The world is filled with problems—disease, pollution, poverty, ignorance, religious confusion, war, terrorism, crime, violence, hunger, immorality, slavery, oppression, political upheaval and much more. Why? With the passing of time come more problems, not less. Why? Also, existing problems grow collectively worse instead of better. Why? Why, at every turn, has man bungled and botched all efforts to solve his truly great problems?
Individually, people have never seemed more incapable of addressing and overcoming their personal problems. As with the world in general, the passing of time finds individuals and families drowning under an ever-worsening sea of decadence and seemingly insurmountable difficulties. More and more seem completely incapable of managing their lives.
Men have created many amazing technological inventions, but they cannot create solutions to their problems. Mankind has harnessed the power of computers to help process vast amounts of information, but human beings cannot correctly process their personal problems. Scientists have discovered much about the size, magnificence and precision of the universe, but they cannot discover the way to peace. Astronomers can find majestic, beautiful new galaxies throughout the universe, but they cannot find a way to preserve the beauty and majesty of earth. Scientists have also unleashed the power of the atom, but they are powerless to unleash answers to life’s greatest questions. Educators have taught millions how to earn a living, but not how to live.
The well-known presidential historian and columnist Peggy Noonan summarized the complex, jumbled course that has been mankind’s history: “In the long ribbon of history, life has been one long stained and tangled mess, full of famine, horror, war and disease. We must have thought we had it better because man had improved. But man doesn’t really ‘improve,’ does he? Man is man. Human nature is human nature; the impulse to destroy coexists with the desire to build and create and make better” (“America’s Age of Uncertainty,” Knight Ridder, Nov. 9, 2001).
Who could disagree?
Consider some of the terrible conditions on earth today. Should events remain unchecked, they are predicted to grow far worse by the year 2050—if mankind survives for that long! Many of the following statistics come from the United Nation’s “The State of World Population 2001” report. It is thorough, and makes for sobering reading.
The world population (6.4 billion) has more than tripled in the last seventy years. It has doubled since 1960 and is predicted to reach between 9.3 and 10.9 billion by 2050. The forty-nine poorest, least-developed nations will actually triple to a population of nearly two billion. This worldwide population growth will bring staggering problems.
Just 2.5 percent of the earth’s water is fresh. Only 20 percent of this (or 0.5 percent) is accessible ground or surface water. The current population consumes 54 percent of this available water. By 2050, it will need 90 percent—because the earth grows by 77 million additional people per year (requiring an amount of water equivalent to the mighty Rhine River every year). Also, developing countries dump 90-95 percent of their untreated sewage and 70 percent of their untreated industrial waste into surface waters. Population growth insures that this problem will only grow worse. In addition, acid rain and chemical runoff from fertilizers and pesticides sufficiently ruin water quality, making it largely unusable.
Population growth continues to outpace food production. There are 800 million people who are chronically malnourished, and 2 billion who lack “food security.” Only fifteen crop species provide 90 percent of the world’s food, yet it is estimated that sixty thousand different plant species could reach extinction by just 2025! By that year, the projected 8 billion inhabitants of earth will require twice today’s food needs, with greatly improved distribution, to completely eradicate hunger. But few experts see this as remotely possible.
Each day, 160,000 people move from rural areas to cities. This is happening fastest in under-developed countries. Enormous problems result from this: sanitation, overcrowding, access to modern health services and the ability of schools to absorb the increase of students.
Fully 60 percent of all disease on earth is sanitation-related. Each year, air pollution kills nearly 3 million people in developing countries alone, with poor sanitation killing another 12 million. Various forms of indoor air pollution (soot, dung, coal for cooking and heating, etc.) affect 2.5 billion people a year and kill 2.2 million. Changes in climate are altering the zones of risk for insect-borne diseases. New and more virulent diseases are appearing or reappearing. And many bacteria are proving to be drug-resistant because of the ongoing over-prescribing of antibiotics.
Some of the problems predicted for the near future include: Limited and diminishing arable land, deforestation, urbanization, shrinking size of family farms, degradation of the land, shortages and degradation of water, irrigation problems, waste, the extinction of certain types of crops, the increased intensity and frequency of severe weather, which causes flooding and seasonal loss of crops, and greenhouse gases and changes of climate. At the same time, 1.6 acres of rainforest —often called the “lungs of the world” because it produces so much oxygen—are disappearing through logging every second!
Together, these problems spell untold calamity, and even catastrophe, for a mankind unprepared to solve these and many other problems.
While the world is suffering from “information overload,” none of this knowledge increase is truly addressing mankind’s growing number of complex, insoluble problems. With all of man’s creative ingenuity and intelligence, he cannot solve the most important problems—those that threaten his very existence on an earth he is systematically destroying.
Educators have duped generations into believing the evolutionary lie. This has caused countless millions to believe that mankind is continually evolving into a better and higher order of existence. Look around and you will see the fruits of this deception. (Read our booklets Does God Exist? and Evolution – Facts, Fallacies and Implications. They thoroughly address the fallacy of evolution, while proving the existence of God.) Man is not evolving upward—he is degenerating downward, into ever new lows of indulgence, decadence and immorality.
Everyone understands the law of gravity. All recognize that if they break this law, it could “break” them. If one accidentally drops a brick on his foot, the result could be broken bones. If a skydiver jumps from an airplane, and the parachute fails to open, the result is certain death. This is easy to understand.
Here are some examples that are only a little less obvious, but are just as true. If a person is constantly sick, it is obvious that laws of health (proper diet, enough exercise or sufficient sleep, etc.) are being broken. Bad health has one or more causes. If a marriage ends in divorce, it can also be attributed to one or more causes: Lack of communication, financial woes, death of a child, sexual problems, unhappiness on the job, etc. If someone is pulled over for drunk driving, it is not hard to see the cause of the arrest.
While most never identify cause and effect as an immutable law governing almost every action in life, they are generally aware that it is a principle at work in certain circumstances.
Every effect can be traced to one or more causes. Unwanted or illegitimate pregnancies, crime, drug addiction, bankruptcy and a thousand other effects, can all be linked to specific causes. Create your own list. You may find it to be almost endless.
The King James Version of the Bible teaches, “…the curse causeless shall not come.” Two other translations of this verse are “…the undeserved curse will never hit its mark” (Jerusalem Bible), and “…the baseless curse never goes home” (Moffatt). This scripture is saying that every difficulty carries a reason—there is a cause for every effect!
Why can man not see this law at work when he looks at the world as a whole? Why is it that no one is looking for the cause of this world’s ills and evils? Why are educators not teaching this most important of all principles? As you look at the world around you, are you concerned with it? Do you ever wonder WHY it is filled with misery, unhappiness and discontent? And why has even the Christian religion ignored this important relationship between cause and effect?
The cause of all the world’s troubles began in the Garden of Eden. As simple as this sounds, it is true. The world has lost sight of a decision made by Adam and Eve. They chose not to eat of the Tree of Life, choosing instead to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Have you ever wondered what would have happened if those two people had chosen the Tree of Life? Think of how this would have changed the entire world! Everything would be different.
There would be no armies, wars, death, devastation or displacement of peoples. There would be no famine or hunger because there would be plenty of food for everyone. There would be no doctors, because there would be no illness. All of the hospitals and clinics would never have existed. Neither would the prisons, jails, judges, courts and police forces that exist to punish lawbreakers.
Universal happiness, abundance, prosperity and peace would have been experienced worldwide. All people would get along—neighbors, families, individuals and nations. Can you imagine such a world?
When Adam and Eve made the wrong decision, it directly affected you and me! They brought untold effects upon humanity, because of their single wrong cause—and this has not been understood prior to the 20th Century.
Let’s examine the truth of why the world is in its current state of unending problems.
Before continuing, let’s examine a big reason for why violating the law of cause and effect has beset the world with insoluble problems.
The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, records an amazing statement: “Because the carnal [physical] mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (8:7). Other translations use the stronger phrase “is the enemy of God” in place of “is enmity against God.”
For those who will believe it, this single passage offers startling insight into the working of the physical—“carnal”—mind of every human being. Cut off from God, the natural mind is God’s enemy—it hates Him. Think of it! Ask yourself if any minister, religionist or theologian has ever explained this to you.
NO! The religious leaders of this world never refer to this. They either ignore this understanding entirely or do not recognize its far-reaching implications for mankind as a whole!
This verse plainly says that the natural mind does not want, and even hates, to yield to God and obey His law. While most people profess that they “love God,” the truth is that their minds despise His way and refuse to truly submit to Him—to His authority over their lives. No wonder the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walks to direct his steps” (10:23). This is another incredible statement. When confronted with problems or important decisions, men simply do not know what to do! They are at a loss for how to correctly address and solve the challenges, difficulties and problems they face in their personal lives.
How then can they solve the far more complex problems engulfing civilization today? They cannot. Solutions born of human reasoning always generate more problems. We will learn why.
The apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1). He then continued, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If there is One who was God, but who was also with God, it is obvious that two Beings— two Persons—are being described.
Verse 14 continues, “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The only God-Being who ever became flesh in order to dwell among men is Jesus Christ. Remember, it says that the Word “was made flesh.” Christ was not flesh until He came to earth to become the Savior of mankind.
In Genesis 1:1 it states, “In the beginning God...” Moses recorded the first five books of the Old Testament in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word translated “God” is Elohim. This word is uniplural and refers to words like team, group, family or church. God is one Family—One God—composed of two Beings. This is why Christ could be God and with God at the same time. John 4:24 states that “God is Spirit.” God is actually made up of—composed of—Spirit. Men are composed of flesh.
Later in Genesis 1, we find that God said, “Let us [more than one] make man in our image, after our likeness” (vs. 26). There was clearly more than one person involved in the creation of man. Verse 25 adds that each animal was made after “his kind.”
Dogs come from dogs and have puppies that look like dogs. Cats come from cats and have kittens that look like cats. Horses come from horses and have foals that look like horses. This is true throughout the entire animal kingdom. There is no mystery here.
But here is what has been a mystery. Men are not part of the animal kind. They do not carry the likeness of any “beast of the earth” (vs. 25). They are made in the image and likeness of God. They are part of the God kind. So says your Bible!
Genesis 2:7 states, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Man is made out of physical matter—flesh. While man is not composed of what God is composed of—Spirit—he is formed in the “image and likeness” of God. Also take note that man “became”—not “had”—a soul. People do not have souls. They are souls!
Throughout the Bible, references to God’s body parts are found. Many verses show that God has eyes, ears, hands, feet, a mouth, nostrils, arms and legs, etc. In just one location, Isaiah 59:1-2 mentions His face, ears and hands. Numerous other verses make reference to the mind of God and Christ (Phil. 2:5). Humans have all of these same physical attributes that God Himself possesses, although men are made of flesh and not Spirit.
While human beings have been given hands so that they can create, paws, claws and hooves are not capable of building complex televisions—even if a mind is directing them. And, of course, animals have brains, not minds.
Animals function on instinct. Almost immediately after birth, they know exactly how to function. For example, a newborn calf knows how to stand up, take steps and find milk. Babies require far longer to even stand up and have to be taught how to do everything.
Human beings are able to acquire knowledge. Animals do not have this capability. God has programmed into animals, through instinct, everything that they need to function effectively within their environment.
People do not instinctively know everything that they need to know in order to operate successfully throughout their lives. They must acquire ever more knowledge as they grow older and as more demands are made upon them.
All knowledge that men obtain falls into two categories: (1) The physical knowledge of how to work with matter and physical things, and (2) the spiritual knowledge necessary to develop personal relationships with both God and their fellow man. All knowledge is either physical or spiritual knowledge.
Physical knowledge is acquired through the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. People understand that they must acquire a certain amount of useful knowledge and keep adding to it throughout their lives. They must master one or more skills en route to a career. They must learn to eat, ride a bike, play a piano, drive a nail, cut the grass, get dressed, drive a car, and many other things. To function as adults requires physical knowledge. Of course, this is not hard to understand. Most adults recognize that no one can succeed in life without a certain amount of knowledge. Today, people need more knowledge than ever to survive in an evermore complex world.
But there is a big problem in all of this! The physical knowledge that we have described has not been sufficient—or of the right kind—for mankind to be able to solve the greatest problems afflicting all the nations of the world. For instance, man is utterly incapable of achieving world peace.
Nothing can be understood or accomplished without proper knowledge. Even something as simple as changing a tire requires “know how.” Without right knowledge, mankind stands completely powerless—absolutely helpless—before its problems. Because man has rejected the source of right knowledge, he is surrounded by terrible troubles.
Consider just one world problem that has defied all humanly-devised solutions throughout recorded history: finding peace. Man has literally barred himself from the knowledge that would make this possible. Just look at the daily newspaper headlines. War seems to literally grip the planet in every part of the world.
It has been said that all nations are either preparing for war, at war or recovering from war. History shows this—it has recorded nearly 15,000 wars. Ironically, many of these wars were fought “in search of peace.” The outcome of war usually involves a truce that always fails to yield permanent peace. This is because men cannot, and never will, find the way to peace on their own, without outside help. They have no chance to achieve world peace.
As part of an extensive prophecy about conditions on earth in our time, the prophet Isaiah answers this question: “The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goes therein shall not know peace” (Isa. 59:8). The solutions of men always lead to more wars, ruin, misery, death and destruction. Also, Paul wrote, “And the way of peace have they not known” (Rom. 3:17).
This is because the governments of men simply do not work. They have never succeeded in finding permanent solutions to civilization’s problems. They lack the essential knowledge necessary to solve them. They do not have the answers to mankind’s most important questions. Man does not, of himself, understand the path to peace—or, for that matter, the path to abundance, happiness, health and prosperity. We will soon learn why. The greatest thinkers, leaders, educators and scientists have failed miserably in their quest for peace on earth. God has not yet revealed to mankind, as a whole, how to achieve the solution to war.
Is it any wonder God inspired the prophet Hosea to record, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you” (4:6)? Mankind could have known, understood and had access to far more important, vital knowledge about how to live, but chose to reject it. As a result, God rejected—cut off—man from access to Him. And this cuts men off from the very solutions to the terrible, worsening problems that they now have.
We must now examine what no one understands. Remember, man is made of flesh. But he has another non-physical, critically important component that must be explained. Paul wrote, “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11). Do not interpret this verse. Let it interpret itself. Accept it for what it says.
This passage identifies two different kinds of spirit—the “Spirit of God” and the “spirit of man.” They are not the same. Each provides a different function in acquiring knowledge.
Human knowledge (“the things of a man”) is acquired because God has given men a human spirit—the spirit in man. Paul’s inspired statement also makes clear that spiritual knowledge (“the things of God”) can only be acquired by the presence of the Spirit of God. Even this very knowledge is in itself truly amazing! Think of it this way. Virtually no one has the knowledge about HOW either physical or spiritual knowledge is acquired!
The Old Testament writer Job plainly stated, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (32:8). Job said exactly what Paul said. He identified that there is a spirit in man, while distinguishing spiritual understanding (knowledge) as something that comes from God—“the Almighty.”
Animals do not have the spirit in man. Animal brains are entirely different from human minds. Humans are given the spirit of man from conception. It allows them, through use of the five senses, to acquire and retain knowledge. Without this unseen spirit element, mankind would just be another dumb beast. But he is made in the image of God and has been given the power to acquire, retain and use knowledge for all kinds of purposes.
All human beings were created by God to receive two different spirits. One comes naturally at conception, and the other comes by an entirely different means. Without the Spirit of God, people are literally “not all there.” Their existence remains limited to what they can acquire on their own without God’s help.
Earlier, we left off talking about the Tree of Life. Let’s now return to it, remembering that Adam was offered the opportunity to eat of this Tree.
Your human existence is literally a matter of life or death. Jesus said, “...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Yet, Paul wrote, “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Remember, human beings do not have souls, they are souls (Gen. 2:7). (Read our thorough booklet The Truth About Hell, to understand more about the false idea regarding the immortality of the soul.)
Man is not naturally headed toward eternal life, but rather toward death!
Human beings live approximately 70 to 80 years, and in some parts of the world much less. A few manage to live longer than this, but eventually all die. Yet, it was never God’s original purpose that it be this way. God wants us to experience life for all eternity.
God intends that all human beings ultimately receive His Holy Spirit. He wants it to eventually enter all minds. Let’s learn what role this second spirit component plays in the process, and how it works with the spirit in man. Notice what Paul wrote: “The Spirit [the Holy Spirit] itself bears witness with our spirit [spirit in man], that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17).
Two spirits are described here. Did you see that God’s Spirit works “with” the human spirit to bring human beings to salvation as “joint-heirs with Christ”? It is this Spirit that Adam was offered and would have received had he eaten of the Tree of Life!
In I Corinthians 2, Paul had also said, “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (vs. 14). This is an enormously important verse. It is simply not possible for human beings without God’s Spirit to understand spiritual knowledge—spiritual understanding. Such things can only seem “foolish” to a mind that cannot “spiritually discern.” No matter how intelligent or talented a person may be, without the Spirit of God, it can be said that they have a spiritual I.Q. of ZERO! None of the problems common to individuals or nations can be properly addressed and resolved without the involvement of the Holy Spirit at work in minds.
Even attempting to tell people that they lack this spiritual component is a useless exercise, if God is not opening their minds (John 6:44, 65). It will seem foolish to them, because even this information is “spiritually discerned.” And the more intelligent and self-reliant the person is, the more foolish it will probably seem to him to be told that his mind is incomplete.
If Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have received the Spirit of God. He would have learned the way of love—the “give” way—instead of the way of “get,” practiced by this world. The Bible says that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), and that “love is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5).
Romans 8:6 states, “For to be carnally [physically] minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If Adam had received the Spirit of God, he would have received life inherent within him. He would have been an “heir” with Christ as much as any true Christian today. He would have also known the way to peace.
This is absolutely remarkable understanding—unknown to all but a scattered few on earth today. It has simply not been understood until our time!
God said that He made human beings in His “image” and “likeness.” This verse means what it says. God created you to become “like” Him in every way. Through His Spirit entering the mind of each of His newly converted children, a new spirit life is begotten. A tiny, spirit-begotten fetus comes into existence. Just as little children grow up to look like their physical parents, God’s children slowly take on the spiritual likeness of God (their Parent), in nature and character, as much as in image and form (II Pet. 1:4). Both the Old and New Testaments make this point absolutely plain!
Has anyone ever pointed out the following scripture to you? “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2). While many have some vague understanding that Christians might be “sons of God,” few ever consider this verse. We will one day have the very likeness of Jesus Christ. Remember that Romans 8:16 said that we are “children” of God with Christ.
King David also understood this a thousand years earlier when he wrote: “As for me, I will behold Your face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Your likeness” (Psa. 17:15). (This verse debunks the popular “beatific vision” delusion that people cannot actually see God’s face in the afterlife, but rather just the “corona” around it.)
David understood that we will see the face of God. So did John. Both understood that at the Resurrection—when we “awake”—we will be exactly like God, in form and character. So, God is reproducing Himself in human beings who have received His Holy Spirit. He is creating children that will look and be just like Himself!
The very Spirit of God in us will allow us to awake in the Resurrection. Notice Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies BY His Spirit that dwells in you” (also I Cor. 15 and I Thes. 4:13-18). Christ was raised to return to His position alongside God the Father. He had fulfilled His task of becoming Savior.
Understand this! The very same Spirit, dwelling in us from the moment of conversion, will raise us (all those begotten of God) to be with God in the kingdom of God.
Like the newly begotten baby grows in its mother’s womb, the Christian must also grow before he can leave the womb. Peter wrote, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Pet. 3:18). Christians are to grow in this lifetime. In order to be given divine authority and power, as joint-heirs with Christ, Christians must qualify, through the building of God’s holy, righteous character in their lives.
Jesus said, “I will build My church” (Matt. 16:18). It is the Church—that Church—that is “Jerusalem above,” which is “the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26; Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 12:1; II John 1, 5). Like any mother, the Church nurtures and feeds her children—and she has been doing this for 2,000 years.
When Adam rejected the Tree of Life, he rejected the opportunity to receive the Spirit of God, which would have opened his mind to the plan of God—to why he had been created. His decision caused him and his wife, Eve, to be cast from the garden. Their joint decision carried grave implications for all human beings who came from them—who could not then have access to the Tree of Life.
The Genesis account reads, “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the WAY of the tree of life” (3:22-24). The “way” of receiving and living by God’s Spirit was no longer accessible to men.
Instead of following God’s instruction, Adam took of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” He thought he knew better than God. He took to himself the right to decide between what was right (good) and what was wrong (evil). He thought that he could trust his own physical senses in all matters. In this sense, this decision did “open his eyes” (Gen. 3:7)—but not to the things of God, which come only by receiving God’s Spirit. Adam’s decision precluded any opportunity to acquire spiritual knowledge. His understanding remained limited to what he could learn through the five physical senses.
With this decision, he cut off himself and all mankind from any access to God. Ever since, this other tree has guided the thinking of the men and nations of this world. We must understand what this means for us: Man is not complete! All knowledge that would enter his mind could only be physical and material. For his sin of rejecting God and the Tree of Life, he was rejected by God and cast from the garden. In a direct sense, mankind was cast out with him!
Satan the devil is called the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4), as well as the “prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11) and “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). He “deceives the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).
Satan rebelled against God’s government prior to the re-creation of earth (Gen. 1:1) and the creation of Adam and Eve. He had previously led one-third of all angels into rebellion (II Pet. 2:4). Isaiah 14:12-14 reveals that he had ruled the earth, and Ezekiel 28:15 shows that he was a created being—a great, perfect archangel. He was to remain as ruler over earth until Christ’s Second Coming. Christ qualified to replace him at His First Coming.
Satan was literally lying in wait for “baby” Adam and Eve. They were created on the sixth day of the week, Friday, rested on the Sabbath, Saturday, and were probably seduced by Satan (Gen. 3:1-6) on Sunday—at the age of two days old.
Of course, no two-day-old child knows how to discern right from wrong. Adam and Eve just thought they were grown-up enough to make their own decisions. Like most children today, Adam and Eve chose not to listen to their parent, God. Instead, they believed Satan’s lie that they would not “surely die.”
Cut off from God by sin (Isa. 59:1-2; Jer. 5:25), mankind has believed the lies of the god of this world for 6,000 years. The core of God’s plan encompasses 7,000 years. Few have understood this. Many have correctly understood at least some of the verses describing Christ’s 1,000-year Reign, to begin at His Return (Rev. 20:4-6). But they know nothing of the fact that God has allotted 6,000 years, or six millennial days of a “seven-day week,” to man’s rule, prior to the seventh 1,000-year “day.” We are near the end of the “sixth day.”
We must understand! The Bible says, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Pet. 3:8). Sadly, most people are “ignorant” of almost everything that the Bible teaches.
But this need not be true of you!
Man (under the invisible sway of Satan) has been given six days, or 6,000 years, to try his own ways, governments, religions, philosophies, value systems and forms of education. Under the influence of Satan, he has practiced sin and disobedience to God’s commands for nearly 6,000 years. He has then tried to treat all of the ill effects instead of treating the cause—breaking God’s commandments. God is letting man learn bitter lessons. The vast majority, who have never known the precious truth of God, have to learn that their own ways do not work! (You may request our booklet Does the Bible Teach Predestination? to learn much more about the overview of God’s plan.)
God distinguished between light and darkness on the fourth day of creation (Gen. 1:14-19). This paved the way for all living creatures and man to be created on the fifth and sixth days. Interestingly, it was after 4,000 years (the end of the fourth day in God’s Master Plan) that Christ came bringing the light of God’s truth to mankind. Most rejected Christ, because “men love darkness rather than light” (John 3:19).
Since we learned that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), Christ came as the second or “last” Adam (I Cor. 15:22, 45) to initially offer a very few (Eph. 1:11-12) forgiveness and access, once again, to the Spirit of God—and LIFE eternal!
The apostle Paul wrote, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). A Christian is one who has the Holy Spirit leading him in his life. But is having God’s Spirit absolutely essential to being a Christian? By this point, Paul had already said, in verse 9, “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His!”
It is just that simple! One either has the Spirit of God, and is a Christian, or one does not have it and is not a Christian—is “none of His.” All those who are truly converted must have the Holy Spirit in them.
But what does this mean? Is this all there is to Christianity and conversion, or is there more?
God is reproducing Himself by putting a little of himself into each person that He begets. Through repentance and baptism, one receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), after having been called by God to inherit the promise of salvation (vs. 39).
Peter, the one speaking in Acts 2:16-17, referred to the prophet Joel foretelling a time when God would “pour out [His] Spirit upon all flesh” (Joel 2:28). That began with the birth of the New Testament Church on Pentecost in A.D. 31.
The churches of this world do not understand anything of the true path to salvation. They do not even realize what true salvation is. Only the Church that Christ leads (Matt. 16:18; Eph. 1:22-23; Col. 1:18) understands these points. Jesus did not come to save the world now. He has never been on the “soul-saving campaign” many have assumed.
The false Christianity of this world is blinded to God’s truth and plan. Instead of obeying God, millions have been deceived into accepting the ideas and traditions of men. Christ said, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7-8).
We have seen that human nature is hostile to God. It hates the truth, law and government of God. It does not want to be ruled by anyone or anything. It wants the freedom to follow its own way—believe its own ideas, customs and traditions—without interference from God. (Read our free booklet Did God Create Human Nature? to learn much more about the origin of human nature.)
If one is even interested in obeying God, it is only because he has been “drawn” (John 6:44) by God’s Spirit and called (Matt. 22:14) to understand His marvelous truth. His eyes are opened to his incredible human potential. As a result, he wants to live a completely different way of life.
Christ instructs His servants—those whom He has called—to grow, change and overcome: “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne” (Rev. 3:21). And, “he that overcomes and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them...” (Rev. 2:26-27).
Judgment is now on the Church, not on the world. Peter wrote to the Church, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God [the Church]” (I Pet. 4:17). Eventually, the entire world will learn the truth (Isa. 11:9), with all nations having access to the plan of salvation. But that time has not yet come for humanity at large. The focus of God’s plan of reconciliation, forgiveness of sins, overcoming, character development and receiving the gift of eternal life is focused entirely on the Church in this age!
Those called at this time must overcome the devil, the pull of this world and their human flesh, just as Christ did, in order to qualify to be part of the soon-coming kingdom of God—to be able to rule with Christ. We read earlier that they shall “rule” with Christ on His throne (in Jerusalem), when He calls all mankind to an opportunity for salvation—when the devil will have been removed from his earthly throne and cast into a bottomless pit where he will be “bound…a thousand years” (Rev. 20:2-3).
Those called later—during the Millennium or the time of judgment for all the billions who have ever lived—will not have to overcome either the devil or the pulls of his world. No doubt, very few of these will rebel against God and reject salvation. Of course, some few will choose this, and they will be destroyed in a molten lake of fire (II Pet. 3:10-12). They will be turned to ashes (Mal. 4:3) because a just and merciful God will, quite literally, “put them out of their misery.” The Bible describes this as the “second death” (Rev. 20:6), because all human beings are “appointed” to die once as a result of Adam’s sin (Heb. 9:27; Gen. 2:17).
God devised a means whereby His people would never forget or misunderstand the truth of His Master Plan to save mankind. Starting with ancient Israel, He ordained that seven festivals, or annual Sabbaths, be kept each year as a kind of rehearsal of this overall purpose.
The first festival, which introduces Christ’s role as Savior and High Priest, is the passover. This is kept each year to commemorate His sacrifice and shed blood for the forgiveness of sins. Then comes the second festival, the seven days of unleavened bread, depicting the putting away of sin and the process of overcoming.
Next, the third festival, called the feast of pentecost (“Firstfruits” in the Old Testament), is kept fifty days (Pentecost means count fifty) after the wave sheaf is cut during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Acts 2:1 shows that the New Testament Church began on this day. The entire New Testament Church to the present, with a few from the Old Testament, comprise the firstfruits of God’s plan of salvation (Jms. 1:18).
In the early fall of the year come the last four festivals, each depicting additional important events in God’s Plan. The feast of trumpets is the fourth festival, and the central event that it pictures is the Second Coming of Christ. Next, the fifth festival is the day of atonement and it pictures a time when the whole world will be “at one” with God and Christ because Satan will have been bound. And the sixth festival, the feast of tabernacles (also lasting seven days), pictures the last 1,000 years of God’s Plan, when Christ and the resurrected saints will reign on the earth. It is during this time that the Tree of Life will be made available to all who seek and obey God.
Finally, the seventh festival is the last great day. It pictures the Great White Throne Judgment, when the Book of Life (Rev. 20:12) will be opened to all human beings who have ever lived—from the time of Adam to the present—so that everyone will eventually receive an opportunity for salvation.
Armed with this overview of knowledge, Christians are not activists (politically, socially or spiritually) as so many professing Christians are taught, then thinking they can and should “fix the world”—“make the world a better place.” True Christians do not try to “bring the kingdom” through human effort. They have their “…feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (Eph. 6:15). They walk through life having their feet covered with the knowledge of how the true gospel of the kingdom of God spells the way to ultimate world peace, happiness, health and universal prosperity. They understand the certainty that the kingdom of God is coming to solve ALL the world’s most difficult problems. (Read our booklet How World Peace Will Come! to learn much more about how this will happen.)
True Christians know what lies ahead for civilization—including both the short-term bad news and the long-term good news. They understand prophecy and do not take matters into their own hands, thereby effectively seeking to neutralize God’s purpose, which is to show man that he is utterly incapable of governing himself or solving his problems without the Holy Spirit!
Unease and uncertainty are growing around the world. More and more now ask, “What’s happening? Where is everything going?” Problems will grow so severe that we will soon reach the time described in Matthew 24:21-22. Christ was describing conditions just prior to His Return when He stated: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [left alive]: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”
How badly is man botching his efforts to solve his problems? So badly that, without intervention by Almighty God in the affairs of men, all human life on earth would soon be wiped out. Pollution, food and water shortages, disease and the use of weapons of mass destruction would bring mankind to extinction. Mercifully, God will not allow events to go that far. His marvelous purpose and plan is working precisely on time toward a happy and peaceful end—a solving of all humanity’s troubles!
In his booklet NEVER BEFORE UNDERSTOOD Why Humanity Cannot Solve Its Evils, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote this wonderful summary of God’s plan for mankind under the subhead “The Incredible Human Potential”:
“What an astoundingly incredible human potential! The world little realizes what a glorious and stupendous purpose God is working out in mortal human lives made from earthly ground!
“God is reproducing himself through us! He is taking matter out of the ground, making it into mortal, temporarily existing humans. For those willing, God is infusing into them his Holy Spirit—imparting to them God-life eternal! Through his Spirit, with our assent and effort at spiritual growth and overcoming, he infuses into us his righteous spiritual character. By a resurrection, we become born God personages—personages just as are God the Father and Christ the Son! We shall have the entire universe put under our feet (Hebrews 2:8).
“In Adam all have sinned. In Christ shall all be made alive! God has called, first, his Church! The Church is his body! The Church, resurrected at Christ’s coming, shall be married to Christ the Son. We become the children of God. After our marriage to Christ—a spiritual marriage of spiritually immortal Persons—we shall beget children into this divine family!
“There is but the one Church—one body (I Corinthians 12:13, 20) to become one divine family. The Church is “fitly framed together” (Ephesians 2:21), joined together and compacted (welded) together (Ephesians 4:16), all speaking the same things as Christ speaks (I Corinthians 1:10). God has called the Church specially out of Satan’s world to overcome Satan and his world, to be prepared and trained to become God beings in and after the Millennium, to rule with Christ as we bring to eternal life all others beginning with Adam, who then shall be willing!
“What a wonderful purpose and Master Plan!”