As a Christian we're always told to pray for people's salvation. However, in Romans its clear that salvation is predestined. So if something is already predestined, what difference would our prayers do? Would God change his mind? If God changes his mind depending on what we do then it's no longer "predestined". If we say to pray for someone is a test of our own heart, to see if we have the love of Christ that we wouldn't want anyone to perish but all have eternal life because that's the heart of God, then we're really praying for people's salvation not for them but for ourselves, because we're testing our own hearts.
Also, I can see all the signs according to the Bible prophesies that Christ is definitely coming soon. Everything is lining up for his return. Even the fact that Obama is in the Office is to line things up for the return. Once again, if all these things are predestined, why do we need to pray that things change. They obviously won't change. God says that if we repent he will once again bless us, but if its predestined who will repent and who will not, then how would the prayers change things?
I guess my basic questions is how do prayers change things if all things are predestined? If God changes his mind because of our prayers then it's not predestined.
You start with an invalid conclusion. Romans does not state that salvation is predestined. But you see the contradiction caused by the invalid conclusion. If everything is predestined, then why pray. But if prayers are answered, then the proper conclusion is that everything isn't predestined.
Your conclusion that there are signs regarding the end are also contrary to what Jesus stated. "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Matthew 24:36). "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming" (Matthew 24:42). "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:44).
I thought the Bible is quite clear on predestination. Let's just say Romans is not the book, then Ephesians 1:4 states for he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. I read your commentaries on predestination but I still don't have a firm grasp on this where I would be able to defend the position if ever challenged by someone. I know there are other places in the bible where it says that God predestined us for things.
This also brought up another question. In Exodus God says repeatedly (e.g. Exodus 7:3) I will harden Pharaoh's heart...if God merely used Pharaoh's own hardened heart to accomplish His will, why would God say "I will harden..." The "I will" is telling me that it was predestined.
I agree that no one knows the time or the day that Christ will return, only the Father, but how can anyone be ignorant of all the "birthing pains" that are going on right now. End time prophesies are being fulfilled left and right, things are lining up in order for other prophesies to be fulfilled, with the natural disasters, to the political unrest, the pending collapsing of world economy and how eventually Israel will stand alone (for the first time US is not siding with Israel) etc. With all these things happening and we know they will happened, how would our prayers change anything but to maybe delay the unavoidable? But, on the other hand, don't we want the Lord to come and come quickly so there would be an end to all the evils of this world and that the Devil and his demons would be put away?
Regarding predestination, see:
- Could you explain "foreknew" and "predestined" to me?
- How could God repent for creating man when the Bible also says God ...
- If God knows everything, then why did Jesus marvel at the ...
The fact that God had a plan that He executed in regards to Pharaoh does not lead to a conclusion that everything is predetermined.
Christians have been looking forward to the Lord's return for two thousand years. However, that doesn't lead to the conclusion that God plans on giving signs regarding when the end will come -- especially since He stated we won't know. The most things you are alluding to are a part of Jesus' prediction of the destruction of Israel. See: "The Fall of Jerusalem" and "The Second Coming of the Lord". Some of the other statements come from the Old Testament and involve God's predictions of Israel and Judah's destruction at the hands of Assyria and Babylon.
I have read all links. I have a better grasp on the fact that predestination is in terms of event, not individual. Each individual has a choice to do what is right or wrong and the predetermined event will happened regardless of the choices that people make individually because God can use different people to accomplish his goals. However, that "God predestined the 'types' of people" for different purposes is still puzzling to me. God made each of us unique, that include the 'type' of person we become, our temperament, genetic makeup etc. So isn't the type then predetermined?
In regards to end times. Let me be clear on this. You do not believe the traditional beliefs of signs before end times? Such as one world economy, the temple needs to be built, one world religion, anti-christ will rise etc? All these things are fortold in the Bible about the end times I'm sure you'd agree. The fact is that in order for all these things to be fulfilled, other situations need to happen first in order to line things up. For example, one world economy doesn't happen overnight, it makes sense that the individual country's economy needs to collaps in order for multiple countries to want to combine their economic force. So far, we can see how that's in consideration, especially in Europe. Also the currencies of the world need to become one currency. Euro was the first step of going towards one world currency, we can also see that how the banking community is pushing for total electronic banking, which eventually can lead to a cashless society and one needing the mark of the beast in order to trade. All these details need to fall into place before the final "one world economy" can take place. Another example would be the 'mark of the beast'. There needs to first be the technology in place in order for the fulfillment to be implmented. We now have the technology, the cats and dogs are required to be chipped already in many countries and states, it's easy to see that eventually it then can be used on people too. All can see that these things are lining up in order for end time prophesies to be fulfilled, how can one ignore them? I totally agree that we do not know the time nor the day of Christ's return and its our job to make sure that we're always ready, but to say that there are no "signs' one would be blind...
It isn't that hard. God determined before the foundation of the world that only people who believe in Him and His goodness (Hebrews 11:6) will be saved. The type of person (a believer) is separated from another type of person (an unbeliever). God also determined that obedient people will be saved (Matthew 7:21-23). So that further subdivides the type of person who will reach heaven.
When people claim that God has picked every individual for salvation or condemnation before the foundation of the world, they are declaring that God isn't fair. How would you like to appear before a judge only to learn that your case was already decided before you were even born? You would rightly be upset. But you are not upset to appear before a judge and learn that the laws you have to follow were predetermined before you were born. You want a judge who examines you and your circumstances, but who has not already made up his mind about you; you want an impartial judge. "For there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). The same rules are applied to every person, regardless of who they are.
In regards to end times prophecies, you are correct, I don't follow after the belief system that was developed in the late 1800's and spread like wildfire through the denominations in the 1900's. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle" (II Thessalonians 2:15). Let me take your list:
- One world currency: This not taught in the Bible. Instead, it is assumed from "He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:16-17). This was a prophecy regarding the Roman government that for a period of time trade was supposed to be denied to any who did not subscribe to the worship of the emperor. The nonsense being promoted today is based on no passage and an overactive imagination.
- The rebuilding of the temple: The verses typically thrown about are those which discuss the rebuilding of the temple after the captivity, which were fulfilled. There is no prophecy of about the temple being rebuilt after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. People assume it has to be there, but they cannot back up their assumption with Scripture.
- One world religion: Typically what is cited are the passages dealing with the prediction that there would be an apostasy from the original teachings of the church, such as "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth" (I Timothy 4:1-3). This falling away did take place and it continues to this day.
- The antichrist: "Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour" (I John 2:18). There isn't a single antichrist and John pointed out that many had already arisen, even during the first century. "Antichrist" just means "against Christ" and that describes a whole host of people who have and will continue to exist in this final age of the world.
So while these topics exist in the figments of people's imaginations and are not based on the Scriptures, notice how you have added all sorts of imaginary details to imaginary prophecies. Don't you think it is past time to go back to God and listen to His teachings?
"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).