Monday, July 16, 2018

God's Plan of the Ages - Part 3


The Cycle of Creation

The wise king Solomon began his great book of wisdom by speaking of the circularity of creation.

Ecclesiastes 1:5-7
The sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again. Blowing toward the south, then turning toward the north, the wind continues swirling along; And on its circular courses the wind returns. All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.

Solomon referred to the circuit of the Sun, the courses of the wind, and the cycle of water on the earth. These are things the wise man contemplated as he sought to understand life, and his place in the creation. Solomon perceived that the creation functions in cycles.

I want to make mention of the grandest of all cycles in the creation. All things originated in God, and when the creation has run its course, all things must return unto God. You and I are part of the creation. We are bound by this cycle. Man became a living soul when God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. One day, at the end of the ages, God will gather His breath back to Himself.

Job 34:14-15
If He should determine to do so, if He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to dust.

When Yahweh conceived the creation He set limits to its endurance. Yahweh created a plan that encompasses many ages, concluding in one final age that is at times referred to as "the age of the ages."

Daniel 7:18
And receive the kingdom do the saints of the Most High, and they strengthen the kingdom unto the age, even unto the age of the ages.
(Young's Literal Translation)

Yahweh framed the creation with a master plan where each age was determined. I have referred to this as "God's plan of the ages." Following are two translations of a passage from Paul's letter to the Ephesians that bring forth a literal rendering of the original Greek.

Ephesians 3:8-11
To me the far inferior of all holy ones; was given the favor this, among the nations to announce glad tidings the unsearchable wealth of the Anointed, and to enlighten all, what the administration of the secret of that having been hidden from the AGES in the God in that the all things having created; so that might be made known now to the governments and to the authorities in the heavenlies, through the congregation, the manifold wisdom of the God; According to a plan of the ages, which He formed for the Anointed Jesus our Lord.
(Diaglott)

Ephesians 3:8-11
Unto me—the less than least of all saints, was given this favour, unto the nations, to announce the glad-message of the untraceable riches of the Christ, and to bring to light—what is the administration of the sacred secret which had been hidden away from the AGES in God, who did all things create: In order that now, unto the principalities and the authorities in the heavenlies, might be made known, through means of the assembly, the manifold wisdom of God,— According to a plan of the ages which He made in the anointed Jesus our Lord.
(Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

The present creation was never intended to exist for eternity. The creation is marked by finite bounds. This truth is contained in a passage that we examined in the preceding chapter. The apostle Paul wrote of the end of the reign of sonship. A time must come when all things must be summed up into Christ in order that all things might return unto the Father.

I Corinthians 15:25-28
For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says"all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

The entire creation is headed toward a time when all must return unto the Father. Some Christians have received errant notions concerning the Son of God. They do not recognize that He is also part of the creation. Although He holds a preeminent position, being the firstborn, and the instrument through which Yahweh created all other things, Yahshua is Himself a created being.

Colossians 1:15
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

In the book of Proverbs Solomon writes of Wisdom as if it were a person. The description of Wisdom is the description of the firstborn Son of God.

Proverbs 8:24-30
When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was brought forth; While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world. When He established the heavens, I was there, when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary so that the water would not transgress His command, when He marked out the foundations of the earth; Then I was beside Him, as a master workman...

The apostle Paul describes Christ as "the wisdom of God."

I Corinthians 1:23-24
But we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

What Solomon speaks metaphorically of Wisdom is true of Christ. Christ was present with the Father at the beginning of the creation. Christ was the first creation of God. Yahshua is the embodiment of the Wisdom of God. He was "beside Him, as a master workman" when Yahweh created all things.

Colossians 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him.

Christ is the firstborn of all creation. He was the first to arise out of God, and we find that in Yahweh's plan of the ages that all things must return back to Christ. Even as through Yahshua all things were created, including the angels and mankind, so must all things become subject once more to the Son. All things must be summed up in the Son. Then the Son may return, along with all created things, to the Father from whom all things came.

Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a stewardship suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him.

There are mysteries revealed in the things of which Paul writes. Paul declared that he had been chosen to be a steward of the mysteries of God. Paul had much to say about Yahweh's mysteries, but the church has remained largely babes, able to drink only milk. The body of Christ has remained immature, unable to eat solid food, seldom dining on the meat of the mysteries of God.

Hebrews 5:12-6:3
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and age lasting (aeonian) judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.

Those things Paul names as elementary teachings are what the church considers higher learning today. The church has seldom reached beyond elementary things to delve into the mysteries of God. Yet, the Father has entrusted the mysteries of His kingdom and His creation unto His people. Yahweh has set a table for the mature in Christ to feed upon. Paul wrote of his calling in the following manner:

I Corinthians 4:1
Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

The reason that many have been offended at the message of this book is that it contains meat for the mature. Some who are accustomed only to milk have balked at what is set before them. They have thought the message here to be too weighty, too difficult, and have wanted only to focus upon that which is simple. Those who will receive only simple thoughts and concepts must remain simple-minded. We are called to attain to the fulness of the stature that belongs to Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Christ is the embodiment of the Wisdom of God the Father.

Let us take a look at the very beginning of the cycle of creation that we might understand what its end must be. Some years back I was meditating upon the doctrine of the Trinity. I wanted to understand the nature and relationship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Yahweh, as He often does, brought understanding through means of a parable.

As I was sitting before the Father He asked me, "If you want to see the soul of a man, how would you view it?" I knew the soul to be invisible. It will not show up on an x-ray, or a CAT scan or MRI. A person cannot take a picture of the soul of man. Nonetheless, the soul can be seen. Yahshua said,

Luke 6:45
"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”

The heart is a metaphor of the soul. A man's soul can be seen in His words. Do you want to know if a soul is evil, listen to the words that come from a man's mouth. One can discern if a man is lustful by listening to his words. If the man is ruled by anger in his soul, his words will reveal it. Rebellion, covetousness, jealousy, pride, envy, and every evil characteristic of the soul of a man is exhibited in a man's speech.

The righteous man is also known by his words. You can discern whether a man is pure in heart, whether he is loving, merciful, patient, longsuffering, humble, and selfless by observing his conversation. Surely a man's soul is revealed through his words.

As the Father directed me to contemplate these things, He revealed to me the relationship of the Spirit and the Son to Himself through the parable of speech. Every created thing was crafted with masterful design to show forth hidden mysteries of the kingdom of God. Yahweh has revealed the Trinity through the miracle of speech.

Every word begins with a thought in the mind of man. The thought is made visible as a man exhales air from his lungs and shapes identifiable sounds as the air passes over the vocal chords. These sounds exit the man as words, and the words reveal the hidden things inside the soul of man.
Yahweh the Father is Spirit. No one has seen the Father at any time. The apostle John shared the following words of inspiration with the saints.

John 1:18
No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].
(Amplified Bible)

When God wanted to form the creation it was necessary to make Himself known to the creation. Yet a physical creation cannot see that which exists in Spirit alone. Yahweh had to do something to reveal Himself even as a man must do something to make the thoughts of his mind known to others. Yahweh formed a Word.

John 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Yahweh exhaled His Spirit and formed a Word. It was a perfect Word that fully revealed Himself. This Word became flesh so that mankind could perceive it. The Word is the Son of God. The Son has perfectly declared, manifested, and made known the Father.

John 14:9
Yahshua said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father..."

When the Father wanted to reveal Himself to creation He formed the Word. As the Father showed this to me He showed me the process by which a word is formed. We utter forth speech as we breathe out. Yahweh designed speech to be accomplished in this manner. Speech is accompanied by the exhalation of man's breath.

Throughout the Bible the word for Spirit is always related to the word for breath, air, or wind. In the Old Testament the word is "ruach." The first occurrence is found in the second verse of the Bible.

Genesis 1:2
The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit [ruach] of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

This same word is used in the following verses.

Genesis 7:22
All in whose nostrils was the breath [ruach] of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.

Genesis 8:1
And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind [ruach] to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged...

When man breathes out his exhalation is breath. When Yahweh breathes out, His exhalation is Spirit. Even as man's breath is used to form words, so was the exhalation of the Spirit of God used to form Christ, "the living Word."

Luke 1:35
The angel answered and said to (Mary), "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God."

The Spirit was sent forth from the Father to form His Word. This Word existed from the beginning of the creation. The very first exhalation of the Father formed the Son of God. Yahshua is before all things, yet He is a creation of the Father. The Father is Spirit, and He is the eternal One. Yahweh exists before the creation, and supersedes the creation. Out of God all things have come, and back to God all things must return.

People of God, what the Bible testifies to occur at the end of the ages is not the annihilation of mankind, of Christ, or of the creation. One cannot annihilate that which came forth from the Father. When Yahweh has accomplished all things He has planned for this present creation, then His Spirit, exhaled from His being for the creation of all things, beginning with the Word, must return to Him.

One day as I reflected upon what this must mean the Father gave me an image of a vast ocean. The ocean was limitless. Out of this infinite sea were taken droplets of water. For a time these droplets of water existed separate from the sea. They could be identified individually, even as raindrops that fall from the sky.

God showed me that mankind is like unto these drops of water. We came from Yahweh, and for a time we can be identified as individuals. At the end of the ages all must return to the Father. It will be like unto drops of water being returned to the ocean. The drops of water do not cease to exist. Rather, they become one with the ocean. Once returned to the sea it is no longer possible to separate them. The drops of water have become one with that source from which they first originated. They are present, but no one can any longer say, "Here is this individual droplet." All has become merged into one entity.

To become one with the Father is not tragedy. To be lost in God is not the loss of man. Rather, it is the fulfillment of that which is most glorious, highest and good. It is the fulfillment of perfect unity with Yahweh. It is this unity for which Christ prayed in His high priestly prayer.

John 17:20-23
"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me."

The end of the ages will be the perfection of unity. When we are no longer separable from the Father then our union will be perfect. John the Baptist declared the essential work that must be brought to fruition among the creation before the end can come.

John 3:30
"He must increase, but I must decrease."

The work of this present creation is to see Christ formed in every one of the sons of God.

Galatians 4:19
My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you...

Romans 8:29
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren...

God is at work in us to form a perfect revelation of Himself, even as He has revealed Himself perfectly in His firstborn Son.

Ephesians 4:13
Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Yahweh will not rest; His work will not be complete, until everything in creation resembles the firstborn Son, who is the perfect expression of the Father. There can be nothing left of sin in the world. All lust, envy, malice, pride, self-seeking, covetousness and every other evil thing must be expunged from the creation. All that remains must be holy and righteous and true. Christ will reign until He subdues the entire creation, bringing all into conformity to the Father.

In the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul describes the gathering of all things into Christ.

Ephesians 1:9-10
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to a stewardship suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth in Him.

When the Romans performed addition, they added up individual amounts and wrote the sum at the top of the list of numbers. This is the opposite of the manner in which we do things today, for we write the sum at the bottom of a list of numbers. It was the Roman practice of putting the total at the top that led to the expression "to sum up."

It is fitting to describe the work of Christ in subjecting all things to Himself as a summing up. One day Christ will stand as the Sum of all creation. Everything will be brought into subjection to Him. Everything will be beneath Him. There will be nothing left in creation that is not fully contained in Him.

Since Yahshua is light, there will be no darkness left in the creation. Because Christ is righteous and holy, there will exist no more sin. Christ is humble, therefore no pride can remain to be summed up in Him. Everything that remains must be a pure representation of some part of the whole. Only then can everything be brought back into the Father so that He is "all in all."

To many such thoughts appear difficult, and may be perceived as mysteries that are too deep to plumb. However, it must be established that God will one day reconcile the entire creation back to Himself. Seeing this truth will reveal the error of those doctrines that declare sin, rebellion, and torment to be eternal. Neither sin, nor judgment; neither rebellion, nor death, can continue on in perpetuity. Christ must reign UNTIL He has subjected all things to Himself.

The day will come when the last enemy will be destroyed. Peace will reign absolute, and the rule of Christ will be uncontested. Every created being will declare, "Surely in Yahweh I have righteousness and strength." Yahweh has sworn by His own self that this will be the end of all things. Nothing can stay His hand.

When all things in heaven and on earth have been reconciled to the Father through the Son, then the cycle of creation will be complete. That which came forth from the Father can then return to the Father. The breath of Yahweh will return to that source from which it came. As an ocean encompassing a myriad of droplets in its vast and limitless expanse, Yahweh will be all in all.

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