The False Predestination and the Fifth Commandment
Many brethren have been dogmatically taught to believe in predestination Jansen-Calvin style. This belief in predestination has two or three versions. One of these versions states that every thing that happens, from the fall of a leaf to the death of a person, is caused directly by God, and has been predestined to happen specifically year, month, day, hour, minute and second. Another version is that large events such as birth and death has been predestined, but not small events. However, all versions agree that birth and death are predestined.
The Fifth Commandment, as it reads in Ex 20:12 says:
"Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." ( Ex 20:12 )
From this passage it is easy to get to the conclusion that the one who honors his father and mother is going to live more than the one who doesn't. This would mean that one of the factors that enters in the length of a person's life is how they relate to their parents. Consequently the length of the life of a person was not inflexibly predestined by God. Therefore the date of a person's death is not predestined. Note that it was said personally by God. This is in agreement with what Solomon says in Eccl 7:17.
"Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?" ( Eccl 7:17)
In Dt 4:40 we see that the length of time the Israelites were going to stay in the promised land, was not a predestined number of years, but depended on the behavior of the people regarding the commandments of God.
"Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever." ( Dt 4:40 )
The verse below, likewise, teaches us what God said to King Solomon, when he succeeded his father King David in the throne.
"And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days." ( I K 3:14 )
As seen in all three previous passages, there is no preset time for the death of each and every human being. Death depends of several factors. If an individual's health, vitality, and genes, would normally allow him to live 70 years, but this individual behaves foolishly, wickedly, and transgresses God's commandments, he will instead last less than 70 years. According to the verse recently read, God, Himself, said to Solomon, that if the king would be obedient, God would prolong his life.
We also will see that in Solomon's mind set there was no such idea of predestination, but instead, he had the solid concept that life span could be shortened or lengthened according to certain circumstances. Let's read Prv 3:1-2; 3:16; 4:10 and 28:16.
"My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments, for length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee." ( Prv 3:1-2)
"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour." ( Prv 3:13-16 )
"Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many." (Prv 4:10 )
"The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor; but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days." ( Prv 28:16 )
It is evident that in Solomon's mind set predestination didn't exist in the sense that the day of birth and death was inflexibly fixed. Prophet Daniel also thought the same way. The time length of tranquility of king Nabuchadnezzar was not pre-set, it depended of what he did or did not do.
"Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility." ( Dn 4:27 )
Moses, who knew better that all scholars and Bible teachers, shows us in several instances, that he did not believe in the predestination of death. Let's heed his words.
"That thou mightest fear the LORD thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged." ( Dt 6:2 )
"8 Therefore shall ye keep all the commandments which I command you this day, that ye may be strong, and go in and possess the land, whither ye go to possess it; 9 and that ye may prolong your days in the land, which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give unto them and to their seed, a land that floweth with milk and honey." ( Dt 11:8-9 )
"That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left, to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel." ( Dt 17:20 )
"But thou shalt in any wise let the dam go, and take the young to thee; that it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days." ( Dt 22:7 )
"But thou shalt have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure shalt thou have, that thy days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." ( Dt 25: 15 )
"But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it." ( Dt 30:17-18 )
"For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing ye shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it." ( Dt 32:47 )
In all the above passages we see that persons whose authority cannot be questioned, have us know that there is no such thing as a predestined day of death. Some events could be predestined according to divine plans, as was the day of the crucifixion. It had to happen the day before de Passover, the very day the ceremonial lamb was to be killed; but it doesn't mean that every thing is predestined.
Likewise, we will see in the next passage, that the day of King Hezekiah's death was not inflexibly fixed or predestined, because after his prayer a span of fifteen years was added to his life. If his death would have been predestined, for the time Isaiah announced Hezekiah's death, it would not have been changed for fifteen years latter. Similarly, if his death would have been predestined for fifteen years later, Isaiah would not had said that he was to die fifteen years before, because it would not have been true.
"1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came unto him, and said unto him: Thus saith the LORD: Set thine house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then Hezekiah turned his face toward the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, 3 and said: Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 Then came the word of the LORD to Isaiah, saying: 5 Go, and say to Hezekiah: Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father: I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears, behold, I will add unto thy days fifteen years." ( Isa 38:1-5 )
Could some allege that Hezekiah's death was predestinated for the time Isaiah first announced it, and God changed the predestination to fifteen years later? Well, in this case they are using a euphemism ( something very common in religion ) by calling "predestination" what is not predestination, inasmuch as predestination is unchangeable. If predestination is not unchangeable, then neither should other predestinations being preached be unchangeable. If predestination is changeable, then it is not predestination.
In fact, those who say they believe in predestination, don't really believe in it. They are victims of autosuggestion, but do not really believe it per se. Let's take a look into the facts. According to people who believe in predestination, there are two events that are certainly thought to be predestined, birth and death. Nonetheless, when predestination believers are sick they go to the doctor, instead of trusting that if they are predestined to live, they will. If it is predestined that they die, they are going to die even if they go to the best doctor; and if death is not predestined for this time of illness, they will live whether or not they go to a doctor at all. Why then waste one's money in doctors? So, it is evident that they really don't believe in predestination even when they say they do, and even when they honestly think so.
The same occurs with the predestination of births. If they believe in predestination they would not use contraception, because if a birth is not predestined, no conception will occur, and if a birth is predestined no contraception will avoid it. However, contraception is used because they really do not believe in predestination.
The same occurs when they buy insurance for a house or car. A believer in predestination would say if something costly is going to happen it will, and we will have to pay for it anyway, then, why to buy insurance?. One who does not believe in predestination would buy insurance to defray unknown future expenses we may be unable to pay.
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