Book: God's Plan for Mankind

As incredible as it may seem, God has deliberately hidden His plan for mankind from the wise and intelligent of this world—from the leaders in government, religion and education— as well as from philosophers, ancient and modern. In fact, God has blinded men to His true purpose throughout all ages!

Why has He done this? Surely God would want us to have an understanding of His plan, to know why mankind was created, why we are here—would He not? The answer is simple: Beginning with Adam and Eve, all humans have sinnned and rebelled against God (Rom. 3:9, 23). Sin is the transgression of the Law (I John 3:4). Rebellion is the refusal to walk and live God’s way. Consequently, the human mind has been spiritually blinded and God has hidden His plan from mankind.

This sin and rebellion began with Adam and Eve, who had direct personal access to their Creator God in the Garden of Eden. They walked with God and talked with God. They had personal, face-to-face fellowship with Him daily—and especially on the holy Sabbath. After putting Adam in the garden to dress and keep (or guard) it, “God commanded the man saying, ‘You may freely eat of every tree in the garden. But you shall not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For in the day you eat of it, in dying you shall surely die’ ” (Gen. 2:16-17).

However, instead of loving and obeying their Creator, Adam and Eve chose to believe the serpent, Satan the devil. He lied to them and assured them that if they ate of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that “in dying you shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4)

As a result, true to God’s word, they received in their very being a sinful nature that is enmity against God and His laws—and came under the penalty of death. Likewise, all of their descendants received by inheritance this sinful nature, which is the inner “law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2). After Cain murdered his brother Abel, sin and rebellion against God multiplied and intensified until the whole civilization of man became so corrupt and wicked that God had to destroy all flesh with the univeral flood of Noah’s time, saving only Noah and his family and the animals in the ark.

The apostle Paul describes this rebellion of men and their rejection of God—as well as God’s punishment against them: “Indeed, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest among them, for God has manifested it to them; for the invisible things of Him are perceived from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that were made—both His eternal power and Godhead—so that they are without excuse; because when they knew God [before and after the flood], they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but they became vain in their own reasonings, and their foolish hearts were darkened. While professing themselves to be the wise ones, they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed creatures, and creeping things.

“For this cause, God also abandoned them to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to disgrace their own bodies between themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie [Satan the devil’s lie that he was god]; and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the one Who is Creator, Who is blessed into the ages. Amen” (Rom. 1:18-25).

As a result of mankind’s sin and rebellion, both before and after the flood, God blinded their hearts and minds to His spiritual truths and abandoned them to their own devices and religions. In fact, because of their sin and worship of Satan, God deliberately hid the true knowledge of His plan and purpose for mankind.

Where then did God hide this precious knowledge? Must we go up into the heavens to find it? Or, shall we go to the bottom of the ocean to locate it? Is it written in some long lost book, or inscribed on golden tablets buried deep in the earth that are yet to be discovered? Where is the knowledge of God’s plan for mankind and how do we find it?

The truth is that today, the plan of God, also called the mystery of God, is hidden in plain sight—right in front of everyone’s eyes. It’s in the Bible. Incredibly, however, the vast majority of the billions of people who possess Bibles do not understand God’s true plan and purpose as revealed in the Scriptures. Yet, God put it there in plain sight! But people do not recognize the truth—because the truth must be revealed spiritually by God through the proper handling of the Word of God. While some people who read the Bible may know a few details about God’s plan, the fullness of that plan has been hidden.

Why is it possible for people to have the Word of God, read it, and yet not comprehend God’s plan for mankind?

First, most people do not keep the commandments of God, because they believe God’s laws have been “done away”: “[All] His commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness…. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they who do his commandments…. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments” (Psa. 111:7-8, 10; 112:1). Without first keeping the commandments of God, it is impossible for anyone to truly understand the Word of God and come to the knowledge of His plan.

Second, the majority of people who have the Bible have closed their eyes to God’s Sabbath and holy days—which are also holy Sabbaths—and refuse to keep them. They have instead substituted their own traditions—Sunday-keeping and the holidays of this world. God’s message to them is: Repent, obey My voice, and keep My laws, My commandments, My Sabbath and My holy days. As the prophet Isaiah admonished the children of Israel, and the Gentiles as well: “Thus says the LORD, ‘Keep you judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed [together with His purpose and plan for mankind]. Blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold on it; that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil’ ” (Isa. 56:1-2). And again, “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in the LORD…” (Isa. 58:13-14).

In the New Testament, in Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, he makes it abundantly clear that Sabbath-keeping is for New Testament Christians: “There remains, therefore, Sabbath-keeping for the people of God [Jews and Gentiles]” (Heb. 4:9).

Third, most do not have the Holy Spirit of God to lead them to understand the spiritual meaning of the Word of God. Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Furthermore, God does not give His Holy Spirit unless one has repented of sin and has been baptized, and is living a life of love and obedience to God (Acts 2:38; 5:32).

Thus, we find that although people may read the Bible, they cannot understand God’s plan contained in its pages. To them it is a great, unfathomable mystery!

God’s Plan for Mankind is Hidden Throughout the Bible

God’s plan actually begins in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. That plan, however, was not fully unveiled until the apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, in AD 95.

Few people realize that the Lord God of the Old Testament was the One Who became Jesus Christ of the New Testament. He was the One Who created Adam and Eve and all things. He was the One Who dealt directly with the godly men of old—Abel, Enoch and Noah. He was the One Who called the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and person- ally dealt with them. He was the One Who called Moses to bring Israel out of their slavery in Egypt. He was the One Who gave them the Law at Mount Sinai.

He was the Word of God Who spoke to the prophets of old, such as Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel and all the other prophets. He inspired the Psalms of David, the Proverbs of Solomon and the other writings of the Old Testament. In every one of these inspired writings, various aspects of God’s plan and purpose for mankind are concealed— they are a mystery. Though these great men of God were inspired to write the words of God, they did not fully grasp His plan or timetable for working out that plan. God intentionally did not divulge it to them. Even Daniel—to whom God revealed many prophecies that stretched from his time, in the fifth century BC, to the end of the age and the beginning of the Kingdom of God on earth—did not understand them. After receiving his final vision, he asked the Lord, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?’ And he said, ‘Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise [those who love and obey God] shall understand’ ” (Dan. 12:8-10).

The Teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament
Reveal More of God’s Plan
the Mysteries of the Kingdom of God

It was more than 4,000 years after God created Adam and Eve that He began to more fully reveal His plan for mankind through Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father. Jesus was God manifested in the flesh, born of the virgin Mary. He came to magnify the Law and make it honorable, as Isaiah prophesied: “The LORD is well pleased for His righteousness’ sake; He will magnify the Law, and make it honorable” (Isa. 42:21). In magnifying the Law, Jesus brought the Law to its fullest measure, making clear its spiritual meaning and intent. The Hebrew word for “magnify” is gadal which means: to advance, boast, exceed; to become, do, give, make greater, increase and magnify. The Hebrew word “honorable” is adar which means: to expand, to be great or magnificant.

Contrary to what many religious leaders teach, Jesus did not do away with the Law. Beginning with the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus magnified the Law by teaching the spiritual meaning of the Law and the Prophets: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until the heaven and the earth shall pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the Law until everything has been fulfilled” (Matt. 5:17-18). Moreover, He also said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God’ ” (Matt. 4:4). (To understand how Jesus fulfilled the Law and the Prophets, see A Harmony of the Gospels—the Life of Jesus Christ, Coulter, pp. 73-96.)

Jesus Christ’s first coming fulfilled hundreds of prophecies as recorded in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. In addition to magnifying the Law and the Prophets, Jesus revealed a great deal more about the meaning of God’s Sabbath and holy days.

Luke writes this account of Jesus’ teaching on the Sabbath day in Nazareth: “And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and according to His custom, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. And there was given Him the book of the prophet Isaiah; and when He had unrolled the scroll, He found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; for this reason, He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to proclaim pardon to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth in deliverance those who have been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’ ” (Luke 4:16-19). In fact, recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the direct teachings of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s message of the good news of personal salvation and the coming Kingdom of God, which is also revealed by the Sabbath and holy days.

When Jesus began His three and one-half-year ministry, He preached repentance and forgiveness of sin: “Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has drawn near; repent, and believe in the gospel’ ” (Mark 1:14-15).

Another primary purpose of Jesus coming in the flesh was to reveal God the Father to those whom He would call: “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and have revealed them to babes. Yes, Father, for it was well pleasing in Your sight to do this. All things were delivered to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; neither does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son personally chooses to reveal Him’ ” (Matt. 11:25- 27). Jesus did not reveal God the Father to the world in general, but only to His called and chosen disciples—those truly converted believers who love Him and keep His commandments (I John 5:2-3).

For this reason Jesus spoke to the people in parables. His disciples, however, did not understand His use of parables and questioned Him: “And He answered and said to them, ‘Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has understanding, to him more shall be given, and he shall have an abundance; but whoever does not have understanding, even what he has shall be taken away from him. For this reason I speak to them in parables, because seeing, they see not; and hearing, they hear not; neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, ‘In hearing you shall hear, and in no way understand; and in seeing you shall see, and in no way perceive; for the heart of this people has grown fat, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and should hear with their ears, and should understand with their hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, many prophets and righteous men have desired to see what you see, and have not seen; and to hear what you hear, and have not heard” (Matt. 13:11-17).

The apostle Peter later confirmed Jesus’ words, stating that even the prophets of old—though they had some partial knowledge and even wrote of the coming grace of God— did not understand God’s plan of salvation: “Concerning which salvation the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you have diligently searched out and intently inquired, searching into what way and what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them was indicating, testifying beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and these glories that would follow; to whom it was revealed that, not for themselves, but to us they were ministering these things, which now have been announced to you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit, sent from heaven—into which things the angels desire to look” (I Pet. 1:10-12).

Before Jesus’ death and resurrection, He revealed to His apostles and disciples additional knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God—the secret plan of God. Then, on the night of Jesus’ last Passover, before His arrest and subsequent crucifixion, Jesus informed them that God the Father would send the power of the Holy Spirit upon them which would give them additional insight and revelation: “But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you…. [When] that one has come, even the Spirit of the truth, it will lead you into all truth because it shall not speak from itself, but whatever it shall hear, it shall speak. And it shall disclose to you the things to come [in prophecy and more of God’s plan]. That one shall glorify Me because it shall disclose to you the things that it receives from Me” (John 14:26; 16:13-14). When they received the Holy Spirit, they began to comprehend the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ teachings— just as He had said.

Jesus Revealed More of God’s Plan to the Apostles
After He was Raised From the Dead

After God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus personally appeared to His apostles and disciples and began to explain God’s plan as contained in the Old Testament. In fact, the apostles and disciples themselves did not fully fathom the meaning of the Scriptures until Jesus opened their minds: “And He said to them, ‘These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. And in His name repentance and remission of sins should be preached to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. For you are witnesses of these things. And behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you; but remain in the city of Jerusalem until you have been clothed with power from on high’ ” (Luke 24:44-49).

With the exception of the apostle John, Paul wrote more about the mystery of God than any other New Testament writer. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, he made it clear that in order to understand the mystery of God, one must have the Holy Spirit—for that mystery is spiritually revealed. All the human wisdom, philosophies and religions of the world cannot expound God’s plan. Notice: “Rather, we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom that God foreordained before the ages unto our glory which not one of the rulers of this world has known (for if they had known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory); but according as it is written, ‘The eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’

But God has revealed them to us by His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all thingseven the deep things of God. For who among men understands the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the Spirit of God. Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit that is of God, so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Holy Spirit in order to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:7-14).

When Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he again emphasized that the knowledge of the mystery of God and of Christ must be revealed by God Himself through His Spirit and the Word of God: “For this cause [the preaching of the Gospel] I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles, if indeed you have heard of the ministry of the grace of God that was given to me for you; how He made known to me by revelation the mystery (even as I wrote briefly before, so that when you read this, you will be able to comprehend my understanding in the mystery of Christ [God’s secret plan for mankind], which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles might be joint heirs, and a joint body, and joint partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Eph. 3:1-6).

In writing to the Colossians, Paul revealed that part of the mystery of Christ is Christ dwelling in every converted believer through the power of the Holy Spirit. He also made it clear that what he was writing to them was to become part of the New Testament, thus completing the Word of God. God has perserved His Word so that those whom He would call in future generations would have the knowledge of this great mystery: “Now, I am rejoicing in my sufferings for you, and I am filling up in my flesh that which is behind of the tribulations of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church; of which I became a servant, according to the administration of God that was given to me for you in order to complete the Word of God; even the mystery that has been HIDDEN FROM AGES AND FROM GENERATIONS, but has now been revealed to His saints; to whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory; Whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, so that we may present every one perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col. 1:24-28).

In the early AD 60s, God revealed additional knowledge of His plan to His apostles and prophets. In some of the most eloquent and spiritually inspiring words of the Bible, Paul wrote of God’s new fantastic revelation of His purpose for those whom He had called and described their personal participation in that plan: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things with Christ; according as He has personally chosen us for Himself before the foundation of the world in order that we might be holy and blameless before Him in love; having predestinated us for sonship to Himself through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us objects of His grace in the Beloved Son.

“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the remission of sins, according to the riches of His grace, which He has made to abound toward us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known to us THE MYSTERY OF HIS OWN WILL, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself; that in the divine plan for the fulfilling of the times, He might bring all things together in Christ, both the things in the heavens and the things upon the earth; yes, in Him, in Whom we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestinated according to His purpose, Who is working out all things according to the counsel of His own will; that we might be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in the Christ; in Whom you also trusted after hearing the Word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation; in Whom also, after believing, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:3-14).

Paul warned the Gentile brethren in Colosse and Laodicea to hold fast to the teachings and knowledge of God’s plan because there were false teachers who were trying to drag them back into the vanities of pagan religious philosophy and angel worship: “Now I want you to understand what great concern I have for you, and for those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

“Now I say this so that no one may deceive you by persuasive speech. For though I am indeed absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, be walking in Him; being rooted and built up in Him, and being confirmed in the faith, exactly as you were taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

“Beware lest anyone takes you captive through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power. In Whom you have also been circumcised with the circumcision not made by hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, by which you have also been raised with Him through the inner working of God, Who raised Him from the dead.

“For you, who were once dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has now made alive with Him, having forgiven all your trespasses. He has blotted out the note of debt against us with the decrees of our sins, which was contrary to us; and He has taken it away, having nailed it to the cross. After stripping the principalities and the powers, He made a public spectacle of them, and has triumphed over them in it [the crucifixion and resurrection]” (Col. 2:1-15).

Paul admonished the Colossian brethren to realize that they were complete in Christ Jesus. They had true forgiveness of sin and true conversion through the baptism of Jesus Christ and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Although as Gentiles they were not yet physically circumcised, they had spiritual circumcision of the heart in Christ Jesus (also see Rom. 2:28-29). Since they were now living a life of love and obedience to God the Father and Jesus Christ, they were keeping the Sabbath and holy days of God instead of being involved in pagan sun worship and the heathen religious holidays of the past. As a result, false teachers from outside the church at Colosse were trying to deceive them. With persuasive words they tried to convince the brethren to forsake the true way of the Lord and to once again embrace their former beliefs, which they had forsaken.

In verses 13-14,* Paul was not abrogating the laws and commandments of God or His Sabbaths and festivals. Rather, he makes it clear to these Gentile Christians that it is absolutely essential that they obey God and keep the Sabbath and holy days of God.

__________________________________________________________________________

*The King James Version has a gross mistranslation of verse 14, which reads: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” The phrase the handwriting of ordinances in this verse comes from the Greek phrase to and has been misinterpreted to mean that the laws and commandments of God as found in the Old Testament were nailed to the cross. Therefore, some wrongly conclude that Paul was doing away with the need to keep the laws and commandments of God. This phrase in the Greek does not in any way mean that the commandments of God were nailed to the cross. The phrase the handwriting of ordinances should be properly translated: “the note of debt with the decrees” of our sins, or “the listing of our sins” against God. The laws and commandments of God were never against anyone. God has commanded us to keep them for our good, so that it may go well with us (Deut. 4:40; 5:16, 32-33; 6:3). When we transgress the Law, we sin (I John 3:4). Our sins are against us, not the laws and commandments of God. Jesus, Who bore our sins in His body, was nailed to the cross. Therefore, the debt of our sins was nailed to the cross with Him. Hence, this verse should be properly translated “the debt against us with the decrees of our sins.” Upon true repentance of sins to God the Father, He blots out the note of debt through the blood of Jesus Christ for the remission of our sins. Jesus Christ, Who knew no sin, was made sin for us. He was nailed to the cross as the sin offering for the sins of the whole world. The note of debt of our sins was symbolically nailed to the cross with Jesus Christ. The commandments of God, which stand forever, were never nailed to the cross.

The phrase the body of Christ in verse 17 refers to the fact that the true meaning of observing the commandments of God—including the festivals and Sabbaths—is found in Christ Himself and in the true church of God. Paul was teaching here that God’s plan is understood by keeping the Sabbaths and festivals—the holy days. The phrase new moon is singular, and as such it is a direct reference to the use of the calculated Hebrew Calendar for determining the true dates and times to keep all of God’s holy days and festivals as set by God. Detailed and technical information concerning the calculated Hebrew Calendar may be obtained by writing to the address in the front of the book, or by e-mailing your request to www.cbcg.org.

Colossians 2:16 does not abolish the dietary laws of clean and unclean meats, the festivals or the weekly Sabbath of God. Rather, Paul is clearly affirming that the Gentiles in Colosse were to continue to observe these commandments as they had been taught. Paul was instructing the Colossians to disregard the criticisms and harsh judgments of those outside the church—because the Sabbath and holy days continued to foreshadow things that were yet to come in God’s plan (just as they still do today). By being faithful and keeping the commandments of God, the Colossians would always be worshiping the true God, be built up in Jesus Christ and never loose the understanding of God’s plan. By true obedience to God the Father and Jesus Christ, they would not be deceived by vain philosophies of men, nor would they be seduced into the worship of fallen angels—Satan and his demons.

Therefore, he admonished them to not unduly worry about what other people thought, nor let anyone judge or condemn them because they were now obeying God and observing His commanded Sabbaths and festivals: “Therefore, do not allow anyone to judge you in eating or in drinking, or with regard to a festival, or new moon, or the Sabbaths, which are a foreshadow of the things that are coming, but the body of Christ. Do not allow anyone to defraud you of the prize by doing his will in self-abasement and the worship of angels, intruding into things that he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his own carnal mind” (verses 16-18).

Upon further examination of his epistles, it is evident that God’s revelations to Paul progressively built a clearer picture of the mystery of God. Thus we understand why God had blinded the children of Israel—so that the Gentiles might receive salvation as well. While he did not fully understand the timing, Paul also knew that at a future time all Israel would be saved: “For I do not wish you to be ignorant of this mystery, brethren, in order that you may not be wise in your own conceits: that a partial hardening of the heart has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved, according as it is written: ‘Out of Sion shall come the Deliverer, and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is My covenant, which I will make with them when I have taken away their sins.’ On the one hand, concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes; but on the other hand, concerning the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes; because the gifts and the calling of God are never revoked. For just as you once did not believe God, but have now been shown mercy through their unbelief, in the same way also, they have not believed at this time in order that through the mercy shown to you, they also may have mercy shown to them. For God has given them all over to unbelief in order that He might show mercy to all” (Rom. 11:25-32).

Realizing that in the future God would most certainly save all Israel, he glorified God for the greatness of His plan: “O the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unfathomable are His judgments and unsearchable are His ways! For who did know the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who first gave to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For from Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things; to Him be the glory into the ages of eternity. Amen” (verses 33-36).

At the end of his epistle to the Romans, Paul again states that in past ages the knowledge of God’s mystery had been kept secret. “Now to Him who has the power to establish you, according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that in past ages has been kept secret; but now is made manifest, and by the prophetic scriptures [NT], according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations unto the obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory into the ages of eternity. Amen” (Rom. 16:25-27). Again, we see that Paul recognized that God’s revelation was not yet complete.

Later, when Paul writes to the Ephesians, he mentions that he had received additional revelations from Jesus Christ about the mystery of God—that the resurrected saints would form a great spiritual family of God the Father: “If indeed you have heard of the ministry of the grace of God that was given to me for you; how He made known to me by revelation the mystery (even as I wrote briefly before, so that when you read this, you will be able to comprehend my understanding in the mystery of Christ), which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles might be joint heirs, and a joint body, and joint partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, of which I became a servant according to the gift of the grace of God, which was given to me through the inner working of His power.

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, was this grace given, that I might preach the gospel among the Gentiles—even the unsearchable riches of Christ; and that I might enlighten all as to what is the fellowship of the mystery that has been hidden from the ages in God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places, according to His eternal purpose, which He has wrought in Christ Jesus our Lord, in Whom we have boldness and direct access with confidence through His very own faith. So then, I beseech you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are working for your glory.

“For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of Whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; and that being rooted and grounded in love, you may be fully able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height [of God’s purpose], and to know the love of Christ, which surpasses human knowledge; so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all generations, even into the ages of eternity. Amen” (Eph. 3:2-21).

The Keys to Understanding the Mysteries of God: Jesus Christ promised that His true, converted, spirit-led disciples would be given the knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Here are the keys to understanding the plan of God for mankind, as revealed by His Sabbath and holy days:

  • We must fully understand and absolutely believe that all Scripture is “God-breathed” (II Tim. 3:16) and “that no prophecy of Scripture [OT or NT] originated as anyone’s own private interpretation; because prophecy was not brought at any time by human will, but the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:20-21).
  • In order to understand the Bible and the meaning of the Sabbath and holy days, we must rightly divide the Word of God—which is given precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little and there a little (II Tim. 2:15; Isa. 28:9-10).
  • God reveals His mysteries only to those who have the Spirit of God, truly love Him, keep His commandments and His Sabbath and holy days, and worship God the Father in spirit and truth (Mark 12:28-30; Col. 2:16; Heb. 4:9; John 4:23-24).

The Revelation of John: While the apostle Paul wrote numerous inspired passages about the mysteries of God and of Christ, God did not give him the final keys that would open the full understanding of God’s plan for mankind. Rather, Jesus gave the final, pivotal revelation to the apostle John, who was the longest-lived original apostle, and the one Jesus specially loved. In approximately AD 95, Jesus gave John visions which He commanded him to record—which became the book of Revelation. This book is the most riveting book of the entire Bible because it encompasses the entire plan of God from beginning to end. In fact, Jesus revealed that He was the beginning and ending, the first and the last, the One Who began and would finish God’s plan (Rev. 1:8, 11; 3:14; 21:6; 22:13). It is vital to note that the book of Revelation cannot be understood without being coupled with critically important passages from the rest of the Bible. A survey of Revelation demonstrates that it is structured upon the framework of God’s holy days and festivals, which reveal God’s plan for mankind:

  • Jesus’ death and resurrection (Rev. 1:18; 13:8)—pictured by the Passover.
  • The mystery of the seven stars—the seven angels of the seven churches (1:20).
  • The mystery of the seven lampstands—the seven churches. Chapters two and three are a prophetic overview God’s church throughout history from the time of John until the return of Jesus Christ—pictured by Passover, Unleavened Bread and Pentecost.
  • Chapters four and five reveal the throne of God the Father; Jesus Christ is pictured as the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God, Who would open the seven seals and bring to pass the final, prophetic “great tribulation” of the end time as pictured by the seven seals (Rev. 6:1-17).
  • Chapter seven shows the 144,000 and the great innumerable multitude—the last harvest of the saints of God, saved in the final year prior to the first resurrection, which is pictured by Pentecost.
  • Chapters eight and nine show six of the seven trumpet plagues—pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.
  • Chapter eleven shows the first resurrection at the seventh trumpet (Rev. 11:15- 19)—pictured by Pentecost.
  • Chapter fourteen shows the 144,000 who will be the bride of Jesus Christ— pictured by Pentecost.
  • Chapters fourteen and fifteen show the harvest of the firstfruits—all the saints from all ages who were faithful—pictured by Pentecost.
  • Chapter sixteen details the pouring out of the seven last plagues—the final wrath of God—pictured by Trumpets.
  • Chapter nineteen shows the marriage supper of the bride and Christ—pictured by Pentecost—followed by the return of Jesus Christ and the saints to the earth, pictured by Trumpets.
  • Chapter twenty shows when Satan will be bound—pictured by the day of Atonement (verses 1-3). Then begins the thousand-year reign of Christ and the resurrected saints—pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles (verse 4-5).
  • Chapter twenty describes the final judgment of Satan and the demons—pictured by the day of Atonement (verses 7-10).
  • Chapter twenty pictures the Great White Throne Judgment and the second resurrection— the first phase for all those who lived and died from the creation of Adam and Eve until the return of Jesus Christ but were never called. They will be resurrected to a second physical life to be given their first opportunity for salvation— portrayed by the feast of the Last Great Day (verses 11-13).
  • Chapter twenty also depicts the final phase of the second resurrection of the incorrigibly wicked (who had committed the unpardonable sin) to a second physical life. All of the wicked will receive their final judgment of the second death as they are cast together into the lake of fire to be utterly consumed—also pictured by the feast of the Last Great Day (verse14-15).

Chapters twenty-one and twenty-two show the completion of the mystery of God— the spiritual Family of God the Father and Jesus Christ having grown great, and the coming of the New Jerusalem with God the Father to the new heaven and new earth to dwell with His family: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away, and there was no more sea. And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from heaven say, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men; and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people; and God Himself shall be with them and be their God.

“ ‘And God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, or sorrow, or crying; neither shall there be any more pain, because the former things have passed away.’ And He Who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ Then He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done [the plan of God is finished]. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts, I will give freely of the fountain of the water of life. The one who overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.’… And there shall be no more curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him, and they shall see His face; and His name is in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; for they have no need of a lamp or the light of the sun, because the Lord God enlightens them; and they shall reign into the ages of eternity…. ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.’ Blessed are those who keep His commandments, that they may have the right to eat of the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city” (Rev. 21:1-7; 22:3-5, 13-14).

A Prayer of Encouragement: When Paul first informed the brethren of Ephesus about the purpose of God the Father and Jesus Christ, he ended with this prayer for them. It is fitting that we also end this Prologue with his prayer. May God answer this prayer for all those who read and study about the mystery of God and of Christ in God’s Plan for Mankind Revealed by His Sabbath and Holy Days: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. And may the eyes of your mind be enlightened in order that you may comprehend what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the inner working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above every principality and authority and power and lordship, and every name that is named—not only in this age, but also in the age to come; for He has subordinated all things under His feet, and has given Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body—the fullness of Him Who fills all things in all” (Eph. 1:16-23).

Thus, the prophecy of Moses is fulfilled through the New Covenant with Jesus Christ and God the Father: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed [in both the Old and New Testaments] belong unto us and to our children for ever [the Church of God, which is spiritual Israel, the children of God] that we may do all the words of this Law [which now includes the entire Bible]” (Deut. 29:29).

Even with all the knowledge that God the Father and Jesus Christ have revealed by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God and His Sabbath and holy days, we also realize that comprehending the absolute reality of God’s spiritual plan for mankind is still like looking through a glass darkly. However, at the first resurrection we will understand the fullness of God’s plan for mankind: “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part shall be set aside. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I reasoned as a child; but when I became a man, I set aside the things of a child. For now we see through a glass darkly, but then we shall see face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know exactly as I have been known. And now, these three remain: faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:9-13).

_________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

“The secret of the Lord is with them who fear Him;
And He will show them His covenant.”
(Psa. 25:14)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing;
But the honor of kings is to search out a matter.”
(Prov. 25:2)

“Open my eyes to behold
Wondrous things out of your Law!”
(Psa. 119:18)

“Prove all things;
Hold fast to that which is good.”
(I Thess. 5:21)

_____________________________________________________________

_________________________________________

BOOKS