Did God predestine the Pharisees to reject Jesus?

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By BibleAsk Team


John 12:37-40

Some misinterpret the verses in John 12:37-40 to mean that God did predestine the pharisees to reject Jesus. Let’s examine verses:

“But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke: ‘Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed’ Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: ‘He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.’”

The prophecy of Isaiah was simply a prediction of what God’s foreknowledge had seen would happen (Isaiah 53:1). The prophecies do not shape the characters of the men who fulfill them. Men act out their own free will (Matthew 1:22). Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination in no way exclude human liberty.

God Does Not Predestine People

No Bible writer suggests that God does predestine certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost, regardless of their own choice in the matter. Having a foreknowledge of what choices people would make is far different from predetermining it. The Lord gives all the FREE WILL to choose to be saved or lost. God, being all-knowing, knows what people will choose. But He does not get in the way of men’s decisions by predestining their lives.

The Bible is clear about the fact that God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). God confirms, “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” (Ezekiel 33:11). And “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

The Lord says, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Christ Himself declares, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

The Pharisees on their own made the decision to reject Christ knowing that they were rejecting the truth. For the Holy Spirit pleaded with them repeatedly to accept the Messiah but they would not listen. God simply respected their decision and didn’t interfere with their plans but carried on His divine saving purposes for mankind.

For more on the topic of predestination, check the following link: Do we have freedom or are we predestined?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories God

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