What is the Bible about? Why did God give us all these books and chapters and scriptures and verses? They were not written in a very easy to be understood manner – in fact the Bible is written in a way to secure the truth (Isaiah 28:13) so that it can only be unlocked with a key and that key being His holy spirit (John 16:13, 1 Corinthians 2:9-11). This is His mind, a portion of it, which He gives to us. This is the power that He gives to help us to put the Bible together, a little here and a little there.
See message: What is the Holy Spirit?
Many people think that the parables were written to make things clear and the Bible says exactly the opposite of that. It states that the parables were to obfuscate or confuse or to hide the meaning of what Christ was talking about at the time so that it would not be revealed to them ahead of their time (Matthew 13:10-15). This is yet another part of the Plan of God that I think most people do not know of and do not understand.
Today I would like to go through and tell the story of the Plan of God, what is it that God has been doing here on earth and how it started; how did it come about and where it is going. The idea of this message is to try and give the chronological flow (as much as possible) of the Plan of God. I definitely always want to stick with scripture, that is the authority, it is not what I or any other man may say or what we may come up with – it has to be proven from the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:21). I want to go through and tell the story and bring it all together and have it gel today.
Chronologically speaking the Bible does not begin in Genesis 1:1 but rather the earliest verse if we can say that is John 1:1. It is the section where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.” It talks about this “beginning,” the best that we can understand, that precedes even the physical universe. We have the Father and the Son at this point, the Bible gives us this relationship so that we can relate and better understand the spiritual. The Father and Son are spirit beings (John 4:24; 2 Corinthians 3:17) which we cannot fully understand either. They created this physical universe, they created time and they created space.
That is something that we cannot even get our head around, because they existed outside of that and before there was anything physical – before there was this universe! So we have to take these things for what it is worth, because it is mostly beyond our ability to understand and it has not been completely revealed. We do not see things clearly (1 Corinthians 13:12) nor does God give us the answers to everything in the Bible. Some of the answers are going to come down the road at a later time.
We have the Father and the Son, there was not one, there were not three, there were not two thousand or three thousand Gods, there are two Gods. They came up with this plan that we are talking about today, a plan for the salvation of mankind (1 Peter 1:20; Matthew 13:35, 25:34). A plan that is awesome, as we would expect it to be from a God being. It started out with just the two of Them and They went into the creation business – if there is something that the Bible reveals about God, it is that He is a creator. The Father did all things through the Son (Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 1:2; John 1:3), in fact the one that became Jesus Christ was the one that was the main intermediary between man and God the Father for the whole Old Testament times. He was as we say, the God of the Old Testament. He was the one that the Father used to create all things and He was the one that He used to interface with men.
See message: Two Gods of the Old Testament
Among the things that the Father had the Son create (and ALL things were made by Him) was not only the universe, but before that the spirit realm (Psalm 148:1-2, 5-6). God made the spirit realm and what God makes He makes “good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) and that is an understatement for how He goes about doing what He does. He began by creating the angelic realm and they were helpers doing the things of God. In fact angel means messenger which does not totally encompass what angels did/do. They were created before the physical world; we know this because they were there and rejoiced at the creation of Earth (Job 38:4-7). There are at least hundreds of millions of them (Revelation 5:11) if not considerably more. There is also this variety that God used that He created among that realm and He gave them certain authority and power and responsibility. He made some of them look like man, some looked like animals and some had a combination of features. Primarily though, they were His agents for helping Him – they were servants to help Him accomplish what He wanted to do – and they still continue to do these things. God ordains it and they fulfill it. They can guard us from evil and help us and intervene in our lives because once God begins a work in us He is going to be faithful to continue (Philippians 1:6), He is not going to let some big boulder fall on our head if He is not finished working with us, that is when these interventions happen.
See message: Angelic Realm
The angels were created for this purpose – to help God with US. This being said He still had a greater purpose for mankind! He is not simply putting us here so that we can go to heaven sometime later and play harps or lyres on some cloud – no He is definitely working out a purpose (Romans 8:28) and we are going to definitely get to that here before the end of this message.
After creating the universe and the stars and all that is in it and all that we are aware of, He assigned certain tasks to the angels. There was one in particular that He created, Lucifer, which means light bringer / morning star. Lucifer was the epitome of God’s angelic creations, yet pride entered into him and He became known as Satan after that. It is important to understand that God DID NOT create a devil! Lucifer became that way and God then renamed him Satan meaning adversary, He is this devil the one that is against us, – a fallen angel. He was so powerful and persuasive that He drew one third of the rest of the angelic realm after him and these are the ones now that are this demonic realm. Satan tried to rise up against God because he wanted to be the “most high” God, but God threw him back to his domain which was on earth.
See message: Fallen Angels
This is now their habitat, where they are now! The Bible shows explicitly that Satan is now the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4; John 12:31; Revelation 2:13), he is the one that is ruling for an age with his angels and he is called the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). He is this powerful spirit that works now causing men to be disobedient; he influences their minds; he blinds mankind; he deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9) and the world lies under his sway (1 John 5:19). We are admonished not to be ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). These deceiving spirits go about and manifest themselves in many different ways on earth in terms of the things that we need to avoid at all costs. People get into ill-advised situations with séances and Ouija boards and tarot cards and psychics and clairvoyance and trying to communicate with the dead and so on and so forth. This is the overt means with which they influence mankind and they continue to work on this wavelength influencing attitudes and having people become disobedient. This particular sector of the spirit realm tries to push mankind away from the way of God which has immortal life associated with it.
Satan would love nothing more than to derail the whole Plan of God and to kill every last human being, but God is not allowing that. God allows this realm to exist, but He put these hedges around us and limits what they can do (Job 1:10). They can do some powerful things; they can do great signs and wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9); some of them were able to tell the future in a manner of speaking; but God says do not fear those things because we have tools at our disposal that we can use in our ongoing battles with them. One of the primary ones is, if we begin to resist them, then by God’s law, by His edict they have to flee from us (James 4:7). Otherwise they would crush us and we would have no chance because they are that much more powerful of beings than we are even though God created us just a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:6-7). This can be really hard to imagine in a lot of respects whenever we put such a high value on their ability to be outside of the physical and to do these miracles and signs and wonders. Yet God says those are not things that we need to give heed to, those are simple things – do not be fooled by those types of miracles. God, in accomplishing His own will, gives Satan a short leash as we see in the example of Job. He says to the devil that you can only go so far – so God is still ultimately in charge and we can not be fooled by these things.
As a result of Satan, or Lucifer at the time, wanting to rise up, there was this war that ensued in the angelic realm. It appears that the earth and much of the universe or at least our solar system was impacted by this and we see the physical result in God’s creation (because we know the quality of God’s workmanship and the order that He keeps). This goes a long way in explaining what happened before Genesis 1:1 and between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. In the beginning the Bible talks about the earth was without form (Hebrew: tohu) and void – it was a mess. Isaiah 45:18 is very explicit and it says that God did not create the earth in vain (tohu), so we know it became that way during Satan’s fall and the great war in heaven with Michael and the other angels (Revelation 12:7-9). Due to this, God set about the RE-creation or renewing of the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30).
Next in Genesis 1-2 God continues with the plan. He is going to renew the face of the earth; He is going to separate the waters from the land; He is going to let there be light; He is going to create the grass and the trees; He is going to create the animal kingdoms; and on the sixth day, He creates mankind! THEN on the seventh day He “sabbathed” (Genesis 2:2) – God ceased from His work as an example of what we are to do. God is our creator and knows exactly what we need. He creates this seven day week and He commands us to rest on the seventh day. This is something that He did from the beginning and the interesting thing about the seven day week is that it is not tied into any type of astronomical sign unlike the month and the years are which are tied into the moon and us going around the sun and going through the different seasons. The Sabbath was specifically created for us as a way of not only keeping time, but a day of resting from our work.
See message: The Sabbath in the New Testament
God created Adam and then He took the woman from his side and He put them in the garden of Eden with two trees. Now the significance of the two trees was about making a choice – were they going to choose their own way or were they going to choose God’s way. God basically says here is the tree of life, now if you take from this and eat of it you will have eternal life, but I am going to give you the other option here too. Why? Because we are given free moral agency, we are not robots or automatons. God had to be able to give us choices in order that He could build character in us. Character is simply defined as being given two choices and choosing correctly and living by those decisions. When we choose the Godly way we build this holy righteous character. God does this by giving them the choice and then have them choose correctly. As we know they did not choose wisely because Satan comes in and he starts telling them lies – he starts saying if you eat from this tree “you shall not surely die,” in fact you will be like God knowing good from evil. He told them they were smart enough to figure out right and wrong on their own.
See message: The Two Trees
This same state of mind still exists in the world today in which mankind is currently choosing their own way, one that is right in their own eyes. In effect they are saying I know better and they come up with their own philosophies, religions and “isms” and reject the manual He has given us, the Bible. People balk at this idea of keeping the law and yet see the value of traffic laws and the necessity of obeying a four-way stop. We cannot just get rid of the law and expect that everything is going to work out fine. The law was given to mankind for the regulating of their life in the best possible way, it is so that we can have a better or the best life possible! God gave us His Word because it is a reflection of who and what He is. God wants us to live this better way of life because He has something in store for us if we do.
See message: Is the Law Done Away?
Nonetheless Satan was the main one that ruined the day here for mankind; of course Adam and Eve still had to take their own responsibility for what happened. Because of this wrong decision, they were kicked out of the garden of Eden and the way to the Tree of Life was closed, the way to live forever, was closed off to humanity for nearly another 4000 years (Genesis 3:24). It was because of this, that man then had to go and live as it were in his sin and to begin to figure out that this was not the better way to go.
Things began to fall apart very quickly after the initial sins, from Cain killing Abel to the flood that had to ensue later because mankind had just continued to go further and further off the track. God was giving men up to 1000 years to live at that time (Genesis 5:27) but finally the flood came and God changed that into 120 years (Genesis 6:3). Later He would give 70 years for mankind to live (Psalm 90:10) and develop character to figure out what way of life that they truly wanted – or to at least experience the wrong way of life as an object lesson for a later time. So the flood comes and wipes out all mankind, except for eight – Noah, his wife, Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives (Genesis 7:13).
Ten generations later from Noah, Abram is born. The opportunity that Adam had, is now going to be given to another man, Abram or Abraham as he became known. God began to make covenants with Abram / Abraham that promised him physical and spiritual blessings (Genesis 12:1-3; Galatians 3:8, 16). If Abraham was going to obey God, then God promised certain things that would then enable Abraham and his lineage to have ancestors like the sand of the sea (Genesis 22:17). They were going to continue and the whole world would be blessed through Abraham and his lineage. Abraham went off and lived in the promised land but as a foreigner, a stranger, a pilgrim, like a nomad because he continued to look to the true promised land yet off in the distant future (Hebrews 11:9-10).
Abraham showed his faith, his great faith, with the potential sacrifice of Isaac, his Son (Hebrews 11:17). Now, Abraham was quite old as we know the story and finally by promise of God had Isaac as his Son (Genesis 21:2-3). First, though there was Hagar the handmaid, who Sarah had given to Abram (we see that Abraham was not perfect nor were there any men in the Bible perfect other than Jesus) and he made the mistake of having a son, Ishmael, with Hagar (Genesis 16:15).
This was not the only sin Abraham committed, there were other ones, but they were recoverable, which is part of the lesson of the Bible. God gives us these laws to show us how to have a relationship with Him and with our fellow man and then when it goes astray, He tells us how to reconcile. The Bible is summed up by “love one another” (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39-40) and then if the interaction goes awry, fix it – repent of your sins and go back and renew the relationship with God and your fellow man!
Next, Abraham takes Isaac up to mount Moriah to sacrifice him. It took three days and three nights from when God told him to go there (Genesis 22:2-4), so basically Isaac was as good as dead for that time. Abraham was going to sacrifice his Son as God asked him to do. When He got there though, God provided another sacrifice, a ram and Abraham did not kill his son (Genesis 22:13). God said to Abraham, “NOW I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me” (Genesis 22:12).
Abraham lived the law, he lived the life, he followed what was being told to him by God and because of this, God said He was going to fulfill all these promises He made (Genesis 26:4-5)! He has continued to do so and much of the blessings that have come upon his lineage, in fact almost all of it is because of the promises that God made to Abraham.
From there it went to Isaac and then it went to Jacob. Jacob then had 12 sons and he wrestled with the angel, who was the pre-incarnate Christ, the God-being that was going to become Jesus in the future. He wrestled with Him and would not let Him go. So, God touched his thigh bone where it goes into the hip and dislocated it, but Jacob still held on until he was blessed. God at that point changed his name to Israel (Genesis 32:24-30). He is the one from whom all the Israelites descended. Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. They are the Israelites from Reuben all the way down to Benjamin (Genesis 35:22-26).
The most significant of these were Joseph and Judah. Joseph was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:27-28) because his brothers were jealous of him and the visions that He had of the future (Genesis 37:9-11) which did come true. It does not sound like Joseph necessarily disclosed the visions in the best way possible. Nonetheless, he went to Egypt as a slave and learned his lessons. He did some time in jail before the Pharaoh finally lets Joseph out after he was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. He is then promoted to number two in the kingdom (Genesis 41). This is the way God works – the character building through trials is more important than the suffering that we go through (see message: Shaped Through Adversity and Why Does God Allow Christians to Suffer). Due to Joseph’s promotion, he was able to save his family who came to Egypt because of the famine that was on the land. God was working in Joseph’s life telling him what was going to happen; therefore he was able to put aside enough food to save the Egyptians as well as his family (Genesis 42-46).
After this, they all resided in Egypt and grew in numbers over the next couple of hundred years – to a point that scared the next Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. This new leader did not know Joseph or his people and subsequently did not respect or honor them. He became fearful of the Israelites and put them into slavery (Exodus 1:8-14).
As the well-known story goes, God delivered the Israelites through the 10 plagues and they came out of Egypt at this time (Exodus 7-12). The Bible talks of there being nearly six hundred thousand men (Exodus 12:37), so we take that and say they had a wife and only had two kids then there would be nearly two and a half million in total. We then have this massive exodus of the people of Israel,who because of the promises God made to Abraham, are going to be delivered to the promised land.
Knowing that they have been in slavery for a while, God writes down His laws that have been in existence from the very beginning – this is evident from the time of Adam all the way up to this time (see message: Were the 10 Commandments in Effect before Moses?). Many people think that they were given for the first time at Mount Sinai – they were merely codified for the Israelites. They were written down in stone for the people so they would now know.
In addition to this, nearly a year after they fled (Exodus 40:17), God did end up giving them the sacrificial system, as a learning tool, it was a tutor, as Paul calls it, to help them to understand why we do not sin (because they were breaking the ten commandments that had been given previously). There is a payment of blood that has to be made for sin. It is necessary to understand that these two sets of laws and instructions, were separate and given at two different times (Hebrews 10:2-7; Galatians 3:24-25).
It takes them 40 years to get to the promised land because of their stubborn hard-heartedness and none of the people that left Egypt as adults made it there (Numbers 14:22-25; 1 Corinthians 10:5). When the younger generation gets to the promised land, they divide up the land according to the inheritance of each tribe (Joshua 13-14).
It was all going pretty well for a while. Samuel, who was a prophet, came on to the scene and would tell the people what God’s will was and what God wanted. Soon the Israelites said that they wanted a king like all the people around them. God tried to warn them and Samuel was a little bit upset about it and God said no it is not you that they are rejecting, it is Me (1 Samuel 8:7). This is basically the story of the whole Old Testament, as long as Israel was following God, they were going to be blessed and God would protect them, He would give them victory, rain in due season and bountiful crops etc. If they were disobedient then these things would be taken away and the curses that would follow for disobedience would then come upon them. Then they would learn their lesson and they would go back to obeying God. There was this ebb and flow throughout the Old Testament that happened many times.
When they rejected God they got Saul. They looked at this man based on his appearance and said this is the kind of guy we want to lead us (1 Samuel 10:24), but Saul was not who He was all cracked up to be (1 Samuel 13:13-14). Next came King David and then King Solomon and after that and as human nature goes, the 12 tribes divided up (1 Kings 12:17, 20). They became the northern tribes and the southern tribes. The North immediately went into apostasy and they stopped keeping the law of God (1 Kings 12:27-28); they started changing things; and they were not living according to what God said. Instead they did what was right in their own eyes. Because of this the punishments and the cursings came. They went into captivity never to return to Jerusalem or to the land of Israel again. Judah remained in the south along with a couple other tribes or half tribes (Benjamin and part of Levi) and they did well…up until they did not do well. Accordingly, they went to captivity for 70 years.
See message: Captivities of the Houses of Israel and Judah
The northern tribes went to captivity by Assyria (c. 721-718 BC) and the southern tribes then went into captivity by Babylon (c. 586 BC). While Judah, as they were known, were enslaved, the temple fell and was destroyed. Judah then rebuilt it and then it was destroyed again (70 AD). The Bible indicates that the temple is going to be rebuilt before Christ returns (at least the sacrifices are going to be re-instituted and all that is needed for that is just the altar) and then definitely during the Millennium one will be built (Ezekiel 40-48).
See message: Third Temple
During the time of the Old Testament, God sent His prophets to the people. We see the Major Prophets, as they are called, and the Minor Prophets (not minor in terms of being less important, but minor in terms of size of the book). The prophets were sent to the kingdom of Judah and the kingdom of Israel. There were prophets to both houses; there were prophets before they went into captivity; there were prophets after they came out of captivity; that is basically how the books are divided up. The message that they gave always had this underlying theme of repentance (Jeremiah 25:4-5). Repentance means to turn around, stop going the wrong direction that we are going and go the right direction, the Godly direction. If you do that, God can be with you and God can bless you. But when they “repented,” it would only last for a while before they turned back around to their evil ways. Since they often did not like the message of the prophets, they would reject, stone or kill them (Matthew 23:30, 37; 5:12). Being a prophet was not an enviable position to have, though many people today would love to be a prophet. It is not something that we really want to go into without knowing exactly what it is about.
See message: Why Repentance
This sums up the Old Testament — Christ referred to it as the law, prophets and the writings (Luke 24:44). We have the law, then we have the writings, which are works like Psalms and Proverbs and some of the other books and then we have the prophets. He then sent prophets to help them, to teach them, to tell them to turn around and go the other way. God said here is my law, this is what I want you to follow (Matthew 5:17-18, 4:4; Acts 24:14; Luke 16:17 etc), The Old Testament ends about 400 years before the New Testament begins, so by this point we have had 4000 years of mankind not following God. They did not want God’s ways and in fact they rejected God’s ways for the most part.
God gave them the sacrifices that were not sufficient to forgive their sins (Hebrews 9:9), but was to teach them that there was a consequence for sin, but it was not enough to to save them. If man sins, and it says state very clearly in scripture that the wages of sin is death (1 John 3:4), then death is the consequence and blood needs to be spilled to pay for this (Hebrews 9:22; Leviticus 4:20). The issue is that we only have one life to give, so once we sin and all have sinned, we all then deserve the death penalty. We only have that one life to give and the blood of bulls and goats will not be sufficient to atone for those transgressions (Hebrews 10:3-4).
As a part of the Plan of God, from before the foundation of the earth, was the plan for Christ to come and to give His life as a sacrifice for all mankind so that He could pay for all sin (Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 2:2; Matthew 20:28, 26:28). Then we would be able to call upon Christ and have our sins forgiven. Also, a very large and important part of this was that He died so that we could have access to the Father through Him and by the holy spirit (John 16:7). We can now have the holy spirit, the power of God (Luke 24:49), the essence of God, living in us, to help us to see what is right and to do what is right.
See message: What is the Holy Spirit?
This plan was put into motion and Christ was born miraculously to the virgin Mary. He grew up the Son of Joseph (Luke 3:23), but He was the Son of God (Luke 3:38). He had a ministry in which He taught these things and He expanded on the Old Testament and the laws (many think that He came to do away with it). No, He explicitly says that think not that I came to destroy the law, He says I came to magnify it, I came to actually make it more full (Matthew 5:17). Now, not only do you have to keep the letter of the law, you need to keep the spirit of the law (Matthew 5:21-48; Romans 7:6). You cannot go and kill, that is still true, but I do not want you to go hate either He says. We cannot say that He did away with the letter of the law and it is just a spirit that we have to keep, that makes no sense that we cannot hate our brother but it is okay to kill our brother – so we see that the letter of the law is still intact, it is that straight forward.
See message: Romans 7
If we look at the New Testament there are even more “laws” in the New Testament than there were in the Old testament. When I say law, it is simply the things God tells us to do! He says we are to live by every word of God – every word includes the Old Testament (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3) as well. The New Testament has somewhere between 1100-1250 rules, laws, statutes, laws, judgments – EVERY word of God. They are for our good because God wants us to put on His mind and His character (Philippians 2:5; Hebrews 1:3). He wants us to become like Him and these laws reflect His character and His nature. Why would then we want to get rid of it or do away with it?
See message: Is the Law Done Away?
This is exactly where we are now at this time in history. We want to get rid of this other Tree of Life so that we can take of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil where we get to decide right and wrong ourselves. The problem is that we do not have it within us to know this; we do not have the capability! This is why the Bible is still so pertinent today, it is because the law of God does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8) and the way He wants us to live, does not change. Also, the way that Satan’s acting has not changed! He still wants to remove us from this earth, seeking whom he may devour, who he can kill, this is why he is described as roaming the earth like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8; John 8:44). This is definitely what God wants, He wants us to live His way and He wants us to eschew the other way.
We skipped over just a little bit in the book of Leviticus. The Bible begins Genesis, Exodus and then Leviticus. The law, which is the first five books of the Bible, is also known as the Torah or the Pentateuch. Leviticus talks about the clean and the unclean, the holy and the unholy – this is how God is judging. We are trying to understand what it takes for us to be clean before God, for us to be holy before God. He sets that out for us in this book. He says here are some things that you should not eat – I did not make these things to be eaten He says, so do not eat them (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). Personally, I think many types of maladies that we have in the world today are from eating things that we should not eat: the Civet cat for instance, it was the cause of SARS. That was something God said not to eat. People ate it and then we had the SARS outbreak. These types of things are the function of cause and effect.
God says to do some things and not do other things. Among the laws in Leviticus are God’s holy days (Leviticus 23). These are the days that we should observe instead of the pagan days of Christmas and Halloween and Easter and etc. God gave us the holy days (Leviticus 23:2) from which we actually get the word holiday. He gave us these holy days – we should not quickly dismiss them. The seven holy days are given to us to outline the Plan of God that we are talking about today. This plan of salvation for all mankind is a plan that is fair and just for all! Christ coming to earth was the very first part of the Plan of God being put into motion. God is building holy righteous character in His first born sons so that we can be a part of the Family of God. Those now with His spirit in them, are NOW sons of God (Romans 8:9, 14; 1 John 3:2). We are working towards being a part of the Family that He wants us to be in. God is creating a family among all the other creative activity that He has done (Ephesians 3:14-15).
These yearly festivals that He has given to us are a reminder of what God is orchestrating with mankind. We are to study, to go in depth yearly, to learn more and more about what each holy day means.
The first one that we alluded to previously is Passover (Leviticus 23:4-5), which I think a lot of people are somewhat familiar with, Christ came to be our Passover (John 1:29) – He came to be that sacrifice that would then pave the way for the rest of the plan of salvation to happen. Christ was literally the first person resurrected from flesh and blood to eternal spiritual life (Romans 8:29; Revelation 1:5-6). He died, was buried like a seed in the ground is, He rose up as God resurrected Him (which pokes holes in the concept of trinity when we realize that a dead person cannot raise themselves) after He was completely dead for three days and three nights.
Following that is the Days of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6-8) which most people have never heard of and which seems strange at face value. Satan has done a good job of hiding these things from everyone for sure! The Days of Unleavened Bread pictures us putting sin out of our lives. God does not want us to continue to go the wrong way and do the wrong thing. Sin is basically or simply defined in the Bible as breaking the law. Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4) – the law in which God instructs us what to do or not to do. If we go against the word of God this is sin.
This is what Adam and Eve did, which is why God had to close off the Garden of Eden and access to the Tree of Life (a symbol of the holy spirit which has eternal life associate with it). Now though, He is giving some an opportunity, since Christ has come, to have access to the holy spirit if we do not sin; are baptized; receive the holy spirit; march forward in faith and live a life that God would want us to live – by living by every word of God. He says if you do that then when I return, you will be my “firstfruits” of the harvest of mankind – This is what Pentecost (Leviticus 23:15-22; also known as the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Firstfruits) represents. To a certain degree professing christianity has heard about Pentecost, it is also called the Feast of Weeks, it is this time of the first harvest in the summer. Those who have been called to have this opportunity now are figuratively the first “crop to be reaped.” The first harvest, the summer one, which is a smaller one in real life, points to and symbolizes the smaller first resurrection at a future time into the Family of God.
The next holy day is the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:23-25) which represents Christ’s return at the last trump. Before Christ returns mankind will have had approximately six thousand years on Earth – four thousand years up until the time of Christ and two thousand years since Christ, to do what is right “in their own eyes” and see how well that works.
See message: Meaning of the Feast of Trumpets
In the mean time God is continuing to work to bring about prophecy and to bring about the promises He made to Abraham. After Isaac and Jacob, He gave to Joseph the birthright and then it went to his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. If you remember the story, Jacob switched his hands on their heads and gave the primary blessing to the younger one (Genesis 48:13-14). When we follow them through history we see that the United Kingdom and the United States are Ephraim and Manasseh. The birthright went to them both and it is no wonder that Joseph has been doubly blessed since God was always going to honor the covenant with Abraham.
The scepter or the kingly lineage though, went through Judah. This tribe remained in the holy land for longer before going into captivity. Most of them were displaced for 70 years in the Babylonian captivity before returning to the area of modern day Israel. They remained in that location and we find that Christ eventually came through that lineage and was born there. This was prophesied – He had to come through them to fulfill prophecy.
It was promised that Abraham’s descendants would be as the sand of the sea. The question that comes immediately to mind is, “Where are the rest of the tribes today and who are they today?” After the Assyrian captivity, most of the ten tribes settled in northwest Europe where they remain, for the most part, today as God continues to keep His word. Each tribe will continue to stay in their respective areas until the end-time and the return of Christ.
See message: Captivity of the Houses of Israel and Judah
As usual, we being Israelites will act the same way as we always have without God’s holy spirit. The physical Israelites were frequently going astray and because this is happening today and will continue to proceed in a similar fashion, Christ is going to return and open up the seven seals of Revelation. In the first four seals, also known as the four horsemen: the first one, the white horse came conquering and to conquer; the second, the red one, is war; the third, the black one, is famine; the fourth, the pale horse is pestilence. By these four, a fourth of the earth is going to die in the time leading up to the return of Christ. It is called the beginning of sorrows, because 25% of the world dying is just the start and there will be much worse that is still ahead.
The fifth seal is the Great Tribulation which ties back into the punishment of physical Israel. Because Israel has gone off-the-track like they have in the past, they are going to go into captivity once again. Many are going to die during this time, but Christ is going to return and save a remnant out of it. Nonetheless, they have to go through this Great Tribulation for about two and a half years. The sixth seal, which is the heavenly signs, is next. The seventh seal which is the Day of Lord is God’s wrath on mankind, mostly because of what they had been doing to His people. This includes the beast power and all these other gentile nations that are colluding with them.
The seventh seal is composed of seven trumpets in sequence. At the last and seventh trump Christ is returning. It is composed of the seven plagues or vials or bowls (depending on the translation). This last and seventh trumpet is subdivided into seven more devastating events which are going to happen to bring mankind under subjugation. Christ is returning in power and glory – not coming like He did the first time. The Jews did not figure this one out and that is understandable why they thought He was coming the first time like He is actually coming the second time. Of course, most everyone is not expecting Him this second time either.
The seventh and last trump is when the true Christians, that is spiritual Israel, those who have received God’s spirit and who God has called initially will be resurrected (1 Thessalonians 4:16). This will be a very small number comparatively. Some of them though will have gone through the tribulation because God as a loving Father chastises those whom He loves. He wants to see us grow in character. He wants us to put on His nature and divest ourselves of our human sinful nature (which is largely caused by not only ourselves and society around us but Satan first and foremost). Those who lose their lives in the future and those who have lost their lives throughout the rest of history – the faithful of the Old Testament, which are few, compared to the ones that have been called since Christ first came and made His holy spirit more readily available – they are then resurrected. There are going to be some that are still alive and they will all be changed into spirit in the blink of an eye at the last trump and be with Christ (1 Corinthians 15:52). That is what the Day of Trumpets represents among other things.
From there we move to the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:26-32) which then symbolizes the putting away of Satan when he is going to be bound for a thousand years (Revelation 20:2-3) so He cannot influence mankind. It is also the beginning of God working with the rest of mankind! This is where the fair and just God comes in. A lot of people think and assume that if you are a bushman of the Kalahari or if we died unexpectedly before we got to know Jesus or if we were never a part of this religion or Christianity, that we die and go to hell and that is it — it is all over. Of course to the average person this does not seem right for a loving God to do something like that…and it is not! It is at this point in time that God begins to reconcile the rest of the world to Himself.
Following this we have Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44; also known as Feast of Booths and Feast of Ingathering) which represents the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth along with the Firstfruits, those who have been resurrected and are now a part of the God family. They will reign with Him and work with the rest of mankind that has lived through the Great Tribulation and made it all the way through the Day of the Lord.
God will begin re-beautifying the earth and make waters spring forth and it will become like the Garden of Eden once again (Isaiah 35). Now it is at this point that the rivers of living water (holy spirit) that are spoken of (Zechariah 14:8), will become available to all mankind (John 7:37-38). It is not just for the relatively few, when we consider that maybe a hundred billion people have lived in last the six thousand years of mankind, but it will now be made available to all those who have not yet had the opportunity to receive it. As spirit beings, Christ and His new family, they will be educating and guiding everyone – they will say, “this is the way walk you in it” (Isaiah 30:21) and here is My spirit being made available for you (John 4:14).
Satan is no longer around to put a hamper on these things. The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and savior Christ (Revelation 11:15). He qualified back at the time of the temptation by Satan after the 40 days and 40 nights of fasting. Satan said if you just bow down to me I will give you all these kingdoms (Matthew 4:8-9). That was not a good deal, because they were going to become Christ’s if He qualified and then it would be without Satan on the scene. Jesus then qualified to take over, just not yet – in due time though. Christ will return some 2000 years later and He will be King of king and Lord of lords reigning on this physical Earth for the next thousand years.
What about all the rest of humanity who has not lived under Christ’s rule? They are resurrected at the end of the millennium (Revelation 20:5; Ezekiel 37) and then they can have God’s holy spirit for the first time (Ezekiel 37:14). After the world is prepared and it is ready for them, the rest of humanity is resurrected and they have their one and only chance. Most of mankind never had a chance and everybody gets one – we do not get two, we get one chance, each in our own order and time.
After that Satan is loosed for a short time (Revelation 20:3). We have this one last test, we have this chance to reject Satan and to choose God. Sadly, after all this time and under the rule of Christ, not everybody is going to choose life. This is purpose for the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). The rebellious will be thrown into it and they will be burnt up completely – it is an eternal punishment, it is not an eternal punishing. What kind of God tortures mankind for the rest of eternity — that is something out of Dante’s Inferno which is not a part of the Bible. So we have this opportunity for all mankind that is fair, that is just and all get the chance to reject Satan
We have the last great day moving on now towards what else is left – to what the future holds. If we go all the way to the very end of the Bible, we see that there is going to be a new heaven and a new earth and that everyone is going to be spirit beings and the Bible then is quiet about what the future still has to hold after that. We can only guess at this point that we are going to still be in the creation business and who knows what awaits us if we make it all the way to the end!
See message: Revelation 21-22
This is why it is imperative now that we live the Godly way of life, that we choose God over evil, sin, Satan, ourselves and what society has to offer. If we do, then we will get to live with God as a part of His family as His sons and His daughters for the rest of eternity – in a time and in a way that is beyond imagination (1 Corinthians 2:9) and it will make everything that we have had to do and go through now completely worth it (Romans 8:18)!