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Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Discussion in 'Bible Chat' started by Chad, Apr 18, 2008.

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  1. "Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?"

    Exodus 7:3-4 says, “But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my people the Israelites.” It seems unjust for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart, and then to punish Pharaoh and Egypt for what Pharaoh decided when his heart was hardened. Why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart just so He could judge Egypt more severely with additional plagues?

    First, it is important to remember that Pharaoh was not an innocent or godly man. He was a brutal dictator who was overseeing the terrible abuse and oppression of the Israelites, who likely numbered over 1.5 million people at that time. The Egyptian pharaohs had enslaved the Israelites for 400 years. A previous Pharaoh, and possibly even the Pharaoh in question, ordered that male Israelite babies be killed at birth (Exodus 1:16). The Pharaoh whom God hardened was an evil man, and the people whom he ruled agreed with, or at least did not dispute, his evil actions.

    Second, before the first few plagues, Pharaoh hardened his own heart against letting the Israelites go. “Pharaoh's heart became hard” (Exodus 7:13; 7:22; 8:19). “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart” (Exodus 8:15). “But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart” (Exodus 8:32). Pharaoh could have spared Egypt of all the plagues if he had not hardened his own heart. God was giving Pharaoh increasingly severe warnings of the judgment that was to come. Pharaoh himself chose to bring judgment on himself and on his nation by hardening his own heart against God’s commands.

    As a result of Pharaoh’s hard-heartedness, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart even further, allowing for the last few plagues (Exodus 9:12; 10:20; 10:27). Pharaoh, and Egypt, had brought these judgments on themselves with 400 years of slavery and mass murder. Since the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and Pharaoh and Egypt had horribly sinned against God, it would have been just if God had completely annihilated all of Egypt. Therefore, God hardening Pharaoh’s heart was not unjust. God bringing additional plagues against Egypt was not unjust. The plagues, as terrible as they were, actually demonstrate God’s mercy in not completely destroying all of Egypt, which would have been a perfectly just penalty.

    Romans 9:17-18 declares, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.” From a human perspective, it seems wrong for God to harden a person and then punish the person He has hardened. Biblically speaking, however, we have all sinned against God (Romans 3:23), and the just penalty for that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Therefore, God hardening and punishing a person is not unjust, as it is actually merciful in comparison to what the person deserves.
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  2. Why did God harden Pharoah's heart?

    Romans 8:29 tells me that God predestines a person based on His foreknowledge of how that person is going to end up spiritually. I believe that God's hardening of Pharoah's heart occurred because He knew in advance that Pharoah would never turn from his wicked ways and because He never interferes with the exercise of free will by a person who is not seeking Him.

    God did not cause Pharoah's heart to harden. He allowed it to harden because it would have been a violation of His perfect nature to step in without Pharoah's cooperation. As I was told when I first came to Christ: "The Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He never goes where He's not wanted."

  3. #3 Property Of God, Oct 21, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
    I'm aware that God created humans with a free will to choose to love Him or not, but can God make us love or hate others? or it also lies within our free will?
    Can God soften or harden our heart towards someone?
    Could have Pharaoh loved them, if he chose to and God didn't interfere? or God must soften his heart?

    Another thing I want to understand, lets imagine the Pharaoh repented, was it God that softened his heart, or it only depends on Pharaoh's free will and the fact that he wanted to believe in God?
  4. You took the words right out of my mouth.
  5. Actually Pharaoh's heart was already hard, God just conditioned the enviroment that would cause Pharaoh to harden his heart toward the Hebrews even more.
  6. If God already knows who will be saved and who will be damned to Hell, what purpose does it serve for Christians to spread the Gospel? The Gospel cannot impart any benefit to someone who is already going to be saved; neither can it benefit someone who is never going to be saved.
  7. Its not for us to assume who will or will not be saved, regardless that GOD has that knowledge. What if you were never preached the Gospel because someone assumed GOD did not predestine you to be saved? How would you feel about that?

    GOD tells us in Scripture to go out and preach the Gospel, and that is what we must do.

    Romans 8:29
    For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

    The Scripture is very clear.
  8. But yet an entire branch of Protestantism, i.e., Calvinism, is based on people making such an assumption.

    Abraham was called directly by God; he didn’t need to have anyone preach to him. The same goes for Samuel and the other OT prophets as well as the 12 Apostles and St. Paul. God can contact whomever He wishes to contact and at His convenience. God does not need any human intermediates. So my question remains. What good does it do to preach the Gospel to people that won’t ever be saved? And why do people that are going to be saved no matter what need to hear the Gospel?

    My point is that predestination is likely a false doctrine, at least the way the Calvinists apply it. If everyone is predestined for either Heaven or Hell, then freewill does not exist. And if humans don’t have freewill, then we can never be anything better than God’s slaves and God will not be worthy of acknowledgment, let alone worship.
  9. It is my understanding that Calvinists teach salvation/predestination as being arbitrary on God's part. If that is true, I heartily agree that it is unbiblical because for God to act arbitrarily to limit our will would be a violation of his perfect nature.

    However, God does sometimes use intermediaries. In the case of Paul and the 12 Apostles, the intermediary was Jesus.

  10. You say this as if Jesus isn’t God. If Jesus is God, then God contacted the Apostles and Paul Himself and thus didn’t use any intermediary.
  11. You cause confusion for nothing. The answer is in the OP but you're making this much complicated for nothing and assuming what others [quotes] mean, from your point of view and understanding.

    Not only that, your question has nothing to do with this thread's topic whatsoever. Open a new thread instead.

    The Scripture makes it very clear we must spread the Gospel. GOD says so, that is that and you cannot change the interpretation nor can you question GOD's authority, plans, and commandments.
  12. If you have read this thread, you would see that I was not the person who introduced the concepts of freewill and predestination. My understanding is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart because God had pre-destined Pharaoh to Hell, thus Pharaoh had no freewill in the matter and he had no choice but go against God. I was merely responding to the thread as I found it.
  13. The "concepts" of freewill and predestination? Your profile says you've been saved since you were 4 years old and you're calling freewill a concept? Are you misunderstanding the definition of concept, or perhaps you mistakenly used the wrong word here in your response?

    Free will is not a concept. It is an obvious fact. GOD knew beforehand who will accept Jesus as Savior and who will not. Its very simple. He did not plan anyone by force to be saved or destined to Hell at all. No. He just knew who will go what way, and because of His infinite knowledge and wisdom, is able to plan things around those events. Pharoah had ample chances to repent, but refused to because of his hardened heart. That was his FREE will to be that way.
  14. God does not exist in time in the same way that we do, obviously, so it is entirely possible that we have complete freewill AND that God knows from Creation which of us will choose Him and which will not.

    We are so limited in our understanding- how can we possibly even guess at the expanse that is the Mind of God?

    Pharoahs were priest-kings who worshiped false gods.
    Of COURSE they hardened their hearts against God.
    They were basically demoniacs.
    God threatened their worldly power as well as their perceived other-worldly power.

    "God hardened Pharoah's heart" may well mean that God's Law made him mad or that the presence of God made Pharoah harden his own heart.

    When we say that war changes people don't we really mean that people themselves change because of the experience of war?

    So why not that the Pharoah himself hardened his own heart at the presence of God?

    God was such a threat to Pharoah, who was jealous and unbending, that Pharoah killed himself, really, refusing to bend at all.

    Don't blame God for Pharoah's poor worship practices and bad "lifestyle" choices.

    Bless up!
  15. herden heart

    I think it is really simple God did not force pharoah to do anything but rather what GOd did He forknew that pharoah would harden his heart in response so in that sence God did harden His heart by doing that which would cause pharoah to make that decision.
  16. #16 sing1997vang, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2010
    Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart?

    God loved his people. He loved all those that existed yet their hearts would not repent to His Greatness. The Egyptians had a choice 400 years earlier to up to the time of Moses even to repent of their sins and follow the ways of the Lord and again chose not to. As with any, if the Lord is sought after, He hears and He will bless. This leads me to this questions: Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart?

    There are three parallel passages here in Exodus: Chapter 3:21,22, Chapter 11:1-3 and Chapter 12:35,36.

    This indicates that by allowing Pharaoh to be stubborn in his ways, he became very resentful of Israel and of the Lord. In other words, he was not in his right mind. When he lost his heir to the throne of Egypt, not excluding the riches of the land, he was fed up with the Hand of the Lord and wanted them out. They were forced out as indicated in Chapter 12:31-33, and the Israel "plundered" the Egyptians, passages above.

    God chose to bless the nation of Israel when they were led out of Egypt. We must remember that Egypt was blessed through the account of Joseph, an Israelite that loved and understood the Lords plan for Israel. Here we see again, the glory is for God alone.
  17. Amen to your thread, SLE!
  18. In a lot of ways the Bible can be very confusing, especially for those not born of the Spirit!
    St. Paul reminds us Christians, that we only "know in part". Our understanding only comes from a fuller knowledge of the Bible and discernment from the Holy Spirit. With lack of knowledge, even Christians can be "tripped you up" by the Bible, by taking things out of context and not having a more rounded knowledge of God.

    If you have the gift of discerning free will, you will understand that Pharoah had complete choice in His decisions. If Pharoah had given up after the first plague, God would have certainly allowed Moses to take His people out of bondage then.

    As with Pharoah's choices, God's elect, justified, blameless, righteous, holy and all in the 'Lamb's Book of Life", are because of "free will " choice.

    God predestines because He can. God predestines because He has foreknowledge that we can't fully understand. God does not dictate in these matters, He gives us "free will" choice and He predestinates those choices.
  19. cont...

    I love the talks of predestination and free will. It is an unending circle of arguments on both sides. In fact, I am no theologian but just wanted to express some hard evidence of Pharaoh's hardened heart. It is not to say that God did not do allow Pharaoh's to have his way. It is clear that God was showing all mankind His greatness and to be made known forever.

    I still believe as one of the factors in allowing Pharaoh to be harden despite the Hand of God, was so Israel will reap the riches of Egypt. Israel would not leave empty handed and therefore did not leave empty handed.
  20. I am sorry that for the most part I cannot agree here.Largely what is happening it appears is that people are taking credit away from God so that He isnt" blamed" for what He himself takes credit for.

    God told Moses that HE would harden pharoahs heart before pharoah ever purposely hardened his own heart. God also hardened other peoples hearts in the word.- We should consider that we have these conversations and people to go great lengths to explain how this wasnt Gods " fault" but the bible just gives God the credit for doing it and does not take up time explaining how realy they did it to themselves or did it first, or whatever.
    Why do we so often want to take the purpose away from God and His total control and purposes in His creation when He goes to such lengths in the word to say HE did it, HE does it HE purposed it?(whatever the IT is)?

    Exd 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
    Exd 7:3 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.
    Exd 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I [am] the LORD. And they did so.
    Exd 14:17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
    Jos 11:20 For it was of the LORD to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly, [and] that they might have no favour, but that he might destroy them, as the LORD commanded Moses.
    Exd 7:13 And he hardened Pharaoh's heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
    Exd 7:14 And the LORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart [is] hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.
    Exd 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
    Exd 8:19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This [is] the finger of God: and Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.
    Exd 9:12 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
    Exd 9:35 And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the LORD had spoken by Moses.
    Exd 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
    Exd 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
    Exd 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.
    Exd 11:10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
    Exd 14:8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.

    Deu 2:30 But Sihon king of Heshbon would not let us pass by him: for the LORD thy God hardened his spirit, and made his heart obstinate, that he might deliver him into thy hand, as [appeareth] this day.

    Rom 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    Rom 9:18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.
    Rom 9:19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

    With as many times as GOD took the credit and declared what HE would do, how HE would harden Pharoahs heart let us give Him the credit He gave himself so that our faith will be in Him and His purposes- not in the will of flesh or men.- Even when it says that Pharoah hardened his own heart it shows that it was - As God told Moses it would be- Even then God referred back to Him saying HE would do it.

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