by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Like any good builder, God has a plan. When a contractor has even a small job—like remodeling a bathroom or adding a bedroom—his company consults an architect or an experienced draftsman to draw up blueprints for the project. He also arranges a schedule for the various subcontractors and inspectors so that no step in the process is left out. With all this careful planning and the cooperation of all the parties involved, the project can be successful.
We would be making a terrible mistake if we thought that God had waded into His work without a plan! God's plan, of course, is far grander and more involved than a construction job—and also incredibly more important. Though God is Creator, the physical creation is just the environment for His most important work, creating a Family to share it with for all eternity! We find the blueprint for this wonderful, ongoing creation in the pages of the Bible.
1. Does God have a plan for His creation? Isaiah 46:9-11.
Comment: God says, "My counsel shall stand!" He has a great master plan that He is working out on the earth, and it will come to pass because He is Almighty God.
Comment: We have a great God who does nothing capriciously. He has determined that His plan, more than any other, will produce the most good when it is completed.
3. What is His main objective? Genesis 1:26-27.
Comment: Here in the Bible's first chapter, God states His goal: He is making man in His own image! By using both "image" and "likeness," God explained that He would create man to be just like Him! Man would not only look like God, but humanity would also have a spiritual ability to understand His nature and learn to conform to it. Through the experiences of life and the process of building godly character, humankind can put on the image of God and be resurrected into His Family (I Corinthians 15:49-53).
4. Has God set time limits to His plan? Matthew 24:3, 14:28:19-20.
Comment: God's plan has a beginning and an end. He has set certain boundaries and limits during which His creative work of glorifying many sons and daughters will be done. In these particular verses, Jesus speaks of "the end of the age," that is, this present system of man's rule over earth will end when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom.
Comment: Isaiah says that God "inhabits eternity" (Isaiah 57:15), so time to God takes on different dimensions. He can function outside of time if He so desires. These verses, however, give us a rough guide that a thousand years equal one day in God's prophetic revelation to man.
Comment: Hebrews 4 shows a connection between God's rest on the Sabbath day during the creation week and the thousand-year reign of Christ, commonly called the "Millennium." It is logical to conclude that the other six days of Creation typify 6,000 years of man's government on earth. Thus, God has a 7,000-year plan to bring humanity into His Family, and we find ourselves near the end of man's allotted 6,000 years!
7. What has occurred in God's plan already?
Comment: The following list gives the highlights of completed steps in God's master plan:
» God made the earth fit for human habitation (Genesis 1:2-25).
» He made man and instructed him in His way (Genesis 2:1-3, 16-17).
» He sent His Son Jesus Christ to live perfectly, die as man's Savior, and be resurrected as High Priest and firstborn among many brethren (Colossians 1:12-20; I Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 4:15; Romans 8:29).
8. What has yet to occur in God's plan?
Comment: Some of the coming events in God's plan:
» The saints will be changed to spirit and reign with Christ a thousand years (I Corinthians 15; Revelation 20:4).
» All who ever lived will be resurrected to physical life and have a chance to accept God's way and live forever. Those who reject salvation will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Isaiah 65:20-25; Ezekiel 37; Revelation 20:11-15).
» God the Father will rule the whole universe from earth, and His Family will live and work with Him throughout eternity (Isaiah 65:17-19; Revelation 21-22).
What an exciting, glorious future God has in store for us!