Book: Why Were You Born?

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Jesus promised His apostles that He would in time reveal many things to them through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-14). Some two decades later, Jesus began to reveal new understanding to His followers—but not all at once. As we saw in the last chapter, when Paul wrote to the Galatians in 53 AD and to Romans in 57 AD, he disclosed the knowledge of the “sonship of God” (Gal. 4:5-6; Rom 8:15)—new knowledge concerning the destiny of those who are “called and chosen.” This was the first time the phrase “sonship of God” appeared in any of the apostles’ writings. Moreover, it marked the beginning of Jesus’ “later revelations” to the apostles.1

Jesus often talked about the resurrection (Matt. 22:23-33; Luke 14:14; John 5:28-29; 11:24-25). Yet He shared few details—except to note that those in the resurrection do not marry nor are they given in marriage (Mark 12:25). However, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 56 AD, he wrote extensively about the resurrection from the dead, primarily because some were saying that there was no such resurrection (I Cor. 15:12-13). Apparently, many in the Corinth church still adhered to Greek philosophy and the false idea of the “immortality of the soul” rather than the resurrection of the dead.2 As Paul notes, they were shamefully lacking in the knowledge of God (verse 34).

In defense of the resurrection, Paul declared that after Christ was raised from the dead He appeared to Peter, James, and eventually all of the apostles—and was seen by over 500 brethren at one time. Ultimately, Jesus personally appeared to Paul (verses 5-8). In his epistle, once Paul had reestablished the fact of Jesus’ resurrection, he showed that if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ Himself was not raised: “For if there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain, and your faith is also in vain. And we are also found to be false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise, if indeed the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised. But if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins, and those who have fallen asleep in Christ have then perished” (I Cor. 15:13-18).

For Paul, Jesus’ resurrection was proof of the promise of the resurrection of the saints. He adds, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead; He has become the Firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the Firstfruit; then, those who are Christ’s at His coming” (verses 2023).

Paul continues to write in great detail about the resurrection of the dead. Undoubtedly, the new knowledge he brings out was part of the “later revelation” promised by Jesus: “Nevertheless, someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised? And with what body do they come?’ Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

“And what you sow is not the body that shall be; rather, it is bare grain— it may be of wheat, or one of the other grains; and God gives it a body according to His will, and to each of the seeds its own body. Likewise, not all flesh is the same flesh. Rather, there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another of fish, and another of birds.

“And there are heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies; but the glory of the heavenly is different, and the glory of the earthly is different. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.

“It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body; accordingly, it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul; the last Adam became an ever-living Spirit.’

“However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural—then the spiritual. The first man is of the earth—made of dust. The second Man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, so also are all those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly one, so also are all those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly One” (verses 35-49).

As Paul demonstrates, the resurrection of those who are Christ’s will take place at His return. Only at that time will they become immortal spirit beings: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery: we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed, in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal must put on immortality [which only comes from God]. Now when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ ” (verses 50-54; also see I Thess. 4:15-17).

 

Vital Hidden Knowledge

While in prison in Rome (about 61 to 63 AD), Paul wrote epistles to the Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. These epistles contain key aspects of Jesus’ “later revelations.” In Colossians, Paul writes that some of this revealed knowledge had actually been hidden “from ages and generations.” In fact, this knowledge was so important that it would actually serve to complete the Word of God—to fill it to the full!

Notice: “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 are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory ” (Col. 1:24-27).

Paul shows here that the spiritual work of God in each believer centers on the spiritual reality of “Christ in you.” Indeed, it is by the inner workings of the Holy Spirit in your mind and heart that you grow in grace and knowledge. This is precisely how God is developing within you the very character of Jesus. Paul elsewhere describes this process as Christ being “formed in you” (Gal. 4:19). This is real transformation—or conversion— the renewing of your mind by the power of God (Rom. 12:2). To accomplish this, you are to yield yourself to God in love and obedience. Paul admonished: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5).

In Ephesians, perhaps the most spiritual and inspiring of Paul’s epistles, the apostle declares that this revelation was not only given to him, but also to all the apostles and prophets: “For this cause 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), 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” (Eph. 3:1-9). As we will see, this profound mystery of God—never before made known until Paul’s time—has its beginnings in the ancient world.

 

Planned Before the Foundation of the World

While God’s mystery concerning His magnificent purpose and plan for the “called and chosen and faithful” remained hidden until the first century AD, it was planned from the beginning. However, it could only be revealed after Jesus the Messiah, the Creator and Savior of mankind, had completed His ministry, died for the sins of the world, and been raised to life.

In fact, the apostle John writes that Jesus’ death for the sins of mankind was planned from the foundation of the world: “[T]he Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). This verifies that Jesus had to die for the sins of the world before the complete knowledge of God’s plan could be revealed.

As we have seen, after His resurrection Jesus began to reveal basic things about God’s plan to His apostles, opening their minds to the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45). (Little did they know at that time that they would actually have a part in completing the Word God.) When the proper time came, Jesus began to reveal additional truths to them, beginning with the “sonship of God.” Paul writes that before the foundation of the world God actually planned and predetermined this sonship status for those “called, chosen, and faithful.” Notice:

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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 [all who receive the sonship of God] for Himself [in His plan that was conceived] 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” (Eph. 1:1-12).

 

The Mystery of God Revealed

The apostle Peter also received this amazing revelation of God’s plan for the saints. So overwhelming is this knowledge that Peter describes it in the most exalted terms: “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained the same precious faith as ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and virtue; through which He has given to us the greatest and most precious promises, that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature,3 having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (II Peter 1:1-4).

Think of it! Those who are “called, chosen, and faithful” will receive the “divine nature”—the very nature of God! That is the wonderful mystery of God! What an awesome promise God has given to those who love Him—to those who are called according to His eternal purpose—the full, literal, spiritual sonship of God!

Because of the magnitude of this promise, Peter exhorts the brethren to apply themselves with all diligence to develop the godly character that is fitting to receive the divine nature: “And for this very reason also, having applied all diligence besides, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly love; and to brotherly love, the love of God.

“For if these things exist and abound in you, they will cause you to be neither lacking effort nor lacking fruit in the knowledge of our Lord  Jesus Christ. But the one in whom these things are not present is spiritually blind—so short-sighted that he has forgotten that he was purified from his old sins.  

“For this reason, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure; because if you are doing these things, you will never fall at any time. For in this way, you will be richly granted an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (verses 5-11).

 

The Family of God

In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul also describes this exalted revelation of the mystery of God. He declares that it is the Father’s eternal purpose to create, through the process of sonship, His own personal family of spirit beings—the children of God—from those “called, chosen, and faithful.” 

May you grasp the inspiration of Paul’s words: “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, 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 [has the power] 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. 3:9-21). 

Paul’s phrase “filled with all the fullness of God” is his way of echoing Peter, that we are literally to partake of the divine nature of God! 

In the account of the creation of Adam and Eve, God gave several important clues about His ultimate purpose for mankind: “And God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. He created them male and female” (Gen. 1:26-27).3 

Unfortunately, God does not reveal here what He meant by man being made in the image and likeness of God. If only God had been more explicit and added “after Our kind”—then it would have been apparent that man was made after the God-kind. Moreover, there is no place in the Old Testament that clearly identifies who the “US” actually are. The answer to that question would come some 4,000 years later—revealed by Christ. As we will see, in His final prayer before being arrested, Jesus stated exactly who the “US” are—Himself and God the Father! 

With the understanding we have already established, examining Jesus’ final prayer will prove quite insightful. In fact, we will see that God’s ultimate purpose for the “called, chosen and, faithful,” through the sonship of God, is that they are to become spirit beings as literal sons and daughters of God the Father in His eternal Family. Let us carefully weigh every word of Jesus’ final prayer: 

“Jesus spoke these words, and lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your own Son, so that Your Son may also glorify You; since You have given Him authority over all flesh, in order that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. For this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You did send. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work that You gave Me to do. 

“ ‘And now, Father, glorify Me with Your own self, with the glory that I had with You before the world existed [this is absolute proof that Jesus was the Lord God of the Old Testament before He became the Christ of the New Testament]. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You have given them to Me, and they have kept Your Word. 

“ ‘Now they have known that all things that You have given Me are from You. For I have given them the words that You gave to Me; and they have received them and truly have known that I came from You; and they have believed that You did send Me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world, but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and all Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 

“ ‘And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, those whom You have given Me, so that they may be one, even as We are one [that means after the God-kind, in the Family of God]. 

“ ‘When I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. I protected those whom You have given Me, and not one of them has perished except the son of perdition, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You; and these things I am speaking while yet in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in them. I have given them Your words, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You would take them out of the world, but that You would keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 

“ ‘Sanctify them [that is, make them holy] in Your truth; Your Word is the truth [the words of God are “spirit and life” (John 6:63)]. Even as You did send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they also may be sanctified in Your truth. 

“ ‘I do not pray for these only, but also for those who shall believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, even as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in US [in the Family of God the Father and Jesus Christ]…. And I have given them the glory that You gave to Me, in order that they may be one, in the same way that We are one: I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected [through the process of the sonship of God] into one; and that the world may know that You did send Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 

“ ‘Father, I desire that those whom You have given Me may also be with Me where I am, so that they may behold My glory, which You have given Me; because You did love Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known You; but I have known You, and these have known that You did send Me. And I have made known Your name to them, and will make it known; so that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them’ ” (John 17:1-26).

In Jesus’ final prayer, He requested four times that His disciples “may be one”—just as the Father is in Jesus and as Jesus is in the Father. We are to be perfected! Down through the generation of saints, Jesus’ petitions to the Father for the oneness of the “called and chosen” have all been answered—and will continue to be answered until the ultimate fulfillment of the sonship of God at the first resurrection when Christ returns. 

Indeed, the ultimate revelation that Jesus gave to His Church is this: God created mankind in His image and in His likeness so that those who receive  the spiritual seed of begettal—from God the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit—will become His literal children—after the God-kind! 

John writes: “Behold! What glorious love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God!” (I John 3:1). The Greek word for “children” is tekna, which means literal children by begettal and birth. It is not an adoption or a case of having a “foster” father. Rather, God the Father is our actual Father! 

John continues: “Beloved, now we are the children of God, and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be; but we know that when He is manifested, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him exactly as He is” (verse 2). 

At the resurrection, we will see Jesus exactly as He is! What does He look like in His full glory? In the “vision of transfiguration”—which took place just before Jesus and the disciples began their journey to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of 29 AD—Jesus displayed His glory to Peter, James, and John (the three who would be the leading apostles). Here is what they saw: “And He was transfigured before them; and His face shined as the sun, and His garments became white as the light” (Matt. 17:2). In reality, Jesus was not suddenly glorified; rather, this was a vision, a spiritual manifestation—and it was so important that He instructed them not to tell anyone about it until He had risen from the dead.

Sixty-eight years later John was given the vision that he would record as the book of Revelation. The very first thing revealed was Jesus in His full glory: “I was in the Spirit on the day of the Lord; and I heard a loud voice like a trumpet behind me, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last’; and, ‘What you see, write in a book, and send it to the churches that are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ 

“And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me; and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of man, clothed in a garment reaching to the feet, and girded about the chest with a golden breastplate. And His head and hair were like white wool, white as snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like fine brass, as if they glowed in a furnace; and His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand He had seven stars, and a sharp two-edged sword went out of His mouth, and His countenance was as the sun shining in its full power” (Rev. 1:10-16).

This fantastic vision of Jesus Christ was so glorious and magnificent, so awesome and overwhelming, that John fell down as dead at His feet! “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if dead; but He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last, even the One Who is living; for I was dead, and behold, I am alive into the ages of eternity. Amen. And I have the keys of the grave and of death’ ” (verses 17-18). It is hard for our minds to grasp that when the “called, chosen, and faithful” are raised from the dead as spirit beings, the literal children of God the Father, we will actually see Jesus as He is! 

This “later revelation” by Jesus to His apostles is truly wonderful— beyond human imagination! When all of these passages are put together, they reveal that God the Father is developing His Family of spirit beings who will be His own sons and daughters—created after the God-kind! 

Notice this all-important progression: begettal—growth—birth. When we are baptized and received the Holy Spirit, we are begotten by God the Father. Presently, we strive to grow and mature spiritually. Ultimately, at the resurrection, we will be spiritually BORN AGAIN 4—born into the Family of God! We will be His actual children—possessing full sonship! 

The truth of the “mystery of God” is this: All of those in the first resurrection will be changed. They will have bodies and minds composed of spirit and will have immortality. They will be the children of God the Father and will be like Him and Jesus Christ—after the God-kind. Not only will we see Jesus as He is, we will also see God the Father face to face!

Furthermore, it is Jesus Himself who will “transform our vile bodies, that they may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the inner working of His own power, whereby He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:21). 

What kind of glory will we have? A glory that is comparable to the stars of heaven. Indeed, God promised Abraham that his spiritual seed would shine like the stars of heaven: “ ‘By Myself have I sworn,’ says the LORD, ‘because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son; that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed like the stars of the heavens…” (Gen. 22:16-17). 

The prophet Daniel also described the glory of the first resurrection: “And at that time your people shall be delivered—every one who shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life…. And they who are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1-3). Jesus confirmed this when He said concerning the resurrection: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43). 

At the first resurrection, the saints will be taken to a gigantic Sea of Glass (Rev. 15:2) where they will receive their rewards and new names. The  marriage of the Lamb and the Bride will then take place, along with the marriage supper. Finally, all the saints, now spirit beings, will descend to the earth with Jesus to finish the climatic war against the armies of the world. An angel will capture the Beast and False Prophet, casting them into the lake of fire (Rev. 19). Ultimately, Satan will be cast into the abyss and bound for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-2). 

At that time, Christ will set up the Kingdom of God with all the saints participating in bringing salvation to the people of the world: “And I saw thrones; and they that sat upon them, and judgment was given to them; and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and those who did not worship the beast, or his image, and did not receive the mark in their foreheads or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years…. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6).5 

John’s final glimpse into the Kingdom of God depicts a new heaven and a new earth prepared by God for His spiritual sons and daughters—now existing eternally in the Family of God: “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 women, now made spiritually perfect]; 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 not be any 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. 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…. 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; 22:14). 

From the New Jerusalem on the new earth, the saints will reign eternally with Jesus Christ even unto the vast reaches of the universe: “Then he showed me [John] a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb. And in the middle of the street, and on this side and that side of the river, was the tree of life, producing twelve manner of fruits, each month yielding its fruit; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 

“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” (Rev. 22:1-5). 

 

This is why you were born—to be transformed from a speck of dust to a Son of God!

 

Chapter 12 Notes:

1. Jesus also revealed numerous prophecies concerning the future. For example, the book of Revelation, written by the apostle John in 96-98 AD, contains prophecies revealed by Jesus pertaining to 1) the first century church (and beyond); 2) the end of the age, including Christ’s return and establishment of the Kingdom of God; 3) post-millennial events; and 4) the period known as the “judgment” and the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth. However, for the purposes of this book, we will focus on revelations relating directly to the question, Why were you born? 

2. For hundreds of years, Orthodox “Christianity” has believed in the pagan idea of the immortality of the soul. While they make a few references to the resurrection of the dead, they teach that when a person dies, his or her soul goes immediately to heaven, hell, or purgatory. There is no such teaching in the entirety of the Bible. Throughout Scripture, life beyond the grave is always associated with a resurrection from the dead. 

3. Other clues from the Old and New Testaments: In the Old Testament there are numerous clues concerning what Jesus would later reveal to the apostles. However, these clues must be used in harmony with the New Testament in order to get a complete picture. Some of these clues are easy to understand, some are not. God tells us that He has a plan, but the details are scattered throughout the Bible and must be “searched out.” Below are a few key “unexplained” clues from the Old Testament concerning God’s plan and the ultimate glory promised to those who are “called, chosen, and faithful”: 

        A) In Isaiah, God proclaims that He has planned everything from the beginning: “Who has planned and done it, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, am the first and the last; I am He” (Isa. 41:4). This confirms that God has a plan—reaching all the way back to “the beginning.” But, again, the details are scattered throughout the Bible.  

        B) “ ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending,’ says the Lord, ‘Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come—the Almighty.’… ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last’ ” (Rev. 1:8, 11). 

        C) “Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the One who formed him, ‘Ask Me of things that are to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands’ ” (Isa. 45:11).

        D) Under God’s inspiration, King David declares of mankind, “For You have made him a little lower than God and have crowned him with glory and honor” (Psa. 8:5). Yet, we are not given the reason for this incredible statement! 

        E) David proclaims, “As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness” (Psa. 17:15). Moses was told He could not look on the face of God. So what is David referring to? Also, since man is already made in the likeness of God, what does it mean to “awaken with God’s likeness”? 

        F) Again, David declares, “God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.... I have said, ‘You are gods [Hebrew elohim; gods]; and all of you are sons of the Most High’ ” (Psa. 82:1, 6). 

        G). In John 10, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 to give biblical authority to His claim of being the Son of God: “Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, ‘You are gods’ ”? If He called them gods [Greek theoi; gods] to whom the Word of God came (and the Scriptures cannot be broken), why do you say of Him Whom the Father has sanctified and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God” ’? ” (verses 34-36). 

 

4. For an explanation concerning being born again, please see Appendix 6. 

5. After the 1,000-year reign of Christ and the saints, Satan is loosed for a short season to test the nations (Rev. 20:7-10); afterwards is the second resurrection and “Great White Throne Judgment” period where salvation is made available to the billions who have never been called (verses 11-15); then comes the new heaven and new earth (and the New Jerusalem) with God the Father coming to the earth to dwell with men made perfect for eternity (Rev. 21:1-6). See Appendix 3, What Happens After Death? 

 


 

Eternal Glory 

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 …. 

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 are the riches of the glory of  His inheritance in the saints ….  

For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared  with the glory that shall be revealed in us ….   

And they who are wise shall shine as the brightness  of the firmament,  and they who turn many to righteousness  shall shine as the stars forever and ever ….  

Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun  in the kingdom of their Father ….  

And I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be  My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty …. 

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 from Him, and through Him, and unto Him are all things;  to Him be the glory into the ages of eternity. Amen. 

Eph. 1:3, 17-18; II Cor. 6:18; Rom. 8:18;  

Dan. 12:3; Matt. 13:43; Rom. 11:33, 36 

 


 

Hubble Space Pictures 

The Glory of the Stars of Heaven

 

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork” (Psa. 19:1).  God promised Abraham that his “spiritual seed” would be like “the stars of heaven” (Gen. 22:17).  By declaring this to Abraham, God was symbolically revealing that the spiritual children of God, the “spiritual seed,” would receive magnificent glory comparable to the stars of heaven.  Paul confirms that those in the first resurrection will receive glory, symbolically compared to the glory of the stars of heaven: “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.  It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory” (I Cor. 15:41-43).  The following pictures of the heavenly stars are presented to give us a symbolic glimpse of the coming glory that God will give to the “called, chosen and faithful”—the spirit sons and daughters of God the Father. 

 

26

Butterfly Nebula

 

27

Catseye Nebula

 

28

Star Cluster Westerlund 2

 

29

Helix Nebula Eye of God

 

30

Interacting Galaxies NGC 2207 and IC 2163

 

31

Milky Way Galaxy

 

32

NGC 3603

 

33

Omega Centuari

 

34

Pillars and Jets in Carina

 

35

Rosetta Nebula

 

36

Sombrero Galaxy

 

37

eXtreme Deep field

 

38

Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

 

39

The Antennae

 

40

Pillars of Creation

 

41

Galaxy 1080p

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