Tuesday, September 8, 2020

From the Beginning - God's Master Plan

Welcome, dearest friends all around the world! Including, of course, our friends in Ewing, Kentucky, Queensland, Australia, and even Cordoba, Argentina. I thank you for joining us today with the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. I’m your servant Leonard V. Johnson.

Now, I haven’t been sending out any Letters to our Friends here lately because we are in a transition of starting our own congregation – our own group – here in West Central Florida for the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. And, like I mentioned in the sermon “Enoch Walked With God” that if you are interested in meeting here in West Central Florida and you’re close by, we would be happy for you to visit – just contact me at pastorleonard1@yahoo.com

Friends did God know that we would commit sin!? Did God look down into the future and know that we – you and I – in this 21st century were going to sin!?

When we begin the story in the Bible in the garden of Eden – the living word of God – we know that God tells our first parents that their penalty for disobedience would be very serious – that it would be death. Did Almighty God know that they would sin!? I myself found this question so intriguing at an early age because I had asked myself, “If God already knew that Adam and Eve were going to sin, why did He create them, to begin with!?” It is an honest question – isn’t it? Did God place them in the garden with the intention that they would never sin, or did He ever know that they would sin!?

If God knew that man would “fall from grace” – as they use the term– then what chance did mankind really have against these insurmountable odds against Satan the devil!? I mean – our first parents sinned over six-thousand-years ago! Long before any of us were ever born!

If God did see that we would eventually “fall” under the weight of sin, did He have a plan that would somehow rectify the situation?

Let us look today in the living word of God and listen to the voices of the distant past and see if we can hear through them the great mysterious Plan of God as revealed to each of them, and to see if we can determine just what God’s Plan was – and when He first realized our desperate need, and how He would go about making the Way of salvation possible – for even us in the 21st century.

Let’s begin in the Book of Genesis, the 3rd chapter. Many biblical commentaries tell us that this is one of the very first messianic prophecies in the Holy Bible. This is where God extends His curse on mankind for sinning and to Satan the devil himself.

Verse 15 – “’ And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, …’” – talking, of course, of Satan the devil and Eve. “ … ‘And between your seed …’”

Now, we know that angels do not have the ability to procreate. There are many who read this passage here and believe that Satan the devil can actually cohabit with a woman, or demons can cohabit with women and have children. I had a friend – a minister from the Assemblies of God – which believed in the seed of Satan, which began with Cain. And, some people try and point at some races and say that that’s Satan’s seed – called the “Serpent’s Seed.” But, Jesus Christ made it abundantly clear when He said that when someone is resurrected unto eternal life, they ‘neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven’ – Mark 12:25. In other words, they don’t have a physical life like we do which can have children and procreate. This here is talking about followers of Satan the devil.

“ … ‘Between your seed [your followers] and her Seed; …’” – the followers of her Seed – the living Jesus Christ - which would come after her.

“ … ‘He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.’” – that may sound confusing here, but the commentaries realize that this is a prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. He would eventually bruise the head of Satan the devil. In other words, He would overcome Satan and put him down. Yet, before that happened Satan would ‘bruise His heel.’ And, of course, the reference here, when he would succeed in bringing about the death of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. So, here we see a great prophecy which is some six-thousand-years old, which points to the Messiah.

Also, in the Book of Jude, he quoted from a portion of something which the prophet Enoch had written. He said, “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15) to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.’”

So, here, is a man – the prophet Enoch – whose life actually overlapped Adam’s. They lived contemporaneously for 365 years! And the prophet Jude is quoting a statement here from the prophet Enoch that is talking about the returning LORD returning with ‘ten thousands of His saints.’ So, we’re moving forward in time and we see another prophecy about the Messiah.

Let’s turn again to the Book of Genesis, the 9th chapter. We know that God gave the Noahic Covenant saying to the patriarch Noah, “’ And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you.’” And, of course, later on we come to the promises which God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Saying to Abraham, “’ In you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’”

And the commentaries, again, realize that that very statement not only was it physical blessings for the people of Israel through Abraham, but He was also promising a Seed – a blessing to all the families of the earth as He stated there. Not just to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And, let me show you this.

Let’s go to the 49th chapter in the Book of Genesis – where Abraham begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob. Abraham’s grandson. And when Jacob was old, he blessed his own sons – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin – the twelve boys of Jacob/Israel. Now, remember, Jacob wrestled with this Man, and he was winning the fight against this Man. And “when He [this great Man; Jesus Christ] saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him” – Genesis 32:25 NKJV.

And this Man asked him, “What is your name?” And Jacob told him. And this Man looked at him and said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

So, here, when he’s an old man and he is blessing his sons, let’s go down to where he’s talking about his son Judah.

Verse 9 – “’ Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? 10) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience [gathering] of the people.’”

Now, I have a note here next to this passage, because it’s an obvious reference to the ‘Prince of Peace’ and that this royal lineage – this royal priesthood – would continue on down until ‘Shiloh comes.’ And, not only would He come, but the ‘gathering of the people.’ It’s an obvious reference here to Jesus Christ and of His coming – and His eventual second coming. This prophecy here was around 1670 BC. Roughly 740 years after the death of Adam. This prophecy is yet future to these people, and of course, even to us – today.

If you would turn with me in your Bible to the Book of Psalm, chapter 72. This is a royal psalm, one of the first which King Solomon wrote who inherited the throne from his father David. Solomon was about to take the reigns of rulership, and he had prayed to Almighty God for wisdom, and God not only blessed him with wisdom but with wealth and great bounty as Israel was still one kingdom. Now, when he wrote this, was he writing this psalm about himself, or was he inspired by God to write a prophecy about something which is yet future!?

Verse 2 – “He will judge Your people with righteousness, And Your poor with justice. 3) The mountains [kingdoms] will bring peace to the people, And the little hills [the countries], by righteousness. 4) He will save the children of the needy, And will break in pieces the oppressor.”

Now, this part could be describing King Solomon himself – his desire to be a good king and to overcome the oppression of the poor and to bring about righteousness in the land. Not unlike the prophet Nehemiah – in the days when they came back to Jerusalem, and he saw that they were placing heavy taxes and loans on the people, and even enslaving many of his own people – and it grieved him greatly.

Verse 5 – “They shall fear You As long as the sun and moon endure, Throughout all generations.”

Now, we’re looking ahead to a distant time.

Verse 8 – “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from River to the end of the earth. 9) Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust.”

Verse 11 – “Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him.”

Again, that could be a depiction of King Solomon. And, Israel did become a very great nation and a lot of kings were subservient to them.

Verse 12 – “For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. 13) He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. 14) He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.”

Verse 17 is what I wanted to get to – “His name shall endure forever; …” – now, this is not talking about King Solomon. “ … His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed.”

So we see here – not only is this a description of Solomon, but a shadowy reference to someone during the Solomonic dynasty, while Israel was still one kingdom.

Over in the Book of Isaiah, the 40th chapter. Indeed, the prophet Isaiah was the messianic prophet.

Verse 10 – “Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.” – an obvious reference to the return of Jesus Christ!

Verse 11 – “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.”

Verse 12 – “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, Measured heaven with a span And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure? Weighed the mountains in scales And the hills in a balance?” – talking about the awesome power of God! God indeed has the power to control whole galaxies, stars, and planets – along with all the mountains of the earth, and the rivers are all under His control!

Verse 13 – “Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him? 14) With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, And showed Him the way of understanding?”

Verse 15 – Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, …” – nations rise up in great power and they think they have great authority – yet, they are nothing compared to this Being – our God.

Verse 18 – “To whom then will you liken God? Or what likeness will you compare to Him? … 21) Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? …” – and that’s what I’ve tried to do here – today. “ … Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?”

So now we’re beginning to get a glimpse here of when this idea came into the mind of God. I had asked you in the beginning – did God know that we were going to sin!? And did He have a plan to rectify the sins of the people in the 21st century!? I think it’s an important question – don’t you!? What did God have in mind for us!?

Over just a few pages – Isaiah, chapter 42.

Verse 5 – “Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it: 6) ‘I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, And will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, As a light to the Gentiles, 7) To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the prison, Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”

Talking about the fact that the LORD God is going to release prisoners and to save His people.

Verse 14 – “’ I have held My peace a long time, I have been still and restrained Myself. Now I will cry like a woman in labor, I will pant and gasp at once. 15) I will lay waste the mountains and hills, And dry up all their vegetation; I will make the rivers coastlands, And I will dry up the pools.’”

Verse 16 – “’ I will bring the blind by a way they do not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.’”

Are you beginning to see – even here anciently which the prophet Isaiah wrote so many years ago – 735 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. He had this vision, under the inspiration of God’s Spirit to write these words that are God’s very thoughts about the future of mankind. Those that lived during that day, and those that live even in our day.

Now let’s turn to the 50th chapter of the Book of Isaiah

Verse 2 – “’ Why, when I came, was there no man? Why, when I called was there none to answer? Is My hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem? Or have I no power to deliver? Indeed with My rebuke I dry up the sea, I make rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink because there is no water, And die of thirst. 3) I clothe the heavens with blackness, And I make sackcloth their covering.’”

Here again, it’s as if God is speaking here about His power and great authority and great ability.

Verse 6 – “I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.’”

And, of course, here you can read in this the actual events surrounding the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – that would ultimately happen to Him.

Verse 7 – “’ For the Lord GOD will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed.’”

Verse 10 – “’ Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God.’”

Friends, even in our desperate situation we should rely upon Him. And, that’s what this passage is portraying to us all.

Isaiah, chapter 53

We often read this during the Passover – or the Lord’s Supper – because it’s such a description of what Jesus endured.

Verse 10 – “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; …”

Now, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, when they discovered the Book of Isaiah – they were marveled that they found this scroll that they thought was a much later date. In those scrolls, this verse is listed. And, a translation by Professor Peter Flint reads, “Yet the LORD was willing to crush him, and he made him …”

“ … He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, …”

Now, here are those same terms which we read back in the Book of Genesis. Who are His seed!? Who is Jesus’ seed!? Those that believe and follow Him – His brethren.

“ … He shall prolong His days, …” – what is this talking about!? It’s talking about the resurrection of Jesus Christ after He was crucified.

“ … And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.”

And, that is the ultimate purpose which will be accomplished by His atoning death – and again here we are beginning to see what was in God’s mind. This very verse allows us to get a keyhole glimpse into what God had in mind – which He didn’t reveal to everyone, only to certain of His prophets, here a little and there a little. He revealed to them that by this atoning death that He would –

Verse 11 – “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many. For He shall bear their iniquities.”

And down in verse 12 – “ … He was numbered with the transgressors, …”

So, here we see a little of God’s plan being unveiled to us through this prophet – who wrote 735 years before the event ever happened.

In Isaiah, chapter 59

Verse 16 – “He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. 17) For He put on righteousness as a breastplate, …” – now the apostle Paul talks about this, Christians are to have on this clothing when they become converted. But this great Being – this Savior; this Messiah – put on these garments of salvation for His people. “ … And a helmet of salvation on His head; He put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, And was clad with zeal as a cloak.”

Verse 18 – “According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, Fury to His adversaries, Recompense to His enemies; The coastlands He will fully repay. 19) So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood. The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.”

And, the last chapter of Isaiah, chapter 61

Recall, Jesus actually quoted this passage when He stood up in the temple on the last day of the feast, unrolling the scroll of Isaiah and read this very passage – Verse 1 – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

Now, did Jesus Christ do any of this while He was on the earth!? Certainly, He did to some extent. Did He do it to all people!? No. Jesus Christ did not come to save the whole world while He was here! If He did – look at His terrible failure. Most of the world is in utter darkness right now. But He did open the eyes of some – spiritually speaking. He revealed His MASTER PLAN to His disciples, and they went on to preach the gospel message.

Now, verse 2, Jesus did not quote the last part of this passage when He was quoting Isaiah chapter 61. He stopped short of that, and He told those people there, “’ Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’” – cf. Luke 4:21. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3) To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for morning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, …”that was His purpose, the instructions which were given to Him that He was to preach and teach while He was here on the earth.

Verse 10 – “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, …” – now, don’t you want to just slip into those garments that He is offering here!? To take off the filthy garments we have on and put on the ‘garments of salvation.’ This is what He is offering! That is what He is saying that He brought! This is what He is giving to us! Garments of salvation. Again, this prophecy was 735 years before it happened. And yet in the mind of God was this beautiful plan that included us in the 21st century.

And it’s IMPORTANT that we understand this!

Now, friends, let’s turn in our Bible to the New Testament – the Book of Matthew, chapter 1

Speaking of the birth of the Messiah – I love this story. “’ And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, …’” – or rather, Joshua. That’s actually the rendering here. It’s the same name that is used in the Old Testament of Joshua. “ … for He will save His people from their sins.’” – that was His mission, His ultimate goal, to ‘save His people from their sins.’

The Book of Matthew, chapter 18

Verse 11 – “’ For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.’

Over in the Book of Luke, chapter 1

This was the priest Zacharias who was there at the time of the birth of John the Baptist, and look what the apostle Luke quotes –

A prophecy which Zacharias made at the birth of John the Baptist. Verse 68 – “’ Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69) And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, 70) As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, …” – as we looked, read, and quoted all the way back in the Book of Genesis. His holy prophets were there speaking of the need of a Messiah – a Savior.

Verse 71 – “’ That we should be saved from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us.’”

Why does the world at large hate true Christians!? Why did they hate Jesus Christ!? I mean they absolutely hated and reviled Him!

Verse 72 – “’ To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, 73) The oath which He swore to our father Abraham.’” – to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob – all the way down through to Judah, David, Solomon, and to the time of Jesus Christ!

Verse 74 – “’ To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75) In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.’”

Verse 76 – “’ And you, child [John the Baptist], will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77) To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins.’”

Again, that was the question asked in the beginning – how did God plan to deal with those which have sinned down through time and even in our time!?

Verse 78 – “’ Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79) To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the Way of peace.’”

Turning to the 2nd chapter of the Book of Luke

Verse 10 – “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11) For there is born to you this day in the city of David …’” -think about the promises made by Almighty God. The prophecies which said that He would come through the Jewish nation. He would be ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah.’ He would be ‘the Son of David.’ He would ‘inherit the throne of His father David.’ All of these prophecies!

And here, in the city of David, a Savior – which is Christ the Lord!

Verse 13 – “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14) ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace [among men of goodwill]!’”

So, can’t you just see this awesome scene!? Can’t you just hear those voices of His heavenly host praising Him of this moment which He had planned before the world ever began – coming into fruition.

And, Verse 25 – “there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, …” who – verse 28 – “took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29) ‘Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30) For my eyes have seen Your salvation 31) Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32) A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.’”

The apostle Paul would go on later to quote that Jesus was the light to the Gentiles as well.

Bear with me here – I’m going to quote a few more. In the Book of Luke, the 5th chapter

Verse 31 – “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32) I have not come to call the righteous [the self-righteous], but sinners, to repentance.’

In Luke, the 9th chapter

Recall, His disciples wanted to ‘command fire to come down from heaven and consume’ the city.

Verse 55 – “But He turned and rebuked them, … 56) ‘’For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’

In Luke, the 19th chapter

Verse 10 – “’ for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’

Somewhere along the way, mankind had lost something. And He is there to give it back to them.

In the Book of John, chapter 1

Recall, John the Baptist, when He saw Jesus walking toward him said, “’ Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” It’s certainly beautiful the Way that it all came about! All under God’s divine authority and plan!

And, let’s not forget – John 3:16 – “’ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [on] Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’

In John, chapter 11

Verse 24 – “Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’ 25) Jesus said to her, ‘I AM the resurrection and the life. He who believes [on] Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26) And whoever lives and believes [on] Me shall never die. …’

In Romans, the 16th chapter – another aspect of this.

The apostle Paul, in his closing comments, writes –

Verse 25 – “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel [apostle Paul talking here] and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.”

Paul is realizing what has happened in his lifetime. He is realizing that he is seeing this come about! But not only to the people of Israel.

Let’s go over to the Book of Ephesians, the 3rd chapter

Verse 2 – “if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3) how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, 4) by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5) which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6) that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.”


This MASTER PLAN that was in the mind of God didn’t just include the nation of Israel, nor just the descendants of Judah – it includes the whole world! This MASTER PLAN that God has is that the whole world has a path to salvation and it comes through His Son – Jesus Christ!

It truly blows me away when I contemplate this! Because, can you imagine what it took in God’s mind to have that kind of foreknowledge, that kind of love, that kind of foresight, to know that we are human – and that we’re going to make mistakes, big blunders, fall down, we’re going to sin, to succumb to the weight of sin and the temptations of Satan the devil. And yet, through it all, He saw the need that we would need in the future under the authority of Jesus Christ. And that He would lead us down the path of salvation, and that He would provide the sacrifice to cover our sins.

Friends, maybe today you found out a little of that history. Maybe today you looked into the past and saw Almighty God’s great mercy! The mercy He had from the beginning – His MASTER PLAN!

We saw through these Scriptures that long before God laid the foundation of the earth before He formed the heavens, He laid out the plan of salvation for mankind. A plan which realized man’s weakness and susceptibility to the temptations of Satan. And with His grand foreknowledge, God-realized and knew that man would sin and that he would need a Savior. And out of His unforeseen love, He made a Way for us all – the path unto salvation.

Truly an enormous love He has for all of us. □


1) Flint, P., Prof., The Digital Dead Sea Scrolls, The Great Isaiah Scroll, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem © 1995-2020. http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#53:10. Retrieved 8 September 2020.

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