It may be April Fools Day; but, this is not a prank. It is also a week after Good Friday, and five days after Easter. And, when I got up this morning (03-31), I had no idea for this post. But, as my wife and I went through our morning devotions, I got my inspiration. I’d like to give you a bit of a summary about “God’s Great Plans,” and where we stand in relationship to them—from my current vantage point.
God created the universe and everything in it, including a planet perfectly designed and positioned for Mankind. We call it, …Earth.
We don’t know exactly when God created Adam and Eve. But we do know that God had an incredible plan for them, and their (future) children. He placed them in a garden called Eden, and visited with them regularly. He told Adam, “You may freely eat the fruit of any tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” [Genesis 2:16-17, NLT].i Life for Adam and Eve was perfect. They were living in paradise.
But then, Adam and Eve ignored God’s instruction and ate the forbidden fruit. Because they chose to do this of their own free-will, and disobeying God’s will, God’s judgment was swift. It was also just. After all, Adam and Eve, through their sin, had set in motion the world’s tendency to disobey God.ii
But, God also had a plan. A plan that could ultimately lead mankind back into righteousness and restoration to Himself.
Now, while I have learned a fair amount about how God thinks from reading the Bible; and, from the life-lessons I have been taught—I don’t know if the following is how God was thinking, or not. But, it seems plausible…. Original sin came about because Adam and Eve exercised their free-will and chose to disobey God. Therefore, it seems only fitting (to me) that God’s plan would also require us to use our free-will. This time, to make the decision that removes the curse of death, while giving us forgiveness, righteousness, and restoration to God. So, what is this plan, exactly. And what is the decision we will make? (Please remember, knowing the plan and not making a decision counts as a “NO—unless you should have a chance to change it to a “YES”.) Here is the plan:
“…God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. [John 3:16-18. NLT]
On earth, Jesus was born of a virgin who had been impregnated super-naturally by the Holy Spirit. Thus, becoming the Son of Man (a name Jesus often used when referring to Himself). He lived a sinless life; and, during the last three years of His life on earth He performed many miracles—including raising people from the dead. He also called himself “The Son of God” to indicate where His power to heal and perform other miracles came from. The leaders of the Jewish Nation, expecting a powerful warrior, failed to recognize the fulfillment of their own prophetic scriptures of the Messiah, found throughout the Old Testament.iii That, and fearing for their own positions of ease and power, they conspired to have Jesus crucified. Thus, as He died He became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
Old testament prophecy and Jesus himself, predicted that on the third day after His death, He would rise from the dead, …and walk out of His tomb. Proving to this day, and forever, that Jesus Christ is alive and offers us forgiveness of our sins, a new life on earth, righteousness, reconciliation with God, and eternal life. All we have to do is, make the decision to believe in Jesus, ask for the forgiveness of our sins, and recognize him as our Lord and Savior—when we are called. Jesus calls us through the murmurings of the Holy Spirit. If you are not saved, but find yourself being led to think about God, your sins, and His plan for your Salvation; by thoughts occurring within your heart and/or mind, you should listen. That is how the spirit works. And, you may never have another opportunity to make this decision.
There is also, another part to God’s story. We know from scripture that this world will come to an end—much sooner than scientists predict. In the Old Testament you will find prophecy about this. Jesus also spoke about this, as did John and other writers of the New Testament. We are told that we will not know the hour, let alone the day, of Jesus’ return. It will be a surprise! And, this time He will return as a conqueror. Every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess that He is God. On that day—the instant it happens—it will be too late for anyone who is not already saved, to take care of that “little detail”. While Jesus tells us we cannot predict the “End Times” He does give us signs that can tell us when the end is getting near. One such passage is found in Matthew 24:4-50.iv
So, I see this as four stages for mankind on planet Earth. The first: from the creation of Adam until he and Eve introduced sin into the world. The second stage: from original sin until the death of Christ on the cross. We are living in the third stage: i.e. from the cross to the “Second Coming” of Christ. The fourth stage will be eternity with our God, which will start immediately after the Second Coming.
I’m sitting here, over-whelmed. In one respect I think it almost sacrilege to condense your story into two pages. It is simply too big, too glorious, too important. My hope is that my readers will use this as a starting point to dig into the Bible and see it’s incredible consistency and the expression of your great unending love for your creation, …Mankind.
And, while I think we are now living some of the early hints of the impending End Times; and, as much as I look forward to eternity with you—I trust you will delay your final coming until the very last of your chosen accepts your free gift of salvation.
Thank you Lord, for hearing my prayer, Amen.
i Scripture quotations marked [NLT] are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
ii You can red the story in Genesis 3.
iii Messiah: the one anointed by God to deliver His people and establish His kingdom. Christ: from the Greek word Christos which means Messiah.
iv A note of caution: Prophesy is not easy to understand, partially because some is short-term and has already happened. Also, it is very difficult to put it in sequential order. Bible scholars often disagree on timing and sometimes even meaning. The best book I have come across, is: Ron Rhodes: THE END TIMES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. Copyright © 2012 by Ron Rhodes, Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon 97402.