WE ARE ELECT ONES KNOW OF GOD
FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
Acts 15:4-29: And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. - Since these Pharisees had nothing but the Old Testament to guide them they were going on the premise that if a Gentile wanted to be a part of Israel they had to be baptized. They had not spent 40 days having the scriptures revealed to them as had the 12 apostles and that Paul had directly learned from Jesus in Arabia. The Pharisees who insisted on the Gentile believers being circumcised thought that had the word of God on their side....
And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them:
Men and brethren, you know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, who knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying – cleansing their hearts by faith.
Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the lord Jesus God's anointed one we shall be saved, even as they.
Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon - Peter has declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
Notice: James refers to what Peter had already told them, but he uses an expression that is of great interest to us, and was indeed the explanation of the present work of grace. “God” he says, “at first did visit the Gentiles to take out a people for His name.” Now this is not the conversion of the Gentiles as predicted in the Old Testament.
The taking out of a people, instead of the conversion of the nations as such, was something very different from what was revealed by the prophets. This spoke of a special election from among the Gentiles and that for a particular purpose.
This is the work that God is doing now. God's present object is not the conversion of the nations but that all men will come the one He has sent His anointed one if they will, but God knows the end from the beginning and has foreseen that only a small number comparatively would actually receive the message of the coming Kingdom of God, and trust and totally commit to Jesus as their lord and savior. - We who are now members of the called-out Assembly of God who are totally committed to God and to his son Jesus are among those elect ones who have been called-out from among the nations!
Note: Ephesians 1: 3-6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in His anointed one: According as He has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated – marked us out beforehand unto the adoption of children by Jesus His anonted one to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the beloved - Jesus.
This small company is shown to be in the book of Acts as the Called-out Assembly of God and we read nothing about a called-out Assembly of God in the Old Testament.
But observe how James harmonizes the present work of God in taking out an elect people out from among the nations and he speaks about the prophecies of the conversion of all the nations in the future; i.e. after the return of the lord Jesus when he takes his place on the throne of David at Zion at the end of this age. James quotes from the Septuagint Amos 9:11-12: “After this,” that is, after the present work of God in taking a people out from among the nations is concluded, the Messiah will return again. It will be at that time that the residue of Israel will seek after the Lord and all the Gentiles upon whom His name will be called.
James recognized the great Parenthesis – 2,000 year span of time His dealing with Israel. He showed that the Called-out Assembly of God had been called-out as was to bear witness to the coming Kingdom of God during the parenthesis period of 2,000 years. At the return of the Messiah Jesus at the end of this age all the prophecies connected with Israel's restoration and the salvation of the nations that survive God's wrath will take place. James then says “Know unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world.”
Now back to Acts 15:
And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, says the Lord, who does all these things.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollution of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.