Historical Plan of God

Tod Kennedy, 1997

  1. Introduction and definition
    • The Plan of God explains what God is doing, why He is doing it, and the way He is doing it. Three primary levels: 1) angelic conflict with Satan; 2) theocratic kingdom program (directed toward the re-establishment of God’s rightful rule over His creation); 3) dispensations (the progressive revelation of God’s unfolding plan for man). Understanding the plan of God gives the believer stability, orientation to history, purpose in life, and appreciation and love response to God.
  2. Basic questions about the historical plan of God
    • What? Bring creation, especially man with free will, back under God’s rule and blessing that were rejected at the fall.
    • Why? Demonstrate God’s perfection, God’s essence.
    • How? By reconciliation of the world and the demonstration of God’s character.
    • Persons? God, Angels, Man, Israel, Church, Christ.
    • Events? Creation, Fall, Promise, Redemption, Mystery, Judgment, Rule, Restore authority at end of Millennium.
    • Time? From the creation and or restoration of the earth to the end of the Millennium.
    • Central Scripture? Genesis 1:1-2, 3:6-7, 3:15; 12:1-3, John 1:1-14, Ephesians 3:1-14; 3:1-11, Colossians 1:15-20, Hebrews 1:1-4, 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, Revelation 22:20-21.
    • The plan of God for mankind centers in what? The seed promise (Genesis 3:15).
    • The plan of God for Israel centers in what? The Abrahamic covenant (Genesis 12:1-3).
    • The plan of God for the church centers in what? The Father will make believers like his son (Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5).
  3. The main Components of the historical plan of God
    • Angelic conflict: The angelic conflict is the spiritual warfare in which Satan and his fallen angels are pitted against God’s elect angels, Israel, and believers. (Jude 9; Revelation 12:1-4; Ephesians 6:10-13; 1 Peter 5:8). During the church age every believer is a priest and in full time service; Satan’s time grows short, therefore believers are the unique target.
    • Theocratic Program: God is restoring his rightful authority and rule over creation on earth in time. He created and formed Israel as the priest nation through whom the savior will come to present himself, to die, and return to rule. The central focus of the theocratic kingdom is Israel under Jesus Christ (Genesis 1:26-31; 3:15; 12:1-3; Daniel 2:44-45; Isaiah 9:6-7; Acts 1:6-7; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
    • Divine Institutions: Universal policies and practices for society that God set up for the preservation, protection, and blessing of the human race; for believer and unbeliever alike. They are 1) volition (Genesis 2:16-17; John 7:17), 2) marriage (Genesis 2:18-25; Colossians 3:18-19), 3) family (Genesis 4:1-2; Ephesians 6:4), 4) nationalism (Genesis 10:32-11:9; Acts 17:26-27).
    • Divine establishment: The organized and recognized authority, policy, purpose, and rules for temporal life of all mankind (establishment) that God (Divine) authorized, planned, and put into operation. God established them for the benefit, blessing, and protection of civilization, hence divine establishment. They apply to all the areas of society and to all people (Romans 13:1-10; Matthew 22:21).
    • Dispensations: A Divine administration of human history (or period of time) in the progressively revealed plan of God. Each dispensation is distinguished by doctrine, people, administrators, and events (Ephesians 1:10; 3:1-12). Time (human history) is divided by God into four basic administrations: 1) Age of the Gentiles (Genesis 1-11); 2) Age of Israel (Genesis 12-Gospels and Revelation 4-19); 3) Church Age (Acts-Revelation 3); 4) Millennium, the rule of Christ on earth (Select Old Testament Scripture such as Isaiah 11; Psalm 72; Daniel 2.4-45; and Revelation 20). Dispensational theology is based upon a normal or plain interpretation of the Bible and a recognition of the distinction between Israel and The Church.
    • Truth: Absolute truth, bible doctrine, is the knowledge that mankind needs to understand, participate in, and succeed in the historical plan of God. This truth was progressively revealed over time. It is called the Word of God, Scripture, the Bible (Titus 1:9; 2:1; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:10-12).
    • Volition: God created mankind with free will–the right and ability to make choices. This free will is called volition. God may at times, like a parent, limit or overrule the free will, but he does not remove it. Both the Bible themes and statements indicate that God gave man volition (Genesis 2:16-17; Acts 17:30; Romans 9:30-33; Luke 6:27; Isaiah 1:16-20).
    • Reconciliation: The act of removing the sin barrier, the enmity between God and man, through the death of Jesus Christ for our sins on the cross. Man has the opportunity to have eternal life instead of eternal death. The issue is the redeemer, Jesus Christ, not sin (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 53:5-6; Hebrews 10:12; Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 1:20-22).
    • A way of life: God designed a supernatural way of life for the believer: faith (Hebrews 4:1-2; 11; 2 Corinthians 5:8), the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19). Beginning with the church age the Holy Spirit’s ministry became a heightened ministry. From the creation of mankind until the coming of the Holy Spirit to the church believers were to believe the Word of God for day to day life (Hebrews 11). During that time the Holy Spirit gave power and ability but did not indwell all believers (John 14:17; Psalm 51:11; Exodus 31:1-3). Beginning with the church the Holy Spirit indwells every believer and each has the opportunity to walk by the Spirit (John 7:37-39; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Galatians 5:16; 2 Corinthians 3:4-18).
  4. The historical plan of God began with creation, or creation and restoration, or with restoration of the earth (Genesis 1-2). The options are below.
    • Original creation: Genesis 1:1 introduction. 1:2 state of beginning creation. 1:3ff, God forming the earth for habitation.
      • Satan fell after day 7 but before the fall of man or
      • Satan fell before creation began, but his fall did not physically affect earth or
      • Satan fell before creation was completed, but his fall did not physically affect earth.
    • Original creation and restoration: Genesis 1:1, Original creation good, Genesis 1:2, chaos due to the fall of Satan. Genesis 1:3ff, restoration of earth for man’s habitation (traditional gap).
    • Restoration: Genesis 1:1, introduction to the narrative of restoration after the fall of Satan. Genesis 1:2. the statement of chaos when God began restoration. Genesis 1:3, the details of restoration of earth for man’s habitation (Pre-Genesis gap).
    • The age of the earth (young or old) does not determine or demand any of the above views. The theory of evolution is wrong; it is rejected in all of the above views.