Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
THE period of time that sin has been permitted has been a dark night to the human family, but a
glorious day of righteousness and divine favor is soon to be ushered in by Messiah. As the Sun
of Righteousness, He shall arise and shine upon all, bringing healing and blessing which shall
more than counterbalance the distressing night of weeping, sighing, pain, sickness and death,
which the groaning creation has long experienced. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy
cometh in the morning” (Psalm 30: 5).
The whole creation waits, longs and hopes for the Golden Age, but almost all do so blindly, not
being aware of God’s gracious purposes. Yet the great Creator is preparing a “feast of fat things”
which will be exceedingly, abundantly beyond what they could possibly imagine. The Lord
explains: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my
thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8, 9).
We hope to present the plan of God as it relates to the past, present and future of His dealings, in
a way more harmonious, beautiful and reasonable than is generally understood. Skepticism
characterizes our day, in which the very foundation of true religion is often questioned, even by
the sincere. That foundation is the Word of God, upon which all faith should be built. We have
endeavored to uncover enough of this foundation to give confidence and assurance in its
testimony, even to the unbeliever. And we have sought to do this in a manner that will appeal to,
and can be, accepted by reason.
Those who believe the Bible to be the revelation of God’s plan agree that if inspired by God, its
teachings should reveal a plan that is both harmonious with itself and with the character of its
Divine Author. If we are truth-seekers, our object should be to obtain as complete an
understanding of God’s revealed plan as is due. Indeed, we may expect this, since it is promised
that the spirit of truth shall guide us into all truth (John 16: 13).
But how can we do so? We suggest two ways: One is to study all the views taught by the various
Christian denominations, groups, etc., taking from each those parts we might consider truth – a
virtually endless task. Another difficulty with this method is: How could we be sure we are only
accepting the truth, and not some errors, for can any of us truthfully claim infallible judgment?
The other way is to empty our minds of all prejudice, recognizing that none can know more
about the plans of God than He has revealed in His Word. Furthermore, it is given only to the
meek and lowly of heart, and those who are sincerely seeking its guidance and instruction alone.
Thus, if we are sincere truth-seekers, the great Author shall guide us to an understanding of it, as
it becomes due to be understood, by making use of the various helps divinely provide
(Ephesians 4: 11-16).
Our references are to Scriptures alone, except where secular history proves the fulfillment of
Scripture statements. The testimony of past and present theologians has been omitted, many of
whom have taught a mixture of truth and error, though often doing so in all good conscience.
The common tendency has always been to accept certain doctrines because others have done so,
in whom they had confidence. This has resulted in the acceptance of numerous errors
(Acts 26: 9). God’s Word alone must be the standard.
The Purpose of Prophecy
God’s Word provides prophecies of the future, as well as statements of the present and the past.
Prophecy was not given to merely satisfy curiosity concerning the future, but that the Christian
could become acquainted with his Heavenly Father’s plans, and thereby interested and
sympathetic toward those plans. It enables us to view the past, present and future from God’s
standpoint, therefore we may, with the spirit and with understanding, cooperate with God as
faithful servants. Knowing what is coming counteracts the conditions of the present, and proves
strengthening to faith and stimulating to holy living.
Many believe the church at present is to be the sole agency for recovering the world from sin and
its consequences, yet viewing the present condition of the world, after nearly twenty centuries of
Gospel preaching, should raise serious doubts in our minds. We may conclude one of two things:
The church has been mistaken in supposing that her mission in this age has been the conversion
of the world, or God’s plan has been a miserable failure. We intend to address this dilemma.
At the beginning of the 21st century, Christianity claimed 2.3 billion adherents out of a world
population of around 7 billion, meaning that 4.7 billion have never heard of the name of Christ,
or have not accepted Him as their Savior. But of the 2.3 billion adherents, only a small percent
qualify as professing church members of adult years, and an even smaller percent could be
considered as fully consecrated Christians. But this does not even consider the past generations
of over 6,000 years, nearly all of whom lived in the same ignorance and sin.
What a gloomy outlook from the standpoint of human creeds, but the Scriptures present a much
brighter view. Can God’s great plan of salvation ever be such a failure? The Prophet Isaiah
foretold this condition of things and its remedy, saying: “Behold, the darkness shall cover the
earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be
seen upon thee. And the Gentiles [heathen] shall come to thy light” (Isaiah 60: 2, 3). Such a
blessing is coming to the world in due time, as God’s plans and purposes unfold.
Though we live in an unprecedented day of enlightenment, it is still true that “darkness covers
the earth and gross darkness the people.” Yet the world will not always remain in this condition,
for God’s Word promises that “the morning cometh” (Isaiah 21: 12). God causes the natural sun
to shine upon the just and the unjust, so the Sun of Righteousness will shine for the benefit of the
entire world, and “bring to light the hidden things of darkness” (1 Corinthians 4: 5). That day
will gradually destroy every evil that has plagued mankind, and replace it with life, health, peace
In the past, the light shone very dimly. God’s promises to Abraham and others, and the law and
ceremonies of fleshly Israel were only shadows that gave a vague idea of God’s wonderful and
gracious designs. In Jesus’ day, the light had increased. The Jews were expecting their promised
deliverer to save them from their enemies, and exalt them as the chief nation of the earth, in
which they would be the agency for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The invitation
offered them of becoming heirs in a spiritual kingdom was far different from their expectations,
and all but a few were blinded to the message. That blindness and hostility was naturally
increased when the due time came for that same invitation of sharing in the promised Kingdom
was offered to the Gentiles, by their exercising faith and thus being reckoned as children of
faithful Abraham and heirs of the promise made to him.
When the Gospel which Jesus taught came to be understood after Pentecost, the Church saw that
the blessings intended for the world were to be permanent, and the accomplishment of that
purpose would be by a spiritual Kingdom, consisting of a “little flock” of both Jews and Gentiles
– Israelites indeed. Hence we read that Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the
gospel (2 Timothy 1: 10). Since Jesus’ day even more light shines, as He foretold, saying, “I
have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit
of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth . . . and he will shew you things to come”
(John 16: 12, 13).
After the apostles fell asleep, the majority of the church began looking to human teachers, and
these teachers, puffed up with pride, assumed various titles and began lording it over God’s
heritage. This special class became known as “the clergy,” and were regarded as the proper
guides to faith and practice, aside from God’s Word. Eventually the great system of Papacy was
developed by an exaggerated respect for the teachings of fallible men and a neglect of the
infallible Word of God.
The results brought serious consequences. Both the church and the civilized world were almost
completely enslaved by that system, resulting in the worshipping of the traditions and creeds of
men. Eventually a great movement for liberty and the Bible arose, known as The Reformation.
God raised up bold champions for His Word, such as Luther, Zwingli, Wycliff and others. These
showed that Papacy had set aside the Bible and substituted the decrees and dogmas of the
church, and that they were built upon tradition, hence opposed to God’s Word. These reformers
and their adherents were called Protestants because they protested against Papacy, and claimed
the Word of God as the only correct rule of faith and practice.
But instead of walking in the light, they became content with the teachings of their favorite
leaders, and have made little progress since. As an illustration: In Noah’s day, it was a truth that
a flood was coming, while Adam and others before Noah knew nothing of it. It would not be
truth now to preach a coming flood, but other truths are becoming due, so if we are walking in
the light, we shall know the advancing truth. If we only possessed all the light that was due
several hundred years ago, we would be in measureable darkness.
Our day is one of infidelity and skepticism, yet the faithful student of God’s Word should be able
to give a reason for his hope (1 Peter 3: 15), for the Word of God alone is able to make one wise,
and is profitable for doctrine, instruction, etc., so “that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3: 15-17). The Bible alone contains an
exhaustless supply of things both new and old – meat in due season for the household of faith.
God’s Word states that “the path of the just is as a shining light, that shineth more and more unto
the perfect day” (Proverbs 4: 18). Let us “walk in the light,” continue to make progress, or else
the light which does not stop will pass on and leave us in darkness.
Perfection of knowledge is not a thing of the past, but of the future. We still heed the words of
the prophets and apostles for all knowledge of the present and future, even though they did not
always understand everything they wrote. Yet God used them as His mouthpieces to
communicate the truth relative to His plans to the Church throughout the Christian Age, as it
became due. Jesus promised that the Church should be guided into all truth, not instantaneously,
but gradually. Even the apostles differed in their degrees of insight into God’s plan, though all
their writings were guided and inspired by God, as was the case with the words of the prophets.
Because of his many visions and revelations, the Apostle Paul had a greater depth of
understanding than the other apostles.
God gradually opens up His truth and reveals the exceeding riches of His grace, consequently
much more light is now due than at any previous time in the Church’s history.
“And still new beauties shall we see, And still increasing light.”
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