A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label God's Plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God's Plan. Show all posts

August 20, 2023

Part 3: What Did Paul Mean By The Mysteries of God?

In the last post I wrote about what Jesus meant in Matthew 13 when He said, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted". Jesus spoke to His small group of faithful disciples who had heard and received His teaching on God's plan to redeem Israel so they [Israel] might reveal Him to the world. These plans were "mysteries" to the crowds who showed up to hear Jesus teach, largely because they had forgotten -- or no longer paid attention to -- the prophecies [of the Messiah] that God had sent through His prophets of old. 

That's why He often cautioned witnesses of His power [and miracles] to not tell others about what He had done. Satan must not get a glimpse of God's redemptive work [through Israel] before Calvary could happen. The Enemy must not figure out that God planned for Israel to become a kingdom of priests that would influence and lead the Gentiles to a saving knowledge of Jesus as King of God's earthly kingdom. While this initial plan did not play out, we will see that it ultimately does come to fruition at Christ's return.

That understanding leads me to the next step in our study of what the Bible tells us about God's "mysteries". So, let's now consider Paul's statement to the Jews of Israel in Romans 11:25,  I do not want you, believers, to be unaware of this mystery [God’s previously hidden plan]—so that you will not be wise in your own opinion—that a partial hardening has [temporarily] happened to Israel [to last] until the full number of the Gentiles has come in; and so [at that time] all Israel [that is, all Jews who have a personal faith in Jesus as Messiah] will be saved; just as it is written [in Scripture].  So while Jesus's mission was to point the unbelieving Jews  back to the prophecies of the Messiah, so that they might recognize Him and step into Israel's earthly kingdom role, Paul speaks to mysterious things Jesus never mentions. In fact, what Paul reveals are Godly mysteries that were intentionally hidden until it was time for the Holy Spirit to reveal them to Paul. 

Consider the teachings of Paul ... Throughout Romans, 1 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, Titus, and 1 Timothy, we find Paul teaching about the events/God's plans that establish His heavenly kingdom on earth: the temporary hardening [and fall] of Israel; salvation by faith without the necessity of the Mosaic Law; the formation of the Gentile Church and the Body of Christ; salvation being made available to all Jews and Gentiles without preference or distinction; the Rapture and Christ's return for His Bride; and the ultimate wrath of God against all who reject the Kingship of Jesus. 

Remember, when Jesus spoke to His disciples about God's program for Israel, it was understood that the original plans were for Israel alone. Jesus did not offer it to the Gentiles. At that time, there was a separation between Jew and Gentile. But after the Jews rejected Jesus, and there was no redeemed Israel, then the plan pivoted to salvation through the Gentiles, with the message taken to them by Paul. But Paul makes it clear that God has not cast away Israel! It will eventually be a restored Israel that will reach whatever unbelieving Gentiles remain on the earth and invite them into King Jesus's earthly kingdom. 

I think it is important that we realize that Jesus's mysteries, and Paul's mysteries, are revealed for two separate reasons; those reasons are not the same. Jesus's ministry was primarily to the Jews, and it was mysterious to the citizens of Israel because so many no longer believed that the prophecies of old would materialize in their lifetime. They had been subjected to so much bondage from other "kingdoms" -- [Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome] -- that they were naturally skeptical that the prophecies of the Messiah would ever come true. So, Jesus revealed God's mysterious plan for Israel to a few trusted followers and believers. 

But the mysteries that Paul preached were the mysterious plans of God that had been kept "hidden" until after His original plan did not transpire [because of Israel's unbelief], and they could be revealed to Paul by the Holy Spirit. These mysteries would become the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy that said, "In the days of those [final ten] kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will its sovereignty be left for another people; but it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever". They are the mysteries that would ultimately lead to God's heavenly kingdom on earth, which is why He had to keep them hidden until Christ went to the Cross at Calvary!

You see, Satan thought he had defeated God at Calvary. The prophesied Messiah was judged and crucified by the very people God had commissioned to lead the world to the knowledge of the Most High God, Jehovah Adonai! Instead, Jesus defeated Satan's most devastating strategy [Death] by dying, Himself, for all of us and offering a way to be free from Satan's bondage. You see, God's plan was bigger than the devil knew! YHWH would now work His plan through a different spokesman and a different group of humans, but the end result would be the same. The Gentiles would spread the Gospels of Salvation and Kingdom to the ends of the earth, bringing Israel back into the fold. And once the Christian ekklesia is taken up to Heaven in what we know as "the Rapture", God will restore Israel to their original role of teaching the world of the sovereignty and glory of YHWH and Yeshua's righteous rule. 

As you can see, the "mysteries" that are revealed by Jesus and Paul are quite different, but they both point to the Sovereignty and Supremacy of our God. In the next post, I will discuss exactly what mysteries were revealed by Paul; those secrets that were hidden in the past, but revealed after Christ's resurrection -- many of which are still playing out today. Join me as we discover the glory and wisdom of God as He establishes His heavenly kingdom on earth.

Romans 11:33     Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and decisions and how unfathomable and untraceable are His ways! 


November 19, 2022

You Can Not Only Survive Today's Uncertainies ... You Can Thrive!

Today, I'm going to use a post I wrote in 2014 as the source to speak on our ability to thrive in the midst of these uncertain times.  Many of us are wondering about the destiny of our nation; a nation that was founded on Godly principles, but seems to have lost its compass along the way. In the 2014 post, I quoted Isaiah 1:9, which reads, If the Lord of Hosts had not left us a few survivors, we would be like Sodom, we would be like Gomorrah.

Although this vision and prophecy was given to the prophet Isaiah about the destiny of the nation of Israel during the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah, it also foretells the future of the tribe of Judah during the End Times. Furthermore, I believe its message should be heeded by our own nation, as well. I just love the multiple layers of significance that the Bible holds throughout all generations! Those who say it is no longer relevant in our time are sadly (and dangerously) deceived.

Isaiah laments his sinful nation ... he accuses them of immorality and criminality; they have forsaken the God who made them a great nation above all others, and they now only show Him contempt -- and worse, still, they ignore Him. Because of their "detestable disobedience", the future of their country is bleak. Their land has been attacked by enemies and strangers occupy what was once so generously bestowed upon them. And then the prophet tells them something that should have stopped them in their tracks, and caused fear to bring them to their knees. The nation of Israel -- indeed, all the world, including today -- knows what befell Sodom and Gomorrah. And Isaiah is showing them they deserved the same judgment. We read in Ezekiel, Chapter 16: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me...".  The purpose of this post is not to dwell on the sexual immorality and perversion that were practiced in Sodom and Gomorrah, but to take to heart the judgment that fell on them, and to recognize the hope that is in the remnant that survived.

Isaiah received spiritual perception in the 7th Century B.C. to minister to the nation of Judah. He knew that God had a purpose for them, but he needed to make them see how far they had wandered from Him. All Israel knew that God had poured fiery sulfur on the cities, completely destroying them and all of their inhabitants. (To this day, the area where Sodom and Gomorrah were located remains a desolate wasteland.)  So Isaiah wants them to ultimately understand what God did out of the midst of that tragic judgment, and how they deserve the same verdict. He points to a particular nature of God as their reason for hope.

He tells them that "the Lord of hosts" spared a remnant, and it is that Sovereignty and Mercy that He wants his nation to recognize. And it is very important to take note of the name for God that Isaiah uses in this verse. In Hebrew, "the Lord of hosts" is spoken of as Jehovah-Sabaoth. From our human perspective, this is the name of God to run to when there is no other help. From God's perspective, this is the name He uses when He wants us to know that He is not only the One who delivers us, but also the One who judges us. He wants us to bow our knee to Him. This particular name of God meets our failure, and offers deliverance... when we are willing to repent.

Isaiah wants Judah to realize that their actions deserve the devastating and complete punishment that befell Sodom and Gomorrah. They need to acknowledge that Jehovah Sabaoth -- "the Lord of hosts" -- has rightly judged them, but He is also going to deliver them by the means of that remnant. A small group will survive His judgments in order to fulfill God's purpose for them.

Over 700 years later, the Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah's forewarning of a remnant, in Romans, Chapter 9.  He says, "And Isaiah solemnly cries aloud over Israel:  Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, only the remnant will be saved [from perdition, condemnation, judgment]!  Paul is trying to tell the Hebrew nation that God's own prophets have foretold this sad and frightening truth -- that their disobedience deserves full destruction, BUT through God's mercy, He will leave them a remnant that will survive ... a Jewish remnant that will bow their knew to their King and Messiah.  

The same is true for us today! We can be part of a remnant in this nation -- and the world -- that displays our supernatural power [that comes from Jesus Christ] in the midst of the downward spiral we see around us. We can step into our destiny to help others see that we have a purpose for the Kingdom of God and to spread that glorious hope. 

We can tune out the voices of this modern world and tune into the voice of our Master. Because while it may seem like the world is going mad and is out of control, it doesn't seem that way to Jesus. He has the foreknowledge of where the world is going before it results in His return. He has told us in His Word ...  You will continually hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end [of the age]. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish and the time of unprecedented trouble].

None of these things we are experiencing is a surprise to Jesus! And they shouldn't be to us, either. He told us they would happen so we would not be shocked or surprised. But somehow we have been deceived into thinking these warnings weren't meant for us. So we react in fear and anxiety. But we have a choice as to how we respond to these foretold events.

Instead of living in apprehension and dread, what if we lived in the knowledge that the things Jesus described must happen before He returns? What if we looked at it as if these events signaled His rescue for a world in which bedlam is flourishing? What if we saw the events for what they are -- the descent of a world that has rejected God's Sovereignty; His right to rule over His creation?

You see, we have a choice of how we think about the failing condition of the world. We can choose to be troubled over the circumstances we find ourselves in; or we can rest assured that it's all going along according to God's plan... and we know the Victory that awaits us. We can look at our reality from the perspective that the glass is half empty, or we can rejoice that it is half full. We can join the "misery loves company" club, and align with those who bemoan the loss of our prosperity, the threats to our affluent way of life, or the erosion of our constitutionally guaranteed freedom. OR we can trust that God has a plan, and we are part of it! And our part is to trust in Him as we actively seek to bring salt and light to a world that is awaiting His glorious appearance. 

We can show people that everything they are clinging to [their material things, their wealth, their job, their social status] ... it's all just illusion! It may all disappear, but you can choose to believe that God is delivering you to a new and fresh revelation of His will for your life. Even in the midst of misfortune and the decline of nations, God is always moving forward towards His ultimate finale ... the return of our Lord. And we have choices to make as we participate in His timeline. We can not only survive the events that are foretold, but we can thrive in them because we know where they're taking us. And we can share the reason for our hope and optimism in a world that appears defeated. 

So, we don't ignore Jesus's warnings, nor do we stay rooted in them. We rejoice that we have been born for such a time as this, and that we can choose to abide in the inner calm and spiritual well-being as a Christian who trusts in God's plan. We will not only survive these days, we can thrive!

#endtimes #endtimesprophecies #thriveinthesetimes #godsentimeplan 

Isaiah 28:21    For the Lord will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the Valley of Gibeon, To do His work, His unusual and incredible work, And to accomplish His work, His extraordinary work.