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Scriptural Predestination

The issue of predestination has been debated for centuries and has given risen to various manmade theological systems.  The author contends that these manmade systems have created more obscurity than light and that the only sensible approach is to disregard man's opinions and study carefully what the Bible itself says about the matter.


From even a brief review of the Bible, a few matters are obvious.  First, the word "predestinate" in its various forms is used only four times in the entire Bible and in only two passages: Romans 8 and Ephesians 1.  The comparatively little time that scripture spends on this subject in contrast to man's focus, if not fixation, on the matter indicates man's complete lack of temperance about this issue. 


Second, nowhere does scripture indicate that God predestinates the earthly events of a believer's life or predestinates certain individuals to salvation.  The notion that God predestinates certain men, but not others, to salvation is in complete contradiction to the clear teaching of scripture.


For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

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.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.  (1Tim 2:3-4, 2Pe 3:9, 1Jo 2:2)


Having set aside men's opinions, let us look carefully at what the Bible says about predestination, beginning with the passage in Romans.


For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  (Rom 8:29-30)


Romans 8 indicates that we are predestinated to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, and Ephesians 1 sheds further light on what this means.


Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

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:  (Eph 1:5, 11)


The conforming to the image of Jesus Christ is described in Ephesians as the adoption.  Curiously, the scriptural definition of adoption is found in Romans 8 in the same context as the verses concerning predestination.


And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  (Rom 8:23)


Our adoption is simply the redemption of our corrupt, earthly, physical bodies that takes place when we receive new incorruptible bodies at the Rapture.  It is thus clear that the only two passages in the entire Bible that address predestination are both about the redemption of believers' physical bodies and our consequent conformance to the image of Christ.  This redemption of our physical bodies occurs at the Rapture.


Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  (1Cor 15:51-53)


In short, predestination has nothing to do with salvation and nothing to do with the earthly events of a believer's life.  It has everything to do with God's plan to prepare the body of Christ to function with spiritual bodies as his representatives in heavenly places.


It is easy to understand why God has predestinated the body of Christ to participate in the Rapture if one understands God's purposes for the body of Christ.


Satan's rebellion against God's authority has manifested itself in two distinct places: (1) the heavens and (2) the earth.  God's plan to bring the earth back under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ is through the nation of Israel.  His plan to bring the heavens back under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ is through the body of Christ.  Therefore, while God did not predestinate any individual person to become a part of the body of Christ and while God did not predestinate any of the earthly events that occur during the body of Christ's time upon planet Earth, God did predestinate the body of Christ to be outfitted with new bodies and assume its proper place in heavenly places.


Thus, predestination is not about choosing individual people to salvation.  Rather, it is God's established purpose that all those who choose to be in the body of Christ will be caught up at the Rapture and equipped with new bodies to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in heavenly places.


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"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7