GOD'S GRAND PLAN
Copyright © 2017 Robert B. Thompson. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:8—KJV)
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (Hebrews 5:7—KJV)
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8—KJV)
The entire period of time from the fall of Adam and Eve to the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem has been for the purpose of teaching mankind stern obedience to the Father. God has begun this program by selecting from mankind a Church and teaching the church people to obey God carefully according to God's standard.
These people, the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, will be brought down from the spiritual Zion to the new earth, as we read in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation.
Each member of the Church, the Body of Christ, must be perfected in obedience. As soon as God is satisfied that each member of the Church has been perfected in obedience, that is, has ceased from their own works and are resting in the will of God in order to complete their personal destiny, they will be used of God to teach the remainder of mankind to obey God and also to worship the one true God.
(Ironically, current Evangelical doctrine teaches that we can be "saved"—by this is meant eligible to enter Heaven—by believing in Christ, but we can rely on "grace" to save us if we do not obey Christ's commands or those of His Apostles. This of course is ludicrous, but it appears to be held by millions of professing Christians.)
"I will set a sign among them, and I will send some of those who survive to the nations—to Tarshish, to the Libyans and Lydians (famous as archers), to Tubal and Greece, and to the distant islands that have not heard of my fame or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory among the nations." (Isaiah 66:19)
The passage above means that Christians are to be sent to the nations of the earth to teach them to always obey and worship the one true God. This shall take place as soon as the members of the Church have been prepared.
I would say this is quite a different concept from the current notion that after Christians die they will rest forever in Paradise.
The next appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth indeed will be an epochal event.
"The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18)
After Christ returns in His Glory there will be a thousand (lit. or fig.) years in which Christ, and the Firstfruits of the Church, govern the world.
It is my opinion that the purpose for the thousand-year period is to bring the members of the Royal Priesthood to the maturity required to govern the creation. Also the nations on the earth will be becoming accustomed to a government consisting of Christ and His saints. This would be in preparation for the final eternal government of the new Jerusalem.
At the end of the thousand-year period, God will release Satan from the Bottomless Pit. The fact that at this time a multitude of earth's people will follow Satan, reveals that even a righteous government cannot make the peoples of the earth obey and worship God. They must be accosted individually.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9)
I wonder if this camp of rebels, so easily seduced by Satan, remembered what they had read in the Bible. They were doing that which their Bible taught was leading to their destruction.
So it is today that we read about Noah's flood and the fire that destroyed Sodom and other cities of the Plain. But Americans, although Bibles are in plentiful supply, tend to forget in the midst of their material abundance that our God is a God of wrathful destruction of the disobedient as well as a God of incomprehensible love, in that He watched His Son go to Calvary for the redemption of mankind.
We must stop right here and consider what has been stated.
How many people are we discussing? "The number of whom is as the sand of the sea," the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.
These people obviously were an enormous multitude. Apparently they had not agreed with the restrictions placed upon them by Christ and His saints.
Fire came down from God out of Heaven and devoured them. Since apparently no residue remained of this mountain of corpses, and they are not mentioned again that I know of, it must have been an atomic fire that vaporized them—probably instantly.
We might be tempted to think of this as a necessary evil, and go on about our business. But these were fathers, mothers, and their children, each one having a name. I wonder if their names were written down somewhere by one of the survivors. Perhaps not, but that is a shame, isn't it?
All these spirits must have gone to a penal camp in the spirit world in the Land of Darkness. It appears to me improbable that even though they were disobedient to God, they all were cast into the Lake of Fire. But it is not impossible.
I believe Christ preached the Good News of salvation to the spirits who drowned in the days Noah.
After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were obedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, (I Peter 3:19,20)
We see therefore that the purpose of the thousand-year period between the return of the Lord, and the coming down of the Royal Priesthood from the heavenly Zion, is to prepare both the Priesthood and the saved people from the nations for the eternal rule of the new Jerusalem.
Such is our point of view in the present hour.
On the seventh day of the creation, God did not work. Rather He developed in His mind the plan that would bring about obedience on the part of all mankind, except for those who refuse to obey Christ. The rightful place of residence for the rebellious is the Lake of Fire. If they were permitted to remain among the saved people of the nations they soon would reproduce what we see in the world today.
At the present time, God is watching over His Word, to perform it.
For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
We enter God's rest when we are completely and joyously obedient to every detail of God's will for us.
Today God's people are being taught that God has given us His "grace" so that we do not have to obey Him rigorously. We can disobey His will for us; and if we appeal to grace we are forgiven. In fact, I was taught in Bible school that God's requirements are so strict that no one can obey them.
What destructive nonsense the current teaching of grace is. "Grace" in actuality is the wisdom and power of God coming to us through the Lord Jesus Christ in order that we may strictly obey the teachings of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles in every detail of our existence.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (I John 5:3)
"The love of God is that we keep His commendments." An individual who trusts in grace to save them and continues to disobey Christ is not revealing love toward God.
A person raised in the current Evangelical doctrine of "grace" is not being prepared to teach the people of the nations obedience to the Father, because they themselves have not been taught obedience to the Father. Thus the theologic confusion among the churches.
The conversion of the nations to obedience to the one true God and the worship of Him will come about as the members of the Body of Christ serve as channels through which the living Water can flow.
"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." (John 7:38)
With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (Ezekiel 47:7)
The above are trees of life. Having been through the waters of judgment the Water of Life pours out to the nations from the Throne of God that is in them. This is the fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)
Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)
The work of evangelism must continue throughout the world. But it may be true that the emphasis of the present hour should be upon that of learning stern obedience to Christ and God. We can develop this characteristic by looking to the Lord Jesus for every thought we think; every word we speak; and every action that we take. This is how we enter the rest of God.
God has completed in vision all of His works through to the coming down of the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, through the sky to be established upon a high mountain of the new earth. From there the members of the Wife will nourish, teach, and judge those people of the nations who bring their treasures to the new Jerusalem.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
In the passage above we can see clearly the distinction between the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church, and the people from the nations who have been saved to citizenship on the new earth. This is what being "saved" means. It is to live forever under the Presence of Christ and His Church.
This is the Kingdom of God, and we must be found worthy to be part of it.
All this is evidence that God's judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)