GOD IS BUILDING A FAMILY
God and Christ are building an eternal Family which man has the incredible potential to enter.
Jesus (the Word) came down to earth, lived as a human being, died, was resurrected, returned to God and became the first human being to inherit eternal life.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
As established in Doctrines One and Two, God the Father sits on a throne in heaven ruling over all things which He created through Jesus Christ, including the angels and the physical universe. This is the Kingdom of God, which is also the Family of God.
"The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word."
"Immediately I was in the spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes, and they had crowns of gold on their heads. . . .
"Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
"'You are worthy, O Lord,
To receive glory and honor and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created.'"
(Revelation 4:2-4, 9-11)
". . . the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. . . . "
" . . . Father of all. . . ."
"In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven."
God's will is done in heaven. However, Satan and his angels rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven to the earth. It is God's purpose to restore His Kingdom -- His government -- over all the earth.
Angels are called sons of God in the following passages:
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them."
(Job 1:6; 2:1)
"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?. . . .
When the morning stars sang together,
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
(Job 38:4, 7)
Angels are sons of God and existed long before the earth was created. God made them through Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 3:9; John 1:1-3). Together, God and Christ are the Parents of the angels. A Family of eternal spirit beings existed before the physical universe was created in Genesis 1:1.
Angels do not reproduce (Matthew 22:30), but human beings, in the image of God, were given the power to do so (Genesis 1:26-28). Adam and Eve were the parents of all humanity (Genesis 3:20).
Angels observe God's dealings with human beings (I Peter 1:12; I Corinthians 4:9; Ephesians 3:10; Luke 2:8-15) and assist God in protecting those who love and trust Him (Psalm 91:11-16; Matthew 18:10; Hebrews 1:13-14).
ONE THIRD OF THE ANGELS REBELLED AGAINST GOD
" . . . God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell" (Greek: tartaroo, a condition of restraint; the sinning angels were cast out of heaven to the earth -- Revelation 12:8-9) "and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. . . ."
(II Peter 2:4)
" . . . the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day. . . . "
"And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon. . . . His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. . . . And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
(Revelation 12:3-4, 7-9)
"I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven."
" . . . the devil . . . was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."
The Scriptures quoted above, along with Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:11-17, indicate that the archangel Lucifer led one third of the angels into rebellion against God. God had originally created Lucifer as a perfect angel, and placed him in a position of authority over other angels. However, Lucifer became vain, resentful, bitter, deceitful and violent. After war erupted in heaven, God changed his name to Satan (meaning enemy, destroyer -- Revelation 9:11). Satan's angels are now called demons.
WHY GOD TESTS US
Before one can receive a driver's license, he must pass a test. He must prove that he understands traffic laws and has the ability to drive a motor vehicle safely. If he does not pass the test the first time, then he must take it over again, as many times as necessary. In like manner, God wants prospective members of His Family to demonstrate that they will handle the awesome power He wants to give them responsibly. One of Christ's duties as High Priest is to help those whom God has called as they journey toward eternal life (Hebrews 4:14-16). Another is to determine that they are worthy of receiving it (Luke 20:35; John 5:22, 27; Acts 10:42; Romans 14:10-12). God wants to be certain they will not make the same mistake the demons made when they allowed Satan to lead them into rebellion against the government of God.
That is why the Christian is not taken to his reward immediately after baptism. There is a great purpose for the Christian life, with all of its trials and tests (Psalm 34:19; Acts 14:22).
God tested Adam and Eve (Genesis 2-3).
God tested Abraham (Genesis 22).
When Abraham passed his test God said, "now I know that you fear God" (Genesis 22:12).
" . . . Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws."
Abraham pleased God because of his faith and obedience (James 2:21-23; Hebrews 11:8-9, 17-19). He was trustworthy, loyal to God, and believed what God said. Character is obeying God from a pure heart (Matthew 5:3-12; Hebrews 11).
God tested Israel in order to know what was in their heart -- whether they would keep His commandments or not (Deuteronomy 8:1-3; Exodus 15:25; 16:4) -- and to teach them that man should live by every word that comes from God (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; Deuteronomy 13:1-5).
God tested Hezekiah "that He might know all that was in his heart" (II Chronicles 32:31).
God -- the sovereign ruler -- has decreed that man must choose whether to obey Him (Deuteronomy 30:19; Revelation 22:11). God gave man free moral agency. But Jesus said, "narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:14). God's way is difficult because the Christian must learn to overcome peer pressure, not to love this world (I John 2:15-17), not to follow a crowd to do evil (Exodus 23:2). It has been said that any dead fish can float downstream with all the other dead fish, but it takes a live one to swim upstream. Mr. Armstrong wrote, "The time to get off a sinking ship is before it sinks!" This world is going to perish, but those who do the will of God will abide forever (I John 2:15-17; II Peter 3:10-13; I Thessalonians 5:1-9).
Jesus overcame Satan in the forty-day Battle of the Universe (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13) as well as throughout His entire human lifetime (Hebrews 2:9-18; 4:14-16; 5:7-9; 12:2-3). God's Church also must overcome Satan as Jesus did (Revelation 3:21). The Church is being tested today (James 1:12; I Peter 1:6-7; 4:17-19; Revelation 2:10, 23; 3:21; 21:7; Jeremiah 17:10; 20:12; Daniel 11:35; 12:10; I Chronicles 28:9; 29:17-19).
"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
"Resist the devil. . . ." (James 4:7)
"Resist him, steadfast in the faith. . . ." (I Peter 5:9)
"Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." (Ephesians 6:11)
"You shall have no other gods before me."
"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them."
WHAT IS MAN?
"What is man that You are mindful of him,
Or the son of man that You take care of him?
You have made him a little lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And set him over the works of Your hands.
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.
"For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
"For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings."
(Hebrews 2:6-10, based on Psalm 8:4-6)
From the song, What is Man?:
"Long before the time of man
Angels sinned and war began
God created man from dust
Seeking children He could trust
Man was made to learn to rule
Life is now his training school
When he's tried and tested first
He shall rule the universe!"
"ALL THINGS" MEANS THE UNIVERSE
Jesus Christ has inherited the entire universe, and we are joint heirs with Him:
"All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth."
" . . . we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. . . ."
Hebrews 1:2-3; 2:8, 10; 3:4; Psalm 8:6; Matthew 11:27; John 3:35; 16:15; Romans 8:32; I Corinthians 15:27-28; Ephesians 1:10, 22 (17-23); 3:9; Colossians 1:16, 20; Revelation 4:11; 21:7
THE SAINTS WILL BE GLORIFIED WITH CHRIST
Jesus appeared to His disciples in human form after His resurrection, was seen by them, and was with them forty days. Since His ascension to heaven (Acts 1) He has been in His glorified state (Revelation 1). We are to be glorified with Him:
" . . . the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
"Jesus Christ . . . declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection from the dead."
"His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire. . . . and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength."
(Revelation 1:14, 16)
" . . . His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light."
"Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
(I John 3:2)
" . . . who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body. . . ."
"When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory."
"Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."
"Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever."
" . . . we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. . . . that He might be the firstborn among many brethren."
(Romans 8:16-18, 29)
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed -- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' "
(I Corinthians 15:50-54)
"Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward. . . ."
"knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. . . ."
"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."
(Revelation 22:12, see also Isaiah 40:10 and Matthew 16:27)
WHAT WE SHALL INHERIT
1) THE EARTH
"The meek . . . shall inherit the earth."
(Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:11)
2) THE KINGDOM
"But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever."
"Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
3) ETERNAL LIFE
"And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life."
"And this is the promise that He has promised us -- eternal life."
(I John 2:25)
4) ALL THINGS
"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My Son."
Jesus has been given "all authority . . . in heaven and on earth" -- the entire universe -- and we are "joint heirs with Christ" (Matthew 28:18; Romans 8:17; Hebrews 1:2).
GOD WILL FULFILL HIS PROMISES TO ABRAHAM
After God put Abraham to the test (Genesis 22:1), and Abraham demonstrated his faith and obedience (Genesis 22:12; Hebrews 11:17-19), God made His promises to Abraham unconditional (Genesis 22:15-18; Hebrews 6:13-15). Abraham had done his part; now God bound Himself by His Word to fulfill His part. God is a faithful Creator (I Thessalonians 5:24; I Peter 4:19; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:17-19).
First God promised Abraham and his descendants all the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession (Genesis 13:14-17; 15:18; 17:8). The promise expanded to include the whole earth (Romans 4:13; Matthew 5:5). The Third Millennial Day
The Israelites inherited the Promised Land in the days of Joshua (Joshua 21:43-45). The land was divided amongst the twelve tribes. Every family received an allotment of land as an inheritance.
The Promised Land will be restored to Israel in the World Tomorrow (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 30:3; 31:10; Hebrews 2:5; 4:8; 6:12-15; 11:13-16; 13:14); at that time God will fulfill all of His promises to Abraham (Leviticus 26:42; Ezekiel 47:13-14; Micah 7:20; Psalm 105:8-11). The Seventh Millennial Day
Christ will sit on the throne of David (Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33). Under Him the twelve apostles will govern the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; Acts 1:6; 3:21; Revelation 7:4-8; 21:12-14).
God has prepared a city for Abraham (Hebrews 11:10, 16). That city is yet to come (Hebrews 13:14). Jerusalem will become world capital (Isaiah 2:3; 65:18-19; Jeremiah 3:17; Ezekiel 47-48; Revelation 21-22; 3:12).
Abraham obeyed God and died in faith -- not having received God's promises but seeing them coming in the not-too-distant future (Hebrews 11:8-9, 13; John 8:56). Abraham and all of his spiritual children (Romans 4:16; 9:6-8; Galatians 3:29; Hebrews 6:12-15) will receive God's promises at the same time -- in the first resurrection at the Second Coming of Christ (Hebrews 11:35, 39-40; 12:22-23; 13:14; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:4, 6, Luke 13:28; 14:14; 16:19-31).
Christ confirmed the promises made to Abraham (Romans 15:8). A fabulous inheritance awaits the saints (Ephesians 1:11-18; I Peter 1:3-5; Hebrews 9:15; Romans 8:17-18). They shall possess God's Kingdom forever (Daniel 7:18, 22, 27).
"Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:7). Christ's Kingdom will expand throughout the entire universe -- it will bring to life, beautify and perfect the billions of now-dead planets, just as the earth will be restored, beautified and perfected in the World Tomorrow (Acts 3:21; Romans 8:19-22). Our incredible human potential is to help Jesus Christ achieve these goals!
God gave the first human beings, Adam and Eve, dominion over the earth and placed them in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it (Genesis 1:26; 2:15). Later, God gave King David's son, Solomon, a glorious kingdom with headquarters at Jerusalem (I Kings 4:20-34). In the World Tomorrow Jesus Christ -- the Messiah, the ultimate Son of David -- will sit on the throne of David governing all nations from Jerusalem (Luke 1:32-33; Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; 7:14). The resurrected saints will share dominion with Him (I Corinthians 6:2-3; Hebrews 2:5; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21). God intends to give all of His sons and daughters joyous responsibilities and opportunities for creative accomplishment -- first, on earth during the Millennium, and later, throughout the entire universe for all eternity (Revelation 20:6; 21:7; 22:5)!