Plan for Man
Subjects Concerning God's Plan for Man Discussed
our first lesson on “God's Plan for Man” from the eternal past to the eternal
future, it is necessary to understand the general idea of the plan and of the
terms used. The fifty-two lessons are divided into four parts as follows:
I The Origin of All Things....................... Lessons 1-8
II God's Historical Dealings with Man....... Lessons 9-18
III God's Present Dealings with Man.......... Lessons 19-36
IV God's Future Dealings with Man........... Lessons 37-52
Importance of the Study of “God's Plan for Man”
study of “God's Plan for Man” is the most important subject of human existence,
if one wants to know the Bible and be saved in eternity. It may be called “The
Backbone of the Bible,” for it takes in all the ages and dispensations, and all
the important subjects of the Bible, from eternity past to eternity future. If
one will distinguish the ages and dispensations, the whole Bible will
main reason for much confusion and misunderstanding of the Bible is that men do
not understand the plan of God for man. It will be impossible for the average
student of Scripture to consider the Bible a difficult book to understand, if he
will get a working knowledge of the blueprint of God's plan.
cannot emphasize enough the importance of these lessons, which are based on a
correct understanding of the Bible itself. The name of each age and dispensation
should be memorized, and the place each has in the plan of God should be
carefully noted. In this way the student can have a mental picture of the
particular time to which each lesson refers, and to which the various Scriptures
apply. The outstanding features of each age and dispensation should also be kept
in mind as we proceed from lesson to lesson. Then the ultimate purpose of God in
His plan for man will begin to dawn upon the mind of the reader.
you want a clear, sane, and harmonious understanding of Scripture, let yourself
become well acquainted with God's plan of the ages and dispensations together
with their outstanding features. Get an idea of the history of the past
connected with the present, and also understand all the prophecies of the
future. Then and then alone can you be “a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Along with a clear knowledge of the Bible as a whole, you will learn the right
use of the Scriptures in your daily life. You will learn how to receive healing,
health, prosperity and happiness here and now. After all, that is what you need
now, is it not? You will not only gain knowledge of God, but you will learn how
to appropriate the full blessings of life, by the proper use of this
The Simplicity of the Plan of God for Man
Bible, or God's plan in Scripture, is very simple to understand. No man has any
excuse for misunderstanding it. Jesus constantly invited and provoked study of
the Scriptures, and even rebuked men for their lack of knowledge of revealed
truth. He attributed all error to a lack of knowledge of the Bible. He answered
His critics by saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of
22:29). He commanded men to “search the scriptures: for in them ye
think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (Jn. 5:39).
more than three years of the simplest teaching by the greatest of all teachers,
the disciples had to be rebuked for their unbelief and hardness of heart: “O
fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken”
24:25-27). This was not because they could not understand, but because they
did not believe what Christ said. Even after Christ had appeared and manifested
Himself to them in various ways, they still refused to believe until He
“upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart” (Mk. 16:13-14).
The words Christ spoke were always simple enough to understand, but to
believe them was another thing.
too, may struggle at first to realize that the benefits we promise you,
according to Scripture, are true and really for you. We will prove them to you
from the simple words of the Bible. You should begin now to believe the promises
of the more abundant life and expect these benefits. You should begin to believe
the good news that these blessings are for you and begin to appropriate them
also taught that hearing the Word of God was sufficient to cause one to
believe. He said, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not
believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
and how shall they hear without a preacher? . . . But they have not all obeyed
the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then
faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:11-18,
ninety times in the New Testament alone an appeal is made to readers to
believe what “is written,” as if everything was simple enough to understand
if men wanted to understand and believe. In fact, not once in either Testament
did any speaker or writer leave the impression that anything God said was hard
to understand, if men would simply believe what God had said. The only hint of a
misunderstanding on behalf of anyone is in connection with those who did not
want to believe and obey the Gospel.
taught that it was only because of the willfulness of men not to believe that it
was hard to understand. In other words, some do not want to understand. Those
who do can understand without exception (Mt. 13:9-17).
Peter speaks of the “unlearned and unstable,” wresting the Scriptures to their
own destruction (2 Pet.
3:16-18). However, no person belongs to this class if he will make up his
mind to believe and obey what is written, instead of rebelling against it.
willfulness, and rebellion against what “is written” are the causes of the Bible
being hard to understand. The hard part, then, is not understanding with the
mind, but being willing to obey what he does not want to obey. If a person could
not understand the truth, he could not reject it.
is no excuse for anyone to misunderstand God's Word if he will, like a child,
accept the Bible for what it says, and be honest enough to consecrate himself to
obey it. He must accept the Bible as God's Word. He must believe that God could
not be honest if He sought to hide from man the very things He will judge him by
in the end. He must accept the Bible as the final Court of Appeal on its own
subjects, and forget man's interpretations and distortion of the Word. He must
believe that God knows what He is talking about; that He knows how to express
Himself in human language; that He said what He meant, and meant what He said;
and that what He says on a subject is more important than what any man may say
is not necessary for you to look up all the many Scripture references in these
lessons in order to get the truth. They are given as proof that what is taught
is biblical, and for those who desire to investigate for themselves what the
Bible says on the various questions. It would enrich your life to look up all
these references, and such will prove the greatest blessing. However, as we
shall state exactly what the references do say, you can still get the same truth
should you not have time to look up each citation in the Bible.
should you have any doubts that we are stating sound doctrines, look up the
references and see exactly what the Bible says and believe it in preference to
any man. You cannot go wrong with this kind of advice. But in doing this, be
sure you adhere to what is written, and that you do not let preconceived ideas
cause you to be biased on any point. Do not try to make the Bible conform to
your ideas. Always reconcile your ideas to the Bible. Let the plain language of
the references given be read and understood in the same literal way that we
would understand similar statements in any other book.
Lesson Three, we will show you how to understand the Bible, but follow these
simple rules of instruction until then. Just consider that the Bible is simple
and that God's plan for man is clear, and nothing will be hard to understand as
we proceed with the study. Do not defeat yourself before you start by thinking
the Bible is the hardest book in the world to understand. Forget that idea here
and now! It will be made clear, how utterly simple it is. You will marvel at its
simplicity as we study lesson after lesson. So-called mysteries that have
seemingly baffled the wise of this world are still revealed to “babes.”
at one time said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast
revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight”
11:25-26). He said of the so-called wise and prudent, “This people's heart
is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have
closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with
their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and
I should heal them” (Mt.
is all-important, therefore, that you be simple and humble in your attitude.
Take the place of a disciple (learner), and accept at face value everything that
God says on any subject, whether or not it harmonizes with your theories or
those of your former teachers. If you want truth just as it is in the Bible, you
have finally found the true source of your information. We promise and guarantee
that we will not change any part of the Bible to fit into our own ideas or those
of anyone else, but we will give you chapter and verse for everything we say
concerning God's plan for man.
us proceed with our study with an open Bible, an open heart, and an open mind to
all that God says, and be honest to lay aside old theories for the plain,
literal, and simple Word of God on all points discussed.
Definition of the Terms and Expressions of the Ages
are some words and expressions which must be understood before the student of
the Bible can “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).
Knowledge of these words and expressions and how they are used in Scripture is
essential to a right understanding of the Word of God. The necessary ones that
we want you to get acquainted with, and which we want you to refer to quite
often as we study the future lessons, are as follows:
AGE. The Greek aion means “an age” or “period of time,” whether
long or short. In this sense there are numberless ages:
PAST AGES. Paul said of the revelation of the mystery of the Church “which in
other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed
unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit” (Eph. 3:5-6; Col. 1:26). Paul
said that God, by Christ, planned the ages— “made the worlds” (Greek,
1:1-3; 11:3). See also Lk. 1:70; Jn. 9:32; Acts 3:21; 15:18; 1 Cor. 2:7.
PRESENT AGE. This Age of Grace, between the first and second comings of Jesus
Christ, is referred to many times in Scripture as, “this world” (Greek,
13:22); “end of this world” (age, Mt. 13:39-40;
Mk. 4:19; Lk. 16:8; 20:34; Rom. 12:2; 1 Cor. 1:20); “end
of the world” (age, Mt. 13:49; 24:3; 28:20); and
“present evil world” (age, Gal. 1:4; 2 Tim. 4:10; Titus 2:12). In
another sense the phrase “present age” refers to the period from the flood of
Noah to the Millennium, as we shall see in Lesson Thirteen, and point (5), note
FUTURE AGES. A particular age—the Millennium—is referred to as following “this
age,” and is spoken of as “the world [age] to come” (Mt. 12:31-32;
Mk. 10:30; Eph. 1:21; Heb. 6:5) and “that
world” (age, Lk. 20:35). After
the next age, which is the last dispensation before the eternal perfect state,
there will be ages after ages following each other, like links of a continuous
chain. Paul speaks of the “ages to come” in which God will forever show “the
exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus”
(Eph. 2:7; 3:21; 1 Tim. 1:17).
THE CREATIVE AGES (Gen.
1:1-2:25). By this we mean the ages in the dateless past, during which time
God created the universe and all things therein, called in Gen. 2:4, “the
generations of the heavens and of the earth.” During these creative ages, God
brought into existence the vast heavens including the sun, moon, stars, and
planets of our universe, as well as the innumerable things in the three heavens
and the Earth, mentioned in Scripture (2 Cor. 12:2; Col. 1:15-18;
Rom. 1:20). God
also created the various kinds of spirit and human beings to inhabit the various
planets, and to whom He planned to reveal Himself and show the riches of His
glory and kindness forever. In Lessons Five through Eight, we shall study the
most wonderful story of the creation of all things that has ever been told, from
the standpoint of Scripture.
THE FIVE MAIN AGES. There are five main ages in time in connection with God's
dealings with free moral agents. They are:
THE ANTECHAOTIC AGE—from the original creation to chaos; that is, from the
beginning of the creation of the heavens and of the Earth, as in Gen. 1:1, to the
chaotic state of the Earth in Gen. 1:2. During
this period Lucifer ruled the Earth, but fell because of pride and caused the
Earth to be cursed, as we shall see in Lesson Seven.
THE ANTEDILUVIAN AGE—from the six days of the re-creation of the heaven and of
the Earth (as in Gen.
1:3-2:25) to the flood of Noah, or from the flood of Lucifer (Gen. 1:2) to the
flood of Noah (Gen.
THE PRESENT AGE—from the flood of Noah (Gen. 6-8) to the
Millennium, which follows the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle of
Armageddon, as in Rev.
THE AGE TO COME—the Millennium, from the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle
of Armageddon (Rev. 19:11-21)
to the New Heavens and the New Earth (Rev. 21-22).
THE AGE OF THE AGES—eternity, time without end. In Lessons Forty-nine through
Fifty-two, we shall study in detail the future and eternal conditions on this
Earth and in the heavens, truths about which the average church member has
seldom, if ever, heard anything about, but which the Scriptures picture in
almost infinite detail. A study of these truths will make the believer in Christ
rich in knowledge and will give him a concrete understanding of the eternal
future events of which he has a hope.
WORLD. There are ten Hebrew and Greek words in Scripture translated by our one
English word “world.” All these words have a different shade of meaning. Failure
to understand just which original word is used in a particular Scripture may
lead to a wrong understanding. The context and subject matter of a passage as
well as how it is used will help determine the true meaning of the original
word. This method should prove beyond all doubt which meaning to give the word.
However, if one wishes to go deeper he could find out which original word was
used and then determine its exact meaning, before being satisfied that he has
the true meaning. This procedure is not only sound in testing this one word for
accuracy, but the same principle applies equally with every other English word,
where there is the least doubt as to the meaning in any passage.
do not have the space, neither shall we take the time, to go into a long
technical discussion of these ten original words for “world.” However, we will
list and define the important ones as follows:
The Hebrew word olam means “unknown time,” “time out of mind,”
“eternity,” “always,” “everlasting,” and “perpetual.” This word should never
have been translated “world,” but always in connection with time. For
example, in Ps.
73:12, it should have been translated “continually” instead of “in the
world.” In Isa.
it should have been translated “eternal” instead of “world without end.” In
other words, it should always be understood as time without any limits as to
a beginning or an end, as we shall see in the last lessons when this word is
used regarding certain things as continuing in all eternity.
The Greek word aion means “a period of time,” whether long or short. It
always should have been translated “age” and never “world” as we have already
seen. Sometimes this word is translated “eternal,” “forever,” and “for ever and
ever,” and these are correct, as aion could mean a long or an eternal
period, as well as a short period.
The Greek word oikoumene means “the inhabited Earth,” or “the world of
men.” Sometimes it is used to refer to only a part of the inhabited Earth, such
as the Roman Empire (Lk. 2:1; Acts 11:28).
The Greek word kosmos means “order,” “regularity,” “arrangement,”
“ornament,” and “social system.” It is always translated “world” except in 1 Pet. 3:3 where it
is translated “adorning.” The true meaning is the social system or order
in the Earth. When Peter said “the world that then was, being overflowed with
water perished,” we must understand that only the social order on the Earth
perished, not the ground on which it lived (2 Pet.
The Greek word aionios means “unknown time,” “time out of mind,”
“eternity,” “always,” “perpetual,” and “forever.” This Greek word corresponds to
the Hebrew word olam, above. The three places where it is translated “the
world began,” it should have been translated “time without defined limits as to
a beginning or an end” (Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2).
olam, aion or aionios are used dispensationally as in
connection with the plan of God for man, God Himself, eternal life, eternal
punishment, and other things that are eternal, they literally mean
“everlasting,” “eternal,” and “perpetual,” as we shall see in our future
TIMES AND SEASONS. There are twenty-eight Greek words translated “time” and
“times,” and eight Greek words translated “season” and “seasons.” Each of these
words has a different shade of meaning, but only two of them need be listed here
in order for us to get a background for our future studies:
CHRONOS, time unlimited, unless specifically defined (Mt. 2:7, 16; Acts 1:6-7; 3:21; Gal. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:1; 1 Pet. 1:17, 20; Rev. 10:6).
KAIROS, a certain limited or definite portion of chronos or time
(Mt. 8:29; 11:25; 12:1; 13:30; Acts 3:19; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 12:12, 14).
has spoken “at sundry times and in divers manners” concerning certain times and
seasons in history (Heb. 1:1). To
understand and rightly divide the Word of Truth, it is essential that we
understand the times in which the different books of the Bible were written, as
well as the times to which they apply. There is a time and a
season for everything done under the sun (Eccl. 3).
the natural times and seasons, there are also certain times and
seasons for preordained events in God's eternal plan for man. The
children of Issachar “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought
to do” (1 Chron.
12:32). The wise men knew by a star when Christ was born: “Where is he that
is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to
worship him . . . the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till
it came and stood over where the young child was” (Mt. 2:1-10).
Jesus understood the signs of His time and rebuked the Pharisees for not
discerning the signs of the time as well as they could discern the natural
seasons. He said, “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can
ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Mt. 16:1-3).
After the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples asked Him, “Lord, wilt thou at
this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own
1:6-7). Even Satan and demons know the time of their impending doom (Mt. 8:29; Rev. 12:12).
there are certain times and seasons we can now know, concerning
prophetic events of the last days (1 Thess. 5:1-9).
What we can and should know of God's plan is the part He has plainly revealed in
Scripture. Moses said, “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but
those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever” (Deut. 29:29).
THE ETERNAL PAST. By this we mean the dateless past before the beginning of time
as we know it since the six days of Gen.
THE ETERNAL FUTURE. By this we mean the eternal continuation of time after the
Millennium, when God will be all-in-all as before the rebellion was started in
the universe by Lucifer and Adam.
THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES. By this we mean the dispensation or administration of
the Gentiles as the rod of chastening upon Israel, and to further God's purpose
concerning them. It began with Israel's oppression by the Gentiles in Egypt, and
it continues with the history of Israel until the Second Advent of Christ, as we
shall see in Lesson Fifteen.
DISPENSATION. The Greek word oikonomia means “an administration,” “a
stewardship of a household or estate,” “a dispensation.” We could speak of it as
a guardianship. In 1 Cor. 9:17; Eph. 3:2; Col. 1:25, Paul
speaks of his responsibility or trust in preaching the Gospel as a “dispensation
of the gospel,” and as “the dispensation of the grace of God.” The Millennium is
called “the dispensation of the fullness of times,” during which time God is to
gather together all things in Christ, and put all enemies under His feet (1 Cor.
word “dispensation” comes from two Greek words, oikos, “a house,” and
nomos, “a law.” As applied to the various ages, it means “a moral or
probationary period in human and angelic history.” In each period, God tests
free moral agents according to a fixed standard of conduct or responsibility,
under which they are supposed to remain true to God and rule for Him on the
Earth, or elsewhere in the universe.
dispensation has its own beginning and ending; each is characterized by certain
distinctive principles of God's dealings with men; each begins under favorable
circumstances and a particular test and ends in failure and judgment. Nothing
but confusion can arise from reading certain meanings into Scripture that do not
apply to a particular age. In each age God has a different purpose and what He
has said during one dispensation may or may not apply to another.
The Dispensation of Angels
dispensation or administration of angels was before the days of Adam, as we
shall see in Lesson Seven. It included rulership of the Earth and other planets
in the heavens.
speaks of “invisible things” in the heavenly world as being as real and
understandable as the visible things on Earth (Col. 1:15-18).
In fact, he states that these “invisible things of him from the creation of the
world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,
even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:19-23,
emphasis added). That is, there is no excuse for being ignorant of heavenly
further speaks of heavenly bodies as being as real as earthly bodies: “There are
also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial . . . There is a natural body, and
there is a spiritual body . . . As is the earthy such are they also that are
earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly (1 Cor.
us forget the idea that Heaven is an invisible nothing, or merely a cloud that
the redeemed will float around on in space and play a harp for all eternity. The
Heaven in which God dwells is a real planet, “a better country” than the planet
11:14-16). As we shall see in Lesson Forty-two, Heaven is a real place,
created with cities, mansions, food, water, trees, and other things that we know
of in this visible world. Lucifer is spoken of as having a “throne” (Isa. 14:12-14;
28:11-17) and other “thrones” are mentioned in Col. 1:16-18 as
being in the heavens. These are evidently thrones of other angels, so there is
such a doctrine as the dispensation of angels taught in Scripture.
The Seven Dispensations of Man Between the Two Eternities
are seven dispensations in human history between the eternal past and the
eternal future; between the creation of man in the six days of Gen. 1-2 and the final
restoration of man in the New Heavens and the New Earth of Rev. 21-22. The
seven dispensations are as follows:
THE DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE (Gen.
2:15-3:21). This age was from the creation of man and his commission to rule
the restored Earth and all things therein, to the fall of man and his expulsion
from the new Garden of Eden. This dispensation will be studied in Lesson
THE DISPENSATION OF CONSCIENCE (Gen.
3:22-8:14). This age was from the fall of man and his expulsion from the
Garden of Eden to the flood of Noah, a period of 1,656 years. This age will be
studied in Lesson Eleven.
THE DISPENSATION OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT (Gen.
8:15-11:32). This age was from the flood of Noah to the call of Abraham, a
period of 427 years. This dispensation will be studied in Lesson Thirteen.
THE DISPENSATION OF PROMISE (Gen. 12:1-Exod. 12:37). This
age was from the call of Abraham to the exodus of Israel from Egypt under Moses,
a period of 430 years. This dispensation will be studied in Lesson Fifteen.
THE DISPENSATION OF LAW (Exod. 12:38; Mt. 2:23; 11:10-13; Lk. 16:16). This
age was from the exodus of Israel from Egypt under Moses to the preaching of the
kingdom of Heaven by John the Baptist; or from Moses to the first coming of
Jesus Christ, a period of over 1,718 years. This dispensation will be studied in
THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE (Mt. 3:1-Rev. 19:10). This
age has already lasted nearly 2,000 years from the first coming of Christ, and
it shall continue until the Second Coming of Christ in the near future. How much
longer the age will last is not known. This dispensation will be studied in
THE DISPENSATION OF DIVINE GOVERNMENT—THE MILLENNIUM (Rev.
19:11-20:15). This age will cover the period from the Second Coming of
Christ to the last rebellion of Satan and man on the Earth, a period of 1,000
years. This dispensation will be studied in Lesson Forty-nine.
The Dispensation of the Redeemed and Faithful Angels
final dispensation will be after the Millennium in the New Heavens and the New
Earth. God's original purpose will then be fully realized as it was before
rebellion started in the kingdom of God by Lucifer and Adam. He will then have a
universe free from any possibility of rebellion in all the eternal future,
governed solely by Himself and the redeemed human beings and the faithful angels
21:1-22:5; 1 Cor.
15:24-28). This administration will be an eternal one, as proven in Lessons
Forty-nine through Fifty-two.
will again be restored to his original glory. In the eternal future, he will
once again have dominion over all things through Christ, and will become “heirs
of God, and joint heirs with Christ” of all creation (Rom. 8:17-18; 1 Cor.
15:24-28; Heb. 2:5-11).
This does not mean, however, that God will dethrone the faithful angels who have
remained true to Him through all ages in the rebellion of both angels and men.
All free moral agents who have proven true to God will have part in helping God
administer the affairs of the universe forever, as we shall see in future
lessons. That angels are free moral agents and that many have sinned is clear
from 2 Pet. 2:4;
Jude 6-7; Rev. 12:7-12;
Mt. 25:41. We
shall study the doctrine of angels in Lesson Six.
Reasons for God's Dispensational Dealings
are a number of reasons why God deals with free moral agents, using various
dispensational or probationary tests. A few reasons are:
God created free moral agents with a free choice, instead of mere machines that
He could cause to run forever without any choice of their own. If man could
create as God can, he would also choose to create creatures with powers of free
choice instead of making them mere robots. Man would glory in making something
after his own image and likeness, that could intelligently and willingly
cooperate with him in all matters to the common good of all.
is even proud that he can make automatic machines which he can run and which
make his work easier. How much more proud would he be if he could create
machines with the powers of choice and self-action along every line, so that he
would not have to direct them? If such were possible, men would be free to do
other things and would not be tied down to running machines. If man could create
free moral agents, he would naturally have to regulate and limit them and hold
them responsible for their moral acts. Otherwise, they might rebel and destroy
man and rule in his place.
could not afford to make such creatures and turn his whole existence over to
them to do as they pleased, regardless of what he might wish. Man could not
permit them to rule him, if he was to continue in authority. It would be
necessary for man and such creatures to work together for the common good, if
society was to continue for the best good of all.
it is with God. He did make man a wondrous machine, but a free moral and
self-acting one. So God must also of necessity have some restrictions and limit
the acts of man in the best interest of all. Otherwise, man might rebel and
destroy the Creator and rule in His place. When man chooses to rebel against
God, there is war just the same as when there are any two opposing forces.
Nevertheless, God deals with man as a free moral agent because He created him
that way. God's dealings with man must be on the basis of such a cooperative
plan for the common welfare of all, or His universe would become chaotic and
could not continue.
The wills of all free creatures must be tested to see if they are willing to
cooperate with God for the greatest good of all. Moral agents must prove
themselves true by such tests and thus become worthy of the confidence of the
Creator, before being entrusted with the eternal administration of the
All free moral agents must have their wills purged of all possibility of
falling, so there can be mutual confidence in each other. In this way, there
would be no possibility of man marring God's plan sometime in eternity, through
the misuse of man's will.
Free wills must be put through all possible tests so that there can be no
possible transgression against any part of the eternal plan, at any time. This
is the only sure way that the plan can have a guarantee of success, forever.
All free wills must eventually learn the following lessons:
That God must be respected and obeyed.
That His laws are final and just.
That sin does not pay and will never be excused.
That God's form of government is the only correct one.
That a loving and free submission to God is the highest and most noble principle
of free moral government.
That justice and righteousness must prevail, or no society can be eternally
preserved in the universe.
That consecration to the greatest good of all is the nature and highest glory of
That God is merciful and forgiving to rebels who will be penitent, and who learn
obedience through their experiences.
That God is the only absolutely just and perfect Being, and the only one capable
and worthy of unquestionable authority.
That all the accusations of present rebels against God are untrue.
That God does only those things that are for the common good of all
That He should, by virtue of His own position as Creator, Preserver, Governor,
and Lordship, and His own history of justice and righteousness in all of His
dealings, be recognized by all as the Supreme Moral Governor of the universe.
Until free moral agents of all kinds learn these lessons, they naturally are in
ignorance of certain facts and need such training.
One of the chief reasons for God's dealing with man is to bring him back to the
place where he was before his fall. Having purged man of all possibility of
falling in the future, God will place redeemed man in his original position of
having dominion over all things. Thus, God does not have the slightest doubt as
to the future of His plan for man.
God's dealings with free moral agents in holiness and absolute justice to all
alike gives God a sound basis of punishing rebels who refuse to conform to the
plan, and of blessing those who do conform. God can still be just and holy in
the judgment and confinement of rebels to everlasting punishment, since they
have refused all merciful dealings. They have hardened themselves against all
that is holy and good. There is nothing else for God to do but mete out justice
according to deeds committed, for the continued good of society, forever. God
must make examples of both classes—the good and the bad—for the sake of all
generations who come into existence in eternity. God cannot excuse rebels and
bless them contrary to His revealed plan, or there would be no end to the
breaking of His eternal laws. He would have to continually excuse all wrongdoing
forever if He should start such a program, and under circumstances of this kind,
free wills would have no true restraint. If He excused some and not others, and
showed any degree of partiality, then free agents would lose proper respect for
Him as the Moral Governor. If He failed to reward for obedience and punish for
disobedience, or in any degree carried on government contrary to prescribed laws
for the best good of all, there would be no true incentive for free wills in all
eternity to conform to the eternal plan.
Bible plainly reveals that rebels in everlasting Hell will be an eternal
monument of God's wrath toward sin, in order to cause coming generations to
conform to the highest good of their own being and of the universe (Isa. 66:22-24;
should not present free wills cooperate with God to the best interests of all,
if there is such a place as an eternal monument of God's wrath? Why should they
not do it, since it is the creative purpose and the only natural and normal life
for each creature? Why should not God punish rebels who persist in destroying
themselves and the eternal society planned by God? Why should not God finally
take action, and confine all eternal rebels away from such society? Why should
not God bless all who voluntarily and wholeheartedly cooperate with Him in His
plan for the highest good and well-being of the universe? This plan of rewarding
obedience and punishing disobedience is the only just plan, and it is the only
one that could be used with free moral agents. Everyone can be blessed if he so
desires, or can be cursed if that is his choice. Therefore, punishment is not
compulsory for anyone. It is the free choice of the individual, and he alone is
to blame for his eternal choice and destiny. God's will is that none should be
lost (1 Tim.
2:4-6; 2 Pet.
God's dispensational dealings are necessary to assure lasting benefits for the
eternal society. They guarantee the preservation of God's eternal purpose, which
He purposed in Christ. Paul expressed the purpose of God's dealings with man
this way: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and
partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel . . . to make all men see what
is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath
been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now
unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known by the
church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he
purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 1:10; 3:1-11). This
eternal purpose will be dealt with fully in Lessons Forty-nine through
Another chief reason for God's present dealings with man is to make it eternally
possible for Him to be all-in-all. This will avoid constant worry, doubt, or
anxiety on His part concerning the eternal working of His predestined plan for
all creation now and for all generations that shall yet be brought into
God's Plan is Eternal
following Scriptures are just a few of many that teach an everlasting plan for
man on the Earth, and they mean exactly what they say, so they do not need
16; 17:7-9, 17; 26:1-4; 28:10-16; Exod. 15:17-19;
2 Sam. 7; Ps. 72; 89; Isa. 9:6-7; 59:20-21; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14, 18, 27; Ezek.
5:10; 11:15; 22:3-5).
fall of man does not do away with God's original plan and purpose. It merely
postpones it until the times of the restitution of all things, as before the
first rebellion started on Earth against God's kingdom. One should try to
conceive of the wonderful conditions that would have continued on Earth forever
if man had not fallen. Then if he will transfer that idea to the New Earth after
the Millennium, he will have the right idea of the eternal plan of God for man
on the Earth.
How to Get the Answers to the Lesson Questions
answers to the list of questions at the end of each lesson are found by
referring back to the lesson. The first question will be found in the first
paragraph of the lesson. Then in order, the other questions may be found in the
lesson, following each other in the same order that the questions are listed.
For example, Question 1, “How are the fifty-two lessons divided?” This is
answered in the first paragraph: The fifty-two lessons are divided into four
parts. The second part to Question 1, is, “Name the lesson divisions.” The
answer is again found in the first paragraph of the lesson. To get an idea of
the lessons as a whole, a good method of study is to find the answers to the
questions in the lessons, and put the number of the question beside the answer
in the lesson. Then in going over the lesson you can quickly find the answer to
each question by the number without searching for the answer.
—God's Plan for Man