The Eternal Purpose

“Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place.”
—Isaiah 57:15

OUR FRAIL MINDS cannot grasp the full meaning of this scripture. Our God has always existed, and before him is eternity! We realize, but cannot comprehend, that God was once alone. Once there were no stars, or sun, or earth, or moon, or any other being. Yet, by the operation of his Holy Spirit, we know some of the thoughts he had before spiritual or material creation had begun. These thoughts are called his “eternal purpose.” This special knowledge of the church is mentioned by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:8,9: “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.”

Paul later identifies the ‘mystery of his will’ as the ‘eternal purpose.’ (Eph. 3:11) To know this ‘eternal purpose’ of God began with Jesus, who, as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) had a key part to play in achieving God’s objective. Having “learned … obedience by the things which he suffered,” God “exalted him, and” gave “him a name which is above every name.” (Heb. 5:8; Phil. 2:9) Jesus was the first being in Creation to be given immortality, the Divine nature, as possessed by his Father. He was the beginning of the Divine family God had in mind to create.


The 132nd Psalm pertains to David, and mentions how Jesus as a descendant of David would sit upon David’s throne. From the 12th verse to the 18th, it appears that the psalm concerns the nation of Israel under David as king. It, however, is a picture of those to be selected for God’s Divine family. “Their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.” (Ps. 132:11,12) The thought suggested is not just a ‘king’ (singular) on David’s throne, but ‘kings’ (plural). And this, of course, agrees with the promise that there would be “joint-heirs” (Rom. 8:17) with Jesus Christ and that the Christ (the anointed) will be “kings and priests.”—Rev. 1:6

The illustration, then, is changed, calling this anointed class “Zion.” (Ps. 132:13) This practice is followed in many other instances. Notable among them is that in Micah 4:2: “The Law shall go forth of Zion [the Christ], and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the Ancient Worthies].”

Then, in tender terms, the Heavenly Father speaks of his desire—this desire he had when he was alone. His eternal purpose to have this desire fulfilled brought forth the wonderful plan of the ages which, when completed, will show the “much diversified wisdom of God.” (Eph. 3:10, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) Hear his words to David: “The Lord hath chosen Zion [the Messiah class]; he hath desired [Hebrew, avah, ‘greatly desired,’ Strong’s Concordance] it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”—Ps. 132:13,14


In this way the Heavenly Father shows that the fulfillment of this desire is to have a family on the Divine plane—immortal beings with whom he can fellowship in the most complete sense. They would have within themselves eternal life, and would be endowed with the mental resources which belong to such exalted beings. They could receive this immortal life because they also would have his disposition, or character.

To receive this character-likeness each one will have to be willing, without any coercing, to pass through harsh and trying experiences allowed by the Father. And while passing through these, each must maintain an attitude of heart loyalty to God, exerting a supreme effort to demonstrate love in every way. God has decreed that all who will eventually have everlasting life must willingly be motivated by the law of love. This would apply to all intelligent beings, on whatever plane of existence they would live. Jesus spoke of this in John 4:23: “The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”


In Ephesians 3:9, the Apostle Paul speaks of the “mystery” of God. This word is translated from the Greek word musterion, which is defined in Young’s Concordance as ‘that which is known to the initiated.’ The thought is borrowed from the secret societies of that faraway day, which were similar to those in our day, such as the Masons. One is initiated into a secret society, then he is told the secrets, including passwords, etc. Rotherham translates musterion as ‘sacred secret.’

During the Gospel Age, only the true disciples, beginning with Jesus, know God’s ‘sacred secrets.’ Special emphasis is given in the Scriptures to the sacred secret that the Messiah is composed of Jesus and all his faithful disciples—the body members. The Messiah class in glory will become God’s special, intimate family—his eternal purpose.

In Ephesians 3:10,11, the Apostle Paul makes clear that the knowledge of this great truth (which knowledge is needed to bring this truth to fruition) will reveal the much diversified wisdom of God the Father. The full outworking of the plan will indeed reveal the “manifold wisdom” of God. It will demonstrate throughout all eternity the beauty and wisdom of the law of love. It will exhibit the almighty power of the Creator in causing all things to follow his plan of the ages. It will reveal the tender, gentle character of the Eternal Father. All beings throughout all eternity will understand the full meaning of his name as he spoke it to Moses, as recorded in Exodus 34:6: “The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.”

But why must this knowledge of a planned Divine family be kept a sacred secret until it is completed? The Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, makes clear the reason for the development of this Divine family in a secret manner. He writes: “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery [sacred secret], even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”—I Cor. 2:6-8

For one to be raised to the Divine nature there must be complete crystallization of character in righteousness. As before noted, this can come only by willingly passing through harsh and trying experiences with an attitude of heart loyalty to God, plus exerting a supreme effort to demonstrate love in every way.

How necessary to keep secret this special work of developing the family of God! But much, much more was needed than just secrecy. The almighty power and wisdom of God was needed to select meticulously each experience for this prospective Divine family. Each member has to be willing to ‘drink of the cup’ that Jesus drank of.

When the mother of James and John, Zebedee’s sons, went to Jesus requesting places of honor in his kingdom, Jesus said to her sons: “Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Both answered, “We are able.” (Matt. 20:20-23) Jesus then said that indeed they would receive these same tests he had received, but only the Father could appoint positions of honor.


The Apostle Paul so clearly stated that we with whom the Father is dealing, we who possess the ‘sacred secrets,’ shall all have selected experiences directed by God. Our Father will also provide us ‘cups’ of sorrow, and shall we not drink them uncomplainingly? Note how confidently the apostle states this truth: “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) The apostle’s complete faith in this caused him to demonstrate loyalty to God in a most sublime way.

In II Corinthians 11:25-28 he notes briefly some of the persecutions he had received. Among them he lists beatings with rods by the Jews and also the gentiles. He recalls being stoned nearly to death, and he lists perils by shipwreck, by heathen, by robbers, among false brethren, and much weariness and painfulness. He experienced hunger and thirst, often lack of food. But he knew that all the ‘cup of sorrow’ experiences were selected for his good, for his development. Hence he could remember them, and because of the framework in which they were viewed, he could and did minimize their severity: “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18) And again: “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [we can do this, Paul continues, because] we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.”—II Cor. 4:17,18


Note again how the apostle emphasizes why ‘all things work together for good … to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ He states in the next verse (Rom. 8:29), “For [or, ‘because’] whom he did foreknow [the church class], he did predestinate [predetermine] to be [ultimately, by faithful obedience] conformed to the image of his Son.” None could be finally chosen to live and reign with Christ unless their characters had been crystallized in righteousness. Those who receive the Divine nature, or life, are so eternally dedicated to the law of love that defection would be impossible.

How wonderful and meaningful to us is that phrase in Romans 8:28, “to them who are the called according to his purpose.” The testimony of God’s Word is that this class, which is to be his family, is drawn by the Heavenly Father. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44) Also, in Psalm 65:4 we read, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts.”

We who have been drawn to the Lord and respond in consecration become increasingly aware of the sacred secrets. The great truth opens to us that the called and spirit-begotten of this age shall, if faithful, become a part of God’s own intimate Divine family. But to receive all the necessary development to be “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” we [must] “suffer with him.” (Rom. 8:17) Our glorious Heavenly Father will carefully select each experience we are to encounter. It will be chosen with Divine wisdom to suit our particular individual needs. Hence we shall accept it as ‘a cup from the Father,’ and as “our light affliction, which is but for a moment.”—II Cor. 4:17

The full acceptance of this truth concerning God’s overruling providence means we shall not become bitter, nor have self-pity, nor tend to complain about our lot in life. Rather, let us each say, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”—Ps. 17:15

Dawn Bible Students Association
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