Predestination - Does The Bible Teach It?

By Herbert W. Armstrong (c. 1973) ( A related video is Predestination and Pentecost.)

Is your ultimate fate decided for you in advance? No subject has baffled, perplexed, and worried people more. Here, for the first time, many will read the astonishing truth, so plain all can understand.

THE very fact of wartime casualties and accidental deaths has caused a great deal of added sorrow and grief that is entirely unnecessary — if we understand! Many have grieved in the belief that loved ones died eternally "lost" — when, if they understood the truth, these probably were not lost at all.

The Common Conception

Several years ago, a man, quite worried over the subject of predestination, went to a certain minister.

"Do you believe in predestination?" he asked.

"The Bible teaches it, brother," was the minister's reply.

The minister tried hard to explain. "But that doesn't really mean," he said, "that you have nothing to do with your own salvation. It doesn't mean that it is all set — your decision and eternal fate all determined for you in advance. You are to make your own decision. But God knows all things, even in advance. And so He knows beforehand how you are going to decide."

This didn't satisfy the troubled man at all.

"If God knows beforehand how I am going to decide," he reasoned, "then it is all predetermined. If He knows in advance I am to be LOST, then that's the way I'll have to decide in the end. And since I'll lose out anyway, why try? On the other hand, if He knows now I'm going to repent and accept Christ and be saved, I'll have to do it in the end anyway, whether I try or not. Then my ultimate fate is predetermined. Isn't that what predestination means — that the ultimate fate of each one is PREdestined — destined, or determined, in advance? And if that's so, then we simply are not free moral agents, and we have nothing to say about it."

The poor man was more discouraged than ever.

And no wonder. Neither could convince the other, because both were arguing from a false premise — that predestination has to do with whether each individual shall be lost, or saved.

Does the Bible teach that your ultimate fate is already predestinated?

Neither the preacher nor his perplexed questioner had read carefully what the Bible does say.

What confusion we are in today — what Babylon! Let's understand this!

All Unsaved Not Finally Lost

But all this perplexity and worry has arisen from another general assumption — one of the greatest errors of this time, yet almost universally taken for granted without so much as a thought to inquire into it.

That is the assumption that there are only two classes, living or dead — the saved, and the lost. How many sermons have you heard based on the theory "there is no middle ground. Either you are this minute saved, or you're a lost soul!" This teaching has led to untold suffering and unnecessary grief.

Thousands are grieving over departed loved ones who had never made a profession of Christ. Perhaps over one who really lived wickedly; perhaps over one who lived a "good" life in the worldly sense, but still had never accepted Christ or been converted. Still others grieve because of a doubt — they are not sure whether some loved one died saved.

If this booklet does no more than dispel some of this needless grief, and bring a little enlightenment and comfort to some of our readers, it will have been worthwhile.

So listen! Notice carefully. It's important that you understand.

Supposing this universal assumption were true, see where it leads us.

This teaching comes from the supposition, also generally taken for granted without question, that this is the one and only age and time when God is trying desperately to save the world — that the mission of the Church is to save the world — that this is the only day of salvation, and it is now about over. "Probation" is about to close. Soon it will be too late.

What of the Ignorant Heathen?

We know, of course, the Bible plainly says there is but one name given under heaven among men whereby we may be saved — the name of Jesus Christ.

Over in China, India, Japan, other parts of Asia and Africa and many islands, are millions upon millions — probably at least two billion souls — who, in spite of the comparatively few missionaries sent to heathen lands, have never so much as heard that only name! Think of it. Two billion souls — two thirds of the earth's population have never heard of Christ! They simply do not know about salvation from sin — God's plan for eternal life — have never heard the true gospel.

They cannot be saved! And now let us ask, can we believe that a God of love brought these individuals into the world without their knowledge or consent, permitted them to live and die without ever having heard the precious gospel — that God has simply consigned them to eternal punishment because they never had a chance?

Or, do we believe that in some manner God saves them, if they live up to the best they know, without having known and accepted Christ — without having been converted? Is there, then, some other name — some other way to salvation and life eternal, than through Jesus Christ our Lord? Certainly we can find no such teaching in the Bible.

Then what is the truth?

Not the Only Day of Salvation

The amazing, startling truth is that this is not the age in which God is trying to save all the world! It is not the only day of salvation.
Rather, we are nearing, now, the end of the six working days of the millennial week allotted to Satan.

Scripture plainly reveals Satan as the god of this world — this age; the prince of the power of the air; the actual spirit ruler of this present world. He is in power! He offered to turn over this power to Jesus, if He would only worship Satan. Jesus actually won the right to that power — to dethrone and replace Satan in power — by resisting him in that temptation. When Christ comes to rule, Satan shall be dethroned and utterly shorn of power. But he has power, now!

Satan's Millennial Week

Satan retains that power only by God's express permission. God has, for all practical purposes, turned over six days of one week — an approximate millennial week, each "day" an actual thousand years — to Satan. A day is as a thousand years with God, and a thousand years as a day. It forms an overall period of time (II Peter 3:8).

God's principles never change. Applied to this millennial "week," God has said to Satan, in effect: "Six 'days' shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God; in it thou shalt not do any work."
Satan's work is a labor of deception — of deceiving mankind upon earth — of turning God's truth upside down — causing honest sincere people to accept a counterfeit for the genuine — deceiving the people into sin. And how successfully he has worked at his occupation for six thousand long years!

We are nearing, now, the end of the first six days of Satan's "week." And the coming seventh millennial day shall be the Sabbath of the Lord our God. The first six days God has turned over to Satan, and given him free reign to influence and to deceive. But the coming seventh millennium is God's Day — it shall belong to Him. In it, Satan shall not do any work — he shall be chained, restrained, thrown into the symbolic "bottomless pit" (Rev. 20:1-4) — he shall not deceive a single soul. That day shall not belong to him, thank God — it shall belong to God, who shall rule through Christ!

Jesus plainly said He is "Lord of the Sabbath." And as this millennial Sabbath dawns, Jesus shall return to earth in person — as King of kings not only, but Lord of lords. He is coming not only to reign and to rule, as King of kings. But as Lord of lords, He is coming as High Priest to SAVE!

The fact we must now see — the astounding fact, almost unbelievable in the light of erroneous traditions, yet true — is that we have been living in the age of Satan's dominion — while Satan, with God's express permission, has been ruling — and not in the age when God has set His hand to save the world!

Not Given to Many to Understand

Notice carefully, now. Shocking as this truth may seem to many, yet it is the plain truth. During this time while Satan has been permitted to reign, it is simply not given to all to understand God's truth!

For instance, most people suppose Jesus spoke in parables in order to make His meaning clearer. But He didn't. He spoke in parables to hide His real meaning — to cover it so they could not understand. After Jesus had spoken the parable of the sower and the seed, notice: Mark 4:10-12; Matthew 13:10-13.

Notice, Jesus plainly said that except to His disciples whom He had called, "it is not given" to even know of the Kingdom — even to them who actually saw Jesus and heard Him speak in person. They were not permitted to understand!

That's astonishing! But there it is, in your own Bible — read it!

Not All Called Now

But there is no injustice with God. He denies no one an opportunity of salvation. These many are simply not called now — at this time — in this, Satan's age. This is simply not the time when God is trying to save everyone.

If He were — and of course we know Satan is trying to deceive people into loss of salvation — then Satan surely would be getting the better of the contest. But it is not a contest between God and Satan, at all. God alone rules in high heaven, and what Satan does he does not do in competition or in spite of God, or contrary to God's will — he does it only by God's express permission — and God gives that permission for an express and wise purpose. Some day we shall fully understand!

But God denies no one a chance. There is no injustice with God. Everyone is to have his full chance. But God does things His way and in His time, and in His plan all are not being called now. Millions who have died without a chance shall be resurrected and given their full chance — and without a devil to tempt them. The space of this booklet does not permit a full explanation of this here, but the 37th chapter of Ezekiel is one very definite revelation of this fact. (Write for our free article "Is This the Only Day of Salvation?" for a full explanation.)
Notice, I Corinthians 1:24-26: "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called."

Notice, "unto them which are called." Some are called. All are not called, at this time — during this age of Satan's dominion. "For ye see your calling, brethren" — Paul is speaking only to those he calls "brethren" — those who had been called — "how that not many" — notice it, "not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble" — not many of these in the world are called!

Gospel Preached for a Witness

Did Jesus say the gospel was to be preached to CONVERT all nations? No, only as a news announcement for a witness! "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come" — the end of the age! (Matt. 24:14.) Then follows the new age when the reign of Christ shall replace that of Satan.

While, during the present age, many in number are called, yet it is a few comparatively. And those who are called are called to a calling, and what is it? First, a calling to a changed life — a life of overcoming sin and self. And notice what Jesus said of those now called, who do grow in grace and in knowledge, who endure unto the end, and who overcome. Notice their ultimate calling.
Revelation 2:26-27: "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron ...."

When Jesus was here on earth it was His custom, as recorded in Luke 4:16, to preach the gospel every Sabbath day. And when this great millennial Sabbath dawns Satan will be imprisoned, and Christ will come not only to rule — He shall also preach! The Pharisees thought it wrong for Him to heal on the Sabbath — and the religionists of this day, mostly, seem to believe it would be wrong for Him to heal sin-sick people during the millennial Sabbath! But He shall do it, just the same.

When Most of Israel Shall Be Saved

One of the most wonderful chapters in the Bible is the eleventh of Romans. Few seem to understand it — yet it's plain. Some, today, say God has rejected and utterly cast away the Jewish people. They suppose the Jews are Israel, whereas actually they are of the House of Judah, which separated from the House of Israel in the days of kings Rehoboam and Jeroboam. Nevertheless, Romans 11 speaks undoubtedly of all the tribes of Israel.

This marvelous chapter says God has not cast away His people Israel. But it reveals that only a small portion of Israel (our English-speaking peoples are the birthright tribes of Israel) are of the election of GRACE at this time.

The rest are blinded spiritually, and GOD blinded them — deliberately and for a purpose — not permanently, but until the "fulness of the Gentiles be come in" — and then what?

Then, we read in Romans 11:26, "all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer" — Christ, at His second coming — "and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." Israel is spiritually blinded, now. God blinded them. They are not now being called to salvation. They are not being given any chance, now, at all! The wonderful opportunity that shall come to them after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in — after the Deliverer comes, and they are no longer blinded — shall not be a second chance — they have never yet had any chance.

And, if we can but understand, this chapter dealing with national fleshly Israel refers to our own race — our American and British Commonwealth peoples, as well as to the Jewish people. (For proof, write for our free book "The United States and the British Commonwealth in Prophecy".) It includes, undoubtedly, most of these departed loved ones who died without having accepted Christ and becoming converted. They may have heard the name of Christ, but they did not understand. God never called them, during their lifetime in this age. Of course they did not die automatically saved — but, on the other hand, neither did they die lost!

That's the comforting truth. The overwhelming majority of our peoples, today, are neither saved nor lost — they simply have not, yet, been called.

The Purpose of the Christian Calling

But if God is not trying to save the whole world now — if most are not now called, or given opportunity for salvation — why does God call any during this age? What's the purpose of calling some now?

That great purpose is to be trained to rule with Christ, and to teach, under Him, when He comes in His Kingdom — when all Israel shall be saved. We are being trained, prepared, fitted, through trial and test, through hardship, through persecution, through tribulation, with continual Bible study and prayer, growing in grace and in knowledge, to be able, then, to fill the high office of a king or a priest — either to rule in the civil sense, or to preach God's truth when the time comes that all may be privileged to understand, and to be called.

What a glorious mission is the true Christian life!

So don't grieve over departed ones you have felt were lost. The chances are they were simply not then called — it was not given to them to understand — their chance had not yet come. But they shall be resurrected, their spiritual blindness removed, and, if you are one of the called, and if you are faithful and finally chosen, you may be used then to minister to them, and to lead them into salvation and life eternal.

Oh, what a glorious hope! What truly good news, is the true gospel of Christ, which most people today simply have never heard. They are hearing a false gospel today!

But Paul in Romans 11 shows that salvation has come to the few, the elect in Israel, and to some of the Gentiles. And why? He explains it in verse 31. They are blinded, now, that through our mercy who are now called, they may obtain mercy and salvation then — when Jesus comes as the great Deliverer. How plain, and how wonderful!

Great Harvest of Heathen People

But now, how about the hundreds of millions of heathen who never heard?

Will Gentiles -- heathen Gentiles -- have a chance of salvation after Christ returns? -- after the Kingdom is set up to rule over all nations?
Flesh and blood, remember, cannot inherit the Kingdom. Only those finally born again -- born of the Spirit -- those who shall have become Spirit, and no longer flesh and blood (John 3:1-8) shall be in the Kingdom.

And they are the saints of this time, now called, changed, then, to immortality. (See I Corinthians 15:50-54.) They are those called during this dispensation who have endured unto the end, and proved overcomers. And they shall rule, and teach, the nations (Rev. 2:27; 3:21; 2 Corinthians 6:2.

Is this the one and only age and time when God is trying desperately to save the world? Some have been confused by II Corinthians 6:2 which seems to say that now is the only day of salvation.

This verse reads: "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."

But the word "the" in the King James Version is actually misleading, because it is absent in both the Hebrew and the Greek.
Actually, II Corinthians 6:2 was quoted by Paul from the Old Testament. Paul is quoting Isaiah 49:8: "Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee ...." The Hebrew text of Isaiah 49:8 does not have a definite article.

Neither does the Greek text of II Corinthians 6:2. The first part of the verse is more correctly rendered as follows: "I have answered thy prayer, he says, in a [not the only one] time of pardon, I have brought thee help in a [not the only one] day of salvation" (Knox translation).

Certainly, this is the day of salvation for those who have been called and whose minds have been opened to His truth by God. Now is their chance — their opportunity to qualify for His Kingdom. This is the day of salvation for them. But it is not the day of salvation for the vast majority. They will receive their chance — their first and only chance — at a later time. It is a day of salvation, but not the only day of salvation.

Consider also that if it were the only day of salvation in Paul's time — then it is closed to us today. But Paul was quoting a scripture hundreds of years old. Was that time — in the days of Isaiah — the only day of salvation? Obviously NOT. Today, as in the time of Paul, it was only one of several times of salvation.

Dan. 7:18, 22, 27). They shall reign on the earth, not up in heaven (Rev. 5:10). They shall rule the nations -- ordinary mortals of all races, on earth (Rev. 2:26-27). They shall thus rule, and teach, for one thousand years -- Christ's millennial "Sabbath" (Rev. 20:4, 6).

Those now called, during this time, are called to a life of training -- spiritual character training, -- to fit them for positions of high responsibility in the Kingdom. The one, for example, who multiplies ten times over in spiritual character what God gives him at conversion shall be qualified to rule ten cities. The one who overcomes, and grows in grace and knowledge only five times shall be qualified to rule over five cities. The one who thinks he "got saved" merely by "accepting Christ" and, deceived by the "no works" teaching, did not grow or develop in his Christian life at all, will have taken from him even the salvation he thought he had. See the parable of the "pounds," Luke 19.

But who shall these converted immortals reign over?

One glimpse into this millennial rule is found in Isaiah 11. It portrays Christ ruling the world in righteousness. It is a time when wild animals are tamed. Babies are being born, and nursing babes and weaned babies shall be playing with wild animals and deadly snakes — now tamed and harmless. Now notice:

Isaiah 11:10-11: "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse [Christ], which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it [the Root — Christ] shall the Gentiles seek ... and it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people [Israel] ...."

To Christ, then ruling, shall the Gentiles seek! And then, as the returned Deliverer, shall He set His hand again the second time to recover Israel and Judah — the time when the spiritual blindness is removed!

Notice again Micah 4:2, "And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Eternal, and to the house of the God of Jacob [the Kingdom of God]; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths ...."

And now what of those Gentiles who never heard? Notice!

Isaiah 66:15, 19: "For, behold, the Eternal will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury [last plagues] ... And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud [Gentile nations] ... and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither seen my glory: and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles."

The Great Fall Harvest

When Jesus, the Great Deliverer shall come, the dead in Christ (those who have been called, and who have accepted the call and been finally saved) shall be resurrected out of their graves immortal (I Cor. 15:50-53); and together they shall be caught up into the air to meet the coming King, with whom they shall reign.

Thus they shall be separated from all earth's mortals — mark that! The separation between mortal and immortal is made before Christ ever touches this earth.

They meet the King Eternal up in the clouds. Where do they go from there? The first four verses of Zechariah 14 reveal that in that same day — not a thousand years afterward — Christ's feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives, from whence He ascended.

Then, upon this earth He shall take over His throne — the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32). That, then, is the throne on which the saints made immortal shall sit with Him (Rev. 3:21).

And then what shall happen, during the thousand year reign from then on?

Matthew 25:31-34, 41: "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations [Gentiles and Israelites]: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you .... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire ...."

Notice, all those called and saved prior to Christ's second appearing on earth had been separated from the unsaved before Christ stood upon earth — while still in the clouds of the air — before He sat upon the throne of His glory.

The separation going on after He sits upon that throne ruling over the nations, therefore, is a different, and a succeeding separation.

Here are earth's nations — earth's mortals — all nations. And now begins a process of separation. It is according to the decisions they make, and the actions they take. Those who turn to a life of righteousness are set on the right hand. They are converted — given immortality — because Christ says to them: "Inherit the kingdom" — and mortal flesh and blood cannot inherit that Kingdom! (I Cor. 15:50.)

Those who do evil then receive the full penalty of the law — death! They are sentenced to depart into the lake of fire.

Certainly this passage pictures nothing but a process of salvation going on, after Christ's return, during His millennial "Sabbath Day."

That is the great "fall harvest of souls"!

The astonishing fact is that the present human harvest corresponds to the early spring grain harvest of Palestine. It is so pictured in the annual round of festivals God gave to Israel to keep His people continually in the understanding of His plan. This is the preliminary harvest of humans. This is the time of Satan's dominion. And out of it God is calling a people for His name, that through our mercy who now are called, the great majority not now called may, then, obtain mercy. Those now called to salvation are merely the "first fruits" of God's salvation (James 1:18). They are called, now, to prepare for the office of "king" or "priest," to become the instrumentality through which Christ will really save the world, when His time comes. What a glorious plan and gospel!

Not a Second Chance

But, some will say, is not this the doctrine of a second chance?

Absolutely not!

One text ought to make that plain. Hebrews 10:26-27: "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation ...."

Those to whom it has not been given to understand those not now called -- have not received the knowledge of the truth.

Most do not really grasp it -- they do not really understand. Because the truth is spiritual knowledge, and spiritual knowledge cannot be transmitted naturally to a mortal human mind. Spiritual truth is revealed! None receive it, though their ears hear the words, or their eyes read them, except as God opens their understanding, and by His Spirit reveals to them the truth.

But, if one has been truly called of God, convicted by God's Spirit, his mind opened to the precious spiritual knowledge of the truth, then if that man sins willfully, deliberately, intentionally, without resistance -- that man is through! He has had his chance. He shall have no other during the coming millennium.

Those who shall then be saved are those who have not, until then, been called. They are those who never had a previous chance.
In God's own time, according to His plan, all shall have their chance. But each in his order. Those who were born and lived first receive theirs last. And those born last come in first. The illustration of the "valley of dry bones" in Ezekiel 37 shows the whole House of Israel — those spiritually blinded who lived and died without a chance — resurrected in mortal bodies to mortal life, as before. It shows their understanding being opened — the knowledge coming to them for the first time. Then God puts His Holy Spirit within them, and they are saved!

Those Who Died Unsaved

And so it follows, now, that most of our loved ones who have died unsaved in all probability did not die lost. In all probability they were not called, during this age. But their call is coming later. They shall be resurrected back to life, and given their fair chance. And you, if you are called — if God reveals this wonderful truth to your mind — are having your one and only chance now — your chance to prepare and fit yourself to be used of Christ in the loving labor of helping to save them, then!

Oh, what great meaning we begin to see in the Christian life! What glorious purpose! What grave responsibility! Will you make your calling and election sure?

And now, in the light of this wonderful revelation of truth, we should be able to understand this matter of "predestination."

What "Predestination" Is Not

Very few understand what "predestination" is. First, consider what it is not. There is no teaching in the Bible that says the decision you are to make -- your final fate of becoming either saved or lost, is already pre-determined, and that you are destined finally to arrive at that fate.

Absolutely no text anywhere in the Bible says anyone is predestinated to be lost.

But doesn't the Bible say anything about predestination? Certainly. But it does not say what people seem to think. People seem to think it says we are predestinated to be either saved or lost. Some to be saved — others to be lost.

Let us read the only texts in the Bible speaking about "predestination." And see if you can find anything in any of them about anyone being predestinated to be lost. The difficulty is that people have assumed and taken for granted what is not true.

There are just four places where the word "predestinated" occurs in the Authorized Version.

Romans 8:28-30: "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. 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."

Ephesians 1:4-5, 11-12: "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: 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: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ."

Notice, none of the places in the Bible where predestination is mentioned says anything about anyone being predestinated to be LOST — predestinated to reject Christ. No one is predestinated to make a certain decision — to accept or reject Christ — to be saved or lost. But some have been predestinated to be called to salvation, now!

When We Were Called

Of those called now, in this age, notice when we were called!

II Timothy 1:9: "God, who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."

And, as in Ephesians 1, quoted above, notice carefully what it says:

God chose us in Him, when? "Before the foundation of the world"!

"Having predestinated us" — what for? To be lost? No, "unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ."

"Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Were any predestinated, then, to be lost? Is it God's will that any be lost? He says it is not! Then can't we see that "predestination" has nothing to do with whether we shall be lost or saved — with our decision — with our ultimate fate?

Notice carefully, now!

"Being predestinated ... that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ." Those predestinated are the first to trust in Christ — merely the first preliminary soul-harvest.

And now do you begin to see the glorious truth — that predestination has nothing to do with your making a decision or your fate — it has only to do with the time of your calling — whether you are called now, in this age, or later.

Notice it in the passage in Romans 8:28-30:

"For whom he did foreknow ...." How great is God! If you are one now called, God "foreknew" you. And "whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate" — to be lost? No, "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 ...." Not will call in the future — called, now, in this age.

There it is. Note it.

"Whom he did predestinate, them he also called." Predestination has to do with being called. Not with being saved or lost. Those now being called, in this age, were foreknown, and PRE-destinated to be called now — to be the first to put their hope in Christ. All others have their call later.

God does not decide for you, in advance, whether you shall be saved or lost. He did decide far in advance which ones He would call in this first calling, to be a priest or a king in His Kingdom — to have part in the saving of others.

How wonderful are God's ways, when He opens our understanding to reveal them to us.

Let us make our calling and final election sure. Let us not grieve over departed loved ones who probably were not called, in this life. God is able to raise them up again. They will come up in the Great White Throne Judgment. And in that judgment, the book of life shall be opened, and many shall then find it. Judgment, now, is upon the true Church of God — those now called (I Pet. 4:17). And we are later to judge the world!

The overwhelming majority on earth today are neither saved nor lost. Their chance has not yet come. This is not their time. But it is coming as certainly as God's Word is true.

This is not the age when Christ is desperately contesting Satan as to whether all humanity shall be saved or lost. If it were, as most seem to believe, a controversy for souls now, between Christ and Satan, then Satan surely is winning the contest, and a one-sided contest it is.

But Satan is not more powerful than God. We near, now, the close of the sixth working day of Satan's week. Soon will come "the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." Satan shall be chained, Christ shall rule — and preach, and save!

Back to home page A related video is Predestination and Pentecost.

Note: The old Worldwide Church of God no longer exists and the group that took it over would not make Herbert Armstrong's writings available, even when I offered to pay. So the above article is freely shown in the public interest. The most faithful remnant of his old church is the Continuing Church of God.

Here are some additional scriptures related to God calling people now that are in the detailed article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis:

The Only Ones Saved Now Are Those Who Accept The Call Now

Jesus taught that the true church would be a “little flock” (Luke 12:32), hated by the world (Matthew 10:22), and persecuted (Matthew 10:23). He also taught only a few would find the way to eternal life in this age (Matthew 7:14; 20:16). The Apostle Jude indicates that the number of saints was relatively small (Jude 14), while the Apostle Paul called the small group a “remnant” (Romans 11:5). And the New Testament is clear that God has to do the calling (John 6:44; 1 Corithians 12:3).

1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul states:

3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, no one can be saved unless God gives an opportunity through the Holy Spirit. Is God intending to condemn those that had no chance?

John 6:44, Jesus clearly taught:

44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

Similarly in John 6:65, Jesus taught:

65 "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."

God the Father must call for any to come to Jesus. But God has not called all now. Certainly a loving God understands that and does not condemn those that do not know or are not able to see.

Notice that only a few are chosen now as in Matthew 20:16, Jesus teaches:

6 "So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen."

Revelation 17:14 shows that Christians will have to be faithful:

14...He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

Luke 12:32 shows that the faithful, until God's kingdom is given, will be small:

32 Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Notice that only a few will find Christ now, as in Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus teaches:

13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

This is the same Jesus who came to save more than a few. And He will, not in this age (as there will only be a few now), but in the age to come as few will remain faithful in this age).

Notice that many who will be first come from places (like Asia in the east, Russia in the north, Africa and Latin America in the south, plus all the islands) that will end up being first in the Kingdom of God according to what Jesus taught in Luke 13:29-30:

29 They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God. 30 And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.

Yes, there will be some from the west, but notice that they are no more prominent than those from the other regions. How does your church understand this? We in the Philadelphia remnant of the Church of God, specifically in the Continuing Church of God, understand that God will offer salvation to everyone in this age or the age to come and those in non-biblical nations will respond.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, Paul teaches:

13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God 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 gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 11:1-5, Paul shows that while God has not cast away his people forever, He only has called a remnant now:

1 I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, 3 "LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life"? 4 But what does the divine response say to him? "I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." 5 Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

Zechariah 10:6 shows:

6 "I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back, Because I have mercy on them. They shall be as though I had not cast them aside;

How can people be as though they were not cast aside if they will not have an opportunity for salvation? (These clearly include those who were cast off in Hosea 9:16-17.)

Mark 4:33-34 shows that Jesus only explained what He meant to a few:

33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.

John 12:37-40 shows that many cannot believe, even though they saw Jesus' miracles, because they have been blinded:

37 But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, 38 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?"

39 Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again:

40 "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."

Thus, the Bible is clear that people were blinded so that even when they saw the signs from Jesus they could not be converted now. This is because this was not the age for many to be saved as God's plan, which involves the age to come, will result in the most possible percentage of people being saved.

Also notice Job 17:4a and Luke 13:24:

4 For You have hidden their heart from understanding...

24 Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.

Some, including some who wanted to know, have been prevented from understanding!

But there is no partiality with God as Romans 2:11, Ephesians 6:9, and Acts 10:34 show:

11 For there is no partiality with God.

9...there is no partiality with Him.

34 In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.

Hence, there must be a plan for the rest. A plan for those NOT called and chosen in this age as God is NOT partial, nor does He love them any less.

Notice that Isaiah 9:2 is clear that those that walked in darkness will see the light:

2 The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
Upon them a light has shined.

Notice that Isaiah 42:16-18 teaches that and this includes those who had followed idols:

16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them. 17 They shall be turned back, They shall be greatly ashamed, Who trust in carved images, Who say to the molded images, 'You are our gods.' 18 "Hear, you deaf; And look, you blind, that you may see.

Jeremiah 6:10 shows that many simply cannot hear God's message:

10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, And they cannot give heed.

Thus, not only can some NOT SEE, some apparently CANNOT GIVE HEED.

Luke 8:9-10 shows that God only wanted few to understand now:

9 Then His disciples asked Him, saying, "What does this parable mean?" 10 And He said, "To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that

'Seeing they may not see,
And hearing they may not understand.'

Is that fair? Is God fair?

Well, the God I worship is fair and does have a plan for those who are not called in this age. Notice that God says in Ezekiel 18:25-32 that some disagree, but that His ways are fair:

25 "Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? 26 When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. 27 Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. 28 Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not fair.' O house of Israel, is it not My ways which are fair, and your ways which are not fair?

30 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!

Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus explains that parables were spoken so that only some will understand now, and that this is to prevent some from understanding and being spiritually healed now:

10 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" 11 He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:

'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.'

16 "But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Notice that Jesus said many wanted to know, but were not allowed to know. Because God is a God of love, this is probably because they many if they truly understood would be unfaithful in this age. This is apparently why only a relative few are being called now.

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Paul explains part of why some are not being called now:

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

Since God is intentionally not calling certain ones now, do you believe He intentionally has doomed them to eternal torment?

Notice that the Bible, in Ezekiel 14:23, is clear that God does things for a reason:

23 And they will comfort you, when you see their ways and their doings; and you shall know that I have done nothing without cause that I have done in it," says the Lord God.

Matthew 19:23-26 shows that humans on their own cannot enter the kingdom of God:

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, "Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

At this stage Peter did not fully understand how God would save most, but also clearly felt that God had to have some type of plan (which Peter knew no later than shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, Acts 3:19-21).

1 Peter 2:9-10 Peter teaches:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light".

Ephesians 1:4-6 Paul teaches:

...just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

While some are predestined to be called in this age, most of humanity has NOT been predestined to be lost.

More scriptures are also in the detailed article Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.