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God’S Redeeming Plan: From the Creation to the Revelation

God’S Redeeming Plan: From the Creation to the Revelation

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God’S Redeeming Plan: From the Creation to the Revelation

Lunghezza:
702 pagine
11 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 24, 2011
ISBN:
9781449719845
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

This book is about the hope of mankind for a more satisfying and meaningful life based on the knowledge of God and Christ. A better understanding of the Word of God results in producing faith, hope, and love in the hearts of readers and believers. The complete Word of God revealed in the Bible is believed and practiced by millions. This book is written in language that is easy to understand and reveals the mystery of salvation for everyone.

Author William Edward Dewberry hopes to give a comprehensible view of Gods plan that will lead readers to examine the Holy Scriptures more thoroughly and become better acquainted with the plan of God that is able to lead a person to salvation through their faith in Christ. The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart [that is, the word of faith that we preach] that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10)

This book explains the redeeming plan of God, the great benefits of believing, and the dire consequences of ignoring the Creator and His Son, Jesus Christ. It explains Gods plan from the day of creation to the day that the earth and everything in it will be destroyed by extreme heat. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness. (2nd Peter 3:10-11)

Pubblicato:
Jun 24, 2011
ISBN:
9781449719845
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

William Edward Dewberry is retired from ATT, where he worked as a data communications technician. He has been married to Uvonne for fifty-seven years. They presently live in St Francis Village near Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served in his church as a teacher, elder, deacon, and itinerant preacher.

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God’S Redeeming Plan - William Edward Dewberry

Christ.

Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part One

The Beginning Of Time

God The Creator

Nature Of God

Satan The Great Adversary

Genesis: The Account Of The Creation

The Consequences Of Sin

Part Two

God’s Chosen Leaders

God’s Covenant With Abraham, A Faithful Servant

God’s Covenant With Isaac And Jacob

The Israelites In Egypt

Moses: The Israelites’ Deliverer

God Gives Moses The Ten Commandments

Part Three

The Nation Of Israel

The Conquest Of Canaan

The Nation Of Israel In Canaan

United Monarchy Under Kings

Kingdom Divided And Taken Into Exile

Part Four

Prophecy

Jeremiah’s Prophecy

Book Of Daniel

Prophecy To Judah, The Southern Kingdom

The History Of The People Of Judah After Babylonian Exile

Part Five

The Messiah

Gospel Of Luke And The Life Of Christ

The Holy Spirit

Acts Of The Apostles

Characteristics Of The Church

Part Six

Revelation, The End Time, And The End Of Time

Introduction To Revelation

The Theme Of Revelation

The Seven Sections Of Revelation

PREFACE

I am convinced that, regardless of a person’s religious background, an understanding of the Bible should be included in his or her education. My purpose for writing this book is not to present any known church name or doctrine but to present an unbiased view and understanding of God, the creator of the world and its people. The Bible is the main source of my information, however for the past sixty years of my life I have gathered information from many reference books. I have attended two Bible colleges, and I have been active in church life since a newborn babe in Christ and have served in the capacity of minister, elder, deacon, teacher, and other works of the church. I have observed that an overall understanding of the word of God is the most important function of any church group in promoting spirituality and unity in the church body.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

With loving appreciation to my wife, Uvonne, who spent many hours editing this book and making it possible for me to publish it. Her efforts were truly a labor of love on her part. Her many years of devotion and her input and skills were truly a great help to me.

INTRODUCTION

This document is an overview of the relationship between God and man from the beginning of time to the end of time. God has communicated with mankind visibly through His creation of all things and by His immutable word in the Bible. Romans 1:20–21: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Within the confines of world history, God has been known by many names that describe His personality and attributes. The most basic name for God in Hebrew is El, with adjectives being added to describe God at various times in his association with mankind. God’s name was defined by his actions at any given time. Six terms that are used in the original Hebrew, Greek, and English Bible versions that make reference to God are El, Eloah, and Elohim, the plural of Eloah, who is the God of creation. God was known by the name El Elyon, the Most High God by the Gentile people. God told Moses His name was Yahweh, the Lord, and He told Abraham He was the El Shaddai, the Almighty God. The Jews called God Jehovah beginning in the twelfth century because they considered the name Yahweh too sacred to be spoken.

The first part of this book contains a synopsis of God’s plan from the beginning of time up to, and including, the first century AD when the kingdom of God was first established on earth. This book reveals God the creator, Satan the evil adversary of God and man, and God’s solution for redeeming man from sin.

When God created the world, He prepared a garden of paradise in which mankind could live, but, because of sin, mankind lost its right to life in the garden of Eden and was subjected to live on the earth outside the beautiful garden. Life became a hardship with toil, frustration, grief, and tribulation.

Man also lost his relationship with God because he sinned against God and was unable to redeem himself. But because of God’s compassion, grace, and love, He devised a plan to redeem mankind from sin and restore full fellowship between Himself and man through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. God knew man would sin, and He had the redeeming plan in mind even before the plan began to unfold in the book of Genesis. There were many intervening years before God’s redeeming plan could run its course and the redemption of mankind took place.

This book is my written explanation of God’s redeeming plan for the salvation of mankind, which is revealed in God’s written word, and of God’s association with mankind beginning with the creation and ending with the events of the end of time in the book of Revelation. It is suitable and informative for those with little or no knowledge of God’s Word, as well as for those who are students of the Bible.

Near the end of the first century, the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. The last part of this book is a comprehensive study of the book of Revelation and gives an in-depth explanation of the terrible events of the last days of mankind on earth. It reveals a period of time when the church (kingdom of God) will suffer persecution from Satan and an evil world empire for a specified time before Christ returns to claim those who belong to Him. Christ and His angels will come from heaven and save God’s people from extermination, rescuing the church from the earth and placing it in a new heaven and a new earth. Then God will utterly destroy the existing earth and everything in it.

Man alone is responsible for the sin and suffering that accompanies his time on Earth. Paul noted in Romans that everything God does works for the good of those who love the Lord. Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Ephesians 1:3–6: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved."

God calls all people to love and obey Him. His purpose in calling everyone is to justify and glorify them because all people sin and fall short of the glory of God. We receive spiritual blessings of God to strengthen us and help us endure while we wait for the return of Christ. The suffering we experience in this life cannot be compared with the eternal joy and glory we will have with Christ in the new heaven and new earth in eternity.

This study of God, man, and Satan begins with God the creator and is followed by Satan the adversary of God, the creation, the fall of man from the grace of God, and God’s remedy for man’s guilt of sin.

It is my hope that the readers of this document will gain a better understanding of the redeeming plan of God.

PART ONE

The Beginning of Time

GOD THE CREATOR

The question of who created the universe and everything in it is a question that has entered the minds of people from the beginning of time. Men of science endeavor to find answers to those questions by depending on scientific investigation for proof. Scientific knowledge has steadily increased over the years, and the investigation continues, but after countless hours of investigation and spending billions of dollars for research, scientists are no closer to bridging the connection between matter and life or of proving the theory of evolution; in fact, there are many scientific arguments that disprove the theory of evolution.

Many God-fearing scientists work together with unbelieving scientists, with neither trying to prove or disprove the existence of God but simply to explore science. The laws that have come from research and investigation all support the belief that the universe could not have created itself.

The universe, then, must have been designed and created and is being sustained by an unlimited energy source that Christians believe is God. The big bang theory, which states that the creation of the universe took place all at once from a source that is more powerful and intelligent than our minds can comprehend, seems to be correct if we realize that the big bang was the work of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. God created all of the components and then, like a big bang, God formed them into everything that we now know exists on earth and in space, and everything works with wonderful organization and its necessary purpose to sustain and complement human life in our solar system.

Without evidence to the contrary, the most reasonable belief is what the Bible teaches about creation.

Genesis 1:1–2: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The concept of God in the Bible is that God exists in three personalities—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—and all three took part in the creation. Colossians 1:15–17: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And he is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Psalm 19:1–4: The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.

No matter where you go on earth or in its atmosphere or in space or beyond, the evidence of God’s creation can be seen. Isaiah 40:21–22: Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.

In our modern world of technology, men have built powerful telescopes to look far beyond the solar system of the earth and explore outer space. In the Bible, the earth is singular, but the heavens are plural because God created many heavens. Heaven is not a scientific word but a concept in religion as the place in space where God and the celestial beings live: Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the angels. Ancient people believed that there were many heavens.

There is not just one single definition of the word heaven. Heaven has many meanings, which are related to each other. Some define heaven as the arch, vault, or sky above the earth, and we think of heaven as the place far above earth where God lives. One definition of heaven is a place where God’s immediate presence is felt. God’s presence can be felt here on earth in His creations. His divine fingerprints are all over the earth.

The word heaven in the Bible was also used like we use the word space, and a plurality of heavens means there is more than one heaven. The Bible mentions the third heaven, and some talk about seven heavens. When Christ ascended to heaven in the first century, He passed through the heavens. The New Testament mentions places like Hades, hell, and the third heaven. Besides being the place where God dwells, we can reason that there are other places in space created by God for a special purpose. Celestial beings and spirits inhabit some of the heavens.

Psalm 8:3–5: When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which you have ordained, What is man that you are mindful of him, And the son of man that you visit Him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Hebrews 1:10–12: You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but, You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And your years will not fail.

The angels and other celestial beings that God made are spirits that can defy the forces of gravity and move swiftly through space with little resistance, because they are spirits that can travel at least near the speed of light (186,000 miles per second) and possibly faster by exerting more of their energy to propel them.

The invisible spiritual forces of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; angels; demons; and Satan can move swiftly through space and be felt by the mind and heart of mankind at any time of their choosing. Daniel 9:21: …yes, while I was speaking in prayer, the man (angel) Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, reached me about the time of the evening offering.

There are rays of light, radio waves, gamma rays, X-rays, and many other forms of electromagnetic waves of energy. Electromagnetic radiation can be described as a stream of photons that are without mass. Particles travel in a wave-like pattern and move at the speed of light through empty space. Since creation, people have been aware that there are certain electromagnetic forces around us that are invisible and cannot be detected by the sense of smell, taste, or touch, but we know they exist because we can see, feel, and hear the effects caused by the invisible forces, such as the wind, which we can detect.

We cannot see God but we believe that He exists because with our senses we experience God’s creation. The spirit of man has a heart and mind that can feel the spiritual presence and existence of God even though He is invisible. God made it possible for us to find Him with our spirit. Some people may be unaware that they actually feel the presence of God at times when they are spiritually minded. God is near every one of us, and we can sense His presence. We live and have our being in Him.

God’s intelligent design and His laws that created and govern the universe and our solar system are the only things that permit human life to exist and flourish in this solar system. The galaxy we live in is only one of many, but it is unique because God put the planet earth and the right level of the force of gravity in our galaxy. God made a special, beautiful place for the creation of life and sustenance for mankind.

Psalm 8:1–9: O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is your name in all the earth, Who have set your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, that You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? For you made him a little lower than the angels and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Considering all space that we know of and the space we have not found yet, we can say that what we know about space is that it is immeasurable and unimaginably immense. Any effort to find the source of existence of the universe is purely hypothetical. Scientists have difficulty because they conduct their research on the belief that nothing exists beyond what can be seen, measured, or felt. Christians base their belief in God on faith as expressed in the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:1–3: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

The worlds are made from particles of matter that are not visible to human eyes, and scientists agree with the theory of atoms as the building blocks of all matter, even though one atom alone cannot be seen. From the generation of Adam and Eve to today, some people have believed in the God of creation, and they have left us their testimony. Christians base their knowledge and understanding of the mysteries of the universe and the existence of living, moral, intelligent human beings with their gifts of inductive and deductive reason on faith and logic in an effort to understand who we are, what we are, and where we came from. We conclude their understanding with a belief in an omniscient, omnipotent creator we call God, the Holy Spirit, and the Son of God. Christians, including some scientists, base their understanding on the infinite wisdom of God as well as scientific investigation. Christians use the advantage of the Holy Bible, even though some may dispute the authenticity of the Bible as the word of the living God, the creator of the universe.

The available evidence of the authenticity of the Bible is so greatly in evidence that I will mention only some of the evidences. They are archaeology and a great number of ancient manuscripts, such as 5,300 Greek manuscripts; 10,000 Latin Vulgate manuscripts; the Samaritan Pentateuch manuscripts (400 BC); the Septuagint Greek manuscripts (280 BC); and 9,300 other various manuscripts. Copies of the manuscripts make it possible to reconstruct the original documents with almost complete accuracy.

The Bible is God’s Word, and God specifically chose men to write the Old Testament and New Testament. The Spirit of God inspired these men as they wrote. The entire Bible, consisting of both testaments, tells the story of the creation and the history of God’s interaction with mankind in the process of the salvation of mankind. Each book in the Bible tells a part of the entire story, and each of the sixty-six books complements the other books in telling one complete story.

Forty different authors wrote the Bible over a period of 1,500 years, and each author added to and increased the knowledge of God’s redeeming plan, even though they were separated by hundreds of years. The contents of the books came by way of revelation, defined as a supernatural work of God in which He communicated divine truth to men who otherwise would not know, or could know, about the messages they wrote. These men wrote by inspiration from God who directed them on what to write without completely ignoring their own literary style or personality. In reality, there is only one author, and that author is God who had the oversight of the men He inspired.

There is evidence in the Bible, the inspired word of God, that God is the creator of the universe in its entirety. What may be known about the glory of God can be seen and understood by the things He made when He created the universe.

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Exodus 4:11: So the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?

Deuteronomy 4:32: "For ask now concerning the days that are past, which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether any great thing like this has happened, or anything like it has been heard."

1 Samuel 2:8b: For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set the world upon them.

1 Chronicles 16:26: For all the gods of the people are idols, But the Lord made the heavens.

Nehemiah 9:6: You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them.

Job 9:8–11: He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea. He made the bear, Orion, and the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; He does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number. If He goes by me, I do not see Him; if He moves past, I do not perceive Him. If He takes away, who can hinder Him?

Job 26:1–4: But Job answered and said: How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? How have you counseled one who has no wisdom? And how have you declared sound advice to many? To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit came from you?

Psalm 8:3: When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained.

Psalm 8:5: For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.

Psalm 8:6: You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet.

Psalm 19:1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork.

Psalm 19:4: Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun.

Psalm 24:1: The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.

Psalm 24:2: For He has founded it upon the seas, And established it upon the waters.

Psalm 33:6–9: By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.

Psalm 33:11: The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.

Psalm 65:6: Who established the mountains by His strength, being clothed with power."

Psalm 74:16–17: The day is Yours, the night also is Yours, You have prepared the light and the sun. You have set all the borders of the earth; You have made summer and winter.

Psalm 78:69: And He built His sanctuary like the heights, like the earth which He has established forever.

Psalm 89:11–12: The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness. You have founded them. The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon rejoice in Your name.

Psalm 89:47: Remember how short my time is; for what futility have You created all the children of men?

Job 26:5–14: "The dead tremble,

Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.

Sheol is naked before Him, and destruction has no covering.

He stretches out the north over empty space;

He hangs the earth on nothing.

He binds up the water in His thick clouds,

Yet the clouds are not broken under it.

He covers the face of His throne, And spreads His cloud over it.

He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,

At the boundary of light and darkness.

The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke.

He stirs up the sea with His power,

And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.

By His spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.

Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,

And how small a whisper we hear of Him!

But the thunder of His power who can understand?"

Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth,

Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

Christians believe that God has always existed, and at some time unknown to the finite mind of man, God created the galaxies for His own glory. Sometime after the creation of the other galaxies, God created the galaxy we live in, and He created it in a way that would support human life because he determined to make mankind in His image.

Ephesians 1:3–12: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.

NATURE OF GOD

A discussion of the creation must, of necessity, begin with God, the creator of all things. There is no other plausible explanation for human intelligence and attitudes except a God who made man in His own likeness. Scientists try to understand the material elements of everything, but they have no plausible answer for the invisible things, such as the senses, emotional feelings, attitudes, and human intelligence of the spirit. These are given to man by God and are made in His image.

When we speak of God as being infinite, we mean that God is unlimited in every way, therefore we can’t assign any fixed limitation on the attributes of God. Since God is infinite, there can be only one God. The Bible speaks of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, meaning that the one God manifests Himself in three different personalities. The nature of God toward mankind is love, mercy, kindness, justice, and grace.

John 3:16–17: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

There is no greater demonstration of love than the love of God. The Bible states that it is the grace of God that provides salvation for mankind, and God knew the plan of salvation even before man was created. Grace means that God, of His own free will, granted salvation to sinful mankind; there is no way man could earn his own salvation.

Romans 3:21–26: But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

The answer to those who blame God and find fault with Him is written by the words of Paul in the book of Romans. God is faithful, just, and righteous because His grace, motivated by love, provides free salvation to all who have faith in Christ. Salvation provided freely for sinful mankind describes a God of grace, mercy, and love. The testimony of God’s gracious offer has been proclaimed to the ends of the earth for everyone to hear.

There were many writers of the Bible who were separated by many generations, but when their writings were put together in chronological order, they revealed the plan of God from the beginning of time to the end of time. The true word of God was proclaimed by the prophets, God’s spokesmen, and was written down so that all may read for themselves, and the word will never perish from this earth.

A study about God and how God and man are related must include some pertinent beliefs about the deity that we call God. The first book of the Bible states that in the beginning of time God created the heavens and earth. Beginning of time means when time first began to be counted in regards to the creation. People measure almost everything by time, but God is eternal and there is no measure of time with God. Psalm 90:2: Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.

The name Elohim is the name of God the creator, a plural term of three distinguishable personalities of God, including God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and all three were involved in the creation. God is not visible to humans in a physical sense because God is Spirit. But God can be seen and heard by the many witnesses of his existence. God manifests Himself in several ways that can be perceived by humans. The greatest evidence of God can be seen through the five human senses and through the Spirit of God that touches the hearts of people with invisible qualities.

In all ages, people have had a desire to worship a god, and many worshiped idols made with human hands. It is in the nature of man to believe in and seek something that is far superior to him to put his trust and faith in, however that trust and faith can be misdirected and lead to worshiping a false god.

Acts 17:22–31: Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: To The Unknown God. Therefore the one whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath and all things. And He has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; For in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver, or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. Truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

We are intelligent beings who have creative ability, and these qualities can only be seen through their visible manifestations. The only believable explanation for the existence of these invisible qualities is that a much higher, invisible being with infinite intelligence created those qualities and gave them to mankind. We call that invisible being God, the creator of all things, who breathed these qualities into mankind.

God created the earth as a suitable place for man to live, and then He created man to live on the earth, to multiply, and to fill the earth with humanity. God made mankind with an internal spirit and a mind similar to His own mind but in a very limited way. There are many opinions about the existence of God that can consume many hours of reasoning from dozens of approaches that still leave many unanswered questions. I do not spend a lot of time trying to explain or prove the existence of God by using theoretical reasoning because it usually leads nowhere.

More than two-thirds of the people in the world believe that God created the heavens and the earth, and they base their belief on a five-letter word: faith. Christians, Jews, and Muslims make up the majority of mankind, and they all believe in the God of creation, but Christians are the only religious group that believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the entire Bible is the only inspired word of God.

Reading God’s Word without prejudice can produce faith in an honest heart. A person with faith in God not only believes and trusts God because of His external evidences, but the person has the internal evidence of the Holy Spirit interacting with his or her spirit. The witness of God’s Word is the greatest producer of faith, trust, and hope. There is a great hidden spiritual power in God’s Word that can stir the human spirit when God’s Word is heard, read, or meditated on by a person with an honest heart seeking the truth. God can be known and felt even though He cannot be seen. Christians believe that God can be known as a personal God but only in His self-revelation. God personally reveals Himself in the Scriptures of the Bible. God the creator reaches his full nature in His Son, Jesus Christ.

God is the only self-sufficient being; all humans owe their existence to God who created them, and all things in nature can exist only in the environment that God provides and sustains for them.

Isaiah 40:28–29: Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God; the Lord the creator of the ends of the earth neither faints or is weary. His understanding is un-searchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.

The nature of God is pure spirit. In the Scriptures, God is always represented as a spirit. Jesus was talking to a Samaritan woman one day, a woman who didn’t know that Jesus was the Son of God. He told the woman that a time was coming, and now is, when true worshipers of God would worship Him in spirit and in truth. For God is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4). Since God is spirit, we can’t see Him with the eyes, but we can feel the effect of God and His Spirit within our mind and heart. The Spirit of God lives in hearts of believers.

There are many invisible things that can affect us in many ways; things like electromagnetic waves and radiation. Light is a ray that we can see, but most rays are invisible to the human eye. Radio waves are a good example of the force of invisible radiation. We can’t see radio waves and the many other invisible rays of energy, but we can see and hear the results of their existence by listening to the radio or watching television.

Considering God’s creation of the invisible things, we understand that God is less than a moment from each one of us. God is an invisible spirit, and the effects of his creation are all around us. God can have a dramatic impact on the spirit and lives of people—spirit to spirit. Paul said God is nearer to us than we might think. He can be near, and yet we can’t see Him. God knows us better that anyone because we are His offspring. Since we are God’s offspring, God is personal to us. He makes Himself known to us in ways that our senses reveal to us.

Matthew 7:9–11: Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Through the medium of prayer, we can let our requests be made known to God.

God is sovereign over all creation, and He formulates His own plans and carries them out in His own way and time, and no one has a right to question His plans or decisions. God’s will is not arbitrary or subject to challenge. He has made His will known, and, as our creator, He has the right to question and judge man’s decisions and actions. However, God created man with a free will to make his own decisions about obeying Him.

Since we were created in the image of God, we are free moral agents capable of free choice in living our lives and making our own choices. It was God’s will for mankind to be independent, but He gave us some very plain directions, which He expects us to follow. He wants and expects us to love, revere, and obey Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our fellow man as we love ourselves. Matthew 22:37–40: Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind! This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

God wants full fellowship with us, which requires that we be righteous, but, ever since Adam sinned, people have had a sinful nature that must be overcome. To be sinful means to ignore God’s commandments and live according to the desires of one’s own heart. By divine foresight, God knew the people would fail to remain righteous after birth because their nature could be corrupted by the evil of Satan. Since people are incapable of restoring their own righteousness, God set in motion His redeeming plan, which is based on faith.

The three personalities involved in God’s plan to restore humanity to a state of righteousness and God’s favor are God the Father, Christ the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit of God. These three members of the Godhead work in unison for the good of mankind. God’s plan required his Son Jesus Christ to come to the earth and become a sacrifice for sin. The plan of God involved events that spread out over many years before Christ ever came to the earth. During those years, God revealed His plan to the people. God used many people in the process of saving mankind, including men and women who prophesied about the coming of Christ throughout the years as mankind waited for the advent of Christ.

Moses spent years in association with God. During that time, Moses experienced the nature of God in many ways, including His righteousness and justice, His anger, and His mercy. Moses probably knew God better than any other person. He was blessed by God, and he was rewarded when he acted in a righteous manner, but God punished him when he acted against God’s will.

When Moses wrote about God’s character, he saw God as a God who was just and righteous in all of His ways. Deuteronomy 32:4–5: He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He. They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish: A perverse and crooked generation.

God’s Indisputable Justice

Justice is administering punishment for doing wrong or being rewarded for doing right. Being just and righteous includes doing the right thing all of the time regardless of what course of action one must use. God possesses, in a divine way, the same sense of justice that He teaches mankind to observe. God is bound by His own sense of justice and law to execute punishment for sin. Punishment for sin is not unjust because God is sovereign over His creation, and He directs man in the paths of righteousness for his own good.

Moses put the blame for punishment solidly on the people God created, a perverse generation that corrupted themselves. The apostle Paul said that God was just in His punishment of mankind.

Romans 3:5–6: But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man) Certainly not! For then how will God judge the world?

Romans 3:21–26: But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the law and the prophets even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

God demonstrated His righteousness and His justice when He sacrificed His only Son on the cross in order to make a world of sinful people righteous. There cannot be a greater example of being just and righteous.

SATAN THE GREAT ADVERSARY

An understanding of the spiritual realities involving God and mankind must include an understanding of Satan, also known as the Devil, the great liar and deceiver, the red dragon, and an adversary of God and Christ. God’s plan of salvation could not be properly understood without knowing about Satan because Satan is a key figure in mankind’s fall from grace and its relationship with God.

God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit of God are celestial beings, but they were not the only inhabitants of heaven. Before the creation of the earth, God created an innumerable host of angels. The angels are spiritual beings who were created to serve God in heaven, however some had access to the earth. God created the angels to serve as His messengers and agents to carry out His every command. God made at least three great angels, called archangels, who were greater in power and glory than the other angels: Satan, Michael, and Gabriel.

The angels, like God, are celestial beings with a free will, and like man they can choose to obey or disobey God. There are Bible examples of angels who sinned, and Satan is the prime example. Some of the angels chose to come under the leadership of Satan by their own free will, and these are classified as demons. Angels have the ability, as spirits, to fly between heaven and earth and to appear and speak as men and are sometimes called men (Daniel 8:15–16, 9:21).

The angel Gabriel had a conversation with Daniel informing him of things to come in the future to help him understand the things that would happen.

Daniel 10:10–21: Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you. While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.

Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come."

When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.

Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!

So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.

Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the princes of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth.

When Gabriel speaks of the prince of the kingdom of Persia and the prince of Greece, he is talking about the demons of Satan who were sent to deceive, to lie to, and to corrupt the rulers of nations for evil purposes. Gabriel told Daniel that no one except the angel Michael supported him against the demons that were influencing the rulers of the nations.

In Ephesians 6, Paul told the members of the church to put on all the armor of God so they could withstand the deceitful and lying ways of Satan, the Devil. Paul said the enemies of Christians are the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness. Paul was referring to the demonic powers that assist Satan. Paul warned of an evil time in the future, during the end times, when Satan and his demons will attack the church.

The apostles knew the end times were coming, but no one but God knows when that time will be. The apostles and members of the church thought the time would be soon, even in their lifetime, and they were warned to be ready. During the old covenant, Satan and his demons were free to deceive the nations, but after the death and resurrection of Christ, their power was limited, and they could no longer deceive the nations. However, during the end times, Satan and the demons will no longer be restricted, and they will go forth on the earth and deceive the nations again.

The Great Liar and Deceiver

Satan was one of the greatest in power and beauty of the angels that God created. He was holy like the other angels when God created him, but Satan changed and became evil, wanting to take the place of God. Satan turned into the prince of evil, and he attempted to rule over God’s creation. Satan constantly opposed the people God created. All of God’s angels were good and holy when they were created, and they were intelligent creatures with a free and independent will to choose between good and evil. Lucifer (Satan), of his own free will, decided that he would like to be God, and he rebelled against the authority of God in heaven. Satan disobeyed God possibly from an attitude of vainglory.

The Bible doesn’t give a lot of information about Satan’s origin, but there is enough information to believe that God created Satan like every other being, and he became evil of his own free will. The description of the power and the activities of Satan suggest that he was a very powerful angel compared to the archangels Michael and Gabriel. Satan was certainly created before the earth was created and was most likely created when the other angels were.

Man and angels, including Satan, were in a state of complete righteousness when they were created, and God made them free moral agents capable of making their own choices. Angels and people both are capable of choosing to be righteous as God made them, or choosing to be evil.

Job 1:6–8: Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, From where do you come? So Satan answered the Lord and said, From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it. Then the Lord said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?

Satan, a fallen angel, went back and forth from heaven and earth to observe mankind, and he complained to God about finding no merit in people.

Job 1:9–12: Satan answered the Lord and said, Does Job fear for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? But now stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse you to your face! And the Lord said to Satan, Behold all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person. So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

With God’s permission, Satan persecuted Job in every way possible without killing him, and Job remained righteous proving that the people God created could remain righteous, although Job was possibly the only person except for Christ who didn’t sin. God proved to Satan that it was possible for a person to remain righteous even in the grip of Satan.

The book of Job teaches us that there is a continuous struggle between God and Satan for the souls of mankind. Since God gave man the power to choose between good and evil, it is up to people to make the right choices based on the word of God. God and Satan can’t make choices for us; they can only make an attempt to influence us to follow them. God teaches mankind to become righteous, and Satan tempts people to sin against the commandments of God.

The Bible gives us a vivid picture of the character of Satan, a powerful celestial being that does not respect God and is an adversary of Christ and mankind. Satan was capable of going back and forth between heaven and earth and was able to persecute and tempt people to sin against God. In John 8:44, Jesus said that Satan the Devil was a murderer from the beginning of the creation of mankind.

1 John 3:8: He who sins is of the Devil, for the Devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil.

The Bible relates the story of God the creator, Christ God’s Son, and Satan the mortal enemy of mankind. The main goal of the Devil is to destroy man’s relationship with God by tempting man to sin, which separates man from the fellowship of God. The Bible describes Satan as the Devil. The word devil is from the Greek word diabolos, which is translated as an accuser and a slanderer. The Devil brings accusations about man to God and accusation about God to men. The Devil seeks to destroy the relationship between man and God.

1 Peter 5:8–9: Be sober be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brothers in the world.

The purpose of the sacrifice of Christ was to defeat the power of Satan by redeeming sinful mankind so there could be a constant fellowship between God and mankind. Paul wrote to Timothy saying that God will grant repentance to those who stray from the truth so they may come to a knowledge of the truth, come to their senses, and escape the snare of the Devil (2 Timothy 2:25–26). The Devil attempts to trap people into sinning.

James 4:7–8: Therefore submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded.

God demands faithful obedience from his creation. Satan, wanting to be God, wanted God’s creation to obey him, so he became the enemy of mankind with the intent to draw people away from God. Satan is the author of lies and evil, and from the beginning he set out to lie, deceive and corrupt mankind to keep people from revering and obeying God. Satan desires for man to worship him with the worship that rightfully belongs to God. Mankind struggles with a desire to worship God or to wallow in the sin that Satan makes so appealing.

Luke 4:3–6: And the Devil said to Him, If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread. But Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. Then the Devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the Devil said to Him, All this authority I will give you and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if you will worship before me, all will be yours. And Jesus answered and said to him, Get behind Me Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.

God allowed Satan to prowl the earth and tempt the rulers of nations. Satan sent his demons to deceive the rulers on earth and cause them to practice evil against God’s people. Satan is called the god of this age, and he blinds the mind of people, causing them to refuse to believe and obey the gospel of Christ. In Ephesians 2, Paul wrote that Christ made Christians alive, meaning they were no longer dead to sin. Before obeying the gospel, some people lived according to the prince of the power of the air (Satan), the spirit who works in those who are disobedient to God.

In the eighth chapter of John, Jesus condemned some of the people of the first century who claimed to be God’s people. Jesus indicated that their hearts had been corrupted by the Devil so that they no longer believed God.

John 8:44: You are of your father the Devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

1 Peter 5:8–11: Be sober be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brother-hood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

At the end of time God will destroy Satan, but until then God allows Satan to test His children to find out if they are worthy of the glory He has prepared for them in eternity. He has also prepared an escape for every way that Satan may tempt us, and He has given us fair warning of the danger imposed by Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Christians may suffer persecution in this life, but the glory Christians will receive in the life to come makes the suffering seem as nothing compared to the glory God’s people will inherit. In Matthew 25 Jesus said, God will, in His own good time, destroy Satan and his angels (demons) with an everlasting fire.

GENESIS: THE ACCOUNT OF THE CREATION

The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch (the book of the law). Moses wrote the book of Genesis even though he was not born until the children of Israel were in Egypt. He wrote with inspired direction of the Holy Spirit. God, through the action of the Holy Spirit, put the Scriptures into the mind of Moses, supplying the words for him to write. Both Jews and Christians accept the writing of Moses as the inspired word of God.

The book of Genesis records the events of God’s creation of the earth, mankind, and the entire universe; therefore Genesis is a book of beginnings. In this book is recorded the story of mankind and the beginning of nations, and the story of the fall of man. It also records the story of the great flood, which covered the whole surface of the earth. It records the story of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and his sons, which includes the story of Joseph.

The study of the events in the Bible become more interesting when we have a timeline connected with each period of the history of God’s plan of redemption. The exact dates and times are difficult to establish because of the records kept by people, however a discrepancy in the dates does not change the understanding of the history recorded in the Bible.

Timelines are somewhat flexible due to the limited information available, but from the time of Adam to the time of Christ we can use a timeline that is close enough to the correct times, even though not necessarily 100 percent accurate. This is the timeline: the creation of Adam around 4174 BC; the flood around 2518–2517 BC; the birth of Abraham in 2235 BC; and the birth of Christ

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