An objective look at all the things happening in mankind’s tenure on earth from the base-point of God’s eternal plan seems to have five basic purposes. Recalling what James, the head pastor at the church in Jerusalem said (Acts 15:18), at that significant conference on the application of the Mosaic Law to the then apparent extension of the gospel to the Gentiles,“Known to God from eternity are all His works,” we also must realize that God is not bound by time, and His character is not one that is given to lies and mind-changing.
These are the facets of His long-range plan, as I see it:
1. Provide the gospel of redemption to all mankind.
2. Provide a vehicle for the introduction of Himself into human history.
3. Provide the means for salvation to a depraved human race.
4. Provide proof that mankind cannot endure in any way without God.
5. Provide proof that His lordship is supreme and sufficient.
All of these elements are seen being developed from the onset of God’s relationship with man and throughout the dispensations that have followed.
The Birth of the Gospel
In Titus 1:2 we are told: “the promise of eternal life was given before time began.”
And if God had that in mind, He also knew why it would be needed, that man would disobey and turn to his own ways. After that Garden of Eden debacle and God spoke of their punishments, He made the promise to Eve in that statement to the serpent (Satan):
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15).
It was a forward look to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross and the breaking of Satan’s power over mankind. It also speaks of the warfare between flesh and Spirit.
And John 3:16 springs into full focus in this dispensation of grace:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Coupled with Romans 1:16, we can see its far-reaching intention:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [non-Jew].”
A Chosen People for a Specific Plan
Not long, in their timeframe, after that Garden of Eden episode, Adam and Eve began to multiply and as pure as the physical human race was in that early time, evil degradation showed its ugly head and Cain murdered his brother! The warfare between God and Satan was strikingly evident. Abel, whose faith is acknowledged first in the record in Hebrews 11, was the first in the lineage of the Christ, who was to come, the beginning of that “scarlet thread” through the centuries of the history of mankind to the cross of Calvary. God’s faithfulness to the continuity of His plan held firm and a third son was born to Eve:
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel whom Cain killed’” (Genesis 4:25).
In the lineages of Jesus Christ, recorded in Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38, are shown
the family tree of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, Matthew lists the lineage from Abraham to Joseph, the husband of Mary, thus showing that Jesus is in the lineage of the kings of Israel, which began with Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation.
Luke’s account, however, starts with the physical lineage of Mary’s father and goes back
to Adam. The Matthew account traces through Solomon, the son of David in the succession of the kings, while Luke’s record traces the lineage back to Nathan, a different son of David. The lineage from David back to Adam apparently is the same. The point is, God has covered all possibilities—Jesus qualifies as King of Israel and the true Son of Man. He was born a Jew, reared as a Jew and died as a Jew, yet was rejected by His own.
“Behold, the Lamb of God…
Who takes away the sin of the world,” so said John the Baptist in John 1:29. From the
action God took in the Garden to cover Adam and Eve with the skins of animals to the cross on Calvary we see that scarlet thread of the blood sacrifice for sins as the solution for man’s restoration to fellowship with the God of eternity. Moses records this truth
in Leviticus 17:11:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make
atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”
The writer of Hebrews sums up the whole of the Law of Moses in this manner: “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect” (Hebrews 10:1). The “good things to come” are identified in Colossians 2:16-17:
“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.”
The central topic of God’s plan for the redemption of man is Jesus Christ:
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“The heart of Man Is Deceitful…
…Above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?” So it says, in Jeremiah 17:9. That is the label God puts on fallen mankind, and unfortunately, it carries to the mortal and corruptible flesh of the one who has been born again and in whom the Spirit of Christ dwells. In Romans 8:7 it says this about the relationship of our mortal flesh with God: “… the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”
When man turned from God in the Garden, he did not just make a little mistake that God could overlook, being as He is, “a God of love”. Man plunged clear to the bottom! Ephesians 2:2-3 describes the mindset of the believer before he is redeemed through: the grace of God, telling us that by nature we were just like the others of the world—evil to the core!
Since his earliest days man has sought to govern himself and proved himself unable. What God saw as the potential end result of their efforts at the Tower of Babel is not clear, but God saw that it was not good and separated them by confusing their languages (Genesis 11:1-8). The Israelites said, yes, give us the law and we will follow it. They could not and did not. They cried out, Give us a king like the other nations and we will be obedient, but they were not, and could not be so. Kings, monarchs, dictators─they have all come and gone, repeatedly. But finally, the greatest form of government Man could devise was created and called the United States of America. It was a representative republic with a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution with checks and balances and a Bill of Rights for the individual citizen.
When asked what they had done for the people, Ben Franklin said, “We have given you a republic…if you can keep it.” And later, John Adams, our second president, wrote, “The constitution was not written for an immoral people.” Current evidence proves that he was right, and so was Franklin. It is being proven on a regular basis that these men fully realized the precarious position that freedom and liberty had in the hands of evil-minded man.
The point is that Man has proven that he cannot govern himself with the best system ever devised by human efforts, even when it was based on God-inspired principles. Man without God is a dismal failure on every count. It is inconceivable how the leadership of this nation could be so totally complicit in a deceptive plan to destroy their nation’s sovereignty, but a growing mountain of evidence spears to suggest that is the case!
The Thousand-Year Rule of Christ
The Bible declares that after the seven years of tribulation and that final great battle of Amageddon, Satan will be chained and put away in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. Meanwhile, Jesus will rule the earth from the throne of David in Jerusalem, a theocracy in which Man without the evil influence of Satan will live extended lives,
The wolf and the lamb will eat together, the lion will eat straw like an ox and the child shall play by the cobra’s hole and not be hurt (Isaiah 11). And God proves that Man under His Lordship and sovereignty can live and flourish in peace and fulfillment (Revelation 20 and Isaiah 65).