I was talking with an atheist and he said this about the verse, "This seems to support Predestination and the violation of free will."
For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
Israel rejected Jesus as their Messiah. So God blinded them to the truth so they could not believe and be saved. But they are only blinded in part. During the tribulation 144,000 of them will be saved because God said so. Revelation 7.
There are many Jews that have accepted Jesus as their savior. Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
The nation of Israel has been set aside until the fulness of the gentiles come in, are saved by faith alone apart from works. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Salvation by grace is open to all, both Jews and Greeks by a one time faith alone in Jesus finished work on the cross alone.
When unbelievers do not accept Jesus as the only way of salvation, he may blind them to the truth so they can not believe and be saved. The more they reject Jesus, the less chance they ever have of believing the free gift of God and being saved.
God blinded the Egyptians because they would not believe God. They had their own gods.
God saves those that believe. John 6:47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, HATH EVERLASTING LIFE. Present tense.
Unbelievers harden their own hearts because of their unbelief. It is what happens to unbelievers. God has declared that unbelievers hearts will be hardened. It is harder for them to believe after they have heard the gospel and rejected it.
The nation of Israel believed that since they were the children of Abraham they were all saved. But they stumbled at the law They believed they were saved because they kept the law but not according to faith. So God has blinded their eyes so they can not see and be saved.
God can save anyone He wants to. Like Saul who was chosen by God to be an Apostle to the gentiles. But God has made the way of salvation available to everyone in the world. First John 2:2. He draws all men to Him. John 12:32. But, only those who believe are saved. Those who do not believe He hardens so it is harder for them to believe and be saved. Not impossible.All things are possible with God.
When Jesus told the Jews, unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, what did He mean? The word repent, is the Greek word, metanoia. It means a change of mind. The Jews needed to change their mind and believe He was their savior. Repentance for salvation is a change of mind. We change our mind from trusting in our works to trusting totally in His finished work on the cross as the only way of salvation apart from works. Romans 4:5 Not repent of sin but repent of unbelief.
Repenting of sin saves no one. Repenting of unbelief our sin debt is paid in full. John 3:18. John 6:40 John 6:29. We can not believe without repenting. Changing our mind. We can repent without believing, but we can not believe without repenting, changing our mind.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. When we believe it we have repented. We changed our mind from keeping the law and doing good works to save us to trusting in what Jesus did for us to save us. Jesus is the narrow way of salvation because there is no other way of salvation but by faith alone In Jesus alone for the free gift of eternal life.