Did God predestine the Pharisees to reject His Son according to 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. 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.

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 we will choose. He does not get in the way of our decisions by predestining our 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).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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