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Old 05-21-2018, 01:09 AM
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Esaias Esaias is offline
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The Doctrine of Predestination

(Please read all three posts before responding)

What is the doctrine of predestination? We need not confer with either Calvin, or Arminius, to discover the answer. We simply need to confer with the Bible.
Predestination: No occurrences in Scripture
Predestinate:
Rom_8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom_8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Predestinated:
Eph_1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph_1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
Predestine, predestined, predestinating: No occurrences in Scripture.
Predestinate is:
G4309
προορίζω
proorizō
pro-or-id'-zo
From G4253 and G3724; to limit in advance, that is, (figuratively) predetermine: - determine before, ordain, predestinate.
Total KJV occurrences: 6
G4309 occurs as follows:
Act 4:28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
As far as I can tell, the word does not appear in the Greek Old Testament (it is not showing up in a search of either the Apostolic Bible Polyglot or the LXX keyed to Strong's that I have).


From this data, we can see that the meaning of the term is simply to determine beforehand, to predetermine, or to ordain or decide that something shall be, before it comes to pass. From a linguistic point of view, that is all that can be determined. It will not do to make assumptions from the term itself and by itself about when the determinations take place. The theological or doctrinal meaning must be determined from the statements of Scripture and their respective contexts. So let's look at them.
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Last edited by Esaias; 05-21-2018 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:11 AM
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

In Acts 4:28, the reference is to the conspiracy against Jesus perpetrated by "Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel" (v 27). It is thus a reference to the fact that the arrest and crucifixion of Christ was predetermined by God. Jesus of course repeatedly tried to inform His disciples that is exactly what would happen, although they did not seem to understand these things until after His resurrection (see Luke 24:25-27).

In 1 Corinthians 2:7, Paul says the "mystery of God" which the apostles preached was predestined or "ordained" by God before the world (aion, or "age"). In v 8 he says the rulers of this world (aion, or "age") would not have crucified Christ if they had known this hidden, pre-ordained wisdom of God. So this mystery of God pertains to the Gospel and the spiritual truths contained in it, and this mystery of the Gospel was pre-ordained before the rise of the then current era or "aion" or "age". This of course ties into the reference in Acts, which speaks of Christ's suffering and death as being foreordained or pre-ordained by God,

In both these cases, "predestination" or "pre-ordaining" has to do with Christ and the Gospel being God's Plan, which He established or "ordained" before the then-current age. And of course, we can see the earliest hints of that Plan way back in the story of the Fall in Genesis, and indeed John declares the Word "was in the beginning" and then "was made flesh". So in these instances the term usually translated "predestinated" has to do with God's prior determination to send Messiah as a Suffering Servant and Sin Offering, to be rejected and put to death by the world rulers of both the Gentiles and of Israel, as well as to His resurrection and the propagation of the Good News of His Kingdom.

The two references in Ephesians speak more directly to the subject of people being "predestinated". Let's look at each instance, in context:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
(Ephesians 1:4-5)
Here, God chose us (the saints). He chose us in "him", that is, in Christ. This choosing took place "before the foundation of the world" (kosmos, or "orderly arrangement of things", ie the world "system" of that time). This choosing was for a purpose, that we should "be holy and without blame before Him in love". So then, this having been done, that is, our being chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world order meaning we have been "predestined" or previously ordained to the adoption of children by Christ, according to His good pleasure, etc.

In other words, we were chosen by God in the past, where it was decided that we would be adopted as children. More importantly, this choosing or previously being ordained occurred "in Christ". Christ himself of course was pre-ordained to be the Messiah. Our choosing by God and being ordained to be adopted as children occurs "in Him", that is, in Christ. Those who are in Christ are adopted as children, because it was previously ordained by God that all those who would be in Christ would become His children. We cannot be said to be "in Christ" until we were first born, and then repented and put on Christ, and were baptised into Christ. One cannot be "in Christ" unless one has been baptised into Christ. Therefore, although the pre-ordaining of adoption took place before the foundation of the world, this pre-ordaining or predestination concerns CHRIST, and we participate in that insofar as we are "in Christ".

Or to put it another way, we enter into the predestination and election unto adoption when we enter into Christ, and this was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Not that any particular individual was predestinated to become a Christian from eternity past, but that "in Christ" we all are adopted as children and elected or chosen by God, before the foundation of the world. The pre ordination does not concern any particular individual except Christ, but by being placed into Christ we participate in that election and are adopted. God had previously determined that those who are placed into Christ are to be adopted as children.

The second reference in Ephesians in context:
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
(Ephesians 1:10-12)
Paul says that eventually God will gather together all things together in one, in Christ, whether heavenly or earthly things. In Christ we have obtained an inheritance. Notice, this inheritance is not obtained by us except "in Christ". That is, we are determined by God to receive something. But this determination that we shall receive anything is only "in Christ", and therefore the inheritance is not predetermined to be ours personally, individually, in such a way that Christ simply becomes a convenient means for us to receive the inheritance. Rather, the inheritance is "in Christ", so that we have no inheritance whatsoever except insofar as we are in Christ. This again shows that the predestination or foreordaining of God has to do with Christ and all those who will be in Christ. What is predestinated is not that any particular individual will be in Christ, but that all those in Christ shall receive an inheritance.

He says we receive this inheritance in Christ "being predestinated according to the purpose of Him" etc. And what is it that is predestinated? "That we should be to the praise of His glory who first trusted in Christ". In other words, it is predestinated that those in Christ (those who trust in Him) should "be to the praise of His glory". That is, that those who first trusted in Christ should be instruments of praise to the goodness of God. Who were those who first trusted in Christ? The original disciples, specifically the Judean disciples (including Paul). They were determined or foreordained by God (in Christ!) to spread the news of God's glory, the Gospel, to the nations. Here, the predestination is not that particular individuals are eternally determined by God to believe in Christ and go to heaven, but that those "in Christ" should receive an inheritance, and that the original batch of disciples would be the new "Judah" of God's glory ("Judah" means "praise").
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Last edited by Esaias; 05-21-2018 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:11 AM
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Finally, we have the two verses in Romans, in context:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
(Romans 8:28-30)
Here, Paul speaks of Divine Providence being designed and manipulated for the good of them that love Him. Those who love God are defined as "them who are the called according to His purpose". He then goes on to further describe those who love God, who are the called according to the Divine Purpose as "those whom He foreknew". And those whom He foreknew are said to be "predestinated". Before identifying what this predestination is, we need to identify who those are that God "foreknew".

To "foreknow" is to "know before hand", that is, "to know previously". According to the Calvinist and the Arminian (the classical) view of God's foreknowledge, God knew every human who ever lived, lives, or will live, and knew them in eternity past. Therefore, according to the classical view (Greek philosophy influenced view of catholicism and Protestantism), God foreknew EVERY HUMAN BEING EVER. Yet, it is impossible that every human being ever to live, is living, or ever did live, is "predestinated" to become Christian! So what is this "foreknowledge" that is being spoken of here? Let the Bible interpret the Bible:
I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.
(Romans 11:1-5)
The people whom God foreknew are the descendants of Abraham, the Israelites, the twelve tribes. They are the people whom God previously "knew":
Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
(Amos 3:1-2)
The foreknowledge of a people is not talking about God simply knowing about some persons. Rather, it has everything to do with Covenant relationship. When Jesus threatens some with the awful words of Judgement Day, "depart from me, I never KNEW you", He is not saying He had no knowledge or perception or awareness of those people. Rather, He is saying He had no RELATIONSHIP, no covenant relationship, with them.

So the people whom God foreknew are the Israelites. And it is they who were "predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son". That is, Israel was previously ordained by God to be placed in Messiah, to be transformed to the likeness of Christ. These are the people whom Paul says are "the called according to His purpose". the ones who were "called according to His purpose" were "predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son", and these same people are the people whom God "foreknew". Which, as we saw, Paul explicitly identifies the people whom God foreknew as Israel, which is also confirmed by the prophet Amos.

Consider something else Paul said about Israel:
I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
(Romans 9:1-5)
Paul says the adoption, the glory, the covenants (plural), the giving of the law, the service of God (worship), and the promises, all pertain to Israelites, Paul's kinsmen according to the flesh. We have already seen how adoption and predestination are connected, how glory and predestination are connected, and how the promises (the inheritance) and predestination are connected. We also saw how predestination and foreknowing a people are connected to Israel, and now we see how the adoption, the covenants (BOTH the old and the new), the glory, etc are connected to Israel. Thus confirming that predestination of people has to do with Israel being predetermined by God to enter Messiah (the new covenant under Christ), and being in Christ they are predetermined by God to receive inheritance and adoption as children of God.

So then, predestination, as taught by the apostle Paul, is not about individuals being predestinated in eternity past to either believe (or not believe) the Gospel, nor does it have to do with any individuals being eternally predestinated by Divine "fate" to either heaven or hell. Rather, it has to do with Israel being predetermined to enter the new covenant, and that those in the new covenant shall be adopted and receive the inheritance.

Note: both the old covenant, and the new covenant, pertain to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, that is to say, Paul's "kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites":
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
(Jeremiah 31:31)
Note: the fact the covenants, the adoption, and worship of God, etc all pertain to Israel, does not preclude or prevent non Israelites from being placed into the commonwealth of new covenant Israel:
Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord GOD which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.
(Isaiah 56:3-8)
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:00 AM
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Amanah Amanah is offline
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

This was a good lesson on the predestination of the church. And, also a good lesson on how to study a bible topic.
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:36 AM
Aquila Aquila is offline
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Great posts!

I know good men who hold various views on predestination and election.

Personally, I've come to believe in corporate election. I found the following a pretty good explanation of the doctrine:
"The relationship of corporate election and predestination could be compared to a ship (i.e., the church, the body of Christ) on its way to its future and final destination (i.e., conformity to the image of Christ). The ship is chosen by God to be his very own vessel. Christ is the chosen Captain and Pilot of this chosen ship. God desires that everyone would come aboard this ship and has graciously made provisions for them to do so through its Captain. Only those who place their trust in the Captain of the ship are welcomed to come on board. As long as they remain on the ship, through a living faith in the ship's Captain, they are among the elect. If they choose to abandon the ship and its Captain through unbelief, they cease to be among the elect. Election is experienced only through union with the Captain and his ship. Predestination tells us about the ship's future direction and final destination that God has prepared for those remaining on it. God, out of his immense love, invites everyone to come aboard the ship through faith in the ship's Captain, Jesus Christ." ~ Adapted from Stamps, Life in the Spirit Study Bible, 1855; and Adams and Stamps, Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary, 1029.
To me, this honors both God's desire to predestine a body for salvation and man's free will. It is the church that is predestined for glory, and the world that is predestined for judgment. Individuals choose what body they wish to be a part of.

Foreknowledge is tied to God's omniscience. It is simply knowing in advance who will make what choices.

Last edited by Aquila; 05-21-2018 at 07:38 AM.
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:46 AM
TGBTG TGBTG is offline
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Quote:
Originally Posted by Esaias View Post

So then, predestination, as taught by the apostle Paul, is not about individuals being predestinated in eternity past to either believe (or not believe) the Gospel, nor does it have to do with any individuals being eternally predestinated by Divine "fate" to either heaven or hell. Rather, it has to do with Israel being predetermined to enter the new covenant, and that those in the new covenant shall be adopted and receive the inheritance.
How do you explain this individual predestination. At least, to me it looks that way.

Rom 9
10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth

Paul even emphasizes the fact that neither child had made any good or bad choices in life. So in other words, God already had a purpose. So regardless of Jacob or Esau's decisions in life, good or bad, there was only one possible outcome - Esau will serve Jacob.

12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
This verse right here is the natural reaction of people opposed to individual predestination.

15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
This is another natural reaction of people opposed to individual predestination.

20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Even Paul sees the natural reaction to individual predestination. In other word, if individuals have been predetermined, then, a natural man will accuse God of "being a monster" and say "even my disobedience to God is actually performing God's will (referencing verse 19).

But Paul never shies away from the natural conclusion of individual predestination. He just says
"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

It feels uncomfortable to our modern mindset that individuals have been predetermined, but it seems pretty obvious from what Paul was saying.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:16 PM
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Quote:
Originally Posted by TGBTG View Post
How do you explain this individual predestination. At least, to me it looks that way.

...

Even Paul sees the natural reaction to individual predestination. In other word, if individuals have been predetermined, then, a natural man will accuse God of "being a monster" and say "even my disobedience to God is actually performing God's will (referencing verse 19).

But Paul never shies away from the natural conclusion of individual predestination. He just says
"Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

It feels uncomfortable to our modern mindset that individuals have been predetermined, but it seems pretty obvious from what Paul was saying.
My answer will require two posts, please read both before responding.

We should interpret Scripture with Scripture. The previous passages that I discussed - which are all the passages containing the word for "predestination" - provide the context and definitions that allow us to understand other passages.

In the passage you quoted concerning Jacob and Esau, a few things should be noted. First, no mention whatsoever is made of either Jacob's or Esau's "eternal destiny". This is important, because using this passage to teach some sort of eternal predestination to either heaven or hell would clearly be a case of eisegesis, since the passage in question isn't talking about either Jacob or Esau going to heaven or hell. The subject concerning Jacob and Esau is God's choosing one over the other to be the ancestor of the Covenant people.

The context is set in the opening verses of the chapter, namely that the glory, adoption, covenants, giving of the law, the service of God, the promises, etc pertain to Paul's kinsmen according to the flesh, the Israelites. When he brings in the subject of Jacob vs Esau, he is clearly showing that the glory, promises, adoption, covenants, etc were given to Israel (and not Edom, Esau's descendants) by the decision of God, based on God's prerogative rather than any particular works of goodness committed by either Jacob or Esau.

Once Paul identified Israel as being the ones to whom the glory, promises, adoption, covenants etc pertain, he anticipates the objection that "since not all of Israel has received the Messiah and been made partakers of the glory, adoption, etc then Paul's claim must be false." He concludes his statement with "Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came..." and then says the following:
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.
(Romans 9:6-9)
Abraham had several sons, but only one was counted as the child of the Divine Promise, which was Isaac. So Paul is saying just because there are people descended from Abraham does not automatically mean they are counted as the promised seed, because God had said "In Isaac shall your seed be called." This excludes all natural descendants of Abraham from being the promised seed except those coming from Isaac.

But Isaac himself had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Anyone who knows the Bible knows that Esau both sold his birthright and lost his blessing, that his descendants were a thorn in the side of Israel afterwards, and that God had even promised their final destruction (Obadiah). Thus, everyone knew that Esau had not received the promises, the covenants, the adoption, etc, and such things did not pertain to him and his descendants. So Paul then addresses how this came about:
And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
(Romans 9:10-13)
Isaac had two sons, and one of those sons were decreed by God to serve the other. One of those sons had been chosen by God to carry on the Promises concerning the seed of Abraham, and the other had been rejected. Again, nothing here whatsoever about eternal or final personal destinies, but temporal destiny concerning national futures in the overall Plan of God.

Furthermore, this choice was declared by God while the two men were still in the womb of their mother. And Paul says this was done so that God's Purpose according to election would stand (or come to pass), not according to works but of Him that calls.

Here we see something interesting. Paul does not say "God foresaw the kind of person Esau would turn out to be, so decided ahead of time to choose Jacob instead". The calling and choosing of God between these two men as to which one would carry on the Divine Plan originally delivered to Abraham was made entirely upon God's prerogative, and had nothing whatsoever to do with either Jacob's works or Esau's.

It should also be pointed out that the passage concerns two men, not all men in history. And again, as a reminder, the election is an election to national roles concerning which descendant of Abraham would be his heir and carry on the promises originally made to Abraham. It has nothing to do with eternal destinies of individuals.

Paul then addresses the question as to whether or not God's choice in this matter was justified (righteous) or not. He says God says He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. There is nothing unrighteous about God choosing to bless Jacob instead of Esau, just as there is nothing unrighteous about God choosing to make Fred a rich and powerful man and not his brother John:
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
(Romans 9:14-15)
Paul then concludes that "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God who shows mercy." But what is the "it" that is being spoken of? Not eternal, final destinies, nor of who will believe in Christ. But rather "it" has to do with temporal destinies of certain individuals and the nations associated with them, insofar as God has certain plans that are to be worked out in this earth. He then addresses the issue of Pharaoh:
So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
(Romans 9:16-18)
God chose Pharaoh for a purpose, namely to provide the occasion for the display of God's power in the Exodus. God sovereignly intervened in Pharaoh's life to provide the reasons for the Ten Plagues, because God intended Israel's deliverance to be accompanied by mighty display's of God's miracle power. Again, this does not have to do with Pharoah's eternal destiny, but rather the temporal issues surrounding the Exodus from Egypt. It should also be noted concerning Pharaoh, that God was not alone in hardening his heart, for several times it is said Pharoah hardened his own heart. The concept of how God does this is clearly explained in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, namely that God secures people in a condition of unbelief because they themselves choose to remain in unbelief:
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:17 PM
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Esaias Esaias is offline
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

(cont.)

Paul, having established that God does indeed intervene in temporal, national affairs, according to His own Purposes, deals with the objection that God shouldn't find fault in those whom He rejects. In other words, why would God be mad about Esau if God himself had rejected Esau? Why would God be mad with Pharaoh if God had chosen that particular king to be the "bad guy" that would provide the reason for a mighty display of Divine power? Again, keep the context in mind: temporal destinies of nations and their representatives, not eternal destinies of all individuals:
Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
(Romans 9:19-21)
The entire allusion to clay and potter are a reference to the words of Jeremiah ch 18 and Isaiah ch 64:
The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.
(Jeremiah 18:1-10)
But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
(Isaiah 64:8)
The context that Paul refers to is once again that of NATIONAL DESTINIES in God's Plan. And furthermore, Jeremiah specifically declares that if a nation is under the threat of doom, if they repent and seek god, they can find mercy! Thus, we see repeatedly throughout Paul's teaching, and his references to the OT (especially Jeremiah), the subject is national, temporal destinies, and not eternal destinies of individuals. This has nothing to do with deterministic "fate" of individual final destinies as maintained by almost all pagans, who believed that outside forces controlled your life so that in the end, you are not to blame for your bad actions.
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
(Romans 9:21-24)
Here, Paul alludes to two groups of people: the vessels of wrath, and the vessels of mercy. He identifies the vessels of mercy as both Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Christ. This of course means the vessels of wrath are the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles. He says God endures with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath - He allows them to do their thing for what to us seems like a long time. The purpose of Him allowing the vessels of wrath to do their thing is so that they will have no excuses when He displays His power in judgment upon them.

He also speaks of the vessels of mercy as having been prepared aforetime. This of course ties directly to what Paul said elsewhere, as I showed in the original posts in this thread. Paul elsewhere specifically describes how this "prior preparation to glory" takes place and what it has to do with. It is "in Christ", and it "pertains to" Israel. YOU or I, as individuals, can claim that prior preparation only because we are in Christ.
As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
(Romans 9:25-26)
Paul then declares that this current situation, in which the vessels of mercy are composed of both Jew and Gentile believers, is a fulfillment of OT prophecy (Hosea ch 1 etc), so nobody should be surprised or balk at the idea of the glory, adoption, etc being received by both Jew and Gentile, in Christ.

Concerning prepared vessels, we should also take into account Paul's teaching elsewhere on the subject:
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:19-21)
In this passage, the subject of personal, individual roles and fates are discussed. If anything would speak to the subject of personal, individual destinies, this will! (Unlike in Romans 9 where the subject is NATIONAL DESTINIES and ethnic composition of the remnant God has chosen to fulfill His purposes.) Paul speaks of vessels of honour, and vessels of dishonour. He specifically says "if a man purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour." Therefore, as far as individual destinies are concerned, your fate is in your hands - you can either cooperate with God and yield to His will, and be sanctified and suitable for the master's use, OR you can choose to remain a vessel of dishonour, not sanctified, not suitable for the master's use.

This directly and utterly refutes the notion that your final destiny is already decided by God, and eliminates any possible excuses sinners might have on Judgment Day.

So, in conclusion, Romans 9 does not teach individual predestination of all people to either heaven or hell, or to salvation or damnation, or to believing or not believing. Rather, it has to do with certain specified individuals, and their temporal roles within God's purposes being worked out among the nations.
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  #9  
Old 05-21-2018, 01:21 PM
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Some thoughts I posted years ago on this subject:

There are some who have an erroneous view of the Biblical teaching of predestination.

It is said by some that God chooses who can be saved, that God must move upon a person before they are capable of believing in Christ and being saved, and even that God created some people expressly for the purpose of damning them.

These are false notions.

They are the hallmark of Calvinism. But some Pentecostals have fallen into the same errors, although for somewhat different reasons. Those Pentecostals who hold the above stated beliefs (or doctrines very near to them) tend not to be full blown Calvinists. In this, they are inconsistent.

I shall demonstrate the three doctrines stated above are false, by both reason and Scripture.

A. God chooses who can be saved. By this is not meant that God sets the parameters for salvation, its conditions, but rather that God chooses who is able to meet those parameters or conditions. Those whom God chooses are able to meet the conditions, those whom God does not choose are not able to meet the conditions. This is false for the following reasons:

If God chooses who can be saved, then He has also chosen who cannot be saved. Since Scripture gives no statement as to how a person may know who has been chosen to be saved as far as any 'eternal decrees of God' are concerned, and who has been chosen to be lost, one can never truly know if they are saved or will be saved in that context. And thus, faith in Christ, 'full assurance', is impossible to everyone. Any 'full assurance' of faith a person had would be only delusion, since faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, and the Word of God nowhere identifies who exactly can be saved and who cannot (in the sense maintained by those who claim God has previously chosen who can be saved and who cannot be saved). One who 'believes the gospel' may very well be deluded, they may be one who is chosen to damnation, but they would never know it until Judgement Day. Thus, nobody can in fact have FAITH IN GOD FOR SALVATION. Since faith in God is a condition of salvation, and since nobody can in this scheme of doctrine actually have faith, nobody can actually be saved. Furthermore, since 'that which is without faith is sin' and 'he that doubteth is damned', every believer is in sin and is damned who holds this erroneous notion, because they can only doubt if they are saved, and never be SURE if they actually have been chosen to salvation.

B. God must move upon a person before they can believe, repent, have faith, etc. If this is true, then all who die lost without repenting and believing are lost because God wanted them to be lost. Since their damnation then is due to nothing they did, but entirely due to the will of God, irrespective of their sin, then they are not damned for sin but for the pleasure of God. Yet God says he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

Furthermore, if this doctrine be true, then all the bible's exhortations to repent and believe the gospel are in vain. Nobody CAN believe and repent unless God causes them to repent and believe. Yet the Scripture says that 'WHOSOEVER' that believes will live, 'WHOSOEVER' wants to may come and drink of eternal life, and many other such things. Either this doctrine be true, and the Scriptures wrong, or the Scriptures be true, and this doctrine be wrong. But they cannot both be true.

Again, if this doctrine be true, then sin consists entirely in God not 'helping a brother out' with this supposed divinely granted ability to believe and repent. A person sins, and is held guilty by God for not repenting, yet they CANNOT REPENT unless God MAKES THEM REPENT. This makes God the direct and undeniable author of SIN, a totally blasphemous thing to affirm. Yet this doctrine affirms exactly that, necessarily.

Again, if this doctrine is true, the evangelistic call should never be for sinners to repent and believe, but rather it should be for sinners to 'wait and see if God will make you repent and believe'. We are wrong for reasoning with unbelievers to convince them of the truth of the Gospel. Paul and Jesus were wrong to do the same. Why? Because a person believing and repenting depends on God's arbitrary causing it to happen, not on the power of the Word of the Gospel to convict the conscience of sin and the reality of Christ and the offer of pardon.

Again, if this doctrine is true, true repentance and godly sorrow for sin is impossible. Godly sorrow for sin and true repentance include condemning oneself as guilty before a holy God. It includes rejecting any and all excuses for one's sin. Yet, if a man cannot repent unless God causes it to happen, then every sinner has the greatest excuse for sin - 'GOD MADE ME KEEP SINNING, and who can resist God?' A person cannot truly and honestly condemn themself for what they believe to be is beyond their ability to help. If you believe your lack of repentance is due to an impossibility, that it depends entirely upon God to make you repent, then you cannot condemn yourself for not CEASING FROM SINNING, anymore than you could honestly admit and feel your just guilt for not sprouting wings and flying about the air.

C. God created some people for the express purpose of damning them. This is in effect the same as the first. this erroneous doctrine makes God the cause of sin. All sinners will on the Day of Judgement have a just complaint against God, for they shall all be able to HONESTLY say 'I couldn't help myself, you MADE ME TO SIN.' This doctrine is part and parcel of the 'original sin' doctrine which claims all humans are born sinners and going to hell from the moment of their conception. It is equally false and unscriptural as well as unreasonable.

IF God made some people expressly for the purpose of damning them, then there is no way to know if YOU are one of those people. Thus, true faith is impossible, your belief in God is mere wishful thinking, and it is furthermore SINFUL because it is WITHOUT BIBLICAL BASIS. The only way to avoid this is to claim that all who 'convert' are proven to be chosen for salvation, whether they 'fall away' or not. Otherwise, you never know if you might fall away, and prove to have been totally deluded in your 'belief' in God. And thus, you have no true faith, and only doubt can remain with some 'hoping and wishing'.

Next post, I will examine the 'proof texts' used by supporters of these notions and show how they take them out of context and misunderstand them. This will also result in a setting forth of the true bible doctrine of predestination and election.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:27 PM
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Re: The Doctrine of Predestination

Another old post:

(...l)et us look at the context of Paul's teaching.

The entire chapter is not about who can be saved, and who is decreed by God to forever be lost and condemned. The chapter is about something else entirely.

1 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

2 That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

The context of the chapter is the then-current state of Israelites, and that Paul was in great sorrow for them and great heaviness in his heart for them. So much so that he could almost wish himself accursed for their sake.

(Now, observe something. If Paul believed that God decrees who is to be saved and who is to be beyond the reach of His mercy, and if Paul was teaching that here... then why would he be in such extreme grief over the fate of the mass of Israelites who had rejected the gospel? How could he be SORROWFUL for the eternal decrees of a righteous and holy God? )

He continues:

6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.


After pointing out that the adoption, and the covenants (plural, the Abrahamic covenant, the old Mosaic covenant, and the new covenant), and glory, and the promises, and so forth, he then says this does not mean the Word of God has failed and not come to pass.

Verses 8 and 9 identify the promised 'seed' (who have right of inheritance) was to come through Isaac, the child of God's promise. Ishmael was excluded, even though he was 'the seed of Abraham'. As Paul says, the primises, covenant, etc did not pass on to to whoever was the 'children of the flesh' of Abraham, but rather those children of Abraham who came about by the direct, sovereign decree of God. God decreed that Abraham would have a son by his wife Sarah, and it would be through THAT son that God's covenant would established, it would be THAT son who would be counted as the 'seed of Abraham' that God had originally promised him.

8 That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

9 For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sara shall have a son.


Paul then goes on in verses 10-13 to show how God further restricted those covenant promises to a specific son of Isaac (Jacob/Israel), excluding his other son (Esau/Edom). God chose Jacob, and rejected Esau, prior to either child being born. They had therefore done no evil or good, and thus were morally neutral. And thus, God's choosing of Jacob was not the result of Jacob 'earning' the position of being God's 'covenant man'. Rather, it was God's choice prior to the boys' birth.

But does this have to do with final salvation? No.

The choosing of Isaac, and the choosing of Jacob, had to do with the establishing of the covenant nation of God. The context of Paul's reference to Jacob and Esau was to the nations that would come forth from them.

And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. Genesis 25:23

The choosing had to do with which NATION would be stronger, and which would serve the other. God chose the younger brother to father the stronger nation, and the older brother to father a nation that would serve the nation descended from the younger. (This of course was for prophetic typology purposes as well, as the older, which comes first, represents both Adam, the man of the earth, and the Old Covenant, while the younger or second-born represents the Last Adam (Christ) and the New Covenant, which are superior to the others.)

Again, this is not about whether Jacob would have eternal life and Esau was chosen from before his birth to be damned to hell. It is about God's choosing out a nation for His divine, prophetic purposes.

Verses 14-24 deal with an objection to God's choosing one nation over another, that such would be 'unrighteous' (ie 'unfair' or bigoted) in God. Paul answers that God essentially forms the nations, and chooses which nations will serve which functions in His government of the world.

The Calvinistic fatalist will say that these verses are about individual people, that some are created by God to be 'vessels of wrath', and others are created by God to be 'vessels of honour', and that this refers to salvation, belief in Christ, and eternal life. But that is not the context! Go back to the beginning verses! Paul is speaking of Israel and their role in God's prophetic plan!

The vessels are nations. But notice something: Paul says "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"

Where does he get this from?

He is referencing two passages of the Scripture, one from Isaiah and one from Jeremiah. Which I will address in the next post.

(continued in next post)
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