The answer is found in Ezekiel 33. This chapter, similar to Ezekiel 18, is where God tells Ezekiel that he, Ezekiel, is like a watchman on a tower. When God tells Ezekiel of upcoming doom for the sinful, like a watchman blowing the shofar to warn people when the enemy approaches , he is to tell them what God says so they have warning and time to turn from their sins. If Ezekiel warns them, he is free of their blood. Therefore, God is saying that people can choose to turn from their sin, or choose to die in it.
God tells us that He takes no pleasure in the death of a sinner while still in his sin:
11 Say unto them, 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: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
The gist of predestination is that the elect are chosen already, and we don’t have any choice. God has designed and determined everything that will happen. There are some things in the Bible that can be used to make this argument; for instance, God told Jeremiah he was chosen to be a prophet and that God knew Jeremiah when he was still in the womb, Moses being chosen, Gideon, Samson, and there are others. All of these Prophets, Judges, and Saviors of Israel (oh, yeah- don’t forget Esther, who was where she was “for such a time as this”) were determined by God to do His will.
Does that mean they didn’t have a choice? Jonah had a choice, and even though he did get a lot of “encouragement” to turn back to Nineveh when he ran away, he still could have fought off the calling. He probably would have died, and we would not read the Book of Jonah at Yom Kippur services; maybe it would be the Book of Bob, or the Megillah of Myron? In any event, if Jonah had turned from his calling, or Gideon, or even Moses (remember that God almost killed Moses as he was first going back to Egypt), God would have still raised someone up to do His bidding. Even Yeshua, when He was praying before capture, asked if the cup could pass from Him let that be so. Even the Messiah clearly could have changed His mind about what He was to do. That’s not predestination, that’s free will in action.
You can’t make an argument from nothing (this is a very important lesson to remember when interpreting the Bible) but we can never know how many babies were pulled form the Nile. Perhaps there were more than just one baby saved during the Pharaoh’s decree, so if Moses hadn’t chosen to fulfill the role God had for him, there might have been others available to God to serve His purpose.
Ezekiel isn’t the only place where we can see people have had choices, and God has given them that right. We do have free will, we do have the opportunity to chose God. Really, when you think about it (something most religions seem to want you to avoid doing), predestination can’t be God’s plan because if the Lord already chose what and who, then why bother allowing evil in the world? If God knows who will be in heaven, then why put billions of people through the Tribulation, or make innocent people die? Why even tell Ezekiel to warn the sinners? Why send the Prophets? If God has determined, ahead of time, who will live and who will die, why even give those destined to die life?
None of it makes any sense. Not that we can be expected to understand God, but really? God making billions of people go through life for what is, essentially, no reason other than to die is… ridiculous. That makes God out to be a young boy with a magnifying glass digging up ants just to incinerate them. Or creating the ants to watch them die (Oy- that’s even worse!)
God is the captain of our lives, and His ship will sail from Creation all the way to Salvation on Earth, a new Earth, where the people who have chosen to choose God (through Messiah Yeshua) will live in eternal joy and peace.
Those who have chosen to ignore God’s existence and choose sin will suffer eternal damnation.
The bottom line is that it is a choice, and it is our choice. It is your choice, and you are the only one responsible for that decision. You can’t blame your parents, your Priest, Rabbi or Pastor. You can’t say your favorite teacher taught you that God is dead, or that you just don’t know what to believe.
Not believing is a choice. And, take it from me, it’s the WRONG choice!!
Yeshua said that those who are not against Him are with Him. Not accepting or believing is being against Him.
Also, accepting what others say without confirming the truth for yourself is, well, it’s just plain stupid! You are going to have to answer to God, and He will not give you a break because you were too lazy to read the Bible and ask for the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) to lead your understanding so that you can make up your own mind. And he won’t buy the, “But that’s what I was taught” line, either.
I will talk about God with anyone, believer or atheist, and if I don’t respect their choice, I respect their God-given right to make that choice.
Make your own choice, and do that with the knowledge that comes from reading the Bible for yourself. There are some parts that are boring and tough to get through, but get through it. Please- at least once in your life do this so that you have a real chance at having life eternal. It may take a few days or weeks, or even months to get through it- the whole thing, from Genesis through to the end of Revelations. If you are Jewish, read the New Covenant writings, also (it will help if you get a Messianic version of the Bible) and if you are Gentile, read the Old Covenant writings first. You may be surprised at the fact that Jesus did not say anything new. Same thing for the Jewish readers of the B’rit Chadashah: Yeshua taught Judaism, He did NOT invent a new religion.
God has determined what will happen to mankind- no one who says the Bible is true can argue that point. However, because the fate of mankind is settled and already determined, that doesn’t mean the fate of any individual man (or woman) is already determined. The ship is sailing, it will reach it’s final port, and we all have the right and the freedom to decide if we will sail with this ship or not.
It is your choice, so make it a good one.