Closely related to the term election is the term appointed. Are some individuals unconditionally appointed to hell? Of course the answer is No, however, a few scriptures on the surface seem to indicate they are. We will explore them carefully and draw out their truest, purest meanings.
Appointed to Disobey or Stumble?
1Peter 2:7,8 (NASB, underline mine): This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for unbelievers, "A stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone," and, "A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense"; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this they were also appointed.
Some Bible students read 1Peter 2:7,8 and assume the unbelievers and disobeyers were appointed to that unbelief and disobedience (absolute predeterminism, God chose their disobedience for them). This is sloppy, hasty studying. Rather, the disobeyers were appointed to the consequences of disobedience, which Peter emphasized three times: (i) "a stone of stumbling", (ii) "a rock of offense", (iii) "they stumble". Disobeyers are not appointed to disobey, they are appointed to stumble (consequences) because they chose disobedience.
The ESV is a good translation in general, however, it gravely misses the mark here in verse 8 and could lead the surface reader to a theological error. It renders the final sentence in verse 8 like this (notice the underlined): ...They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. See how different the meaning is with "as they were destined to do" (ESV) versus "to this they were also appointed" (NASB, NKJV)? The ESV phrase funnels you towards absolute predeterminism, while the NASB phrase makes you ask the simple question, "Appointed to what? Appointed to disobedience or stumbling? Appointed to a predetermined choice or to a predetermined consequence?"
The answer is, appointed to a predetermined consequence: to stumble. Anyone who disbelieves and disobeys God, saved or unsaved, is appointed to stumble and be crushed. Where did Peter get this imagery from? From Jesus. From Matthew 21:44.
The Stone of Stumbling & Crushing
Our King said to the Jewish religious leaders in Matthew 21:44 (NASB): And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and on whomever it falls, it will crush him. Jesus is saying, if you fall willingly on Him you will be broken to pieces, in the sense that you will be humbled and "broken" and given a contrite spirit (Ps 51:17, Isa 66:2, Lk 18:9-14, 2Co 7:10,11). If, however, the Lord falls on you in judgment because you persistently disbelieve and disobey, you will be "crushed" or "ground to powder" (the literal Greek). Peter, having heard Jesus say this to Israel's religious leaders, repeated the same message in 1Peter 2:8. Peter said disobeyers will stumble because of the Stone; Jesus said disobeyers will be crushed and ground to powder by the Stone. Different angles of the same message: disobeyers have an appointment with consequences caused by the Stone.
As further proof Peter is specifically hearkening back to Matthew 21:44, he quotes the same psalm Jesus did a breath earlier in verse 42: Psalm 118:22,23. Peter quotes it in 1Peter 2:7.
Written Beforehand to This Judgment
Jude 1:4 (Young's Literal Translation, underline mine): ...certain men, long ago having been written beforehand to this judgment, impious, the grace of our God perverting to lasciviousness, and our only Master, God, and Lord--Jesus Christ--denying.
Jude writes here about false leaders within the church of his day. His message stretches to verse 19. And yet, curiously, he superscripts or opens his message by saying these false leaders were "written beforehand to this judgment" (YLT). Almost identical to the YLT, the NIV also renders the phrase accurately: "whose condemnation was written about long ago". Other translations render the phrase with misleading variations: "long ago were designated for this condemnation" (ESV), "long beforehand marked out for this condemnation" (NASB), and "long ago were marked out for this condemnation" (NKJV).
Written & Revealed Beforehand
The Greek underneath "written beforehand" (YLT) or "written about long ago" (NIV) is prographo, and it literally means just that--to write in advance or to write at an earlier time (as in Romans 15:4 and Ephesians 3:3). A secondary, implicational definition is "to portray openly for the eyes to see, as in writing, drawing, painting, or in some other obvious way" (as in Galatians 3:1). What we have here in Jude 1:4, then, is Jude telling us that God wrote about and openly revealed at an earlier time the judgment all false leaders would suffer. Like 1Peter 2:8, Jude is telling us about the consequences (judgment, condemnation) all false leaders are appointed to, not that they were designated and appointed by God to be false leaders outside of their control.
Here again certain translations cause misunderstanding. The most bullseye translation of Jude 1:4's key phrase is the YLT or NIV: "written beforehand to this judgment" or "whose condemnation was written about long ago". Certain other translations erroneously funnel the reader towards hardline predeterminism: "long ago were designated for this condemnation" (ESV), "long beforehand marked out for this condemnation" (NASB), "long ago were marked out for this condemnation" (NKJV). If we do not do our homework and research the underlying Greek when necessary, we can be misled towards hard predeterminism. The latter translations give the sense that God unconditionally appointed these false leaders to be false leaders, and yet to also suffer condemnation for it. This is remarkably silly logic and theologic. The YLT and NIV give the sense that God wrote and revealed at an earlier time what the consequences of false leadership would be.
"To This Judgment"
What, exactly, is the judgment and condemnation Jude is referring to in 1:4? He tells us in verse 11 and 13 (NASB): ...they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion...for whom the gloom of darkness has been reserved forever. False leaders will be destroyed from life on earth and suffer netherworld gloom forever. Jude said this was written about beforehand or at an earlier time, but where?
Written & Revealed Where?
Jude says the consequence, condemnation, judgment, physical destruction, and netherworld suffering of false leaders was written about previously, but where? The Old Testament. Jude tells us exactly that in the verses that immediately follow. Pay special attention to the underlined portions of verses 5-7 (NIV, underline mine): Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling--these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
And verse 11 also (underline mine): Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.
Jude gives us four examples from the Old Testament about a physical destroying (loss of life) and netherworld suffering for false leaders. First he mentions how God physically killed unbelieving Israelites in the desert, led by false leaders and influential complainers. This was written in various sections of Exodus and Numbers. Next he mentions the angels in the Genesis 6 incident, and how they are currently kept in netherworld darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. This was written in Genesis 6:1-4. Next he mentions how God destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns "as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire". This was written in Genesis 19. After detailing his message a bit more, Jude then mentions how God killed those in Korah's rebellion. This was written in Numbers 16.
Jude superscripts or opens his letter by saying the judgment false leaders are appointed to was "written beforehand" (YLT) or "written about long ago" (NIV). He then explicitly mentions four judgment stories from the Old Testament.
Written Anywhere Else?
Amazingly, Jude gives us another place their judgment was written about long ago: the book of Enoch. He says in verses 14 and 15 (NIV, underline mine): Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him."
Prographo...written and revealed openly beforehand at an earlier time, but where? The Old Testament and the book of Enoch.
God did not unconditionally elect or designate or mark out or appoint false leaders to be false leaders, though one would feel nudged towards that conclusion by reading inaccurate English translations of Jude 1:4. Jude says the judgment all false leaders are appointed to was prographo, "written beforehand" (YLT) or "written about long ago" (NIV). He then explicitly mentions four judgment stories from the Old Testament and a judgment prophecy from the book of Enoch.
Appointed to Eternal Life?
Acts 13:48 (NASB, underline mine): When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.
On the other side of the soteriological equation, Acts 13:48 says, in several translations, that some individuals are "appointed to eternal life". Is this the correct translation and understanding?
Tasso, Two Senses
The Greek word for "appointed" in Acts 13:48 is tasso, and it has two different senses. In the first sense, tasso means to set in a certain order, arrange, prepare, or dispose towards. The centurion set and arranged himself under the military authorities above him (tasso in Luke 7:8). The family of Stephanas was disposed towards and set themselves to vocational ministry (tasso in 1Corinthians 16:15).
In the second sense, tasso means to assign a place, appoint, ordain, or determine. Paul, Barnabas, and a small team were appointed to go to Jerusalem on a specific ministry assignment (tasso in Acts 15:2). Paul was assigned by the Lord to an apostolic ministry to the Gentiles (tasso in 22:10). The institution of civil government was ordained by God (tasso in Romans 13:1).
This raises the theologically urgent question, "What sense of tasso does Luke intend in Acts 13:48?" If we say Luke intended the first meaning--set, arrange, prepare, or dispose oneself to be saved (always in response to pre-salvation grace)--Acts 13:48 strongly conveys human freewill. If we say Luke intended the second meaning--assign, appoint, ordain, or determine (by God) to be saved--Acts 13:48 strongly conveys hardline predestination. See the dilemma? The two possible translations lead to two different theologies, at most, or two different theological emphases, at the very least.
The various Bible translators themselves struggled with how to translate tasso in Acts 13:48. Many opt for the second meaning: "appointed" (NIV, ESV) or "ordained" (KJV) or "destined" (ISV). However, several translations disagree and render tasso in the first meaning. Notice the dramatic difference in meaning (all underlines mine):
God's Word Translation: ...Everyone who had been prepared for everlasting life believed.
Mace New Testament: ...as many as were dispos'd to eternal life, believed.
Anderson New Testament: ...as many as were determined to obtain eternal life, believed. This translation mirrors Jesus' words in Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16.
Smith's Literal Translation: ...and they believed, as many as were drawn out for eternal life.
Catholic Public Domain Version: ...And as many as believed were preordained to eternal life. In this translation, a person is preordained or appointed to eternal life only after believing. This translation parallels Chapter 7 of this book, The Salvation Moment is the Individual Election Moment. It also parallels the sequence of John 20:31, that "believing" comes before "life in His name".
Which sense of tasso is correct for Acts 13:48?
How do we decide which sense of tasso Luke intended? We cannot arbitrarily just pick one or the other out of thin air, based on our own preloaded assumptions or wishes. We need coherent hermeneutical reasons. Furthermore, nothing in the immediate context of Acts 13:48 cues us one way or another, so we have to expand our study. We have to analyze the book of Luke and Acts. Luke himself will indicate to us what the Holy Spirit inside him meant by tasso in Acts 13:48.
Tasso in Luke & Acts
In the gospel of Luke, Luke uses tasso only one time, in Luke 7:8 (ESV): For I too am a man set [tasso] under authority, with soldiers under me... Here Luke uses tasso in the first sense--to set, arrange, prepare, or dispose towards.
In the book of Acts, Luke uses tasso four times.
Acts 13:48 we are currently investigating.
15:2 says (ESV), ...Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed [tasso] to go up to Jerusalem... Here Luke uses tasso in the second sense--to assign, appoint, ordain to a ministry assignment.
22:10 says (ESV), ...And the Lord said to me, "Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed [tasso] for you to do." Here Luke uses tasso in the second sense--to assign, appoint, ordain to a ministry assignment.
28:23 says (NASB), When they had set [tasso] a day for Paul, people came to him at his lodging in large numbers... Here Luke uses tasso in the first sense--to set, arrange, prepare a day for Paul to have guests.
Luke's use of tasso in Luke and Acts show us he understood and wielded both senses of the term. This does not, however, give us anymore help with Acts 13:48. We need to dig wider and deeper into Luke's thinking and writing patterns in his two books.
Luke's Thinking & Writing Patterns (Luke)
In his gospel, Luke focuses on human responsiveness and responsibility to God, first exemplified in Jesus then instructed to humans in general.
First, Luke does not present Jesus as the omniscient, omnipotent, omnitemporal God like John does. Rather, Luke focuses on Jesus' humanity, and because of that humanity, the various ways He had to willingly arrange Himself in submission to the Father. Many sections of Luke illuminate this: Jesus' conception, birth, infancy, and childhood (Lk 1,2); His genealogy (3:23-38); His temptation (4:1-13); His prayer and fasting life (4:2, 5:16, 6:12, 11:1, 22:40-46); His need for donors and providers (8:2,3); His grieving over Jerusalem twice (13:34,35, 19:41-44), as opposed to once in Matthew; His bloody sweat as He prayed intensely, a detail only Luke records (22:44). Luke focuses on Jesus' humanity, and because of that humanity, the various ways He had to willingly arrange Himself in submission to the Father.
Second, Luke focuses on educating and admonishing humans in their responsiveness to God. He focuses supremely on prayer (4:2, 5:16, 6:12, 10:38-42, 11:1-13, 18:1-7,9-14, 22:40-46), the most basic and consistent form of individual responsiveness to God. Nearly one-third of Jesus' verbal ministry (teaching and preaching) in Luke is in story form; this tells us Luke is aiming at human understanding and response. The parable of the good Samaritan, recorded only by Luke, focuses on human responsiveness to all people, especially the victim and the needy (10:25-37). More than the other gospel writers, Luke focuses on human responsibility to God and others with money and resources (12:13-21,33,34, 14:33, 16:19-31, 18:18-25, 20:21-25, 21:1-4).
Naturally, then, Luke also focuses on the converse: human rejection of the Lord (7:30, 11:29-32, 37-52). On that theme, perhaps one of the most poignant statements in all four gospels is 7:30 (NASB): But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.
Before we even get to the book of Acts, therefore, we learn something of Luke's thinking and writing patterns: he is concerned with human responsiveness to God. He is concerned with human freewill engaged Godward. He is concerned with humans setting, preparing, arranging, and disposing themselves Godward.
Luke's Thinking & Writing Patterns (Acts)
In the book of Acts, Luke writes with a nice blend that juxtaposes God's sovereign actions and human freewill actions. See how passages such as Acts 2:23 and 4:27,28 co-present God's sovereignty and human responsibility. On the subject of individual salvation, however, Luke is even more deliberate in detailing the human role, even when God's sovereign actions are also mentioned. Four examples are wonderfully helpful in this regard: the salvation of the Ethiopian eunuch, Cornelius, Lydia, and the Judaic God-fearers at Pisidian Antioch.
In response to God's pre-salvation grace at work in the eunuch's life, he traveled to Jerusalem to worship (8:27), and read and tried to understand Isaiah 53 (v32,33). Luke documents the eunuch's decisive and energetic response to the pre-salvation light he was given. God sovereignly sent Phillip to him to explain Isaiah 53 and the full gospel message, and the eunuch was born-again. Even though tasso is not used in this story, is it not obvious the eunuch set, arranged, prepared, and disposed himself to eternal life in response to God's pre-salvation grace?
In response to God's pre-salvation grace at work in Cornelius' life, Luke writes he was "a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God" (10:2 ESV). God sovereignly sent Peter to him to explain the gospel message, and Cornelius was born-again (v34-48). Keep in mind, Cornelius was not saved when Luke initially complimented and commended Cornelius (v2). Luke was, however, acknowledging Cornelius' responsiveness to the level of light he had. Even though tasso is not used in this story either, is it not obvious Cornelius set, arranged, prepared, and disposed himself to eternal life in response to God's pre-salvation grace?
In response to God's pre-salvation grace at work in Lydia's life, she honored the Old Covenant Sabbath by spending it in prayer with a group of women, and, she was a worshiper of God (16:13,14). God sovereignly sent Paul to her to explain the gospel message, He sovereignly opened her heart to pay unusual attention to Paul's words (Greek prosecho, "pay attention to, regard, attend to"), and she was born-again (v14). Keep in mind, Lydia was not saved when Luke jotted down that she was faithful to Sabbath prayer meetings and was a worshiper. Luke was acknowledging Lydia's responsiveness to the level of light she had. Even though tasso is not used in this story either, is it not obvious Lydia set, arranged, prepared, and disposed herself to eternal life in response to God's pre-salvation grace?
In response to God's pre-salvation grace at work in the synagogue congregants at Pisidian Antioch, Luke notes that many of them were God-fearers (in the Old Covenant sense). He wrote in Acts 13:43 (NASB, underline mine): Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking to them and urging them to continue in the grace of God. Keep in mind, these individuals were not saved when Luke acknowledged their fear of God and their responsiveness to the level of light they had. Even though tasso is not used in this story either, is it not obvious these Judaic God-fearers set, arranged, prepared, and disposed themselves to eternal life in response to God's pre-salvation grace?
Luke's thinking and writing patterns in Luke and Acts strongly suggest we should translate tasso in Acts 13:48 as "set, arranged, prepared, and disposed" to eternal life (always in response to pre-salvation grace). Applying the second meaning of tasso to Acts 13:48 ("assigned, appointed, ordained, or determined" by God to eternal life) contradicts Luke's consistent interest and detailing of human responsiveness to God--before salvation, during the salvation moment, and after salvation.
Acts 13:48, Summary & Conclusion
Acts 13:48 says, in several translations, that some individuals are "appointed to eternal life". Is this the correct translation and understanding? No it is not. Tasso, the Greek word here for "appointed", has two senses: (1) to set, arrange, prepare, or dispose oneself and (2) to assign, appoint, or ordain. Luke used both senses in Luke and Acts, indicating he was aware of both uses.
Which sense is the correct translation, then, for Acts 13:48? Nothing in the immediate context cues us one way or another, so we have to analyze Luke's thinking and writing patterns in Luke and Acts. We discover his consistent interest and detailing of human responsiveness to God--before salvation, during the salvation moment, and after salvation. This strongly suggests we should translate tasso in Acts 13:48 as "set, arranged, prepared, and disposed" to eternal life (always in response to pre-salvation grace). The following translations, imperfect as they may be and as all translations are, would be the most accurate renderings of Luke's ministerial spirit in Acts 13:48:
God's Word Translation: ...Everyone who had been prepared for everlasting life believed.
Mace New Testament: ...as many as were dispos'd to eternal life, believed.
Anderson New Testament: ...as many as were determined to obtain eternal life, believed. This translation mirrors Jesus' words in Matthew 11:12 and Luke 16:16.
I Chose You & Appointed You
John 15:16 (NASB, underline mine): You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
John 15:16--when Jesus said to the Twelve, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you"--is to be understood ministerially. The context that follows this statement (v17-27) pertains to ministry and the positive and negative reactions that would happen in their ministry. The chosenness and appointment of John 15:16 is the same chosenness and appointment of Mark 3:14-19, i.e., for apostolic ministry. Peter confirms this exactly in Acts 10:41, telling Cornelius' family (ESV): ...us who had been chosen by God as witnesses...
Made for the Day of Doom?
Proverbs 16:4 (ESV): The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Proverbs 16:4 (NKJV): The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
Does God make wicked individuals only to appoint them to hell? If you read Proverbs 16:4 in the NKJV you could be misled to that conclusion by the phrase, "for the day of doom". The ESV and several other translations use a different phrase: "for the day of evil". How different is "day of doom" from "day of evil"! The Hebrew word in question is the word ra, which means "evil", and is used in a variety of applications across the Old Testament. The translation should be "day of evil"--a tremendously important Biblical phrase.
The Day of Evil
The day of evil is a significant Biblical phrase that can mean two things: (1) a time of God's punishment upon an evil individual or group, or (2) a time of tribulation caused by an evil individual or group. The first is a day of punishment, the second is a day of tribulation. Many scriptures present these two versions of the day of evil, Job 21:30 is the very first. Job lived and wrote around the time of the patriarchs, so we can place Job 21:30 somewhere between Genesis 11-46.
Job, complaining that evil individuals seem to never get punished, said sarcastically in 21:30 (HCSB): Indeed, the evil man is spared from the day of disaster, rescued from the day of wrath. Job uses "day of disaster" and "day of wrath" to refer to a time of God's judgment upon an evil individual or group. This is the first time the day of evil concept is explicitly articulated in Scripture.
It is David, however, who pioneers and coins the actual term "day of evil". The Hebrew is yom ra, yom meaning "day" and ra meaning "evil". Remember yom ra.
In Psalm 27:5, David wrote (YLT, underline mine), For He hideth me in a tabernacle in the day of evil [yom ra], He hideth me in a secret place of His tent, on a rock he raiseth me up. If you read all of Psalm 27, you will see David is referring to the second sense of the day of evil, a time of tribulation caused by an evil individual or group.
In 37:19, David wrote (NASB, underline mine), They will not be ashamed in the time of evil [yom ra], and in the days of famine they will have plenty. Once again, if we read all of Psalm 37, especially the immediate context in verses 17-20, we see David is referring to the second sense of the day of evil, a time of tribulation caused by an evil individual or group.
In 41:1, David wrote (YLT, underline mine), ...O the happiness of him who is acting wisely unto the poor, in a day of evil [yom ra] doth Jehovah deliver him. Verse 2, and the rest of Psalm 41, tell us David is referring to a time of tribulation caused by an evil individual or group.
In 49:5, the sons of Korah began using the phrase yom ra or "day of evil", no doubt influenced by their musical overseer, David. They wrote (YLT, underline mine), Why do I fear in days of evil [yom ra]? The iniquity of my supplanters doth compass me. The second phrase of this verse tells us exactly what day of evil they are referring to: a time of tribulation caused by supplanters and betrayers surrounding them.
In 94:12,13, the unknown psalmist wrote (YLT, underline mine), O the happiness of the man whom Thou instructest, O Jah, and out of Thy law teachest him, to give rest to him from days of evil [yom ra], while a pit is digged for the wicked. All of Psalm 94 is an intense cry to God against the devastation caused by wicked individuals or groups. Verses 12 and 13 are wonderfully helpful to us in our own journey with God in life. We are to let God instruct and teach us from His Word during the yom ra, and if we do, He gives us rest from the evil season and digs a pit of judgment for the wicked afflicting us--scheduling a day of evil for them, a day of punishment.
Solomon used the phrase twice in Ecclesiastes. In 7:14, he wrote (YLT, underline mine), In a day of prosperity be in gladness, and in a day of evil [yom ra] consider. Also this over-against that hath God made, to the intent that man doth not find anything after him. The NIV's English is less awkward, it helps us get a sense of what Solomon is trying to say: When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. Which day of evil is Solomon referring to? We are not sure, but his larger point is that God is sovereign over the day of evil and uses it as His omniscience deems necessary.
In 12:1, Solomon wrote (ESV, underline mine), Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days [ra yom] come and the years draw near of which you will say, "I have no pleasure in them". Once again we are not sure which evil day Solomon is referring to (the rest of chapter 12 gives descriptors of both), but his larger point is that we need to seek and grow in God before those seasons come.
In Isaiah 10:3, Isaiah declared this judgment on Israel (NKJV, underline mine): What will you do in the day of punishment, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory? Isaiah does not use the phrase "day of evil"/yom ra, nonetheless, he uses an equivalent phrase, "day of punishment". Isaiah says Israel would be punished by God through Assyria for her evil (v5-27).
Jeremiah uses yom ra or "day of evil" two times. 17:17,18 (YLT, underline mine): Be not Thou to me for a terror, my hope [art] Thou in a day of evil [yom ra]. Let my pursuers be ashamed, and let not me be ashamed--me! Let them be affrighted, and let not me be affrighted--me! Bring in on them a day of evil [yom ra], and a second time [with] destruction destroy them. In 44:23, Jeremiah indicates the day of evil (YLT, underline mine): Because that ye have made perfume, and because ye have sinned against Jehovah, and have not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah, and in His law, and in His statutes, and in His testimonies ye have not walked, therefore hath this evil met you as [at] this day.
In 17:17, Jeremiah is referring to a day of evil in the sense of a time of tribulation caused by an evil individual or group (the mockers and persecutors of verses 15 and 18). In 17:18, Jeremiah is referring to and praying for a day of evil, a time of God's judgment upon an evil individual or group (Judah). In 44:23, God met Judah with this day of evil through the Babylonian invasion, destruction, and deportment.
Amos 6:3 says (YLT, underline mine), Who are putting away the day of evil [yom ra], and ye bring nigh the seat of violence. The ISV helps clarify the meaning of what Amos is saying: Disbelieving that a day of evil will come, embracing opportunities to commit violence. No matter how much an evil person or group puts the day of punishment away from his/her mind, disbelieving it will ever come, God says it will certainly come.
And so we arrive at Ephesians 6:13, a New Testament use of the distinctly Hebrew phrase, "day of evil". Paul said (YLT, underline mine), ...take ye up the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to resist in the day of the evil, and all things having done--to stand. The context of Ephesians 6:13, verses 10-20, is about Satanic/demonic attacks. Paul's use of the term, then, refers to a time of tribulation caused by evil individuals or groups, ultimately empowered by evil spirits.
Judas & The Day of Evil for Jesus
Even Jesus Himself had a day of evil, a time when an evil individual or group--Judas, the Jewish religious leaders, and Satan himself--caused Him great tribulation. Jesus tells us this in His own words in Luke 22:53 (NIV, underline mine): Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour--when darkness reigns.
Proverbs 16:4's Day of Evil
We now come full circle back to our original verse of interest, Proverbs 16:4 (ESV): The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Knowing what we now know, what does Solomon mean? Is he saying God actually makes wicked individuals, only to turn around and obliterate them on a day of doom? Or, is he saying God makes wicked individuals serve a purpose, that He functionalizes them as vessels of punishment on those who deserve it or vessels of tribulation on those whom God is correcting and reforming? As we studied so thoroughly in Chapter 8, God functionalizes the wicked for dishonorable uses, like administering judicial punishment or transformational tribulation. If a person or group chooses to be wicked, God will make them dishonorable agents of the yom ra.
Proverbs 16:5: The Wicked Will Get His Too
In the very next verse, Solomon assures us that the wicked being used by God will receive their punishment too. Proverbs 16:5 (ESV): Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.
Think of scriptures like Isaiah 10:12 and Revelation 17:16,17. After God used Assyria to bring a day of evil (punishment) on Israel, He turned around and punished Assyria. After God uses the Harlot to bring a day of evil on Israel and the saints (tribulation), He will turn around and punish her via the Beast, and then He will turn around and punish the Beast via the Second Coming. Solomon is saying in Proverbs 16:5, "Yes, God uses the wicked to administer a day of evil, but be assured, he/she/they will not go unpunished themselves."
Summary & Conclusion
Is Proverbs 16:4 saying God unconditionally makes wicked individuals and then unconditionally appoints those wicked individuals to hell? Of course not. Understand the important Hebrew phrase yom ra: the day of evil.
Vessels of Wrath, Vessels of Mercy
Romans 9:22,23 are explained in Chapter 8, in the section Election in Romans 9 (the last section of the chapter). Please refer there.