Never Before Understood -- Why Humanity Cannot Solve It's Problems
By Herbert W. Armstrong
Today nuclear weapons threaten human extinction. Why? What happens now?
WHY DO we lack the know-how to solve world troubles - or even problems between individuals?
Scientists have said, "Given sufficient knowledge, we will solve all problems, remove all human evils." In the decade of the sixties, Dr. Clark Kerr, president of the University of California, Berkeley, said the modern university is a factory -- manufacturing knowledge. In that decade the world's fund of knowledge doubled -- but world troubles doubled also! The newly produced knowledge did not cause the increased troubles, but neither did it cure them.
Knowledge in modern science, technology, industry and government has produced awesome achievements. A Lincoln, Emerson or
Vanderbilt, suddenly coming back to life today would be astounded! But also he would be appalled to see the immorality, violence and evils that have multiplied human unhappiness and suffering. And he would be shocked into consternation to learn that nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction have been produced that now threaten to erase all humanity from the earth!
During the past century the theory of evolution has become the universally accepted concept through which knowledge has been produced. Evolution is the explanation of the natural mind for the existence of a creation without the preexistence of an intelligent and all-powerful Creator. But what has been its fruits?
Human knowledge production has led the way through discontent, unhappiness, violence, war, human suffering, to near-approaching extermination of humanity by humanity!
WHY the paradox of astonishing materialistic progress amid ever-increasing human decadence?
Mankind is comparable to the one who purchased a technically designed instrument, but was unable to operate it because he ignored the manufacturer's operation manual. The human mind and body is the most perfectly designed mechanism ever produced from earthly material substance. Our Maker sent along with his product his operation manual. But this world's bestseller has been the most ignored, distorted, falsely interpreted and least understood of all books.
A Cause for Every Effect
There has to be a CAUSE for every effect. What was the original CAUSE for all the world's seemingly insolvable troubles? This CAUSE has been utterly overlooked by modern science. It is unknown in modern higher education. It has been carelessly glossed over by even the traditional Christian religion, and is unknown to other religions.
The CAUSE of all troubles in your life and mine and in the world today originated in the incident of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden! It all began with the beginning of MANKIND! And even the true Church of God in this 20th century has not fully understood it until now!
What if Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE? Ever wonder about that?
Ah! -- that would have made all the difference! There would have been no national governments today. No military establishments consuming the time of millions of soldiers. No violence. No wars. An entirely different educational system. A different business and commercial world. No tobacco industry. No need for doctors, nurses, hospitals and their staffs to treat today's host of illnesses. No police forces, jails and prisons. Millions released for more productive, useful occupations. Yes, THINK OF IT! YOU AND I WOULD BE LIVING IN A TOTALLY DIFFERENT WORLD! There would be no universal discontent, unhappiness, frustrated lives. There would be peace everywhere -- between nations, groups, families and individuals. Abundance everywhere for joy-packed lives filled with interest, eager anticipation for a wonderful eternity ahead!
Sound impossible? Why should it? There was a CAUSE for existing conditions. There would have been a CAUSE for the happier state!
This matter of basic CAUSES has eluded the knowledge production of man. It has never been understood by modern science. It has not been recognized by education. Religion has remained in ignorance of this mystery of the ages! Yet it has been faithfully recorded and preserved for us who will to UNDERSTAND!
So now look closer at what did happen, what actually caused effects in your life and mine, and what the immediate future now holds for us all. The turning point in your life began in that forbidden fruit incident! It's time you UNDERSTAND!
Source of Life
God is the source of all LIFE. But he did not give mankind LIFE -- not yet! Everything began with GOD. And of all the religions on earth -- including traditional Christianity -- not one knows who and what God is! More, not one knows what and why man is! Yet the Designer and Maker of this most intricately designed mechanism we call MAN reveals himself in man's instruction manual he gave us!
In order of time sequence the first revelation of who and what is God is found in John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word." This "Word" was a personage, eternally self-existent. He was "without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Hebrews 7:3). "The Word was with God" (John 1:1). God was another personal immortal Being. "And the Word was God." The Personage here named "the Word" was also God. "All things were made by him. In him was LIFE." In verse 14, same chapter, "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" -- in other words, fathered by God, became by human birth, Jesus Christ.
But of what was God composed? "God is Spirit" (John 4:24, RSV). God is composed of Spirit, not of mortal flesh from the ground of the earth. God has LIFE inherent. He is the source of all life.
Now see how he is described in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created ..." Moses wrote these words originally in Hebrew. The Hebrew word translated "God" is Elohim, a uniplural noun like family, church or group. One family consisting of more than one person. God -- Elohim -- consisted from eternity of the "Word" and God- -two Spirit-composed personages, forming one God, since the Word also was God.
In Genesis 1:26 God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Not "Let me, after my likeness." God had made animals after their kind -- cattle after the cattle kind (verses 24-25), elephants after the elephant kind.
But he made man after the GOD kind! That is, as to form and shape -- but not as to composition, because God "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living [not immortal] soul" (Genesis 2:7). Like animals, man was made an air-breathing being. Like animals, his temporary physical existence came from air and circulation of blood, fueled by food and water from the ground.
But man is not an animal. There are two main differences: 1) man was made in the form and shape of God. For example, notice the human hand. God has hands (II Chronicles 6:4). What animal with hooves, paws, claws, could make a fine handmade watch? Even if they had man's mind no animal could make what man can. How could any animal make a computer? And 2) man has mind, while animal has only brain with instinct.
Yet animal brain, in form and shape and even quality, is almost precisely like human brain. But the character and quantity of output is vastly different. Animal brain is equipped with instinct. Human brain with MIND power.
Ever see a calf born? In two or more minutes it is on its feet and walking. It knows where to go for its dinner. It knows how to suck milk. The stupid cow stands dull-eyed, waiting for the calf to suck its dinner.
Compare that to the birth of a human. The human baby is utterly helpless at birth. It will need about a year to be able to walk -- and it will have to learn! It will need a human mother to care for it, do everything for it, teach it little by little. But the human baby has MIND power. At birth its mind is unfilled with knowledge or with instinct. The human must be guided by MIND, rather than instinct. But KNOWLEDGE must be fed or acquired by the mind.
Man's Need vs. the Animals'
Man was made to NEED knowledge in two areas, as contrasted from animal needs.
Animals were created with brain equipped with instinct. Man was not. Man was made with MIND, almost totally devoid of instinct. Man's mind, containing KNOWLEDGE, must think and direct whatever he does.
He was made to need KNOWLEDGE for relationships in two directions:
1) to work with matter and things;
2) for close relationship with God, and also with fellow man.
Man was by creation equipped with materialistic MIND to work with matter and things. In that area man has achieved wonders. But his relationship with God, and with other humans, is a SPIRITUAL relationship. This, man has never understood! Adam did not understand it! The most highly educated today do not understand it.
Man was made with one spirit within him from birth (in essence form), which empowers his brain with materialistic intellect. But he needed another Spirit -- that of his Maker -- the Holy Spirit. Without it his mind is only half complete. As an infant baby is helpless by itself, and needs parental care, so even the human adult is helpless before his fellows and his God by himself -- and he needs spiritual guidance, knowledge and help from his God. Without this, man is as helpless before his problems and troubles as a newborn infant in its mother's arms! But man has never realized this. He has felt smugly self-confident -- self-reliant. He has chosen to "go it alone" without God. And he has gotten himself into a world of trouble!
But now, first, consider the differences between human and animal brain.
How does human MIND differ from animal brain? Man's physical brain is not superior, except in slight degree. But (Job 32:8) there is a spirit in man and no such spirit in animals. Man is not spirit. He is matter from the ground. The spirit essence in man enters with his first breath. This spirit is not the man -- it is something in the man. If he swallowed a very small marble, the marble would be in him, but not the man or part of him. The spirit cannot see or hear or think. The physical brain sees through the eye, hears through the ear. Knowledge therefore can enter human brain only through the five senses. Man can know naturally ONLY physical or materialistic knowledge.
But man was created to need another Spirit -- the Spirit of GOD! This was freely offered to Adam if he would choose the tree of LIFE. The Holy Spirit from God would have given man contact with God -- would have opened his mind to comprehension of spiritual as well as physical and materialistic knowledge. Without the Spirit of God added to his human spirit, man was limited to materialistic knowledge -- his mind was only half there! He can know only what is seen, felt, heard, smelled or tasted.
Again, WHAT IF Adam had taken of the tree of LIFE? Adam was made from the ground -- with a physiochemical temporary existence. He did not have LIFE. Like a wound-up clock running down, he was in process of dying with each breath he took. At any time he was only one breath away from death -- cessation of existence. This is true of YOU, even as it was of Adam.
It was the Creator GOD who offered him freely the gift of LIFE. But HOW does God impart that gift of life to man?
By His Spirit
God would not have bestowed life on Adam in a manner different than he offers it to those he calls today -- for God is the SAME, yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).
God gives LIFE through the Holy Spirit. But when one receives the Holy Spirit he is only begotten -- impregnated -- an heir, not yet an inheritor of eternal LIFE. God's Spirit "beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then ... heirs of God" (Romans 8:16-17).
God's Spirit in humans opens the MIND to comprehend spiritual knowledge. Until then, "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered into the mind of man," spiritual knowledge and comprehension (I Corinthians 2:9). "But God hath revealed [spiritual knowledge] by his Spirit" (verse 10). For (verse 11), no human knows human materialistic knowledge, save by the spirit of man that is in him. This human spirit (essence) empowers the human brain with intellect -- MIND! That is how human brain differs from animal brain.
But man is still only HALF THERE mentally, until he receives the second Spirit -- that of GOD. He is LIMITED in knowledge to the physical and the material. That is the state in which Adam was created! That is the state in which YOU were born!
God's Spirit in man reveals spiritual knowledge -- the spiritual Law of God -- the WAY OF LIFE to CAUSE peace, happiness, every good result. There are, broadly speaking, the TWO ways of living -- exemplified by the two trees in Eden. The one, out flowing LOVE (which is the spiritual Law of God). I term this for brevity and simplicity, the way of "GIVE." The other, the way of "GET." They are the two divergent ways of life, leading in opposite directions, producing opposite effects!
Now LOVE is the fulfilling of God's Law (Romans 13:10) and it can be fulfilled only by the divine "love of God ... shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]" (Romans 5:5). The Spirit of God imparts the faith of Christ (Galatians 2:16) so we may rely on God for help, guidance, deliverance from troubles -- for MANY are the afflictions, even of the righteous, "but the Lord delivers him out of them all" (Psalm 34:19, RSV). God knew that MAN -- Adam and his family, the world -- would need this divine help in times of trouble.
So what was the meaning of the tree of LIFE? It meant God's GIFT of self-contained immortal Spirit-composed LIFE precisely as possessed by God himself (the Word and God). But that life would have been given to Adam, precisely as offered to those called of God today, by his Holy Spirit. And God does not impart immortal Spirit-contained life instantaneously. One is first merely begotten -- impregnated -- an heir. Notice it! This has never been understood! Just as a mortal human must be first begotten, then after a period of gestation, born, so may we be born of God.
God Reproducing Himself
UNDERSTAND THIS! God is reproducing himself through man. God made human reproduction the very type, in analogy, of his divine reproduction.
How were you born? This does concern YOU! First there was a tiny ovum, released from your mother's ovary into a fallopian tube en route to her womb or uterus. Each ovum has a temporary physical existence of less than 28 days. Had the ovum not received a sperm cell from the very body of your father in less than that 28 days, there would have been no you. But you -- then only the size of a pin point -- did have physical life imparted through your human father, just as to be born again, you now must have Spirit life imparted to you by God the spiritual Father.
You are in fact a spiritual ovum. But, just as, in your mother's womb, you became a newly begotten embryo, so are those in a spiritual sense when begotten of God. You had to grow, physically, fed by and through your mother, protected from physical harm by her. The spiritually begotten must grow spiritually, in grace and the KNOWLEDGE of Christ (II Peter 3:18). After four months you began to take on physical human form and were called a fetus. You still had five more months to grow and develop physically to be born.
Now compare this physical reproduction to God's divine reproduction. The Church, "Jerusalem above," is the "mother of us all" (Galatians 4:26) that are in the Church. The Church must feed God's children on the spiritual Word of God and protect them from spiritual harm. Those begotten are already the "children of God" begotten, not yet born -- heirs, not yet inheritors (see Romans 8:16-17).
Through the Holy Spirit we receive from God spiritual KNOWLEDGE, the LOVE of God, the faith of Christ, and the power of God. And if we grow spiritually (II Peter 3:18) and keep growing until the end of this physical existence, we shall be born of God by a resurrection (Romans 8:11, I Corinthians 15).
Adam would have received spiritual KNOWLEDGE from God, had he taken of the tree of LIFE, instead of the forbidden fruit -- knowledge to solve his problems, and FAITH to receive help and deliverance from trouble.
Now consider what Adam needed!
He needed two kinds of KNOWLEDGE first of all. He needed ability to absorb materialistic knowledge, to make things out of matter -- to deal with material THINGS. This God endowed him with ability to acquire, with his created materialistic MIND.
But he also needed to have contact with God and with people -- and to learn how to deal with other humans. This required SPIRITUAL KNOWLEDGE! Adam was not created with this knowledge. YOU were not born with it. This knowledge could be imparted only through the Spirit of God.
How the Forbidden Fruit Is Affecting You!
But now what of the other tree in the garden of Eden? It is even today tremendously affecting YOUR life!
This tree also represented Knowledge! But where the tree of LIFE represented the kind of knowledge that would have led to eternal LIFE instead of a temporary existence, the forbidden tree represented KNOWLEDGE leading to DEATH -- to cessation of even the temporary physical existence!
When Adam took the forbidden fruit, he took to himself the knowledge -- the production of the knowledge of good and evil. He appropriated the prerogative of deciding what is good and evil -- what is right and wrong -- what is righteousness and what is sin. Also he took to himself the KNOWLEDGE of the way of living that would cause good or evil.
In so doing he rejected revealed spiritual knowledge from God. AND HE DISOBEYED GOD! He rejected the GOVERNMENT OF GOD! Had Adam taken of the tree of LIFE, he could have restored the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, nullified by the former Lucifer, now Satan.
How Satan Enters the Picture
At this point Satan enters the picture of mankind on earth. He appeared in the form of a serpent (Revelation 12:9) to Eve. He got to Adam through his wife! Where did Satan come from? Did God deliberately create an evil devil? Most certainly not.
Originally Satan was a created great archangel, the cherub Lucifer. He was perfect in all his ways from the day he was created (Ezekiel 28:15). He was placed on the throne of the earth as earth- ruler (Isaiah 14:12-14). He ruled over angels who then inhabited the earth. He led his angels into rebellion against the government of God (II Peter 2:4). Angels are immortal beings, composed of spirit. Lucifer's rebellion ended administration of the government of God, yet left Satan ON EARTH'S THRONE!
So what actually happened in the garden of Eden, later to overwhelmingly affect your life? God had talked (preached) to Adam and Eve. This was on what today would be called Friday evening and through the Sabbath. But on a Sunday morning Satan got to Adam through his wife.
God had said plainly, taking of the forbidden fruit would result in the DEATH PENALTY! God had said, for disobedience "You shall surely DIE!" Satan said, "You shall NOT surely die" -- in other words, you are an immortal soul. Eve was deceived into taking the forbidden fruit. ADAM WAS NOT DECEIVED (I Timothy 2:14).
Adam DID NOT BELIEVE GOD! He believed Satan. Mankind has been disbelieving GOD ever since -- and believing Satan! When Christ came in human flesh He preached the Kingdom of God to many thousands. He -- VERY GOD in human flesh! Yet only 120 actually believed him (Acts 1:15).
What had happened?
Adam, choosing for all his family, the world, disbelieved God- -disobeyed God -- rejected revealed knowledge and eternal life through the tree of LIFE -- took to himself all knowledge production, with a carnal mind LIMITED to knowledge of the physical and material! He was ONLY HALF THERE mentally! He had made the choice that limited him to knowledge of the physical and material. He had rejected the spiritual knowledge for happy relationship with God and with fellow man. He had rejected eternal LIFE!
Adam had SINNED! He had disobeyed the explicit command of his Maker! He had rejected God's LOVE, God's GOVERNMENT!
So now what did GOD do?
"And the Lord God said ... and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: therefore the Lord God ... drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:22-24).
God shut up the tree of LIFE! He barred access to his Holy Spirit, until the coming of the second Adam -- Jesus Christ!
AND WHY? WHY did God refuse man access to his Holy Spirit, until the time of Christ? THIS HAS NEVER BEEN UNDERSTOOD!
First, it has never been understood that God did shut off his Holy Spirit from mankind.
UNDERSTAND THIS! God refused human access to the Holy Spirit -- UNTIL CHRIST, THE SECOND ADAM, should come and pay the death penalty for humans in our stead!
UNDERSTAND THIS! The Holy Spirit and gift of eternal life was not available to Adam's children. It was not available, even to God's called and chosen people ancient Israel, except their prophets (who were part of the foundation of the New Testament Church, born out of due time -- I Corinthians 15:8; Ephesians 2:20).
Therefore all humanity was born with minds that were carnal -- limited to MATERIALISTIC KNOWLEDGE! And the carnal mind is HOSTILE (enmity) against God, and not subject to the Law of God -- the way of outflowing LOVE (Romans 8:7).
People do not realize this, but their natural minds are HOSTILE against God! They do not want to hear about God! The things of God are foolishness to them. Those inoculated with higher education (MAN'S KNOWLEDGE) in their smug vanity feel superior, and look with disdain on the things or knowledge of GOD!
But why? Yes, WHY did God cut mankind off SO LONG? WHY wait some 4,000 years for Christ the second Adam to come? And WHY, even then, to call only the predestinated FEW?
What God Is Creating!
Now we come to another important truth never understood in our time until now.
Few know WHAT God is creating! Creating is God's occupation. But what is he creating? He is creating righteous, perfect spiritual character in his created beings!
This character cannot be created instantly by fiat -- even God can't do that! WHY? This perfect godly character requires the decision, the assent, the enforced willpower of the created entity, and often against self-desire or self-will. It is a process that requires time!
We judge and evaluate things by comparison. God intended that man experience the fruits of the way he has chosen for 6,000 years, then compare those agonizing results with the healthy joys and inspiring lives of the next millennium -- with Satan gone, with Christ and immortal saints ruling -- the earth then full of God's knowledge, as the ocean beds are full of water!
With God, a thousand years are only as a day, and a day as a thousand years (II Peter 3:8). The six days of the first chapter of Genesis were a type of the six millennial days of man, swayed by Satan. The coming millennial day was typified by the seventh day Sabbath.
God, in forming his Master Plan for working out his purpose here below -- that of reproducing himself through man -- is accomplishing through us the most stupendous feat even the Great God can bring about! And through you and me!
Life by the Second Adam
Physical temporary existence came by Adam. But eternal inherent self-existent LIFE came by Jesus Christ, the second Adam! Once Adam had sinned, the "wages of sin" was death, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
Is it mere coincidence that, as the sun brought the light of day from the darkness of night on the fourth day of "creation week," Christ brought the light of truth out of the darkness of evil after 4,000 years? In him was light. Yet most still loved darkness!
Jesus said, "I will build my church, and the gates of [the grave] shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The Church is only the first fruits of God's salvation!
Jesus said plainly, "NO MAN CAN come to me, except the Father which sent me draw him" (John 6:44). But those are the predestined FEW drawn during the Church age (Ephesians 1:11-12).
The prophet Joel had prophesied, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh ..." (Joel 2:28). The apostle Peter quoted this as being in a preliminary typical manner fulfilled on the day the Church was founded (Acts 2:16-17).
Notice this pivotal scripture. Peter had quoted the prophecy of Joel. The preliminary type of that prophetic fulfillment was occurring that day of Pentecost -- the foundation of the Church. Those whom God had called there asked Peter, "What shall we do?" after his speech. Peter answered: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy [Spirit]. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, ... even as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:38-39). Only those God calls, and draws to him may come to Christ during this Church age!
That is a BASIC TRUTH in God's Master Plan for redeeming humanity -- for REPRODUCING HIMSELF -- understood by almost no one!
When Adam sinned, he cut himself off from God. And God cut him and his children off from the Holy Spirit.
So WHAT THEN?
God appointed a Master Plan for yet redeeming sinning mankind! Sin entered the world by Adam, and all have sinned.
The JUDGMENT Brings Salvation
So God appointed a time of JUDGMENT, during which humans shall NOT ONLY be called to account for their sins, BUT ALSO OFFERED REMISSION OF SINS, RECONCILIATION WITH GOD AND THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE, upon repentance and belief!
Read that above paragraph again. AND AGAIN!
UNDERSTAND it! The PENALTY of sin, for man, is the second death! "... it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27). Again, "As in Adam all die" (the first death), "even so in Christ shall all be made alive" -- the same "all" who die in Adam! -- "but every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then ..." (I Cor. 15:22-24). Yes, then, a thousand years afterward (Revelation 20:11-12), the judgment.
But a comparative FEW were predestined to be called to judgment and salvation during the Church age (Ephesians 1:11-12). They are the "first fruits" of God's salvation.
But why? Why call a few, a thousand to three thousand years before the judgment of the MANY? To prepare and spiritually train a people for the Kingdom of God -- the divine FAMILY of God, to rule with Christ during the Millennium and after, in redeeming the vast billions of people since Adam during the time of their judgment and salvation!
There is this DIFFERENCE! Those specially called, begotten and spiritually developed through the Church must OVERCOME SATAN! Satan is still on earth's throne! But when Christ comes -- and the resurrected saints rule with him in the Kingdom (FAMILY) of God, Satan shall have been removed. Those called then, and in the post- millennial general judgment shall not have to overcome Satan and Satan's deceived world!
So notice! Judgment and opportunity for salvation have begun with Christ! To the Church, Peter wrote, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (I Peter 4:17).
God is calling the FEW now, into his Church. Others CANNOT come to Christ NOW (John 6:44). Jesus in no manner came on a "soul- saving crusade." At no time did he plead with any one to "give him one's heart." He pleaded with none to accept him and be saved. At Jacob's well in Samaria, the gentile Samaritan woman asked him for the Holy Spirit -- which he had pictured to her as living water. Jesus then told her of her sins, but offered her no salvation -- though God had drawn some in Samaria who did believe on Christ (John 4:15-18).
Of those whom God the Father has drawn to be reconciled to him through Christ, during this Church age, notice what Christ has said:
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne [at Jerusalem]" (Revelation 3:21). And, "he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them ..." (Revelation 2:26-27).
Those words apply to those of the Church only -- of the time prior to God's Kingdom! But those called now have Satan and Satan's world to overcome. Those called during the Millennium and in the judgment afterward will not -- Satan shall then be removed. The world then will not be deceived. But it shall be as full of the KNOWLEDGE of God as the ocean beds are full of water (Isaiah 11:9).
Some will ask, What of one who really wants salvation -- wants to believe in Christ -- willing to repent and come out of this world and be led by God's Spirit in a true Christian life? Answer: Such a one has been drawn by God, otherwise he or she would have had no such desire. However, most who believe they are in that category have followed a false gospel, false teaching, and are deceived. MILLIONS profess Christianity who have been so deceived. Of them Jesus said, "In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men ... laying aside the commandment of God" (Mark 7:7-8).
All this TRUTH is pictured by God's annual festivals. They were given for the Church when the Church was first founded -- but that was the Church (or Congregation) of Israel, under the Old Testament. Ancient Israel did not understand the meaning of these festivals. But they were ordained FOREVER! Christ observed them. The Church, as founded A.D. 31, observed them. God's Church observes them today.
They outline God's Master Plan, for the redemption of man. The Plan starts with Christ. The first festival is the Passover, reminding God's Church annually of the sacrifice and shed blood of Christ for the remission of sins of the flesh-born children of Adam.
The second festival is that of Unleavened Bread -- seven days, of which the first and last are annual Sabbaths or holy days. As seven is God's number of completeness, they picture the complete putting away of sin, or the overcoming life.
The third is the Feast of Firstfruits, called in the New Testament "Pentecost," because it came fifty days after the cutting of the wave sheaf during the Days of Unleavened Bread. The Church was founded on that day. On that day the Holy Spirit was given to those God had drawn FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE GOD BARRED HUMANITY FROM HIS SPIRIT (Genesis 3:22-24). The Church is the FIRSTFRUITS of God's salvation, and therefore the festival given that name.
The fourth festival is the Feast of Trumpets, the first day of the seventh month of God's sacred calendar, late summer or early autumn. It pictures the Second Coming of Christ.
The fifth festival is the Day of Atonement, the tenth day of the seventh month. It pictures the putting away of Satan, since Christ who had qualified to restore (Acts 3:19-21) the government of God shall be inducted on the throne at Jerusalem. This day pictures the making of man's AT-ONE-MENT with God through Christ.
The sixth is the Feast of Tabernacles -- a seven-day festival, picturing the seventh thousand year reign of Christ and the resurrected saints. During this millennium the TREE OF LIFE will be opened to ALL who repent and believe.
The seventh is the Last Great Day, following the seven days, picturing the Great White Throne Judgment. At that time, all from Adam on, who were not called, will be resurrected to judgment. The Book of LIFE will be opened (Revelation 20:12).
Afterward there will be a resurrection of those who had been called, but had willfully rebelled and rejected God's call. The earth then will become a molten lake of fire. All others by then shall be immortal spirit beings -- children of God. The fire will not in any way affect them. The condemned will become ashes under the soles of their feet (Malachi 4:3). They shall be as though they had never been (Obadiah 16). Does this show harshness with God? Is God unfair? NEVER! God is LOVE! This is the kindest and most merciful end for those who have been freely offered LIFE and in self- centered rebellion rejected it. It is my belief that only a comparative few will finally rebel, uninfluenced by Satan.
The Incredible Human Potential
What an astoundingly incredible human potential! The world little realizes what a glorious and stupendous PURPOSE God is working out in mortal human lives made from earthly ground!
God is REPRODUCING HIMSELF through us! He is taking matter out of the ground, making it into mortal, temporarily existing humans. For those willing, God is infusing into them his Holy Spirit -- imparting to them GOD-life eternal! Through his Spirit, with our assent and effort at spiritual growth and overcoming, he infuses into us HIS RIGHTEOUS SPIRITUAL CHARACTER. By a resurrection, we become BORN God personages -- personages just as are God the Father and Christ the Son! We shall have the entire UNIVERSE put under our feet (Hebrews 2:8).
In Adam all have sinned. In Christ shall all be made alive! God has called, first, HIS CHURCH! The Church is HIS BODY! The Church, resurrected at Christ's coming, shall be MARRIED to Christ the Son. We become the children of God. After our marriage to Christ -- a spiritual marriage of spiritually immortal Persons -- we shall beget children into this DIVINE FAMILY!
There is but the ONE CHURCH -- ONE BODY (I Corinthians 12:13, 20) to become ONE DIVINE FAMILY. The Church is "fitly framed together" (Ephesians 2:21), joined together and compacted (welded) together (Ephesians 4:16), all speaking the SAME THINGS as CHRIST speaks (I Corinthians 1:10). God has called the Church specially out of Satan's world to overcome Satan and his world, to be prepared and trained to become God beings in and after the Millennium, to rule with Christ as we bring to eternal LIFE all others beginning with Adam, who then shall be willing!
WHAT A WONDERFUL PURPOSE AND MASTER PLAN!