THE DIVINE PROGRAM
Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
“The Divine Program” is taken from The Temple of God, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc.
The eternal purpose of God is to dwell among the peoples of the earth, whom He has created. God did not create mankind with the idea that God would remain in Heaven and punish people continually because they are of the earth and behave in an earthly fashion; neither is it His will that human beings leave the earth and abide forever in Heaven, as though the creating of the earth were an unfortunate mistake.
This would be to suggest that God is not quite sure what He is doing, that He gets caught by surprise, that He does not work in a reliable manner.
God created the physical heaven and the earth. God formed angels, cherubim, seraphim, and other types of spiritual personalities in the spiritual Heaven. He formed man—male and female—in the image of God and placed him on the earth.
God created men as sons of God, in His image, intending to give them dominion, fruitfulness, and glory. More than that, God has designed each individual as male or female so each person is incomplete and can realize his or her eternal destiny only in union with Christ and other people. Man’s highest motivation is love. This is true also of man’s Creator, the Lord God.
If we were neither male nor female, would we find much meaning in the Song of Solomon? Isn’t the Song of Solomon the key to our understanding of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, between the eternal Lord and His Temple, His Body?
Angels, cherubim, and seraphim are neither male nor female. Also, it is true that none of these ever can become a living stone in the Temple of God.
The Divine intention is not that man go to Heaven to live there forever; but, as we read in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, that the Lord God of Heaven dwell forever among men on the earth.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Why, then, did the sovereign God permit the rebellion of Eden? What is the significance of the terror of Sinai? How could the great and terrible “Lord” of Moses permit Roman soldiers to spit on Him and place a mock crown of thorns on His head?
If we view the historical appearances of God among His creatures, and His dealings with mankind, as tragedies in which God unsuccessfully attempted to have fellowship with us, we fall short in our concept of the sovereignty of God. We do not grasp His Divine foreknowledge and absolute authority and power. How can God make mistakes when He is all-powerful?
If we perceive the fall of Adam and Eve, the flood of Noah, the awful grandeur of Sinai, the carrying away of the Jews into Babylon, and the crucifixion of Christ as necessary aspects of a marvelous plan and purpose, we rest in the fact that God knows all His works from the creation of the world; that the Divine purpose has been accomplished from the beginning of time. We enter this rest of God—the rest based on the finished work (Hebrews 4:3).
What could God achieve by placing a forbidden tree in the middle of the garden, and then allowing Satan, a master deceiver of ancient experience, to persuade the first, innocent babes to sin against God?
Given God’s high ambitions for His sons, it does not require extraordinary wisdom in order to understand the necessity for the rebellion of Eden.
At some point in prior eternity the governing lords of the spirit realm decided to usurp God’s absolute rulership. Sin was conceived in Heaven, not on the earth. Sin is a spiritual reality. The flesh and blood of human beings provide a vehicle for the expression of spiritual personalities.
Sin is the defilement of God’s holiness. Self-will, which is worse than sin, is the desire of a creature of God to seek its own purposes apart from submission to the Majesty of the everlasting Throne.
Sin proceeds from Satan. Sin is practiced by human beings who have been enslaved by Satan.
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)
Self-will is demonstrated in Satan’s behavior.
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13,14)
“I will. I will. I will. I will.”
Self-will is the main problem of the human beings whom God has created in His image. Self-will is prominent among God’s chosen people and resulted in the murder of Christ.
For two thousand years the Church of Christ has been characterized by self-will, by the desire to minister and build apart from the supervision of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Self-will and self-centeredness are found in the human baby and remain through adulthood.
Self-will is the basis of the Antichrist spirit. The true saint of God learns that he must be pressed ever more deeply into union with God through Christ, forsaking his self-will. It is the believer’s cross that does the pressing.
No person can become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God until his will has been brought into oneness with the will of God in Christ.
When God decided to make man in His image, and then to assign to him authority and power over all the works of God’s hands, He had to provide for the eventuality that man would turn against God.
For God to have created man in His image, to have given him authority over all the works of God’s hands, and then not to have provided for the problems of sin and self-will would have been foolish indeed. God is not foolish.
A human being who is in slavery to Satan and who is unwilling to forsake his independence and enter union with God through Christ (submission to and union with Christ are the main issues), cannot be assigned authority and power over all the works of God’s hands. He or she would be a monster. Do we not behold monstrous behavior on every hand today, within and outside the churches?
Therefore God allowed Adam and Eve to sin. God did not tempt them to sin or cause them to sin. God made it possible for them to sin and then permitted them to do so.
In order to make God’s royal heirs immune to sin.
There is only one immunity to sin and self-will. The immunity is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dying physically does not provide immunity to sin and self-will. Dying physically brings us into the spirit realm, where we are judged and placed with spirits like ourselves.
Going to Heaven does not provide immunity to sin and self-will. Sin and self-will were born in Heaven around the Throne of God.
Where, then, can we find immunity to sin and self-will? We can find such immunity in the Personality of the Lord Jesus Christ. Complete union with Christ makes us eligible to be a living stone in the Temple of God. There is no immunity to sin and self-will other than by receiving the Person of Christ into ourselves.
We may think of God’s dealing with mankind, from the time of Eden to the present hour, as a school. Eden was the kindergarten. The first lesson was, “The soul that sins shall die.” God has given us six thousand years in which to reflect on the truth and wisdom of the first lesson.
Then the flood of Noah provided the heirs of the Kingdom, the sons of God, with a lesson concerning the sternness of God’s Character. God was willing to slay every person on the earth, leaving the one human being (and his family) whom God had found to be righteous, to repopulate the earth.
The world of today needs to meditate on the flood of Noah because the Lord Jesus warned us that His return to earth would be “as it was in the days of Noah.”
Abraham and Sarah were the beginning of the Church, the Temple of God. Abraham was given an opportunity to express faith, was admonished concerning the need to walk perfectly before God, and then was tested in the realm of self-will, of obedience to the Lord God of Heaven.
The faithfulness of Abraham in returning Isaac to God remains as one of the highest mountain peaks of human experience. We can find a greater denial of self only in the garden of Gethsemane.
Several hundred years after Abraham and Sarah, Mount Sinai blazed with a holy light never before revealed on the earth. The dreadful holiness of God was portrayed in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are the Divine judgment on the God of the present world.
Can you see in these Divine dealings the curriculum of a school, a progressive course in the knowledge of the Lord God of Heaven?
The Law of Moses made us see our need of God’s help. Adam and Eve, at the time of their creation, possessed no deep realization in themselves that they were in need of immunity to sin and self-will. Adam and Eve were formed in the image of God but they knew very little of God’s Person and ways.
The first two people did not understand that apart from union with God they posed a danger to themselves and to the remainder of the creation of God. It has required thousands of years of human experience in order to bring a tiny remnant of people to the profound conviction that apart from God we always fall into sin and enslave ourselves and our neighbors with our self-will, self-seeking, self-love, self-centeredness.
Only a small minority of earth’s billions has any concept at all of how utterly dependent on God each person is. Most human beings, believers and nonbelievers alike, journey on in slavery to sin and self-will.
In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of Mary, to live perfectly under the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses.
Here is the Redemption for every human being. Here is the Immunity to sin and self-will. Here is the Vine of God, apart from whom we cannot bear the right kind of fruit. Here is the Divine Lord, apart from whom we cannot exercise dominion over the works of God’s hands.
If it had not been for the rebellion of Eden we would not have been brought to the place of willingness to seek forgiveness through the blood of the cross, deliverance through the power of the Holy Spirit, and finally, release from the bondage of self-will and disobedience through our fellowship with the suffering of the cross.
No human being can please God apart from the righteousness of Christ and the sacrifice of Calvary. No human being can be trusted with the glory assigned to the sons of God apart from a crucified self-life and the formation of a new creation in which his personality and the Personality of Christ have been made one.
No human being can find perfect joy and fulfillment until Christ is abiding in him and the love of Christ is flowing through him to other people.
All of our inheritance as sons of God can be possessed only as we press into abiding in Christ, into God’s rest. The history of the wretched circumstances of human beings without God is a principal reason why thoughtful people are willing and desirous to press into the Lamb of God whom God has given to us.
All things of life and history work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to God’s purpose.
Every painful episode has as its purpose the driving of us into Christ because it is only in Christ that our high destiny as sons of God can be achieved.
From the beginning the Lord God of Heaven has determined to find rest on earth among the peoples whom He has created from the dust of the ground. Therefore He is forming a living temple. Christ is the chief Cornerstone of God’s Temple. We, in whom Christ is being created and is dwelling through the Spirit, are the living stones of the Temple.
God has a plan and is proceeding to carry it out. He knows what He is doing. Nothing catches Him by surprise. God is sovereign in His foreknowledge, His power, His wisdom.
God is building a tabernacle for Himself. When the tabernacle has been completed He will enter it in His Fullness.
The Tabernacle of God will be situated eternally on a high mountain of the new earth. It is called the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem.
(“The Divine Program”, 3984-1)