Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Jul 7, 2020

Calvinist use this passage as their mighty proof text that no one can be saved out of their own free will and what happens is that God hardens people’s heart.

Romans 9:15-18 “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 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. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

v15 notice that God can forgive whoever He wants to forgive and He can harden a person’s heart to reject Him, the way He wants it to be done. Calvinists argue that God has the right to choose whoever He wants to show mercy and whoever He wants to harden a person’s heart. Calvinist keep talking about the sovereignty of God, for His glory. Don’t question why God does it because God is sovereign enough to do whatever He wants, so let’s do it for His glory. But we cannot change the fact that what God does is still cruel, even if it’s for his glory, that he would deliberately send that person to hell.

We believe in magnifying God’s glory and whatever glorifies God (no matter if it seems hard, bad or good and fair), He should do it and He has full control. But concerning sovereignty, Calvinist limits His power of sovereignty. We argue that God has the right to show whoever He wants to harden their heart and whoever He wants to show mercy upon, but there will still be free will in there. When a person’s free will and free choice choose to love and accept Jesus Christ, God can choose what He wants, what He’s going to do with our life, on what His will is. But if a lost sinner, out of their free choice, reject God, He has a right to guide them down on a road and take them to a path that will glorify His name.

God will explain why He hardened Pharaoh’s heart to glorify His power.

Here, it was long before God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, this was when God was speaking to Moses at the wilderness.

Exodus 3:19-20 “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.”

v19 God already knew that Pharaoh would make the choice to say that he’s not going to let them go. That’s why v20 is going to show God is going to use that to harden his heart and glorify His power.

Exodus 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.”

This is still before the Bible says God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Notice in Exodus 3, it was free choice first (Pharaoh hardened his heart), in Exodus 4 God explains He hardens his heart.

Stage 1: Free will
Stage 2: Hardens

Exodus 5:1-2 “And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.”

Notice ‘I will’, my will, free will first.

Exodus 7:13 “And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”

God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.

Exodus 8:15 “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”

Notice that it didn’t say the Lord hardened his heart this time, we see free will still in play.

Exodus 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.”

Again, he hardened his own heart.

Exodus 8:32 “And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go.”

Again, Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

Exodus 9:12 “And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.”

The Lord hardened his heart.

Exodus 9:34 “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.”

Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

Exodus 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:”

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Exodus 10:20 “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

Exodus 10:27 “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.”

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart.

We see over and over again that the sequence is true: the person can have free will to choose first then God hardens the person’s heart.

That’s why Romans 9, He has the right to choose which vessel and if this vessel rejects Jesus Christ, we can’t tell Him what to do, He has a right out of His own control against our free will to damn us into hell.

Once we make the free will to reject Jesus Christ, it doesn’t matter if our free will after that says ‘I don’t want to go to hell’, He will damn us to hell, He can destroy us, He can take away our lives.

If we’re a saved Christian and we receive Jesus Christ for our salvation, the opposite if true, we can’t go to hell even if we want to.