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Chapter 16

God and all Human History from beginning to end

 

All that is in this book needs to be placed in the context of history, otherwise it could be viewed as a series of disconnected stories about people, coupled with explanations of the technicalities about the way God works. However, God is the author of all history, be it secular or religious.

He has provided in the Bible an explanatory statement of the deep past, as well as the how, where, why and who of the present and the future. History does have a beginning, and an end to human history on earth is predicted in the Bible. It is where we all stand in relation to God at the end of world history, that is one of the important issues in this book.

This is about the briefest statement on world history that you are ever likely to read, but it will include the main points that God would want you to know, in order that you can see his plan for the world and what you have to do to feature in this history in the right way.

God and Creation

In writing about the beginning of the world, creation is totally accepted as being the way the world began. You will need to have accepted from Chapter 15 that the Bible is totally authentic and true, so that when we see the first words in the Bible saying " In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." we need to believe and accept this as truth. Although the argument still rages about evolution, there is now much scientific proof available that shows the theory of evolution just cannot stand up. So, belief in Scripture is still the major basis of all belief expressed in this book and also of creation itself.

In the Beginning

When God created the earth and placed man on it, man was the beneficiary of the greatest gift ever given by God to man. Man had been created in God's image and had been given a domain to live in, where he might be in harmony with God, others and with nature itself. God's divine intentions for man were quite incredible. God gave the earth to man to have dominion over it, in accordance with his directions to man to replenish, cultivate and keep the earth.

Although God was in charge, as long as man was prepared to do things God's way, then man could live forever on earth. That's right - he would never die, because the fullness of the Spirit of God shared with man would give him eternal life. Perhaps hard to believe, but true. At that time of world history there was no sin and all things were perfect. This perfection depended on man's continued obedience to God. God had given specific instructions that man was not permitted to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if he did, that would bring about his eventual physical death.

Both the woman and the man ate from that tree, and at that time the fullness of God s Spirit left them, and their previous spiritual fellowship with God was marred. Because God was not pleased, additional punishments were given to both, for their actions had brought sin and death into the world. They have been a part of life ever since. The crux of the matter for us is that every human spirit born on earth since that time has been born without the Spirit of God within them. ( except Jesus who was perfect )

What has been said so far, is that after God created the earth and placed man on it, man disobeyed God and suffered his displeasure by having the fullness of the Spirit of God removed from him. The significance of this explanation will become clear at the end of this chapter, when it is revealed that man can again have the Spirit of God present in him, providing he fulfils certain conditions.

Noah and Abraham

Some hundreds of years later, man again displeased God by living in extremely sinful ways, so much so that God sent a flood to destroy all men except Noah, a righteous man who had been told by God to build an ark.

Seven other people and many animals were also saved. A number of publications have verified the flood as an historic event.

Much later again, God selected a man called Abram ( later called Abraham) to be the founding father of a new nation where the people would be called Hebrews. God promised him that he would make his descendants a great nation and they would be greatly blessed. This was the beginning of the Jewish nation, later to be called Israel. They were a predominant nation in the Middle East for nearly 1500 years. During this time God loved them, called them his people and guided them into what was called the promised land of Canaan, including the well known crossing of the Red Sea by Moses.

Moses and the Prophets

During the 1000 or so years from the time of Moses the Hebrew people had a chequered history. At times they were obedient to God, with resultant blessings, and at other times disobedient, with tragic results.

During this time, names like King David, King Solomon, Samson and the many prophets of Israel were key figures.

The final results of the disobedience of Israel was that Babylon, through King Nebuchadnezzar, sacked Jerusalem and took the majority of the Jews to Babylon as captives in 586 B.C. Later, King Cyrus decreed that the Hebrew people should begin to return to their homeland. Some restoration took place, including the rebuilding of their main worship place, the temple.

An observer of world history might say that one of the positives in the whole disaster of the Hebrew people was that they, with God's guidance, had laid down the traditions that were to be the partial basis of the soon to be formed religion of Christianity.

Roman and Greek influence

During this time, the Roman Empire was becoming a force in all areas of the Mediterranean world. The Bible is silent on any historical events in the 400 years prior to the birth of Christ, but we do know from other sources that Alexander the Great and the Maccabees were making their place in history. At this time in world history, the Greek language was the main one in use. Rome had then transformed the then known world with their roads and culture, Hebrew traditions were established, and moral deterioration was the order of the day.

Enter Jesus Christ

God however, had planned the most momentous event in all history to occur at this time. JESUS CHRIST WAS BORN AND LIVED ON EARTH FOR 33 YEARS. To show the importance of this in world history, our calendar was later changed to be set around the birth of Jesus. Jesus was God's own Son, who had been born on earth as the only perfect human who ever lived.

Although God had known all along that this would happen, we might be excused if we called it God's plan B, his first hope seeming to fail, after the Hebrews had not been able to live in God's way by the ten commandments he had given them.

God's plan in sending Jesus was to show man how to live, and to provide the perfect sacrifice for man's sin. It was all a part of God's plan that Jesus die on the cross of Calvary and be resurrected, so that man could once again have the opportunity of being reconciled to God and have the fullness of the Spirit of God restored to him. This was made possible when the sins of all mankind were paid for in full, by Jesus dying on the cross of Calvary, in the place of all men, for all time.

These matters are quite profound and thousands of books have been written to explain them. Suffice to say at this stage, that the biggest events in world history had just taken place, for by belief in the risen Jesus, man could be forgiven for his sin and have eternal life. The only other significant event of this period was that the Jewish people again lost their homeland when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans in A.D.70.

The Christian Church

Through the effects of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the coming of the Holy Spirit, the church was established quickly in Israel, Greece, Turkey, Italy and later Europe. The church and its Apostles were persecuted, but the church flourished for about 300 years when, at the time of Constantine it went into a decline.

Little better could be said of its history over the next 1200 years, than that it just stumbled on until the reformation brought about by Martin Luther. The church, which had been dominated from Rome, suddenly had another viewpoint, which threatened to challenge this domination. This proved to be the case and Protestantism was born. The reformation was a great impetus to the Christian church, which has continued to flourish to this present day, especially in the 20th century.

Now and the Future

This brings us to the present time. But before we proceed, it is necessary to again mention Bible prophecy. It is a Biblical principle that prophecy ( or predicting future events ) is both very common and 100% accurate. Since God knows all, then he has told many writers of both the Old and New Testament about events that would occur in the future. In the Old Testament there were many prophecies that have now been fulfilled. The birth of Christ was prophesied by Isaiah about 700 years before (Isaiah 7:14 ) Prophecy is not to be compared with things like clairvoyance which is demonically inspired. ( See Chapters 18 and 23) There are hundreds of other examples. Bible prophecy has never failed and it never will, because it is the Word of God.

The second coming of Christ

There are many prophecies that deal with the second coming of Christ and the end of the world. It is these prophecies that are now becoming important in our immediate and future history. There are many interpretations of Bible prophecy about the return of Christ. Bible scholars find it hard to agree on much of the detail about his return. However, all we have to know is that Christ is going to return and that we have to be ready. There is absolutely no doubt about that.

No one knows the timing of the coming of Christ. If you ever hear anyone say a time, do not believe it. The time will not be announced. Jesus said he would come " just like a thief in the night" . There will be no warning. The best advice is to get your life into the right state for his coming, so you will not miss out on the benefits of his coming and not get caught up in the negative judgements that will occur at the time of his coming. These things are mentioned in Chapters 19 and 25.

It is not possible in the context of this chapter to give details of all the prophecies that are still to come. The main thrust of all prophecy still to eventuate, is that Jesus Christ is going to come again and remove all his true believers from the trouble that will be occurring around the time of his coming.

What you need to know

What it is important for everyone to know, is that the only way to be saved from all this, is to be a believer in Christ and be serving him here on earth. If you are thinking that you will be dead before that time, then notice this. The Bible tells that Jesus will remove all his saints from the earth. Even the dead will rise to go with him. All people will be raised to be judged, the believers going to heaven to be with Christ forever, with unbelievers being sent to hell. See Chapter 19 for further explanations of those events. It doesn't pay to be on the wrong side. Part Three of this book (Chapters 24-26 ) tells how you can avoid being on the wrong side and be certain of being saved by Jesus.

What you need to do

The Bible gives some detail about what comes after death and what happens in heaven and hell. Chapter 19 gives some details of this. The important thing to know, is that a place is being prepared for us who believe and who are actively living in the world according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The most important thing for every individual to know is that they must be born again of the Spirit of God before they can go to heaven. Notice that this partly restores man to the state in which he first inherited the earth from God, at the beginning of human time. This was the reason Jesus came. To save you and I from eternal death and give us eternal life. If we can just believe in Him. I can and do! Can you? Will You?

What this chapter has said

  1. In the beginning, God created the earth and placed man on it as the crown of his creation.
  2. The initial sin by man and woman changed world history forever.
  3. God taught man about himself by his dealings with the Hebrew people, recorded in the writings of the Old Testament.
  4. Greek and Roman history was a part of the canvas of the background onto which Christianity was painted.
  5. The biggest events in the history of the world, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened nearly 2000 years ago. These events forever changed future world history.
  6. The Christian church has developed quickly, particularly in this century.
  7. It is important for every human being to have a proper relationship with Jesus Christ, prior to his coming.