By Tyson Thorne

January 13, 2018

History is easy to follow. We've seen it, or at least read about it, and can place our finger on events along it's very straight timeline. We can understand what proceeded from such events. As much as people want to know the future, those events aren't really any different. The days to come will eventually become history and we'll be able to understand it as easily as all the rest of world events. If one knows what history is leading up to, the future is almost as recognizable as the past. For those who read the Bible, the future is no mystery.

History is leading toward the last great battle between good and evil, the day of God's holy judgment and the creation of a new world for all God's children. Looking at history in this light, one could predict the outcome of certain events in their present and future knowing that all major world events must lead toward this conclusion. We may be surprised by the occasional blessing that keeps the world from descending too quickly, but history can have only one outcome. So the next time it appears that events are out of control, remember that they are actually following the course toward God's ordained conclusion.

Naturally, one wonders if our lives are not also as predictable. Do they too follow a preset course, determined by God? Some call this idea predestination, and it is not an easy question to answer. We can deduce that some people's decisions must be preordained in order for history to follow its path. This is clearly the case with Pharaoh in Exodus 9.12, when God hardened the ruler's heart so that the plagues would continue and God might be glorified. We know it is also true of Jeremiah, of whom God says, "Before you were born I set you apart, I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1.5).

Some people, therefore, live to serve God's purpose in history either as villains or heroes. Is this true of everyone, though? Not according to Matthew 22, where Jesus tells the Parable of the Wedding Feast. This parable tells us what the world will be like at the end of the age. In the story, a kings sends his servants to invite guests to a wedding feast. One by one they all declined, some were too busy, others were openly hostile to the king, but all rebuffed the invitation for one reason or another. Angry, the king ordered his servants to go and invite any they may find and fill the wedding hall. Many enter and enjoy the graces of the king, but there is one man in attendance who is not dressed for the wedding. He represents a person whose sins have not been covered by the blood of Christ and is consequently escorted out and released into darkness. It is at this point Jesus states,, "For many ore called, but few are chosen."

As we recently discussed, God has revealed himself through his law in seven different ways throughout history. Many have observed these revelations of God; some have rejected the message while others have "heard" and responded. Among the many who are invited, some are chosen. In the parable a man is chosen because he did not respond correctly to the invitation and, like Pharaoh, is set aside as a villain. In the end, we can safely state that not all who are called respond favorably; likewise not all are like Jeremiah and called to play a unique role in history.

Are we to conclude, then, that most lives do not adhere to the timeline of history, but can meander and shoot off in different directions as they please? To some extent, yes. All mankind operates within God's permissive will, but cannot overcome the events he has decreed will happen. Looking at things from another perspective, however, our lives move along a particular line just like history. Just as history has a predetermined end, so too do our souls. For those who respond negatively to God's revelation of himself, their souls are reserved for outer darkness (hell). For those who responded properly to the King's invitation, there is a much more defined path involving salvation, sealing, sanctification and eventual resurrection. Just as history has its course, so too do the people of God, and what a glorious course it is.

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