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The ages old and well worn question, ‘where’s it all going to end?’, is a clear indication that the majority of people are not aware that God has always had a great PLAN for this world and for mankind.
God’s long term plan for His creation is stated in Numbers 14:21, "But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be FILLED WITH THE GLORY OF THE LORD." The Prophet Isaiah was inspired to write for the enlightenment of man, declaring in Isaiah 45:18, "For thus saith the Lord…..God himself that formed the earth…..he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited……."; whilst the Psalmist wrote, "The heaven, even the heavens are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men". (Psalms 115:16). The apostle Paul confirms that it is in the EARTH that men would "work out your own salvation." (Philipp. 2:12).
The Prophet Isaiah wrote of the infallibility and certainty of GOD’S PLAN, "I am God, 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." (Isaiah 46:10).
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Gen. 1:1). The remainder of the chapter reveals how the earth was ‘clothed’ and populated. Adam’s, and Eve’s disobedience of God, influenced and enticed by the serpent, brought about the first SIN (Gen.3:6-7), and led to God’s condemnation of man to an inglorious life which inevitably would end in eternal death, unless man allowed God into his life. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground: for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return." (Gen. 3:19). Man’s alienation from God had commenced.
Keeping in mind God’s plan to "fill the earth with His glory", it is evident there must, of necessity, be a way of escape from everlasting death. The promoter of the lie, "thou shalt NOT surely die.", the serpent, was also placed under sentence, as recorded in Genesis 3:15, "I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed; it (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head (fatal blow) and thou shalt bruise HIS heel." (not fatal). There would be a struggle ahead for mankind…..he was either to listen to God through His word and then follow the example of ‘the seed of the woman’, or allow natural instincts to take control, " lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life", (1 John 2:16), resulting in certain and everlasting death.
Furthermore, it is very evident that, for the earth to be inhabited yet filled with ‘God’s Glory’, there must be a change in the behaviour pattern of man. Such change WILL take place and will be of such magnitude as to be described as "new heavens and new earth". (Refer Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Rev. 21:1). That is the time for which the Lord Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." (Matt. 6:9-13).
Abraham (Abram) responded to God’s instruction to "Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred into a land that I will show thee." (Genesis 12:1). Abraham’s obedience identified him as a ‘friend of God’ ( Is. 41:8; James 2:23) and, furthermore, "…he (Abraham) believed in the Lord: and he (Lord) counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen.15:6). There were wonderful promises made to Abraham, which were vital elements in God’s plan and we can find them well documented in the following passages of scripture…..Genesis 12:2-3; Genesis 13:14-17: Genesis 17:1-9; Genesis 17:19-21.
Genesis 22:15-18. Many other passages of Scriptures bear out the same record. The particular ‘seed’ (descendant) of Abraham, through whom the promises were to be effective in God’s plan of SALVATION FOR MAN, is positively identified by the Apostle Paul… "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And thy seed WHICH IS CHRIST." (Gal. 3:16).
The line of the ‘children of Israel’ (the Jews), was to be the line of the descendants from Abraham, through which the PROMISES were to be fulfilled. God declared, "…in Isaac shall thy seed be called" (Gen 21:12). The relationship between God and Israel is unmistakeable, borne out by such references as, "Thus saith the Lord, Israel is MY SON, even my firstborn…" (Exodus 4:22-23), and "For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance….he led him about, he instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye." (Deut. 32:9-10. The ardent Bible student must note also, "Salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), being a reference to JESUS AS MESSIAH… "neither is there SALVATION in any other." (Acts 4:12). History records how Israel failed, was scattered and is being regathered, as was prophesied (Jer. 30:11). The Apostle Paul in Romans 11, refutes any suggestion that Israel does not still occupy a key role in GOD’S PLAN.
David was chosen by God (1 Sam 16:6-13)….He found him to be "a man after His own heart.."…..(1 Sam.13:14). David also was to be the progenitor of JESUS CHRIST, for the Lord declared to David, "and when thy days be fulfilled and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee…..and I will establish his kingdom….thine house (dynasty) and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee…". (2 Sam. 7:12-16)
THE PROMISED SEED…MESSIAH AND SAVIOUR:
1. The Lord Jesus acknowledged that He was the ‘seed’ through whom God’s plan would come to fruition, explaining to His disciples, "..things which were written in the Law of Moses and in the prophets and in the Psalms concerning me.".(Luke 24:27)
2. Jesus was the ‘seed of the woman’ referred to in Gen. 3:15. Note here the words of Matt. 1:18-23 concerning Lord Jesus birth from Mary, through the operation of the HOLY SPIRIT, the power of God. Matthew was citing from Isaiah 7:14, "Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.".
3. Jesus was both ‘Son of David’ and ‘Son of Abraham’, as borne out by Matt.1:1 Luke 1:31-32.
4. Jesus was ‘Son of God’, as Luke 1:35 and Mark 9:7 adequately prove.
5. Jesus was ‘son of man’ as Matt 24:37 clearly shows. Herein is the challenge to man. Jesus, though like any other man in the physical sense (Heb. 2:14), was tested as others were, yet He DID NOT SIN. (Heb.5:8-9). Paul points out that "All (others) have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Rom.3:23)
6. Jesus was ‘the word made flesh’( Never God the Son made flesh). (John 1:14)
7. Jesus was ‘the firstfruits of them that slept’ (1 Cor 15:20)
8. Jesus was SAVIOUR. (Matt 1:21; Acts 17:31; Heb 5:8-9.)
SALVATION…THE END OF THE PLAN:
God’s PLAN requires man ‘to put off the old man’, the failings of the inherited way of life, which is punctuated by SIN, and start afresh by ‘putting on Christ.’ (Gal. 3:27). Paul points out that only in death is man free of sin (Rom.6:7). He shows that man symbolically dies in BAPTISM and comes forth to "a newness of life" (Rom. 6:9), with JESUS CHRIST (alone) as mediator with God. (1 Tim 2:5).
Since God’s PLAN is dependent (finally) upon people who are free of sin, there is the promise of the resurrection, in order that, "this mortal must put on immortality."(1 Cor. 15:53). FINALLY, the "earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord", when… "all things are subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that GOD may be all in all". …(1 Cor. 15:24-28)
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