One of Scripture’s very first lessons is that, left to our own devices, we humans have an inherent tendency to make the wrong kinds of choices. We choose what will feel good to our flesh, rather than what is right.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:6
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
In addition to being a historical, literal woman, the great matriarch of all mankind is also symbolic of Israel. Even though the woman was deceived, it also seems clear that she exercised a personal free will right to choose.
That men and women do have free will choice is clear. However, do men have nothing more than free will choice? Kepha (Peter) tells us that Yeshua’s ministry was foreordained before the foundation of the world.
Kepha Aleph (1 Peter) 1:20-21
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21 who through Him believe in Elohim, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in Elohim.
If Yeshua’s role in history was foreordained from before the foundation of the world, then the rest of mankind’s actions have to be more than just the results of free will choice. Although Yeshua was in the right place at the right time in order to fulfill the prophecies, if the rest of mankind’s actions are not scripted, then how can Yahweh know that His people will be where they need to be, when they needed to be there, in order for His prophetic words to be fulfilled?
Ephesim (Ephesians) 1:3-6
3 Blessed be the Elohim and Father of our Master Yeshua Messiah, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Messiah,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be set apart and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Yeshua Messiah 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.
It makes no sense that Yahweh would leave the fulfillment of His word to chance. Shaul (Paul) even tells us that our adoption as sons is predestined. However, if our adoption as sons is predestined, then at the highest level, none of us really makes a choice to accept or reject Yeshua. At the highest level our choice to accept salvation has to be something that is given to us as a gift, such that we cannot reject it.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 4:7
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
We know that Scripture is full of paradoxes, but how can Scripture speak both of a man’s free will choice, and also of a man’s predestination to the adoption as sons? If a man can theoretically choose between right and wrong, then how can his predestination be certain?
The solution is that Yahweh sits outside of time, and already knows everything that will happen before it happens. He has already written the events of our days in His book.
Tehillim (Psalms) 139:16
16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
To make sure His prophecies will be fulfilled, Yahweh predetermined everything that will ever happen. This is so much the case that He even knows when the deer and the wild mountain goats will bear their young.
Iyob (Job) 39:1-2
39:1 “Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young? Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?
2 Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they bear young?”
Some people think there is a logical conflict between predestination and free will choice, but in reality there is no conflict. This is because predestination is big enough to account for man’s free will choice. This theory says Yahweh already knows who is and is not predestined to the adoption as sons, because He sits outside of time, and has already seen every decision we will ever make. He has allowed things to go a certain way, in order to fulfill His perfect will.
Romim (Romans) 8:28-30 (from NASU)
28 And we know that Elohim causes all things to work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Yahweh knew ahead of time that the house of Judah would reject Yeshua. He foreknew that Judah would be blinded for a time, and for a purpose. He even foreknew that one day the Jews would accept Yeshua, for His calling on His people is irrevocable.
Romim (Romans) 11:28-32
28 Concerning the Good News they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.
29 For the gifts and the calling of Elohim are irrevocable.
30 For as you were once disobedient to Elohim, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience,
31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy.
32 For Elohim has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
Although our Jewish brethren exercised their free will choice to reject Yeshua, it came as no surprise to Yahweh Elohim. He not only foreknew that the house of Judah would make the wrong choice, but He also allowed it, so that His prophetic word could be fulfilled. Everything happened just as Yahweh Elohim had planned before the earth was even created, and yet this does not relieve us of our personal responsibilities.
Romans 9:16-28 (adapted from NASU)
16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of Elohim who shows mercy.
17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”
18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?”
20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against Elohim? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”
21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if Elohim, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
23 And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,
24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among the Gentiles.
However, while Yahweh predestined what would happen with Judah, He also predestined what would happen among the Ephraimite people.
25 As He says also in Hosea,
“I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ and her who was not beloved, ‘Beloved.’”
26 “And it shall be in the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not My people,’ there they shall be called sons of the Living Elohim.”
27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel,
“Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;
28 For Yahweh will execute His word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.”
(NASU corrected for names)
If Yahweh has plans for His people to fulfill, then it only makes sense that the free will choice He gives us is the free will choice that works perfectly into His plans.
Ephesim (Ephesians) 1:11
11 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…
The things Yahweh Elohim is doing are all just a part of a hidden wisdom that He has predestined from before the beginning of the ages.
Qorintim Aleph (1 Corinthians) 2:6-7
6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away;
7 but we speak Elohim’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which Elohim predestined before the ages to our glory…
(NASU corrected for names)
If our inheritance has been predestined according to Yahweh’s grand purpose, then our choices must be in line with His will. In fact, Shaul tells us that all of our free will choices, including our choice to accept or reject Yeshua, were established according to Yahweh’s purposes even before time began.
Timotheus Bet (2 Timothy) 1:8-9
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Master, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the Good News according to the power of Elohim,
9 who has saved us and called us with a set-apart calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Messiah Yeshua before time began…
If we are willing to accept it, Yahweh is so completely sovereign that not even a sparrow falls to the ground unless He wills it. Even the number of hairs on our head has all been predetermined for us.
Mattithyahu (Matthew) 10:29-30
29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”
When first exposed to predestination, the concept can seem unsettling, and even frightening. However, once we get used to the idea, then we can begin to relax into the knowledge that Yahweh is completely sovereign over the universe. Nothing that happens ever took place by chance, but only by His good pleasure. When we realize this, then we can begin to relax into the the knowledge that Yahweh has everything perfectly in control, and that His perfect will is always being done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 46:9-10
9 Remember the former things of old, for I am Elohim, and there is no other; I am Elohim, and there is none like Me,
10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and all My pleasure I will do…’
If Yahweh is so completely in charge of the world that nothing ever happens apart from His will, then it is our duty to praise Him; for it was purely by His mercy and perfect will that He has given us the wonderful portion and inheritance that He has.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:8-9
8 When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.
9 For Yahweh’s portion is His people. Jacob is the place of His inheritance.
He could just as easily have given us our portion out in the nations. However, He chose us, and loves us first, and gave us eternal life. Therefore, how great is our debt to Him?
Once we realize how completely in charge Yahweh is, true humility becomes much easier. Also, it becomes clear that when faced with overwhelming problems, whether as individuals, or as a nation, the first thing we need to do is to turn to Him in prayer.
Divre HaYamim Bet (2 Chron.) 7:13-14
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
While Satan is the one who causes all of the problems, no problem exists, but that Yahweh our Elohim allows it. And therefore, in order to turn problems away, we need to turn to Him, and seek Him first.
When we understand how scripted life is, then we can give thanks for all things.
Thessaloniqim Bet (2 Thess.) 2:13-14
13 But we are bound to give thanks to Elohim always for you, brethren beloved by Yahweh, because Elohim from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth,
14 to which He called you by our Good News, for the obtaining of the glory of our Master Yeshua Messiah.