Q. In your recent article you made the following statement:
“There’s nothing arbitrary about God’s action here. He has already determined the number and will take the Church to its intended destination as soon as that number is reached. But as far as I can tell no one on Earth knows either the full number or the current number.”
I have always had difficulty with the free will vs. elect doctrine.
Many say God chose us before the worlds were formed so you’re either “destined for salvation ” or you’re not. Others say Christ died for the whole world so anyone can be saved. If our Lord already determined the number, what the heck is that based on? It does sound a little arbitrary. Makes me wonder if someone will miss out because they are at the back of the line!
A. Pre-determining the number of members in the Church is not the same as pre-determining which of us will be included and which won’t. Otherwise John 3:16 and all the other verses that tell us it’s our choice would be incorrect. And yes, some will be left out of the Church because they didn’t make up their minds in time, just like some will be excluded from eternity with God because they didn’t make up their minds in time.
One might even argue that keeping the date a secret is the ultimate in free choice because there’s no known deadline to externally influence one’s decision. All we’re told is that the Lord is not going to let this go on forever.
Because He doesn’t want any of us to perish, but for all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:10) He gives us clues to help us see that the end is coming near, but that’s as far as He can go and still protect our sovereign right to choose.