Plan of God
To all the people of God – this is for you!
Remembering my dad, W.K. "Zeke" Zehrung (1916-1997), without whose moral character and example this book would not have been possible. His principled honesty and uninhibited kindness toward all set him apart. This work is dedicated to his memory.
As far as the people in the world at large are concerned Christianity is a murky and obscure concept. They believe that they understand it all, but they do not. However, for a particular group that God calls His saints, the truth is not elusive at all. Those saints, the people of the Church of God, have been given the unique privilege of knowing more about Christianity and Godliness than the people in the world because God has given them an overview of what He is doing. For a long time, what God is doing was a mystery. It is no longer hidden in secrecy. This book contains much of what God has revealed to His saints up to now. For students of the Bible this information should come as no surprise.
Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
God has a Plan that will eventually impact everyone—some sooner and others later. This book is the story of how God’s Plan unfolds. That Plan is in God’s word the Bible, but it is a long and difficult task to figure out because of the many erroneous notions that are prevalent in society. To begin to know God, a chronological view of the Plan of God is needed. What is His Plan, how did it begin, how will it come to fruition, and what is God’s intent? What is the purpose for which all things were created?
I am writing this book because my expectations were not met. Let me explain: When I first realized that God was calling me and giving me of His Spirit, I supposed that the Church of God would keep growing, and that there would be a tremendous following in this lifetime – like when the huge multitudes from Galilee pursued Jesus (Mark 3:7,20).
Of course, God knew all along that He would call and work with each of His people from the foundation of the world (John 14:17; Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:4-5). I fully expected the peace and hope of God’s way would be recognized by a great many as the Gospel went out to all nations. I thought then that there would be sizeable congregations, consisting of Spirit led saints with whom to fellowship and provoke unto love and good works, in every town and city (Hebrews 10:24). I thought also that God’s people would have their own lovely culture, customs, and music to replace that of the world. I fully expected that my own family, raised in the hope of that vision, would adopt the way and truth that leads to eternal Life. In the 1970s, it seemed to me that the Eden-like beauty of the award winning Ambassador College grounds, the wholesome student body, and the motivation behind such Millennial quality, would be embraced by many and be replicated and built upon, and spread widely. Now, about a half century later, I recognize that those preliminary anticipations of mine were not to be – not in this lifetime, anyway.
It is evident that my idealistic vision of the end-time Church of God is not to be. Jesus knew that there would be only a weak and small flock, barely viable, at His return (Luke 18:8). God’s true saints would be scattered in an archipelago of small bands, united only by His Spirit (Ephesians 4:4). Even within the larger church corporations of big cities there would be few who practiced true Christianity. The Lord says to us as He did through the Prophet Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 3:14 Turn, O backsliding children, says the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. (Matthew 18:20)
Only God’s people know and practice His way of Truth. After being brought up in, and having escaped from this world’s educational and religious systems, I know that among God’s people I have found the “pearl of great price,” and to the best of my ability, desire to share this precious wisdom with those scattered brethren who are and will be called to God’s way and knowledge of the Truth (Matthew 13:46; 2Peter 1:4). This book is only a “rough draft” and “gleaning” of the teachings of God’s Church. Everyone must decide for themselves what their informed understanding will be.
The Bible is the living word of God, and as such cannot be exhausted. The Word of God has so much more to it than most are willing to acknowledge. The Bible is a gold mine – but we have to dig for the thousands of hidden tiny nuggets—the solid doctrinal content. We will never find it all – because it is a living document – meaning that it contains more wisdom than we can ever fathom. Through His Holy Spirit in a converted Christian, God leads us to the deeper meanings. I fully hope and expect that those who have a zeal for God’s truth will clarify, expound, explain, illuminate and teach this understanding of the present Truth that God has given us (2Peter 1:12).
During the last century there was a large outpouring of God’s Spirit around the world. Today, however, true Christians find themselves a “vanishing breed.” The zeal which characterized the spread of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ during the last century is seriously diminishing. In the same way that the Church of the first century left a record of its acts and beliefs for us, it is fitting that this generation set down a legacy to those who follow after us. A time is coming soon when this precious truth will not be widely available.
Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.
Because of ever increasing religious persecution on the people of God, and restrictions upon God’s word, it is necessary that the vital understandings that the Church of God brethren, the saints of God, once knew – be set forth in a book in order that this discernment and comprehension of the Holy Scriptures not be lost.
At this point in time less than one percent of the earth’s population knows that God has a Plan let alone what the Plan of God is. And sadly, except for here and there, this valuable information is not being passed along to the next generation so that those who want to know it will have it available to them. God’s Plan is an eternal Plan (Ephesians 3:11). It is most important that this vital knowledge of the Plan of God be preserved for those with whom God is working. God in His perfect wisdom has not revealed the entirety of godly truth to man all at once.
He imparts certain wisdom that He wants His Church brethren to profit by according to His own schedule and purposes—that’s what the Bible calls, “the present truth,” when it’s received and understood. It should come as no surprise that Biblical wisdom is unique to those in a right relationship with God, and not to everyone. In Matthew 24:5 Jesus said that “many would be deceived” by those who preach Christ – and a sure sign of the fulfillment of that prophecy is how many “Christians” today believe they cannot be deceived. The first century Church of God had Biblical truth and understanding that was subsequently lost to the confused world, but not to the true saints of God. The apostle Peter wrote:
2Peter 1:12 I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
It is this “present truth” which the Church of God possesses today that must be preserved as much as possible for those who will come later. These things have been taught and believed by the Church brethren since the days of Jesus and the New Testament Church. We are living in an increasingly hostile environment which is not conducive to the truth of God. Schools, institutions of higher learning, even the so-called religious leaders of our day do not possess this priceless information. They do not know how to properly weigh the Biblical meanings of the Feasts of the Lord, ceremonies, symbols, figures and patterns that are so plentiful in the Scriptures. Little by little, God revealed parts of His Plan to the prophets of old leading up to Jesus Christ who gave the greater meaning to His disciples (Matthew 13:11).
Thankfully, there have been those in the Church of God community who have compiled a great deal of this Biblical knowledge for the benefit of others. God gives His spiritually deep core truth only to His faithful saints.
1Corinthians 2:14 The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: For they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
This foolish world thinks a “spiritual moment” is an emotive moment in life that moves one to tears, or a soothing sentimental harmony of peaceable bliss, or one that will take your breath away, or a touching experience that fills you with elation. “Spiritual” in the Bible means so much more than that!
God is Spirit, and He exists in a spiritual realm that supersedes our physical realm (John 4:24). Christian faith traverses the breach that divides God’s realm from that of mankind.
Jesus told His disciples to go and teach all nations. Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, charged the Church brethren to earnestly contend for the Christian faith and teachings which were once delivered unto them.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
Paul also urged Timothy to teach Christianity as he had been taught.
2Timothy 3:14-15 Continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; And that from a child you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
This book contains much information that was subsequently lost to secular history beginning during the lives of the apostles themselves. The apostles fought against the false information that was polluting the true Gospel message of Jesus Christ, and causing some to break faith with God the Father. Paul wrote:
Galatians 1:6-7 I am astonished that ye are so soon removed from [God the Father] who called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another [but a false gospel].
Only a very few people are chosen to have this wonderful good news at their fingertips. When asked if there were very few that were saved, Jesus responded:
Luke 13:23-24 Do your utmost to enter in at the narrow gate: For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, but shall not be able.
The Bible is the source and basis of all doctrine put forth in this book. The Bible is the ultimate authority. The story of the Bible is how darkness is conquered by light (Genesis 1:1-3). The Bible alone establishes the course to that true Light—Jesus Christ. All people living in this evil world have been deceived and led into spiritual darkness by false religion, by their own human reason, by the intelligentsia, by the politicians in government, but most of all by Satan himself (Revelation 12:9). Even the Pope has joined into the common refrain today that, “One religion is as good as another—just different paths to the same God.” Jesus taught the opposite: “… difficult is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). Within the pages of this book you will find the answer to the mystery of God’s Plan which was kept secret since the world began (Romans 16:25). God is bringing mankind—according to His Plan—out of abysmal darkness into His glorious light.
1Corinthians 2:7 We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.
Mainstream religion, college campuses, and political think-tanks lack knowledge of the Plan of God. If they had it, they would want to bottle it up and sell it to you for a profit (Proverbs 23:23).
After reading this book you will find page after page in the Bible opening up your understanding as never before. It all ties together so well. And, yes it is written with an unorthodox style of emphasis for a generation whose attention span cannot be sustained to the end of one of Paul’s long sentences (Ephesians 3:1-14). The information age has changed the public’s attention span due to the amount of information that is presented to them.
The scientific journal, Nature Communications, tells that now people often focus for shorter periods of time. We live in a world of soundbites and headlines – without delving any deeper. Gauging from the micro-bursts of advertisements for public consumption, one would think the entire population is beginning to suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Catering to new generations whose primary source of information is social media, smart phones, texting and the sort, this book does not follow a traditional literary orthodox format, but follows a precedent set in our church culture of bolding of significant words—in the hopes that pertinent information will readily jump off the page for the reader. Knowing that many readers do not take the time to look up supporting Scriptures, many important supporting verses are placed in the text for easy reference.
There will be perceived inaccuracies in this work due to the fact that no two men agree entirely on every Biblical aspect, but suffice it to say that I seek to add to the Church of God narrative at the time that knowledge is increasing rapidly (Daniel 12:4). I will gladly rectify errors in this work whenever corrections are substantiated with Scripture (Acts 17:11). The answer is to search the Scriptures daily and correct those oversights by proving all things for the benefit of those now being called. God has revealed the Plan of God to His saints by His Spirit:
For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God (1Corinthians 2:9-10). This book is provided free of charge to all those who are searching for answers in the hope that it will help those who are endeavoring to attain to the Kingdom of God. You need to know God’s Plan for you. It is far superior to anything you can possibly imagine. You will find the answers that you are seeking in the pages of, Plan of God—Darkness to Light.
Who is God and what is He doing? Those are good questions to consider. It is not possible to have faith in God without knowing about Him and what is important to Him. No wise man would begin to build a project without a good plan in mind. Why are people so surprised to find out that God, Himself, has a Plan? The great majority of the people in the world have not heard that God has a Plan, or what the Plan of God is. It is a mystery to them. The discovery of this knowledge of a hidden mystery is a stunning eye-opener to those who have been living in the dark. Surprisingly, a full understanding of God’s intentions was not made known to the prophets of old who foretold them, but it was revealed to the New Testament apostles and subsequently to the Church brethren. God is not calling most people at this time – they are only learning the hard lesson that man’s way does not work. But, for those whom God is calling, this book is a heads-up on the overall picture of what God has done, is doing and will do in bringing about His eternal Plan. The apostle Paul explained in Ephesians 3 how God Himself had revealed His mysterious Plan to him.
Ephesians 3:2-5 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given to me for you: How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
And so it became obvious that God has shown His Plan to many in order to ascertain if they will either live their lives in accordance to the will of God, or follow their own whims. Paul tells us that God’s Plan is being made known to the Church brethren—the true saints:
Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints.
When Jesus was carrying out His three-and-a-half-year public ministry He began to reveal His Father—God the Father—and this mystery that had been so long hidden.
Mark 4:11 [Jesus] said unto His disciples, unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God.
This book is a Scriptural tour of the Plan of God which is hidden in clear view in the pages of the Bible. As Paul says, “the veil remains” over the minds of those who do not believe (2Corinthians 3:14). God instituted His Plan of Salvation for mankind before the foundation of this world. God unilaterally promised Abraham that His Plan would be fulfilled in him. In this book we will see the staggering Plan of God unfolding before our eyes.
1Peter 1:18-20 Forasmuch as you know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
The Sabbath keeping and observing Church of God has a deep and rich historical narrative of doctrinal understanding. The concepts of this book are built squarely on this foundational understanding from the Holy Bible.
The Plan of God Revealed
The purpose of this book is to illustrate from the Holy Scriptures the timeline of the Plan of God, and a chronological outline of its most important events and themes, past present and future, in order for the saints of the Church of God to have a framework in which to study God’s Word and properly interpret prophecy.
In this writing, the Plan of God is outlined from beginning to end as revealed in Scripture. This framework is designed as a format in which the Bible story can be represented in an orderly fashion. Precious truth, that is much too wonderful for the human mind to conceive of, is made known in the pages of the Bible: The origin of life; the spirit world; creation of the earth and the heavens; the nature of God Himself; eternal salvation and the Plan of God. The question is, “How do they all fit together?”
God planned and is implementing each step of the way, not only to bring us to this very point in time, but to establish His sovereign rule over the entire earth. At this point in time, the process is by no means complete. In fact, God continues to generously divulge more and more of His Plan to us as we approach the return of Jesus Christ.
Daniel 12:4 Thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.
This book contains some of the knowledge of God’s Plan that He has opened up to the saints in this last century. God has painted a picture throughout the Bible of His wonderful Plan. Point by point He is showing His called out ones exactly how He is working out His Plan of Salvation, not only for the Church of God brethren today, but eventually for all of mankind.
Extremely few people realize that God has a Plan—but God’s saints are sanctified (set-apart for a special purpose) to know His Plan by the many points of truth revealed in the Bible. The Holy Scriptures contain all the information necessary for salvation because it is the living Word of God—the absolute Truth. The saving of mankind is necessary because everyone has sinned and come short of the glory of God and is deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Jesus Christ Himself makes it possible to overturn a sinner’s guilty verdict and subsequent death penalty and grant him salvation. There is no other Book that contains the means by which man can be saved, and that is because the Bible is inspired—that is, God breathed. The Bible is a gift from God. God spoke it. That means God inspired His words as they were being written down.
2Peter 1:21 Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
We believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, in the original manuscripts. All of our beliefs are based on the Bible, and nothing but the Bible. In coming to a knowledge of God’s truth the challenge is to see the big picture, the whole picture, without breaking a single Scripture.
John 10:35 … Scripture cannot be broken.
It is God’s desire that His people strive to have complete moral character as Jesus is perfect:
Ephesians 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
2Timothy 3:15-17 …The Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
The Bible is actually the word of God originally written on parchment. Today it is in print and available to everyone – at our fingertips. God has conveyed details of His Plan to those men of old who were inspired by Him "a little here and a little there" (Isaiah 28:10). When they wrote Scripture down, most of it was not understandable to them. The meaning of God’s words that they originally inscribed on the dried skins of animals was not revealed to them and they were unable to see the entire perspective that God is now revealing to His saints. Over time, and especially in this era of the Church, God is making known that which He had previously hidden in plain sight.
Daniel 12:4 But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.
In this book, Plan of God Darkness to Light, the pieces of the puzzle are laid out from beginning to end in a timely format. A lot of people think that they know what the Bible says. You now have the opportunity to know what the ancient men of God longed to glimpse into.
1Peter 1:10-11 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
That term, "glory" has to do with the future brilliant glorified state of those resurrected spirit beings who will have attained to everlasting life. The very Plan of God from before the foundation of the world was and is for the Children of God to obtain glorious eternal life in the Family of God. But, in order to do so each individual’s character and image must be dramatically made over and greatly enhanced to conform to the image of God. God is sharpening and perfecting His character in those who believe Him and humbly yield to His will. Notice the description of the glorious resurrected Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 1:3 The Son [Jesus Christ] is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His image.
In Jesus’ prayer to His Father the night before He died, He requested that His former glory be restored to Him:
John 17:3-5 This is life eternal, that [the saints] might know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent… And now, O Father, glorify me with your own self, with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Everyone who seeks the Kingdom of God in righteousness will inherit everlasting life. Jesus told Peter and the other disciples:
Matthew 19:29 Everyone that has forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
From the beginning it was God’s Plan, not to only provide man with a temporary physical life, but to create man in a way that he might obtain glorious eternal life.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.
Matthew 25:34 [Jesus said,] ...Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Paul told the Ephesian Church how he had been appointed by the Creator through a personal revelation, to shed light on God’s Plan for all mankind, and also for the angelic realm, enlightening them about this mysterious Plan that God had kept secret from the very beginning. It was God’s purpose in making His Plan known that, through the Church brethren, all the unseen rulers and powers in heavenly places would at last realize God’s plentiful wisdom in its rich variety. All of this is in accordance with His eternal Plan, which He is carrying out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul explained it this way:
Ephesians 3:3, 9-11 It was by a revelation that the secret mystery was made known to me … To make all men see what is the Plan of [God], the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through (because of) the Church brethren the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose which He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of His law.
With the institution of God's Church, and with the guidance and intervention of God's Spirit, His Plan was revealed to the New Testament Church brethren. In this book we explore many of the incredible facets of God’s Plan as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
The Original Faith
This book is written for the Church of God brethren living near the very end-time. It contains an understanding of the revealed chronology of events as supported by Scripture. It is most important that the Biblical knowledge that has been learned in this last generation of God’s Church be preserved and protected for those who follow. As we saw in Jude 3, the knowledge of the principles and values of the true faith must be sought, conserved and safeguarded. Jude was paraphrasing the Prophet Jeremiah who had written:
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your lives.
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.
This profession of our faith which was widely known halfway through the twentieth century has been rapidly eroded to the point that it has become woefully missing in this last era of God’s Church. It does not have to be that way – but sadly it is. Jesus rhetorically asked the question, “Will the Son of man find faith on the earth when He returns?” (Luke 18:8) It should come as no surprise to us that many would depart the true faith as we saw happened in Paul’s day when many left off believing the true Gospel of Christ (Galatians 1:6-7).
The time has come when the knowledge of the wonderful sequence of God’s master Plan of events up to the return of Jesus Christ and beyond are sorely needed by the Church brethren. Except for the true saints, the entire world will be caught hopelessly off guard:
1Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
Darkness or Light
Yes, the all-consuming day of the Lord’s wrath will come suddenly and unexpectedly on all those who are not a part of God’s true people (Matthew 24:22). But there is a way to come out of the spiritual darkness that encompasses the world—and only God’s people have been shown that glorious light. We can know—we will know—if our relationship with God is as it should be.
1Thessalonians 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
The purpose of this book is to set forth a fair record of the Biblical narrative of God's workings with regard to creation and mankind. This book does not repeat the Church of God’s well defined doctrinal foundation, but builds on the implementation of it. God has revealed these things to all who have the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the faith to believe Him. Those who say, "These things are too wonderful, and just cannot be," are yet lacking the faith of Jesus Christ who, even as a fleshly man on earth, knew these things to be true.
The entire cosmic universe exists for the sole purpose of bringing many men and women to the glorious state of God Himself (Hebrews 2:10). The stars would not exist at all in the night sky except for the fact that God decided in His great expansive love to create man in His image. Man was created in God’s image. Physically, man was able to comprehend the mysteries of the universe. Man’s mind was brilliant, and meant to be so. Sin corrupted not only man’s mental ability, but the face of the earth was severely impacted as a result of man’s godless activities (2Peter 3:5-13).
God’s Plan is to bring man back, not only to his former mental brilliance, but entirely in the Image of God with its spiritual complement – bringing man to completion and perfection. The phrase, “in our image,” describing man's ultimate destiny to be in the image of God, must not be taken lightly, or underestimated.
Genesis 1:26-27 God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: So God created man in His own image, in the Image of God created He him.
And yet, man in the flesh comes far short of resembling anything like the supreme spiritual God. That is because man was created to be like God, but the process is ongoing. This book is about how God is going about making man in His image. Where the verse reads, “Let us,” it refers to both God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. They are, in fact, two separate beings sharing one Spirit. They are a duality of beings because “God” is a family name—not limited to two. Here is the incredible truth revealed in the Bible: God has destined to replicate man into a multitude of Divine Family beings.
The world is bogged down with the myth of man possessing an immortal soul which is destined to go to heaven or hell for the rest of eternity. That is an utter falsehood not to be found in the Bible. What is revealed in the Bible is that man was created to be a member of the Family of God.
Ephesians 3:15 Of whom the whole Family in heaven and earth is named.
When the Scripture reads, “God created man in His own image,” we are to realize that God speaks of future events with certainty as though they were already accomplished.
Romans 4:17 ...God calls those things which are not yet as though they are.
The Plan of God calls for a divine Family of beings to be just like God is—in His very image. And do not listen to the cynical critics who will carry that thought to the ridiculous point of saying that we will equally possess every Godly characteristic of God the Father. God the Father is the only all powerful and eternal sovereign God, and we will always be His children.
1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, 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.
Indeed, those who think that these words simply mean that God looks like us grossly underestimate and fail to appreciate the things God has in store for the faithful. Christians not only believe in Jesus, they practice and live His moral and ethical code of conduct – especially in regard toward God and fellow man. If we believe in Jesus Christ, and in His words, we will take on His glorious image at the resurrection.
Philippians 3:20-21 The Lord Jesus Christ… shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.
The ultimate goal of God’s Plan is a veritable host of spiritually created beings in His exact glorious image with flawless Godly character. This is the touchstone belief—the standard by which the True Church of God is recognized. Mankind's ultimate future is to become eternal glorious God beings as only God the Father and Jesus Christ possess spiritual glory. This hallmark conviction of our faith sets the true Church of God apart from all other belief systems.
John 17:1,5 These words spoke Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee... And now, O Father, glorify thou me with your own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world existed.
Jesus was a glorious being before He came to this earth, and He is glorious once again after setting aside His glory to die an ignominious death on the cross (Philippians 2:6-8). God the Father and Jesus Christ are steadfast in conducting their Plan – they do not deviate from their ultimate objective.
Malachi 3:6 I am the Eternal, I change not.
In writing this book the author has followed that rule of constancy. It is an undeniable trait of God. God’s constancy is the quality of being enduring and unchanging – never capricious, volatile or temperamental.
This consistency in God allows us to view His words, not only with uniformity, but possessing a firmness of resolve. This constancy includes the knowledge that not only does God not change; He has also revealed His sure Plan to His prophets of old and the apostles – as a witness (Amos 3:7).
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Jesus Christ believed every word of the Old Testament Scriptures. He quoted them often and lived by them. After all, as the God of the Old Testament, Jesus was the author of every word – having inspired the writers of old to not only speak His words, but to write them down as well.
God Rested on the Sabbath
2Peter 1:20-21 ...No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation, for the inspired writings came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God uttered them as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
What does it mean to us that God rested on the Sabbath? Was God too tired to go on – or did the Sabbath foretell of some greater rest in the Plan of God? Why did God make the Sabbath one of His Ten Commandments?
Genesis 2:2 On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
Exodus 16:23 …This is that which the Lord has said, Tomorrow is the rest of the Holy Sabbath unto the Lord.
The notion must be categorically rejected that unless an issue or law of God is restated in the New Testament it is not to be accepted as doctrine. Quite the contrary! Jesus often quoted the Old Testament—demonstrating its veracity. The Old Testament and the New Testament writings are never in conflict with one another (John 10:35).
For example, when we find that God has made the observance of the Sabbath one of His Ten Commandments, and He tells us that it is a sign between Him and His people (Exodus 31:13), and we find Jesus Christ keeping the Sabbath holy as a regular practice – we readily accept Him at His word – and follow in His steps. Many years after Jesus died and was raised to life again, Paul explained to the Christians:
Hebrews 4:9 There remains therefore a rest [Greek Sabbatismos - keeping of the Sabbath] for the people of God.
Luke 4:16 And [Jesus] came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
So, we take for granted, even if a particular Sabbath or Holy Day is not mentioned in the Gospel accounts of His life (most are), that Jesus obediently lived His life in accordance with the Law of God. When we obey God’s Law, He begins to reveal His secret Plan to us. Believing this concept and rule of constancy in the study of the Bible opens a plethora of revelation to those converted saints who believe and act upon what God says in His word. Constancy allows us to confidently “read between the lines.” We see an example of this in:
Luke 24:45 Then Jesus opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures.
This book is only the slightest working sketch of those magnificent things God reveals in His word—the Bible. The Plan of God is much too vast for the entirety of it to be written in a book (John 21:25).
1Corinthians 2:9-10 …Neither has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit.
The Bible is the living Word of God containing timeless spiritual lessons for all who believe and act on what is written there.
Psalm 111:10 Reverence for the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and a good understanding have all those who obey His Commandments.
On the other hand, those who reject God’s Law and His word need not even try to understand the mystery of God:
Daniel 12:10 …The wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.
Feast Days of the Lord
Only a very few people recognize that the apostle John's Gospel account follows an outline of the Feast Days of the Lord during the years of Christ's public ministry. The fact that John wrote very late – nearly 100 AD – well after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, attests to the fact that the Sabbath and Holy Days had not been eliminated by Jesus Christ. If you, the reader, are not familiar with the Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23:4), or you have been taught that those are Jewish days of no consequence for Christians – take another look. Jesus observed every one of the Feasts of the Lord and He taught His disciples (and us) to do likewise. Jesus said:
Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations… to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.
The beloved apostle John kept a precise record of the activities and teachings of Jesus Christ during His public ministry. Writing very late, John was moved by God’s Holy Spirit to fill in the important details of Christ’s pursuits not specifically mentioned by the other Gospel writers – Matthew, Mark and Luke. Please notice a small portion of John's Gospel outline of Jesus' public ministry and His observance of annual Holy Days, the Feasts of the Lord, and ask yourself this question, “Why would God include this record, and more, in the New Testament, if it were not for the fact of its essential significance to the members of the Church?”
In keeping with Daniel’s 70-week prophecy, Jesus was baptized first, and then began His 3˝-year public ministry on the Day of Atonement in the fall of 26 AD at the beginning of a Jubilee Year (Luke 4:17-21). The Day of Atonement that year was on Sept 11, 26 AD – the 10th of Tishri. Jesus' 40 days of fasting would have begun on the afternoon/evening before the 29th of August, 26 AD, and ended at the conclusion of the Day of Atonement.
Jesus was baptized on the 28th of August, 26 AD – the 25th of Elul, shortly before His fast began in the evening (Mark 1:12-13). The first Passover of Jesus’ public ministry is written about in John 2:13, 23. Luke had already written of the second Passover and Unleavened Bread (Luke 6:1).
In Chapter 4 John writes of Pentecost which is another name for the Old Testament Holy Day called the Feast of Weeks. John refers to Jesus’ activities during a fall Feast of the Jews (actually the Lord’s Feast) in John 5:1.
Then there was Jesus’ third Passover (John 6:4). A most important lesson about the “Bread of Life” was taught by Jesus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread in John 6:33, 35. At that point John moves quickly to the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2) and the Last Great Day of the Feast (John 7:37 to 10:21). Then John writes extensively of Jesus’ last Passover and the death of Jesus Christ on that final Passover (John 11:55 — John 19:30). And, not coincidently, our Savior’s work of salvation was not complete until Christ’s resurrection—fully three days and three nights after He lay dead in the grave beginning on the High Day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (John 19:31).
More than anything else, the meaning of these Holy Days that Jesus so staunchly proclaimed, reveals the Plan of God coming to fruition – step by step. Isaiah often wrote about the Plan of God saying, “You have done wonderful things, Your Plan was formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness” (Isaiah 25:1). Make no mistake about it, God’s Plan is being worked out here and now as He said it would:
Isaiah 14:24, 26 The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand... This is the Plan that is purposed upon the whole earth.
God declares that His Plan was written – set in stone – so to speak, before He ever began to initiate step number one:
Isaiah 46:9-10 …I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
At this point in time, God’s Plan is well along in its path to fruition…