Understanding The Bible
STUDY REFERENCE
"An Overview of the Plan of God"

Based On: Renald Showers, "What on Earth is God doing?" [1]

Quick Links to specific locations in the text below:
1. The Beginning through the Creation of Man 5. From the Removal of Israel from the Place of Blessing through the Reformation
2. From the First Human Being through the Wilderness Wanderings 6. From the Counter Reformation through the Philosophy of Ritschel
3. From the Conquest of Canaan through the Fall of Judah 7. From Liberal Protestantism through The Present
4. From the Babylonian Captivity through the Ascension of Christ 8. From the Rapture of the Church to Eternity Future


Part-1
Genesis 1:1-1:31 - In the beginning Through the Creation of Man

1-A Prior to creation nothing else existed but God.
In eternity past God determined to have a kingdom over which He could rule as sovereign King. Since it is impossible to have a kingdom without subjects, and since nothing else existed to serve Him, God created the subjects over which He was to rule.

The personal, created subjects were of two major kinds. First, God created angelic subjects. These angels were spirit beings, not possessing bodies of flesh and bone, but they did possess intellect and the ability to communicate. They were more powerful than the other kind of created beings. Although made to dwell in the heavens, they were given access to earth after its creation. Certain angels were made superior in intelligence, power, and authority over others.

The second major kind of personal subject created for God's kingdom was the human being. Inasmuch as God had created the earth to be part of His domain, He intended to have on it a kind of subject that would administer His rule over everything else on the planet. God created man, placed him as governor over the earth, and held him responsible to administer the earth well on behalf of God.

Man had to be specially equipped in order to govern the earth for God. It was essential that he be able to understand his earthly, physical province; therefore God formed for him a physical body from the dust of the earth. It was also necessary that he be able to receive and understand God's directions; therefore God created man in His own image as a personal being possessing intellect and the ability to communicate.

With the creation of man, God's work of bringing His kingdom into existence was completed. The universal kingdom of God was a reality, and everything in it was very good by God's perfect standard of evaluation.


1-B Collection of Bible Texts about The Angels and their Fall
After creation was completed, one of the highest angels become so proud of his great intelligence and powers that he deceived himself into thinking that he could overthrow the sovereign rule of God. Because of this angels rebellion against God, his name was changed to Satan, which means "adversary."

In spite of his proud plans, Satan would never be more than a creature of God. According to the Bible, there can be no doubt about God, the Creator, defeating Satan, the creature.

In order to establish his kingdom, Satan had to obtain subjects over which to rule. As a creature he lacked ability to create beings. For him the only possible way to obtain subjects was through the persuasion of other creatures of God to join his rebellion. If his kingdom were to rule over both heavenly and earthly spheres, he had to persuade both angels and humans to join him.

A sizable number of angels did join Satan's rebellion and place themselves under his rule. Satan organized his angels in several ranks, so that they could carry on the work of his kingdom efficiently. Although a sizeable number of angels transferred their allegiance from the kingdom of God to the kingdom of Satan, a huge host of angels chose to remain faithful to God.

1-C Genesis 1:31-3:13 - Man's Rebellion and The Consequences of Man's Rebellion
In a very subtle way Satan entered man's perfect earthly environment and tempted man to disobey a specific command of God. The bait that Satan used was the notion that, if man would disobey, he would be as God. In spite of God's warning, man decided to disobey the directive of his divine King. Thus, the governor of the earthly province of the kingdom of God joined the rebellion against God.

Six tragic consequences resulted from man's rebellion.

1. Man died spiritually at the moment of his disobedience
a. Man suffered a drastic change in his nature - he became "at enmity with God," he became "totally depraved."
2. Man (eventually) died physically
a. He became the prey of death, decay, suffering, hazards, accidents, and violence
b. He was denied access to the source that would cause him to "live forever."
3. Man's ability to exercise dominion over the earth was changed.
a. He lost the ability to govern effectively
4. Man's dominion suffered
a. The productive level of the soil was reduced greatly
b. The soil would now produce thistles and thorns
c. Animal nature changed drastically from tame, non-carnivorous to wild, carnivorous
d. All of God's earthly creation became subject to vanity and corruption, through his own sin man lost his perfect environment.
5. Man was transferred from membership in the kingdom of God to membership in the kingdom of Satan. The parents of mankind brought upon the whole race because humans reproduce after their own kind. Every human being is born spiritually dead with a governing disposition that is at enmity against God. Unless he accepts God's way of salvation, each human continues through life to be energized by Satan and to live his life according to Satan's ways.
6. Because man was the governor of things created upon the earth, and man gave himself over to Satan, Satan became the usurper of God in the position of "King over the Earth."

Man's rebellion had confirmed him so strongly in his tragic predicament that he was rendered totally incapable of rescuing himself from it.

Now there were two opposing kingdoms in existence. The kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. The kingdom of Satan had attacked the kingdom of God with the goal of destroying it. If God were to remain sovereign, He must crush Satan and his kingdom. Thus the stage was set for a fantastic conflict – The Conflict of the Ages. This conflict would be waged both in the heavens and on earth. Since the Bible is God's written revelation to man, it deals primarily with the earthly phase of the conflict.

Satan's purpose in history is to make himself the only sovereign king of the universe.

God's purpose in history is to demonstrate His sovereignty by totally and permanently crushing Satan and his kingdom, ejecting the rebellious ones from His original domain, and restoring His theocratic rule in those provinces that have been usurped by Satan. Inasmuch as God's purpose for history is the ultimate one, it is correct to conclude that the ULTIMATE PURPOSE OF HISTORY IS THE DEMONSTRATION OF GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY.

God's word reveals that God will reveal His sovereignty by restoring the present earth to the basic original condition it enjoyed before man's rebellion. Should God permit the present earth to pass away at the end of history without restoration to its original conditions, it would appear that He is incapable of overcoming the devastating work of Satan and his kingdom.

Reversals:
1. He must make man Spiritually Alive again. He must give to man the way to restore their governing disposition that would be actively confirmed in an attitude of love and obedience toward God and that controls the whole of man's nature in accordance with God's will.
2. God must abolish physical death. No more decay, disease, deformity, hazards, accidents and violence, and the resurrecting the bodies of those already dead.
3. God must cause man to govern the present earth in the manner that He intended originally, an end of man's abuse of the earth.
4. God must restore the perfect environment that man enjoyed before the fall. Changing the soil back to full fertility, the restoration of animal nature to tame and non-carnivorous, and the removal of vanity and corruption.
5. God must transfer man's membership from Satan's kingdom to God's kingdom. God must re-establish His theocratic kingdom
6. God must dethrone Satan as king of the world and restore the earth as a province of His own Kingdom. He must re-establish His theocratic kingdom with all of its power and glory on this present earth and rid the world of Satan, his angles, and his people.

These "reversals" of the consequences of man's sin could be called "God's Program of Redemption."


1-D The Promise of the Coming Redeemer - Genesis 3:14-3:24
No sooner had Satan usurped the earth for his kingdom than God delivered a prophecy concerning Satan's doom. In this prophecy God forewarned Satan that eventually a man born of woman would deliver a devastating blow to him. Later Scripture revealed that this prophecy was God's initial way of promising that a Redeemer would be born in the world and that this Redeemer would do the work necessary to crush Satan's kingdom and work.

In order for God to reverse the consequences of man's sin, it was necessary to get rid of the cause of the consequences. This meant getting rid of human sin. Later Scripture revealed that only the payment of an adequate penalty to divine justice could remove man's sin. It also later revealed that death was the only adequate penalty. Later Scripture revealed that through His death the Redeemer would pay the penalty for man's sin, thereby causing the removal of sin and making it possible for God to reverse the consequences of man's rebellion.

1. The Redeemer would not be the only person to serve the kingdom of God in the conflict.
2. The holy elect angels would fight against the forces of Satan.
3. Through the redemptive work of the Redeemer, God would save people out of Satan's kingdom and make them members of His own kingdom. These redeemed humans would remain in the world for the rest of their lives to act as representatives of the kingdom of god in Satan's earthly province. Although they would live in Satan's world system, they would not belong to it.
4. Occasionally God also would use nations and even unsaved people to serve His purposes.

Summary
Since the coming and work of the Redeemer would be the key to God's strategy, the key to Satan's strategy would be the preventing of the Redeemer's coming and work.

In addition Satan would war against the holy angels and redeemed humans who would represent God's kingdom in the world. He would use his fallen angels, the human members of his kingdom, nations, and occasionally even humans from God's kingdom to do his work.

A study of the Scriptures indicates that Satan intended to use interchangeably two different lines of attack:
1. Try to destroy the members of God's kingdom
2. Try to pervert the witness of God's kingdom with apostasy in belief or practice.



Part-2 The Conflict: From the First Human Birth through The Wilderness Wanderings - Genesis 4:1-34:12
Satan realized that it would be fatal for him and his cause if the Redeemer were to come. Thus Satan's primary goal throughout Old Testament history became the prevention of the Redeemer's coming.

2-A The First Birth and Murder

Sometime after Adam and Eve gave birth to Cain and Abel, it became evident that one son was godly in attitude and that the other was ungodly. It became imperative to Satan to get rid of Abel (the godly son) through whose line of descent the Redeemer would come. God countered Satan's effort by giving Adam and Eve another godly son, Seth (whose name means "substitute").

2-B The Apostasy of the Human Race
It was apparent to Satan that, for every godly son he could destroy, god would raise up another to take his place. Thus, Satan changed his tactic. He determined that he would pervert the whole human race, with apostasy.

Seth's godly line eventually had enough contact with Cain's ungodly line, it too became infected with apostasy. The human race became so perverted that it filled the earth with violence and corruption. God "saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." God was so grieved that He announced His determination to destroy man from the face of the earth.

2-C The Flood
Although Satan had been successful in perverting most of the human race, he was not able to pervert all of it. God counteracted him again by preserving one righteous man who was a descendant of Seth. The man's name was Noah. Through the Ark and the resulting flood God was able to counteract Satan's move to pervert the whole human race so thoroughly that the Redeemer could not come through it.

2-D The New Beginning and the New Apostasy
After the Flood Noah led his family in the worship of God. Because it was the continued existence and influence of a murderer that had begun the perversion of the human race before the flood, God now instituted capital punishment for the purpose of hindering the development of perversion again after the flood.

This involved the institution of human government, for a form of government was necessary to inflict the punishment.

In a covenant with Noah, his descendants, and all animals, God promised never again to destroy all flesh with a flood. Since God would no longer destroy all flesh in a flood, Satan decided to continue his technique of perversion to corrupt the human race. He began with Homosexuality in Ham (one of Noah's sons).

In a prophecy by Noah, he foretold that God would bestow a great blessing upon the line of Noah's son, Shem. Later revelation indicated that the Redeemer would come through Shem's line of descent.

God commanded Noah and his descendants to "fill the earth," and not to concentrate in a few spots of civilization. Satan, however, wanted mankind to remain close together in one area, for obvious reasons. It was harder to control a mass of people when they are scattered far apart, and apostasy spreads faster and easier when people have regular close contact with each other.

Satan prompted them to build a large city and a tower on the plain of Babylon to which they migrated after the flood. God counteracted this move toward apostasy by causing the people to speak different languages. As a result of this confusion of language, the building of the great city and tower was abandoned, and the peoples scattered into groups that spoke similar languages.

Wayward man invented idolatrous religions and substitutes for the worship of the one true God. Man also continued to degenerate into moral perversion.

2-E The Abrahamic Covenant - 2100 bc
After nations began, God revealed that He intended to bring into existence new nation, Israel, that would play a key role in His warfare against the kingdom of Satan. This came about through a covenant with a man named Abram (later Abraham).

The covenant had three kinds of promises:
1. Personal - God stated that the Redeemer would come through Abraham's line of descent
2. National - God stated that He would make of Abraham a great nation
3. Universal - God stated that He would bless all the families of the World through this covenant

2-F The Sojourn in Egypt - 1876 bc
After several generations the descendants of Abraham migrated to Egypt. They sojourned there for several centuries and prospered. Satan realized that, if he wanted to defeat the kingdom of God, he must destroy Israel. In Egypt he began a series of attacks upon Israel that has continued through history to the present day. Thus, Satan became the author of anti-Semitism, and anti-Semitism is the result of his war against the kingdom of God.

Satan used the stubborn will Pharaoh to try to destroy Israel with ten plagues.

2-G The Exodus - 1446 bc
After the tenth plague, Pharaoh's stubbornness was subdues. He and his people urged the Israelites to leave Egypt. This event proved to be one of the greatest happenings for Israel in Old Testament times.

Satan's attack at the Red Sea: Pharaoh changed his mind and pursued Israel for the "kill" and had them cornered at the shores of the Red Sea. God intervened by parting the waters of the sea to enable Israel to walk across unhindered. When Pharaoh's chariots gave pursuit, God allowed the divided waters to come back together.

Satan's attack in the wilderness-1: The lack of drinking water. God counteracted this by revealing to Moses how to make the water they did have fit.

Satan's attack in the wilderness-2: The lack of food. God provided quail and a special food called "Manna."

Satan's attack in the wilderness-3: Again, the lack of water. This time God countered by supplying water from a rock.

Satan's attack in the wilderness-4: An attack by the Amalekites. God gave Israel military victory while Moses prayed.

2-H The Mosaic Covenant - c. 1400 bc
Within three months of her departure from Egypt, Israel encamped around Mount Sinai. While the nation was there, God established a covenant with her through Moses. This covenant united God and Israel to each other officially. Although it has been called the Mosaic covenant, it is known more popularly as "The Law."

Whether or not Israel kept the Law was no idle matter. God warned Israel that her relationship to the covenant would determine her future course of history. If she kept the covenant God would bless her and protect her. If she would break the covenant, God would withdraw His protection and chasten her with conquest, desolation and scattering by Gentile nations. God did promise, however, to preserve a remnant of the nation that would repent of any apostasy - thus the nation never would go out of existence.

2-I The threat of Apostasy
While Moses was on the mount with God, the nation went into apostasy through idolatry and immoral practices. God punished only those who had participated.

2-J The Tabernacle and Sacrifices
Because of God's special relationship to the nation, He gave to them a place to meet with Him in Worship, and gave them a system of sacrifices that would enforce their remembering of the redemptive plan of God (fellowship - sin - repentance - confession - restoration –– God's would provide this through a substitutionary, blood sacrifice).

2-K Kadesh-Barnea - 1398 bc
When Israel arrived at Kadesh-Barnea on the border of Canaan (the promised land), Satan attacked again. He used human fear to produce unbelief (these idolatrous people had become full of perversion and iniquity). As a result God sent them back into the wilderness for one generation (40 years, until all who went into the wilderness from Egypt died, except Moses, Joshua and Caleb). The coming of the Redeemer was more essential for the benefit of mankind than was the continued existence of the depraved peoples of Israel.

When the forty years of wandering were through God commanded them to destroy the peoples living in Canaan - The coming of the Redeemer was more essential for the benefit of mankind than was the continued existence of the depraved peoples of Canaan.


Part-3 The Conflict from the conquest of Canaan through the fall of Judah
3-A The Conquest and Distribution of Canaan
1. At Jericho God commanded Israel not to keep anything for herself from the victory over Jericho. One man disobeyed. As a result Israel was defeated soundly when it attacked the next city, Ai.
2. Satan was determined t preserve some of the depraved Canaanites - that Israel would be continually exposed to them. Without consulting God, Israel made a covenant not to destroy the Gibeonites.

3-B The Period of the Judges - 1375 to 1075
After Joshua died there was no outstanding man available to lead Israel. Satan saw this as an opportune time to press the attack vigorously. As a result, Israel's history was characterized by apostasy and anarchy for the next 350 years.

3-C The Ministry of Samuel - 1070 bc
In order to end Israel's repeated excursions into apostasy during the period of the judges, God raised up a strong, godly leader for the whole nation. The leader's name was Samuel. The philistines had defeated Israel and stolen the Ark of the Covenant, and the high priest had died. Samuel called the nation to repent of their apostasy, to put away their false gods, and return to God. All this the people did. As a result, god delivered Israel from all oppressors as long as Samuel lived.

When Samuel died, his sons became judges but they were corrupt. Satan used this corruption to prompt the Israelites to request a king. They wanted a monarchy with a human king (like the other nations) instead of a theocracy with God as King.

3-D The Apostasy of Saul - 1043 bc
With a central government under a king, Satan could once again try to lead the entire nation, at one time, into apostasy and sin.

Saul became the first king, but he disobeyed God. He self-justified his actions before God and God removed His Holy Spirit from him and gave it to David instead, whom God had instructed Samuel to appoint as new King.

3-E The Davidic Covenant - 1000 bc
After David united the kingdom, captured and made Jerusalem the national, political capital and worship center, and put an end to Philistine domination of Israel, he desired to build a permanent house for God in Jerusalem. It was to be called the "Temple."

In response to David's desire, He made a covenant with him. David would have a son and that David's house would be established forever. David's earthly, political kingdom over Israel was also to be established forever. This covenant meant that Israel would never be annihilated totally at any time in history, and that Israel always would have available to her a legitimate heir to the throne and the potential of becoming an earthly, political kingdom again. Later revelation to the prophets indicated that the Redeemer would be a descendant of David and that the promises of the Davidic covenant would find their ultimate fulfillment in Him. It now became imperative to Satan that David's royal line be destroyed.

3-F The Apostasy of Solomon - 950 bc
Solomon brought Israel to her peak of glory after David died. One of his greatest accomplishments was the building of the Temple. God covenanted with Solomon to bless Israel greatly as long as she remained faithful to Him, and to drive her out of the land and to reject the Temple if the nation were to go apostate.

Solomon began to disobey God. He married 700 wives and 300 concubines. Many of these were foreign, idolatrous women whom he married for political expediency. He violated God's command to not marry foreign wives. He built pagan worship temples that confused and polluted the nation. God promised to take most of the kingdom away, raise up enemies, and send them into captivity.

The coming of the Redeemer was more important than the unity of the nation.

3-G The Division of the Kingdom - 931 bc
Through the folly of Solomon's son, Rehoboam, the ten northern tribes revolted and set up their own government. Thus, Israel became two nations; Israel in the North, and Judah in the South.

3-H The Decline and Fall of the Northern Kingdom - 720 bc
Jeroboam erected two idols and established a counterfeit priesthood and false religious system for the northern kingdom. Under Ahab, whose wife was Jezebel, built a temple to Baal in the capital city and made Baal worship the national religion.

God raised up Assyria to be His instrument for chastening His apostate people, and took them into captivity that lasted two centuries.

3-I The Decline and Fall of the Southern Kingdom - 580 bc
Rehoboam and most of his successors followed Solomon and plunged the kingdom of Judah deeper into Apostasy. Satan's plan of eliminating the House of David, and the Redeemer continued when the daughter of Jezebel (from the Northern Tribes) married into the House of Judah and she ordered the extermination of every royal person descended from David.

The infant Joash was hid in the Temple for six years, all the rest of the family had been murdered. Joash was crowned king, the Athaliah the queen was slain for her treachery.

When God was done with Assyria God he dethroned her and conquered her with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. At this time God removed His Glory from the Temple in Jerusalem and it was laid waste.


Part-4 The Conflict From The Babylonian Captivity Through The Ascension of Christ
4-A The Babylonian Captivity - 580 bc

Nebuchadnezzar decreed that all his subjects should worship an image of himself. The first Jews to be put to the test refused to bow to Nebuchadnezzar and as a result the Jews were released from any obligation to worship anyone except God.

When God was done with Babylonia God dethroned her and conquered her with Cyrus of Persia. Cyrus made a decree that the Jews could return to Palestine to rebuild the Temple.

4-B The Persian Period - 539 bc
Satan did not want the Temple rebuilt and sent Samaritan enemies of the Jews to resist the rebuilding for sixteen years. God counteracted this move by raising up Haggai and Zechariah to exhort the rebuilding of the temple.

Next Satan desired to eliminate the Jews during the reign of Persian king Xerxes, but God raised up Haman and Esther, and God's people were preserved.

Once again the nation was led into apostasy. God countered with the ministry of Malachi and the reforms instituted by Nehemiah.

4-C The Grecian Period - 326 bc
When God was done with Persia God dethroned her and conquered her with Alexander the Great of Greece. After the death of Alexander, suddenly at age 32, the empire was divided up in to three Triumvirate. The Jews became part of the Ptolemies (still Greece). Antiochus Epiphanies determined to impose a common Greek culture and religion upon his whole kingdom (including the Jews). Jewish Sacrifice was abolished. He entered the Holy of Holies and desecrated it, sacrificing a sow on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The Jews complied and went back into apostasy.

God counteracted with the rebellion of an orthodox family of Jews - the Maccabees. The revolution completed and the temple restored and temple worship re-instituted. The orthodox group was eventually know as the Pharisees.

4-D The Beginning of the Roman Period - 65 bc
When God was done with Greece god dethroned her and conquered her with Pompey of The Roman Empire.

Eventually the Romans appointed Herod the Great ( Jew) to be king of Judea.

Although Satan has tried repeatedly either to destroy Israel or to make her totally apostate throughout the Old Testament times, God continually preserved a faithful remnant of His people.

4-E The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ - 3 bc to 30 ad
Finally, through a young woman who was a member of that remnant, of the House of David, the Redeemer came.

Despite his many frantic attempts to prevent the Redeemer from coming, Satan had failed. The Redeemer had become human flesh for the purpose of putting away man's sin by the substitutionary sacrifice of Himself, so that He could crush Satan and the works of his kingdom.

Now that the Redeemer had come, Satan's goal was to prevent the Redeemer from dying the substitutionary death and from establishing God's theocratic kingdom.

Not long after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod, in an attempt to kill the new Davidic King, ordered the slaughter of infants in that city. God countered by forewarning the Redeemer's family to flee to Egypt. When Jesus preached to His hometown for the first time, they became so enraged that they tried to kill him. On at least two other occasions the Jews attempted to stone Jesus to death.

Satan's second line of attack was apostasy. If he could get Jesus to depart from God's purpose for Him, Satan could accomplish his goal. To this end were the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness. Satan used Peter to try to convince Jesus to avoid the cross. On the night of the crucifixion Jesus could say that the prince of the world had nothing in Him.

Jesus offered the promised theocratic kingdom to Israel, but Israel could not meet the spiritual requirement of repentance. John the Baptist showed them the way, but they did not take it. Through His miracles Jesus demonstrated that right then Israel had in her midst the One who possessed the powers necessary to establish the kingdom.
1. Casting out demons - He could devastate the kingdom of Satan
2. Casting demons into pigs and the Fish with the shekel that came to Peter - He could control animal nature 3. Healing diseases and deformities, Raising people from the dead - He could reverse the effects of death
4. Withering a fig tree, produced huge multitudes of fish, turned water into wine, and expanded small amounts of food to feed thousands - He demonstrated His ability to do what the Prophets had said would characterize the Redeemer and the theocratic kingdom
5. The calming of storms and walking on water - He demonstrated His power to eliminate hazards and control the environment for the benefit of man

Satan worked diligently to make the nation reject the offer of the kingdom. He convinced them that they needed a literal, political, kingdom, but they didn't want to meet the spiritual requirements necessary to have it.

God used Israel's rejection of the kingdom, and the Redeemer, to seal Satan's fate. When Jesus was crucified, He died as "the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world." His death paid the price that satisfied or propitiated divine justice. Jesus could say, "It is Finished."

The resurrection of Jesus on the third day was evidence that His death, as a substitutionary sacrifice for man's sin, had satisfied the divine justice of God. The resurrection made the Redeemer available again to set up and rule the kingdom at god's appointed time.

For forty days Jesus gave proof of His bodily resurrection by making numerous appearances. At the end of those days He ascended into Heaven, there to remain until Israel would repent.

Part-5 The conflict From The Removal of Israel from the Place of Blessing Through the Reformation
5-A The Removal of Israel from the Place of Blessing - 33 ad to 70 ad

Because of Israel's attitude of unbelief toward Jesus, God removed her temporarily from the pace of blessing that he had given her centuries before through the Mosaic covenant. Israel will continue to remain outside that place of blessing until she repents by believing in Jesus Christ. Until that time comes,, God does a special work among the Gentiles, bringing many of them to salvation from sin.

5-B Anti-Semitism
Because Israel rejected her Messiah, she doomed herself to centuries of desolation and persecution at the hands of the Gentiles. It would appear that Satan is the one who prompts the anti-Semitism. Satan is still trying to prevent the repentance of Israel and the establish of the Kingdom of God upon the Earth.
1. Under the Romans - the slaughter of thousands through persecution
2. In the middle ages - the slaughter of thousands through the inquisition of the Jews
3. World War Two - Nazi Germany annihilates some six million Jews in Europe
4. Recent times - thousands loose their lives through Communism
5. Today - It is Satan's desire to destroy Israel that lies behind the Arab-Israeli disputes of the Middle East

5-C The Birth of the Church
God never allows the world to go on without a witness concerning Himself and His universal kingdom. With Israel being out of joint spiritually, God raised up an institution made up of Jews and Gentiles, many nations and tongues, one body, one instrument - The Church of Jesus Christ.

5-D Early attacks against the Church - 112 ad
There are two major thrusts to Satan's plan for the Church.
1. Assault the individual members by tempting, accusing, persecuting, hindering, attempting to bring defeat, and believing wrong things.
2. Assault on the Church as an Institution - the Jewish rebellion against the Church, The imprisonment of the Apostles, The martyrdom of many of the Apostles, the attack against the beliefs of the Church: legalism, Gnosticism, and antinomianism.

5-E The Roman Persecution - 250 ad
Nero turned Christians into living torches to illuminate his gardens at night. He had Paul beheaded and the crucifixion of Peter.

5-F The Apostasy of the Church - 313 ad
In 313 Emperor Constantine granted total freedom to Christianity and made it the officially favored religion. Emperor Theodosius 1, made Christianity the only sanctioned religion and began to persecute those where were not Christian. Through persecution pagan religions were incorporated into Christianity and into Church worship.

In 230 Origen, a strong church leader, developed and published the "Allegorical Method of Interpreting the Scriptures." No longer was the Word - the Word of God as written. Now the words of the scriptures contained hidden knowledge and only those with hidden abilities could properly interpret it.

The official church, looking for a return to authority, began to incorporate non-canonical writings into the scriptures and giving them authenticity - because "The Church Says So." The end result was that the Scriptures lost its authority before the people of the church.

By the end of the second century, many cultures under pagan influence, turned to a black and white philosophical approach that defined things as good or bad by whether they were spiritual or physical. If anything was physical - it was evil - therefore Jesus did not have a physical body, or He would have been evil. Augustine taught that God's kingdom was already here on earth, and found himself in large agreement with those who thought that things physical were evil. In addition, with the church having become the exclusive religion of the empire, it did appear that it was conquering the world. In order to hold to his position, Augustine used Origen's allegorical method to interpret Old Testament prophecies about the kingdom. Augustine's view led the Church of Rome to conceive of itself "as the universal church destined to bring all within its fold." The organized church of the middle ages departed drastically from what God had intended it to be.

5-G The Threat of Islam - 1095 ad
In 610 Mohammed founded Islam. By his death in 632 he had converted all of Arabia to his faith. In the next 100 years Palestine, Syria, all of the eastern Roman Empire, all lands to India, Egypt, North Africa and the greater part of Spain followed. The reason - The Christian Church was so apostate and cruel that the people no longer wanted it to rule their lives.

5-H The Renaissance - 1350 ad to 1650 ad
With the intellectual transition in the late 1300's to late 1600's came the Humanist movement. Because man accomplished much and knew much - then man, not God, must be the real focus of attention.

5-I The Reformation - 1509 ad
God counters the apostasy in the organized church with a new spiritual movement known as the "Reformation." Martin Luther in Germany, Zwingli in Switzerland, Calvin in Geneva, the Anabaptists in Germany, John Knox in Scotland, and Henry VIII in England when he broke away from the Church of Rome.


Part-6 The Conflict From the Counter Reformation Through the Philosophy of Ritschl
6-A The Counter Reformation - 1600 ad

Satan once again, in reaction to the Reformation, began strong activity. The revitalization of the Roman Church became known as the Counter Reformation. The Roman Church held the Council of Trent, where the council turned the Roman Church's beliefs into a dogma that was binding upon all of its people.

The Roman Church instituted "The Index," a list of books which its people were forbidden to read (mostly protestant literature keeping them from reading the Gospel).

The Roman Church, in conjunction with the Spanish Government, established "The Inquisition," Protestants were forced to recant, killed and be burned. Seventeen thousand Protestant Christians were executed in the Netherlands alone.

In France the government persecuted the Huguenots and conducted 8 bloody wars. In the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre in 1572 some twenty thousand Protestants were butchered for their faith.

In 1609 much of Europe was divided into Protestantism and Romanism. For religious and political reasons came the Thirty Years War. This ended the Reformation Era and the systematic persecution of the Protestant movement by the Roman Church.

6-B The Rise of Rationalism and Empiricism - 1650
6-C The Development of Deism - 1700
6-D The Philosophies of Kant, Hegel, and Schleiermacher - 1834
6-E The Development of Destructive Criticism - 1840
6-F The Rise of Commercialism - 1840
6-G The Birth of Communism - 1848
6-H The Impact of the Evolutionary Theory - All creatures evolved not created - 1859
6-I The Philosophy or Ritschl - Christianity is not doctrine - it is the daily practice of life (Social Gospel) - 1889

Part 7 The Conflict From Liberal Protestantism Through The Present
7A The Principles of Liberal Protestantism Developed
7-B The Refinement of the Social Gospel - Ritschl
7-C The Birth of the Ecumenical Movement
7-D The Development of Neo-Orthodoxy - Final Authority is by God's revelation to the believer, not the Word of God. - The original Scriptures contain error. - Major biblical events are myths not actual historic events. - God's kingdom will not be established during history.
7-E The Denial of a Personal God - "God Is Dead" movement
7-F The Nationalization of Israel - 1948
7-G The 7-Day War - 1967

Part-8 The Conflict From the Rapture of the Church to Eternity Future
8-A The Rapture of the True Church
8-B The Seventieth Week of Daniel
8-C The Second Coming of Jesus Christ
8-D The Nature of the Theocratic Kingdom
8-E The Final Attempt of Satan
8-F The Judgment of the Unsaved
8-G The Destruction of Death, the Heavens, and the Earth
8-H The Nature of the Future Eternal State

Quick Links to specific locations in the text below:
1. The Beginning through the Creation of Man 5. From the Removal of Israel from the Place of Blessing through the Reformation
2. From the First Human Being through the Wilderness Wanderings 6. From the Counter Reformation through the Philosophy of Ritschel
3. From the Conquest of Canaan through the Fall of Judah 7. From Liberal Protestantism through The Present
4. From the Babylonian Captivity through the Ascension of Christ 8. From the Rapture of the Church to Eternity Future

[1] The preceding is from "What on Earth is God Doing," Renald E. Showers, Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey 07753, 1973. This book is available for under $7.00 from Amazon.com. Dr. Showers' book is highly recommended and is complete with scripture references for each of the events below. (not a paid advertisement)

2011-11-20