Etikettarkiv | predestine

If people were chosen to be non-elect, why did Paul CRY for them?

paulIf TULIP and the Westminster Confession of Faith is true, and the idea that God chose who to save before the foundation of the world (choosing individuals to be either elect and able to believe in him, or non-elect and unable to believe in him), then the apostle Paul’s huge concern (and crying) for unbelievers is a huge mystery.

WCF: ch. III. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.

WCF: ch. V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto lifeGod, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory

Why does Paul spend so much time praying and crying about the lost state of people’s souls, and why discussing and pleading with them – for hours at a time? Is it ”because God told him to, and because Paul doesn’t know who the elect individuals are”? But that doesn’t solve the puzzle.

  • God didn’t tell him to cry, did he? This seems to be something that Paul himself chose to do.
  • What would be the reason for shedding tears? Doesn’t God’s will always happen? Will the elect not end up in heaven as God has planned, and will the non-elect not end up in hell according to his plans? If all things turn out according to plans, WHY CRY? Why trying to interfere?
  • If the destination of all people is already settled (before the foundation of the world), why would Paul want to thwart God’s plans? Why trying to persuade non-elect to be elect? Is that even possible?
  • Why does Paul preach ”repent or perish”, as though he doesn’t know that the elect can’t perish, and the non-elect can’t repent?
  • The L in TULIP means ”Limited Atonement”, and that means that Jesus didn’t die for the non-elect, which means that they are not able to be saved and God doesn’t want them to be saved (or else he would arrange so that Jesus would have died for them too). Since it’s not possible to be saved without the blood of Jesus, why would Paul waste his time crying about people who God never intended to save in the first place? And why would he cry for the others – the elect? THEY ARE ALREADY SAVED! And they can never be lost.
  • If Paul instead would save all his tears and only spend 5 minutes a month to evangelize, WHAT WOULD BE THE BIG DIFFERENCE?
  • Why does Paul say: ”how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14). Doesn’t he know that no one needs any preachers or to hear about Jesus Christ, since everyone has been selected for heaven or hell before the foundation of the world?
  • If Paul desires more people than the elect to be saved, doesn’t this mean that Paul has a greater love for lost souls than God? Isn’t it also scary that many atheists would gladly give up their lives for the sake of their children, and that God wouldn’t do the same? Wouldn’t this indicate that many atheists have a greater love for people than God himself? ”Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)
  • Why putting so much effort into something that is a lost course from the start? If God chose people to be non-elect, why not leave it at that?
  • Paul seems to have a huge desire to encourage non-elect to be elect, but he doesn’t have an equal desire to transform the elect into non-elect? Why even picking sides (one over the other) if God is the one who decides who to save and who to damn – not based on anything they have done? Isn’t God’s decision the wisest?
  • Why does Paul try to change the ”salvation ratio” that God has already decided upon? If God for instance has decided to save 30% of all people and damn 70%, why does Paul try to amend these numbers which were written in stone before the foundation of the world? Isn’t Paul pleased with the numbers that his Master so carefully has thought out?
  • Wouldn’t Paul’s tears be the same as criticism towards God – who apparently doesn’t want to save as many people as Paul does?

In Acts 20, we can read about Paul preaching for many hours at a time, despite that nothing would change if he only spent 5 minutes. In fact, he spoke for such a long time that one fellow (Eutychus) fell down from a window and died – but Paul prayed for him and he returned back to life. In the same chapter we can read about Paul shedding many tears while he was serving the Lord, and Paul preached repentance and the need for faith toward Jesus Christ – both to jews and gentiles.

Acts. 20:16 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and WITH MANY TEARS, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul continues to warn people, and ask them to take heed of themselves – as though things might not go according to God’s plans. He also tells them to take heed TO ALL THE FLOCK, which is the same as the church of God which Jesus has purchased with his blood. If the flock could never be lost, it wouldn’t make sense for Paul to warn people to take heed of the flock. Paul knows that not all of the flock of true christians will be spared, because he says that grievous wolves will enter in among them to draw away people, and there will also be false preachers among themselves. Since Paul knows how the devil works, and also how man works – how they ”after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers” (2 Tim. 4:3), he also knows that some christians will be walking away from God. Therefore we can read that ”BY THE SPACE OF THREE YEARS I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY WITH TEARS”. Paul seems to believe that his warnings and urgent prayers can make a huge difference and change the outcome of things! He doesn’t have the approach ”I know that what I do or say won’t change a thing since everything is already written in stone, but I suppose I will pray a few times anyway since God – for some unknown reason – told me to do it”.

Acts. 20:26 Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that BY THE SPACE OF THREE YEARS I CEASED NOT TO WARN EVERY ONE NIGHT AND DAY WITH TEARS  

2 Tim.4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Paul gave the Corinthians advice concerning a certain man who had sinned and been punished. Each time we read a warning and ”lest”, it means that the outcome depends on people’s actions. Paul knows that Satan might gain an advantage over us, unless we are obedient to God.

2 Cor. 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Paul has great concern about people who are enemies of the cross of Christ, and whose end is destruction! Why, if God has closed the door for them and refuses to open their eyes so that they can believe in him and walk in his ways? Maybe because their destination is NOT predestined, and maybe because TULIP is a false philosophy based on a gnostic foundation?

Phil. 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even WEEPING, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. (NKJV)

Paul doesn’t make any sense at all in Romans 9 (if TULIP is true). Paul is talking about all jews (all of Israel), and he says he wishes that he was accursed and separated from God for their sake – if he could only see them saved. That’s a lot of unselfish love! Why, if God has already arranged the final destination for their souls, and has everything under control? Things couldn’t possibly go wrong, and Paul has no business showing so much love for people who are predestined for hell. Paul says that the right to be adopted as sons belongs to the Israelites (and not only to them), but this doesn’t mean they are automatically saved. Only those who have faith like Abraham, and who have a circumcised heart, will be saved.

Rom.9:1 I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, 5 whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. (NASB)

Also many atheists would gladly give up their lives if they could only save their children (whether the children are good or bad), and our Lord wouldn’t do the same for the people of the world? Do atheists have a greater love for their children, than God has for the same children?

Jesus cried as well – doesn’t things go as planned?tears

It wouldn’t make sense for God to predestine things that made Jesus troubled. Jesus was affected by other people’s reactions, and thew news about his friend Lazarus.

John 11:32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

Prophets have been sent out to people by God throughout all ages, but these prophets have not always been treated nicely by others. Things don’t always turn out the way God wants, and that’s due to our free will.

Matt. 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and YE WOULD NOT!

Certain women wept when they saw Jesus carrying his cross. Jesus was of course not angry that they wept for him, but he advised them to rather weep for themselves and for future generations, because difficult days would be coming. All that counts is the salvation of people’s souls, and not temporary blessings here on earth.

Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

It’s good to know that the Lord will lift us up, under the condition that we humble ourselves before him. If we choose to draw nigh to him, he will draw nigh to us.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Through the prophet Jeremiah, we learn that even God himself has much sorrow for those who refuse to hear him

He weeps when he sees his own flock being carried away:

Jeremiah 13:10 This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.11 For as the girdle cleaveth to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, saith the Lord; that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.—16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.17 But if ye will not hear it, MY SOUL SHALL WEEP in secret places for your pride; and MINE EYE SHALL WEEP SORE, AND RUN DOWN WITH TEARS, because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive.

Jeremiah 9:1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.—5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.6 Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord.7 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people?8 Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait.9 Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone.—13 And the Lord saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein;14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:15 Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Paul spent a lot of time reasoning, arguing and discussing with people

Day and night, month after month. For what reason? An hour each year would be enough, if God decided about our destinies before the foundation of the world.

Acts 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.  17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Acts 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Acts. 28:23 And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

God is GLORIFIED if we praise him and obey him, so contrary actions are AGAINST HIS WILL

glory of god 3

It should be rather self-evident that God gets the most GLORY if we praise him, worship him, obey him and tell the world about him, but strangely enough there are christians who force themselves to believe that God also gets glory if we transgress the law and sin! I of course think about our calvinistic friends here, because they have chosen to believe in TULIP (which you can read more about here), and the idea that nothing that comes to pass happens against the will of God. Some of them will protest and say that they do NOT at all believe that God is glorified when people sin against him, but if they insist on believing in TULIP and in calvinism, that is the only outcome of their doctrines. They frequently phrase themselves as though they believe that all men have the ability to repent, avoid sin and freely decide to become good citizens, but then they are not consistent with calvinism that instead presents a closed-door for most people – namely all those who Jesus didn’t even die for according to L in TULIP. They will be left in the darkness only because their God doesn’t want them to be saved (or else he would save them).

“God NOT ONLY foresaw the FALL of the first man, and in him the RUIN of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure ARRANGED it” .(John Calvin (Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, XXIII)

“The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 8)

”So my aim in this second message is to commend to you this absolute sovereign control of God over all things, including evil, because it is Biblical, and because it will help you become stable and deep and God-entranced and God-glorifying in all you think and feel and do”.”God may hate a thing as it is in itself, and considered simply as evil, and yet . . . it may be his will it should come to passconsidering all consequences. . . . God doesn’t will sin as sin or for the sake of anything evil; though it be his pleasure so to order things, that he permitting, sin will come to pass; for the sake of the great good that by his disposal shall be the consequence.” ”Therefore I conclude with Jonathan Edwards, ‘God decrees all things, even all sins.’ Or, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:11, “He works all things after the counsel of His will.’”/John Piper

“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.”/R C Sproul

Examples of how we can glorify Jesus, as per the New Testament

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Jesus explains that his Father is glorified IF WE BEAR MUCH FRUIT. With other words we do NOT glorify him if we do NOT bear fruit, and this must mean that all those individuals who do not show good fruit are acting against God’s will. Jesus is warning his own spiritually alive disciples – and all of us – that we must make sure to abide in him, or else we will be cut off the vine (Jesus) and thrown in the fire. (Jesus doesn’t say that he is glorified if the elect bear fruit and the non-elect do not bear fruit.)

Rom. 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things

There wouldn’t be any reason for God to show any wrath against a people who always did his will, but if we do NOT do his will it makes perfect sense that we can be affected by his wrath whether we are non-christians or not. We can read that ”ungodliness and unrighteousness” are two things that God is angry about, and consequently showing such attributes would not be according to his plans. The people spoken of did NOT glorify God, and neither were they thankful and instead became vain individuals with darkened hearts. They changed the glory of God into something sinister and started to idolize elements in God’s creation instead of God himself. Clearly all those things are against the will of God, because he is certainly not glorified by people who are rebellious and worship false gods.

Rom. 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God

If all have sinned and for this reason fallen SHORT of the glory of God, this must surely indicate something didn’t go as God intended. If ALL sinned, it must mean that both elect and non-elect have sinned and we already know from the verses above that God is glorified if we live holy lives and show good fruit. So if we live in the opposite way, we do not glorify God and consequently act against his will.

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

Rom. 15:Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Above are a few verses about spreading the gospel also to the gentiles. From these passages we understand that they can be influenced to glorify the Lord if they see the jews doing good works, and of course by hearing the gospel. All gentiles will obviously not be saved but only those who repent for their sins. Evangelizing, praying and showing good fruit are some things that we can do to influence others to seek the only true God, and if someone ends up glorifying God thanks to our witnessing and behavior, something good has been accomplished and there is much joy in heaven.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

”On their part he is evil spoken of (or ”blasphemed”), but on your part he is glorified”. Apparently some people will cause God to be glorified and those in opposition will cause God to be blasphemed. Which option do you think will glorify God the most? There is no need to even answer this question due to the obvious answer, and we can only remain puzzled as to why some people still insist on that God can somehow be glorified by people who speak evil against him and his followers.

Phil. 1:And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Above we can see that we are giving glory to God if we are being filled with the fruits of righteousness and living without offence till the day of Christ. Each time we deviate from this road, would consequently be against the will of God. 

Phil. 2:Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If it gives glory to God if every knee should bow down to him and every tongue should confess him, it would be strange indeed if someone would be prevented from doing just that. If such things give glory to God, then it would make more sense if he enabled everyone to perform such signs of adoration. To force people to bow down and confess him, on the other hand, wouldn’t be true worship or love.

Glorifying God in the Old Testament

glory of god 4

Also here we can see that God is glorified if he is praised and worshiped. Daniel explains that Belshazzar did NOT glorify God by not being the humble man he could have been. Instead Belshazzar rebelled against God by praising false gods and doing other evil deeds.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

Daniel 5:22 And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;23 But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified

Psalm 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.

If God is glorified by people on the earth praising him and worshiping him, then all those who reject him are walking on their own ways away from God and contrary to his plans.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is turned wherever God wants?

king's heart2Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will

It’s never a good idea to use a psalm or a proverb as a filter to read the rest of the Bible through, because poetic text might obviously not always be the literal truth. It’s shaky to start a new doctrine based on poetry and analogies, and you can reach almost any conclusion you want if you single out a verse out of context in Psalms or Proverbs (or anywhere) and use it as a foundation for a certain theology view.

The above verse is sometimes used by our reformed friends (calvinists) as an attempt to support the idea that God has an exhaustive control over all decisions of men – i.e. God predestines every step that a man makes and nothing happens against the will of God. There may be calvinists who disagree with this view, but then they are not consistent with their own doctrines – as in TULIP

It’s true that God may occasionally and in rare situations choose to override the will of man, but calvinists believe God acts in such way at all times and that he constantly steers our steps and wills so that we will always act and think according to his exact will with no exception. They believe that God is no longer sovereign if man has any independent control separate from his own will. Sovereign and sovereignty are not Biblical words (KJV), but also freewillers believe God is ”sovereign”, but obviously not the way calvinists understand this term. A sovereign and an all powerful God is mighty enough to create man with a free will and to be responsible for his (not God’s) own actions. If God is the one who causes us to think and act the way he wants, then of course he is the one to be responsible for our thoughts and actions, but that is not the God of the Bible because it would make him the author of sin.

Prior to the flood the people were purely evil (with an exception of Noah and his family):

Gen. 5:And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.

It wouldn’t make any sense at all if God first caused people to have wicked thoughts and constantly perform evil, and then bring a global flood on everyone due to their wickedness that he himself predestined. The wickedness culminated after the nephilim were being born by the sons of God (fallen angels, as per other Bible verses) and female human beings, and wickedness is always against God’s will.

Proverbs 21:1  doesn’t speak about all the people in the whole world but about ”the king”,  and this verse might have been written by King Solomon concerning himself. The passage also doesn’t tell us that God controls the king’s heart irresistibly. It’s possible that Solomon is proclaiming that he is fulfilling his appointed role by allowing God to control his decision-making so that his decisions would essentially be the decisions of God, and it is not a statement that God is irresistibly controlling his heart but that the king has fully surrendered his heart and will to the will of God.

A good king was to represent God to his people in his judgments and decisions, and we can see this in Psalm 82 quoted by Jesus to the Pharisees in John 10:34-38.  In the psalm, the rulers of the people were called “gods” because they were to represent God to His people in their leadership and judgments.  In Psalm 82 God is seen to stand in judgment of the judges and rebuke them for their failure to represent God as they were called by God to do. If the Scripture could call wicked judges “gods”, how much more does Jesus deserve to be equated with God since He is sent into the world by God himself?

The wicked make plans and those plans seldom include their own destruction or judgment nor the many calamities that might result from their rebellion, but such is their future according to the Lord. Nothing can ultimately thwart God’s overall sovereign plan, and his ultimate control over the universe is in no way threatened by the free will decisions of his creatures. That is the gist of Proverbs 21.

What else does Proverbs 21 say?
king's heart

21:Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

It wouldn’t make sense if God irresistibly controls the heart at the same time as he ponders/weighs/judges the heart that he alone controls with no interference or involvement by man. Solomon is concerned about pleasing the Lord in righteousness and justice, and a sacrifice is usually made when a person has transgressed the law of God and needs to be forgiven through the blood of an animal sacrifice. Of course it’s better to be obedient to start with because then a sacrifice isn’t even needed, and we can read that this option is more acceptable to God. Solomon contrasts the desires and actions of men surrendered to God with those who are in rebellion to God and refusing to submit to Him. Solomon himself fell away from the Lord in his later years but when he wrote this Proverb Solomon was committed to the Lord.

21:4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

Is it really possible that God would want people to have a high look, a proud heart and being wicked sinners? It’s absurd to suggest that God could cause people to be evil because in God there is no darkness at all and he doesn’t even tempt anyone – much less cause anyone to sin.

21:The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

A lying tongue would also be something that God doesn’t want anyone to have, and we can read that the robbery of the wicked shall destroy them because they REFUSE to do judgment. It’s not God who leads them in that direction, but they do it to themselves.

21:The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

Solomon compares ”man” with ”the pure”. The work of the pure is RIGHT unlike the way of man, and this must mean that some people do NOT do what is right before God since all men are not pure. The soul of the wicked desire EVIL, and does it sound plausible that God causes certain men to be wicked and evil?

21:11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

A scorner is not showing a good conduct and that’s why he is punished. The righteous man is contrasted with the wicked man, and we can read that God overthrows the wicked for the reason that he is performing wickedness. Why would God overthrow and punish people for the reason that they are being wicked, if he himself caused them to be wicked in the first place? Instead of being punished they should get praise and applauds for doing the will of God – by being evildoers – if this is what God truly wanted them to be.

21:13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Does God want people to ”stop their ears” at the cry of the poor? Surely not, since God repeatedly tells us to be merciful and help those in need. Whosoever is a worker of iniquity must surely be acting against God’s will? The Bible says that God hates the workers of iniquity (psalm 5:5) so it wouldn’t make sense if he would be causing people to be just that, and then turn around and pretend to be angry at the same workers of iniquity.

21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

Here we can read about man wandering out-of-the-way of understanding. It doesn’t say God pushed him out-of-the-way of understanding or prevented him in any way to reach a better understanding, but that the man himself is guilty of this – and the dire consequence for this unfortunate choice is death. Does God want people to love pleasure and wine, and does he want them to be wicked transgressors? Again, I hope all will say NO WAY. Sinning is always against God’s will.

21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.20 There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.21 He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.22 A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.

God surely wouldn’t cause people to be foolish and waste expensive oil. The wise man is again contrasted with the foolish man, and it’s up to us to follow after righteousness in order to find life and honor, and it’s up to us to keep our tongue to save our SOUL from trouble.

24 Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.25 The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.26 He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.27 The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the Lord.31 The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the Lord.

Read this passage again about proud, haughty scorners who refuse to labor and who are greedy and covet things that don’t belong to them. The sacrifice of the wicked is an ABOMINATION before God, and the only reason they would even think about doing something like that would be due to a wicked mind. Would God cause people to be wicked and act in such a way? God directs the way of the upright, but the wicked hardens himself. Bad choice on their part.

Proverbs 15:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.—28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.29 The Lord is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

The thoughts of the wicked are an ABOMINATION to the Lord, and he is far from the wicked. Would God cause people to be so wicked that they were an abomination before him? That would not be the God of the Bible, but this type of God can unfortunately be seen in books authored by calvinists. Flee to another direction.

Declaring the end from the beginning – Isaiah 46:9-10 – does not mean God predestines sin

CreationIsaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure (KJV)

Isaiah 46:10 DECLARING FROM THE BEGINNING THE LATTER END, And from of old that which hath not been done, Saying, `My counsel doth stand, And all My delight I do.’ (Young’s Literal)

So, from the very beginning of time God has declared something that will take place in the latter end, and we can continue on to v. 11 and v. 12-13 to see exactly what this is. It’s about the coming of a ”ravenous bird”, but most importantly about the fact that salvation will come from Zion.  God is able to tell us through his prophets what will happen in the future whether God himself wants these things to happen or not. In this case it looks like what he is telling us through Isaiah is something that God himself has decreed will happen. See further down below. Also, if God delights in a world where man has free will and able to obey/disobey and where he is responsible for his own actions, can God make such a world? Yes! God can do anything he wants.

Some of our reformed friends translate ”declaring the end from the beginning” to ”I decide and predestine every step that a man makes and he has no choice but to act exactly as I have caused him to act ”, and they translate ”my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure to ”my counsel is to unconditionally cause a certain elect group of people to believe in me, and my pleasure is to orchestrate everything that happens, including causing people to sin – and I will also punish them for this sin by sending them to hell for it ”. 

But if that interpretation is true, then of course God has always wanted people to be born depraved and with a sinful nature that causes them all to sin, and that would absolutely make God the author of sin and the one we must blame for all wickedness in the world. We would have no other choice but to trace each case of murder, violence, abortion and rape back to GOD and we must even conclude that he caused Satan to rebel against him. Some reformed believers object to the notion that God is the author of sin, which their doctrine necessitates, but there are numerous calvinists who admit that they believe in a God who makes people sin for his glory.

What does the rest of the chapter Isaiah 46 say?

1 Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.

It’s really interesting that God would want his people to make use of IDOLS, despite that the first commandment that God gave Moses is:

”You shall have no other gods before me”

Could God really be angry at his people for making idols, if he is the one who predestines them to make them? Will people risk their souls for making these idols and for worshiping them, despite that it’s according to God’s will? Will people end up in hell despite obeying God to 100%?

Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb:

It’s strange that God would say ”hearken unto me...” just like people could choose to NOT hearken unto him. It’s also interesting that God suggests that the house of Jacob and the remnant of the house of Israel were ”borne by me from the belly” because this sounds like they were not born depraved, and yet not all individuals from this group will always be good and obedient people.

6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.7 They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set him in his place, and he standeth; from his place shall he not remove: yea, one shall cry unto him, yet can he not answer, nor save him out of his trouble.8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.

Again, it’s very interesting that God would cause his people to make an idol to bow down for and to worship, despite that God also tells them multiple times that they should have no other God before him. What would be his reason for predestining them to do something horrible like that? Does he want us to obey his commandments or not? We can also read that they were transgressors, and that would be people who transgress the divine commandments in violation to the one who gave those commandments. But how could this be, if God is the one who directs every single one of their steps and that nothing that comes to pass happens against his will? If God is the one who causes people to make idols, can we really say that they ”transgress” his command to not make idols? If God is the one who wants them to make idols and cause them to make idols, then it’s hard to see how this could be a ”transgression” of any kind. So it seems like God causes his people to act in a way that goes against his own principles, as though God is battling with some schizophrenic problems. The best way to solve it is of course to flee from calvinism, because that would at once take care of all Bible contradiction that this gnostic theology has caused AND God’s holy nature and reputation would be intact.

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Here comes our famous quote. Couldn’t ”declaring the end from the beginning” mean that God has foreknowledge of certain events and has taken measures to both punish people who transgress his laws, as well as helping those people out who seek him and turn to him for his aid? The context is about the deliverance of his people from Babylon by the hand of Cyrus, which he purposed and prophesied about. The terms ”my counsel” and ”my pleasure” don’t necessarily mean that God alone micro manages every single step that people make –  against their will and without conditions. Each person is responsible for his own actions, and we can often see God acting based on the premise ”if you do this, I will do that”. If God is the one who directs our steps unconditionally, then the blame for all evil darkness must be placed on God alone – and God should ask us for forgiveness for causing so much wickedness and evil.

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

Aha, this is the verse right after v. 10, and here we can see exactly what his ”pleasure” might be and what it is that he has declared according to his counsel. He has apparently called ”a ravenous bird from the east – a man of his counsel”. It’s not certain who this is, but it might be a reference to Cyrus who God indirectly might have involved in his plans for Israel. All God has to do is to remove his protective hands from a certain leader among his people, resulting in that the enemy would get sufficient help needed to be victorious. God doesn’t always interfere in such manner, but it looks like this is a rare case where he did. It’s inconceivable to believe that a holy God places evil desires in someone’s heart, because there is no darkness in God and he doesn’t tempt anyone – much less cause people to sin. Even if Israel will initially be shaken, there is also a plan for SALVATION – which is purposed by God. So the ultimate purpose by God, and what he will execute according to the counsel of his will, is to bring salvation from Zion. Read on.

12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:

Isn’t it interesting that God would consider making people stouthearted and unrighteous? Yet, this is what he must have done if we must interpret v. 9-10 as though God predestines everything. And why continuously asking people to hearken unto him, if he knows that they can do nothing BUT hearken to him? People are not able to listen to God if God has prevented them from doing so. Things always pan out the way God wants in the calvinistic world.

13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

”Salvation in Zion” sounds like a promise about the upcoming Messiah who will come forth in the future in Zion, and he will be of the blood of Jacob and King David. This is something that happens according to the council of his will, and nowhere in the chapter does it say that God causes people to think and to act in a certain way. ”I bring near my righteousness”, God says, and that doesn’t sound like there is much room for wickedness and unrighteousness – which is something abominable in God’s eyes.

Did God cause a lying spirit to entice Ahab? – 1 Kings 22 and 2 Chr. 18

sin

God does not tempt anyone, nor does he cause people to sin

Is God pleased to put humans into impossible predicaments which he himself decrees and in which there is no escape? Only to turn around and send those poor people to hell for doing his exact will (by sinning)? How does that line up with:

Psalm 5:4 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

Ezekiel 18:32 For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.

Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:

The Bible says that God doesn’t even TEMPT anyone, so how could anyone possibly suggest that God plays the role of Satan and causes people to sin, and even worse; pretend to be angry at the sin that he himself caused? Between Genesis and Revelations we cannot find one single case where God in any way causes/forces anyone to sin. IF 2 Chronicles 18 would tell us that God caused someone to sin (which it doesn’t) would this mean that God is the one who causes all people to sin at all times? Can every single sin under the sun be traced back to GOD? So every time we see people refusing to hearken to God and when they rebel against him, it’s really GOD who caused them to do this all along? So our Lord wants people to rebel against him? You must be joking…

James. 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Numbers 14:22 Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have NOT hearkened to my voice;

There are a few occasions where God allows a group of evil people to be victorious over his chosen people Israel, and we can see Israel’s enemy gain the Lord’s reluctant permission (2 Sam. 24 and 1 Chr. 21) to go through with their desire to cause calamity. Israel’s enemy was of course set on destroying Israel from the start, so it wasn’t a desire that God planted in them.

Saul and evil spirits

God can absolutely send ”evil spirits” (or rather allow Satan certain power) just like he did with Saul, but note that God doesn’t do this randomly to people for no reason at all. God chose Saul to be king but Saul ended up being selfish and wicked which resulted in that God repented of having chosen him. Due to Saul’s evil approach, God sent him an evil spirit – or rather allowed Satan to torture him through evil spirits, which boils down to the same thing. The reason for the presence of this evil spirit is therefore Saul’s, and not God’s.

1 Samuel 15:35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

1 Sam. 16:1 And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.—14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.—23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

1 Samuel 18:10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.

1 Samuel 19:9 And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand.

There is a difference between God ruling over the activity of demons and God ruling the activity of demons. God is of course more powerful than Satan and his demons. God can (albeit oftentimes reluctantly) allow demons to afflict men for various reasons, which is not to be compared with the idea that God plays dice and commands demons to torture people for no reason at all – or just because he can.

2 Chron. 18 and 1 Kings. 22 – and God trying to persuade Ahab to accept his warningsspirit2

1 Kings 22 below shows that God simply allowed King Ahab to do what he already wanted and had set his mind to – i.e., to listen to his false prophets. King Ahab of Israel twice complained to King Jehoshaphat of Judah that the Lord’s prophet Micaiah never says anything good about him but only speaks calamity. Ahab was not thankful for God’s warning to him which he chose to reject, and he was resentful once Micaiah gave him the word of the Lord. God extended even more patience toward Ahab by having Micaiah tell the king exactly what evil spirits had been doing to plot his downfall, but Ahab rejected this further warning as well. If God’s intent was to command demons to lie and deceive Ahab, why would He bother warning Ahab about it? What would be the point with trying to warn Ahab against the very disaster to which he was trying to entice him?!

When we read only certain phrases in 1 Kings 22 it may sound as though God is the direct causal agent to what happened, but if we are honest and read the whole context we get another picture. Micaiah says to Ahab: “Now therefore behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.” The word for ”evil” in Hebrew may also be translated as disaster or calamity, and it’s not uncommon at all to see God punishing Israel (for their rebellion against him) by causing calamity to happen. This can easily be done by taking away his protective hand over Israel and by doing so allow the enemy to be victorious in their desire to conquer Israel – which their hearts are set upon. God is described by Micaiah as someone who has put a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets, while the context shows that God is doing this by permission and not by a commandment, and he even warns Ahab in the process. It’s an idiomatic way of speaking which the entire context of 1 Kings 22 demonstrates. “The Lord hath sent a lying spirit” is a stronger way of including God’s overall power than merely stating “God has allowed a lying spirit”.  The lying spirit helps the false prophets to speak lies to Ahab about all that the king himself wants to believe about his future. God is not sending Ahab what He (God) wants but rather what Ahab wants! Certainly a bad choice by Ahab.

2 Chron. 18:18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the Lord; I saw the Lord sitting upon his throne, and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.19 And the Lord said, Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one spake saying after this manner, and another saying after that manner.20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith?21 And he said, I will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the Lord said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail: go out, and do even so.22 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil against thee.

Same story, but in Kings:

1 King. 22:19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Note that God is asking who shall entice Ahab?” and ”wherewith?” when a certain spirit volunteered to do it and explained how he intended to do it. God did not take the other route by selecting a spirit and telling him ”This is what I will cause you to do through predestination”, but instead he allowed/granted the spirit to do what he proposed to do which was what Ahab in fact asked for.

We can compare this with what happened to Job, and it’s clear from context of Job 2 that God merely allowed events to happen.

Job. 2:And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

God desired to allow Satan to have certain power, but it’s not certain that God wanted him to use the power the way he did.  When God says that he ruined Job he speaks idiomatically as though he were the causal agent, despite that the context shows he was not. There is a ”lost book” called ”The testimony of Job”, and even if it’s not a canonical book and therefore cannot be totally trusted, it still provides a reasonable answer to why Job was even selected to go through all this pain at all (he more or less opened up for it himself). We know that Job’s life started out being very blessed just as the end of his life. His painful time happened somewhere in the middle and it was a parentheses in his life time.

The pharisees REJECTED the counsel of God, and God’s will can be thwarted (Luke 7:30)

eggGod doesn’t want anyone to perish, but people DO perish

God certainly doesn’t want anyone to perish, but things don’t always turn out the way God wants. God COULD of course force every single person to repent and get life in abundance but he preferred to create us as human beings in his own image (he actually said ”our” image referring to the trinity) and with a free will which means that we have a personal responsibility for our own actions.

Ez. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

Ez. 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

2 Peter 3:The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Deuteronomy 8:20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; BECAUSE ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.

We can REJECT the will of God

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.

The pharisees and the layers REJECTED the counsel of God according to Luke.

Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the COUNSEL of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (KJV)

Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. (NKJV)

As you can see NKJV translate the same word with THE WILL of God, and also the KJV translators chose to translate the Greek original word with ”the will” in the below verse:

Acts. 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: (KJV)

”Counsel” and ”will” are here translated from the Greek word boulén as in boulé  (Strongs 1012) from boulomai, and it means counsel, decree, plan, motives, decision and/or purpose.

Below are the cases where this word is used in the KJV, starting with Acts. 20:27–31. Paul warns his disciples, the elders of the church in Ephesus who were naturally christians, that they must TAKE HEED unto themselves and to all the church which God had purchased with his blood. Acts 20:27–31 gives us the following information:

  1. Individuals (the church or the body of Christ consists of individuals) can be lost despite being purchased with the blood of Jesus.
  2. Despite that certain christians have been made overseers of a church by the Holy Ghost (who always leads us on the right path) there is still a risk that the individuals in the church will be lost, indicating that people don’t always adhere to the Holy Spirit.
  3. Grievous wolves shall enter the body of Christ also from among themselves, with the aim to draw away disciples from the true church of God to themselves. This shows that some christians will at one point leave the sound teachings in the church and instead start to speak perverted things and deceive others who might also leave the true church. This is a lot more than a mere risk since Paul says that he KNOWS that this will happen, likely because he knows how man’s heart works.
  4. False preachers who speak perverted things can apparently make christian believe in these twisted claims and some of them will become disciples of these false preachers and hence lose their salvation. The flock shall not be spared even though it was a true flock of God.
  5. By taking heed and be careful we can affect the future and reduce the harm.
  6. If people were chosen for salvation and damnation before the beginning of the world, Paul would be wasting his time by  warning every one for night and day with tears – for three years! Paul should have known that no warnings or tears in the world can change God’s decrees which he made before he even created us, if such decrees were made. If God predestined certain people to be saved and others to be lost, then Paul has no business crying over those who God has chosen to damn, and those who are predestined to be saved will be saved regardless of Paul’s intense efforts. So Paul would actually be guilty of trying to thwart God’s plans by his constant warnings, pleadings and crying for people who already have their future written in stone. This speaks heavily against the reformed type of thinking.
  7. We can affect the future with our prayers.

Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Jesus showed himself to Paul and selected him to be doing his work by spreading the gospel (which Paul accepted), so would Jesus want people to listen to Paul? Yes, of course.  Yes, here is one example among many that a certain centurion did not listen to Paul’s advice, even if what Paul said didn’t concern the gospel but their own physical safety.

Acts 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.—42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:

Here is the famous Ephesian 1:11. (See more here.) Paul is writing to the saints in Ephesus, and as saints they of course were IN JESUS and wonderful promises were tied to them since they had obtained an inheritance by choosing to be God’s children. The counsel of God’s own will might here concern his will that those who are in Jesus (naturally by their own choice) and endure to the end shall be adopted as children and inherit his kingdom. The conditions are that we believe, trust in Jesus and remain as saints. If 100% of all things under the sun always happen according to God’s will, then of course every murder, abortion, rape and divorce must also be according to God’s will, and every time people rebel against him. Clearly that is nothing but absurd, and Satan would simply be acting as God’s right arm.

Eph. 1:1 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:—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:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.—18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power

Only God is good, but here is an example of another ”good” man (the same word) and that is Joseph. He can’t compare himself with the Creator, but he was still good and just:

Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

Jesus was delivered by the counsel and foreknowledge of God. God the Father did not force anyone to betray or kill Jesus, but he knew someone would, and his death was also predestined to happen. There are numerous ways in which Jesus could die for us so Judas betrayal was not necessary at all, but he was first in line. Those hands who crucified Jesus were WICKED, which means that God certainly didn’t approve of what they did, and let’s not forget that it was Satan who entered Judas when Judas rose up to betray Jesus. God allowed it to happen of course, but he didn’t predestine Juda’s betrayal.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

What God determined before to be done was to offer up his son to die for us, and we can also read that Jesus actually gave up his own life and that no one took it from him. He did not determine that Judas must betray him. Read more about Judas severe sin here.

Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

If Jesus is the son of God and the many miracles he performed too, then it would be unwise to try to fight it back, which was the advice of  Gamaliel. A Messiah is a Messiah no matter what we do.

Acts. 5:37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:

And a couple of more examples with boulé

1 Corinthians 4:Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

Hebr. 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us

We are being wise if we do the things the Lord says we should do.

Luke: 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?