Archeology Proves the Bible—Part 6

The Bible Reveals God’s Plan

IT IS stimulating to faith to realize that all the main events and places of the Bible are confirmed by the spade and pick of the archeologist. The same thing is true with respect to the principal personalities of the Bible. We know now that when we read the story of Abraham and his life it is not fiction, but a true statement of the events that took place in the ancient time in which he lived. The same sense of reality is bound to grip us as we study any of the records of the Bible.

And this firm establishment of faith in the genuineness of the Bible’s records and its people should in turn lead us to a closer study of the message God has in his Word for us—the plan of redemption and salvation for all mankind which it reveals. There is little purpose in knowing that the Bible is true unless we take note of what God is saying to us throughout its pages concerning his plans and purposes for the deliverance and eternal blessing of his dying creatures here on earth.

The Record of Creation

To discover God’s plan in the Bible, let us note what the inspired record says is the purpose in the creation of man. Concerning this we read, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”—Gen. 1:27,28

Here is a plain statement indicating that God’s design for his human creatures was that the earth should be their home. They were created in God’s mental and moral image, and commanded to multiply and to fill the earth with their progeny. Nothing was said to our first parents about going to heaven. The earth was their home, and they were to subdue it and rule over it.

Genesis 2:7 gives us further information about man’s creation: “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Note that God did not give man a soul, but the union of his perfect organism with the breath of life constituted a soul—man “became a living soul.”

God did not create immortal human souls. The expression immortal soul is not found anywhere in the Bible. Man was a soul, but his continued existence depended upon obedience to the laws of his Creator. One aspect of that law was stated to Adam. He was told that if he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would surely die. (Gen. 2:17) He was not told that he would die and go to heaven, neither to a place of torment. The penalty was to be death, which is the absence of life. Thousands of years later Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) And Solomon wrote, “The living know that they shall die; but the dead know not anything.”—Eccl. 9:5

Satan’s Deception

Satan, the fallen Lucifer, masquerading as a serpent, approached mother Eve and asked her, “Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Eve’s reply was, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch It, lest ye die.” And then Satan uttered the blackest and most devastating lie that was ever told. He said to mother Eve, “Ye shall not surely die”—death will not be the penalty for sin.—Gen. 3:1-4

Jesus knew about this lie which Satan told to mother Eve, and referred to the Devil as a liar. Addressing the scribes and Pharisees of his day, Jesus said, “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”—John 8:44

Thus does Jesus confirm the confrontation of Satan and Eve, and declares that Satan’s statement, “Ye shall not surely die,” was a lie. But this lie, nonetheless, led to the transgression of our first parents, and to their death. However, almost without exception Adam’s descendants have preferred to believe that there is no death. Satan’s lie is responsible for the unscriptural theory concerning the alleged immortal soul. It is also responsible for the theory of reincarnation, and all the other no death teachings of the heathen.

Condemned to Death

We have emphasized that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) because unless we are prepared to believe that death is a reality we will not be able to understand clearly God’s great plan of redemption and deliverance from death as taught in the Bible. The record of Genesis is that Adam did disobey God’s law, and that the sentence of death fell upon him. The Lord said to him, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19) In the New Testament we are informed that “in Adam all die.”—I Cor. 15:21,22

When pronouncing sentence the Creator made a very revealing statement to Satan. We quote: “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:15) This is highly figurative language, but in the light of the general testimony of the Bible we find it to be the first reference by the Lord to a coming Deliverer, or Messiah, one who would destroy Satan and his works, and rescue mankind from the results of that great tragedy in Eden.

There is an indirect reference to this in Revelation 20:1,2, which reads, “I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” The remainder of this chapter reveals that following the binding of that old serpent, Christ and his church—the Seed of the woman—reign for a thousand years, and that as a result of this reign the dead are restored, Satan himself is destroyed, and death itself is abolished.

Promise to Abraham

After the Flood the statement concerning the Seed of the woman was enlarged upon in a promise which God made to Abraham. The promise was that through the Seed of Abraham all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:3) Later in his dealings with Abraham, God confirmed this promise by his oath. This was following Abraham’s demonstration of faith in his willingness to offer his son Isaac in sacrifice. God said to him, “By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.”—Gen. 22:16,17

In the New Testament the Apostle Paul gives us a very revealing explanation concerning this promised seed. Paul wrote, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Gal. 3:16) Jesus, then is the seed God promised to Abraham, the one through whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed.

How beautifully this harmonizes with the angelic announcement of the birth of Jesus: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10,11) The promise to Abraham was that his seed would bless all families of the earth, and now we find the angel declaring that the birth of Jesus was good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, and the reason given that he had come to be a Savior, a blesser.

Why the Delay?

The question naturally arises, if Jesus came to bless all the families of the earth, why has that blessing not reached the people? Sin and death were still reigning in the earth in Jesus’ day, and sin and death are still reigning. Has there been a failure of God’s plan? No, there has been no failure of God’s plan. Rather, another feature of the divine plan for blessing the people has been in the process of development.

Paul furnishes information concerning this. We have noted Paul’s identification of Jesus as the seed of Abraham. This is given in Galatians 3:16. In verses twenty-seven and twenty-nine of this same chapter we read, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. … And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Thus Paul explains to faithful Christians that they, like Jesus, are looked upon by God as being the seed of Abraham, that seed which is to bless all the families of the earth.

This explains why the work of blessing all mankind with health and life did not begin when Jesus laid down his life two thousand years ago, for there was to be the work of gathering from the world those who were to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom work of blessing. Jesus commissioned his followers to go throughout the earth proclaiming the Gospel, and the purpose of this has been, not the conversion of all mankind and making them church members, but the calling of those who have been willing to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, suffering and dying with him, that they might live and reign with him. (Rev. 20:6) This work of gathering those who would be the future joint-heirs with Jesus in his kingdom has already required more than nineteen hundred years, and it is still going on.

Jesus, the Redeemer

Life is, preeminently, the great blessing which is to be extended to all families of the earth, as promised to Abraham. This calls for an awakening from the sleep of death of all who have died. But in order for this to take place, mankind must be released from the original sentence of death which came upon all through the sin of Adam.

This is accomplished through the sacrificial death of Jesus. Paul wrote, “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one [Jesus] shall many be made righteous.” (Rom. 5:19) In Romans 6:23 Paul writes, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The eternal life which will reach the world through Jesus will be realized through the resurrection. Again Paul wrote, “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”—I Cor. 15:20-22

The Ransom

In I Timothy 2:3-6, the Apostle Paul uses the word ‘ransom’ to describe the redemptive work of Christ. In the Greek text the word used by Paul means ‘a price to correspond.’ It was the perfect man Adam who sinned and was sentenced to death. It was the perfect man Jesus who, in obedience to the divine will, gave his life in sacrifice for the sins of the world. This was a price to correspond. The Prophet Isaiah wrote that Jesus “poured out his soul unto death.” (Isa. 53:12) Isaiah also wrote of Jesus that “he shall see the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.”—vs. 11

We quote Paul’s explanation of the work of redemption in the passage already cited (I Tim. 2:3-6): “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Yes, Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, and this great fact of the divine plan of salvation for a lost race will be testified, or made known, to all in due time. For the vast majority of mankind this due time will be during the millennial reign of Christ and his faithful followers. It will be then that the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea; and it will be then that the Lord will turn to the people a pure message that they may all call upon his name and serve him with one consent.—Isa. 11:9; Zeph. 3:9

A Resurrection

As we have noted, the fulfillment of God’s promises to bless all mankind with an opportunity to live forever necessitates a resurrection of the dead. In the resurrection some will receive a heavenly life, but the vast majority will be raised from the dead as humans, and given an opportunity to live on the earth forever. Jesus said to his followers, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3) This promise by Jesus has been misconstrued to mean that all who obtain life through him will spend eternity in a heavenly home which he prepares for them.

But this is not the thought at all. This promise is made only to Jesus’ footstep followers; those who will be associated with him in his future work of blessing the remainder of the world of mankind. These are promised “glory, and honor, and immortality.” (Rom. 2:7) They are promised a heavenly inheritance. The Apostle Peter wrote: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”—I Pet. 1:3,4

These will be brought forth in what the Bible describes as “the first resurrection.” Naturally, these must be the first to be resurrected, for they are to be associated with Jesus in the blessing of mankind in general. They are to live and reign with Christ, a thousand years, and the purpose of that reign is, as explained by the apostle, to destroy death. Paul wrote that Christ “must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”—I Cor. 15:25,26

The General Resurrection

As we have noted, mankind in general is to be restored to life on the earth as humans. God created man to live on the earth, not in heaven. The few to whom a heavenly reward will be given are those who, through their faithfulness in laying down their lives in sacrifice, prove worthy to be associated with Jesus in the work of the messianic kingdom. But the earth was created to be man’s home, and it is on the earth that he will be given an opportunity to live forever. Isaiah wrote that God created the earth “not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.”—Isa. 45:18

The Apostle Peter referred to that period of time in the divine plan when the work of restoring mankind to life will be accomplished as “the times of restitution of all things,” which, he said, had been declared “by the mouth of all his [God’s] holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21) And it is true that the holy prophets of the Old Testament were eloquent in their prophecies of this coming time of restoration for the world of mankind.

They affirmed that as a result of this work of restoration there would be no more blind eyes; none would be lame; that the ransomed of the Lord would return from death with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads, and that sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isa. 35) Isaiah also wrote, “He [the Lord] will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” (Isa. 25:8) Isaiah also wrote that the people in that day when God is blessing all the families of the earth will not say, “I am sick.”—Isa. 33:24

In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John tells of a vision he was given of the manner in which the people would be blessed during the time of Christ’s kingdom, and he wrote, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”—Rev. 21:4

First To Be Raised

The first ones to be restored to life as humans will be the ancient prophets, and other faithful ones of ages past. These will come forth in a better resurrection, as it is described in the Bible, and will be perfect humans from the start. (Heb. 11:35,40) These are the ‘fathers’ referred to in Psalm 45:16, who are to become the children of Christ in the resurrection, and we are told that they will be made “princes in all the earth.”

These, we understand, will be the human representatives of the divine Christ. Jesus said of these that the people would come from the east and from the west, and would sit down with them in the kingdom—they will sit down with them, that is, as pupils before their teacher. And they will sit down thus to learn the ways of the Lord, the laws of the new kingdom, the messianic kingdom.—Luke 13:28,29

And what a boon restitution will be for the redeemed world of mankind! As the work of restitution continues it will eventually reach out to bless all the families of the earth, even as God promised to Abraham. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the prophets will be on the scene to direct the affairs of the kingdom. The findings of the archeologists will not then be needed to verify the records of the Bible, for the ones who made those records will be personally present to vouch for them.

The people of the whole world will then know that these ancient men of renown, these faithful servants of God, were not myths, not imaginary people in fairy tales, but real men and women of God who willingly died in the service of the one who had promised to bless all the families of the earth.

This future joy of mankind will be very literal! There will be plenty of time for those princes in all the earth not only to direct the affairs of the kingdom, but also, if they choose, to relate some of their past experiences in serving the Lord. Who would not like to hear Noah tell of some of his experiences in building the ark?

We can only surmise the details of joy which may be experienced in that new day. But we can be sure that they will be more wonderful than any or all of our dreams; for God, who so loved his human creatures as to give his Son in death that all might have an opportunity to live again, will see to it that his promises to bless all mankind are carried out in full measure. Nothing will be lacking, for he will open his hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

And what will the reaction of the people be? Isaiah wrote, “It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”—Isa. 25:9

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |