Are we (the whole human race) predestined to be “saved or lost” from the beginning? What is this all about? Why do so many have a misunderstanding on this issue?
Was man’s fate determined from the very beginning, no matter what they do, as some seem to believe? Did God determine some would be lost, even before creation? What does the Bible reveal?
For the many, this is a mystifying dilemma and HARD to understand! In the various religions of our world today, there are many version and ideas about predestination. It is called different things to different people and has a varied effect on just exactly how it works; depending on what religion you may be looking into. In the professing “Christian” world, it also has a varied set of beliefs but the Bible does talk about the subject, and depending on what belief you follow; well, again it takes different directions there also. Even in this last era (Laodicea- Rev.3:14-21) of the Church of God in its many scattered groups, there is a variety of approaches to the subject and how it is explained and applied; from one group to the next and from one minister to another. Have you, the average person been predestined according to one of these ministers? Shouldn’t we learn what the Scriptures actually teach us about what predestination or predestined means for the human race?
We will get into some of what the Bible reveals on the subject in a moment, but let us first look at something that was presented decades ago by the founder of the RCG (Radio Church of God) and then the WCG (Worldwide Church of God), the late Herbert W. Armstrong. If there is more to learn on this subject than what he taught, it will have to come from or be in agreement with the whole Bible! The COG has been commanded to continue to grow and surly some have come to understand even more now, in the last three decades since his death—which is to be expected—if there is any more to learn. Some turn to this Scripture and look at it in different ways, applying it in different ways by including predestination of all mankind and that God saw every last detail of every life to come into being before creation; Isa 46:10 (God is-V.9) “declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure;” (From the ASV) There is a lot to be learned from this full passage and exactly what it is referring to, so what about predestination? We will see part of that as we go along in this article.
HWA produced a booklet on this subject of predestination; first in 1957 and then again it was published in 1973. To keep this article short, I am taking a couple of short quotes from that booklet; (You can find this material on the internet in several places, if you look.) Here is the first quote from the 1973 edition and page 21.
What “Predestination” Is Not
“Very few understand what “predestination” is. First, consider what it is not. There is no teaching in the Bible that says the decision you are to make — your final fate of becoming either saved or lost, is already pre-determined, and that you are destined finally to arrive at that fate. Absolutely no text anywhere in the Bible says anyone is predestinated to be lost.” (See the article “Are you lost” for more on this)
Upon reading that and what the Bible reveals, it would seem automatic that man was given a choice by God that each individual was to make, to determine if they would be saved or lost, have life or death. (See the commentary on “Choices” for more on that subject.) What we do find from the beginning is that our first human parents, Adam and Eve both chose to follow Satan and his cunningly manipulative scheme to get them destroyed. (Gen.3:1-6) Eve was deceived but Adam was not, deliberately disobeying the Lord. Adam was told first not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:16-17; And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; (Includes the tree of life) 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted)
Paul tells us; (1 Tim 2:14) “Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression”.) In doing so, she ate of the forbidden fruit after listening to Satan and gave it to Adam (Who was there with her-Gen.3:6) and he ate also; Adam had to know it was disobedience. Now did God not know this was a possibility that could happen? After all, a careful study of the Bible reveals that Satan had already rebelled and destroyed much of this galaxy and the planet earth we are on, long before man was created. (Gen.1:1-2) The creation week was to renew the planet for what life we see on it now. (Ps.104:30) Moses, when addressing the nation of Israel and any true Christians today, wrote this, coming from the God who became Jesus Christ. (See Duet.30:15-20 & John1:1-3, 14)
So now, back to the subject of predestination and just what did God (John1:1-2) determine Before man was ever created, if anything at all? (Some people; many in fact, seem to think that God created man without a plan, to be made up as He went—others think it was all already set at creation—pre-determined, thus predestination.) Before we go there, notice another quote from HWA and the booklet titled “Predestination—does the Bible teach it?”; this from pages 11 & 12 in the online 1973 edition—emphasis are mine in this quote.
Not All Called Now
“But there is no injustice with God. He denies no one an opportunity of salvation. These many (previously mentioned) are simply not called now — at this time — in this, Satan’s age. This is simply not the time when God is trying to save everyone. (next page) If He were — and of course we know Satan is trying to deceive people into loss of salvation — then Satan surely would be getting the better of the contest. But it is not a contest between God and Satan, at all. God alone rules in high heaven, and what Satan does he does not do in competition or in spite of God, or contrary to God’s will — he does it only by God’s express permission — and God gives that permission for an express and wise purpose. Some day we shall fully understand!” (There is an older article here titled “Seeing your Calling” that may help on this subject.)
The majority today think this is the only day of salvation, thus we have to be “Saved or lost” in this age, which is a misunderstanding of truth & God’s purpose or plan. (The KJV & ASV versions tell us today is “A” day of salvation, quoted from by the apostle Paul—not the day—which has been changed by the translators in our modern day versions. See Isa.49:8 in the KJV, RSV & ASV and compare to 2Cor.6:2 in the NKJ) So some today in the COG also see this far more clearly than the majority, because we are told to live by EVERY WORD of God—not just some of them! (Deut.8:3 –last part & Matt.4:4 & Luke 4:4) I am hoping that you will take the time to research this out more thoroughly from your own Bible, coupled with what I am giving here, so that you will understand more on this subject yourself. Several others have held fast to this truth in various ways; sermons and articles. We can see from the above statement and the Bible that one has to be first called by God and He did predetermine that He would do that calling—but when? Was it after Christ came, or even before creation, as a part of His future purpose & plan? Let us look into the Bible for an answer to that; Eph. 1:3-6 “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, 4 just as He chose us (the called out ones) in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” Now there is a lot to digest in that statement and it goes along with many other points of truth! Let us examine this a little more and get a better understanding.
In Peter’s first sermon after receiving the Holy Spirit in 31 AD, he was inspired to say this; Acts 2:38-39 “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, (Down through time) as many as the Lord our God will call." So right here we see exactly what HWA was talking about! It is only the “called out ones” (Meaning of the word “Church” and there is more to this as well—listen to the mini bite “Church of God” for more) that God predetermined to have a chance at salvation now—and that predestination was only that God would CALL some for the working out of His purpose. Even of those whom God has called, not many are actually chosen, as we see in Matt.20:16 & 22:14. It is God who does the calling (John 6:44) but then those who are called have to submit themselves to be taught by God (V.45) —that is, from the whole Bible! For those who have just used the New Testament, they are missing about two thirds of the Word of God and the way to true salvation. Then there is this from Christ, to add to what Peter said in Acts 2:38; of those who would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” then they would have to submit to it leading them into understanding that truth. (Rom.8:14) Notice it in Christ’s own word; John 16:13 “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth;” –and this takes time and depends upon how well we respond to that guidance; if have we set ourselves to believe God! God will not force anyone, as He has given us free-moral-agency or freedom of choice—he “guides” with His Spirit into all truth—but we must determine to believe him and follow where that truth leads and then act on that truth of the Bible in belief—not what other people say it “means”!
Let us notice a couple other places in Scripture that point us in the same direction of the predestined first having to be called out of this world and its ways. Rom. 8:28-30 is where the apostle Paul records this for us; “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, (predetermined to call in their own time) He also predestined to be conformed (**) to the image of His Son, that He (The Son) might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (There is also a lot in this statement to think about and study on) (** from CONFORMED, CONFORMABLE (a) of the "conformity" of children of God "to the image of His Son," Rom 8:29; (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright (c)1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers) We must strive after being called and chosen to become like Him—as seen in 1John3:2.
To conclude; true first fruits will be added to the Family of God as the bride of Christ, when Christ returns very near the end of this 6,000 year age, as many places in Scripture also reveal. There is a lot more that can be discovered on this subject, which can be searched out if a person is willing to study and believe, while letting the Holy Spirit lead them into all truth. Then we must determine that we will remain faithful—overcoming Satan, ourselves and the world around us, while enduring all along the way. (Rev.3:21 & Matt.24:13) If we fall down, we get up, repent and keep going!
Rev 17:14 the last part says; ---and those who are with Him (Christ returning) are called, chosen, and faithful." These are the collective individuals that God has predestined to call, giving them the opportunity for salvation from this age of Satan, who is the god of the age! (2Cor.4:4) Those who have been called and chosen today need to stay on board with remaining faithful until Christ returns!
(Written by the editor for TCOGMSO.COM)