God’s plans cannot be thwarted

Our great, glorious God’s plan is to establish an eternal Kingdom of Peace and Love on the new heaven and earth.  There He will live with all people who accepted and loved Him this side of the grave.  He will be our God and we will be His people.  The 66 books of the Bible contain this revelation of God to man.

It took us many years to understand it.  After decades in the church, we realized that we were not ready to meet God.  We closed our business and began to seek God full time.  It is during these years that our wonderful heavenly Father started to reveal more and more of His plan to us.

In the process we learnt that:   

  1. Believers in God live as strangers in hostile surroundings in this life.  Scripture tells us that we are aliens and will not be popular with the world:

 

    • ‘All these people [like Noah, Abraham and others] were still living by faith when they died….  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.’ 1
    • ‘To God’s elect, strangers in the world….’ 2
    • ‘If the world hates you [Jesus’ disciples], keep in mind that it hated me first.’ 3

2.   We live as aliens on this earth, because the ruler of the world is a very evil liar and             murderer:

    • ‘…the devil…was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.’  4
    • ‘…the whole world is under the control of the evil one.’ 5

3.   So it looks as if the odds are stacked against the followers of Jesus.  So we had some questions:

    • Will God accomplish what He promises?
    • Will He be able to get rid of this world ruler?

To find out, we want to look at some very specific promises of God which were all opposed by the devil, and see what the outcome was.  That should give us an idea of what we can expect at the end of this age.

4.   We are going to look at:

  • God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.  This is the promise that, if fulfilled, will mean God’s plan will succeed, no matter what.  We want to trace the events flowing from this basic promise, namely God’s promises to:
    • Abraham
    • David
    • Jesus

God’s ‘big’ promise in Genesis 3:15

Very early in the Bible’s history, God promised the devil,

  • ’…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’ 6
  • Obviously it does not apply to a physical snake.  The enmity between the offspring of the woman and the serpent has to do with someone who will be born of a woman who will crush the head of the devil.
  • God addressed the literal snake when He said, ’Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.’ 7 That was meant for the real snake, who must have looked different from the snakes of today who are cursed because of their ancestor.
  • God distinguished between the snake and the serpent (Satan) and judged each one individually.

What did Satan make of God’s ‘promise?’   

He, the exalted, fallen angel with his wisdom and pride, was not in the least impressed.  After all, he successfully initiated a full scale angelic defection from God’s Kingdom and got the first human couple to obey him instead of God.  So does God want to tell him that some person, born of a woman, will someday crush his head?  Yet he knew God and realized that he will have to be on the watch for someone to be born of a woman.

Genesis 3:15 is basically a promise that a Redeemer would arrive to free humans from the tyranny of the devil.  The great dragon, that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, would eventually be crushed. 8  This was not a pleasant thought to the devil.  So he designed a strategy to destroy this promise of God.

The devil’s first major offensive – against the seed (offspring) of the woman

The devil knew that the key to thwart God’s promise lies with women, someone who would give birth to one who would be victorious over the ‘serpent.’  All he had to do was mess up the ‘seed’ of the woman.  In his evil mind he conceived a plan: get his demons to intermarry with women.  So he planned that his demons leave their assigned place, cohabit with humans, marry women and produce ‘mixed’ blood offspring.  This he did:

  • ‘When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they married any of them they chose.’ 9

If the devil’s plan succeeded, he could tell God that the blood of the Messiah is tainted by his demonic influences.  Therefore demons should be included in salvation, or no human being could be saved.  Either way he wins.  However, God decided to get rid of the mixed blood humans.  A universal flood would be used to destroy all humans, except Noah and his family.  They were untainted by the demonic influence.  The flood proved that the devil’s carefully designed strategy failed.  Would the devil try his luck again?  No, since:

  • God promised never again to destroy the earth by a flood.
  • God punished the angels who took part in this ploy:
    • ‘And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these He has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the Great Day.’ 10
    • ‘…God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment….’ 11

These fallen angels who left their assigned positions of authority (they were not created to physically mingle with humans), were treated differently from Satan’s demons (fallen angels). At present they are still roaming around, harassing humans.  The devil probably realized that his demonic host will just be depleted if he tries again to get his demons to marry women. So he admitted defeat and just keeps on trying to thwart God’s plan of an eternal Kingdom. He still has millions of demons doing his bidding:

    • ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  Have you come to destroy us?.’ 12
    • ‘…and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but He would not let the demons speak because they knew who He was.’ 13
    • ‘The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.’ 14

Conclusion 

The first offensive of the devil against God was a complete failure.

Note! For more information on the ‘sons of God’ in Genesis 6 and what they did, refer to J Sarfati, The Genesis Account, Creation Book Publishers, 2015, p 473-480.

References

  1. Hebrews 11:13
  2. 1 Peter 1:1
  3. John 15:18
  4. John 8:44
  5. 1 John 5:19b
  6. Genesis 3:15
  7. Genesis 3:14
  8. Revelation 12:9
  9. Genesis 6:1-2
  10. Jude 6
  11. 2 Peter 2:4
  12. Mark 1:24
  13. Mark 1:34
  14. 1 Timothy 4:1

Some interesting tidbits about the Old Testament

The Jews believed firmly in the Shema, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ 1  So when Jesus said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ 2 they questioned Him.  Jesus answered, ‘… If He called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture [Old Testament] cannot be broken….’’ 3

#  Jesus declared:

  • The word (Word) of God is Scripture.
  • Scripture is the Word of God.
  • Scripture cannot be broken.

#  Why can’t Scripture be broken?

Besides that it is the Word of the eternal God, it must be available to all people in all ages.  It is imperative that people since about 400 BC (Malachi is the last book of Old Testament) have the same document that expresses the will of God.  The Bible is the map that shows the way to eternal life on the new heavens and earth.

#  Jesus never once doubted the Old Testament Scriptures,

When Judas Iscariot led the crowd, sent from the chief priests and the elders, to arrest Him, Jesus said, ’But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, never doubted the truth and accuracy of the Old Testament.

#  It never once says the word of God came to Jesus.

The reason is that Jesus is God, revealed to us in the New Testament.  He is ‘the Word of God,’ according to John 1:1 &14 and Revelation 19:13, who spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit.  So the word of God did not come to Him, He is the Word.

#  The Old Testament teaches about Jesus.

Paul wrote, ‘…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures [Old Testament], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 5

#  God exalted His Word:

It is written, ‘…For you [Lord] have exalted above all things your Name and your Word.’ 6

#  What should our attitudes be?

Followers of Jesus who are filled with the Holy Spirit should have the same attitude as our Lord Jesus.  The Old Testament is the Word of God and thus important for us to hear what God says to us.

Conclusion

Let’s agree with the psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, ‘I have put my hope in your word.’ 7

References

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4
  2. John 10:30
  3. John 10:35
  4. Matthew 26:54
  5. 2 Timothy 3:15
  6. Psalm 138:b
  7. Psalm 119:74, 81, 114, 147

How to answer questions about Jesus

People often ask whether the Old Testament (75% of the Bible) is necessary?  There are churches who concentrate only on the New Testament message that Jesus Christ saves from sins.  It is a true statement, but the problems begin when people in those congregations have to answer why they believe it.  It is a difficult question to answer when you concentrate only on the 25% of the New Testament.

#  Possible questions 

  • Why is a person born in sin and why does he need to be forgiven?
  • Why can’t Jesus just forgive all people their sins?
  • If your sins are forgiven, does that mean you can live as you like, with the ‘guarantee’ to enter heaven?
  • If Jesus forgives sins, what about Allah, Buddha and others?

#  Possible answers

You can only answer those question, and many others like them, if you take a Kingdom view of Scripture (Old + New Testament), instead of a New Testament view only.   The differences in broad terms are the following:

  • The ‘Jesus saves’ view,  ‘She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ 1 
  • The Kingdom view, ‘The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; His Kingdom will never end.’ 2

In broad terms, we can say the Matthew version is the New Testament one, Jesus saves.  The Luke version is the Kingdom view, which includes both testaments.  Note the references to Jacob and David in the Old Testament.

#  Answers from both testaments

The complete Bible gives a more comprehensive view of Jesus’ work on earth.  Look at some aspects:

  • Adam was banished from Eden because of his disobedience.
  • Eden, which represents God’s ideal Kingdom, expects obedience from its citizens.
  • The Old Testament proves that eventually obedience is an elusive concept, because the Israelites failed most of the time.  The Gentiles also failed.
  • God’s New Covenant was in Jesus.3  He would cleanse people’s hearts by forgiveness, and fill them with the Holy Spirit who lives in a ‘clean’ house.
  • Only the Holy Spirit can help a person to be obedient to God, based on what the Bible teaches.
  • Only through Jesus are we reconciled to God.  The fellowship was broken by Adam’s disobedience.

Conclusion

The Kingdom view of Jesus’ work on earth does not minimize Jesus’ work.  On the contrary, through the failure of Adam, one understands how important Jesus is.  Only He reconciles us with God, only He can give God children.  Only by taking into consideration the whole message of the whole Bible can we answer why Jesus had to die to forgive our sins.

References

  1. Matthew 1:21
  2. Luke 1:32
  3. Jeremiah 31:31-34