Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Big Picture

Deuteronomy 30:1-10
When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come upon you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations, 2 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. 4 Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back. 5 He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. 6 The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live. 7 The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8 You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9 Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your fathers, 10 if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (NIV)

I have found that the above passage is one of the most helpful in the Bible towards revealing the overall plan of God and also in understanding some very important yet basic concepts of understanding the Bible.

Moses spoke these words to the children of Israel before they had entered into the Promised Land to live. Before the people even entered the Promised Land Moses told them that they would sin and because of their sin they would be expelled from the land and scattered to the furthermost parts of the earth. Notice the language very carefully. Notice that Moses did NOT say if you sin you will be expelled, no, he said when. The plan was set right at the beginning. This is a very important concept to see and understand. Neither you nor I nor anyone else can change the plan of God. What God has ordained will come to pass. I hear people today trying earnestly to save the world. The world will not be saved by them or by any agency except by God. No one other than the Lord God Almighty can change the outcome of the world, and God will never (ever) change what has been written in the Bible.

Matthew 5:17-18
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (NIV)

This is another very important passage concerning the fact that what is written in the Bible cannot fail to come to pass. As the saying goes, you can take that to the bank, or to put this in biblical terms, you can believe in Jesus Christ, that is, in every word that he said.

Looking back to [Deuteronomy 30] I ask you, has this ever been fulfilled? It has not. Never have the children of Israel taken the lessons of the Bible to heart with the resolve of never falling away again. Never yet has the Lord made the Israelites more prosperous and more numerous than before their first expulsion. So, we can confidently say that this passage has not yet been fulfilled.

This brings up another interesting biblical concept and that is the fact that God frequently repeats a theme until the final fulfillment. In the Bible, we can see that the people of Israel will be expelled from the land some 700 years before Christ by the Babylonian empire. They were again expelled from the land by the Romans in approximately 70 A.D., and will yet again be expelled when the armies of the Beast surround Jerusalem. Three expulsions. Three is a tidy little Bible number.

Three expulsions mean three restorations too. The Israelites were brought back to the Promised Land from Babylonia, right after the Second World War (present-day Israel) and they will be brought back from every nation throughout the entire world to be reestablished in the Promised Land for the last time. Three restorations. But the final restoration will be the one that fulfills the above passage from Deuteronomy. This final restoration will usher in the Millennial Kingdom Age.

Regarding this Millennial Kingdom, the apostles asked the Lord this…

Acts 1:6-8
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (NIV)

Notice that Jesus did not say that the kingdom would not be restored. He just told them that they, that is, those standing right there before him, were not to know the times and dates that the Father has determined when it would happen. Then Jesus goes on to tell them about the Church Age, the Hidden Age. The Church Age will end when the body of believers is caught-up from the earth and given spiritual bodies instead of their blood and bone natural bodies. This event is usually called the Rapture; a name that I think describes things very nicely.

As I said above, there are three expulsions and three restorations, but in all cases, the final one is the ‘real’ one. The others are, more or less, shadows of the real ones, and frequently the completed number is three.

Mark Heaney
This is my greatest desire: That the eyes of my heart may be enlightened in order that I may know the hope to which he has called me, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18–19


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