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You are neither predestined to heaven nor hell. Your faith in Jesus as the son of God is the conclusion.

1. Introduction

What does predestination mean? Looking at how great predestination is, the standard classical/reformed and pentecostal definition is incredibly short-sighted and does not reflect the heart of the Father. Reformed theology ends in double predestination based on an angry God where some are destined for hell and have no choice in the matter.

Awakening Impact Ministries teaches an entirely different view of predestination based on the desire of a good God to have sons and daughters.

In How to Study the Bible, we learnt two important truths relevant to this study:

Firstly, we must view the Bible through God’s immutable (unchanging) character. He is our loving Father.

Secondly, we must consider Biblical truth through the relevant Covenant. We are in the New Covenant, and therefore we must view predestination through the lens of faith and grace, not Greek philosophy and law.

Then we will end this study with a better Hebrew understanding of the classical/reformed argument for their incorrect view of predestination – the potter and the clay. Once we understand the clay and the potter through Jewish eyes, we can understand the mystery of predestination.


2. Define Predestined

Predestined in Greek is the word προορίζω proorizō; from 4253 and 3724; to limit in advance, i.e. (figuratively) predetermine: — determine before, ordain, predestinate.

We see that this word comes from two different words:

g4253. πρό pro; a primary preposition; “fore”, i.e. in front of, prior

The second word is:

g3724. ὁρίζω horizō; from 3725; to mark out or bound (“horizon”), i.e. (figuratively) to appoint, decree, specify: — declare, determine, limit, ordain.


A. Ordain.

Predestination means to ordain beforehand.

From the beginning of time, God has ordained every one of us. Once we believe in Jesus Christ, that ordination comes into effect!


B. Horizon Thinking.

The second word for predestined is ὁρίζω horizō. Horizō is the Greek origin from which we derive horizon. We get a different kingdom perspective of predestination when we meditate on this.

God has ordained beforehand that you possess the part of His kingdom for you. We see the heart of God in the way He spoke to Joshua about the promised land:

Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.

Joshua 1:3

We can think negatively about predestination, with boundaries put in place, or we can think about what the kingdom of God is: There is a distant horizon, and everything in front of the horizon is our territory to move around in. We decide how far we want to go within His Kingdom.

The great thing about the horizon is; because the world is round, as you advance, the horizon moves as well! Joshua was under the Old Covenant, and God set the boundaries of the promised land in the natural realm. However, under the superior New Covenant, in the kingdom of God, that realm is established by God. He is a generous and creative God who wants to see the kingdom of Jesus continually expand, with you taking new territory for Him.

The Horizon Moves as you Walk Towards It

Such is the Kingdom of God

Joshua 1:3


3. How Are We Predestined?

To answer this, we need to know when God predestined us.

A. When Are We Predestined?

Ephesians teaches us that our predestination as sons and daughters happened before the foundation of the world!

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,

Ephesians 1:4-5

So predestination occurs at the start of time.


B. How Did This Election Occur?

Romans teaches us that this came from God’s foreknowledge.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

Now, going back to the beginning in Genesis 1:1, we find an interesting three words:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1

The first Hebrew word in the Bible is beresheet, meaning “at the heading”, which comes from the phrase in the head. In other terms, by joining Genesis 1:1 and Ephesians 1:4 together, we can interpret the foreknowledge of God to read: “In the mind of God, He pre-ordained His creation to be sons and daughters of God”.

Therefore, predestination occurred in the mind of God through His foreknowledge.


C. Who Are Predestined?

Looking at Ephesians, we find that our predestination is birthed out of desire and out of love:

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,

Ephesians 1:4-5

It is that same desire that wants everyone to become sons and daughters:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

We are as much a son/daughter of God as Jesus is a son. The difference is God created humankind, but Jesus always existed as the Word of God and the Lamb of God. The heart of God is to have as many sons and daughters as He can.

Having defined predestination and seen how God predestines us, what has God predestined us into?


4. Predestination to Adoption as Sons and Daughters

A. Biblical View.

The cornerstone scripture of Father-Son Theology is:

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,

Ephesians 1:4-5

We see that predestination is a foundational subject for Father-Son theology. God predestined us to be sons and daughters of God.


B. Jesus’ Predestination as the Only Begotten Son of God.

Like us, Jesus is similar in that the Trinity predestined Jesus to become a son. However, unlike us, He is the firstborn AND the only begotten son of God.

“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.

Psalms 2:7

But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says:
“Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

Hebrews 1:6

C. Our Sonship is Through Jesus 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,

Ephesians 1:4-5

D. Predestination to Adoption.

When the Father declared at Jesus’ baptism, “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased,” God was justifying Him. It was a legal term used when a son became legal heir to the Father’s house. The Greek word for son is ‘huios.’ The word for adoption in Ephesians 1:5 is ‘huiothesia’.

having predestined us to adoption (Gk huiothesia) as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Ephesians 1:5

The Ephesians understood the legal terminology for huiothesia. If someone wanted to adopt a son to become heir at 21 years, the adopting Father would take the ‘son’ to court. The ‘Father’ would declare: “This is my son in whom I am well pleased”.

Predestination means:
every believer in Jesus is ordained a son or daughter of the Father
at new birth.


5. Predestined to Produce Godly Character


A. Conformed to Jesus’ Image.

We have found that God predestined who we are – sons and daughters of God. However, God also predestines us to a godly character:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

B. Predestined for the Praise of His Glory.

Predestination requires that we do everything for the praise of His glory:

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, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12
C. Man’s Free-Will.

Classical/Reformed theology is adamant that man cannot do anything to assist God’s predestination. Yet, it ignores these two scriptures on predestination that requires a person to take action. We must make changes in our lives to be more like Jesus. And we are required to do something to bring praise and glory to God.

When God made man in His image, He gave humanity free will. God is sovereign, meaning He has free will, and therefore, man also has free will. Falsely saying predestination means we have no choice is taking away man’s free will against God’s original purpose. That purpose was to raise sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.


6. Predestined to the Royal Priesthood

When we remember the definition of predestination as ‘ordained beforehand’, we immediately understand that this relates to the priesthood.


A. Jesus was Predestined to be a High Priest.

We find Jesus was ordained at the beginning to be a priest. In Psalms, we find similar terminology to predestination regarding Jesus being of the Order of Melchizedek:

Yahweh has sworn
And will not relent,
“You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.”

Psalms 110:4

When we look at the wording here, God is “legally” swearing the future son of God, Jesus, into the priesthood of Melchizedek. Remembering the Greek word for predestined is ordination beforehand. This passage in Psalms is the legal pre-ordination of Jesus to the high priest. This ordination occurred when Jesus entered heaven after His death and resurrection:

where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:20

B. Believers are Predestined to the Priesthood.

Likewise, all believers were ordained beforehand into the priesthood.

And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Exodus 19:6

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

1 Peter 2:9

C. Believers are Predestined to be Kings.

Being ordained into the priesthood of Melchizedek with Jesus as High Priest, we are also ordained into the royal house of Jesus as well because Melchizedek is king.

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”

Hebrews 7:1-2

Predestination means:
every believer in Jesus is ordained a royal priest at new birth.


7. Predestined to Specific Function

Let us start with Jeremiah being pre-ordained as a prophet.


A. Jeremiah

When we look at Jeremiah, we see predestination at work.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 1:5

God says to Jeremiah what Paul is saying in Romans: Foreknowledge comes before predestination:

If we go back to the meaning of predestination, it means to ordain before. So before Jeremiah’s conception, God had ordained him to be a prophet.

Before we look at Paul, we see an exciting word regarding Jeremiah. God knew Jeremiah. The Hebrew word for known is ‘yada’. God looks at the inside of a man and sees their potential.


B. The Apostle Paul’s Call

Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,

1 Corinthians 1:1

Here we see that God chose Paul, who would be an abysmal choice indeed in man’s eyes! He was persecuting the church.

Now Saul was consenting to [Stephen’s] death [by stoning].
At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. …
As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

Acts 8:1-3

Yet God saw into His heart. He was someone who had set his mind to knowledge yet was confrontational, tenacious, and could be insensitive. Here is an example:

Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed; for before certain men came from James, he would eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision.

Galatians 2:11-12

C. The Choosing of Paul.

The call of Paul would seem to prove the Classical/Reformed view of predestination we are about to discuss. However, it is precisely the opposite. Instead, God sends Paul into the ‘wilderness’ for 14 years so that Paul and God can work on Paul’s character.

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me.

Galatians 2:1

Paul needed to conform to Jesus’ image:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

Some people choose to place the name Apostle or Prophet before their name. God may call them to be an apostle or prophets, but some have not yet co-laboured with God to conform to the image of the Son. I look at this process in Called or Chosen. Paul also needed to change his character through Holy Spirit empowerment so that Jesus would get the praise and the glory.

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, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

D. Five Fold Ministry

God may predestine us to fulfil a five-fold ministry. These are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Ephesians teaches that the purpose of the five-fold ministry is to use their Christ-given ministry gifts to equip the church to conform to the image of the Son, both in character and power:

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

Ephesians 4:11-13

E. All Believers

It is not only five-fold ministries that are ordained, however. As we have seen, we are all predestined to function within the body of Christ as royal priests.

But to each one of us, grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:7


8. Predestination and Evangelism

Amazingly some think that predestination means they no longer need to evangelise! Yet scripture is clear that unless believers share the good news, those who do not believe in Jesus will not enter the kingdom of God and will perish.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:14


9. Classical/Reformed View of Predestination

Now that we have seen what predestination is, we need to look at the Classical/Reformed view of predestination. Then we will look at the Classical Reformed “proof” of their version of evangelism, the clay and the potter, and find it teaches the same as what I have introduced above. Contrary to the Classical/Reformed view, we can change our “predestined destiny”.


A. Reformist Definition

Reformed predestination is the doctrine that God has predetermined all that will happen, including the salvation of some and not others. Double predestination is when some are predetermined to go into eternal suffering. Sending people to “eternity” in hell when they have no choice goes against the concept of a God of love. Neither the classical Greek view nor Reformed predestination theology rarely mentions adoption or ordination into the royal priesthood of believers. In the opinion of Reformed theology, the original intention of God is Jesus came to save sinners. Although Jesus indeed came to save sinners, the Bible teaches that this is only part of the plan of God, beginning with God’s desire to have sons and daughters.

There are two steps to predestination we will look at: God is in control, and man cannot resist the grace of God. These teachings are false foundations, built on a Greek philosophical cornerstone that God lives outside of time.


B. Reformed Theology: God is in Control

The classical/reformed view is that God is in infinite control of everything in the universe. In God is in command, not in control, we learn that God is not in control. Saying “God is in control” must be removed from our vocabulary because it misrepresents God in our evangelism. God gets blamed for adverse weather events, yet God has given man dominion over the world. Greed is damaging our planet, not God. The world population will decline from 2060, so God has made the planet enough to sustain humanity.


C. Reformed Theology: Irresistible Grace

The classical/reformed view of predestination is that man cannot resist God’s grace because God has total control of the universe. Those predestined to have their name in the Book of Life do not have a choice. They cannot resist God’s grace; they must become a Christian!. Those not in the Book of Life will burn in hell for eternity.

If God predestined us to conform to the image of His Son, and we cannot resist God’s grace, then we have no responsibility to walk in sanctification and holiness because it is only Him who can change us! As we have seen, a quick look at the passage in Romans shows how the classical/reformed view falls short:

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29

Our Father is a God of love, and He is good. To say that God is in control is to abdicate our responsibility to rule and reign. The Reformed view of predestination takes away from man’s free will, making us mere robots to the predestined will of God for our lives.

In the lesson on God is in command, not in control, we will look at the progression of how Augustine, Anselm, Luther and Calvin came to this theological error.

To say that God is in control is to abdicate our responsibility


D. Arminianism.

Arminianism came as a reaction to the erroneous teaching of irresistible grace and predestination described above. The Arminians influenced John Wesley resulting in the Methodist movement.


10. God the Potter and Predestination


A. Reformed Theology

To try and prove the classical/reformed view of predestination, scholars will argue Romans 9:

You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,

Romans 9:19-23

At first appearance, it would appear that God moulds some people for a negative outcome and some for a positive effect. It would seem to support the reformist view of double predestination. However, when we look at this closely, it teaches differently and supports a Father-Son theological view on predestination.


B. Jeremiah and the Potter

Paul’s writing to the Romans is referring to the potter from Jeremiah:

Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it. And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.

Jeremiah 18:5-10

We find that God teaches in Jeremiah the opposite of the Reformed definition of predestination. If someone changes their mind, then God will change His too! It also shows that humankind can resist the grace of God by refusing to respond to God’s offer of grace by doing evil, contrary to Reformed systematic theology. Or they can do good without requiring God’s grace to do it. In the Goodness of Man, Jesus taught that people outside of the New Covenant could change their minds and show agape love:

“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love (Gk agapao) those who love them.”

Luke 6:32

C. God’s View of the Pot

God’s view is that He is looking for a person or a nation’s population to change how they think.

Like the story of the prodigal son, God is looking for the opportunity to welcome back and bless the repentant person. The response by God is to change His course of action, and He does it quickly. He chooses beforehand how He will act, then allows man to make the decision that will produce his fate.

 

The Potter and the Clay teaches us that our decisions can change our destiny.

Not that God is in total control of our future.

11. Summary

  • Predestination means to ordain beforehand.
  • The boundaries predestination puts upon us are like the horizon of the spiritual land of promises. As we claim our inheritance, the horizon extends.
  • The foreknowledge of God predestines us.
  • We are predestined to be adopted as sons and daughters.
  • Ordination into the royal priesthood happens when we believe in Jesus.
  • God predestines us to be empowered by Holy Spirit to become like Jesus and glorify Him.
  • God ordains us to fulfil specific functions in the body of Christ.
  • Predestination does not excuse us from our responsibility to evangelise.
  • We are not predestined to go to heaven or hell. It is based on our decision to have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and that He died and rose again that we have our names in the Book of Life or not.
  • The teaching in Romans about the potter and the clay does not support the Classical/Reformed view. Instead, quoting from Jeremiah says precisely the opposite; if man changes his direction, then God immediately changes His mind concerning the person or nation.

 

© Use by Permission Awakening Impact Ministries/ Dr Neville van Eerten 2022

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