Numbers 14:11-12 – The Disinheritance of a Rebellious Child

By Wayne Jackson

There are some religionists, in the tradition of John Calvin, who argue for the doctrine of the impossibility of apostasy. What these folks believe – and their sincerity is not in question – is this. It is utterly impossible for a child of God to so sin as to fall from grace and thus finally be lost.

They ask: “Is a child ever not a child?” They affirm that if one is ever a child of God, he or she will always be a child of God, and thus beyond the possibility of ever being eternally condemned.

This doctrine finds no support in the Scriptures, in spite of its popularity. To suggest that “once-a-child, always-a-child” is to adopt the fallacy of pressing a figure of speech too far.

Think about this. If the “once-a-child, always-a-child” quibble were true, then those who become children of Satan by their rebellion would remain children of Satan always, and no one, after reaching the age of accountability, could ever be saved.

The fact is, a rebellious child of God can be disinherited. Jehovah spoke regarding His covenant people during the Mosaic age:

“How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have wrought among them? I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them …” (Num. 14:11-12).

Underline the word “disinherit” and in your margin note: A rebellious child may be disinherited and so lose the hope of eternal life.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.