God’s View from the Mountaintop
Predestination…Foreknowledge…Freewill. Do we really have a choice, or are we mere puppets in a much larger scheme of things? The coming world government…Interfaith-ism…the Middle East a cashless society-who is causing these things to happen? Is it God? Satan? Or man himself?
It has been widely taught in some Christian circles that we are not in control of our own destiny; but rather, our fate has been predetermined. It is sealed in concrete, and there is nothing we can do about it. Furthermore, we don’t know what that fate is, and so we must muddle through life hoping that we are one of the few who have been chosen.
Predestination vs. Freewill
The teaching on predestination is rooted in the assumption that there has always been a righteous seed and a wicked seed, dating all the way back to Adam and Eve. It is believed that the seed of Cain is the wicked seed and Abel the righteous seed. After Abel’s death, Seth assumed the righteous line. If you are of that seed, then you will come to the saving knowledge of Christ. If not, there is nothing you can do about it. Your fate is sealed.
The teaching of predestination destroys the biblical principle of freewill. From the gospels through the book of Revelation, scripture clearly tells us that whosoever will, let him come. Jesus said (Mark 8:35), “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” The same concept is echoed at the end of Revelation, which says, “Let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (22:17). The issue is our will, not the luck of the draw.
Yet the Bible does refer to predestination. Romans 8:29 says, “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.
Predestinated According to Foreknowledge
According to the Bible, God knows the end from the beginning. He knows our thoughts while they are yet afar off. The question then is: “If God is never wrong, can He foreknow what we will do without forcing us to do it?”
Think of it like this: You are sitting on a hilltop looking down on a two-lane road that curves around the hill. Two cars are going in the same direction, one trying to pass the other. Due to the curve in the road, the passing car doesn’t see that a car is approaching from the opposite direction. From your vantage point, you foreknow there is going to be an accident. You didn’t cause it. You didn’t have anything to do with it. Yet you did foreknow it was going to happen. This illustrates foreknowledge as opposed to predestination. God is able to see the end from the beginning, but he does not control or dictate what our actions are. “God puts before us life and death. It is His will that we choose life, but it is our choice.”
Deuteronomy 30:19 emphasizes that human beings have the power of choice. Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.” God puts before us life and death. It is His will that we choose life, but it is our choice.
While denying that a person is predestinated to be saved or lost, we must acknowledge that the Bible does teach predestination only “according to foreknowledge.” Notice Romans 8:29 once again, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” The key to understanding predestination according to foreknowledge is as follows. God foreknew what we would choose and do from the beginning of time. This did not predestinate anything. However, knowing that each of us had exercised freedom of choice in every situation, God said, “It is good and so be it.” Once He saw that justice had been done in every case, and once He said “so be it,” then all things were predestinated according to foreknowledge… the foreknowledge of God concerning the choices that we made of our own volition.
“And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” -John 14:29
The Role of Bible Prophecy
God Almighty has shared with us some of His foreknowledge. It is called Bible prophecy. Amos 3:7 states: “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
So why has God chosen to make prophecy nearly one-third of the Bible? Because prophecy fulfilled provides us with a great foundation for our faith. In John 14:29 Jesus said, “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” Jesus added in Revelation 19:10: “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
There are some prophecies that are set in stone. We know that Israel will build a Third Temple. Should we, as Christians, take active steps to help build it? I do not believe we should because scripture teaches us that God does not dwell in temples made with hands (Acts 7:48). Rather, we should see the fulfillment of this prophecy as proof of the accuracy of God’s word and the nearness of His prophesied Second Coming.
What about the United States of America? Should we pray for our president and nation and be politically active? Absolutely. Why? The ultimate fate of the United States is not sealed in Bible prophecy. Prayer can change things! Only God knows how it will all turn out.
By Irvin Baxter
Endtime Magazine – Sept / Oct 2002
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