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If God knows those who do not worship, and has chosen them from the beginning, why warn them in chapter 14 not to worship the beast? Thanks everyone for the reply.

Rev 13:8 (BLB) - And all dwelling on the earth will worship it, of whom their names have not been written from the founding of the world in the book of life of the Lamb having been slain.

Rev 13:8 (NIV) - All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Rev 14:9-11 (BLB) - And a third angel followed them, calling out in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives its mark on his forehead or on his hand, he too will drink the wine of God’s anger, poured undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented in fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. Day and night there is no rest for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.”

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    – agarza
    Commented Mar 16 at 14:39

2 Answers 2

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It is the same question as to ask: if Lord Jesus Christ knew that Judas would betray Him, why did He still warned the hapless Iscariot not to do so multiple times (e.g. Matthew 26:24)?

There is a mad and poisoned branch of Christian theology that has its roots in late St. Augustine's some radical and extreme statements (although St Augustine himself was not an extreme himselfian or Augustinian) that claims that God is the cause of evildoings of evildoers; this has become a main doctrine of one brain-damaged man called Jan Calvin who established a religious dictatorship in Geneva and his poisonous doctrine has spread to puritan sects and Evangelicals, to the effect that they believe in a double predestination heresy, that is to say, that both salvation and perdition depends ultimately on God, no matter what man does, choses or initiates.

On the contrary, a healthy theology holds that although God knows who will chose what, He does not interfere into those choices and thus man is really free and really responsible for his actions, be they good and praiseworthy, or vile and censurable. Exactly this is conveyed by those passages of Revelation and the entire logic of the Bible, for why does God warn Jews to repent through His prophets when He knows beforehand that they would not listen and still remain in their sinful recalcitrance? It simply shows that God wills and acts only good-ly on humans, but humans still are free to reject God's continuous and infinite benefactions at detriment of their happiness and even eternal salvation.

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  • Thank you! I think this is very logical. I don't believe in Calvinist predestination but I believe that God is omniscient and knows who will be saved or not. Judas' example is beautiful, thank you very much.
    – Leandro
    Commented Mar 16 at 10:59
  • This is also an excellent answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 16 at 11:21
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The answer to this question reduces to asking a textual question about Rev 13:8 as implied in the two versions of Rev 13:8 quoted by the OP; more specifically:

What is from the foundation of the world? Is it

  1. the Lamb that was slain from the founding of the world, or
  2. the names written in the book of life from the founding of the world?

The answer to this question determines which version (NIV, vs BLB) we choose in the OP question. Here is a very literal rendering of the Greek of Rev 13:8 -

And will worship it all those dwelling on the earth of whom not having been written the names of them in the book of life of the Lamb having been slain from the founding of the world.

Again, does, "from the founding of the world" refer to the Lamb or the names written?

The simplest grammatical answer is obviously, "The Lamb" because it is closer than "names written". Indeed, this is consistent with the teaching in 1 Peter 1:20

He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

However, the other option is also consistent with that in Rev 17:8 -

... The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world ...

That is, regardless of which grammatical construction we accept, ie, #1 or #2 above, both are consistent with teaching elsewhere. So, for the moment, let us assume that option #2 is correct, and this is the basis of the OP's question.

We must recall and simple principle - God's foreknowledge does not imply determinism. [In a modern school room, a good teacher can accurately predict who will pass and fail a subject; but that does not decide each student's fate; each student's fate is decided on their own application and study.]

The same is true for God - the fact that God has perfect fore-knowledge does not mean that each person's fate is pre-ordained; if God decided all people's eternal fate then God is a monster who creates people just to destroy them (or torment them eternally as Calvin put it) and this removes all moral choice.

Indeed, the Bible is very clear that God wants all people to be saved. See appendix below.

APPENDIX - God want to save all people (but some will refuse)

  • John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
  • John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave …”
  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • John 12:47, “… for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • Rom 3:23, 24, “… for all have sinned … and all are freely forgiven...”
  • Rom 5:8, 10, “… while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. … if, while were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him by the death of His Son, …”
  • Rom 5:15, “But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many.” [Note the same word, “many” applies to all people.]
  • Rom 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all people, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all people, resulting in justification of life.”
  • Rom 11:32, “For God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.”
  • 2 Cor 5:14, “…we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”
  • 2 Cor 5:18, 19, “…God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ …”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • 1 Tim 2:6, “[Jesus Christ] gave Himself as a ransom for all people.”
  • 1 Tim 4:10, For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe.
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”

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