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In order that there is no doubt that the existence of a group known as the elect of the Holy Spirit is based on what is written rather than on some delusional interpretation, it is essential that every elect knows the roots and history of what they belong to.

Jesus Himself told the Jews who wanted to make Him King but grumbled about His teachings, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him…” and to those ‘disciples’ who were grumbling about the hard teaching of having to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless the Father has enabled him,” so that disciples who had made themselves disciples rather than being chosen by Him left.  Only the twelve remained, even when Jesus challenged them, “You do not want to leave too, do you?”

However, when speaking to the disciples, in particular to John, James, Peter and Andrew on one of their last nights on the Mount of Olives, Jesus made mention of a group called the elect of the Lord… “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive.  But for the sake of the elect, whom He has chosen, He has shortened them,” concerning the times of the end.  Aside from this one reference, the Lord Jesus made no further comments nor did He teach on whom these elect are that the Holy Spirit, the Lord, would choose in the end times.  There was no need for Jesus to teach His disciples about the elect of the Holy Spirit.  What was more important in the time remaining was that Jesus knew that He had to continue to concentrate on teaching them that which had yet to be taught (John 14, 15, 16).  He had spent time reminding them of the earlier teachings of their first year with Him as He journeyed from Ephraim in the past weeks.  Now in the days and hours remaining, He would have to finish their teaching to prepare them for the days ahead.  Perhaps by then He already knew they would not obey the command to go to Galilee on resurrection morning.  He already foreknew the Holy Spirit would have problems with His believers and disciples so that finally when the end of the church age would come, the Holy Spirit would have to take some independent action of His own and choose men and women from His believers and disciples who would be instrumental to effect the fulfilment of the scriptures required for His return.  Did I say perhaps?  No, Jesus foreknew as God foreknew and as Moses foretold of Israel’s rebellion

The history of the church the last 2,000 years is no unanticipated surprise for the Lord, just not the result or history They would have wanted.  The failure of the eleven to go to Galilee immediately in response to the messages from the women was no surprise as such.  It was just that God had hoped for better.  That remains the essential truth about God’s relationship with all men.  Never forget, elect, God is surprised by nothing but always hopes for something better.  That is why, as Peter wrote for us, God is patient with us, not willing that anyone should perish but all to come to repentance.  That there will be men and women who refuse His grace and mercy does not surprise God.  It is just that He hopes there will be none.

As such, the role of the elect is not found in the teachings of Jesus, except that every elect of the Holy Spirit must come through being first a believer and then a disciple.  There can be no unbelievers among the elect nor those who will not complete their allotted training and practice in discipleship by the Holy Spirit.

In order that we, when we come into our time, can have a firm foundation to stand upon and that indeed the Holy Spirit does chose one and ones as His elect, it pleased the Lord to give us two forerunners of men (or women) of His choosing.  Men (or women) chosen by the Holy Spirit to be set aside for the work He has for them.  He did this in Acts 13.2 when He said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,” at the Antioch church.  These two are the prototypes, if you like, of those who are by now being set aside by the Holy Spirit for the work to which He will call them.  And it is a different work from that which Jesus has given, but it does not exclude the work of Jesus for His believers and disciples.

Indeed, every elect will, without the need of prompting, find themselves continuing to do the work of a believer and a disciple – preaching the gospel and confirming it with signs following as well as practising the words of Jesus so that all may see that which they are doing is from God.

The work of every elect is therefore not exclusive of the work of believers and disciples, but encompasses them and extends them to where the Holy Spirit sends them.  Elects preach and evangelise as believers do, and testify as believers do.  However, even as they are doing that, their attention is focused also on what the Holy Spirit has set them apart for.

Luke does not tell us what the Holy Spirit set apart Paul and Barnabas for.  However, we do not need to know what the Holy Spirit had in mind through words, for the actions and lives of Paul and Barnabas show us.

When you study the ministries of Paul and Barnabas, you see them doing the apostolic work of every believer and disciple – preaching the gospel, healing the sick, driving out demons, establishing churches from the believers and giving those churches a foundation for longevity through discipleship.  No different from what Peter, James, John and all the other disciples and believers were doing.  However, it is the things that the others were not doing or writing to us about or teaching that sets Barnabas and in particular Paul apart.

Firstly, look at the basis for their election by the Holy Spirit.  In the case of Barnabas, he was a man who gave support to the work rather than being supported by the work.  In Acts 4.36-37, Barnabas… sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet. Look at his name… Barnabas… which means Son of Encouragement.

It was Barnabas who took Paul to meet the apostles when the rest were afraid of Paul because of his history… and it was Barnabas who chose to take Mark when Paul rejected Mark for an earlier failure, and through his effective discipleship, turned Mark into someone whom Paul would include again in his ministry later.  Barnabas, the first named by the Holy Spirit, had the ability to meet the needs of the church as he saw it and more importantly, he had the ability to see the potential in those whom the others rejected.

When the church was afraid of Paul, Barnabas took Paul to meet the apostles.  When Paul did not want to have anything more to do with Mark, Barnabas took Mark under his wing so that Mark would become the writer of the gospel of Mark and tell us, “And these signs will accompany those who believe:  In My Name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well,” so that we who believe would have the assurance that which we preach is not in vain or in error because of the signs that accompany our preaching.  And if these signs are absent, so likewise we would know we have preached in error.  Now that is good news for all believers and those who hear the message preached.  Good news because the hearer can be shown what is the true message by the signs that accompany, and the preacher can know if he has preached correctly or in error.  Yes, elect, Mark’s gospel is Mark 16.15-17… he was an apostle.  (As an exercise, can you see what is Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel?)

Paul’s case appears more obvious for his election and indeed it was… for we know him to be zealous to a fault, even becoming murderous in his zeal, except that which he was doing – imprisoning and killing the followers of the Way – was permitted, no, demanded by the Mosaic Law he served under.  However, Paul, being a Pharisee of Pharisees, knew his scriptures, and indeed that is the reason that Paul had been able to write to us about the difference between the Old and New Covenants.  His expertise in the scriptures was the reason for his election.  An expertise that would allow him to truthfully oppose Peter to his face without malice because of the hypocrisy Peter was practising.  Peter would not have had a command and understanding of the Mosaic scriptures as Paul did, so the gravity of his offence in attempting to appease those who belonged to the circumcision group may not have been evident to him.  However, Paul’s knowledge of the Levitical laws and traditions allowed him to see that a Jew who has drunk the blood of Jesus is no longer a Jew, and therefore to live as a Jew is hypocritical.  Barnabas’ knowledge of scripture was obviously on par with Peter’s… for as Paul wrote for us:  The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

The ability to encourage and take those rejected and turn them into great men of God and a thorough knowledge and command of scriptures are the two hallmarks of your predecessors, elect.  The Holy Spirit did not set aside more than these two for His work and indeed we are not told what that work was.  However, their ministries give us a clue.  He did not elect more than Barnabas and Saul because the bulk of the elects were not needed till the time of the end.  Barnabas and Saul were the two witnesses, the two templates, needed for us to mould ourselves after to see what are the qualities needed for those who are electable from amongst the believers and disciples of Jesus Christ.

As for the work – to make ready and keep ready the church of Jesus Christ for His arrival, even if it means opposing those who are reputed to be apostles to their face.

Elects must come from true believers, that is, those who have signs and wonders accompanying their message… in particular, the five signs.  There are many believers who may be genuine in their faith but cannot deliver a message that is fit for confirmation with signs.  Remember, this is not a question about their faith or salvation.  By their faith they are saved.  Rather, this is about their suitability for election.  A believer whose message is not deemed fit by the Holy Spirit to confirm with signs accompanying is not suitable for election.

But signs and wonders do not a disciple make, for a believer has yet to pay the price of discipleship… the price that is beyond the usual price of discipleship of leaving family, fields, houses and so on.  Those who are suitable from amongst the believers will not only be willing to pay the price of normal discipleship, but also the price of becoming like their forebears, Barnabas and Saul.  They are encouragers… giving out of themselves and able to see the potential in those rejected by others, and not just able to see, but to pay the true price of discipleship and that is, to make disciples of those who are different, those who have failed and even those who were once our murderous enemies, like Barnabas did to Saul and Mark.  They are also prepared to pay the price of study and learning to acquire the expertise, not just faith, no, an expertise and command of scripture to exceed Paul’s knowledge of his scriptures… if that were possible.

Indeed, as Paul wrote, the household of God is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ Himself as the Chief Cornerstone, so too the elect of the Holy Spirit remain very much a part of that household… built on the foundation of apostles and prophets (for Barnabas and Saul were prophets and apostles) with Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone… for our existence was foretold by Christ Himself in Mark 13.20… now raised up so that together with the household of God, we will be ready to receive Jesus Christ as the Chief Capstone when He returns to reign upon the Earth in His millennium.

This then is the history, the foundation, the root and the seed, so that you may know who you are and be what you will be, elect of the Lord, the Holy Spirit, for whose sake He will shorten these days.

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