Plan of God
As we continue into another Chapter, the Plan of God continues to pass as a parade of exquisite floral-decorated floats right before our very eyes. Like in the Tournament of Roses Parade, each float is more glorious than the other, with the Grand Marshal’s elegant place of honor at the finish. Bright and spectacular arrays of delicate flowers, on the first of each January, beckon a cold country to Pasadena, the Crown City of Southern California’s unique celebration of the festival of springtime flowers and sweet-scented orange groves. But there is one float that is difficult to understand; the Fall of Man somehow does not seem proper and fair in an otherwise splendid procession.
How can a loving God visit the iniquity of the fathers upon their children unto the third and fourth generation and beyond (Deuteronomy 5:9)? As we approach the half-way point in this book we should briefly review where we’ve come to so far in the Plan of God. This Chapter covers the period of time from the sin of Adam and Eve, to close of the Bible’s Old Testament. It is our purpose in this volume to chronicle the epoch events revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. We began with the self-Revelation of God the Father and Jesus Christ when they were all alone. Then the Bible reveals their concept of expanding their close-knit Family—as they made the decision to replicate themselves. As they took steps to initiate that idea into reality, countless ministering spirits were created and prepared for service. Next, God filled the cosmos with the ever-changing universe of suns, stars, galaxies and multiple millions of seemingly isolated superclusters of galaxies—and this one exceptional jewel—the Earth.
Brilliant scientists in their study of the chronology of the universe are still debating whether or not the cosmos will continue to expand forever or collapse upon itself. They cannot figure out how galaxies are contained in their orderly spiral forms because there is just not enough gravitational pull to hold them together. Anticipating these inexplicable dilemmas, Paul explained that it is necessary for Jesus Christ to continuously sustain the physical universe until the end:
Hebrews 1:2-3, 10-12 The Son of God, by whom also He made the worlds; being the brightness of The Father’s glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding the universe by the word of His power… The heavens, the works of thine hands, shall perish; but you remain; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a cloak you shall fold them up.
Paul and Peter, explaining the transient nature of this mega-universe, tell us what is going to take place at the conclusion of the physical creation:
2Peter 3:10-12 …The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved and shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
God’s Revelation to John and Isaiah tell us that the end of this present universe there will be a great collapsing and spiraling in upon itself:
Revelation 6:14 All the host of heaven shall vanish, as a scroll when it is rolled together (Isaiah 34:4).
Of course and more importantly, God has revealed to His servants how His Plan will ultimately come to fruition. This will be explained in more detail in Chapter Eight of this book. With the physical realm having come to an end, the new spiritual and eternal Kingdom of God will become fully established.
The Kingdom of God and our part in it are central to God’s Plan. God has a resolute determination to carry out His Plan to the full—He will not be dissuaded. Man’s hope and faith is that most all of mankind will be saved from eternal death (1Peter 1:21). However, like with Satan and the demons, only the most recalcitrant and unrepentant will go into the oblivion of the raging waves of the sea foaming out their own shame; wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 1:13).
2Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
Revelation 21:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
But, this is getting way ahead of the story. After the creation of the earth was well on its way, there was rebellion and iniquity found in one-third of the ranks of the angels—resulting in great devastation upon the face of our planet (Genesis 1:2). After Satan brought ruin, destruction and darkness, God set out to renew the face of the earth and create man in it. Adam and Eve in their innocence and naiveté were instructed by their Creator God to look to, and trust in Him as the source of all Godly wisdom. Indeed, it was Jesus Christ who taught them His way of Life. In this chapter we will take a closer look at the sin of Adam and Eve—the downfall of man, and how God has allotted 6,000 years for humanity to go its own way in order for man to learn the futility of his way of self-governance compared to God's guidance in the issues affecting mankind.
The magnificent Garden of Eden contained two trees; a very spectacular tree, the Tree of Life, and another tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve were in the pristine Garden with a choice to make. They had been given free will and the ability to choose. They were supposed to choose God as their Father by eating of His Tree of Life. Had they chosen God as their Father, they would have been choosing to live forever.
Adam would have first ruled the earth, and eventually all creation. To rule the universe, man must possess the character to always be able to choose in a Godly manner. The question was, “Would man choose God to be his Father or would he choose Satan to be his father?” Jesus said:
Matthew 5:44-45 I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that you may be the Children of your Father who is in heaven.
Paul reiterates that it was what the Tree of Life would have provided—God’s Holy Spirit—that makes us the Children of God.
Romans 8:14 As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Children of God.
Being Children of God leads to eternal life because God has become their Lord, Master and Father. Adam and Eve were supposed to single out God as their Father by choosing to eat of His Tree of Life, but instead, they followed Satan’s lead and ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They chose Satan as their father. Being children of the devil leads to death. Jesus said:
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
This deceived world of today continues to look to its father, Satan:
Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
It may have been when Satan first realized that it was God’s Plan to create divine sons and daughters that he first attempted to destroy the solar system and the earth within it (Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:9). God does tell us that everything on earth became devastated, annihilated and dark (Genesis 1:2). It was afterward when God subsequently renewed the face of the earth and created mankind. Continuing with His Plan, God planted a breathtaking garden on earth, the Garden of Eden, making a place of beauty, tranquility and comfort for His children. That magnificent garden contained two trees; a very spectacular tree – the Tree of Life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:7-9 The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a Garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The Tree of Life, representing everlasting life, was an integral part of God’s Plan. God would have had Adam and Eve freely choose Him and His way. They were alone in the garden when Satan came to them. Through the Tree of Life, God was offering mankind the way to eternal life as members of the Divine Family of God. Mankind was not created to die—just the opposite. It was God’s Plan that man become like Him, and live forever in the Kingdom and Family of God. God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of the forbidden tree:
It was God who instructed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He said,
Genesis 2:17 Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof you shall surely die.
There was a momentous choice set before Adam and Eve. God allowed them to choose their family tree—by deciding for themselves who their father would be. God presented the choice of life or death to them. The Fall of Man resulted in – not only his eviction from the Garden of Eden – but the assurance of death (Genesis 2:17).
This was the choice set before Adam and Eve. Choosing the fruit of the Tree of Life would have ultimately resulted in obtaining eternal life. Choosing of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would result in death. Satan prevailed with Adam and Eve. Choosing the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil did not result in eternal life as evidenced by the billions of graves scattered everywhere around the world (Genesis 2:17).
Genesis 3:4-6 The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Adam and Eve were not created with an immortal soul possessing everlasting life. That myth had its source in Satan’s lie, “You shall not surely die.” Satan’s lie to Eve was the origin of the false doctrine of an immortal soul that lives on forever. The truth of God is the exact opposite—he who sins will die (Romans 6:23, Genesis 2:17). Sin brings, and warrants death. Man is not an immortal soul, nor does man possess an immortal soul.
Genesis 3:4 The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.
God had warned Adam and Eve that death would be the result of defiance of His rules (Genesis 2:17). Satan shrewdly cast doubt in Eve’s mind by intimating that God did not want her to be as intelligent as He is. Satan feigned that he was only looking out for Eve’s best interests—while all the time he was bent on her ultimate destruction. Satan reasoned that by obliterating Adam and Eve’s potential to become children of God, he was ultimately thwarting the very Plan of God.
When Adam and Eve took of the forbidden tree, Satan reasoned that he had effectively interrupted and terminated the Plan of God—which is to bring many sons and daughters into the glorious Family of God.
God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate of the forbidden tree. (Compare Genesis 2:17 and 3:4). God created man to live – not die! Scripture tells us that Satan the Devil was a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies (John 8:44). Satan was already here on earth when Adam and Eve were created:
Revelation 12:9 The great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
In their innocence, Adam and Eve were given a choice to make. Had they chosen the Tree of Life, they would have received God’s Holy Spirit which leads to eternal life. The “Fall of Man” is a misnomer because Adam and Eve did not fall from a high and lofty position which would have been the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life. They never attained to life everlasting in the first place. We know what we mean when we speak of the Fall of Man although we do not find that specific wording the Bible.
The Fall of Man usually refers to the sin of Adam and Eve. However, that phrase implies that man had reached his incredible potential – from which he fell – which is not the case at all. It would be more correct to say that Adam and Eve met their temporary demise when they ate of the forbidden tree. They took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – which leads to death. In that sense they fell from what they could have been. Adam and Eve never received God’s Spirit.
God had fully intended that Adam, Eve and their children have a direct and personal relationship with Him. The Lord God was present and dwelling in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:8). Face to face, God had fully instructed them in His way of truth and light. They chose incorrectly:
Genesis 3:8-10 Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where are you? He said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Satan wanted Adam and Eve to fall as he had fallen. Adam and Eve will be raised on the Last Great Day and have God’s Spirit poured out on them for the first time – providing their opportunity for salvation that comes to all men just once (Joel 2:28, Revelation 20:11). Had Adam and Eve taken of the Tree of Life – and then sinned – that indeed would have been the Fall of Man. God did not let that happen:
Genesis 3:22 The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.
During the flood, the Garden of Eden ceased to exist on earth. The beautiful Garden of Eden had been physically fashioned to be a facsimile of the spiritual Garden of Eden in heaven. God reminded Satan of long lost days:
Ezekiel 28:13-16 You have been in Eden the Garden of God; … You are the anointed cherub that covered [the very throne of God]; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire… and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God.
Satan’s fall from heaven is everlasting – there is no Savior to restore him to the heights or pinnacle from which he fell.
Luke 10:18 Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Because of sin, Adam and Eve were too embarrassed and ashamed to face God. Sin had separated between them and their Creator. The good news is this: There is a great overriding theme throughout the Bible telling how that breach between God and man can be reconciled.
Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you.
Adam was not willing to stand up to Satan in defense of God’s way of life. Eve was led astray by Satan the serpent (1Timothy 2:14). God intended that Adam meet Satan head-on and replace him as ruler of the earth, but Adam lacked the strength of character to do so. Had Adam taken of the Tree of Life and triumphed over Satan, he would have saved his wife, Eve, and become the savior of the world! Adam failed to overcome Satan and save his wife, but Jesus overcame Satan and has become the Savior of the world—beginning with the Church brethren (John 16:33, Matthew 4:1-11).
God the Father has restored the way to the Tree of Life through His Son, Jesus Christ. God dwells with His Children – but Adam and Eve turned away from that relationship (John 15).
When Adam disobeyed God he brought condemnation upon himself and his entire family. God had called out to Adam in a close personal way, “Where are you?” God desires a people with a like-spirit with whom He can dwell. God chose the sons of Jacob—the children of Israel—to be a special people with whom He would walk, just as He had walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Deuteronomy 7:6-11). Shortly after delivering the children of Israel from their Egyptian captors God said to Moses:
Leviticus 26:11-12 I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
King David pledged to God his desire to build a Temple wherein God could dwell with His people:
Psalm 132:3-5 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed; I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord, an dwelling place for the Mighty God of Jacob.
God allowed Solomon, David’s son, to build a “House for the Lord.” Though the Temple was the grandest edifice on earth Solomon wondered how God could dwell therein:
1Kings 8:27, 30 Will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this dwelling place that I have built?
In Chapter Five we will see that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ dwell within the converted people of God. It will be at the end of this book in Chapter Eight that we find the ultimate fulfillment of God’s Plan to dwell with His saints. John records:
Revelation 21:3 I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Exodus 29:45-46 I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the LORD their God.
Zechariah 2:10 Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, says the LORD.
2Corinthians 6:16 ...You are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Revelation 21:3 …The tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them.
When God declares that He desires to dwell with us, it does not connote only living in close proximity to one another. It means to share life’s best moments together. My fondest memories of my early childhood come from the times the family came together at my grandparents’ home for Thanksgiving Day. WWII was over, and the ‘boys’ had come home from the sacrifices and separation of having been overseas. There was a profound sense of belonging that derived from the heartwarming gathering. I fit in, and was accepted and loved like everyone else. All my aunts, uncles and cousins were animated and talking all at once in elated sharing of kinfolk news. In the kitchen, the turkey was being basted with its own juices, the dressing was sizzling, and the sweetened foamy egg white meringue topping on the banana pudding was turning golden brown in the oven. The sweet aromas wafted throughout the house – bringing me to the point where I thought that I would soon starve to death if we did not eat soon. The grown-ups were not as anxious to sit down at the extended table in the dining room as we kids were.
When we were all finally seated, and before my grandfather carved the turkey, we each bowed our head in unison and in thanksgiving to God for His bountiful blessings. That was more than seventy years ago – and it remains my fondest memory of childhood. When God says, ‘dwelling together,” He means something more like that.
Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
It is interesting to note that the first meaning of the Hebrew word for dwell yashab is sit down. This is what Jesus had in mind when He sat down and spoke of the coming Kingdom of God, and His great desire to eat with us in that setting. (Luke 22:14-16). At that time, we will fully be in each other’s hearts and minds.
John 14:17, 23 …He dwells with you, and shall be in you. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
In the New Heaven and New Earth, it will be that way—eternally.
The purpose of the Tabernacle and the Temple was so that God could demonstrate to physical Israel His desire to dwell with His people. God told Moses:
Exodus 25:8-9 Let them make me a sanctuary [Tabernacle]; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the Tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
The Tabernacle was portable so that God could dwell with Israel during their forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. The Temple on the other hand was a permanent sanctuary for God at Jerusalem in the Promised Land. Solomon said of the Temple:
1Kings 8:13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in forever.
At first the Temple is referred to by various names, “a house to dwell in, the house of God, a house for the sanctuary, the house of the LORD, etcetera.” King David charged his son, Solomon:
1Chronicles 28:10-12 Take heed now; for the LORD has chosen you to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it. (11) Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlors thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, (12) And the pattern of all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things.
This “pattern” that was to be followed meticulously, was the plan and the blue prints of the heavenly Temple wherein God the Father has His throne covered by the two cherubim. The spiritual implications of God’s throne and Temple in heaven are mind boggling in their implications (1Peter 2:5). Certainly eye has not seen not ear heard… We will see more about the heavenly Temple and the throne of God in Chapter Eight.
Those called out of the world to be saints today must follow Jesus’ example and also overcome Satan if they are going to be in the Kingdom of God ruling with Jesus Christ.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne.
Because of Adam’s failure, God issued the first Messianic prophecy of the Scriptures telling Satan that he would be vanquished:
Genesis 3:14-15 The Lord God said unto the serpent, [Satan], I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed [Satan’s children] and her seed [Jesus]; it shall bruise your head [Luke 4:8], and you shall bruise His heel.
It was necessary that Adam and Eve, and thus all of mankind know that God would send the Savior who would defeat Satan and be the Deliverer of mankind. Yes, Jesus the Messiah would ‘bruise Satan’s head’ – inflict a debilitating wound, meaning that Christ would conquer Satan. But Satan would only “bruise His heel,” meaning that crucifixion and death could not hold Jesus because of the power of the resurrection.
The bruise to the heel of Jesus Christ indicates that Satan's assault would only have a temporary effect—until God the Father brought Jesus back to life with exceeding great power (Ephesians 1:17-20)—but Christ's bruise to Satan's head shows that he will be rendered ineffective for all time. This is the first Messianic Promise of the Savior, Jesus Christ, Who would deliver us from sin.
Paul calls Jesus Christ, who is able to deliver us from sin and give eternal life, the second man Adam:
1Corinthians 15:45-47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living being; the last Adam [Jesus Christ] was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural [Adam]; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
This Genesis 3:15 prophecy speaks of the resulting hatred that exists between Satan and the woman – and the hatred that the children of Satan have toward Jesus Christ—who is the progeny of Mother Eve. There was enmity, hatred and hostility between the serpent and the woman because it is Satan’s aim to destroy mankind from the Plan of God—from becoming the eternal Children of God. Jesus explained that those who reject God’s way have Satan as their father:
John 8:42-44 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but He sent me… You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do.
God’s Holy Spirit was available to Adam and Eve but they rejected it—thereby cutting mankind off from God’s presence (Isaiah 59:2). The Tree of Life represents the spiritual component missing in mankind’s nature, which is the very “Life” of God. Had Adam and Eve chosen the Tree of Life, God Himself would have been the Patriarch of mankind’s family tree. Instead, they chose Satan—making him their father (John 8:42-44). The relationship between God and His creation was broken. Only the Messiah could restore man’s relationship to God.
Every human being has sinned on his own account! Everyone is responsible for, and guilty of his own sins. Adam failed to overcome Satan. Adam’s failure allowed Satan to remain in power over this earth.
The sin of Adam and Eve brought the following consequences: First, it cut mankind off from the Tree of Life and secondly, it brought the death penalty on all human beings (Genesis 2:17; Hebrews 9:27; Romans 6:23). Now mankind is incessantly bombarded with Satan’s nature—that of an evil attitude through the air. Paul demonstrates that Christ has provided Christians with the protection of His air-raid shelter:
Ephesians 2:1-2 You have been saved alive, who were as good as dead in your trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince [Satan] of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
Man’s nature must be changed from a carnal sinful nature to be able to share in the very nature of God – divine nature. Paul tells us that before conversion…
Ephesians 2:3 …We all had our conduct in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others are.
How are God’s converted people able to be on such a different wave-length than that which the multiple billions of people all around the earth are tuned into? The answer is that no one is able to know the things of God except by the Spirit of God. The natural man of the world is unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God because they are absurd to him – he is utterly unable to understand them because they are [only] spiritually discerned (1Corinthians 2:14).
Satan is responsible for the human matters of this world—death, war, crime, disease, famine, violence, vengeance and hatred. Jesus calls Satan the deceiver, the prince of the world (John 14:30, 16:11, Revelation 12:9).
Until a person is called by God, had his mind opened, and been empowered by God's Spirit - he yields to his carnal human nature and is totally unable to submit to God's way:
Romans 8:7 The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
However, with conversion, man begins to change and move toward God.
James 4:8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.
The Tree of Life is about God’s Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit being imputed to a man, it is impossible for him to understand spiritual knowledge which is spiritually discerned. Paul tells us:
1Corinthians 2:14 The worldly man is unable to receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are nonsense unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Like a man with one eye; he thinks that he sees everything a two-eyed man sees—and yet there is a dimension missing. God is not creating man for this physical realm – but ultimately for the eternal spiritual realm. Mankind is being created to eventually be made into the image of God—and God is Spirit (John 4:24). God is in the process of bringing us to fullness and completion. We do not yet possess His eternal spirit Life. Mankind is being created to be in the Family of God – not with human life – but with God Life. Jesus promised:
Revelation 2:7 … To him who overcomes will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
The converted saints of God’s Church are the only ones who are able to come to the truth vis-ŕ-vis God’s Spirit. Vis-ŕ-vis is a French phrase that means “as regards,” but interestingly, it also means “face to face,” as in, the Lord spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend (Exodus 33:11). Therefore, God’s Spirit makes a real relationship with Him possible. Because we are yet fleshly beings we cannot see God the Father or Jesus Christ. However, John reveals that we will see God as He is.
1John 3:2 Beloved, we are now the Children of God – but there is more to come and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see him as he is.
Paul tells the Church brethren that they have only a partial knowledge at this time, but like Moses, they too shall see God face to face (1Corinthians 13:9-12), and a genuinely close relationship with God changes us to be like God. After we die we will not retain our flesh and blood bodies, but in place of our physical bodies, we will be changed into Spirit beings (1Corinthians 15:44). The physical body will see corruption [rot] in the grave (1Corinthians 15:42, 50). It will be only the part of us that has put on Godliness that will be resurrected by His Spirit that dwells in you.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him [God the Father] who raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you.
God’s eternal Spiritual Family is open to all those who live by His Spirit. That is man’s destiny – his incredible human potential – to be like God. God’s Family is not a closed family unit of three persons as Satan would have us believe, but many are being called into God’s glory (Hebrews 2:10).
Most importantly, it is necessary to understand what God’s Holy Spirit is. The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden represents God’s Spirit – God’s Life – God’s Family tree – even His eternal Life.
In the same way that destruction followed the angelic rebellion, destruction also followed the sin of Adam and Eve. They were thrust from the Garden of Eden. When Adam sinned, it constituted the foundation of this present evil world. The Plan of God again suffered a temporary impediment, and it came at a great cost: God the Father would have to willingly yield up—that is literally sacrifice His Son. Jesus would have to die—in order for man to have access to eternal life (Revelation 13:8).
Galatians 1:4 [Jesus] Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.
Acts 2:23-24 [Jesus], being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God has raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be held by death.
1Corinthians 15:21 For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead.
Our entering into the Kingdom of God is what the Gospel is all about. All hope was lost when Adam and Eve rejected the way to eternal life. The promise that life eternal would be available to mankind once again is what the Gospel is about. Life eternal can take place only in the Kingdom of God. That is why Jesus came preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.
John 3:16-17 God so loved the world, that He delivered up His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.
God the Father and Jesus Christ knew that only a sacrifice of Godly proportions could save mankind. Together they each agreed to make that inestimable sacrifice. God the Father would yield His Son to be slain, and the Son would give His life. Only Jesus Christ – the Creator of all things – was worthy to pay the price of all iniquity. He who creates something is always worth more than that which he made. God the Father and Jesus Christ determined to make this necessary sacrifice before they commenced with the creation of mankind – before the foundation of the world ensuring that even Adam and Eve along with all their descendants would be covered by Christ’s sacrifice.
Ephesians 1:3-4 God the Father has chosen us in our Lord Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
1Peter 1:19-21 [We were redeemed] with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, (21) Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
Hebrews 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world (kosmos); but now, once at the end of the ages (aion), He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
When Adam and Eve sinned they established for mankind a nature of sinfulness, ushering in an entirely new age. Thus began what is referred to as the foundation of this present evil world (Galatians 1:4). There is a difference between the foundation of the kosmos and the foundation of the planet. Kosmos means all that makes up the world with its inhabitants – as when Jesus said of the people of God, “You are the Light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)
Ephesians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
2Timothy 1:9 God has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own Plan and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before time began.
God’s Plan of Salvation for mankind was instituted in the very beginning – well before man sinned. The sin of Adam and Eve necessitated the coming of the Savior to vanquish and replace Satan so that God would ultimately be the Father of mankind.
The Bible is replete with clear-cut illustrations of the Plan of God having been inaugurated prior to mankind's existence—its inception having been established before man sinned at the foundation of the world (kosmos).
John 17:5, 24) O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was… Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
At the point in time when Adam allowed Satan to become his father the nature of this present evil world was established. That “nature” was the foundation of this present evil world.
The “foundation of the World” is not a good thing because that is when everything went awry. Because of Adam’s failure to choose the Tree of Life, Jesus would have to come and save mankind. He would have to be sacrificed and die in order for man to be able to live eternal life. Jesus is:
Revelation 13:8 … The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
When God created Adam and Eve He presented them with a most important decision to make—their future fate. “Which family tree would they choose to be a part of?” They chose the wrong family! That terrible decision cut them off from the Spirit of God, His divine nature and Eternal Life. Adam and Eve took on Satan’s nature for themselves and their children. All mankind was complicit with Adam and Eve, being in their loins when they sinned (Hebrews 7:10). And, in the same way, all children were also de facto evicted from the Garden. The sin of Adam and Eve separated them and all their offspring from God the Father. Man’s relationship with his Creator was severed and broken.
Isaiah 59:2 Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
The age-old question then became, “How could sinful man be restored to a right relationship with his Creator?” Man was entirely incompetent to deliver himself from sin. For example: A murderer is totally unable to restore the life of his victim—he cannot pay for his sin.
Only God the Father, by giving up His Son as a sin offering in the form of sinful flesh, could condemn sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3).
In order for man to be able to disown Satan as his chosen father, the Son of God had to take on the nature of man so that man might partake of God’s divine nature. God the Father promised to send His Son—the Messiah through whom He would reconcile the world unto Himself—becoming their Father, not imputing their trespasses unto them (2Corinthians 5:19).
2Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
The Plan of God is for man to become God. The concept is not new. Peter spoke of man’s taking on the glory of divine nature (2Peter 1:3-4). Early apostate theologians liked to put big names on straight forward Biblical concepts—like “Deification” and “Theosis.” The Trinitarian, Athanasius of Alexandria, wrote of Christ, “He was incarnate that we might be made God.” The problem is that the true nature of God was not understood by those false religious leaders. When both the Nature of God and the Plan of God are understood, it is correct to say that God became fully human so that humans would become fully God.
Philippians 2:6 Christ Jesus, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying of Jesus, “You shall call His name Emmanuel which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:20-23). Jesus Christ set aside His Godly glory and took on our human nature (John 17:5).
Hebrews 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part in the same.
Romans 8:3 What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son [Jesus Christ] in the likeness of sinful flesh [human nature], and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
Genesis 3:5, 7 God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil... And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Yes, their eyes were opened to greed, lust, hate and the effects of sin. Adam and Eve rejected God. This step in the Plan of God begins to show where mankind is without God. Whereas God withholds no good thing from us (Psalm 84:11), Satan costs us everything – even our life. Therefore, we are in need of a Savior. Without a Savior, mankind would be eradicated from the face of the earth forever. That is the ultimate result of sin.
The knowledge of the Plan of God has not been made known to the great throngs of the children of Adam and Eve all around the world—they remain in the dark. The only understanding that their minds are capable of comprehending is strictly limited to what they can ascertain through their five senses. However, God has revealed His Plan to His Children through His Spirit (1Corinthians 2:14). We have seen earlier how God communicates His Plan to His Children by way of the responsive spirit He has given only to them. The great mass of humanity is able to read these Biblical words and still not grasp God’s incredible endeavor which is the on-going Plan of God.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit, that we are the Children of God:
That is why the Plan of God is known to only a scattered few true believers on the earth today. Throughout these past 6,000 years of man’s existence only a relatively few people have been called into God’s spiritual creation—which begins with the receiving of a token or earnest of God’s Spirit (2Corinthians 1:22).
Genesis Chapter One records the chronicle of the period or action covering the Plan of God having to do with the earth’s splendid renewal, and re-creation—and establishment of man in his innocence.
As surprising as it may seem, man was created as an incomplete person. There is a missing dimension that needs to be added so that man can properly control his thoughts and the actions they produce. That is because God has made it necessary for man to want to be in His Family. Man has an integral part in developing in himself the fear of God. As created, there is an element lacking in man’s thinking, an element that needs to be added to man’s heart and psyche so that man can properly control his thoughts and the actions they produce. The Bible reveals that God has promised to give His people the knowledge, understanding and the power of His Holy Spirit to rightly manage and control how to think, feel and behave. With God’s Spirit man is enabled and even desires to choose correctly – having the rebellious spirit of the human mind restrained and brought under control by the Holy Spirit to the mind and will of God.
There was another tree—a second unique tree—that was also set significantly in the center of the Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:9). Adam and Eve chose to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Their eyes were immediately opened (Genesis 3:7). They embarked on a lifestyle of self-assurance, self-pleasing, self-righteousness, and self-gratification. They became selfish and self-centered. The fruit of that tree was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise—that is, giving them the knowledge of good and evil. They were capable of being generous on occasion, but that after having provided for their own security. They chose to bless themselves rather than depend on the blessings of God. Adam and Eve became what we see in man today—human nature—a mixture of good and evil.
Man was given complete freedom to choose for himself. Would man choose to be the Children of God or the children of Satan? Without Godly character, Adam and Eve took of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As a result—man would surely die. Adam and Eve had been warned, but they chose to rule this world by their own wiles instead of looking to God for proper direction. A terrible set of events were set in motion—beginning with their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. To our human mind, this stage in the Plan of God seems like a terrible setback. These past six-thousand years of war, disease and death are enough to convince anyone that our original parents chose incorrectly. God in His wisdom knew that man must endure trials and tests in order to be able to build righteous Godly character (Hebrews 12:6). The most important spiritual accomplishment for man in this life is the development of Godly character. It is only through God’s Spirit that Godly character can be developed.
It is a truism, “The hottest fires produce the finest steel.” The greatest struggles are able to produce the best quality of character in a man. God tests the moral fiber, backbone and mettle of a man. Genuine refined character is forged in the fires of adversity, and stoked by the sacrifices of intense pressure, hard work and difficult decisions. Formidable character cannot simply be wished for, desired or handed down from father to son. The sons of empire builders and business moguls hardly ever fare as well as their magnate fathers—because they have not endured the hardships. The apostle Paul certainly understood that strong character could not be created out of thin air, so he thanked God for the character building opportunities He sent:
Romans 5:3-4 …We glory in our sufferings also: knowing that hardship produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope:
At some point everyone must be tested and tried; not for the purpose of being broken but to grow ever stronger. Before anyone can enter the Kingdom of God they will be tested but not consumed.
Isaiah 43:2 When thou pass through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame consume you.
1Corinthians 10:13 …God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tested over and above what you are able to bear; but will with the trial also provide a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
God will know the measure of every man and the quality of his character. Indeed, that is why Satan will be released for a short time after the Millennium—in order to try and test the character of those who have had life so easy (Revelation 20:7-8).
Adam and Eve’s sin was a big turning point in the Plan of God, but before launching into their Plan, God the Father and Jesus had made absolutely certain that their Plan was perfect and fail-safe. They had contingencies for every eventuality. The Father and Jesus had an alternative course of action in place to allow for interruptions, such as the sin of Adam and Eve.
Genesis 2:16-17 The Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that thou eat thereof you shall surely die.
The Garden of Eden contained two trees; a very special tree, the Tree of Life, and another tree, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The fruit of these trees would determine the very nature of mankind. Which would Adam and Eve choose? Paul explains that Eve was deceived and utterly seduced by Satan:
2Corinthians 11:3 I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Eve had been wrongfully convinced by Satan that she would not die.
On the other hand, Adam as the head of his family unit, made a conscious and intractable decision to disregard God’s clear directive which determined his nature and resulting death. Adam did this not only for himself, but for his offspring as well:
1Timothy 2:14 Adam was not deceived, but the woman being thoroughly deceived was in the transgression.
The resulting human nature defined mankind’s characteristic being and way of thinking, feeling, and acting. Human nature is not good – only God is good (Matthew 19:17). As a result of partaking of the wrong tree, mankind’s nature became self-serving, natural, animalistic, carnal, sensual and mortal. Had Adam and Eve chosen of the Tree of Life their nature would have become a Godly nature. God’s divine nature is caring, selfless, generous, gracious, sacrificing, forgiving, and merciful. Human nature, though being capable of occasional acts of decency, is an ungodly nature. Jesus described man’s sinful heart this way:
Matthew 15:19 Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
Man has a human spirit which has been imparted to the human intellect. The human spirit enables man to reason, to think, thereby separating man from the animals which have no conscience. With conversion, the human spirit becomes infused with the Spirit of God, and that person becomes a Child of God.
Adam and Eve were created dispassionate and not predisposed to good or evil. They were not inclined one way or the other. God instructed – even commanded – man in the right way to go. But at the same time He allowed Adam and Eve their own self-determination through the process by which they made the choices that would control their own lives.
Set before Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden were two trees from which to choose. Had they chosen the Tree of Life, and what it represented, it would have led to the development of a “Godly nature” in them. They would have looked to God in confidence. Even while they were in the flesh with its human foibles, weaknesses and limitations, they would have cultivated Godly characteristics including kindness, self-denial, empathy, compassion, and the willingness to serve others to the point of laying down their life in self-sacrifice. The natural tendency of their progeny’s thinking, feeling, and acting would have been to do good. Peer pressure between siblings would have been positive.
Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
James 2:8 If you fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, ye do well.
The Father’s calling to salvation and gift of His Spirit brings about the “conversion” of an individual from his “human nature” to a nature desirous of being Christ-like. The story is much bigger than that. Had Adam covered the sin of Eve, and stood up to Satan, he would have overcome and qualified to rule this earth in righteousness. But Adam did not do so—and that called for a second and spiritual Adam (1Corinthians 15:45-49).
Romans 5:19 As by [Adam’s] disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of [Jesus] shall many be made righteous.
Jesus, the second man Adam, overcame human nature being obedient to God. We saw that Jesus Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh [human nature], and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). Jesus was tested and tried on every point that man can be tempted—yet without sin.
Hebrews 4:15 …Jesus was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Had Jesus sinned on a single point He would have died for His own sin—just as the first man Adam did. But Jesus grew in Godly character by obeying God, and by suffering and striving against human nature—the same pulls of sinful flesh common to all mankind.
Hebrews 5:8 Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which he suffered.
King David asked a most philosophical question relating to the fundamental nature of mankind. “What is Man?” David prayed:
Psalm 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou deal with him in a caring way?
Only God the Father and Jesus Christ now possess eternal life. But, God has created man for the purpose of obtaining everlasting life with Him. It is however a gift from God that is based on certain contingencies. All sin must be repented of and taken away through the blood of Jesus Christ and God’s forgiveness. Sin is against God and His perfect moral code that brings peace to the entire universe. In no way does man somehow possess the “right” to tarnish or detract from the glory of God.
1John 3:4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
When man disrupts that perfect balance by interjecting disorder and disruption into God’s perfect order, he becomes worthy of death (Romans 6:23). That is because human beings are totally unable to restore and repair the damage sin has brought about. If we murder—we cannot restore life. Saying, “I’m sorry,” does nothing to reinstate a life. Only the perfect life of Jesus Christ—worth more than the entire universe created by His hand—can forgive sin and restore life.
John 5:26 As the Father has life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have life in Himself.
Jesus willingly sacrificed His life and substituted His life for ours so that we might be saved alive from the death we so deserve. It is only that life of Jesus Christ that is able to set us free of our debt of death and bestow salvation upon us sinners. The question we must answer is, “What must be done that we might obtain this precious gift of everlasting life?”
Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
Jesus Christ instructed Adam and Eve in the things of God. Adam and Eve were in turn to instruct their children. We have seen that the Tree of Life represented the spiritual component missing in mankind, the very “Life” of God. Mankind was not created with eternal life inherent in him, but with a relatively short-term mortal life. Man does not have an immortal soul. Through the Tree of Life, God was offering mankind the way to eternal life as members of the Family of God. Satan turned his ongoing assault against Adam and Eve. “What better way to get back at God than to destroy His Plan to expand His Divine Family,” Satan calculated. Satan hates God, the Plan of God, and the Children of God—the very means by which the expanded Family of God is being brought to fruition. Satan’s tactics are exposed in his cunning deception and temptation of Eve.
In the Book of Genesis, we see that God had everything set up so perfectly for mankind – for happiness – for immunity – for health – for reproduction – for sustenance – for longevity – for sustainability – and for fulfillment.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good.
But when Adam and Eve sinned, they forfeited their very lives, their wonderful home—and they were ejected from the idyllic Garden of Eden. They were also blocked by God’s angels from returning.
Genesis 3:22-24 The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life.
The inability of Adam and Eve to sustain their life style in the Garden of Eden was passed down to their descendants. Nothing man-made has any lasting sustainability. Every nation grown great, which was seemingly impervious to being conquered, has ceased to exist. They may seem immovable for a little while—but all is vanity.
Isaiah 40:17 All nations before the Lord are as nothing; and they are counted to Him as less than nothing, and vanity.
Peoples and nations throughout history have all seen their civilizations and societies collapse and come to nothing. Adam and Eve were convinced that they could go on forever in the Garden of Eden, but they lost it all. The billions of people on earth at the time of the flood did not believe for a second that they had need of Noah’s ark to carry them over flood waters. They were washed away. Where are the great nations of yesteryear?
Ancient Nineveh did not think that anyone could penetrate their mighty defensive walls and conquer them. The Shang dynasty, and multiple Chinese dynasties, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Israel, Persia, Judah, Greece and Rome, with its many restorations, all thought they would prevail. Where is the British Empire today? The United States of America believes that it cannot be toppled.
The very Temple of God that Solomon built was destroyed, and the subsequent Temple of Herod was also torn down. Judah and Israel went into captivity. They thought to themselves, “The Temple, the Temple, we have the Temple to look to; and God would never take that away.” (Jeremiah 7:4)
Israel went into foreign captivity, and Judah also one-hundred and twenty years later for idolatry and Sabbath breaking (Ezekiel 20:21-24). Recently, Japan and Germany were both defeated – they were wrong in their estimations that they would rule the world. An end-time system of religion and political power, Babylon the Great, will also fall down in complete and utter ruin (Revelation 18:2).
Revelation 14:8 … Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Late last century, many in the Church of God believed that they were impervious to failing. And yet, the Worldwide Church of God fell – and great was the fall thereof. Today, in the Church of God, many also believe that they are impervious to failing.
If mankind were to die out completely, the Plan of God would be spoiled—but God’s Plan is sure. Man became needful of a Savior because sin has brought the death penalty. God knew from before the foundation of the world that mankind would need a Savior (Revelation 13:8).
Jesus says that the time is coming when, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.” All mankind will have the opportunity for eternal salvation (Joel 2:28). God has given mankind six thousand years to learn that man is unable to run things properly on this earth. After that, Jesus Christ will return and establish His Father’s Kingdom over all the earth for a thousand years.
The vast majority of the people in the world today have never heard about the Plan of God. God has set in place a 7,000-year master Plan, which began at the re-creation of the earth, about 6,000 years ago. In fact, the seven-day week was assigned to man at the very foundation of the earth.
Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about the first 6,000 years:
“Man built his world on self-sufficiency without God. God set in motion a Master Plan for accomplishment of His purpose, consisting of a duration of seven thousand years. Satan was allowed to remain on earth's throne for [only] the first six thousand years. God purposed that man must learn his lesson, and come voluntarily to accept God's way and character. For nearly six thousand years mankind has been writing that lesson. But even at this late hour he has not yet learned it. He has not yet given up on his own self-centered way and come to accept God's way to his ultimate happiness.”
(Herbert W. Armstrong “Mystery of the Ages” 1985)
Man falls on his face over and over again. Of course the world does not understand what is taking place because it does not know about the seven thousand year Plan of God. God provides a brief synopsis of His Plan in the Book of Exodus. It is an astute picture of six thousand years of labored hardship followed by a glorious 1,000 years of peaceful rest. That is the time when Jesus will rule over all the earth.
Exodus 20:11 In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, making it holy.
God established His 7,000-year master Plan which began at the re-creation of the earth. The Church of God has always believed and taught that the earth is billions of years old, but when Satan rebelled the earth became tohu, bohu, and choshek – without form, void and dark. The Earth was certainly not created by God in worthless disorder and darkness, but it was made as a beautiful habitat for humanity.
Isaiah 45:18 Thus said the Lord who created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited.
During Christ’s ministry the apostles did not understand the 7,000 year plan of God. After His death, they believed that Jesus would imminently establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Luke 19:11 As [the disciples] heard these things, He [Jesus] added and spoke a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, and because [the disciples] thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately appear.
The disciples were wrong about Jesus returning immediately to set up His Father’s Kingdom. Even after Christ’s death and resurrection – the apostles did not immediately understand…
Acts 1:6 When they [Christ and the apostles] therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?
Peter and John’s writings show that later the apostles better understood the thousand year Millennium to come. Then, the New Testament Church was able to understand the 7,000-year Plan of God and the symbolism of the creation week, the seventh day Sabbath, and God’s Holy Days.
The early church came to understand that when God re-created the face of the earth in seven days it was a prophetic picture of the Plan of God. They realized that the first six days of the week showed that God allotted 6,000 years for humanity to go its own way in order for man to learn the futility of his way. Then they understood that the seventh day – the Sabbath – pictured God allotting an additional 1,000 years of “rest” when Jesus Christ would begin ruling over all the earth. God rested on the seventh day after creation, picturing, not only the weekly Sabbath rest, but also the Millennial rest at the end of the first six thousand years of God's Plan for mankind (Exodus 20:11). With the seven-day week clearly in mind, Peter wrote:
2Peter 3:8 …One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
With Christian conversion, our human nature, our sinful heart, our devious mind is reigned in—brought under control and led by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:14). But the world is not yet convinced that it needs to repent and turn back to God. Only with God’s direct intervention can a man come out of this present evil world. Satan has bound this world and blocked man’s mind from receiving the glorious Gospel truth. Paul revealed how truth is able to change man’s carnal nature, but God hides the Truth from unbelievers:
2Corinthians 4:3-4 If our Gospel be hidden, it is obscured to them that are lost: Those whom the God of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (John 12:40)
1John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in wickedness.
This world does not resemble God’s beautiful Garden of Eden at all. Take a snap shot of today’s society – and what will you find? Widespread hate, poverty, ignorance, immorality, crime, war and misery, confusion, deceit, anger, pride, hate, foolishness, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, envy, rebellion, disobedience—lawlessness. Satan is doing his dirty work. He influences people toward hate, anger, selfishness, violence, competition, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, murder and deceit. Therein is the origin of hate and enmity against God.
Romans 8:7 The carnal mind is hateful toward God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
In the Old Testament Jeremiah was shown how utterly dishonest human nature is—everyone walking after the imagination of his evil heart (Jeremiah 16:12).
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Paul puts it this way:
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.
Jesus spelled out the proclivities of man without the influence of God’s Spirit when He said:
Mark 7:21-23 From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, malicious motivation, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within [carnal nature], and defile the man.
God makes it abundantly clear that the very nature of man must be changed. But how can that momentous change be brought about? The answer is that man must put on Godliness.
2Peter 1:3 According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
Satan’s triumph over Adam and Eve brought about an impending destruction of mankind and a disruption in the very Plan of God. God’s Plan is to replicate Himself through mankind. Why did Satan’s deception of Adam and Eve mean that Christ had to be born? The Savior had to be born because mankind would have been eternally lost—cut off from God—had not Jesus come to earth and allowed Himself to be sacrificed. Jesus died to pay the penalty of man’s sins which began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Without His death – we would still be in our guilt. We would not be reconciled to God the Father. But, we are saved by Jesus Christ’s life (Romans 5:10). Adam and Eve’s demise necessitated a Savior of mankind who would not only qualify to replace Satan, but who would redeem—buy back—Adam, Eve and their children who had come short of salvation.
God’s Plan for mankind included the necessity of a Savior—a Redeemer of mankind—to buy man back into a restored relationship with his God. It was sin that came between man and God, and ruined man’s perfect relationship with God (Isaiah 59:2). Paul explained to the Galatians that mankind would have to be retrieved and saved from the inherent weakness of its humanity before people could become God-like. Jesus came to this earth to be sacrificed unto death and raised unto Life in order for mankind to be reconciled to God the Father after making the wrong choice in the Garden of Eden. In Chapter Five we will examine the Scriptures to find what God tells us about the Fullness of Time when His Son would come to this earth as man’s Savior to make us Children of God.
Galatians 4:3-7 When we were children in bondage under the elements of the world the Fullness of the Time came, God sent forth His Son… to redeem them that were under the [penalty of the] law, that we might receive the son-ship of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore you are no more a servant, but a Child of God; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
God originally designed the lifespan of the human body to be one thousand years on an ideal earth. Had Adam and Eve not sinned they would have lived a millennium—followed by their resurrection. But, the introduction of sin into the lives of Adam and Eve took its toll and began immediately to erode man’s lifespan. The Bible tells us that Adam lived 930 years, Seth 912 years, Methuselah 969, and Noah lived 950 years. Sin took its toll and they died just short of the one-thousand-year mark. In addition, the flood of Noah’s day changed the weather and atmosphere. After the flood, the environment of the earth became vastly different (Genesis 9:12-14). We find that after the flood Shem’s lifespan decreased to only 600 years (Genesis 11:10-11). God has preserved those numbers for us. Gathering from his life-span, the ancient devout Job most likely lived between the time of Noah’s flood and the calling of Abraham. Job lived to be approximately 250 years old. After the flood God allowed the lifespan of man to rapidly decrease by 90% in about ten generations—from nearly 1000 years down to less than a hundred years.
God is creating perfect holy and righteous character, like unto His own, in His true called out ones [‘ekklesia’]. His Plan includes our being spiritually born into His eternal Family. Right now, those who are converted are only begotten and not yet born into everlasting life—but are already counted as God's children and heirs with Jesus Christ.
At baptism, a Christian becomes a child of God – possessing the Father's name. God shows us the process of becoming a child of God the Father.
2Corinthians 6:18 I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
A Christian baptism includes: Baptism into the Father's name, baptism into Jesus Christ's name (same name), and baptism into the Spirit (same spiritual life as God – "God is Spirit." (John 4:24).
As Christians, when each of us began our physical life, we acquired our dad's last name or surname name. In the same way, at our baptism and the receiving of God's Holy Spirit we began to put on God's spiritual life. As a new son or daughter of God, we spiritually acquired our Father’s name (1John 3:2). We became Children of God. The night before He died, Jesus prayed for us to be guarded and protected in the Father's name. Jesus asked of His Father:
John 17:11 Now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
1John 3:2 Now we are the Children of God.
God prepared the face of the earth for man to be able to develop into the express image, divine nature, character and likeness of God. This step is necessary because Godly spiritual character cannot be created by decree or edict. Godly character must be built of free will. It must be desired and developed over time, and shaped by pressure, experience, trial and choice—until a man comes to see the true ways of God, and to know that there is a penalty for sin.
Genesis 1:26 God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:
In the process of building Godly character, corruptible man puts on the image and likeness of God so that he may be resurrected into God’s immortal Family (1Corinthians 15:53).
1Corinthians 15:49 As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
When Paul says that we will also bear the image of the heavenly, he is speaking of the first resurrection when we will no longer bear the image of ‘human nature,’ but instead be given a ‘divine nature’ deferentially similar in Spirit and character to that of God (2Peter 1:4). Notwithstanding, the Godly attributes of wisdom, holiness, power, etc., will eternally exceed our station in His Kingdom. This will take place when God’s Spirit with exceeding great power changes us at our resurrection (Ephesians 1:19).
When all is said and done, there will be nothing physical remaining of the former man. Nothing will remain of man except the Spirit of God that has been ascribed to the spirit in man. God is elevating the human spirit by infusing in man’s character a token of His Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14, 2Corinthians 1:22, 5:5). We are instructed to become perfect and complete just as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). To reign and rule throughout the Millennium with Jesus Christ, we must possess the character to always choose in a Godly manner (Revelation 5:10). God in His wisdom knows that man must endure trials and tests in order to be able to attain to righteous Godly character. God is reproducing His goodness and character in us – and that is what will remain – forever!
Matthew 13:34-35 All these [parables of the Kingdom] spoke Jesus... that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Jesus here is making known His thoughts from the beginning; words He had inspired David to write some one-thousand years earlier.
Psalm 78:2-4 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, showing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength, and His wonderful works that He hath done.
God the Father has revealed His long held secret Plan of Salvation through Jesus Christ. God in His wisdom knew before the heavens and earth were created that man would not be able to live a perfect life—but be a sinful being. Without God's Spirit in him, man would be utterly incapable of remaining faithful to God. So God knew that it would become necessary to send a Savior who would atone for the sins of mankind that he might be delivered from the penalty of sin. The Savior would become the atoning sacrifice that would pay for the sins of the world. It was a foregone conclusion that one day—in the fullness of time—Jesus, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, would be sent to the world to die for the sins of mankind.
Genesis 3:7 The eyes of Adam and Eve were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Man’s innocence came to an abrupt end necessitating the requirement of deliverance. “Salvation” was needed by man – and man’s salvation was also required for the Plan of God to succeed! Mankind, except for a comparatively small righteous line of men who walked with God, and called upon the name of the Lord, went against God until that hopeless way of life resulted in the great flood that wiped man from the face of the earth – save eight souls (Genesis 4:26, 5:22, 7:1).
Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
After the flood man’s nature remained still evil…
Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savor; and the LORD said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more everything living, as I have done.
All of mankind still possesses sinful human nature. God is calling some out of the world and given them a measure of His Spirit. God’s Spirit coupled with conversion and character is able to subdue the tendencies of the flesh. Paul spoke of the ongoing struggle to overcome our carnality:
Romans 7:14-15 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
So, how can a Christian prevail against who and what he is? Paul answers:
Romans 7:24-25 O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Yes, it is Jesus Christ who delivers the one who is a Christian—the one who has become a new person with a new nature:
2Corinthians 5:5, 17 Now He that has wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit… Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Peter quotes Isaiah saying that even this earth and the heavens will roll up as a scroll and cease to exist:
Isaiah 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll:
2Peter 3:10-13 The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conduct and Godliness, (12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
Brethren, these things are not meant to terrify us. Sometimes the Church brethren are living in abject fear – thinking that these things will befall us. The Father will not let any of these things touch His precious children.
Psalm 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
We have an impenetrable wall of protection around us – provided by God.
Luke 21:17-18 You shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not an hair of your head perish.
Genesis 3:22-23 The Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever: (23) Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
Genesis 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life.
That impassable barrier to the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life meant that not only could Adam and Eve not return to the Garden of Eden, but their children and their children’s children were also denied access to the Tree of Life as well. The Tree of Life would have opened man’s mind to the Plan of God. All mankind was thus deprived of God’s Holy Spirit until a Savior would open the way. Paul gives us one of the lessons that we should take away from Adam and Eve’s experience. In the same way that their disobedience kept them out of the Garden of Eden, man’s sin excludes him from God’s Kingdom:
1Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God?
In the Garden of Eden God had freely offered the prospect of eternal life to Adam and Eve. When they sinned, not only was the potential of eternal life removed, death was insured. The concept of death was hard to grasp, but when Cain killed Abel his brother, the realization of death began to set in for Adam and Eve. God revealed the religious practice of animal sacrifices and offerings in worship to Himself. Abel’s sacrifice was pleasing to God – Cain’s was not (Genesis 4:4-5).
Genesis 4:8 Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.
With Abel's murder, the consciousness of death occurring became not only evident, but inevitable for everyone. There are no graves in the Garden of Eden—only life.
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; therefore death passed upon all men, because all have likewise sinned.
The children of Adam and Eve began to fill the earth. The righteous line extended from Seth to Noah (Genesis 4:25) while the offspring of Cain were banished (Genesis 4:11-14).
Genesis 6:5-7 GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (6) And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. (7) And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for I regret that I made them.
God’s regret was that the crooked course of man was not in accordance with His Plan to bring many sons and daughters to glory. The world, both man and beast, was being entirely ruined! It was so off course that it was about to derail any future restoration of a society with which God would be able to draw His flock. The destruction of the earth’s surface had become necessary – and we will see in Chapter Six of this book that another destruction is imminent—all flesh will die, except a small number for God’s purposes!
Genesis 6:11-13 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (12) And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted His way upon the earth. (13) And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
Genesis 7:4 God said, I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living thing that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.
The earth was full of sin, iniquity and every kind of violence. God promised Noah that he and his family would not be destroyed in the great flood. “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and thy entire house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.” (Genesis 7:1) Satan’s influence on the world resulted in the great flood. God protected Noah and his family from the flood waters, and from an even greater threat – Satan himself. Satan’s greatest desire was to destroy all mankind; and thereby cut short the very Plan of God of bringing many sons and daughters into the glory of His Kingdom.
In the same way that God would put a hedge of protection around Job (Job 1:10), He acted to restrain Satan’s powers so that he could not destroy the last eight people enclosed in the ark. Jesus dogmatically laid the law down to Satan and the demons that they could not unleash their evil powers on mankind until the time of the end.
1Peter 3:18-20 Jesus Christ went by the Spirit of God and preached unto the [demon] spirits in tarturus; (20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
The Devil and the demons have had their power curbed on this earth until the time of the great tribulation when Satan’s wrath will be released in a drastic way such that no one would be saved alive – except for Christ’s intervention to save the chosen elect (Matthew 24:22, Mark 13:20).
The Book of Job gives evidence that there were men who lived righteously and uprightly after the flood. Before God called Abraham He worked with Job in a very special way. Job is possibly the oldest book in the Bible. Job’s lifespan places him just about half-way between the flood and Abraham’s day.
It is hard to say exactly when Job lived because he is not in the direct righteous line of the Patriarchs—yet lived a life of righteousness. He possessed and understood the things God had revealed up to the eleventh chapter of Genesis. The account of Job’s life discloses a treasure trove of faith, culture and scientific data for that interim period. Amazingly, Job even understood the extent of God’s Plan shown by the resurrections (Job 14:14).
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
But Job lost sight of God and the fullness of His sovereignty. He accused God of being unfair and unjust. In his own mind, Job's attitude placed him above God by denying that He had the right to deal with Job as He saw best. Because he did not know God, Job justified himself rather than justifying God (Job 32:2).
Though it was Satan who brought all the sore trials on Job, God is the one who ultimately allowed the torment of his loss of family, business and health to take place so that Job could learn the spiritual lesson of God’s sovereignty and benevolence. Job could rightly say to his friends that God had touched him (Job 19:21). Job’s trial and chastening bore good fruit. God loved Job. Job was not entirely righteous at the time the book begins. The very reason for Job's trial was because God knew that Job could and would do even better!
It is God who reveals that Job was eventually righteous (Ezekiel 14:20). God in His infinite wisdom intervened in Job’s life in order to further the process of Job’s spiritual growth. After suffering affliction, and in endurance, Job’s resulting righteousness shows that God patiently waited for the precious fruit of conversion in his life.
James 5:11 …You have heard of the endurance of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
The Book of Job shows human nature at work – until God intervenes and supplants that lethal course by His Spirit. Speaking of the earth and the visible creation, the Book of Job speaks of a past time when the entire angelic realm worked and labored together in unison and close harmony:
Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof;
The answer of course is that it was God who fashioned all the physical universe—and the angels witnessed that creation.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars [angels] sang together, and all the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy?
God started by creating the vast angelic realm before the creation of the physical universe – this earth, the sun, the moon and the billions of stars. Each angel was imbued with an individual aptitude, capacity to perform, and specific talents with which to support and advance the Plan of God—even to the furtherance of mankind as ministering spirits.
Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
The Promise to Abraham
With the Promise to Abraham, God established the Old Testament Church. Jesus Christ is called both Prophet and Messenger to the Church in the Wilderness.
Acts 7:37-38 …A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear. This is He, that was in the Church in the Wilderness with the Messenger which spoke to Moses in Mount Sinai, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
Ancient Israel, except for a few chosen people, like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets, did not have a reconciled relationship with God the Father. Israel had not receive the Spirit of God. God chose Israel to be a very special people unto Him (Deuteronomy 14:2):
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: (2) And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and you shall be a blessing: (3) And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curses thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Genesis 12:7 The LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto your children will I give this land:
About ten years later, when Abram was about eighty-five years old, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision. During the dark portion of Passover on the 14th of Abib, God showed Abram the nighttime stars in the sky and promised him innumerable descendants:
Genesis 15:5 [God] brought [Abram] forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and count the stars, if thou be able to number them: and He said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Abram, (he was not named Abraham until the advanced age of 99), asked God to assure him that all the families of the earth would be blessed through him, seeing that he had no children yet. God stipulated the provisions of the Sacrificial Covenant, making it clear that He would not deviate from its terms. God promised Abram, with an incontrovertible oath, that he would become a great nation (Genesis 12:2, 7). Then God promised Abraham that he would become a father of many nations (Genesis 17:5). Was it possible for Abram to grasp the full spiritual aspects of Genesis 15:5? Just so we do not miss the implication here – Paul spells it out for us in Galatians 3 – that these future children are not all Abraham’s physical children – but they also include all those who become spiritual children – through Christ.
Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. [God] did not say, “And unto seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed,” which is Christ.
The one seed, the spiritual offspring of Abraham, is Jesus Christ the Messiah.
Galatians 3:29 If you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Abram showing some trepidation because he yet remained childless at an advanced age, and remembering God’s prodigious promise which was remarkably great in extent, asked God how He was going to perform His promise (Genesis 12:7):
Genesis 15:2, 8 Abram said, Lord GOD, what will you give me, seeing I go childless… whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
The Covenant of Promise to Abram was ratified by God with a Covenant Sacrifice. We will see in Chapter Five how Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of His life provided the ratification of the New Covenant.
Jesus Christ asked Abram to prepare a sacrifice on Passover afternoon in preparation for the Covenant Sacrifice. It was the 14th day of the first month of the year at the same time of day that Jesus would die on Passover Day. The 3 pm time of Christ’s death on Passover Day coincides perfectly with the sealing of the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15, and upon which the New Covenant is based:
Genesis 15:9-10 And [the LORD] said unto Abram, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
Known historically as a "covenant between the parts," the parties to such a ritual would both pass between the parts of severed animals. In so doing, they were stating that if one (or both) of them broke the covenant agreement, they should likewise be put to death (Jeremiah 34:18-20).
In this case however, Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament, was showing that He alone would take the penalty upon Himself—by the sacrifice of Himself—for mankind’s sins. That is why, as we will see, Abraham did not pass between the pieces—only God passed between the parts of the animals. Thus in this ceremony, our Lord and Savior pledged His own life to guarantee the fulfillment of that Covenant!
This sacrifice which Abraham prepared, those slain animals, corresponded to, and symbolized Jesus’ body, who was the ultimate sacrifice killed on Passover, and the One who made the Covenant. Notice that the timing is progressing into the next day, because according to God’s clock the day comes to an end at sunset – and a new day begins at dusk just before the stars come out.
Genesis 15:12 And when the sun was going down, a trance-like sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of profound darkness fell upon him.
We will see that this takes place on The Night to be Much Observed. It’s meaning is The Night to be Much Replicated (Exodus 12:40-42). Abram’s deep sleep corresponds to, and symbolizes Jesus death and burial in the tomb as the Night to be Much Observed begins. The Night to be Much Observed marks the beginning of the First Day of Leavened Bread which begins at sunset.
Genesis 15:17-18 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. In the same day the LORD made a Covenant with Abram.
What Abraham saw was like a bright blast furnace – a brilliant shaft of light that passed through the sacrifice (Isaiah 62:1, Daniel 10:6, Exodus 19:18)! Jesus Christ made a very emphatic point of passing through the pieces of the Sacrificial Covenant. This was that oath by God Himself—the Covenant Sacrifice. Jesus said in effect, “I will give my life to bring this Covenant to fruition.” Abib 15th had arrived—it was the Night to Be Much Observed and the beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6). The Feasts of the Lord are rich in symbolism and meaning of which the world is blind—and they are commanded assemblies for the Children of God.
It was none other than Jesus Himself—who appeared as a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. We find in the New Testament that Paul explains the extreme importance of this Sacrificial Covenant – and how it was made:
Hebrews 6:13 When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by none greater, He swore by Himself.
Jesus stood in the breach when He passed between those sacrificial pieces of Genesis 15:17 and said in effect, “I will shed my blood and die, as these dead animals at my feet, to pay the price of the broken covenant.” God and Abram were close enough friends, that he was made to understand that complete justification of man would require the life of One greater than everyone being justified—which could only be the Creator. When Abram witnessed this phenomenal spectacle – he believed!!!
The God of the Old Testament made the unilateral Sacrificial Covenant, and later as Jesus Christ in the flesh, He became the Paschal victim of that sacrifice. Jesus, in passing between the pieces of the sacrifice, prophesied His own death – in order to bring all men to salvation.
The Children of God gained their victory over sin on the exact selfsame day – it marks the point of salvation – victory over bondage and over death as Jesus was laid in the tomb just as The Night to be Much Observed began.
The Sacrificial Covenant was the sign or miracle that Jesus would surely keep His oath to Abraham to provide him with children that would be in number as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seas.
We find a number of examples where God made an Eternal Covenant that He alone could fulfill the terms thereof. Another time was the occasion when Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Again, it was rich in prophetic meaning in that it foreshadowed God the Father offering His Son, Jesus Christ in sacrifice. Again, God swore by Himself:
Genesis 22:15-18 The Messenger of the LORD [Jesus Christ] called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, (16) And said, By myself have I sworn, said the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: (17) That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (18) And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice.
Night to Be Much Remembered
This Night of Solemn Observance is often replicated and repeated in the Plan of God because it is a most important time to God. Abram met with Melchizedek king of Salem as Passover began with the arrival of Abib 14th. One thing the Church brethren have come to understand is the precise timing of Biblical events as they are performed by God. God does things in a precise manner in order to emphasize His great Plan of Salvation. Note the Passover symbols used by Melchizedek:
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and He was the Priest of the most high God.
Paul compares Jesus to Melchizedek—because Melchizedek was none other than Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 7:1 This Melchisedec, King of Salem, Priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;
The beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) pinpoints an important time when very special things are accomplished on the “selfsame day” in order to lay emphasis on the great Plan of God. Because of their great significance they should be studied by all who seek to understand the Plan of God:
1) The same day the LORD made a Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:18).
Exodus 12:41 It came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:42 It is a Night of Solemn Observance unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
Our God is a God of covenants. In addition to this most important covenant with Abraham (The unilateral and unconditional Sacrificial Covenant that Abram witnessed in Genesis 15:18) showing that all nations on earth would be blessed physically and spiritually through him, there were many other types of covenants that God made in the Old Testament. Some of them are:
The Rainbow Covenant with which God promises not to destroy all flesh from the face of the earth with a flood (Genesis 9:9-17)
The Covenant of Race and Grace made to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3)
The Covenant of Peace (Numbers 25:12; Ezekiel 34:25)
Ezekiel 37:26 Moreover I will make a Covenant of Peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
The Circumcision Covenant: Circumcision was a physical sign or token of the covenant that God made with Abraham. Circumcision on the eighth day signified that the person had entered into the Old Covenant with God. Circumcision set apart the Israelites giving them a national identity—making them the people of God. The world remains confused because of the lack of distinction between Israel and Judah—the Jews. Israel consists of all twelve tribes, whereas the Jews constitute only one of the twelve tribes. It is important to know who Israel is when the Bible uses that term. The Bible is written about the people Israel and God’s intervention and interaction with that nation of people. The Bible says little about the modern state of Israel; do not be confused. For the most part in the Scriptures, other nations – gentile nations – are mentioned as they come into contact with the people of Israel. This single fact makes it impossible for most people to understand prophecy. (Genesis 17:10-11)
The Marriage Covenant between God and the nation of Israel (Exodus 19:8, 24:3-8). (See below)
The Sabbath Covenant telling that the Saturday Sabbath is a sign of God’s people (Exodus 31:12-17).
A New Covenant with God requires – not physical circumcision of the flesh – but spiritual circumcision of the heart, spirit and attitude (Romans 2:25-29). This was always true – even in Old Testament times. Forgiveness of our sins comes about through the Covenant. When God calls us into a covenantal relationship with Him, we take the action of belief and repentance. God’s Covenant is graciously and mercifully made with those whose transgressions are passed over by God (Romans 3:21-26).
For true Christians, the taking of the Passover symbols celebrates the fellowship and peaceful abundance we now enjoy with God because of His Covenant. Christ’s sacrifice late on Passover day both sealed the Covenant and fulfilled the meaning of the Day of Atonement—cleansing from sin. We enter into the Covenant and receive His forgiveness at our baptism, and we renew our vow annually at the Passover Footwashing. If we return to a life of sin – we break the Covenant.
Colossians 2:11 In [Christ] also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.
Deuteronomy 30:6 The LORD thy God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou may live.
Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
It is the circumcision of the heart that converts a person—placing him under the terms of the New Covenant—with the promise of eternal life.
At the time of the Sacrificial Covenant that God made in Abram’s presence, God prophesied that Israel would go into Egyptian captivity and eventually be delivered.
Genesis 15:13 The LORD said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them [in bondage]; and they shall afflict them four hundred years.
Shortly after Jesus Christ, God of the Old Testament delivered Israel from Egyptian captivity [the Exodus] He proposed marriage to the people of Israel. Just like today when people enter into a marriage vow they respond by saying, “I do.”
Exodus 19:8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken, we will do.”
On that first Pentecost at Mount Sinai, after being delivered from Egypt, God established the Old Covenant with Israel when He gave them His Ten Commandments. It was a Covenant built to provide the physical blessings of prosperity and security for an obedient developing nation. Later, Jesus would again on a future Pentecost inaugurate His Spiritual New Covenant which would bestow the better promises of eternal life and Godly glory.
Hebrews 8:6 Now has He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better Covenant, which was established upon better promises.
Exodus 24:3-8 So Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the judgments. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has said we will do.” And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD… Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has said we will do, and be obedient.” And Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the Covenant which the LORD has made with you according to all these words.”
Exodus 24:9-11 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink [the Covenant meal].
Today we would “sign the marriage license,” but the Marriage Covenant the LORD made was ratified [“signed in blood”] when Moses sprinkled the blood on the people. God looked at His Old Marriage Covenant with ancient Israel as a marriage covenant or vow between Him and Israel. Jesus was the husband and Israel His wife. God said to Israel:
Jeremiah 3:14 … I am married to you.
Jeremiah 31:32 … I was an husband unto [Israel], says the LORD.
Ezekiel 16:8 Now when I passed by you, and looked upon you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread my garment over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I swore unto you, and entered into a Covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became mine.
Choosing Israel was a prophetic picture of God choosing and marrying Zion, His Church, whom He protects and establishes through His Eternal Covenant. Jesus Christ, the God of the Old Testament chose Israel as His very special people. The love of God for Israel can be heard in God’s voice:
Exodus 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my Covenant, then you shall be a very special treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine.
Zechariah 2:7-8 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwells with the daughter of Babylon. For thus says the LORD of hosts; After the glory has he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that touches you touches the apple of his eye.
Deuteronomy 7:6-11 [Israel,] You are an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. (7) The LORD did not set his love upon you [Israel], nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: (8) But because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. (9) Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations. (10) And repays them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them: He will not be slack to him that hate Him, He will repay him to his face. (11) You shall therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them.
God made a simple and straight forward proposal to His people Israel. He would bless them for obedience because He wanted them to be His very special treasure above all people (Exodus 19:5). But, if Israel became unfaithful and disobeyed the terms of their marriage covenant, God would remove their blessings, hold them in contempt – resulting in vilification and curses. (Leviticus 26:, Deuteronomy 28:).
God is holy, the people He chooses for Himself must also be holy, a Godly principle that continues within the New Covenant. God says:
1Peter 1:15-16 In the same way as He who has called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conduct; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (Leviticus 19:2)
As God lives by the highest of standards, so must His people live by high standards as an example to the rest of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). God fully intended Israel to be a light to the world, a beacon set on a hill as well (Deuteronomy 4:5-8).
The word ‘holy’ means set aside for God’s spiritual purposes.
Romans 7:12 The law is holy, and the Commandment holy, and just, and good.
God also gave Israel His Holy Days. That is because, God’s Holy Days, more than anything else, define and illustrate the Plan of God – from Passover to the Last Great Day. For example, Jesus’ sacrifice and life are the meaning and fulfillment of the LORD'S Passover (Leviticus 23:4-5).
Jesus kept all the Feasts of the LORD, and He charged His apostles to teach all nations – not just Israel – to observe everything He had commanded them to do. (Matthew 28:20). The Hebrew text shows that a Holy Convocation is a required observance because it is a rehearsal in preparation for a distinct event in the Plan of God.
Leviticus 23:4 These are the Feasts of the LORD, even Holy Convocations.
Though the world commonly refers to these Holy Days as “feasts of the Jews,” in order to excuse their avoidance of God’s command to observe His Feast Days as Holy Convocations, a discerning reader will note that they are indeed Feasts of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 14:2 You, [Israel], are an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD has chosen thee to be a very special people unto Himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
God chose the Nation of Israel to represent Him to all the peoples of the earth. God gave Israel every benefit—promising to fight their wars, to make them wealthy nations, to protect them from illness, to bless their crops and herds, and to multiply their population as the stars in the sky and the sand of the seas (Genesis 26:4).
Psalm 19:1 The [stars in the] heavens declare the glory of God; and the night-sky shows His handy-work.
Psalm 147:4-5 The LORD counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite.
It was God who set the sun, moon and stars in the heaven with their precise movements:
Genesis 1:14 [On the fourth day of re-creation] God said, Let there be lights [sun, moon, stars] in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
We understand that the sun, along with the background stars, gives us the sidereal year – the orbital time period of the earth around the sun, but why does the Scripture read, “Let them be for seasons?” This word seasons in Hebrew is moed. It is not a reference to the seasons of summer, spring, winter, and fall. Rather moed means “appointment times.” God is saying, “Here is how you set your calendar dates.” God’s appointed Holy Days teach us what is important to God.
The Bible gives us God’s Sacred Calendar. It is based on a solar/lunar yearly timetable because the Scripture reads, “Let them [the sun, moon, stars] be for seasons.” In an effort to distance themselves from God’s Sabbath, the “Christian” world changed their day of worship to Sunday, and the world of Islam moved theirs to Friday. In the same way that the world adopted a strictly solar calendar, while Islam espouses a precisely lunar one.
Moed means appointment times, and by extension it includes the place of meeting and the congregation with whom God has set the solemn assembly. Moed is commonly translated ‘feast,’ as in Feast of the LORD, but it has nothing to do with a banquet or a meal of fine cuisine which is a different Hebrew word (Isaiah 25:6).
Leviticus 23:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the Feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts [moed].
To correct a common misconception, these Biblical Feast Days are not the feasts of the Jews, feasts of Israel, or feasts of the Church of God, but clearly, Feasts of the LORD. God is saying in effect, “I will meet with you at this time and at this place.” Showing up early or late is not man’s prerogative.
God’s Plan for man, and God’s Sacred Calendar are almost unknown. They are a mystery to most. More than anything, God’s Plan – from beginning to end – is ultimately divulged to those who observe and appreciate the meaning of God’s appointed Holy Days. Each of the Feasts of the LORD is being precisely and prophetically fulfilled according to God’s schedule.
God first set the sun, moon and stars in the sky to indicate the specific timing of His meetings with us. God said, “Let them be for seasons [moed]” – that is God’s divine meeting schedule. Even before God attributes light and heat to the sun, or the moon to rule the night (Genesis 1:16-18), God established the sun, moon and stars to mark His Holy Convocations.
And, for those who have been taught that somehow God’s Feast Days have been done away with – please note that when Jesus Christ has established His Father’s coming Kingdom over all this earth – The Millennial rule of Christ – He will insist that everyone keep His appointed times with Him. Please note that for emphasis God repeats this three times – so that even the most adamant cannot deny it:
Zechariah 14:16-19 It shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that comes not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.
More than any of God’s other Holy Days, the Feast of Tabernacles is the appointed time of the Millennium—the greater harvest of spiritual fruit.
God knew from the very beginning that the Nation of Israel would in due course fail to live up to God’s standards because they did not have His Spirit. God warned the nation of Israel:
Deuteronomy 4:5-9 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. (6) Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. (7) For what nation is there so great, who has God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? (8) And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? (9) Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons.
The apostle Paul referred to the many saints of the Old Testament as so great a cloud of witnesses, for whom God’s promises were far in the future (Hebrews 11:13). They all died in the faith, not having received the promises which shall be fulfilled very soon. The Old Testament is replete with Godly lessons and prophetic messages pointing to the coming of the Messiah. Consider the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses – and the list goes on. Suffice it to say that all these preceded the coming of the Messiah—Jesus Christ. Their lives, and their lessons learned are important to Christians today.
The Old Testament has not been done away. In fact, the only weakness in the Old Testament was in those who heard and did not believe (Romans 8:3). That fault was with the people who lacked God’s Spirit, not with the Old Covenant itself. Paul compares the Old Covenant with the New:
Hebrews 8:7-8 If that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He said, Behold, the days come, says the LORD, when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
During the reigns of King David and his son King Solomon, the tribes of Israel became a unified Kingdom. Israel became the most powerful and wealthy nation on earth because of God’s blessings. Israel then soon forgot the true God and their covenant with Him. Ultimately, Judah and Israel were invaded, conquered, captured and deported from the Promised Land because of their Sabbath breaking and idolatry (Ezekiel 20:21-24). God was indignant that they would violate the Sabbath and turn to foreign gods. God used the Assyrian Empire first, and then the Babylonian to inflict His punishment on Israel and Judah. God said:
Isaiah 10:5 O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.
The great majority of the exiled Israelites never returned to their homeland. The House of Israel was carried away captive to Assyria, and the House of Judah to Babylon. Only the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and a part of Levi returned to rebuild the destroyed Temple. In the Millennium a remnant of Israel will return to the land of Canaan and begin to repopulate the earth.
Isaiah 11:16 There shall be an highway for the remnant of His people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
Isaiah 49:12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the North and from the West…
After being carried away captive, the ten tribes of Israel no longer had a homeland or a national identity and became “lost.”
“The Lost Ten Tribes” is actually a misnomer. God had prophesied where they would go, and who they would become. Certainly, God’s promise to make the children of Abraham a great nation and a company of nations was not forgotten by Him (Genesis 35:11). Knowing who and where modern Israel is today is very important because it is a big factor in the Plan of God coming to fruition. We find that the English speaking peoples today are the descendants of ancient Israel.
From their land of captivity, the tribes of Israel migrated northward at first, passing between the Black Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east. Today that region comprises Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. On the northern border of Georgia there are the Caucasus Mountains. Crossing the Caucasus Mountains, Israel migrated northward and westward into Europe (Isaiah 49:12). As a point of clarification, though the Russians are Caucasians, they are not Israelites. Rosh, Meshech and Tubal are indeed Caucasians but definitely not in the lineage of blessing. God gives us the clear distinction:
Ezekiel 38:2-3 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
The European peoples have been known for many centuries to be descended from the Caucasians. Circumcision is an identifying characteristic of the Israelites – and it is still widely prevalent today (Genesis 17:10). The great migration of Israel to the north and west of the Promised Land was by no means by happenstance or accident—it was by the hand of God that they were being sifted (Amos 9:8-9):
The might, wealth and influence of the English speaking peoples of the British Empire and the United States of America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were a direct result of God’s promise to Abraham to make of him a nation and a company of nations (Genesis 17:5)
1Chronicles 17:9 [God says] I will ordain a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, and they shall dwell in a place their own, and shall be moved no more (2Samuel 7:10).
Hosea tells us that the tribe of Ephraim did not form covenants with the Assyrians, but went where the east wind blows—that is westward (Hosea 12:1) In fact Ephraim, and a substantial portion of Manasseh, went as far as they could go in that westerly direction until they came to England. God had promised King David that he would never lack a descendant to sit on the “Throne of the House of Israel” – so that the Messiah could be a son of David (Jeremiah 33:17). We read in the New Testament that is exactly what has taken place:
Acts 13:21-23 Israel desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. (22) And when He had removed him, He raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. (23) From this man's seed has God according to His promise raised up for Israel a Savior, Jesus: God raised up for Israel the Savior—Jesus” (Acts 13:22-23).
Israel did not perform according to its marriage vow with God. Israel profaned God’s Holy Name continuously. God is faithful to keep covenant, in spite of Israel’s stony heart. But to do so, requires a tremendous change be made in them—they must be cleansed and have a new heart of flesh. That requires God’s Holy Spirit be in them.
Ezekiel 36:22 Therefore say unto the House of Israel, Thus says the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O House of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. (23) And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, says the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. (24) For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
(25) Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (26) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (28) And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
The Plan of God required that He choose Israel – a family of people – wherein He could place His love and keep the oath which He had sworn unto Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God continues to reveal His faithfulness to Israel—even modern Israel today. Because modern Israel has spread around the world to the British Isles, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, America, and more, they too will go through the same defeat and devastation that their forefathers experienced. The Jewish people in the Middle East are also a part of Israel—as one of the sons of Jacob (Genesis 29:35; 46:8-12). Prophecy is dual – and modern Israel is about to be vanquished and go into captivity. That includes the English speaking peoples of the former British Empire (including Canada, Australia, etc.) and the United States and its possessions. Already the foreigners are powerfully getting up very high. There are powerful spiritual forces influencing western governments to accept the world of Islam. As the British Members of Parliament, and the US Congress become more and more godless, our nation’s enemies will gain the upper hand. Millions upon millions of Muslims are now weakening western values and culture in the pursuit of their long held goal of obliterating the unbelievers in Muhammadanism—the doctrines and practices of the prophet Muhammad as set forth in the Koran. Indigenous westerners are being overtaken in their own lands by non-western immigrants because God is withdrawing His blessing from these peoples!
The English-speaking peoples are decreasing as Islam increases in Israelitish nations. There is effectively no tolerance of other religions in any of the Arab League states. The Mohammedan religion calls for ultimate jihad against all who are not of their religion.
It is clearly stated in the Koran, “Kill the infidels if they do not become Mohammedans. They must be put to fire and sword.” America has been dealing with Muslim extremists going back to Thomas Jefferson in 1786 when they attacked American shipping on this basis (Library of Congress, Original Sources).
Deuteronomy 28:43-44 The stranger that is within you shall get up above you very high; and you shalt come down very low. He shall lend to you, and you shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and you shalt be the tail.
Deuteronomy 28:49 The LORD shall bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies; a nation whose language you will not understand.
God will be showing modern Israel that He keeps covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:7-9). Ancient Israel did not believe God – and neither does modern Israel, but God’s word is sure. Because modern Israel disregards His Sabbath and turned its collective back on God, which is idolatry, here is God’s prophecy:
Deuteronomy 28:48 Therefore shall you serve your enemies which the LORD shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until He has destroyed you.
Every man would be wise to ask himself where he will be when the lights go off and the water stops running?
Ancient Israel was unable to live according to the way of the Lord because they lacked God’s Spirit which would have given them a heart of flesh. It is still the same today; modern Israel lacks God’s Spirit. The only fault with the Old Covenant is that Israel did not have the heart to live it (Hebrews 8:7-8). Jesus is the mediator of a better [New] Covenant, which was established upon better promises [the promise of eternal life] (Hebrews 8:6). It is better covenant because it is able to be kept by a Spirit led people—unlike the Old Covenant which could not be kept by ancient Israel nor modern Israel today. We will see in Chapter Five that Jesus Christ, as the sacrificial Lamb of God, has remedied that weakness and shortcoming for the saints of the Church of God (Romans 8:3).
God knew that ancient Israel was unable to keep their part of the marriage covenant – even though when asked, “Do you take…” they said, “I do.”
Deuteronomy 5:27 …Moses, whatever God says to you, we will hear it, and do it. (28) And the LORD heard the voice of your words, when ye spoke unto me; … they have well said all that they have spoken. (29) O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!
Jesus is coming again a second time – and soon! With the first coming of Jesus Christ everything changed! It became possible for the Church brethren to be reconciled to God the Father who granted them repentance, and the faith of Jesus – who bore our sins (Isaiah 53:11). And most importantly, with a measure of God’s Spirit, a new heart enables a true Christian to keep covenant with his Maker – and receive the promise of eternal life.
Acts 2:38-39 Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.