The Big Picture
The subject of this essay is, “The Big Picture “. By big picture I mean the overall view of God’s plan for mankind. When putting together a large jigsaw puzzle it is often times helpful to first join together the corners and boarders to gain a sense of where the interior pieces fit in. Likewise, it is profitable for believers to understand the overview of God’s plan in order to have greater insight as to where they fit into our Father’s grand design.
To begin with, mankind was never meant to fall and God did not create us with that in mind. In fact, just as it is difficult for us to imagine being perfect it was equally difficult for Adam and Eve to imagine being imperfect. It was in their very nature to be perfect and they could hardly do otherwise. It took the intervention of Lucifer from outside this creation to impart his sin into their perfect world and entice them to disobey. This is important to realize because people sometimes have the mistaken view that God predestined Adam to fall, however, this is surely not the case at all. Had Satan not tempted Eve Eden would still be our home.
“But, didn’t God know that Adam would fall?” you protest. Most probably yes. God, through what we understand of divine foreknowledge, did know Adam would fall but that does not mean that He ever wanted or mandated Adams sin to take place. Odds were infinitely small that mankind would disobey God and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember that we, being finite, cannot understand how infinite knowledge actually functions but we do know this, the judge of the whole Earth always does right.
Moreover, there was an original plan that God had for mankind. Now days, we can hardly imagine what this could have been. However, the purpose our Father had for us to fulfill was simply amazing and had mankind not fallen we would still be realizing it today. In fact, in the New Heavens and New Earth, we will pick up where we left off and begin to fulfill the original plan of God. It all begins again when the tree of life is restored to us in New Jerusalem located in the world to come, the New Heavens and New Earth.
A very important principle to understand is that God always accomplishes His purposes no matter how long it takes. For example, the children of Israel came to the river Jordan the first time but failed to cross over because of unbelief. Did their unbelief stop God’s plan? No, it simply delayed it. That unbelieving generation circled the wilderness of Sin until they perished. While those who refused to enter into His promise bleached their bones in the wilderness, a new generation, ready to obey God, grew up in their stead. It took an extra forty years but the children of the children of Israel found themselves right back at the same place ready to cross the river.
In the big picture the fall of Mankind is but a seven thousand year detour from the original plan of God. Though quite long for us, this space of time, when viewed from the vantage point of eternity is but a small misstep at the beginning of an infinite journey. As one missed note by a single instrument of an orchestra does not spoil the whole symphony so to mankind’s own sour note will in no wise prevent the will of our Father from coming to pass. It is written,
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Part of the joy that was set before our Savior was the restoration of all things in His eternal kingdom to come. The prospect of being united with His bride forever gave Him courage in His sufferings. Jesus counted the present shame He endured as nothing compared with His eternal reward that awaited Him. Understanding the big picture allowed Him to put what He was going through in perspective and gave Him strength to suffer the cross.
Likewise, when we step back and realize that the life we are now engaged in is but a vapor that fades with the morning’s light it can give us courage to pick up our own cross and follow Him. There will come a day, an actual day, when we shall stand in the presence of the lover of our souls and hear loud voice say, “Now has come salvation”. It is an actual event which we, who know Jesus, will all partake of. This is why we can unbend ourselves and look up, for we know our redemption surely draws near. As Paul said in the book of Roman’s,
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
There are 6000 years of man’s rule and 1000 years of the millennial kingdom and then eternity. As an experiment, take a string and mark off 6 feet to represent the first 6000 years of man and then add one more foot to represent the 1000 year reign of Christ. Then, imagine a string attached to that first 7 feet stretching to the moon. I ask you, how significant is the first seven feet of your string as compared with its entire length?
The devil wants us to concentrate on our present worries so that we keep our eyes upon the ground and never look heavenward. He wants to cloud our vision so that we do not realize that, whatever our difficulties may be today, we have such a glorious future ahead of us that they are of little consequence. Satan wishes for us to believe the lie that following God is not worth it, when all the time He understands from personal experience what heaven holds for them that believe. Know this, your faith is not in vain, your obedience and sacrifice is not in vain, for Jesus promised this to His disciples,
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
We are approaching the end of the “time of the gentiles” and will shortly enter into a golden age of peace as foretold in the book of Revelation,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
There is about to be major shift in our set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices which constitutes our way of viewing Christian reality. We need to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for this eventuality. Just as during Christ’s first coming everything changed radically for the Jewish people so to, when this gentile church age closes and the millennium begins, everything will change just as radically for those who enter into His millennial kingdom.
The “times of the Gentiles’ is a 2000 year detour from the original plan of God. Due to Israel’s unbelief we were grafted into the natural olive tree even though we were a wild branch. However, soon we will be taken out of the way and the “children of Israel” will be grafted back in. YHWH will then continue with His plan for Israel much as He did with the new generation of Jews that stood upon the banks of the river Jordan a second time. It is prophesied in the book of Isaiah,
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.”
Moses gave the Ten Commandments to the children of Israel twice. The first time they were unworthy of God’s law and the tablets were broken. This typological picture points to the possibility that since the Jewish people never kept the law of God they may be called back to receive the Law a second time. Perhaps, during the millennium, Israel will again be put under Moses a second time as a school master to bring them to Christ. Read the latter chapters of the book of Ezekiel to search the scriptures on this point.
We must remember that God chose Israel and that His plan is still centered on them. After Israel decides to return to YHWH they will again be front and center in His dealings with mankind. We, the gentiles, need to keep this firmly in mind as we consider our place in scripture and in light of prophecy that speaks primarily to Israel. In my opinion some who seek to teach about end time events commit the mistake of making prophetic events too much about us and not enough about them. Here is a truth:
“Jesus is a Jewish Messiah”
As an example of how much the unchangeable can change let us consider the doctrine of circumcision. Circumcision was “the sign” of God’s covenant with Abraham. Every Jewish male had to be circumcised or he could not be an Israelite. Remember, the Jews felt that the Law of Moses was eternal and yet after Jesus came Paul said the very sign of the covenant was nothing. We read in 1 Corinthians,
“Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.”
Even though circumcision was “the sign” of the covenant with God, Paul, an admitted Pharisee of the Pharisees, said that it was not necessary anymore. If the sign is not necessary then the covenant is no longer valid. Do you see how radically everything changed for Jewish believers? I tell you a truth, when the times of the gentiles close everything we know will change just as radically and it will be God’s doing. The Gentiles are not the focus of the plan of God in this earth and we should humble ourselves, realize this, and know that only through Israel’s fall have we received mercy and been blessed.
Does that mean we are nothing in God’s plan? No, we are privileged to have accepted Jesus as our Messiah even before most of His chosen people. The blindness of Israel was our salvation. We are blessed to have the promise of the Father poured out upon us. We have had the opportunity to stand in Israel’s stead for almost 2000 years, receiving their promises and their blessings, while they have languished in unbelief. This has been an amazing time for us and we can be proud of all that God has accomplished through us. But our time is closing and their time is about to begin again. Let us step aside in humility and welcome our elder brothers back, as it were from the dead, and pray for their full restoration. God prophesies Israel re-gathering and rebirth in the book of Ezekiel,
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”
In conclusion, the New Heavens and New Earth is the main event. Everything that leads up to this last great day is merely a detour from Gods original plan for mankind. The millennium is for Israel, and the times of the Gentiles, after the manifestation of the sons of God takes place, will come to a close. Amen.