The History of Salvation can be viewed like a Long Parade. God sees salvation history like a King in a high tower watching a parade down Main Street. God sees the beginning (creation) from the end (heaven) while we see our part in the parade. God wants all people to be saved, yet not everyone is saved. God’s plan for our salvation is the Main Street where the parade takes place. God wants everyone to stay on the parade route, but through our free will, we can turn off the parade route on to a side street. Some people can join in the parade from the side streets, like when the Gentiles were incorporated into the people of God. Some people can leave the parade and go down a side street, like the Jews that failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. God can redirect the people on the side streets to find their way back to the parade like the Jews coming to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. People who have no faith tradition or are from non-Christian faith traditions on the side streets can choose to join the parade when they come to Christ. Once you are on the parade route you have to stay on the parade route.
Our prayers to God do not change His plan for everyone to be saved. By asking Him to help someone He will send them a sign to direct them to the parade route. That person has to see the sign and choose to follow it. God does not force anyone but guides us like a good Father. This is why our prayers don’t change God’s mind. Our prayers cooperate with God’s plan for everyone to be saved. We can ask others on earth and in Heaven to ask God to redirect someone as well. These prayers are still part of God’s plan, not our plan.
When a person in the parade chooses to sin, they go down a side street, like the prodigal son that left his father and family. God will send them signs to redirect them back to the parade route through repentance. God may even send a person in the parade down a side street to redirect another person who is out of the parade. No matter how lost a person is on the side streets, they can return to the parade route any time before death and still make it to Heaven, like when the prodigal son who returned to his father and family. If you are on a side street, look for the signs that redirect you back to God and His family.
The Bible is the map of the Parade Route, but the map needs to be interpreted by a guide. Today there are thousands of different interpreters of the map trying to follow the parade route. All of these guides interpret some parts of the map correctly. Many try to interpret the map the way it was originally understood. We now have thousands of different interpretations of the map and none of them has the same parade route.
There is one Bible and thousands of different churches with different understandings of the Bible. The Catholic Church has the oldest and original understanding of the Bible. The Catholic Church assembled the map and is the original interpreter of the parade route. You may find the end of the parade route following one of the new interpreters. Your best chance of knowing the original route is to follow the guide that has been around the longest and who learned from the Original Guide, Jesus Christ. You will find Him in the Catholic Church.