Monday, June 16, 2014
WHAT IS GOD DOING?
What in the World Is God Doing? By Gene Lawley Here in America we have a culture that has not been slam-dunked very much in past decades. Not since the Civil War have we fought wars on our own land, and of course, that one was against each other. We seem to have developed a mindset that nothing should go wrong, and America will survive forever and ever. But something seems to be going wrong, nevertheless. Are we collectively thinking, “What is God doing?” (That is, by those who are thinking with any awareness at all.) The sovereignty of God over the entire world is declared by the psalmist in Psalm 62:11, “God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.” And further, in Psalm 75:6-8, he tells us that it is God who puts leaders in place to bring judgment upon sinfulness, for He has a purpose to forward His plans and appointed times. As Daniel sought the Lord for answers about Nebuchadnezzar's dream, he recorded this: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22). God knows the end from the beginning, this is well-established in the Bible and for those who have been paying attention; the facts on the ground—the compelling evidences—are exploding before our eyes. For example, after the weekend of June 7-8, 2014, when Pope Francis had met with the Palestine leader, Abbas and the president of Israel, Peres at the Vatican to pray for peace, and with Utah Senator Mike Lee representing the Mormons, and Joel Osteen, apparently representing Protestants, this headline appeared: “Pope Francis on Frantic Quest to Unite All Religions Under Rome.”  Beginning Where It All Started According to Titus 1:2 God had a plan of redemption for mankind in place before time began. So He knew before creation that His highest creation, man, would fall away and need to be rescued from his rebellion against his Creator. It is too much for this finite mind to grasp how One who is eternal and always is, never was, can map out a plan for mankind in blocks of time and arrive at a predicted ending result. But God did it! He knows the end from the beginning, and vice versa. When man rebelled, he took the bait from the devil, hook, line and sinker, as the saying goes. The first two offspring of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, revealed in their lives a division that permeates mankind to this very day—a lineage of faith and one of works of the flesh. Cain murdered Abel! Later on one of God’s spokesmen would write down the core method of His overall plan: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4). But the principle of faith ruled in the relationship from the very beginning. In succeeding segments of time various effects of man’s rebellion were dealt with, including the judgments of Noah’s flood and later, the Tower of Babel and the confusion of tongues that scattered mankind into all the world. Hidden in the details of those and other interchanges between man and God were foreshadows of things to come. In all of these periods of time God miraculously held together and maintained that thread line of faith from Adam to his son, Seth, who replaced Abel, and following to succeeding generations. At this point, Stephen’s message to the religious leaders after the resurrection of Jesus gives us a concise summary from the calling forth of Abraham up to that time in Jewish history. Look it up in Acts 6:8 to 7:60. Here you will see the struggles of the Hebrew nation, the promise of a coming prophet like Moses and their rejection of Him when He did not come as a conquering sovereign who would free them from bondage to Rome. Or, was it because He exposed their self-righteous sinfulness? When Moses was given the law on Mount Sinai and later, as recorded in Leviticus 23, God gave him instructions for seven annual festivals that were to be celebrated on specific days every year. It was a package deal and marked the Hebrew calendar for all years following that time. The feasts started with the Passover celebration, which was strong in their memory, having been the final straw that broke the hold over the Hebrews by the Egyptian Pharaoh. But this festival also pointed to a future Passover that would fulfill the foreshadowing promise in the feast. That first feast was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross, and two immediately afterward were the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of First Fruits. As Jesus was in the grave for three days and nights, then rose again, bodily, He also fulfilled those two portraying festivals. Fifty days later the Feast of Pentecost was celebrated and the promise of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers was fulfilled. These four of the seven feasts had been fulfilled, and Stephen was among that first wave of believers who then “turned the world upside down!” The disciples had gathered around Jesus just before He ascended to heaven and asked Him if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel at that time. Jesus indicated that that was for another time and season and directed them to another purpose, that of being witnesses to Him throughout the whole world. Thus began the project that James describes in Acts 15:14 as a time when God would “take out of the Gentiles a people for His name.” Paul later declares, in Romans 11:25, that this period of time would continue until “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in,” and Israel would be blinded in part to the promises of the gospel until that “fullness” was accomplished. These subsequent centuries, then, have seen the carrying out of that commission of Acts 1:8. Luke records in his gospel account these words of Jesus: “And they [of Israel] will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24). He sums up the scattering of all Jews from their land after the destruction of Jerusalem and their temple in 70 A.D. and their final uprising and defeat in 136 A.D. In the words of the prophets God had told them this would happen and that in the latter days He would restore them to their land (Ezekiel 36). Jesus told the disciples a parable of the fig tree: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place” (Luke 21:29-32). It is broadly recognized that Jesus is referring to Israel as the fig tree, and its budding with new life as pointing to Israel’s restoration as a nation among the nations. Israel was recognized as a sovereign nation by the United Nations on May 14, 1948. In the passage above we can see that this “budding of the fig tree” means that God’s time for the completion of the “times of the Gentiles” is nearing its end. Jesus says that the generation alive at the time of the budding will see all things that are to come to pass until Jesus returns again. The budding of “other trees” in that parable could be referring to the growing formation of the one world government. If you could squeeze the centuries since the crucifixion into the layout of one Jewish calendar year with its marked feast days, you would see the first sixty days, generally, covering the times of the first four feasts, then a lengthy period of time that matches that period of time that some call the age of grace, the time when God is taking out of the Gentiles a people for His name. Then you would see that the summer months having neared their end and the final harvest days are approaching. You would also see the final three feasts marked on the calendar and note that their fulfillments have not happened yet, but this generation has not ended. Jesus said “when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31). God’s Parallel Purposes In the total plan of God there seems to be two parallel purposes, perhaps even three. One, the redemption of fallen man through the sacrifice of a perfect man, Jesus Christ, who was God manifested in the flesh, that by His shed blood sin might be forgiven. (“…Without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22). The second, actually not unlike the first, in that it was proof that man could not save himself, is the proof to mankind that he is not able to govern himself, even in the best of circumstances. At the proper time, God pulled Abraham out of Ur and his family to make of him a new nation, wherein God would be their King. Eventually, the Israelites wanted a king like the evil nations around them. So God had Samuel anoint a man named Saul from the tribe of Benjamin who was a stalwart specimen of humanity and looked kingly to the people. But he did not have a heart for God and failed miserably. However, note this—he was not of the tribe of Judah, from which Jacob had said that the scepter would never depart (Genesis 49:10). And in that foreknowledge, Jacob was looking far ahead to the coming of the Messiah from the tribe of Judah. So the king thing did not work out; the Israelites continued to rebel against the Lord, even to their kings being evil and disobedient. It led to God’s punishment by scattering them to the far corners of the earth while He reached out to the Gentiles with the gospel to bring forth from them a people for His name. However, the Hebrew nation served the purpose of being a vehicle and an environment for the entrance of God into man’s history and to nurture Him to and for His ultimate purpose of the Cross at Calvary. As the plan developed over the centuries, known as the church, the Body of Christ, the true believers, governments and kingdoms were born and expired while organized religion flourished. Finally, an earnest desire for freedom from state controlled religion led men to the New World and an opportunity for freedom of worship of God as their hearts desired. The United States of America was formed with a Declaration of Independence, a Constitution, and a Bill of Rights that was to ensure a citizen’s freedom under the laws of the land. But alas, it was not to be so. It has turned out with the Gentiles, just as it has been seen with the Hebrews, and just as God has allowed man to prove once again: Sinful man cannot govern himself, even with a government structured with God-given principles of moral integrity, truth and justice. Thus we see this great nation drained of its moral integrity and struggling with internal conflicting ideologies of individual freedom versus a social welfare society dependent on government bureaucracy. The internal secret complicity for the destruction of America’s sovereignty for the ultimate One World Government seemingly is threaded into the very fabric of every agency of the government and apparently, it only awaits God’s appointed time for its conclusion. A possible third purpose in God’s plan has to do with the universal spiritual warfare between good and evil, between God and Satan. In Ephesians 6:12 it speaks of spiritual wickedness in high places. This could well be speaking of that wickedness finding its expression in high places in government as well as in the heavens. It seems that the judgments and evilness of man described in the gospel accounts of the end-times and in Revelation are effected on earth, and that “great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads,” as Satan is identified in Revelation 12:3, is said to be the power, throne and authority of all the kingdoms of the world and that coming beast of world domination, the one world government (Revelation 13:2). The end result of that scenario is reported in Revelation 19 and 20 and shows God as the winner. The three facets of God’s plan are on schedule. The times and seasons are here. [Jesus said,] “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke21:28). In another place He alerts us to: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). It is well past time to take those words seriously! Endnotes  http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=22485 Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org