Does “Chance” Happen to All of Us?

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Most versions of the Bible have Ecclesiastes 9:11 translated something similar to what the King James Version has: “time and chance happens to them all.”

The Hebrew word translated “chance” is pega. It has the following words associated with its definition:

  • impact – (Strong)
  • happening (Brown-Driver-Briggs)
  • occurrence (Bullinger; Wilson; Young)
  • incident (Barnes)
  • encounter … intercession … to come together in meeting (Ancient Hebrew Lexicon)
  • circumstantial event (Baker-Carpenter)
  • literally, the coming to meet (Dabhar, footnote)

Any insertion of “chance” into the definition of pega is merely human interpretation. Green’s Literal Translation has, “For time and occurrence happen to them all.”

Albert Barnes (1798–1870) wrote regarding this phrase,

[Pega is] that which comes to us from without, one of the external events described in Ecclesiastes 3. (cf. Ecclesiastes 2:14 note) The word does not mean “chance,” independent of the ordering of Divine Providence: the Gentile notion of “mere chance,” or “blind fate” …

The various other ways that the KJV translates pega are:

come, cause to entreat, fall, meet, reach, intercession, intercessor, entreat, lay, light, prayer, reach, run.

For example, note how the KJV translates pega in Genesis 32:1.

And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met [pega] him.

Was this meeting by “chance,” or divine appointment? Here is what John Gill (1697-1771) said on this subject:

[Pega], or event, which is under the wise direction and order of the providence of God, with respect to Whom nothing comes by “chance”; and it is rendered “occurrent” (I Kings 5:4, [KJV]); and so it is here, by the Septuagint version, “occurrence” or “event”; … and Aben Ezra interprets it … “superior ordination”; it is something we meet, or meets us, by divine appointment.

“Chance” never comes into play in God’s creation; the simple fact is that divinely appointed “times and events” happen to us all.

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
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All in Father’s Design

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Father’s purpose in us is to awaken and enlighten us to the truth that this world and life are not our reality. It is His way of reminding us of who we really are, and what we really are, in Christ as part of His grand design for the ages, that He has a wondrous plan, purpose and place for us against which the things of this life pale in comparison, about which Paul said that all of this life is really nothing compared to the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory …” (II Corinthians 4:15-18) which one day will be “revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

Just think: One day Dad will use what the world sees as our pitiful imperfections – our brokenness, our divinely implanted flaws – as the display of His “abundant grace” (II Corinthians 4:15). Even in this life the outworking of death (“the dying of the Lord Jesus,” :10) in us has a glorious purpose: that the “life of Jesus might be manifested in our mortal bodies” which will eventually (and even now in some measure) “through the thanksgiving of many super-abound to the glory of God” (:15).

We read in :6 that God “commanded the light to shine out of darkness,” taking us back to Genesis, and in the same way God’s light “has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of His glory …” Imagine that! The same creative power of God that brought all of creation into existence is at work in us for the purpose of revealing “the light of the knowledge” of His Glory to the world around us, illuminating, as it were, “the face of Jesus Christ” to others!

When we read in :7 about “treasure in earthen vessels,” we are taken back to when God used just a very few of His people to defeat a huge army arrayed against Israel. These few had a light in earthen vessels, and then when the vessels were broken the light shone forth to reveal God’s awesome work. In the same way, God is working in His “not many” (I Corinthians 1:26) vessels of service; and it is in our brokenness that His light, “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ” (II Corinthians 4:4), shines forth to the world to reveal God’s awesome work!

This ministry spoken of in :1 is in the continuing context of chapter 3, and is a ministry of our being living, walking “epistles” (3:3), the purpose of which is to give “life” (:6). Our wonderful Father uses the troubles, perplexities, persecutions – all of the trials and tribulations of this life (4:8-9) – to deliver us to death, for the marvelous breaking of His vessels. Thus, while the world is busy attempting to show off their supposed superiority of supremacy, God ultimately reveals the futility of the “darkness” of their “blinded minds,” demonstrating the “excellency” of His power through us.

What a wonderful and glorious privilege and benefit it is for us that our Awesome Father has chosen us to use as weak, flawed, broken vessels in His service, so that ultimately the whole creation will see and understand the amazing knowledge and wisdom in all that He has done and said He will do.

Oh! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory throughout the ages. Amen! (Romans 11:33-36).

AndréAndré Sneidar

Relax!

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Relax and know that I am Elohim (Psalm 46:10, CV).

Only when we “relax” can we know God, and know that He is God. Only when we stop our incessant worrying, relentless striving and ceaseless chasing about the muck and mire of our circumstances – only then will we know that He is there in our presence, the calm in the midst of our storm, the anchor in our storm tossed sea, the rest in the turmoil of our struggle, our only peace in the depths of the raging battle within our soul. Relax!

AndréAndré Sneidar
O God, Where Art Thou?

All Humanity

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God’s love and care for humanity is so great that, He, the “Savior of all men” (I Timothy 4:10), has assured that they are eternally cared for through the Son of His Love, Who, as His provision, is the “Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

All that were lost in the first Adam will be restored in the last Adam. None of His creation will be eternally lost.

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a life-giving spirit (I Corinthians 15:45).

By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (Romans 5:18).

God, and God alone, will see to salvation’s full and complete accomplishment for “every man” – all in God’s own timing – “every man in his own order” (I Corinthians 15:22-23).

C2Pilkington-4Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

The Only One Taking Care of the Details

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After watching a DVD movie, I examined the special features at the end of the DVD which were about how the show was made. I was amazed at all of the work and supporting roles that go into the production of these movies and TV shows, and all of the details that have to be considered, not just during the actual production, but even beforehand in the planning stages.

It is really quite mind-boggling when you see it. There are so many people to handle all of the little details that go into the production of a one-hour TV show, not to mention other shows and movies of longer duration.

Then, as I thought about all of the details of Dad’s creation, about how much more detail is involved and on such a grander scale, and that He is the only One taking care of those details, I was filled with such a greater wonder and appreciation for Him and all that He has done!

AndréAndré Sneidar
Editor, Bible Student’s Notebook