The Plan of God — in Brief

An Abridged Version of the Larger Work "THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES"

Table of Contents

STUDY 1 — The Bible Viewed in the Light of Reason

STUDY 2 — The Development of the Divine Plan

STUDY 3 — "The Mystery Hid"— Col. 1:26

"Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory."

STUDY 4 — Our Lord's Return

STUDY 5 — The Permission of Evil

STUDY 6 — The Day of Judgment

STUDY 7 — Ransom and Restoration

STUDY 8 — Natures Separate and Distinct

Mortality and Immortality

STUDY 9 — The Three Ways

The Broad Road to Destruction

The Narrow Way to Life

The Highway of Holiness

STUDY 10 — The Kingdoms of This World

STUDY 11 — The Kingdom of God

Two Phases of the Kingdom of God

The Iron Rule

STUDY 12 — The Day of Jehovah

The Present Situation Duty and Privilege of the Saints

STUDY 13 — Concluding Thoughts

STUDY 1—The Bible Viewed in the Light of Reason

The Bible is the torch of civilization and liberty. Its influence for good in society has been recognized by the greatest statesmen, even though they for the most part have looked at it through the various glasses of conflicting creeds, which, while upholding the Bible, grievously misrepresent its teachings. The grand old book is unintentionally but woefully misrepresented by its friends, many of whom would lay down life on its behalf; and yet they do it more vital injury than its foes, by claiming its support to their long-revered misconceptions of its truth, received through the traditions of their fathers. Would that such would awake, re-examine their oracle, and put to confusion its enemies by disarming them of their weapons!

The Bible is the oldest book in existence; it has outlived the storms of thirty centuries. Men have endeavored by every means possible to banish it from the face of the earth: they have hidden it, buried it, made it a crime punishable with death to have it in possession, and the most bitter and relentless persecutions have been waged against those who had faith in it; but still the book lives.

The fact that it has survived so many centuries, notwithstanding such unparalleled efforts to banish and destroy it, is at least strong circumstantial evidence that the great Being whom it claims as its Author has also been its Preserver.

This book throughout constantly points and refers to one prominent character, Jesus of Nazareth, who it claims, was the Son of God. From beginning to end His name, and office, and work, are made prominent.

That a man called Jesus of Nazareth lived, and was somewhat noted, about the time indicated by the writers of the Bible, is a fact of history outside the Bible, and it is variously and fully corroborated. That this Jesus was crucified because He had rendered Himself offensive to the Jews and their priesthood is a further fact established by history outside the evidence furnished by the New Testament writers. The writers of the New Testament (except Paul and Luke) were the personal acquaintances and disciples of Jesus of Nazareth, whose doctrines their writings set forth.

One plan, spirit, aim and purpose pervades the entire book. Its opening pages record the creation and fall of man; its closing pages tell of man's recovery from that fall; and its intervening pages show the successive steps of the plan of God for the accomplishment of this purpose. The harmony, yet contrast, of the first three and the last three chapters of the Bible is striking. The one describes the first creation, the other the renewed or restored creation, with sin and its penal-curse removed; the one shows Satan and evil entering into the world to deceive and destroy, the other shows his work undone, the destroyed ones restored, evil extinguished and Satan destroyed; the one shows the dominion lost by Adam, the other shows it restored and forever established by Christ, and God's will done in earth as in heaven; the one shows sin the producing cause of degradation, shame and death, the other shows the reward of righteousness to be glory, honor and life.

Though written by many pens, at various times, under different circumstances, the Bible is not merely a collection of moral precepts, wise maxims and words of comfort. It is more: it is a reasonable, philosophical and harmonious statement of the causes of present evil in the world, its only remedy and the final results as seen by divine wisdom, which saw the end of the plan from before its beginning, marking as well the pathway of God's people, and upholding and strengthening them with exceeding great and precious promises to be realized in due time.

The teaching of Genesis, that man was tried in a state of original perfection in one representative, that he failed, and that the present imperfection, sickness and death are the results, but that God has not forsaken him, and will ultimately recover him through a redeemer, born of a woman (Ge 3:15), is kept up and elaborated all the way through. The necessity of the death of a redeemer as a sacrifice for sins, and of his righteousness as a covering for our sin, is pointed out in the clothing of skins for Adam and Eve; in the acceptance of Abel's offerings; in Isaac on the altar; in the death of the various sacrifices by which the patriarchs had access to God, and of those instituted under the law and perpetuated throughout the Jewish age. The prophets, though credited with understanding but slightly the significance of some of their utterances (1Pe 1:12), mention the laying of the sins upon a person instead of a dumb animal, and in prophetic vision they see Him who is to redeem and to deliver the race led "as a lamb to the slaughter," that "the chastisement of our peace was upon Him," and that "by His stripes we are healed."

They pictured Him as "despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," and declared that "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isa 53:3-6). They told where this deliverer would be born (Micah v. 2), and when He should die, assuring us that it would be "not for Himself." (Da 9:26). They mention various peculiarities concerning Him—that He would be "righteous," and free from "deceit," "violence," or any just cause of death (Isa 53:8, 9, 11); that He would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zec 11:12); that He would be numbered among transgressors in His death (Isa. 53:12); that not a bone of Him should be broken (Ps 34:20; Joh 19:36); and that though He should die and be buried, His flesh would not corrupt, neither would He remain in the grave.—Ps 16:10, Ac 2:31.

The New Testament writers clearly and forcibly, yet simply, record the fulfillment of all these predictions in Jesus of Nazareth, and by logical reasonings show that such a ransom price as He gave was needful, as already predicted in the Law and the Prophets, before the sins of the world could be blotted out. (Isa 1:18). They trace the entire plan in a most logical and forcible manner, appealing neither to the prejudices nor to the passions of their hearers, but to their enlightened reason alone, furnishing some of the most remarkably close and cogent reasoning to be found anywhere on any subject. See Ro 5:17-19, and onward to the 12th chapter.

Moses, in the Law, pointed not alone to a sacrifice, but also to a blotting out of sin and a blessing of the people under this great deliverer, whose power and authority he declares shall vastly exceed his own, though it should be "like unto" it. De 18:15, 19). The promised deliverer is to bless not only Israel, but through Israel "all the families of the earth." (Ge 12:3, 1888:18; 22:18; 26:4).

These writers point out the harmony of this view with what is written in the Law and the Prophets; and the grandeur and breadth of the plan they present more than meets the most exalted conception of what it purports to be—"Good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people."

The thought of Messiah as a ruler of not only Israel, but also of the world, suggested in the books of Moses, is the theme of all the prophets. The thought of the kingdom was uppermost also in the teaching of the apostles; and Jesus taught that we should pray, "Your Kingdom come," and promised those a share in it who would first suffer for the truth, and prove themselves worthy.

This hope of the coming glorious kingdom gave all the faithful ones courage to endure persecution and to suffer reproach, deprivation and loss, even unto death. And in the grand allegorical prophecy which closes the New Testament, the worth "Lamb that was slain" (Re 5:12), the worthy "overcomers" whom He will make kings and priests in His Kingdom, and the trials and obstacles which they must overcome to be worthy to share that kingdom, are all faithfully portrayed. Then are introduced symbolic representations of the blessings to accrue to the world under that Millennial reign, when Satan shall be bound and Adamic death and sorrow wiped out, and when all the nations of earth shall walk in the light of the heavenly kingdom—the new Jerusalem.

The Bible, from first to last, holds out a doctrine found nowhere else, and in opposition to the theories of all the heathen religions—that a future life for the dead will come through a RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

STUDY 2—The Development of the Divine Plan

Since God tells us that He has a definitely fixed purpose, and that all His purposes shall be accomplished, it behooves us, as His children, to inquire diligently what those plans are, that we may be found in harmony with them. Notice how emphatically Jehovah affirms the fixedness of His purpose: "Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it be." "The Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?" "I am God and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me...My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.... Yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isa 14:24-27; 46:9-11).

However haphazard or mysterious God's dealings with men may appear, those who believe this testimony of His Word must acknowledge that His original and unalterable plan has been, and still is, progressing systematically to completion.

Therefore, as interested sons of God, and heirs of a promised inheritance, we apply to our Father's Word, that we may understand His purposes from the plans and specifications therein given. There we learn that the plan of God, with reference to man, spans three great periods of time, beginning with man's creation and reaching into the illimitable future. Peter and Paul designate these periods "three worlds."

These three great epochs represent three distinct manifestations of Divine Providence. The first, from creation to the flood, was under the ministration of angels, and is called by Peter "THE WORLD THAT WAS." 2Pe 3:6.

The second great epoch, from the flood to the establishment of the kingdom of God, is under the limited control of Satan, "the prince of this world," and is therefore called "THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD." Gal 1:4; 2Pe 3:7.

The third is to be a "world without end" (Isa 45:17) under divine administration, the kingdom of God, and is called "THE WORLD TO COME—wherein dwells righteousness."—Heb 2:5; 2Pe 3:13.

The first of these periods, or "worlds" under the ministration of angels, was a failure; the second, under the rule of Satan, the usurper, has been indeed an "evil world"; but the third will be an era of righteousness and of blessing to all the families of the earth.

The last two of these "worlds" are most particularly mentioned, and the statements relative to them are in strong contrast. The present, or second period, is called "the present evil world," not because there is nothing good in it, but because in it evil is permitted to predominate. "Now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered." (Mal 3:15). The third world or epoch is mentioned as "THE WORLD TO COME—wherein dwells righteousness," not because there will be no evil in it, but because evil will not predominate. The blotting out of evil will be gradual, requiring all of the first thousand years. Evil will not rule then; it will not prosper; it will no longer be the wicked that will flourish; but "the righteous shall flourish" (Ps 72:7), the "obedient shall eat the good of the land" Isa 1:19), and "the evil doer shall be cut off."—Ps 37:9.

So we see, the next dispensation is to be so dissimilar as to be the very reverse of the present one in almost every particular. Our Lord's words show why there is to be a difference between the present and the future dispensations. It is because He will be the Prince or Ruler of the world to come, that in it

———————————————————— Creation

God's Kingdom Established

The Flood

C THIRD DISPENSATION the fullness of times Eph 1:10

B SECOND DISPENSATION or "present evil world" A FIRST DISPENSATION to the flood 1656 yrs or "world to come" or "world that was"


righteousness and truth will prosper; while, because Satan is the prince (ruler) of the present evil world, evil prospers and the wicked flourish. It is because, as Jesus said, the prince of this world "hath nothing in Me"—and consequently no interest in His followers except to oppose, tempt, annoy and buffet them (Joh 14:30; 2Co 12:7)—that in this present evil world or epoch, whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, while the wicked flourish like a green bay tree.—2Ti 3:12; Ps 37:35.

Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world," and until the era or "world to come" does come, Christ 's kingdom will not control the earth. And for this we are taught to hope and pray. "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth." Satan is the "ruler of the darkness of this world," and therefore "darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people." He now rules and works in the hearts of the children of disobedience.—Eph 2:2; 6:12.

There must be some very important part of the great Architect's plan for man's salvation not yet fully developed—else the new Prince and the new dispensation would have been long ago introduced. Why it was postponed for an appointed time, and also the manner of the change from the present dominion of evil under Satan to that of righteousness under Christ, are points of interest which will be more fully shown hereafter. Suffice it now to say, that the kingdoms of this world, now subject to Satan, are at the proper time to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. (Re 11:15). The context shows that the transfer will be accomplished by a general time of trouble. In reference to it Jesus said, "No man can enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house." (Mr 3:22-27). We are taught that Satan must first be bound, restrained and deposed, before Christ's reign of righteousness and peace can be established. This binding of Satan is accordingly shown to be the first work of the new dispensation.—Re 20:2.

It should be remembered that this earth is the basis of all these "worlds" and dispensations, and that though ages pass and dispensations change, still the earth continues—"The earth abides forever." (Eccl.1:4). Carrying out the same figure, Peter calls each of these periods a separate heavens and earth. Here the word heavens symbolizes the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and earth symbolizes human government and social arrangements. So the first heavens and earth, or the order and arrangement of things then existing, having served their purpose, ended at the flood, But the physical heavens (sky and atmosphere), and the physical earth, did not pass away: they remained. So likewise the present world (heavens and earth) will pass away with a great noise, fire and melting—confusion, trouble and dissolution. The strong man (Satan), being bound, will struggle to regain his power. The present order or arrangement of government and society, not that of the physical sky and earth, will pass away. The present heavens (powers of spiritual control) must give place to the "new heavens"—Christ's spiritual control. The present earth (human society as now organized under Satan's control) must (symbolically) melt and be dissolved, in the beginning of the "Day of the Lord," which "shall burn as an oven" (Mal 4:1). It will be succeeded by "a new earth," i.e., society reorganized in harmony with earth's new Prince—Christ. Righteousness, peace and love will rule among men when present arrangements have given place to the new and better kingdom, the basis of which will be the strictest justice.

Paul was given a glimpse of the next dispensation, or, as he calls it, "the world to come." He says he was "caught away" (physically or mentally, or both, he could not tell, things were so real to his view) down the stream of time to the new condition of things, the "new heaven," hence the "third heaven." He saw things as they will be under the spiritual control of Christ, things which he might not disclose. (2Co 12:2-4). Doubtless these were the same things which John afterward saw, and was permitted to express to the Church in symbols, which may only be understood as they become due. John, in the revelation given to him by our Lord on the Isle of Patmos, was in vision carried down through this Christian Age and its changing scenes of church and state, to the end of the present evil world, or epoch, and there in prophetic visions he saw Satan bound, Christ reigning, and the new heaven and the new earth established; for the former heaven and earth were passed away.—Re 21:1.

A statement of the Word which belongs to one epoch, or dispensation, should not be applied to another, as things stated of one age are not always true of another. For instance, it would be an untruth to say of the present time that the knowledge of the Lord fills the whole earth, or that there is no need to say to your neighbor, Know the Lord. (Isa 11:9; 31:34). This is not true in this age, and it cannot be true until the Lord, having come again, has established His kingdom; for throughout this age there have been many seducing deceptions, and we are told that even in the very end of the age—"In the last days...evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2Ti 3:1, 13). It will be as the result of Messiah's reign during the Millennial age that knowledge and righteousness shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

A similar mistake, and a very common one, is to suppose that God's kingdom is now established and ruling over the earth, and that His will is now done among the nations. This is manifestly far from the truth, for the kingdoms of this world are supported and enriched through oppression, injustice and deceit, to as great an extent as the increasing intelligence of the people will permit. Satan, the present "prince of this world," must yet be displaced, and these kingdoms, now under his control, must become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Anointed, when He shall take unto Himself His great power, and reign.

By the light now due to the household of faith we discern that system and order which mark the stately steppings of our God through the ages past.

STUDY 3—"The Mystery Hid" —Col 1:26

While mankind was under the discipline of evil, and unable to understand its necessity, God repeatedly expressed His purpose to restore and bless them through a coming deliverer. But who that deliverer should be was a mystery for four thousand years, and it only began to be clearly revealed after the resurrection of Christ, in the beginning of the Christian or Gospel age.

Looking back to the time when life and Edenic happiness were forfeited by our first parents, we see them under the just penalty of sin filled with sorrow, and without a ray of hope, except that drawn from the obscure statement that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. Though in the light of subsequent developments this is full of significance to us, to them it was but a faint and glimmering light.

Nearly two thousand years rolled by with no evidence of a fulfillment.

About two thousand years after, God called Abraham, and promised that his seed should bless all the families of the earth. This looked as though God still held to His previously expressed purpose, and was now about to fulfill it. Time sped on; the promised land of Canaan was not yet in his possession; they had yet no offspring, and Abraham and Sarah were growing old. Abraham reasoned that he must help God to fulfill His promise; so Ishmael was born. But his assistance was not needed, for in due time Isaac, the child of hope and promise, was born. Then it seemed that the promised ruler and blesser of nations had come. But no: years rolled by, and seemingly God's promise had failed; for Isaac died, and his heir, Jacob, also. But the faith of a few still held firmly to the promise, and was sustained by God; for "the covenant which He made with Abraham" was assured by God's "oath unto Isaac, and confirmed to Jacob...and to Israel for an everlasting covenant."—1Ch 16:16, 17.

When at the time of Jacob's death his descendants were first called the TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL, and recognized of God as a "chosen nation" (Ge 49:28; De 26:5), the expectation that his nation as a whole, as the promised seed of Abraham, should possess Canaan, and rule and bless the world, seemed to be on the eve of realization; for already, under the favor of Egypt, they were becoming a strong nation.

But hope was almost blasted and the promise almost forgotten when the Egyptians, having gained control of them, held them as slaves for a long period.

Truly God's promises were shrouded in mystery, and His ways seemed past finding out. However, in due time came Moses, a great deliverer, by whose hand God led them out of bondage, working mighty miracles on their behalf. Before entering Canaan this great deliverer died; but as the Lord's mouthpiece he declared, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me." (De 18:15; Ac 3:22). This gave a further insight into God's plan, showing that not only would their nation, as a whole, be associated in some way with the future work of ruling and blessing, but that one to be selected from among them would lead to victory and to the fulfillment of the promise. Then Joshua, whose name signifies deliverer, or savior, became their leader, and under him they won great victories, and actually entered the land promised in the covenant. Surely then it seemed that the true leader had come, and that the promise was about to have complete fulfillment.

But Joshua died, and they made no headway as a nation until David, and then Solomon, were given them as kings. There they reached the very zenith of their glory; but soon, instead of seeing the promise accomplished, they were shorn of their power, and became tributary to other nations. Some held fast the promise of God, however, and still looked for the great deliverer of whom Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon were only types.

About the time when Jesus was born, all men were in expectation of the Messiah, the coming king of Israel and, through Israel, of the world. But Israel's hope of the glory and honor of their coming king, inspired as it was by the types and prophecies of His greatness and power, caused them to overlook another set of types and prophecies, which pointed to a work of suffering and death, as a ransom for sinners, necessary before the blessing could come. This was prefigured in the Passover before they were delivered from Egypt, in the slaying of the animals at the giving of the law covenant (Heb 9:11-20; 10:8- 18), and in the Atonement sacrifices performed year by year continually by the priesthood. They overlooked, too, the statement of the prophets, "who testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1Pe 1:2). Hence, when Jesus came as a sacrifice, they did not recognize Him: they knew not the time of their visitation. (Lu 19:44). Even His immediate followers were sorely perplexed when Jesus died; and sadly they said. "We trusted it had been He which should have redeemed Israel." (Lu 24:21). Apparently, their confidence in Him had been misplaced. They failed to see that the death of their leader was a ratification of the New Covenant under which the blessings were to come, a partial fulfillment of the covenant of promise. However, when they found that He had risen from the tomb, their withered hopes again began to revive (1Pe 1:3), and when He was about to leave them, they asked concerning their long-cherished and oft-deferred hope, saying "Lord, wilt You at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" That their hopes were in the main correct, though they might not know the time when they would be fulfilled, is evident from our Lord's reply: "It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father hath put in His own power." Ac 1:6, 7.

What turn has God's plan now taken? must have been the query of His disciples when Jesus had ascended; for we must remember that our Lord's teachings concerning the Kingdom were principally in parables and dark sayings. He had said to them. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now; howbeit, when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." "He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (Joh 16:12; 14:26). So they could not understand before the Pentecostal blessing came.

Even then, it was some time before they got a clear, full understanding of the work being done, and its relation to the original covenant. (Ac 11:9; Ga 2:2, 12, 14). However, it would seem that even before they fully and clearly understood, they were used as the mouthpieces of God, and their inspired words were probably clearer and deeper expressions of truth that they themselves fully comprehended. For instance, read James' discourse in which he says: "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name [a bride]. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, 'After this [after this people from the Gentiles has been taken out] I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David [the earthly dominion] which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up.'"—Ac 15:14-16.

James began to read in God's providence, in the sending of the Gospel through Peter to the first Gentile convert and through Paul to Gentiles in general, that during this age believing Jews and Gentiles were to be alike favored. He then looked up the prophecies and found it so written; and that after the work of this Gospel age is completed, then the promises to fleshly Israel will be fulfilled. Gradually the great mystery, so long hidden, began to be understood by a few—the saints, the special "friends" of God.

Paul declares (Col 1:27) that this mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, now made manifest to His saints, is

"Christ In You, The Hope Of Glory."

This is the great mystery of God which has been hidden from all previous ages, and is still hidden from all except a special class—the saints, or consecrated believers. But what is meant by "Christ in you"? We have learned that Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit (Ac 10:38), and so we recognize Him to be the Christ—the anointed—for the word Christ signifies anointed. And the Apostle John says that the anointing which we (consecrated believers) have received abides in us. (1Jo 2:27). So saints of this Gospel age are an anointed company—anointed to be kings and priests unto God (2Co 1:21, 1Pe 2:9); and together with Jesus, their Chief and Lord, they constitute Jehovah's Anointed—the Christ.

In harmony with this teaching of John, that we also are anointed, Paul assures us that this mystery which has been kept secret in ages past, but which is now made known to the saints, is that the Christ (the Anointed) is "not one member, but many," just as the human body is one, and has many members; but as all the members of the body, being many, are one body, so also is the Anointed—the Christ. (1Co 12:12- 28). Jesus is anointed to be the Head or Lord over the Church, which is His body (or His bride, as expressed in another figure—Eph 5:25-30), and unitedly they constitute the promised "Seed"—the Great Deliverer: "If you are Christ's then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."—Gal 3:29.

The Apostle carefully guards the Church against any presumptive claims, saying of Jesus that "God hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body," "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence." (Eph 1:22; Col 1:18). Yet, under the figure of the human body, he beautifully and forcibly shows our intimate relationship. This same oneness Jesus also taught, saying, "I am the vine, you are the branches."—Joh 15:5.

This is indeed a wonderful message, and, as we come to the Word of God to inquire concerning our great high calling, we find the prophets all eloquent in proclaiming the grace [favor or blessing] that is come unto us (1Pe 1:10); while types and parables, and hitherto dark sayings, now become luminous, shedding their light on the "narrow way" in which the anointed [Christ] company is called to run for the prize now disclosed to view. This was truly a mystery never before thought of—that God intends to raise up not only a deliverer, but a deliverer composed of many members. This is the "high calling" to which the consecrated believers of the Gospel age are privileged to attain. Jesus did not attempt to unfold it to the disciples while natural men, but waited until at Pentecost they were anointed—begotten to the new nature. From Paul's explanation we know that none but "new creatures" can now appreciate or understand this high calling. He says: "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom [plan] which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes [chief ones] of this world knew; ... as it is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him;' but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit."—1Co 2:6-14.

In his letter to the Galations, Paul opens up the entire mystery, and shows how the Abrahamic covenant is to be fulfilled. He shows that the Law given to Israel did not interfere with the original covenant (Gal 3:15-18), and that the seed of Abraham which is to bless all nations is Christ. (Gal 3:16). Then, carrying out the idea already alluded to, that the Christ includes all anointed of the Spirit, he says: "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ; ...and if you are Christ's then YOU are[together with Jesus] Abraham's seed, and heirs, according to the promise made to Abraham. (Gal 3:27, 29). Following up the same line of reasoning, he shows (Gal 4) that Abraham was a type of Jehovah, Sarah a type of the covenant or promise, and Isaac a type of Christ (head and body); and then adds, "We brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." (Gal 4:28). So the plan of God was hidden in types until the Gospel are began the development of the Christ.

There has existed a necessity for keeping this mystery hidden, else it would not have been so kept. It was necessary, because to have revealed the plan in full to mankind would have been to frustrate it. Had men known, they would not have crucified either the Lord of glory or the Church which is His body. (1Co 2:8). Not only would the death of Christ, as the price of man's redemption, have been interfered with, had not the plan been kept a mystery from the world, but the trial of the faith of the Church, as sharers in the sufferings of Christ, would thereby have been prevented also; for "The world knows us not [as His joint-heirs] because [for the same reason that] it knew Him not." 1Jo 3:1.

The greatness of the mystery, so long kept secret, and hidden in promises, types and figures, and the wonderful grace bestowed on those called to fellowship in this mystery (Eph 3:9), suggest to us that the work to follow its completion, for which for six thousand years Jehovah has kept mankind in expectation and hope, must be an immense work, a grand work, worthy of such great preparations. What may we not expect in blessings upon the world, when the veil of mystery is withdrawn and the showers of blessing descend! It is this for which the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now, waiting for the completion of this mystery—for the manifestation of the Sons of God, the promised "Seed," in whom they shall all be blessed. Romans 8:19, 21, 22.

continue to section 2