Question: “Who are the elect of God?”
Answer: Simply put, the “elect of God” are those whom God has predestined to salvation. They are called the “elect” because that word denotes the concept of choosing. Every four years in the U.S., we “elect” a President—i.e., we choose who will serve in that office. The same goes for God and those who will be saved; God chooses those who will be saved. These are the elect of God.
As it stands, the concept of God electing those who will be saved isn’t controversial. What is controversial is how and in what manner God chooses those who will be saved. Throughout church history, there have been two main views on the doctrine of election (or predestination). One view, which we will call the prescient or foreknowledge view, teaches that God, through His omniscience, knows those who will in the course of time choose of their own free will to place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation. On the basis of this divine foreknowledge, God elects these individuals “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). This view is held by the majority of American evangelicals.
The second main view is the Augustinian view, which essentially teaches that God not only divinely elects those who will have faith in Jesus Christ, but also divinely elects to grant to these individuals the faith to believe in Christ. In other words, God’s election unto salvation is not based on a foreknowledge of an individual’s faith, but is based on the free, sovereign grace of Almighty God. God elects people to salvation, and in time these people will come to faith in Christ because God has elected them.
The difference boils down to this: who has the ultimate choice in salvation—God or man? In the first view (the prescient view), man has control; his free will is sovereign and becomes the determining factor in God’s election. God can provide the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, but man must choose Christ for himself in order to make salvation real. Ultimately, this view diminishes the biblical understanding of God’s sovereignty. This view puts the Creator’s provision of salvation at the mercy of the creature; if God wants people in heaven, He has to hope that man will freely choose His way of salvation. In reality, the prescient view of election is no view of election at all, because God is not really choosing—He is only confirming. It is man who is the ultimate chooser.
In the Augustinian view, God is has control; He is the one who, of His own sovereign will, freely chooses those whom He will save. He not only elects those whom He will save, but He actually accomplishes their salvation. Rather than simply make salvation possible, God chooses those whom He will save and then saves them. This view puts God in His proper place as Creator and Sovereign.
The Augustinian view is not without problems of its own. Critics have claimed that this view robs man of his free will. If God chooses those who will be saved, then what difference does it make for man to believe? Why preach the gospel? Furthermore, if God elects according to His sovereign will, then how can we be responsible for our actions? These are all good and fair questions that need to be answered. A good passage to answer these questions is Romans 9, the most in-depth passage dealing with God’s sovereignty in election.
The context of the passage flows from Romans 8, which ends with a great climax of praise: “For I am convinced that… [nothing] in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). This leads Paul to consider how a Jew might respond to that statement. While Jesus came to the lost children of Israel and while the early church was largely Jewish in makeup, the gospel was spreading among the Gentiles much faster than among the Jews. In fact, most Jews saw the gospel as a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23) and rejected Jesus. This would lead the average Jew to wonder if God’s plan of election has failed, since most Jews reject the message of the gospel.
Throughout Romans 9, Paul systematically shows that God’s sovereign election has been in force from the very beginning. He begins with a crucial statement: “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel” (Romans 9:6). This means that not all people of ethnic Israel (that is, those descended from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) belong to true Israel (the elect of God). Reviewing the history of Israel, Paul shows that God chose Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau. Just in case anyone thinks that God was choosing these individuals based on the faith or good works they would do in the future, he adds, “Though they [Jacob and Esau] were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls” (Romans 9:11).
At this point, one might be tempted to accuse God of acting unjustly. Paul anticipates this accusation in v. 14, stating plainly that God is not unjust in any way. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15). God is sovereign over His creation. He is free to choose those whom He will choose, and He is free to pass by those whom He will pass by. The creature has no right to accuse the Creator of being unjust. The very thought that the creature can stand in judgment of the Creator is absurd to Paul, and it should be so to every Christian, as well. The balance of Romans 9 substantiates this point.
As already mentioned, there are other passages that talk to a lesser extent on the topic of God’s elect (John 6:37-45 and Ephesians 1:3-14, to name a couple). The point is that God has ordained to redeem a remnant of humanity to salvation. These elect individuals were chosen before the creation of the world, and their salvation is complete in Christ. As Paul says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
Holy Spirit ministry functions through many and varied means. One of the not so common today is that of musicians prophesying on their instruments: that is, the ability to play prophetically on their instruments in such a way as to release the anointing to the people. Some musicians do know the joy of doing this. As they play, others are inspired to prophesy and release the revelation of God out of their lives!
“The prophetic musician sees further than the task of music, because it is a ministry requiring knowledge beyond the physical task of playing notes in the right order. It is a music of divine appointment to comfort, encourage, strengthen, confront and stir people to higher goals, or take us to another level of worship” (Excerpt from “The Musician” by Kerry Wright).
This is the realm where musicians can play prophetically, whereby the anointed tune — even a new tune — can actually enable the Holy Spirit to interpret the feeling and/or message of the tune to our hearts. As we listen intently while the musician plays (can be singular or plural), we “pick-up” the heart beat of God, and the theme of that heart beat is interpreted to us in the realm of our understanding. When that happens we can experience deep peace, joy, inspiration, even tears, as the Holy Spirit speaks. Yet no words have been spoken; only an anointed tune on an instrument.
MUSIC IS IMPORTANT:
“Music is very powerful because it is an expression, and particularly so because it relates to the emotions which are the most powerful feelings of all . . . Find a skilled, Spirit-led musician who can play prophetically over an individual, and we have a most powerful weapon of warfare that every musician should be aspiring to . . . A musician’s qualifications lies not in their skill, but in the spiritual discernment, sensitivity and obedience to their calling . . . The role of the musician is that of a ministering role; it is not merely to sing a few nice choruses”(Kerry Wright).
“There is a spiritual communication that greatly transcends any form of communication. It is profound and more meaningful than human words are able to articulate. Somehow it is a pure communication of the heart and mind together, and it is so pure that there is no possibility of misunderstanding. When I looked at the Lord I began to understand Him in the same way. We continued to use words, but the meaning of each one had a depth no dictionary could have ever captured” (Excerpt from “The Final Quest Vision” by Rick Joyner).
I see prophetic ministry, prophetic music and prophetic singing as being like that. It reaches far beyond the realm of our natural ability or understanding and lifts us into the very presence of God through the enabling of the Holy Spirit anointing being released out of us.
Music — the right kind of music — can play a very important role in the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Bible reveals that people were moved to prophesy with and under the blessing of musical instruments:
* The company of prophets had musical instruments with them when they prophesied (1 Samuel10:5-6).
* A harp was played by David to drive the evil spirit away from King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14-23 ; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 19:9 ).
* The anointing came on Elisha when the stringed instrument was played . . . and he prophesied: ” . . . But now bring me a harpist.” While the harpist was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha and he said, “This is what the Lord says . . .” (2 Kings 3 : 14- 20, NIV).
DAVID’S GREAT CHOIR:
David was a great music man. He could play skilfully himself (1 Samuel 16:16 ) and actually made a number of musical instruments for use in the house of worship. Music and singing were a major part of the worship services in his day. 1 Chronicles 23:5 tells us:
“And, said David . . . 4,000 are to praise the Lord with the instruments which I made for praise” (Amp. Bible).
Let us now look at 1 Chronicles 25:1-8 (NIV):
“David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: From the sons of Asaph:
Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision.
As for Jeduthun, from his sons:
Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord.
. . . All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him . . .
All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of the Lord. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king.
Along with their relatives — all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord — they numbered 288. Young and old alike, teacher as well as student, cast lots for their duties.”
The musicians — 288 of them! — prophesied with musical instruments.
(A psaltery is an ancient stringed instrument similar to the lyre, but having a trapezoidal — “no parallel sides” — sounding board over which the strings are stretched. A lyre is an ancient Greek stringed instrument consisting of a resonating tortoise shell to which a crossbar was attached by two projecting arms. It was plucked with a plectrum — “small piece of wood” — and used for accompanying songs – Collins Dictionary).
The NIV uses the word “lyre,” while the KJV uses the word “psaltery”.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PROPHESY?
The word “prophesy” in this chapter is translated from the Hebrew word “naba 2” meaning:
* “flowing (1), abundantly utter (1), belch out (1), pour out (3), send forth (1), utter (4)” (Young’s);
* “to prophesy, i.e. speak (or sing) by inspiration (in prediction or simple discourse):- prophesying, make self a prophet” (Strong’s);
* “to announce, to show, to deliver an oracle from God, to speak as God’s ambassador; to foretell future events; to sing songs or hymns: each implying divine inspiration” (Wilson’s).
Prophesying is all about ministering by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is more than natural talent and ability. It is the co-operating with the purposes of God to express — by word and deed — that which He desires. As we recognize His leadings in our lives we can yield to, and co-operate with, the anointing of the Spirit to release His supernatural purposes in a gathering. It is functioning under divine inspiration and revelation of the Holy Spirit to do that which He wants done. When that is happening the presence of Jesus becomes a blessed reality. The church is edified and needs are met as we flow with the Spirit of truth!
What Do We See In 1 Chronicles 25:1-8 ?
David saw music as an integral part of inspiring his army. He worked with his army commanders to set apart musicians and singers! (v.1).
Some were “separated to the [temple] service” (Amp.) for the ministry of prophesying with musical instruments (v.1). They were set apart to wait on their ministry, so they could function effectively under/in the anointing. The result: they inspired a whole army to rise and face the enemy very positively.
They prophesied under the king’s supervision (v.2). They did it for David’s desire — and it worked powerfully! How much more should we prophesy under King Jesus’ supervision?
Their prophetic music was used in thanking and praising the Lord (v.3). It was exaltation of the Lord Himself!
Those specifically chosen of the sons of Heman had a good hereditary background and upbringing. Heman was the king’s “seer” (v.5). “Seer” was the name by which prophets were known before (1 Samuel 9:9 ). The word is translated from the Hebrew “chozeh” meaning “a beholder in vision, prophet” (Strong’s). Heman would have instilled into his children the importance of knowing how to yield to the anointing.
The musicians and singers were under the supervision of their fathers (v.6), who were under the supervision of King David. This speaks of a teachable spirit, submission, obedience and accountability.
They were trained and skilled in music for the Lord — 288 of them! (v.7). They prophesied with musical instruments.
Teacher and student worked together (v.8). This teaches us the importance of training, mentoring and releasing others to bring about a continuity of creativity, skilfulness and quality of developing that prophetic cutting edge so necessary today.
Lots were cast for their duties (v.8). They never knew who they would specifically be playing their instruments with until the lot was cast. That meant they had to always be prepared for whatever and whoever. They were ready for when their name was called.
DAVID’S EXAMPLE WAS CONTINUED:
When we turn to 2 Chronicles 5:12-14 we see those families of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun in full flight (this is about 10 years after 1 Chronicles 25 ). Can you picture that great host of dedicated, anointed musicians and singers — all decked in their beautiful robes — standing near the altar with 120 priests blowing trumpets in unison in a sound of praise and thanksgiving to God?
Something was released in the spirit realm! The presence of God came among them in the form of a glory cloud. As it hit them they went down on the ground. They had touched heaven and heaven had touched them. What an awesome time it was; prophetic musicians and singers releasing the presence of God amongst the people. Praise the Lord!
In 2 Chronicles 29:25-31,36 (about 290 years after 1 Chronicles 25 ) we see the legacy of David had continued. Hezekiah was then king: “He (Hezekiah) stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer (“chozeh”) and Nathan the prophet (“nabi” meaning “a prophet or inspired man” -(Strong’s); this was commanded by the Lord through His prophets (“nabi”). So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets.
Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the Lord began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David, king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed . . . So the service of the temple of the Lord was re-established. Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced at what God had brought about for His people, because it was done so quickly” (NIV).
The prophetic men, David, Gad and Nathan, had inspired the people to carry on the great act of worship to God through the musicians and singers. The KJV says: “the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments” (2 Chronicles 29:27 ). That style of anointed, prophetic worship had been retained and was an important part of their services.
When we release the prophetic anointing through the musicians and singers, it creates an environment whereby God can re-establish the service of His house “so quickly” (v.36). The KJV says it was “done suddenly.”
A further 190 years on, in Ezra 3:10-13 (NIV), we read of the ministry of the musicians and singers, as prescribed by King David, being a major part of the celebration and worship at the laying of the foundation of the temple of God. They were there in their robes and in their place to praise the Lord! Their ministry created a very emotional atmosphere that had people expressing joy through shouting on the one extreme to weeping on the other.
In Nehemiah 12:27-47 we have the dedication of the Wall of Jerusalem. (This happened about thesame year as Ezra 3 .) Again the importance of music and singing is portrayed. They were sought out and brought together to Jerusalem and formed into two large choirs. A procession was led by Ezra, with the choirs going in opposite directions along the top of the wall, but meeting together and taking their place in the house of God (v.40). Then the choirs sang.
“They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the singers and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon. For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the singers and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. So in the days of Zerubbabel and of Nehemiah, all Israel contributed the daily portions for the singers and gatekeepers . . .” (NIV).
The musicians and singers occupied such an important function in David’s day (and beyond) that they were in full-time ministry, improving their skills and being in a state of readiness.
The Psalmist declared:
“Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines.
Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel . . .
Summon Your power, O God; show us Your strength, O God, as You have done before.
Because of Your temple at Jerusalem kings will bring You gifts . . .
Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord . . .
Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies.
You are awesome, O God, in Your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people.
Praise be to God!” (Psalm 68:24-35 , NIV).
Let’s face it: the unsaved know how to use music for their ends.
Look at Daniel 3:4-7,10-18 to see how Nebuchadnezzar used it to make people bow down to idolatrous gods!
“We are coming into a time when it will be extremely hazardous to play around with worship. A church would be better off with just one called and equipped musician, than a band full of people with good intentions but no calling” (Don Potter, “Morning Star” Journal).
My heart is to see our musicians and singers — both official and unofficial — released to fulfil their destiny in God. My prayer is that we Christian Leaders will set the platform for them to launch more and more into the prophetic realm, prophesying with their voices and with their instruments. They, in turn, will release the congregations of God’s people to soar more into the things of the Holy Spirit. When that happens we will experience that glory cloud of God in our midst in an awesome way!
In reviewing the eligibility and voting process, we have
decided to implement the following changes:
The 2015 Eligibility Period will be for projects released
from October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014.
Nominations will be announced thereafter.
Project Eligibility Criteria:
The Stellar Awards Executive Committee has decided on
the following criteria for project eligibility:
Technical quality, lyrics, voice quality, charting duration,
project content and charting performance will be
reviewed for inclusion on the ballot. Eligible entries will
be compiled into an entry list for the initial ballot. All
Stellar Awards Nomination Committee selections are
Each category is limited based on the dictate and
discretion of the Stellar Awards Nomination Committee
therefore all entries will not be included on the ballot
The project must have been released during the
eligibility period (October 1, 2013 to September 30,
The project must be sold and played nationally
The project must chart in the TOP 25 for AT LEAST
FOUR WEEKS on AT LEAST TWO of the Nielsen Charts
(Billboard, SoundScan, or BDS)
The person submitting the project must be a member of
the Stellar Awards Gospel Music Academy (SAGMA)
Online Submission Process Begins: September 1, 2014
We hope that you understand the changes. We look
forward to celebrating another wonderful year of Gospel
music with you.
Chairman & CEO, Central City Productions, Inc.
Executive Producer, The Stellar Gospel Music Awards
Stellar Awards Blogs
“My name is Monique Britton. I wanted
to get in on the blog action too. I am
that voice on the other line of the phone
that tries to answer all of your