Webster's defines predestination as: The doctrine that God, in consequence of his foreknowledge of all events, infallibly guides those who are destined for salvation.
The most important word in that definition is the word foreknowledge, because if we don't factor in foreknowledge we could easily fall prey to a pretty warped version of predestination that is not an accurate reflection of the New Testament's version.
A popular interpretation of predestination is that God, of His own volition, arbitrarily selects people at random to be saved or to be lost. Well, that interpretation is unacceptable because it doesn't factor in foreknowledge in any way at all.
New Testament Predestination
The Greek word for predestination is from proorizo (pro-or-id'-zo) which means: to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine. That word appears in the New Testament in only six passages; (Acts 4:28, Rom 8:29-30, 1Cor 2:7, Eph 1:5, Eph 1:11) and in none of them does it regard who gets picked to be saved and who doesn't. On the contrary, it typically regards the fortunes and prospects of those who, of their own volition, choose to trust the Gospel, and as a result of their choice, become eligible for certain pre-arranged benefits.
God, who is somehow able to see into the future, foresaw in the very beginning all those who would accept the Gospel; and they were, at the time he foresaw them, enrolled in a program, that upon completion, would 1) absolve them of all guilt, 2) remove their sinful passions and impulses, 3) transform them into a Jesus-type personality, 4) adopt them into God's home, 5) give them an inheritance, 6) set them up in a cushy federal job, and 7) equip them with a brand new, supernatural body that can never grow old nor die. So foreknowledge works hand in hand with predestination.
Here's a couple of examples of how Bible predestination works.
When young men and women volunteer to enter the armed services, the training they face in boot camp was already predetermined for boots even before they joined. The armed services designed that training with a specific goal in mind: to turn those kids into servicemen. The moment recruits sign their name on the dotted line and take the oath, they're put on a path towards that training. The military, unlike God, cannot foresee who's coming to join their ranks. If they could, then the papers would already be drawn up even before the kids were born; and waiting for them to sign as soon as they became of age.
You could apply the principle of predestination to education too. When people register for college, and take courses, the curriculum they will follow was already designed before even one of those students came to class. It was predestined for students by somebody who knows how to educate people. The students had nothing to do with it except to take the class.
The only real difference between man-made predestination and the God-made variety is the component of foreknowledge. God has the advantage of knowing ahead of time who's coming His way and so was prepared for them to show up way back at the beginning of the world.
●Rom 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified (NKJ)
For sinners, justification is everything; because without it, the alternative is unthinkable. The Greek word for justification is from dikaioo (dik-ah-yo'-o) which means: to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent.
Justification is all the same as an acquittal, and is achieved, not by sweeping sinners' sins under the rug, but by laying the responsibility upon a willing proxy.
●1John 2:2 ...And [Jesus Christ] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (NKJ)
●Eph 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (NKJ)
Some try to use that passage to claim that some people are picked for salvation and some are not picked. But that interpretation totally misses the point. Part of the plan of salvation is adoption into the family of God. Those whom God foresaw would believe the Gospel, were adopted into His home even before they were born because God, who knows the future, knew ahead of time they would trust His message.
Adopted children legally share all the rights and privileges of children born in the home; and that includes the right to inherit.
●Eph 1:11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (NKJ)
Many parents set up trust funds very early for their children. The children have a good future right from the get go because the parents predestine the children to inherit their property and wealth.
●1Pet 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (NKJ)
The adopted children's inheritance is an interesting variety. It's actually a joint-inheritance.
●Rom 8:16-17 ...The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs— heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, (NKJV)
●Rom 8:16-17 ...For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts and tells us that we are God's children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures— for everything God gives to his Son, Christ, is ours, too. (NLT)
A joint-heir is different than a regular heir. Regular heirs are apportioned an individual percentage of their benefactor's estate. But joint-heirs inherit, not a percentage, but the entire estate, as community property.
A Complete Make-Over
The justified are destined to lose their natural-born personality, and be transformed into a Jesus-type person.
●Rom 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, (NKJ)
●Col 3:3-4 ...For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (NIV)
●1John 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, (NAB)
●Rom 8:30 ...and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJ)
The justified are destined to be given brand spanking new bodies that can never grow old nor die.
●Luke 9:28-31...About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. (NIV)
Jesus appeared on the mountain in his future regal splendor, and Moses and Elijah appeared in a foreview of the glorious form that all true Christians will one day enjoy.
●1Cor 15:42-55 ...So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
.......So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
.......Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" (NIV)
●Ps 2:6-12 Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. "I will declare the decree: the Lord has said to me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'" Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him. (NKJ)
●Rev 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (NKJ)
Ahead, some time in the future, Jesus is returning to set up a world-wide kingdom; headquartered in Jerusalem, in the country of Israel. Those who trust the Gospel are destined to shoulder some of the duties and responsibilities of running the world at that time.
The twelve apostles, including Judas, were promised thrones in the future kingdom.
●Luke 22:28-30 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (KJV)
The world has yet to see an apostle judging even one tribe of Israel; let alone all twelve. When is that supposed to take place if the kingdom is already here? Answer: It's not here yet.
Judas of course lost his opportunity through unbelief and treachery. Not only was he a dishonest man, but worse, he never did truly believe that Jesus was Judaism's long awaited Messiah. But for those who do believe, and remain faithful to the end, there's a cushy federal job waiting for them down the line.
●2Tim 2:11-12 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: (KJV)
●1Cor 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? (KJV)
●Dan 7:21-22 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (KJV)
●Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (KJV)
All those benefits complete acquittal, becoming like
Jesus, glorification, adoption, inheritance, and bureaucratic
positions were set up way back when for everyone whom God foreknew would one day
believe the Gospel. According to the Bible then, the principle of predestination always
includes the foreknowledge of people's personal acceptance of the Gospel; and has nothing
at all to do with arbitrarily picking some to be saved and some to be damned.
A study of the principle of election is a humiliating experience because it really puts human beings in their place.
●Rom 9:11 …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;
The New Testament Greek word for *election in that verse is ekloge (ek-log-ay') which means: the act of picking out, choosing.
Election usually always pertains to a particular purpose and/or program that God has in His head that's nobody's business but His own. He is after all The Creator; and we should all be able to understand that it is a creator's prerogative to do whatever he d_mn well pleases with his own creations and doesn't need somebody to approve before moving ahead on schedule as planned.
The Holy Bible clearly, and without ambiguity, uses the word *despot for God in at least five different locations in the New Testament alone (Luke 2:29, Acts 4:24, 2Tim 2:21, 2Pet 2:1, Rev 6:10) . The New Testament Greek word for lord and/or master at those five locations is despotes (des-pot'-ace) from which we get our English word despot.
Webster's defines a despot as: 1) a ruler with absolute power and authority, and 2) a person exercising power tyrannically
One of Webster's definitions of tyranny is: a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler.
A useful way to explain divine election in regards to despotic tyranny is from the point of view of a private property owner.
Almighty God created the entire cosmos and all its forms of life; including human life, with building materials that were neither purchased nor donated. The materials were created by His own divine power. Since all those things are his own personal creations; then by virtue of that fact, all those things are His own private property. Do you dispute Almighty God's right to do as He pleases with His own private property? I hope not; because that is exactly what the concept of divine *election conveys.
Yes, human beings were created with a free will, but they were not created with an unlimited free will. All but 8 antediluvians died in Noah's Flood against their will; including senior citizens, handicapped folk, toddlers, pregnant moms, and everybody's pets.
God burned all the people to death against their will in the cities of Sodom and Gomorra save for Lot's wife and two unmarried daughters. Lot's married daughters died in the conflagration; along with all of Sodom's pregnant moms, all of it's children, its babies, and its toddlers, and all their pets too.
In addition; there are millions of people suffering in Hell right this moment who are there against their will because The Creator's free will overruled their own free will.
The cosmos is like a huge model railroad put together in the garage of a hobbyist. God Himself is the hobbyist who built the whole model with His own hands, and with materials that He created Himself out of nothing. He owns every stick of it, and every living thing on it, including the human lives— they are all His own private property to do with, and to dispose of, as He pleases: and He retains an undisputed right to confiscate all the belongings of the human lives, and the right to deny them their next breath of His air, and He has an owner's prerogative to scrap the whole d_mned thing and throw it out in the trash if He wants to and nobody has the right to stop Him nor to question His motives. God is God, and human beings are nothing in the world but stupid little insects in comparison.
●Isa 40:22 ...It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as *grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:
Not only are human beings stupid little insects, but also noxious weeds;
●Isa 40:6 ...The voice said; Cry! And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field
and deadly reptiles,
●Rom 3:13 …with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips
with fetid breath.
●Rom 3:13 ...Their throat is an open sepulcher
The whole 9th chapter in Paul's letter to his friends in Rome deals with the issue of election; and the two prime examples are Jacob and Pharaoh.
Within the context of the 9th chapter of Romans, God's selection of Jacob over Esau had nothing to do with either boy's character.
●Rom 9:10-13 …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.
●Rom 9:14-16 …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. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
Within the context of the 9th chapter of Romans, God's choice of Jacob was of an act of His own free will, and wasn't influenced by Jacob's character. In point of fact, God has never explained his selection of Jacob; and He may never explain it.
Within the context of the 9th chapter of Romans, God's reasons for hardening Pharaoh's heart had nothing to do with Pharaoh's character; but everything to do with God's private purposes over which human beings have absolutely no say nor control.
●Rom 9:17-18 …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.
The emphasis in the 9th chapter of Romans is not upon human free will, but upon The Creator's free will. The emphasis is upon God's own personal purposes, over which human beings have absolutely no right to control. The 9th chapter of Romans is about The Creator being a king who answers to no one. A king whose subjects can neither control, manipulate, nor influence His actions.
And when the Angel showed up at Mary's home (Luke 1:26-35) to inform her that she was going to get pregnant and bear a male child who would be called God's son, and inherit David's throne: she wasn't given any choice about it. Within the context of Luke 1:26-5, God's selection of Mary had absolutely nothing to do with her character. Her selection was just as much an unexplained act of divine free will as Jacob's selection. Mary neither earned the blessing, nor merited it; nor was she required to.
Mary was completely powerless to stop her imminent pregnancy. Even if she had griped and complained, and yelled NO! at the top of her lungs, it would have done nothing to stop the Holy Ghost from implementing its action plan to bring Messiah into the world via David's female posterity at just the right time. Mary was going to get pregnant, and that was that. Eve had choices, but Mary was given no options whatsoever.
The Angel didn't come to Mary's home looking for consent; no, it came there to notify her of what God was going to do to her life. The message wasn't an asking; it was a telling, and Mary's submission wasn't permission; it was a resignation to her inevitable fate in the hands of a Creator who does as He pleases with all the things He makes with His own hands. Human beings were created so highly sentient that some of them need to be reminded occasionally that they're just fabricated creatures— products of Almighty God's imagination.
Saul's conversion (Acts 9:1-16) is really a misnomer. His conversion really should be called his selection (viz: his election). Jesus imposed himself on that man and drafted him to be an apostle without first asking Saul how he might feel about it .
Nobody can deny that Saul wasn't selected to be an ambassador for The Holy Son Of God on account of his character. No way! He was Jesus' most passionate enemy, and had even arrested Jesus' followers and had them tried and executed. So there you have divine election in action again; to wit: God doing with his own private property as He pleases. I think most Christians, if they were honest about it, would feel justified to contest Jesus' selection of Saul on the grounds that Saul didn't deserve it. But who are they to challenge The Creator's use and disposal of His own private property?
Election In The Plan of Salvation
In several places in the New Testament, there are "whosoever wants to" promises that are offered to everybody, and to anybody, who happens to be shown the Gospel's message (e.g. John 3:15, John 3:16, John 3:18, Rev 22:17). Of course, not everybody shown the Gospel's message feels inclined to take Jesus up on his promises because, for one thing, they don't believe the message is true. But the ones who do believe, are guaranteed a safe passage to the other side and will never be condemned for their sins.
●John 5:24 …I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.
Although the Gospel's plan of salvation is open to anyone who, of their own free will, wants to take advantage of it; God reserves the right, as a private property owner, and as the inventor and administrator of His own plan, to actually force some people against their will to take Jesus up on his promises. Saul was an example. If left to himself, Saul would certainly have gone to Hell; there can be no doubt about it. However, in cases like Saul's, The Creator, if He chooses, can, of His own free will, take extreme measures, and employ extraordinary persuasion, to overwhelm difficult people and change their minds just like Jesus forced Saul to change his mind.
In those cases, a sinner's free will to refuse is overruled by The Creator's prerogative to impose. And let me tell you something, those kinds of sinners are to be envied because Almighty God is not just admitting them to Heaven, no, He's literally dragging them there in spite of how they might feel about going. I personally believe that those kinds of sinners will be put on special display in Heaven as trophies of the kindness and generosity of God; sort of like the stuffed heads that hunters put up on their walls.
Some people may feel a bit of resentment and indignation that God would bend over backwards to be so lenient and generous to some especially difficult people, while so many conscientious people out there are trying to their best to be pious and earn God's favor. But they really have no choice but to honor a private property owner's rights to use and dispose of His own personal possessions according to the wishes of His own free will.
●Job 9:12 …Behold, He taketh away, who can hinder Him? who will say unto Him, What doest thou?
●Ecc 8:4 …Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?
●Isa 14:27 …For The Lord Of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?
Christ In You; The Hope Of Glory