these things now because aspects of this same process will be at work throughout the Millennium.
Before more closely examining this, it would first be expedient to focus upon the beliefs of the Church concerning this matter of sanctification of an unbelieving mate. Due to what has previously been believed about such sanctification, it has been thought that such a person (a sanctified unbelieving mate) had the choice of a calling at any time, and we were wrong. They do not! Such thinking will and has affected the attitudes, judgments, and “expectations” exercised (in treatment and acceptance) toward such individuals. The idea that an unbelieving mate or children, due to sanctification, have the ability to “see” the truth on a spiritual plane if they would just simply choose to listen to or read it is not true, nor is such judgment toward them right or even fair.
Previous to covering this matter of sanctification of an unbelieving mate, three specific groups were categorized of those who “have not been called” (1a, b, & c). A fourth group has now been introduced who would be categorized as 1d. That group would consist of those “who have been sanctified, who are not against God.” All four groups are separate and distinct, and each must be understood for who they are when it comes to judging righteous judgment.
Under this fourth group, it is very important to also make the distinction between those “who are against God,” and those “who have been sanctified, who are not against God.” The reason for this is because it must be understood that anyone who is in the state of being “against God” can never be sanctified to come into God’s presence while in that state. This means that if only one mate has been called and is baptized into the Church, then the other unbelieving mate and any children can only be sanctified if they are not against God.
Additionally, if an unbelieving mate and/or children are sanctified and then at any time turn against God, then they are then no longer sanctified and cleansed to be in God’s presence within the environs of the Church. It needs to be emphasized that they are simply in the category of those who have “not been called” of God, “who are against God” (1c). It is important to understand that these are to be clearly seen and judged as those who are “against God,” whose group and their characteristics have already been addressed.
What has now been covered to this point concerning all four groups (1a, b, c, & d) should give far greater insight and discernment for judging those who have not been called of God.
Indeed, it is an awesome thing to understand what God is saying about those who can receive sanctification in order to be in His presence. As Hebrews 9:13-14 was covered in the previous section, God is showing that sanctification (to be in God’s presence on a physical plane) to cleanse a mate or any children is not by the sprinkling of ashes of a heifer, but by the life of God and Christ dwelling “in” a believing mate, who has been sanctified to be in God’s presence on a spiritual plane.
Affect of Sanctification
It now needs to be stated that the children of two believing parents (begotten of God through the sacrifice of Christ) are also sanctified in the same manner as when one parent is “in” God’s Church. This also means that they are not owed a calling, but that God may do so according to His will.
Indeed, a sanctified mate and sanctified children are cleansed in order to be able to come into God’s presence on a physical plane in much the same manner as ancient Israel was, but with the potential of far greater blessings. Such are able to attend Sabbath services (weekly and yearly, but never Passover) and other functions where Church members gather together. They are always welcome, if they are sanctified.
God’s purpose in training, molding, and transforming a believing mate can carry determining factors for “when” the unbelieving mate might be called. Such things are fully a matter of God’s personal calling, timing, and purpose. In addition, a sanctified mate’s and/or sanctified children’s attitude and response to God concerning what they can see through physical knowledge (as with the Israelites) can also have a bearing on God’s response and grace (with a calling) that He may choose to grant them.
That is why Paul went on to explain the importance of a called mate’s “example” in faithfully living God’s way. That example and love (agape – true giving and sacrificing love) they learn to live toward others, including the example of those in the Church, which should be doing the same, can have a strong bearing on an unbelieving (sanctified) mate’s response to God and the Church. However, the “calling” is always according to God’s purpose. In some cases, He may choose to call someone, and in other cases, not to call someone at a specific moment in time. Yet, a believing mate’s “example” and that of the Church should always be a right one, even though that may have no impact on a loved-one’s life. It is still a matter of God’s calling, and in what He may have purposed for such an individual, even as to when it is the best time to grant them salvation (a calling).
“For how do you know, Oh wife, whether you shall save your husband (as explained above concerning one’s example and resulting impact it may have)? Or how do you know, Oh husband, whether you shall save your wife” (1 Cor. 7:16)?
Every baptized parent desires that their child (or children) will receive what God offers to them in knowledge and truth (on a physical plane) of how to live life, with the hope that they will then choose to live by those things. There are far too many factors to be addressed here, in any real depth, which have strong bearing upon a child’s response or even their ability to respond to truth that is made available to them through sanctification. Their learning is primarily limited on a physical plane, except where God may grant deeper spiritual insight into some things (because of His purpose in their life). Therefore, differing circumstances such as God’s purpose, the age of a child or children at the time of a parent’s or parents’ calling, the influence of friends, an unbelieving mate’s (if applicable) attitude and response to the Church, primary inherited and learned traits, parental and Church examples, etc., determine a wide variety of responses from children.
Although the sanctification of ancient Israel, and then that of the sanctification of a mate and children, has been to grant a presence on a physical plane to come before God, there is also a big difference between the two. That difference concerns the level (depth) of knowledge that God has granted to those sanctified to Himself, His Son, and to His Church. Not only can far greater knowledge on a physical plane be gleaned, but also much understanding as well. This is the result of God’s progressive revelation of Himself and His purpose to mankind ever since the days of ancient Israel. Just the simple matter of additional Biblical history that has unfolded, as well as the addition of many books of the Bible, especially of that in the New Testament writings, has incredibly enhanced the potential for far greater knowledge and understanding.
Such vastness of knowledge and understanding given within the environs of the Church are awesomely powerful because the Church has the “truth” of such matters, whereas the world does not. It is primarily the children who have been sanctified who have an ability to be molded in such truth on a physical plane. The younger a child is able to begin having such an experience, and the longer their exposure in a positive and truthful environment is, the greater the potential will be for a child to make better decisions when they are of a more mature age; however, that does not mean they will. All of this is far beyond what the ancient Israelites had.
It would also be good at this point to mention that in recent years God has made it evident that He has given children greater insight and greater ability to grasp on a spiritual plane than in times past. This has much to do with the advantage many are now being given since they will also have opportunity to be the first generation to live on into the Millennium.
It should also be obvious that a longer, more positive exposure, combined with the willing positive response of children, has much to do with God receiving them (in order to offer a calling) once they are of a matured age to choose God’s way of life for themselves. God’s will is to work in families and to grant them (primarily the children) favor (grace) if they respond in a good way toward God and His Church, and if a parent who is called is continually faithful to God.
Having addressed some of the varying aspects of sanctification, it is now necessary to look back over time in order to be able to better grasp and understand God’s purpose in those whom He has been calling into the environs of the Church from its beginning. Foremost, God has been calling those whom He has chosen to teach, train, fashion, and transform into a creation of the 144,000 who are to be resurrected into His Family. They will fulfill a completed and perfected number of spirit beings who form God’s government to serve with Christ at his return.
However, not all who have been called to have a spiritual relationship with God and to become impregnated with His holy spirit over the past nearly 2,000 years have been called to that specific purpose (to be in the 144,000). Presently, the strongest evidence of this is contained in the recent history of the Church. Of the many tens of thousands “called” during Philadelphia and Laodicea, God only purposed that an extremely small remnant would be awakened spiritually following the Apostasy. Then, of that small remnant that was awakened, only a fraction was to be sealed in order to fulfill the very small remaining number that would complete the final total of the 144,000.
Incredibly, God’s purpose has always been that a vast majority (63,000) of those called during Philadelphia and Laodicea and that are still alive toward the very end of this age (shortly before Christ’s actual coming) would be awakened spiritually from the sleep that followed the Apostasy. The purpose for this is so that they would be part of the beginning foundation of the Church at the start of the Millennium (Rev. 11:13).
God also predetermined that 7,000 (ten percent of a total of 70,000) would not live into that new age, but would die and be resurrected in the final 100 years. Many of these include the ministry, other leadership, and influential individuals from those two eras. The reason for this is that many of these individuals were held to a higher accountability for their actions in the time period just preceding and following the Apostasy. These individuals are not being allowed to immediately enter a greater “promised land” (the Millennium), but will have to wait until the Great White Throne to experience it.
All of this clearly reveals that 70,000 of the approximate 96,000 baptized members at the time of the Apostasy were never called for the purpose of becoming part of the 144,000. For the most part, they had been called to be among those who would live (physical lives) on into the reigning age of Christ’s rule in order to be the starting foundation of the Millennial Church at that time. However, there was a portion of these who experienced trial and testing (especially just preceding and following the Apostasy) to reveal their response (individual free choices) in order to determine if they might be among some of those who would be “chosen” and prepared to be among the firstfruits.
This group of 63,000 comprises those who fit into the categorized group mentioned earlier as “those who have been called” (2c). These are those “who became scattered after the Apostasy, but had not been formally disfellowshipped from God’s true Church.” These have been called and “chosen” to live on into the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Having addressed the “small remnant” and the 70,000 from the time of the Apostasy, the question that still remains is, “What about all of the others (approximately 26,000) who had once been part of the Worldwide Church of God?” That answer will follow after further understanding of what God is giving concerning “how and why” He has called various ones into the environs of the Church.
The first phase of God’s plan of salvation has always been to make ready His firstfruits to reign in His Kingdom with Christ, at his coming. During the first 4,000 years, God called and worked more directly and meticulously with those who would comprise some of the major portions of the structure and organization of His future ruling Family of the 144,000. In the nearly 2,000 years following this, a far greater number of people began to be called into His Church in order to fully fill and prepare the larger remaining structure of that government, which would be finished being built just before Jesus Christ would come as King of all kings within that ruling body. To accomplish this, God began drawing and calling “many” of whom “few would be chosen,” the few He would “select” to complete the 144,000.
Ever since the Church had been established on Pentecost in 31 AD, there are “many” who have been called, of which “few” became part of the 144,000. Although called, most were not meant to become part of this governing body. There are a lot of reasons why “many” have been called. The overall, predominant reason was to provide an environment in which some parts were to be good and a lot would be bad, in order to better teach, try, and test a “select group” through actual experiences in life that would work to mold and prepare them for God’s ruling Kingdom.
The mind does not become convicted and transformed by simply receiving instruction and then growing in knowledge. Knowledge given from God, along with the ability to understand it, is more firmly established in the mind because of choices and judgments one must make through personal convictions that are formed as a result of difficult experiences in life. Such experiences are designed to produce responses (whether right or wrong – a matter of free choice) that define an individual. These are experiences that require judgment and response, which cannot be simply ignored (as even that is a choice). When yielding to God’s holy spirit, this process of “actually experiencing” the knowledge and truth God has given, enhances conviction of God’s ways, and then works to indeed transform the mind.
Not An Environment of Peace
Within the environs of the Church, God created a wide varying range of environments to be experienced, in which His called “select” (those in the 144,000) could be transformed and fitted (molded) into His ruling Family. It was not to be an environment of peace and tranquility within the world, and not even within the environs of the Church. Those in God’s Church are told that they can have real peace, but that is through being in God and Christ, which comes from living in unity with God through confidence and faith in His plan and purpose being worked out in oneself. It is a “spiritual” peace of the mind one can have in their relationship, with comfort and trust in God working in them and in the Church.
However, Christ made it clear, as we have already looked at a portion of what he said, that we were not called to have peace “in the world,” and that includes not having peace in many of the relationships that have been within the environs of the Church. It is so very important to grasp the significance in what Christ stated about a great number of our relationships, as “few” have survived this portion of the process that has “worked” in their calling.
The “many” have succumbed to strong pulls from unbalanced, unsound, adversarial, and/or improper relationships that have led to their making wrong choices. This in itself is an environment within and outside the Church that can be witnessed and/or experienced that can help produce deeper conviction and transformation “in those who yield” to God working in them. Those who make wrong choices through what they witness and/or experience, no matter why those wrong choices were made, results in not being amongst the final “chosen” of those “called and chosen” by God to be in His reigning government.
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against (to not be in agreement or harmony because of the truth – in opposition due to it) his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household (family). He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me (not worthy of a relationship with God and Christ), and he who loves a son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:34-38).
Division, disagreement, and opposition always become manifest in close relationships once a person is called to receive God’s truth – when called into the Church. It is at such a time as this that “many” are tried and tested as to whether or not they will put God first in their life. Such division, disagreement, and opposition not only occur quickly in the beginning in close relationships in family (with those not called) and other close relationships, but in time, the exact same thing will try “many” as this also occurs in relationships within the environs of the Church itself. Too often, people have not made it clear to others that they “stand” firm in putting God first in their life. Instead, they have often been deceitful with members of the Church by making various excuses why they must limit their time with them in order to placate another. They can also become deceitful in a relationship they have with the person who is disgruntled (because of that relationship the other has with the Church) and too often they are found compromising by giving into demands, harassment, etc. Being deceitful is not of God. It is a spirit of lying.
God has given us the analogy of planting seeds and raising crops to help us better understand the necessity for the “adverse” environs of the Church to exist in order to enable the creation of spiritual growth in firstfruits. This process makes it possible to have plants that can become mature and thereby produce varying levels of yield (fruit/grain). The Parable of the Sower (Mat. 13:18-23, Mk. 4:14-20, & Lk. 8:4-15) and the Parable of the Tares (Mat. 13:24-30, 36-43) reveals much about this process. Rather than quoting here all that is stated about these two parables, a simple summarized comparison will be given to explain this process of “many” being called, but “few” who are chosen. This is all in the context of those whom God has called to potentially be among the firstfruits (the 144,000).
In the Parable of the Sower, seed is sown; some seeds fall by the wayside, some among stones, and other among areas where weeds (thorns) spring up and work to choke out the seed. This pictures the condition and effect of the world as it has been over the past 6,000 years. It is a world filled with adversity toward God, His Son, His Church, and His word. In the Millennium and the Great White Throne, these same conditions in which there is such a lack of good ground in which to plant the seed will not exist. Most of what is described as preventing growth and production is either more directly from Satan (and his demons) or is the product of what Satan has produced in the world that works directly against God’s word and spirit to produce growth.
God knows and has always known where the seed is sown. In order to be in God’s ruling government in His Kingdom (in position and placement), the 144,000 were predetermined and designed to be molded and constructed (created) in an “adverse” environment. Much of that environment is the simple result (effect) of where the seed fell, and where it fell is the result of the response – the free choice – of those who were given the opportunity of a calling. Although God knew that the result of free choice following a calling would be that only a “few” would be chosen to be in His government (the 144,000), He also provided a means to “save the spirit” of many of these in another time.
We understand that the angels and mankind were created with the ability of “free choice” by being made free moral agents. However, for the creation of a highly faithful angelic realm, God knew that for a long period of time “peace” would have to be sacrificed. From the time that “free choice” led to adversity, divisiveness, and disagreement with God, “peace” has not existed in the angelic realm (nor on earth) and will not be fully reestablished until Satan and the demons no longer are in existence. But from that time, when peace no longer reigned, until now, the angels who remained faithful to God, through all that they have witnessed millennia upon millennia, have become stronger through this time in their conviction of God’s great power, wisdom, might, and “right way” (in all His perfect ways being right).
In a similar manner, in order for the creation of a highly trained and strong government of 144,000 in God’s Kingdom, peace within the world, within families and other close relationships, and even within the environs of the Church, would not exist, but instead, much adversity. It is through the process of those who are “faithfully yielding” to the power of God’s holy spirit to work in them in this kind of adversarial environment that the creation of such a government is possible.
It is important to know that there are also “many” whom God has reserved from among the seven eras of the Church (of all who have died prior to Christ’s coming) who will be resurrected in the Great White Throne. A large portion of these were “never called” to become part of the 144,000. Yet another substantial portion of these had been called and then tried and tested to reveal their response (individual free choices) in order to determine if they might be among those who would be chosen and then prepared to be among the firstfruits. For as we understand, all who are chosen, who are of the “few” (of the many called), must first be tried and tested before being chosen. So all of these who were not called to the specific purpose of being among the firstfruits, and all of those who were called to potentially be among the firstfruits, but who were not chosen, comprise those who fell by the wayside, upon stony areas, or in areas where weeds (thorns) choked them out. All of these became those who would be witness (during the Great White Throne) of the various Church eras and of the conditions that existed for God’s Church at those times.
In a similar manner to those who will comprise the foundation of the Church at the beginning of the Millennium, there are those from the seven eras, from among the “many,” who will help comprise the beginning foundation of the Church at the beginning of the 100-year period. In all that these people have witnessed in life during the time-period they lived in, along with the knowledge they had received within the environs of the Church, they will witness and be part of a great resurrection that will (to a large degree) stir them to deep repentance. The awesome advantage of truth they had received and those things they had witnessed within the Church will work to help thrust them ahead of all others at the beginning of this Great White Throne. These will comprise that beginning foundation along with those who will continue to live on from the end of the Millennium and into that final age of salvation offered to mankind.
A very large portion of the “many” who have been called through time will be resurrected physically and awakened spiritually at the beginning of the final 100-years. There is also a sizable portion of these who had fallen by the wayside, upon stony areas, or where weeds choked them out who turned against God to the degree that they became set against Him. Such people will be in the resurrection to judgment that follows the Great White Throne.
It is this group (who became set against God) that make up “some” of the number of the 26,000 mentioned earlier that had been in the Worldwide Church of God. But an even larger portion of these (the 26,000) are from a group who are described in the Parable of the Tares.
In that parable, it shows how Satan planted seeds (tares) that were not of God’s doing (of those not called by Him), but allowed by God. Not only were those who were called by God to be tried and tested in relationships once someone began to fall by the wayside, or among stones, or weeds, but they were also tested and tried by those who were fully false members – plants of Satan. These consist of a wide variety of people of which nearly all simply left in time or were disfellowshipped (although they were never in a true fellowship with God anyway).
Those who became set against God and those who were tares comprise that number of 26,000 who had been in the Worldwide Church of God or who were pseudo-members of the organization.
Of a final note concerning the tares, it needs to be noted that they consisted of two primary groups of people. There were those who were simply deceived and influenced by Satan to feign conversion or they were of a more sinister group who were (or became) “set against” God. Those large numbers of tares that were deceived and falsely influenced will have opportunity of a calling in the Great White Throne, while those set against God will be resurrected to judgment afterward.
(Part 14 will follow.)