Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Questionable Eternal Security, Part II-C: Psalm 69:27-28

“‘Charge them with crime upon crime; DO NOT LET THEM SHARE IN YOUR SALVATION. MAY THEY BE BLOTTED OUT OF THE BOOK OF LIFE and not be listed with righteous.’ Some believe this is referring to the book of eternal life, namely, the Lamb’s ‘book of life’ (Rev. 13:8), which records the names of all the saved (cf. 3:5; 20:15)…this, however, is unlikely. First, these people are God’s ‘enemies’ (Ps. 69:4, 18, 19), who do not ‘share in…[God’s] salvation’ (v.27). Thus, they are unbelievers, whose names never were in the Lamb’s book of life” (Norman Geisler, “Four Views on Eternal Security,” by J. Matthew Pinson, General Editor. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002, page 93).

First, let’s read Psalm 69:27-28—

27 Add guilt to their guilt;
do not let them share in Your righteousness. (AB)
28 Let them be erased from the book of life
and not be recorded with the righteous. (Psalm 69:27-28, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

First, let me say that Geisler’s translation of this verse is incorrect. The word he uses for “salvation” is “dikaiosune,” which is “righteousness.” David uses a word for “salvation,” and that is the word “soteria.”

Next, he states that the enemies of David are “God’s enemies”; however, the verses he quotes show that those mentioned are only David’s enemies: In verse 4, David calls them “my deceitful enemies”; in verse 18, he calls them “my enemies”; in verse 19 he calls them “my adversaries.” Never are they referred to as God’s enemies.

Then, Geisler states that the enemies in question “do not share in God’s salvation.” The first problem is that, as mentioned above, the Greek word here in the Greek OT (Septuagint) is “dikaiosune,” which means “righteousness,” not “soteria” (salvation). The second problem with Geisler’s statement is that David does not say that they do not share in God’s righteousness. David cries out for God with the words, “DO NOT LET THEM SHARE in Your righteousness.” He’s calling on God for divine revenge.

Geisler’s next words are as follows:

“Moreover, the Old Testament refers to many ‘books,’ none of which are the book of salvation in which the names of the elect are recorded (Rev. 21:27). There is the book that counts all the living (Ps. 87:6), the book that recounts the events of our lives (56:8), the book that keeps track of the days of our lives (51:1). None of these is the Lamb’s book of life, the book of eternal life that records from all eternity who is saved. These ‘books’ are in fact probably all figures of speech describing God’s omniscience about things in this life” (93).

Geisler’s statement above shows that he’s forgetting one book: that which Moses and the Lord dialogue about in Exodus after the people worship the golden calf:

“So Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Oh, this people has committed a great sin; they have made for themselves a god of gold. Now if You would only forgive their sin. But if not, please erase me from the book You have written.’ The LORD replied to Moses: ‘Whoever has sinned against Me I WILL ERASE FROM MY BOOK’” (Exodus 32:31-33, HCSB).

We read the words of the Lord God here in Exodus 32, where He tells Moses that sin can get someone’s name “erased from My book.” Since the subject matter involves sin and eternity, what other book could be discussed but the Lamb’s Book of Life? None of the other books involve the subject matter of salvation than the Book of Life.

Last but not least, Geisler states that blotting names out of the Lamb’s Book is impossible:

“Finally, Psalm 69 cannot be referring to the Lamb’s book of life since no name can be blotted out of that book. Jesus said: ‘I will NEVER blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels’ (Rev. 3:5), and all the names of the elect have been in it for eternity (17:8; cf. 13:8)” (94).

The problem with Geisler’s statement above regarding Revelation 3:5 is that he ignores context in his assessment. Let’s look at Revelation 3:1-5—

1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: "The One who has the seven spirits of God (A) and the seven stars says: I know your works; you have a reputation [a] for being alive, but you are dead. 2 Be alert and strengthen [b] what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God. 3 Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it, and repent. But if you are not alert, I will come [c] like a thief, and you have no idea at what hour I will come against you. [d] 4 But you have a few people [e] in Sardis who have not defiled [f] their clothes, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, (B) but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels. (Revelation 3:1-5, HCSB)

When the Lord talks about “never” erasing names from the book of life, He promises to do this only with “the victor,” or “the one who overcomes.” There is a qualifier to the ones whose names will never be blotted out of the book. The church at Sardis, in context, was lagging in its devotion to the Lord and its perseverance. The Lord told the church “if you are not alert, I will come like a thief, AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA AT WHAT HOUR I WILL COME AGAINST YOU.” This, then, sounds like the church itself was on the verge of losing its heavenly possession, since the Lord was promising to come AGAINST HIS CHURCH! Notice that the Lord tells the church in verse 1 that they are “dead” and “I have not found your works COMPLETE before My God” (v.2). Only a few people in this church had remained in the truth.

Psalm 69 does involve the Lamb’s Book of Life; and David prayed that his enemies would be taken out of it. If this is simply a figure of speech, the burden of proof lies on Geisler’s shoulders.

No comments: