Bible Correspondence Course Lesson 22
What Is Godís Purpose for Mankind?
God created human beings for an awe-inspiring purpose. But few have ever understood that purpose! The Bible reveals manís incredible potential. It shows how God is working out His glorious purpose on earth! LETíS suppose you have just won an all-expense paid trip. Wouldnít you want to know where you are going, how youíll get there, and as much as possible about the trip itself?
Our present mortal life can be compared to a journey. Yet, how many knowóor have ever thought about the possibilityóthat God has something to say about our journey?
God, in fact, reveals through His inspired Word the incredible destination of our journey! He gives us the itinerary for the trip, and tells us the marvelous things weíll do when we get there. But to successfully complete our journey, we must carefully follow the travel plans He has laid out for us.
Exactly what is the exciting destination, or destiny, of mankindóthe tremendous future God has planned for you?
Man to Have Dominion
King David of ancient Israel mused about Godís purpose for man. He observed the starry heavens, and was inspired to write: "O LORD...when I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:1, 3-4). From several thousand feet up, men look like tiny insignificant ants! Yes, why should God be concerned about puny man?
The connection between man and the stars began to be revealed to David, for he continues: "For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour." How did God do this? "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas" (verses 5-8).
David here refers to manís "dominion" or rule as that over which God gave mankind authority when Adam was created. This includes the solid earth, the atmosphere, the sea and all the creatures God created (Gen. 1:26-28). These are, in part or in whole, under manís jurisdiction at the present time.
But in the New Testament scriptures, written much later, a far greater
destiny and dominion for man is revealed!
The Incredible Human Potential
In the book of Hebrews, we read: "For unto the angels bath he [God] not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak" (Heb. 2:5). The theme of the first half of this chapter is "the world to come"óthe Millennium and thereafter!
Then, beginning with verse 6, is a quotation from verses 4-6 of the eighth Psalm. Again, the writer of the book of Hebrews shows that God has now placed the solid earth, the earthís atmosphere, the sea and all living things under man. But the writer is inspired to see something infinitely more profound that is to happen to man in the world to come.
This revealed knowledge of Godís purpose for mankindóof manís incredible, awesome potentialóstaggers the imagination! Science knows nothing of it. Higher education is in utter ignorance of it. And certainly no religion of this world knows it.
Continuing in this passage in Hebrews, beginning as it leaves off quoting the eighth Psalm, the awesome human potential is revealed: "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his [manís] feet. For in that he [God] put all in subjection under him [man], he [God] left nothing that is not put under him" (Heb. 2:8). NOTHING is excluded here!
The Greek word translated "all things" also appears in chapter 1, verses 2 and 3, and is there translated "the universe" in the Moffatt translation. That is the intended meaning in Hebrews 2:8. In other words, God is revealing to us that the endless universe, with all its galaxies, its countless stars and planetsóeverythingówill eventually be put under manís dominion! "But now we see not yet all things [the universe] put under him [man]" (verse 8). Remember, this is speaking of the "world to come"ónot todayís world. Man will be put over "all things" after Godís plan for man on earth is completeóafter the last human has been born of God.
But what do we see today? "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour..." (verse 9). Man, except for Christ, is not yet crowned with glory and honor. But he will be in a new ageóyet in the future.
The living Christ already sustains the entire universe by His limitless divine power (Heb. 1:3). The passage in Hebrews 2 continues to show His superiority over the angels as the begotten and born Son of God.
Angels are individually created spirit beings. Invisible to human eyes, they are servants of God, ministering to those who are now on a lower level than angels, but who are heirs of salvation. The Bible reveals that these heirs shall become the Spirit-born Sons of Godís ruling Family as Christ now is! (Heb. 1:4-14).
What a stupendous, magnificent heritage God has in store for His Spirit-begotten
children. They are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ to inherit
the universe! (Rom. 8:14-17).
Original Purpose for Angels
What God creates He maintains. What He creates He creates for a purpose. He intends it to be put to useóa right use that preserves and improves. This use, maintenance and improvement is controlled by the government of God.
This earth was originally intended to be the training ground for a third of Godís angels. The angels, at the creation of the earth, found it so beautiful they shouted spontaneously for joy! (Job 38:4-7). The earth was to provide a glorious opportunity for them to work it, produce from it, and preserve and increase its beauty.
Godís original creation was like the unfinished furniture sold in some stores. This furniture is complete, except for the final sanding, staining and varnishing. Such furniture may be of superb qualityóyet lacking the final beautifying touches.
So it is with Godís creation. The universe, with its countless galaxies and solar systems containing planets such as our earth, was created perfect, but subject to a beautifying finish, which God intended the angels to accomplish.
The original "unfinished" creation was produced by God. It was perfect and orderly. But God intended the angels to finish this part of His creation by adding the final beautifying touches and utilitarian phases of what was to become the final completed creation! God wanted to share the joy of creative accomplishment with all the angels!
And whether or not it had been revealed to the angels, it was a supreme trial and test to see whether they would continue to obey Godís government in accomplishing the task of beautifying and finishing the earth. As they continued to follow Godís instructions, they would have been entrusted with the responsibility of finishing the thousands of millions of other planets in the vast, limitless universe!
This was the potential God originally had in mind for His created angelic
Manís Potential Far Greater!
Instead of proceeding with Godís plan for them, a third of the angels rebelled against administering the government of God. They finally attempted to replace God and take over the control of the universe. The account of this sin is revealed in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.
God then fully realized that He and the Word, who later became Jesus Christ, were the only beings who would never sin. Only members of the God Family have that kind of holy, righteous character. So how could the final beautification and completion of the limitless universe be accomplished? Only by the addition of many more members to the God Family who would also have the same holy, righteous character of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son.
So God created mankind for the purpose of reproducing more members of the God Family. They would help to restore the government of God on earth after their training program in the flesh was complete and they were born into His Family. Then they would go on to finish Godís creation, carrying Godís government to the uttermost parts of the universe!
Adam had the opportunity to obey God but failed. Had he obeyed, his
obedience would have qualified him to replace Satan, who was then and still
is ruler of the earth. In failing to replace Satan, Adam also failed to
maintain and beautify the Garden of Eden into which God had placed him.
Earth Our Training Ground
God has given this earth to us as a training ground, and this mortal life as the time for our training. As we learned in previous lessons, Adam would have received Godís Holy Spirit had he eaten of the fruit of the tree of life. He would have thus begun the process of spiritual character growth, and ultimately would have been born into Godís Family. He would have been given the opportunity to finish the creation of the earth and the rest of the universe. But Adam never began his training program.
So Christ, the second Adam (I Cor. 15:45, 47), came to earth about 4,000 years later to qualify to replace Satan and was successful! He qualified to restore Godís government on earth, and to be entrusted with the responsibility of being in charge of finishing the creation of the universe.
Christ also became the captain or leader of our salvation (Heb. 2:10). He is now at Godís throne in heaven as our High Priest. He is helping Spirit-begotten Christians qualify to become His eternal assistants. With Christís help through His Spirit, the members of Godís Church are growing in godly character through obedience to Godís Law during this mortal life, which is their training period.
Our incredible potential is to become holy, sinless, powerful, Spirit-born members in Godís divine ruling Family! Our spiritual birth into His Family will make us GOD Beings just like the Father and Jesus Christ!
Yes, God created man with a far greater potential than the angels, for no angel can ever become a born Son of God. God is now in the process of reproducing Himself through mankind. He is now producing Sons of God who can be trusted to never sinówho will never rebel against Godís government as Lucifer did, but will always obey their spiritual Father.
Letís begin our study of Godís Word with this lesson and learn more of the details of Godís glorious purpose for mankind.
God Is a Family
The Bible reveals that we were born for a tremendous, awe-inspiring purpose. But few really understand what that purpose is. To fully understand Godís glorious purpose for mankind, letís begin this study in the first chapter of Genesis.
1. What do the very first words of the Bible tell us about God? Gen. 1:1. Does the Bible clearly indicate that there is more than one God Being? Verse 26. (Notice the plural pronouns "us" and "our" referring to God in Genesis 1:26.)
COMMENT: As we have learned in previous lessons, the original Hebrew word translated "God" in Genesis 1:1 and throughout the account of creation is Elohim. It is a noun, plural in form, meaning more than oneólike the words church, family, or kingdom. Just as there is the animal kingdom and the human kingdom or family, Genesis 1 shows that there is also a GOD Kingdom or Family! There is one God, but God is a Family composed of more than one member. Elohim, which means "Mighty Ones," is the name of the God Family.
2. How many divine Beings presently compose the God Family? John 1:1-2. Was it the "Word" who created all things? Verse 3. What did the Word later become? Verse 14. Who, then, is the Word? Eph. 3:9; Heb. 1:2. And who is the other divine member of the God Family? I Cor. 8:6.
COMMENT: John 1:1 and Genesis 1:1 take us back to the same time in prehistoryóto the original creation of the universe. Both verses reveal that the two supreme Beings composing the God Family created all things.
The Greek word translated into English as "Word" in John 1:1 is Logos. It means "spokesman" or "one who speaks." It was actually the Logosóthe Spokesman, the Word of the God Familyówho "spake, and it [the creation] was done" by the power of the Spirit of God (Ps. 33:6-9; 104:30). And so everything was created and made by the divine Being of the God Family who later became the human Jesus Christ.
3. Is God the Father of Jesus Christ? John 1:14, 18, 34.
COMMENT: Nearly 2,000 years ago, the same divine Personage who created all things was begotten in the virgin Maryís womb by God, who, as a result of this miraculous begettal, became His Father. Yet, at the prehistoric time of John 1:1, the Word was not yet the Son of God. He was "made" Godís Son later, through being begotten by God and born of Mary as a human being, then later born of God as a divine God Being.
Thus Jesus became the Son of God. He called the great Supreme Personage
who is head of the God Family "Father." Father is a family titleóthat of
the head of the family! A father-and-son relationship is a family relationship.
God to Expand His Family
There are only two members in the God Family or Kingdom at the present timeóGod the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. But your Bible reveals that God is going to expand His universe-ruling Family. And you can become a member of that eternal spirit-composed Family! See how this marvelous truth unfolds in your Bible.
1. After whose "image" and "likeness" was man created? Gen. 1:26-27; Jas. 3:9, last part.
COMMENT: In God s pattern for all life, kind reproduces like kind. Just as each plant or animal reproduces after its own kind, so humans reproduce humans. But unlike any of the animals, man was created in Godís own "image" and "likeness." God made man like Himselfósame form and shape. The astounding truth is that Godís purpose is to create mankind after the God kind!
Simply stated, God is reproducing Himself. All human beings have the awesome potential of becoming Godís literal childrenómembers of Godís own divine Family!
2. Does God plainly state that it is His purpose to increase His divine Family by bringing many Sons into it? Heb. 2:9-11; Rev. 21:7.
COMMENT: Most scriptures dealing with the spiritual children of God refer to them in the masculine gender. This is because God is referred to in the Bible in the masculine gender. However, we are all one in Christ (Gal. 3:26-28), and shall be neither male nor female when born of God (Matt. 22:30).
3. Are those who are Spirit-begottenótrue Christiansóalready the children of God and heirs of the God Family? I John 3:1-2; Rom. 8:16-17.
COMMENT: As we learned in our previous studies, converted Christians are now the begotten but not yet born children of God. They will be born into Godís Family at the return of Jesus Christ. For this reason, God ordained the family relationship for human beings as a part of their training prior to their spiritual birth into Godís Family. No other beingsówhether angel or animalóhave this relationship.
God instituted the human family to be a physical type of His own divine Family. He wanted humans to learn certain vital lessons that this relationship teaches (read Ephesians 5:21-33).
4. Are Spirit-begotten Christians also the affianced Bride of Christ? Eph. 5:25-27; II Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-9. COMMENT: The family relationship demands the husband-and-wife relationship. And that demands marriage, mutual love and faithfulness to the matrimonial bond. The Church of God is composed of the begotten children of God. And the Church, as a body, is the affianced Bride of Christóto marry Christ at His Second Coming, when the first resurrection occurs.
The Churchís coming marriage to Christ is additional evidence that the Kingdom of God is a Familyówith Father, Son and Wifeóand that God is to expand His divine Family! Notice further:
5. Will the humans still alive at Christís coming be ruled and taught by Christ and the saints then already made immortalóthose who will have become the collective wife of Christ? Dan. 7:18, 27; Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10; 20:6.
COMMENT: The mortals on earth will be taught and ruled by immortals. Those who seek salvation through Christ will then receive Godís gift of His Holy Spirit. And, after a life of growing in Godís character, as Spirit-begotten children of God must do today, they shall be born into the Family of God.
Thus the marriage of the Church to Christ will result in the begettal and birth of additional divine childrenóuntold millions of Spirit-born members of Godís Familyóduring the thousand-year reign of Christ and the saints!
Man, and man only, of all life forms God has created, can be born into the God Familyóthe Kingdom of God. Since humans were put on earth for the very purpose of being begotten, and then born into Godís Family, the Eternal has endowed this God-plane family relationship for humansóand for humans only.
What a wonderful privilege to be given the marriage and family relationshipóthat
we may be prepared for the spiritual marriage to Christ and divine Family
status in the Kingdom of God for eternity!
Christ the Firstborn Son
1. Is Jesus Christ actually the firstborn of MANY Sons of God? Rom. 8:29; Acts 26:23; Col. 1:18. When will the other Sons of God be born into His Family? I Cor. 15:22-23.
COMMENT: Christ is the only Son of God who has already been born again, by a resurrection from the dead. Other Sons are now only Spirit-begotten, not yet born. They will be born again (John 3:3-8)--born of Godóin the first resurrection at Christís coming to rule the earth.
2. Is Christ, as the firstborn Son of God, actually the "captain" or forerunneróthe leaderóof our salvation through His suffering, death and subsequent resurrection to glory? Heb. 2:9-10. Has He already inherited all power and glory in Godís ruling Family? Verse 9.
3. What made it possible for Christ to be resurrected as the firstborn Son of God? Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:19-20. Will we become Spirit-born members of Godís Family if we have Godís Spirit dwelling in us at the time of Christís return or when we die? Same verses. Also read I Corinthians 15:49-53.
COMMENT: Clearly, it was by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit that God the Father raised Christ from death to glorious immortality, authority and powerójust as He will also raise Christís Spirit-begotten brothers and sisters to the same glorious immortality and power, but of lesser authority.
As we learned in Lesson 20, Spirit-begotten children of God are now "in training" for the time when they will be born into Godís Family. They will then be given their positions of rulership on earth under their elder brother, Jesus Christ.
Eventually, God wants thousands of millions of perfect and righteous
children to be born into His Family, governed by His government, to complete
in beauty, majesty and glory not only the other planets of our solar system,
but of our own Milky Way galaxy and the countless other galaxies of the
vast, limitless universe! (More about this exciting future later in this
Godís Begotten Children Now Growing Spiritually
Now is not yet the time for the birth of the children of God. They are now only in the "begotten" state prior to birth. Now is the time of their spiritual growth prior to becoming born-again members of the God Family. And the earth is the place of their spiritual growthóthe "training ground" for entering the Kingdom of God.
The universe is not the area of training to become like Godóit is the reward given to us only after we have successfully completed our training here on earth!
1. Does the Bible show that God is in the process of forming and molding His begotten sons as a potter works with clay? Isa. 64:8. During his time of training on earth, did Job realize that God was working with him in a special way? Job 14:14-15.
COMMENT: Notice the latter part of verse 15: "Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands." The "work" was Job. Job knew he was a piece of divine workmanship in the hands of the Master Potter. Job was in the process of developing the very character of God during his mortal lifetime of spiritual training.
2. What did God say before creating Adam that further reveals what He intends to accomplish in man? Gen. 1:26.
COMMENT: Notice again the wording in Genesis 1:26: "Let us make man in our image." The Hebrew word for "image" indicates far more than merely the outward appearance of God. It also refers to mind and character. God intends for man, to whom He gave the gift of a thinking, reasoning mind, to be developing the mind and character of God!
The attributes of human mind and character truly make man Godís unique physical creation. God has shared some of His own qualities with human beings and He intends that we develop His character during this mortal life.
3. Did the Apostle Paul know that Spirit-begotten children of God are being fashioned by God for a specific purpose? Eph. 2:10.
COMMENT: Paul is not speaking of Adamís creation nearly 6,000 years ago. He is speaking of true Christians, who are now being created unto good works. We are Godís "workmanship"óthe Creator is still creating us. He is molding, fashioning, changing and transforming us into His own noble, righteous, holy, spiritual character!
This process begins in the mind. Repentance is the first step. It is a change of mind. The receiving of the Holy Spirit is a renewing of the mind. Gradually, through Bible study, learning to live by "every word of God," being continually corrected by His Word, keeping close to God in daily prayer, and being led and empowered by the Spirit of God, the NEW MANówith holy, spiritual characteróis being created in Godís spiritual "image."
If, during this life of spiritual training, our thinking and our ways are changed until we become, in godly character, new creatures in Christ Jesus, conformed to His will, then that clay model, worked over, fashioned and shaped as God would have it, can finally be turned into the finished spiritual creation when born of God.
4. Did Paul refer to the completion of his training? II Tim. 4:7.
COMMENT: Paul successfully finished his spiritual training preparatory to his birth into the Family of God. Today, the first 6,000 years of human history are about over. Soon the time will come when Paul and other human beings who have "finished the course" during their time of training will no longer be earth-bound. They will be born into the eternal, spiritual God Family as very Sons of God!
5. After completing "the course" of our training, what happens next? I Cor. 15:47-53. When will our change into spirit composition occur? Verse 52; I Thess. 4:16-17.
COMMENT: Those who are ready to be born of God at Christís return will triumphantly and suddenly enter the Family of God. No longer will they be bound to this earth for sustenance, for they will have eternal life inherent as a gift from God!
6. What are those who look forward to becoming Sons of God doing now? I John 3:1-3. Notice especially verse 3.
COMMENT: At the resurrection, God will provide the proper spirit body for the galactic space travel that will be necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the universe-ruling Family of God. Meanwhile, those God is now training are allowing Him to work with them in first perfecting their character.
Prior to becoming the Spirit-born children of God, we are now in the process of "purifying" ourselves by bridling our bodies and controlling our thoughts with the help of Godís Holy Spirit.
Now is the time to be striving to become pure in character as God Himself
is pure and without flaw (Matt. 5:48). Now is the time of our training
preparatory to inheriting the entire universe with Jesus Christ our elder
Godís Purpose Proceeding as Planned
In previous lessons we learned that Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden and thereby cut himself off from ongoing contact with the Creator God. As a result, his descendants were also cut off from access to the Spirit of God and eternal life. Adam could have been begotten of God and eventually born as a Son of God in His ruling Family, had he eaten of the fruit of the tree of life.
Did Adamís sin thwart Godís plan for mankind, or is it proceeding as originally planned?
Anticipating the probability of Adamís sin, God had designed a fail-safe 7,000-year Master Plan for working out His purpose in man here on earth. During the first 6,000 years, He sentenced man to carry out what Adam had, in effect, demanded for the human raceóto go its own way, cut off from God, doing its own thing, relying on the self only. The results of manís way, as influenced by Satan the devil, have been catastrophic!
Letís review a few basic scriptures proving that Godís plan for man is on schedule.
1. Has God allowed Satan to cunningly deceive the whole world? Rev. 12:9. Is the devil in reality the god of this world? II Cor. 4:4.
COMMENT: Satan led the first humans into sin (Gen. 3:1-6). So man began the 6,000 years of his sentence with the invisible devil ruling him by deception! From Adam until now, Satan has successfully influenced human beings into forming their own governments, religions, societies and civilization based on his way of "get" instead of Godís way of "give."
2. During this time in which man has been cut off from God because of sin, can just anyone come to Christ? John 6:44, 65.
COMMENT: Except when God does intervene by specially calling one to repentance and salvationóto a life of training for His Kingdomónone can come to Christ. Jesus said so! All are still cut off through sin, except for the few God calls out of a life of sin.
After Adam sinned, it was Godís purpose to prove by 6,000 years of human experience that Satanís "get" way, which is contrary to the way of Godís government, is the cause of untold suffering, pain and deathójust the opposite of what man really wants.
About 4,000 years after Adam sinned, God, as previously planned (Rev. 13:8), sent Jesus Christ into the world to rescue Godís called from the death penalty, which all have incurred through the breaking of His commandments.
3. Jesus also was a Messenger sent from God. What message of hope and good news did He bring to mankind? Mark 1:14-15; John 3:3-8.
COMMENT: Jesus foretold the time when all mankind will no longer be cut off from God and ruled by Satan. He announced that the government of God would be restored on earth by the Kingdom of God, composed of the Spirit-born members of Godís Family.
Jesus proclaimed the good news that those called by God may become Godís own children, ultimately to be changed from material to spirit composition, becoming the members of Godís ruling Family. Of the many thousands who heard Jesusí message, only about 120 continued as His disciples (Acts 1:15). They were chosen by the Father to be the pioneer members of His New Testament Church. Thousands more were added to the Church by God through the subsequent preaching of the apostles.
But before A.D. 70, the message Christ and His apostles taught was rapidly suppressed by a growing, deceived counterfeit church. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was not again proclaimed to the world until January, 1934. It was then that Godís chosen servant and apostle, the late Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, began proclaiming the Gospel over a tiny 100-watt radio station in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States of America.
4. Did God long ago prophesy todayís knowledge explosion? Dan. 12:4.
COMMENT: After almost 6,000 years of human history, and during the lifetime of Godís modern-day apostle, we find awesome material progress in the world. Nearly all modern technology and industry has been developed in the past 200 years, and far more than half of all the worldís technological, scientific and industrial development has occurred in this 20th century!
The machine age, the nuclear age and the space age have followed in rapid succession. The automobile, airplane, radio, television and many laborsaving devices have all been invented in very recent times.
Men have also designed and produced incredible computers, and even sent astronauts to the moon and back. And just a few decades ago, men developed the weapons of mass destruction that could erase all human life on this planet, were it not for the great God who has promised to intervene and prevent the annihilation of humanity!
Almost 6,000 years of human history have proved that manís mind, without Godís Holy Spirit, is confined to understanding and working with the physical world. Human systems of education have become wholly materialistic, and most of manís motives stem from the attitude of "get." He does not know how to live in harmony and peace with his neighbor, but is capable of going to the moon and back! The appalling evils and problems amidst awesome scientific progress has been the result of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden!
For nearly 6,000 years, Godís purpose for man has proceeded just as He had planned from the beginning. Soon, spiritual salvation will be opened to all humanity after Christ comes to remove Satan from the throne of the earth and assumes the rulership over all nations He qualified for nearly 2,000 years ago.
We are now living in the very last generation of the 6,000-year period
in which man was to be cut off from God. We are now nearing the time when
Godís glorious purpose for those He has called prior to Jesusí Second Coming
will become reality. They shall then become like God, for they shall be
born into His Family as very Gods!
What Weíll Be Like When Born of God
Those who are called of God, who receive His Spirit and who grow and overcome spiritually, will be born of God when Christ returns. But what will it be like as a member of Godís divine Family? What characteristics and abilities will we possess? Letís have a sneak preview of what it will be like to be a God!
1. What must take place to enter Godís Family? John 3:3-8. When born of God, will we be like Him? Rom. 8:29; I John 3:1-2.
COMMENT: To be "conformed to the image" of Christ means to become like Himóto be glorified as He is glorifiedóto become a member of the glorious FAMILY OF GOD as Christ now is! The Bible reveals that we are to become, through a spiritual birth, just like the two members of the God Family. We will possess the same abilities and characteristics of God the Father and our elder brother Jesus Christ.
2. When will the spiritual birth of Christians take place? I Cor. 15:52. When will the resurrection occur? I Thess. 4:15-17. Will they be changed to spirit at that time? I Cor. 15:42-49; Phil. 3:20-21.
COMMENT: When Jesus Christ returns to earth, the Spirit-begotten children of God who have died through the ages will be resurrected to spirit life by the Spirit of God, and those still alive will be instantly changed into spirit beings. At that moment, they will be "born again," this time as members of Godís own Family. And Godís own offspring will then have eternal life inherent within themselves like Jesus Christ their elder brother!
3. To what did Jesus compare one who is born of the Spirit? John 3:8.
COMMENT: The effects of the wind are easily discernible, but the wind itself cannot be seen. When you are born of the Spirit of God, you will be invisible to human eyes, unless you choose to manifest yourself.
4. After His resurrection, was Jesus, with His spirit-composed body, able to suddenly appear and disappear? Luke 24:36-37, 31. Was He able to pass through walls? John 20:19, 26. Can one composed of spirit appear as mortal flesh and bone when necessary? Luke 24:38-40. Can he even eat if he so desires? Verses 41-43.
5. Are spirit bodies capable of traveling through space at incredible speedóundoubtedly faster than light? Compare John 20:17, 19-20 with Matthew 28:9.
COMMENT: Earlier on the day after His resurrection from the dead, Christ would not let one of His disciples touch Him because He had not yet ascended to His Fatherís throne in heaven. But later that same day, Christ allowed His disciples to touch Him. This clearly shows that Christ traveled to heaven and returned to earth on the same day!
"Truth is stranger than fiction," goes the old saying. The marvelous, exciting truth about your awesome potential, as revealed in the Bible, pales into nothingness any science fiction thriller you could ever read or see!
6. Once a person has been changed into spirit, can he ever die? Luke 20:35-36. Is the God Family eternal, or ever living? Ps. 90:2; 102:25-27.
COMMENT: Both members of the God Family have always existed, though our finite human minds cannot understand how this is possible. Nevertheless, God tells us through His inspired Word that we, like God and Christ, will live forever once we are born into the universe-ruling Family of God!
7. Was Jesus "glorified" after His resurrection? John 17:5; Heb. 2:9. How did Christís glorified spirit body appear when manifested in a vision to the Apostle John? Rev. 1:13-16.
COMMENT: To be "glorified" means to be given great power and brightness. Before Christ became a human being, He had a glorious, resplendent, powerful spirit body like His Fatherís. After His resurrection, He was restored to the same power and glory. Christís powerful spirit body radiates light as bright as the sun!
8. Will God also glorify all those who become members of His divine Family by giving them this same great power and glory? Rom. 8:17; Col. 3:4; Matt. 13:43. Did Jesus give three of His disciples a fleeting glimpse in a vision of this future glorified condition? Matt. 17:1-2, 9. What other scripture gives us an idea of the future glorified state of those who shall be born of God at the resurrection? Dan. 12:2-3.
COMMENT: The glory that Spirit-begotten children of God are to receive at the resurrection will be so great it will make them shine as the brilliant stars of the heavensólike the sun in full strength!
But this is only a part of what God has in store for Spirit-born members of His Family. Letís notice other wonderful characteristics they, as Godís children, will possess.
9. The most important attribute of God the Father and Christ, the firstborn Son of God and our elder brother, is their character. What are some of the aspects of Godís divine character that Godís children will possess in full measure when born of God? Gal. 5:22-23; II Tim. 1:7.
COMMENT: As we learned in Lesson 11, God possesses holy, righteous character. And He intends that we possess the same love, joy, patience, mercy, faith, kindness, gentleness, meekness, temperance, self-restraint and right self-direction that He has. Character also involves knowledge, wisdom, purpose and ability.
It is this character that Spirit-begotten children of God will possess in full measure when born into His Family. In the meantime, God wants us to be developing, with the help of His Spirit, these aspects of His character during our mortal lives.
10. How does the Bible define the nature and character of God? I John 4:8. What is the love of God? I John 5:2-3. Is Godís love ("charity" in the King James Version) the greatest single aspect of His character? I Cor. 13:1-13. Why? I John 4:16.
COMMENT: Godís character can be summed up in one wordóLOVE. Godís character travels in the direction of His Lawóthe way of LOVE. It is the way of giving, serving, helpingóof outgoing concern for others. God has that character!
God has an outgoing concern for all of humanity. He gave His only begotten Son to reconcile us to Him, and He makes the joys of everlasting life possible for us. He showers on us every good and precious gift, including the Holy Spirit, which we can receive as a begettal from Him after we repent of breaking His Law, turn from the wrong way of this world, begin to resist it, and turn to Him through faith in Jesus Christ as personal Savior!
When born into the Family of God, weíll possess the love of God perfectly. And through that love, weíll administer Godís government on earth, and throughout the universe for all eternity.
11. Will those born of God ever sin? I John 3:9. Will they be absolutely perfect as the Father and Christ are now? Matt. 5:48. Will that perfect, holy and righteous character ever change? Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8.
COMMENT: The character of both God the Father and Christ the Son is that of spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfection. That character, as we have just seen, can be summed up in the one word "love," defined as an out-flowing, loving concern for others. It is the way of giving, serving, helping, sharingónot the way of "get."
It is the way devoid of coveting, lust and greed, vanity and selfishness, competition, strife, violence and destruction, envy and jealousy, resentment and bitternessóall characteristics of Satanís nature.
Godís inherent nature is the way of peace, justice, mercy, happiness and joy radiating outward toward those He has created. He is the embodiment of perfect, holy and righteous character!
Since God possesses perfect character, He has determined that He will not go contrary to the perfect, holy, spiritual Law He set in living, active, inexorable motion to cause and produce all good. God has so set His will that He cannot sin or transgress His Law.
The character of both God the Father and Christ the Son, which one-third of the angels failed to copy and develop, is the way of Godís Law. And, as we have already learned, He is now in the process of creating this same godly character in Spirit-begotten Christians as they, by their own choice and with the help of Godís Holy Spirit, live His righteous way of life!
When we are finally born of Godówhen we are given a spirit body, after first growing spiritually and developing Godís character during our time of trainingówe will begin a glorious, never-ending life in the universe-ruling Family of God!
A Glorious, Never-ending Future!
The Kingdom of God is the ruling Family of God. And those who become a part of that Family are destined to rule the earth with Jesus Christ for 1,000 years. They will become kings and priests, ruling and teaching in the World Tomorrow.
Thousands of millions will learn to live Godís way and be born into His ruling Family during this period. Then, after the Millennium, the billions who died before Christís Second Coming without having had an opportunity to know and understand Godís way to salvation will be raised in a physical resurrection. They will be given the opportunity to become Sons of God during this period of judgment (Rev. 20:11-12), as we learned in the last lesson.
These additional thousands of millions will be added to Godís spirit Family at the conclusion of Godís plan for physical mankind.
It has been estimated that 40 billion (40 thousand million) people have lived from the time of Adam until now. It would be difficult to accurately estimate the number of people who will yet be born and enter Godís Kingdom during the Millennium and Great White Throne Judgment periods. There no doubt will be multiple billions.
But letís suppose that 200,000,000,000 (200 billion) are ultimately born into Godís Family. Since God is busy working, creating and sustaining what He has created (John 5:17), He knows His Sons would not be happy unless they, too, are working and producing. And so what could keep this incredibly huge Family of God Beings busy for all eternity?
1. Just how great is the authority Jesus Christ has already inherited? Heb. 1:1-2; Matt. 28:18; I Cor. 15:27-28. Will those who are born into Godís Family share in that inheritance as co-owners and co-rulers with Christ? Rom. 8:16-17; Rev. 21:7. And will Godís government continue to expand for all eternity? Isa. 9:6-7; Rev. 22:5.
COMMENT: The Moffatt translation correctly renders "all things" in Hebrews 1:2 as "the universe." Incredible as it may sound, your ultimate potential and the potential of every human being is co-rulership of the universe with Jesus Christ and God the Father!
But is there really enough "out there" for our estimated number of 200 thousand million Spirit-born Sons of God to rule?
The Encyclopaedia Britannica estimates that there are more than 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 sextillion) stars in the universe. This figure is virtually impossible to comprehend. If an estimate of 200 billion Sons of God is taken as a possibility, that means each member of Godís Family would be responsible for maintaining and developing 50 billion stars, and their attendant planetsóenough to form an entire galaxy!
Our awesome potential is to be born into the ruling Family of God, receiving the very power of God! Together, all the born Sons of God will ultimately be given jurisdiction over the entire universe!
2. Is the whole creation characterized as anxiously awaiting the birth of the Sons of God? Rom. 8:19-23. ("Creature" should be translated "creation," as it is in more translations of the Bible.)
COMMENT: Paul here personifies the whole creation of God, including the stars and planets. He shows that the whole universe is waiting with eager longing for the actual birth and appearing of the Sons of God. That is because these billions of perfect and righteous beings, governed by Godís divine government, will restore from the condition of decay ("corruption" in Romans 8:21 of the King James Version) that resulted from Luciferís rebellion, and complete the creation of, in all their beauty, majesty and glory, not only the other planets of our solar system (now in utter waste and decay), but also the rest of our galaxy and countless other galaxies in the universe.
What else are we going to do? God, first of all, is Creator. Those who become the Sons of God will also be creators! The Scriptures indicate we shall impart LIFE to billions of dead planets, as life has been imparted to this earth. We shall create, as the Father directs and instructs. Planets will be turned into beautiful, productive, life-sustaining worlds. We shall continue to create and rule throughout all eternity!
Revelation 21 and 22 show that there will then be no pain, suffering or evil, because all will have learned to choose Godís way, which leads to all that is good. It will be an eternal life of accomplishment, constantly looking forward in joyous anticipation to new creative projects, as well as looking back with happiness and joy over what shall have already been accomplished.
We shall never grow tired or weary. We will always be joyously aliveó full of energy, vitality, exuberant life, strength and power! This is the incredible potential of every human being!
Are you in the process of preparing to fulfill this, Godís glorious
purpose for your life?
This multiple choice test is designed to help you review the preceding lesson. Itís an enjoyable way of putting to use some of the vital knowledge and understanding you have gained through this lesson.
Select one of the four choices given under each question or incomplete statement. The other three are incorrectóunless stated or indicated otherwise.
Take sufficient time to understand each question or statement, as well as the choices. Try to do as many as you can without referring to the lesson. If you have difficulty deciding on the correct answer, then review the part of the lesson in question.
1. The book of Hebrews reveals that manís dominion or rule, now limited to the earth and its atmosphere, will A. eventually extend over "all things"óthe entire universe. B. extend only to the rest of our solar system. C. be forever limited to earth. D. never be above the angels.
2. The earth, when created, was A. ugly and disorganized. B. like a finished piece of furniture. C. to be given a beautifying finish by the angels. D. so perfect it could not be improved.
3. If the angels had continued to obey God and completed earthís creation, A. they would have lived in eternal retirement on earth. B. God would have entrusted them with the responsibility of completing the rest of the universe. C. they would have been born into Godís Family. D. they would have been allowed to do as they pleased.
4. After a third of the angels sinned, God realized that only members of His Family could be trusted to remain sinless forever. God then decided to A. create mankind for the purpose of enlarging His Family. B. train humans so they could be trusted to help restore His government on earth and finish the creation of the universe. C. develop His holy, righteous, perfect character in man. D. All of the above.
5. To assist Christ in finishing the creation of the universe, Spirit-begotten Christians must first be trained for their coming responsibility by A. studying the sciences. B. creating beautiful works of art. C. growing in Godís character through keeping His spiritual Law. D. learning how to travel through space.
6. The real potential of every human being is A. to become a God Being just like the Father and Jesus Christ. B. to become equal to the angels. C. to become like Adam was before he sinned. D. understood by all professing Christians.
7. In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for "God" is Elohim, which A. refers to one divine Being. B. means "Mighty Ones"óthe divine Beings, presently two in number, who compose the Kingdom or Family of God. C. refers to three equal divine Beings known as the Trinity. D. refers to God and angels.
8. Mankind was created in Godís own "image and "likeness," A. just like the angels were. B. which makes humans equal to the Creator God. C. because Godís purpose is to create humans after the God kind. D. because God did not intend to reproduce Himself through human beings.
9. God instituted the family relationship among humans A. to be a physical type of His own divine Family. B. as another evolutionary step from the social groupings of apes. C. to prevent divorce. D. only after Adam and Eve sinned.
10. The spiritual marriage of the Church to Christ at His Second Coming A. is evidence that the Kingdom of God is not a Family. B. will be completely unlike human marriages. C. will result in the begettal and birth of untold millions of divine children into the Family of God. D. All of the above.
11. Jesus Christ is called "the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29) because A. He was the first to be born of Godís Spirit into the divine Family of God. B. many other Spirit-begotten children of God will be born into His Family at Christís return. C. Godís Family will expand to include many children of God. D. All of the above.
12. Godís Spirit-begotten children A. do not need to grow spiritually before being born into Godís Family. B. are being trained and tested before God gives them eternal life at Christís return. C. do not have to obey God to grow spiritually. D. do not have to do any "works" before being born of God.
13. The Apostle Paul wrote that true Christians are Godís "workmanship" because A. they are descendants of Adam and Eve. B. they are already perfect spiritual examples of His creative ability. C. God is in the process of creating His righteous character in them. D. All of the above.
14. How does God develop His character in His Spirit-begotten children? A. By not leading and empowering them through His Spirit. B. By not instructing and correcting them through His Word. C. By forcing them to obey Him. D. Gradually, as they learn to live by every word of God.
15. When Godís Spirit-begotten children are born into His Family, they will A. not look like Christ, nor shine like the sun. B. have the same glory, power and authority as the angels. C. have eternal life as a gift from God. D. be like Adam was before he sinned.
16. Adamís sin A. thwarted Godís plan for mankind. B. did not stop God from proceeding with His Master Plan for man. C. forced God to think about what He could do to repair the damage to His plan for man. D. has not resulted in man doing his own thing for nearly 6,000 years.
17. Which statement is FALSE? A. Human civilization is based on Satanís way Of "get." B. Humans, without Godís Holy Spirit, do not know how to live in harmony and peace with one another. C. For nearly 6,00O years, the "get" way has produced the opposite of what mankind really wants. D. The "get" way results in love, peace and harmony.
18. Which one of the following will a Spirit-born child of God NOT be able to do? A. Travel to other planets without a spaceship. B. Tell Christ what to do. C. Pass through walls and locked doors. D. Appear as a human when necessary.
19. Godís children, after being born into His Family, will A. possess Godís perfect character in full measure. B. begin developing Godís holy, righteous character. C. have to choose either Godís way of "give" or Satanís way of "get." D. finally learn which way of life is best.
20. Keeping Godís Law is necessary for righteous character development because A. the Law does not define righteousness. B. Godís perfect Law of love defines His character. C. God wants to see how well we can follow arbitrary rules and regulations. D. None of the above.
21. The Spirit-born children of Godís Family will A. administer His government with His Law of love. B. rule by their own laws. C. still possess human nature. D. still sin occasionally.
22. When Godís plan of salvation is complete, His incredibly huge Family will A. not have enough to do. B. be bored for eternity. C. be busy and productive forever. D. make it possible for God to take a well-deserved vacation.
23. When will Godís government stop expanding? A. When everyone has learned Godís way. B. When all members of Godís Family have fulfilled their responsibilities. C. When the limits of the known universe are reached. D. Never.
24. The entire physical creation is described as anxiously awaiting the spiritual birth of the Sons of God because A. it will then be changed into spirit and thus be a perfect creation. B. the creation is now complete. C. they will begin to restore and beautify the entire universe. D. the physical creation will then be destroyed.
25. Those who become the Spirit-born children of God will A. never grow tired or weary. B. assist the Father and Christ in ruling the universe forever. C. enjoy a never-ending life of creative accomplishments. D. All of the above.