Why I reject the use of the term"Double Predestination"

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Why I Reject “Double Predestination”

Double predestination is the term used by many within “High Calvinistic” circles to describe the notion that just as God predestinated the elect unto salvation, He also predestinated the reprobate unto damnation. In light of the relevant scriptural terms (see appendix two below), it is my belief that this doctrine  is unbiblical. Moreover, it is my belief that this doctrine undermines the value and significance of the true doctrine of predestination as  it relates to the people of God. I believe that the double predestination error stems from a misunderstanding of how God uses the terms purpose and predestination when dealing with mankind. I believe that what the proponents of double predestination are doing is confusing the former with the latter. God does indeed use the words purpose and predestination in a synonymous, or at least a near synonymous, way as it pertains to things and events. We see this in the following two passages: 

Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before (proorizō) to be done. 

I Corinthians 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before (proorizō) the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

However, when it comes to men, particularly in light of their state before God, the words purpose and predestination — are not — synonymous. We see this as well, in the following passages: 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate (proorizō) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate (proorizō), them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated (proorizō) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated (proorizō) according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 

Pertaining to man, we can look at the distinction between purpose and predestination in this wise: part of the eternal purpose of God is the predestination of His chosen people. God purposed the creation of man; He purposed their fall in Adam; He purposed to show forth His power and wrath upon the reprobate in their eternal damnation, and He purposed the election and predestination of His chosen people unto their salvation (based solely upon the Person, Work, and Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ). 

The dictionary (merriam-webster.com) defines purpose as (1) a : something set up as an object or end to be attained : intention b : resolution, determination; (2) : a subject under discussion or an action in course of execution. Many use it as a synonym for intent. To do something on purpose is to do it with intent. The purpose behind something is the intent behind it. However, the dictionary should not be our guide for interpreting biblical words; the Bible itself must determine how we interpret and use the terms found therein. When God uses the word purpose, there is a much greater meaning than simply intent or objective (in their dictionary senses). In the New Testament, the primary Greek word for the verb form of  purpose stems from two other Greek words that together form the primary meaning : to set/fix from before; to set forth from before, to establish from before, to make from before, to ordain from before. In the Old Testament, the word purpose often corresponds to the counsel of God, the very mind of God. Whatever it is that God purposedintended / and set as an objective in eternity is precisely what He actually executed and performed; nothing can stand in the way of it because it is what He already established. His eternal, divine, intentions are utterly and completely fixed. God is not constrained by time, He operates both within it and outside of it; He sees the end from the beginning and what He sees is what really is for He is the great I AM. Thus, what God purposed cannot fail; for what He purposed stems directly from His immutable counsel and omnipotent might – it therefore always comes to fruition simply because it is — “The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun. Is there [any] thing whereof it may be said, See, this [is] new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).”   

We
read in Ephesians 1:11 “…being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will…” As it pertains to men, predestination is but a part of the overall, cohesive, purpose of God – albeit a very prominent part. The purpose (i.e. the afore-establishing) comes first, it is from eternity – even before the world was. Included in that purpose is the predestination of God’s people – also from eternity. Likewise include in that eternal purpose is the creation and reprobation of the wicked for the express purpose of showing forth His wrath and power against them due to their sins. Thus, the damnation of the reprobate was set forthand established before the world was – but the reprobate were never predestinated unto damnation; I aim to explain this further below.  

Concerning purpose, I do not believe that a simple linear breakdown will do justice to the topic given that God knows all things, ordains all things, and operates both in and out of time; nonetheless, I put it to you as follows:  

  1. The counsel of God comes first (i.e. the perfect and omniscient deliberations that stem directly from the eternal mind and will of God); 
  2. That counsel is set forth and established from old (i.e. His purpose is established from everlasting to everlasting, His will be done); 
  3. That purpose has many different facets (election, predestination, reprobation, creation, the fall, incarnation, substitution, redemption, justification, sanctification, judgment, glorification, damnation, etc.); 
  4. These various facets are made manifest both in time and outside of time as God thought, purposed, decreed, and carried/carries them out. 

Thus, when people speak of double predestination, they are really speaking about the establishment of two different aspects of the multifaceted purpose of God. We are not dealing with flip sides of the same coin, but rather two different coins that make up part of the entire treasury that we call God’s eternal purpose. I cannot stress this enough — it isn’t just semantics, predestination in no way applies to the damnation of the reprobate. The predestination of men is a vital, glorious, subset of the purpose of God — it is not a synonym for it. It is true that the purpose of God, as it pertains to men, centers heavily around His predestinated ones (His elect), given that they are one, via eternal vital union, with the Lord Jesus Christ — who is the True center of all things. However, we must honor the distinctions that God sets forth. When we review the proof-texts in the appendices below, it becomes clear that although God indeed purposed the creation, thoughts, acts, and the damnation of the reprobate — he never predestinated their damnation. 

As the word pertains to mankind, predestination/proorizō is a term that is specifically reserved for the elect of God. It relates to that specific aspect of the purpose of God wherein He foreordained the salvation of those whom He elected. It pertains to that specific divine, eternal undertaking wherein, in eternity “past,” God purposed to know and love a people called by His name, a people whom the Father chose in Christ, and whom He foreordained unto salvation based upon His finished work.  Predestination is a term that is eternally yoked to that aspect of the purpose of God that pertains to His eternal love, loving-kindness, care, and compassion for His people in light of the salvation He has provided for them in Christ. God’s predestination of His people is directly connected with His foreknowledge of them. Those whom He predestinated, He foreknew; those whom He foreknew, He fore-loved because the foreknowledge of His people directly ties-in with that deep, intimate love that Christ had for them from before the foundation of the earth. God’s people are elect according to the foreknowledge (prognōsis – see appendix two below) of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:2). Those whom God did foreknow (proginōsko), he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29 ).  Thus, I love predestination, true predestination, because it separates the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats. This word puts an eternal wedge between the eternally beloved of God and the eternally abhorred of God. God elected HIS PEOPLE and God predestinated HIS PEOPLE. Election simply means “the act of picking out, choosing, a thing or person chosen.” Few would use the language : “I believe in double election” — so why do so many argue for double predestination when the biblical language does not allow for it? Tradition, I believe is the main culprit – followed by uninformed habit.

Therefore, when God specifically reserves a term for His people, one that He specifically reserves to show forth His eternal love and care for them in His foreordaining of them unto salvation, we ought not to pollute it, or sully it, by assigning any aspect of it to the reprobate, the very enemies of God. We should not undermine the clear intent of the word usage (again, as it pertains to men) just because we want to promote theological distinctions. It is more appropriate to honour the wording that God sovereignly chose to use, than it is to boast of being a “High Calvinist, Double Predestinarian, Supralapsarian…” Titles and terms must give way to God’s revealed will when
it comes to the use of the words and terms found in His word. 


The following consists of my proof-texts for my above-stated stance. I include it in the event that anyone wants to know how/why I came to the conclusion that I did on the matter. All true knowledge is of God, all error is of man. If anyone finds error in my stance or reasoning — feel free to leave a comment explaining your understanding of the matter.     

APPENDIX ONE -THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD

The Purpose and Providence of God as it Pertains to Mankind 

God purposed both the creation and fall of mankind before He ever made this present universe/existence. The fall was not some unforeseen event that caught God by surprise; it was not something to which the omniscient and omnipotent God had to react so as to rectify. The Lord knew all that was to come to pass because He purposed all things to come to pass that does indeed comes to pass. As  I stated above, the purposing of God is the setting forth or establishing from old. We read in Isaiah 46: 

“9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.” 

God uses the sin of wicked men to bring about His glory. It was through the fall that God would be honoured and glorified both in the destruction of His enemies (the reprobate) and in the salvation of His people (the elect). Were there no fall in Adam, there would be no salvation of sinners in Christ based upon His atoning blood and imputed righteousness. The redemptive work of Christ brings glory to God in the highest (Luke 2:10-14). Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing — every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, will declare “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever (Revelation 5:12-13).”  

However, lest there be any doubt, God is indeed honoured in the destruction of His enemies as well. We read in 

Exodus 14:17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth. 

Romans 9:11-24, in its totality, declares this fact more fully; it reveals to us that as the Potter over the one lump of clay (that one lump being all of fallen humanity), God purposed and carried/carries out His sovereign work of making some to be vessels unto honour and others vessels unto dishonour. God, willing to show His wrath and power endures with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (literally, rendered, made perfect for, prepared for destruction). Proverbs 16:4 declares “The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”   Concerning His goodness towards His people, Romans chapter nine also declares that God is willing to make known the riches of his glory and does so, showing forth His mercy upon the vessels of mercy, His elect, whom He had afore prepared (G4282 – proetoimazō) unto glory. In the revealing of His perfect hatred, wrath, and power against sinners and sin (the two are in separable), God is verily glorified. Yet even more so, in the revealing of His grace, mercy, and love (even all of the riches of His glory) towards His elect, He is glorified in the highest.   The distinction between the vessels of honour and vessels of dishonour, the vessels of mercy and vessels of wrath, was made in eternity (before the world was). Concerning God’s elect, we read in Ephesians 1:  

“3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 

God the Father chose His elect people, in Christ, from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4); God promised the salvation of His elect before Adam ever was, let alone before he fell (Titus 1:2). All of those whom God foreknew in Christ (i.e. loved before the foundation of the world), He predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son. The divine, eternal purpose encompasses all of the above – the foreknowledge, election, predestination, covenanting, promise of salvation, etc.– all of these things were facets of the one cohesive purpose of God. This same purpose incorporated the fall of man before man was ever made; the fall was part of that overall purpose that includes divine election and predestination unto salvation for the elect. This is why the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8); he was afore-appointed to that blessed role from before the foundation of the earth (1 Peter 1:19-20) — in accordance with the overall purpose of God. Notice that God speaks of His elect, whom He had afore prepared (G4282 – proetoimazō) unto glory. He never states that the reprobate were afore prepared (G4282 – proetoimazō) unto damnation. This is because God is focusing our attention to His divine love and care for His people — He is using language specifically set for His elect. 

The Purpose and Providence of God as it Pertains to All Things and Events

In His ordaining of all things, there is not a single act that takes place, or that fails to take place, that is not directly controlled and directed by God. We know this because He purposed all things before the world was. Every cell of every living thing; every piece of dust in this world; every atom that has ever existed in this universe; and every thought that has ever entered into the mind of men — all have all always been, and always will be under the perfect control and direction of Jehovah God. This is because His control and direction equates to the manifestation, the working out of His purpose (that which He afore set forth, made, and established). Thus, nothing happens that God did not purpose to happen – and all that He purposed to happen absolutely will beConsider again the key words in Isaiah 46: 

“Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.” 

God declares that His counsel will stand; that word counsel is also translated purpose in the Bible. God makes clear that what He purposed, that also He will do (not might do, not hopes to do, but will do, for He will do all of His pleasure). Revelations 4:11 declares that God created all things, and for His pleasure they are and were created. All of creation was purposed from the divine, eternal, and sovereign counsel of God. All men were created for God’s pleasure, to show forth His glory unto the ages. All of their actions were purposed of God – all events throughout time, and outside of it, were purposed of God. Ephesians 1:10-11 declares “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 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.” God is sovereign, infinitely sovereign. He works all things after the counsel, the purpose, of His own will. Many also refer to this precept as the providence of God. 

The Bible declares that our God is in one [mind], and who can turn Him? What His soul desireth, even that He doeth (Job 23:13). If He cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder Him (Job 11:10)? Our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased (Psalm 115:3) and whatsoever the LORD pleased, [that] did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places (Psalm 135:6). All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou (Daniel 4:35)?  

Now note the comforting words of Romans 8:28, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.” Not only will God do all of His pleasure, not only will He work all things according to His own will, but He will do all of His pleasure and work out all of His will in such a way that it will always benefit His people. The Lord reiterates this point in Matthew 10 wherein He declares: “28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” 

What a blessing it is to know that the God who purposed and brought about all things, purposes and brings about all things for the specific good of His people — for their collective good and for their individual good. In so doing, He shows forth the riches of His grace, mercy, and glory. Yet for all things to work together for good to the people of God, God must be sure that all of the things that come to pass will truly benefit His people. To be so sure, He must see to it that every single thing that occurs in time, and outside of it, must occur in accordance with His precise, infallible purpose (this includes everything, even down to the thoughts, words, actions, and inactions of all mankind).God proves this very point in passage after passage throughout Scripture; consider the following: 

  • Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps. 
  • Proverbs 20:24 Man’s goings [are] of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? 
  • Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
  • Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. 
  • Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, [is] from the LORD.
  • Proverbs 19:21 [There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand.
  • Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever he will.
  • Psalm 105:25 He turned their heart to hate His people, to deal subtilly with his servants.
  • Exodus 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: 
  • Deuteronomy 2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand… 
  • Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.18 Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will [have mercy], and whom He will he hardeneth. 

When you consider just what it is that we are reading in these passages above, it becomes clear that man’s ways are not in himself, we do not direct our steps. Instead, man’s goings are of God; he orders the steps of His people unto godliness and salvation, but nonetheless purposes the steps of His enemies unto their destruction and His glory. Although he states that a man’s heart deviseth his way (but that He directeth his steps), God also declares that He prepares their hearts — for the preparations of the heart in man is from the Lord. Their hearts are in His hand and He turns them as He sees fit to turn them. Concerning the reprobate, He hardens their hearts, turning it to hate Him, and His people, and to rebel against Him according to His purpose (before establishing / setting forth). Concerning His elect, He turns their heart to love Him, worhsip Him, and obey Him; He gives them a new heart (a heart of flesh that can be pricked and moved by the Spirit of God unto His praise and glory). Concerning the entire human collective, their hearts (thoughts/emotions) and actions are all of the Lord – they are all completely subject to His purpose. 

However, the reprobate are still responsible for their own sins. Some will ask how; some will ask how can God be just in damning them if they are working in accordance with His eternal purpose? The answer is “simple” (not really, because I do not even come close to being able to properly understand the depths of these precepts, but nonetheless…), the wicked act in perfect accordance with their own wicked hearts, natures, desires, inclinations, etc. Fallen mankind is sin; we do not just have sin, we do not just do sinful things, but we are naturally sin. Sin has completely corrupted fallen mankind; you cannot separate the sin from the sinner, they are one. We, by nature, are the very source of our sins. As in the days of old, GOD sees that the wickedness of man is great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of our natural, corrupt heart is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). Were it not for the restraining hand of God, we would manifest every sin possible, whenever and wherever possible, and all simultaneously if possible. This is why God is stating that whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all (James 2:10); he is guilty of all because the only reason he keeps the whole law, save one, is because God has kept him from breaking all of the other aspects of the law save that one. The committing of one evidences that he would commit them all if God did not hold him back from the manifestation of them. Thus, though sinful man does what God purposed for them to do — in sinning, they nonetheless do it willingly, because their evil hearts and minds are in complete harmony with the evil that they commit to suit God’s purpose. Fallen men are utterly and completely responsible for their own sins; prefering to walk in them, than to turn to the Lord jesus Christ, honouring Him, and crying to Him for mercy.


APPENDIX TWO – KEY WORD DEFINITIONS

Proorizō

The main word for predestinate in the Bible is the Greek word proorizō (Strongs G4309); it literally means “To predetermine, decide beforehand, to foreordain, appoint beforehand, and in New Testament biblical usage, of God as He decrees from eternity.” It comes from two Greek words, one meaning before, and the other to define/determine/ordain. Proorizō is found in four places in the Bible; two instances apply to events and the other two apply to the elect.  Proorizō used in reference to God’s purpose and providence. 

Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before (proorizō) to be done. 

I Corinthians 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before (proorizō) the world unto our glory: 8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 

Proorizō used in reference to God’s people alone. 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate (proorizō) to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate (proorizō), them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated (proorizō) us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated (proorizō) according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 

Without a doubt, proorizō always refers to the predestination of the elect unto salvation, or else the predestination of events and actions to bring about God’s purpose (particularly the purpose of the redemption of the elect through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ). Proorizō never pertains to the “predestination” of the reprobate unto damnation. To force this meaning upon it goes against the very clear intent of God’s use of the word.

Prognōsis

Another word to consider is prognōsis (Strongs G4268), in the two instances that it is found in the Bible, is translated as foreknowledge in the AV/KJV (it literally means just that, to before knowledge). The two verses at issue are: 

Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge (prognōsis) of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge  (prognōsis) of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.  

One of the passages pertains to the ordaining of events (namely, the purpose and foreknowledge of God concerning the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus); the other passage pertains to the election of God’s people. Note that neither passage pertains to the so-called predestination of the wicked unto damnation. Thus, prognōsis follows the same pattern as proorizō in that as it pertains to acts or events, it is similar to purpose; however, as it pertains to men, prognōsis specifically relates to the elect of God. 

Proginōsko

The word from which prognōsis is derived is proginōsko (Strongs G4267), and it literally means to before know / know before. This word is found five times in Scripture and in the AV/KJV it is translated as foreknow, foreordain, know, and know before. Only three of the verses have any real/direct relation to predestination; they are as follows: 

Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow (proginōsko), he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son , that he might be the firstborn among many brethren .  

Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew (proginōsko). Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying…  

1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained (proginōsko) before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 

As is clear, two of the verses pertain to the foreknowledge (and predestination) of the elect of God and one pertains to The Elect of God, the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 42:1-4; Isaiah 45:4). No where is proginōsko used to refer to the “predestination” of the wicked unto damnation.  

Proetoimazō 

Proetoimazō (Strongs G4282), in the two instances that it is found in the Bible, is translated as prepare afore and before ordain in the AV/KJV (it literally means just that, to before prepare). As we have seen in the pattern of proorizō, prognōsis, and proginōsko, proetoimazō is used in relation to the elect, but never in relation to the reprobate. The following two verses declare that proetoimazō pertains to the afore-preparing of the elect, by God, unto salvation; or else the afore-preparing/ordaining of the good works in which they should walk in light of that salvation. As it pertains to the word at issue (proetoimazō), the non-elect are no where in view in these two passages. 

Romans 9:22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared (proetoimazō) unto glory ,  

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained (proetoimazō) that we should walk in them.  

Prothesis

The next word at issue is the one related to the word I have been emphasing — purpose. Prothesis (Strongs G4286) is the noun variant of protithēmi (Strongs G4388) which literally means before placed, before set in place, before laid, before fixed/set, before set forth, before ma
de, before established, before ordained. 
Prothesis is usually translated purpose in the AV/KJV (but is also translated as shewbread when in conjuction with one of the Greek words for food – artos). Prothesis is found twelve times in the Bible; it is translated four times as shewbread and eight times as purpose. When not translated as shewbread, it used in various scenarios; however only four pertain directly to predestination. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose (prothesis). 29 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. 

Romans 9:11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose (prothesis) of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.   

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose (prothesis) of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:   

2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose (prothesis) and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,   

The four verses above all relate in one way or another to predestination — with three of them clearly pertaining to the elect and only to the elect. The fourth one, found in Romans 9:11, is less clear but still ultimately pertains to the elect of God. I say this because, purpose/prothesis as used in Romans 9:11 pertains to the “purpose of God according to election.” That word election is eklogē (G1589) and it means a thing or person chosen. It is particularly used to refer to one, some, or all of God’s elect; the six other instances of it in the Bible bears this out (see Acts 9:15; Romans 11:5, 7, 28; I Thessalonians 1:4, 2 Peter 1:10).

Protithēmi, in the AV/KJV, is transalated as both purpose (twice) and set forth (once) — as a verb. The word can be found in Romans 1:13; Romans 3:25; and Ephesians 1:9. Its use in Romans 1:13 does not directly impact this discussion; the other two passages read as follows: 

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth (protithēmi,) [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past , through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, [I say], at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 

Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed (protithēmi,) in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:11 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: 12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 

Ya`ats 

However, we cannot dismiss the use of the general term purpose in connection with the reprobate. God does purpose the creation of the reprobate – He also purposes the damnation of the reprobate. God does endure with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (Romans 9:22). But no where can we get from this that He predestinated the reprobate to damnation. The purpose of God is tied-in with predestination — both pertain to what God has beforehand determined to do — however, you cannot use the two interchangeably (not if you want to stay faithful to the intent behind the words; as stated, predestination is a subset of purpose when it comes to the saints of God).

Purpose, as used throughout this work, can best be seen by the Old Testament usage of the word. For example, ya`ats is a primitive Hebrew root word meaning: to advise, consult, give counsel, counsel, purpose, devise, plan; consult together, exchange counsel, deliberate, counsel together… The following passages make it clear that purpose, as I have used the term, centers heavily around this Old Testament understanding:

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed (ya`ats), [so] shall it stand: 25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. 26 This [is] the purpose that is purposed (ya`ats) upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed (ya`ats), and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Isaiah 19:12   Where [are] they? where [are] thy wise [men]? and let them tell thee now, and let them know what the LORD of hosts hath purposed (ya`ats) upon Egypt. 

Isaiah 23:9 The LORD of hosts hath purposed it (ya`ats), to stain the pride of all glory, [and] to bring into contempt all the honourable of the earth.

Yatsar

Besides ya`ats there are other Old Testament Hebrew words for this understanding of purpose. Yatsar (Strongs H3335) is translated as purposed in the following verse:

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it] (yatsar), I will also do it.  

Yatsar literally means to form, fashion, frame, create, pre-ordain, and/or predetermine. In the AV/KJV, it is most often translated as form, potter (see Romans 9:20-24), fashion, maker, frame.  Consider some other passages at issue:

Psalm 33:6   By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. 11 The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed [is] the nation whose God [is] the LORD; [and] the people [whom] he hath chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashioneth (yatsar) their hearts alike; he considereth all their works.  

2 Kings 19:26 Hast thou not heard long ago, [how] I have done it; [and] of ancient times, that I have formed (yatsar) it? now have I brought it to pass, that thou shouldest be to lay waste defenced cities [into] ruinous heaps. 27 Therefore their inhabitants [were] of small power, they were dismayed and confounded: they were [as] the grass of the field, and [as] the green herb, [as] the grass on the housetops, and [as corn] blasted before it be grown up. [See also Isaiah 37:26-27].

Zamam
Zamam (Strongs H2161) is a word translated purpose once in the AV/KJV, but has as it’s primary meaning — to have a thought, devise, plan, consider, purpose. Consider the following passages:

Jeremiah 4:28 For this shall the earth mourn , and the heavens above be black : because I have spoken [it], I have purposed (zaman) [it], and will not repent , neither will I turn back from it. 

Jeremiah 51:10 The LORD hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the LORD our God. 11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device [is] against Babylon, to destroy it; because it [is] the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple. 12 Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong , set up the watchmen , prepare the ambushes : for the LORD hath both devised (zaman) and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

Machashabah

Machashabah  (Strongs H4284) is a word translated purpose six times in the AV/KJV, but has as it’s primary meaning — thought/device and is translated as thought twenty-eight times in the AV/KJV and twelve times as device. Consider it as it relates to the purpose of God:

Jeremiah 49:20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes (or thought, machashabah), that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out : surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. 

Jeremiah 51:29 And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose (or thought, machashabah) of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.  

Jeremiah 50:45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes (or thought, machashabah), that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make [their] habitation desolate with them.  

Micah 4:10 Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. 11 Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. 12 But they know not the thoughts (or purpose, machashabah) of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. 13 Arise and thresh,
O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

`etsah

`etsah (Strongs H6098) is a word translated purpose twice in the AV/KJV; it has as its primary meaning — counsel, advice, purpose and is translated as counsel seventy-nine times in the AV/KJV. Consider it as it relates to the purpose of God:

Isaiah 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, [so] shall it stand: 25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. 26 This [is] the purpose (`etsah) that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this [is] the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. 27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul [it]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel (`etsah) shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed [it], I will also do it.  

Jeremiah 49:20 Therefore hear the counsel (`etsah) of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out : surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. 

Jeremiah 50:45 Therefore hear ye the counsel (`etsah) of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed (or thought, machashabah) against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make [their] habitation desolate with them.  

Proverbs 19:21 [There are] many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel (`etsah) of the LORD, that shall stand.

Chashab

chashab (Strongs H2803) is a word translated purpose six times in the AV/KJV; it has as its primary meaning — to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, and count.Consider it as it relates to the purpose of God:</p

Jeremiah 49:20 Therefore hear the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Edom; and his purposes, that he hath purposed(chashab) against the inhabitants of Teman: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out : surely he shall make their habitations desolate with them. 

Jeremiah 50:45 Therefore hear ye the counsel of the LORD, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed  (chashab) against the land of the Chaldeans: Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make [their] habitation desolate with them.  

Lamentations 2:8 The LORD hath purposed (chashab) to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.  

Tassō

Tassō (Strongs 5021) literally means to put in order, to station, to appoint, to ordain. In the AV/KJV, it is translated as appoint, ordain, set, determine, addict. This word is used in eight verses in the Bible, none of which pertain to predestinating the reprobate to damnation, but only one of which pertains to the predestination of the elect (Acts 13:48 which reads “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained (tassō) to eternal life believed). I have not included the other seven verses because they are not germane to the discussion at hand. 

Prographō  (What about Jude 1:4?)

I want to consider a word that may appear to suggest that predestination applies to the reprobate. Prographō (Strongs G4270), can be found in four passages in the Bible. This word literally means to write before (of time) but is also used in the sense of to depict or portray openly. In the AV/KJV, it is translated as aforetime were written, set forth, wrote afore, and before of old ordained. There is only one passage that would be interpreted as having anything directly to do with predestination and that is the following: 

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained (prographō) to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 

The passage however, is not addressing the “predestination” of the reprobate to eternal damnation. This passage specifically addresses false brethren who were before of old ordained (prographō) to fall away from the truth (having never been grounded in it) and suffer the condemnation that results. Although the two things are tied together, they are neither one and the same nor are they close enough to justify the argument that God “predestinated” the wicked to damnation. Prographō here isn’t dealing with all of the reprobate, but only those amongst the reprobate who were purposed to hear the Gospel, proclaim a belief in it, and then to fall away from it (apostasize). 

As stated above, God purposed the creation of mankind, the fall of mankind, the damnation&nb
sp;of the reprobate, and the predestination (unto salvation) of the elect — but he never predestinated the damnation of the non-elect. 

 

  

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