Study 7 WHAT IS GOD’S FUTURE PROGRAMME?
Things Hard to be Understood
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Isaiah 35: 1-10)
Every thinking Christian must realise that God is working to a programme which He has revealed in His Word. However, there are problems and difficulties which arise in connection with the subject of prophecy, though we shall allow no element of speculation to enter into this study. Several vital, connected and progressive lines of teaching are included in the question: What is God’s future programme?
- 1. God is sovereign in the affairs of this world. He is almighty, over all and will have the final word; He is sovereign in the world: the life and destiny of the nations and the lives of men and women.
- 2. God is active. He is doing something. Some imagine He is not concerned about the affairs of men and the destiny of the world – but this is not true.
- 3. God is not only active, but He is working to a plan and a programme – a carefully ordained, prescribed and mapped out order of events. There is nothing haphazard about it – see Acts 15:18.
- 4. God has revealed His programme in the Bible, which is His authentic, authoritative Word. The Bible is absolutely reliable and it contains history and prophecy. History is fulfilled prophecy, and prophecy is unfulfilled history. The Bible, therefore, not only assures us that God is working to a programme, but it reveals that programme to us – look up Amos 3:7, and compare Genesis 18:17. At least two-thirds of the Bible consists of prophecy, most of which awaits fulfilment.
- 5. All God’s prophecies relating to His future programme will be literally fulfilled. Prophecies relating to the coming of the Messiah, the Jews, the Gentiles and the Church, written hundreds of years before their fulfilment, have been fulfilled to the very letter. Therefore it is not too much to believe and to expect that the unfulfilled prophecies will also be literally fulfilled.
- 6. Only as we study the prophecies in God’s Word can we know His future programme. We often err because we do not know the scriptures – look up Matthew 22:29. In the Bible God has given us His plan of future events, and if we would understand His future programme we must study these prophecies.
- 7. All understanding of God’s future programme will powerfully influence character and conduct. Look up Romans 15:4, and compare Daniel 10:19; Revelation 1:3.
What is God’s future programme? It is a programme relating to the Church, Israel, Satan, the Earth and the Lord Jesus.
1. God’s future programme includes the calling out, the completion, the removal and the glorification of the CHURCH.
By the word “Church”, we mean all who have been born again of God’s Spirit (John 3:5); redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19); baptised into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13); and are thereby constituted members of the true Church. What is God doing now in relation to the Church? The Holy Spirit is calling out from the nations of the world an elect company of people – Jews and Gentiles (Acts 15:14). When the Lord Jesus comes again, every believer, (those who have died and those who are living), will be raised and raptured into His presence (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Then will take place the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-9), and the Judgment Seat of Christ when believers will be rewarded for disciplined living and faithful service (Romans 14:10; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10). God’s plan is that all who belong to Him will not only be with Him (John 17:24), but like Him (1 John 3:2) – look up Ephesians 5:27; Philippians 3:20; Jude 24. All this is summed up in Romans 8:30 – for in God’s purpose all whom He has predestinated, called and justified, He has also glorified!
2. God’s future programme includes the regathering, the restoration and the revival of ISRAEL.
For hundreds of years God’s ancient people have been scattered throughout the world, millions of whom are today still scattered over the earth. But they are gradually returning to Israel and will ultimately all return to their own land. Why? Because God’s Word declares that – look up Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:3-8; Ezekiel 37:21-25; Matthew 24:31. In Genesis 12:1-4; 13:13-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8, we read of His covenant promise to Abraham concerning the nation of Israel, and His word will be literally fulfilled. But He is not only going to regather and restore every Jew to the Promised Land, He is going to revive Israel. When the Lord Jesus comes again, Israel’s time of blindness will be over (Romans 11:25-27); for when they see the Lord Jesus they will recognise Him as their true Messiah – look up Zechariah 12:10, and as an illustration, see Genesis 45:1-15. Yes, God has a wonderful future for Israel!
3. God’s future programme includes the banishment of sin, sorrow, every evil thing, and of SATAN himself.
When the Lord Jesus died upon the cross He cried, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), and by His death and resurrection He gained the victory over sin, death, Hell and the Devil; His victory will ultimately mean that all that has come as the result of sin will be finally, fully and forever banished from the earth. Is this wishful thinking? No, thank God! Many Old Testament prophecies assure us that these things will be, and the Book of the Revelation tells us that the Devil himself, the instigator of all evil, will be cast into the Lake of Fire – look up Revelation 20:10 and 14. See also Revelation 20:15; 21:8. Nothing can be right upon the earth while Satan is free; but God’s programme is to banish Satan and all his wicked works and followers – look up Revelation 21:4; 22:1-5.
4. God’s future programme includes the establishment of a new, beautified EARTH, “the home of righteousness”.
See Isaiah 35, and compare Isaiah 55:12-13. Is it wishful thinking that a day will come when there is no more curse upon the earth? No, God has promised that the former things shall pass away and that there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”. This old earth is to be burned up – look up 2 Peter 3:10, and compare Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1.
5. God’s future programme includes the exaltation of the LORD JESUS, who will “see the light of life and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Long ago it was recorded that the time would come when our blessed Lord, who is now rejected by the many, would be recognised and loved as King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15) – look up and compare Psalm 66:1-4; 72:8-11; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 5:12-14.
But the next great event will be the personal return of the Lord Jesus Himself – look up John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 1:7. Are you ready to meet Him? As He says to you, “I am coming soon”, do you answer, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)?