17 Sections

Hardening Pharaoh's Heart

Chapter: 14.59
(Section 14: Selective Salvation)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1998 -2005

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Another passage Selective Salvationists use to support selective salvation is Romans 9:17,18. This is where God "hardened Pharaoh’s heart." Herman Hoeksema said, "Pharaoh was sovereignly hated from eternity, even as was Esau." (Hoeksema, Good Pleasure, p. 46)

I don’t believe, as some have suggested, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart against salvation. I believe Pharaoh had already rejected God and was not receptive to His leading. Pharaoh’s heart was only hardened against following Moses’ request of releasing the Israelites.

God’s desire, in this situation, was to show the world His mighty power. He allowed this hostile, arrogant, and stubborn Pharaoh to push the situation to the extreme. He only hardened Pharaoh’s heart in the direction Pharaoh had already chosen for himself. Listed below are some verses that talk about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart toward Moses’ request:

  • Exodus 4:21
  • Exodus 7:3-4
  • Exodus 10:1
  • Exodus 10:20, 27
  • Exodus 14:8

I believe if Pharaoh had been receptive to God’s leading, God would have waited until another Pharaoh was on the throne. The reason I feel God would have waited for another Pharaoh, if needed, is because of the example set forth in Genesis 15:13-16. Here, God waited 400 years before He sent the Israelites into the Promised Land. The reason He waited was because "… the sin of the Amorites has not reached its full measure." If the condition of the Amorite’s heart caused God to wait 400 years to destroy them, I think He would have waited for another Pharaoh, if the current Pharaoh’s heart were not suited for the situation.


Queen Esther

Even Mordecai (uncle of Queen Esther) understood God was able to adjust His plans when someone’s heart was not right for a specific task. When Queen Esther was reluctant to approach the King about the plight of the Jews, Mordecai said, "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arrive from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish."

God does work in the hearts of the kings to carry out His plans. I don’t believe, however, He forces them to accept or reject His salvation. I believe God will only "harden" a person in the direction that person has already chosen.

When was Pharaoh’s heart hardened? Selective Salvationists say God decided to send Pharaoh to Hell "before the foundation of the world." Pharaoh’s life was cast in stone long before Pharaoh existed. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened long before the world was created.

Yet this is not what the Bible says. Several times during Pharaoh’s encounter with Moses, the Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened at the time he was dealing with Moses. Nowhere does it say anything about it being hardened before the world was created.

The timing of Pharaoh’s hardening is crucial. Even if selective salvation is true, these passages could not be talking about Pharaoh’s heart being hardened toward salvation. (This hardening would have taken place before the world was created.) Therefore, the only thing these passages can be talking about was the hardening that took place toward the requests of Moses.

Even if selective salvation is true, Selective Salvationists cannot use the life of Pharaoh as an example of this selection process. Although this has been the flagship of selective salvation, it needs to be removed from their list of proofs. The life of Pharaoh is an example only of God controlling the politics of man, not the salvation of man.



Other Chapters in this Section

PART 1: What is Selective Salvation?
PART 2: What Does the Bible say about Selective Salvation?
PART 3: Problems with Selective Salvation
PART 4: “Choice” –The Achilles’ Heel of Selective Salvation
PART 5: Difficult Questions Answered

Jacob and Esau
Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart
"I have Chosen You"
Nation of Israel
Clay in the Hands of God

Appendix: Foundational Documents used by Selective Salvationists

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