By Larry White

In the beginning before God created the world, he had a purpose in his own divine will, which he was going to develop and bring to pass according to his own time plan.  You can get a sense of God's ordered plan when you read direct references to it. 

1-- God's promise to Abraham was to be fulfilled on schedule, "the time of the promise" (Acts7:17
2-- This is called, "the fullness of the time" i.e. when Jesus was sent by God. (Gal.4:4
3-- The kingdom was revealed in, "the dispensation of the fullness of times". (Eph.1:10)

This plan and purpose of God's, for the most part, was hidden in a cloud of mystery and no man knew what God was doing or why he had created the world. 

He has made every [thing] beautiful in his time: also he has set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God makes from the beginning to the end. 

    Beautiful = Everything falling together in it's proper time. 
    World = Eternity, a sense of or notion of the infinite duration of things both past and future. 

   Yet, man did not have the ability to see the whole thing, the big picture. Man could not comprehend the work of God. The reason for this is because God had not revealed it to man until he gave us the Spirit. Carnally minded man could not (and still cannot) comprehend the things of God or the things of the Spirit. For God is a spirit (as Jesus said) and man is carnal, sold under sin (as Paul said in Rom.7). 

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [mature]: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. 

    But now we can understand this mystery of God, because it's revealed to us by his Spirit. 

But God has revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual [men]. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

   To bring his purpose about, God selected one man out of the earth, not because he was righteous by himself, but because he evinced the quality that God was going to require in man to fulfill his purpose, i.e. Faith. I'm referring to Abraham. God promised Abraham that all the world would be blessed in his seed (offspring), which, in hidden terms, was actually God's purpose in a mystery. Through this man God was going to bring forth a nation (Israel) as a representative nation out of all the nations of the world. To this elect nation he gave his Law and they became his own people and he became their own God. 

He did this for a number of reasons: 
    1. To preserve a knowledge of God in the earth. Jesus said to the Jews, "You are the light of the world..." "You are the salt of the earth..." The Jews knew who the true God was. They were witnesses. They were a source of knowledge and of preservation. 
    2. To set forth God's dealings with man in a elementary way and to establish a common language so that man could grasp God's concepts and actually go through the motions of his purpose and see spiritual realities with physical types. (e.g. the Tabernacle an antitype of the Church, the true type) 
    3. Also by giving the Law he pointed out to man what sin is; to make men see their need of a savior. (which we'll discuss later) 

   God was faithful to Israel and was like a husband to them. He proved beyond question that he was the God of the universe and that he was sufficient to provide for Israel. But not all of the Jews believed God. As Isaiah said, "Who has believed our report?" And in another place God says, "All day long I stretched forth my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people". 
   But always in the middle of this worldly and disbelieving nation, there were those who did believe and clung to Jehovah and put their trust in him. God watches over these left-over people and gives to them comfort and hope with renewed promises. These people are referred to as the Remnant. Most of us know what a remnant is: left-over material from a dress or the scraps of a carpet. The prophet (Amos.3:12) gives a vivid description of a shepherd recovering out of the mouth of the lion, two legs or a piece of an ear. There is a definite and intriguing identification of this Remnant with the beginning of the church and the start of the spiritual creation in Isaiah 11. 

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. 

   The remnant are the people left over in the land after a war has killed most of the population. The ensign of course is Jesus and he gathers his elect from the four corners of the earth. This faithful Remnant were godly people who knew God and kept his word in the middle of the nation of Israel who had forsaken him. Therefore they were beaten down and destitute, meek and poor in spirit, who always mourned for the sins of their country. But God kept them in his heart - watched over them and made plans for their eventual glory. 

Isa.54:11-17 (God speaking to them) 
O you afflicted, tossed with tempest, [and] not comforted, look, I will lay your stones with fair colors, and lay your foundations with sapphires. And I will make your windows of agates, and your gates of carbuncles, and all your borders of pleasant stones. And all your children [shall be] taught of Jehovah; and great [shall be] the peace of your children. In righteousness shall you be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near you. Look, they shall surely gather together, [but] not by me: whoever shall gather together against you shall fall for your sake. Look, I have created the smith that blows the coals in the fire, and that brings forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against you shall prosper; and every tongue [that] shall rise against you in judgment you shall condemn. This [is] the heritage of the servants of Jehovah, and their righteousness [is] of me, says Jehovah

   At the proper time, there would come a branch (or tender green shoot) that would spring up out of Israel's dry ground to be a savior of the Remnant; to give light to the Gentiles and salvation to the entire world. This of course is Christ. 

Isa. 53:1-2
Who has believed our report? and to whom is the arm of Jehovah revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him.  
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  And the spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah;
And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. 

   The house (or lineage) of David was like an old stump of a cut down tree, but there was still life in it. That life was the spiritual seed that was going to come and revive the people of God. The faithful Remnant would be saved and be victorious and the kingdom would be given to them in the form of the church. 

And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, says Jehovah. Look, the days come, says Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this [is] his name whereby he shall be called, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. 

   The link that we have of the Remnant with the church in the New Testament is in the book of Romans. The Remnant becomes more than the poor and faithful of Israel, but also the faithful of all ages, who God, from the beginning before he created the world, knew would be faithful to him, and so provided for them in history. These are referred to as the people that he foreknew. 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.  

I say then, Has God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, [of] the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away his people which he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says of Elias? how he makes intercession to God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed your prophets, and dug down your altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. But what says the answer of God to him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to [the image of] Baal.  Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 

   With this Remnant always preserved in Israel and this new living sprout or branch coming to gather the Remnant together, in a sense, physical Israel was giving birth. She was giving birth to the kingdom; the spiritual Israel; the church. 

Isa.66:5-14 (speaking to the remnant) 
Hear the word of Jehovah, you that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, "Let Jehovah be glorified": but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed. A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of Jehovah that renders recompense to his enemies. Before she travailed, she gave birth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who has heard such a thing? who has seen such things? Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? [or] shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she gave birth to her children. Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? says Jehovah: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut [the womb]? says your God. Rejoice you with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her: That you may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that you may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. For thus says Jehovah, Look, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall you suck, you shall be borne upon [her] sides, and be dandled upon [her] knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when you see [this], your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of Jehovah shall be known toward his servants, and [his] indignation toward his enemies. 

Now gather yourself in troops, O daughter of troops: he has laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] you be little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of you shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] she which travails has given birth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. 

Sing, O barren, you [that] did not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you [that] did not travail with child: for more [are] the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says Jehovah. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of your habitations: do not spare, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes; For you shall break forth on the right hand and on the left; and your seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Do not fear; for you shall not be ashamed: neither be you confounded; for you shall not be put to shame: for you shall forget the shame of your youth, and shall not remember the reproach of your widowhood any more. For your Maker [is] your husband; Jehovah of hosts [is] his name; and your Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. 

   Here, Sarah is a type of the Remnant who would ultimately have more children than her worldly opponent. This is the passage to which Paul refers in Gal.4:26-27 and he says that the Jerusalem that is from above is the mother of us all. So, historically speaking, physical Israel has given birth to a spiritual nation. 
   Jesus said to the Jews, "The kingdom of God doesn't come with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, look, the kingdom of God is within you." (Lk.17:20-21) 
   From within Israel, God brought forth his New Creation, the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Spiritual Kingdom, the kingdom that filled the whole earth.
This was the mystery. 

How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 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; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 

This New Jerusalem of God's was part of his New Creation, complete with: 
    1. A new heaven and new earth (spiritual) 
    2. A new Adam (spiritual) 
    3. And a new Israel (spiritual) 

And you shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay you, and call his servants by another name: That he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, look, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be you glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, look, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 

   The new heaven and earth is the new, spiritual economy in heaven and earth wherein we serve God in the spirit. The new Jerusalem is the heavenly, spiritual city of God, known to us as the church. The new Adam in this creation is none other than Jesus Christ, the firstborn from among the dead. 

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 

The new Israel of God is named by Paul in

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace [be] on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 

   We now, are the new creation of God's, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Israel of God. 
    (In the next lesson we'll explore more closely what this new creation is.) 

   When Jesus performed his first miracle in Cana in John 2, he turned water into wine. But as with all the miracles of Christ, there is a lesson to be learned. This lesson is put into the mouth of the governor of the marriage feast who receives the wine and chastises the bridegroom for his social blunder. 

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know from where it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And says to him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: [but] you have kept the good wine until now. 

   Jesus is the universal bridegroom, and the Jews at the wedding feast thought that they had drunk the best that God could give, and they had drank their fill. But God did something unexpected and unheard of. He saved the best wine, the new wine, the wine of Christ, until now. 
   God made everything beautiful in his time, and in God's eternal plan, this was the time for Christ. 

   If you would like to be part of God's new creation, God offers you his salvation through Christ today. By putting your faith in Jesus, his blood can wash your sins away. Repent and be immersed into Christ for the remission of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. He'll give you a new life and make you a new creature in his new kingdom. 

(Originally delivered as a sermon in Eagle Point, OR. September 2, 1984)


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