My goal through this series, The Plan of God, is to present to you the biblical plan of Yahweh. I contend that if we read the Bible as one book from Genesis to Revelation, we see a plan unfold that includes all nations. Inside this plan I hope to show you the purpose of Israel, the gentiles, and the church. Yahweh brings them all to the goal of His glory through His chosen Messiah, Yeshua. When God fulfills His purpose on the earth, everything will culminate in the glory of God being revealed to all nations. Every nation will come and worship Him. As we begin our journey to understanding this plan, I want to ask you a few questions to get you thinking in the right direction.
- What do you believe the ultimate goal of Yahweh is? What is His motive for doing everything?
- Within your understanding of God’s plan, do you see specific roles for Israel, the gentiles, and the church?
As always, I highly encourage you to think these ideas through and write down your answers so that you have a reference point to measure growth in your understanding.
That My Name May Be Proclaimed
The whole Bible deserves our utmost attention. Yet I find in myself a particular quickening when I read Yahweh teaching us about Himself. Something leaps in my heart when our Father reveals to us a specific goal of His. So I want to pick up in the book of Exodus where Yahweh tells Moses what to communicate to Pharaoh. Within this directive, Yahweh unveils His purpose in His dealings with Pharaoh. All of the plagues, the Passover, the parting of the Red Sea serves one ultimate purpose. The function of it all is that Yahweh’s name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.
I would now ask the question: did it work? Did Yahweh’s power displayed through His dealings with Pharaoh cause His name to be proclaimed in all the earth? Let’s fast forward to the time when the children of Israel sent spies into Jericho and met Rahab. Look carefully at what Rahab says concerning Yahweh.
8 Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof 9 and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. 10 For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. 11 And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
In order to get a better comprehension on what we just read, let’s imagine that we are living during the time of this writing. The distance between Egypt and Jericho is about 300 miles. Email, phone, and text had yet to be invented. Long distance communication occurred only through actual messengers, or word of mouth via trade routes, etc. And yet despite all of this, the word on the streets of Jericho is one that brings fear and dread. As soon as men hear this message their hearts fail for lack of strength.
“As soon as we heard it, our hearts melted…for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” – Rahab
Can you imagine this? We have seen nothing like this. Terror being struck into the hearts of men because there are reports circling of a God, whose name is Yahweh, who parts waters, subdues kingdoms, destroys entire nations, and preserves a group of people less in number than every other nation. Not to mention, this Yahweh feeds His people miraculously, makes rivers flow out of rocks, appears in clouds and fire, and dwells amongst His people. None who come up against Him succeed. And now this God, Yahweh, has led His people to the doorstep of Jericho. In today’s easy going Christianity, we are so far removed from a God whose power and very name strike fear into the hearts of those who oppose Him.
I hope you see that Yahweh acts out of regard for His great name. Everything He does, the display of His power and love shows the world a God who is like none other. One who is high above the gods of the earth and the fabrication of man’s hands. Yahweh’s patience and severity towards His enemies is purposed to exalt His name. Likewise, His discipline towards His children, even when they utterly forsake Him, also functions to make for Him a glorious name. Listen to Isaiah remind us of the children of Israel’s rebellion against the Holy Spirit and the subsequent motivation of Yahweh to persevere with them in power. All of it was to make for Himself an everlasting and glorious name. Amen!
10 But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. 11 Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people. Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock?
Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, 12 who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, 13 who led them through the depths? Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. 14 Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name.
That passage is chuck full of richness. Notice the presence of His Holy Spirit. Make note of the patience of our great Father. Even in rebellion and stubbornness, Yahweh acts to show the world His character and the greatness of His name. Clearly, the goal of Yahweh acting in the earth is to show the nations how awesome He truly is, that all may glory in His holy name. When we grasp this we can begin to live in accordance with Abba’s ultimate goal, to make His name glorious.
The Central Figure, the Nation of Israel
We examined how Yahweh intends that His name may be known and proclaimed in all the earth; in other words, that He may be glorified in all the earth. You could call this His goal. In order to reach His goal, He established a plan or course of action. His chosen instrument, or central figure, in His grand scheme is the nation of Israel. I intentionally used the word chosen because the scriptures tell us plainly that our Father chose Israel, like it or not. He chose the offspring of Abraham forever because Abraham trusted God and obeyed His torah (Gen. 26:3-5). He intends that through His dealings with Israel, the world will look and see His character, nature, and power. When the end of the age comes, God will reveal Himself exclusively as the God who sanctifies Israel (Ezek. 37:24-28).
The way He interacts with Israel is through covenants. This oversimplifies things, but think of covenants as an agreement between two living parties. Inside of God’s covenants with Israel, there are promises that have yet to be fulfilled. As the last days drama unfolds, Yahweh’s dealings with His people, Israel, as He brings them from death to life as a nation, will leave the world without excuse as to who God really is. It is because of this that Yahweh designates Israel as the focal point for the world. As the world looks at Israel they will see Yahweh, and have to make a decision about what to do with Israel’s God and subsequently, their Messiah.
- The result of this plan has a two-fold impact:
- The onlooking nations observe Yahweh’s loving character and come to worship before Him willingly.
- Other nations buck against His restraints, refusing to submit to His ways, and make themselves His enemy. These nations will eventually find themselves subject to the wrath of God against their ungodliness. Yahweh’s desire is that through their judgment they might repent and turn to His ways.
To summarize, Yahweh’s goal of being glorified only happens within the context of His eternal plan. This plan revolves around God’s covenant with Israel. Israel is the example, the model that the nations can use to observe the character and power of Yahweh. What they do with that knowledge in their response to Him is their choice. Either way, one day all nations will bow in subjection to the King that Yahweh places on His holy hill, King Yeshua. When every ruler and power, both fleshly and spiritual, are placed in subjection to Him, then Yeshua will turn all authority back over to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
In the next lesson we will go in depth on the specific role Israel plays in God’s plan. For now, I want to continue to bring your attention to passages that detail how Yahweh’s interactions with Israel affect the entire world.
The Redemption and Restoration of Israel
Inside His dealings with Israel, two key components demand attention. One, the return of the Messiah as King to restore the kingdom of Israel, and two, the accompanying redemption and restoration that Israel will experience. Both of these actions are linked together and show the centrality of Israel in the plan of God. Only when the coming King reigns and Israel is restored completely, as described by the Bible, will Yahweh be glorified in the sight of all nations.
We will look more into the coming kingdom and the latter days in other studies, but for now it is important to examine the purpose behind God being faithful to His covenant with Israel despite all of their stubbornness and rebellion. I want to prepare you for what we are about to read.
- You need to know a few things that may correct common misconceptions that exist today.
- God’s choosing of Israel was completely unmerited by them. In other words, they possess zero innate qualities that entitled them to God’s election.
- In spite of their rebellion, His election of them still stands. And since this election was unmerited, God will not revoke His calling and purpose for them. (Rom.11:28-29)
- God made promises to Israel that are still yet future. Prophecies that require fulfillment are directly linked to Israel and Yahweh’s land.
This is a brief few points that the prophets literally took thousands of years, and a lot of writing and teaching to explain. But I merely want you to understand that our Father hasn’t abandoned His plan. His plan always revolved around His covenant with Abraham and his descendants, Israel. The fulfillment of Yahweh’s plan is contigent upon His faithfulness, not the faithfulness of man. One of the faithful promises God makes Israel is concerning their full restoration (which has not happened). Let’s look at Ezekiel to glimpse why God will restore the fortunes of His rebellious people, Israel.
16 The word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds. Their ways before me were like the uncleanness of a woman in her menstrual impurity. 18 So I poured out my wrath upon them for the blood that they had shed in the land, for the idols with which they had defiled it. 19 I scattered them among the nations, and they were dispersed through the countries. In accordance with their ways and their deeds I judged them. 20 But when they came to the nations, wherever they came, they profaned my holy name, in that people said of them, ‘These are the people of the Lord, and yet they had to go out of his land.’ 21 But I had concern for my holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations to which they came.
22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am Yahweh, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. 30 I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. 32 It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord God; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel.
There remains a future time when Yahweh will restore the fortunes of Israel to the biblical proportion that He promised. Do not grow slack or weary when you consider the astonishing, almost unimaginable promises that the Father made to His children. In fact, we should yearn to see Israel restored and redeemed back to the Father. Paul reveals this restoration as a mystery of God! One that the church has taken too lightly, and hardly even given a cursory glance. Paul details a salvation to all of Israel that comes when, and only when, the gentiles’ fullness has come in!
25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written,
“The Deliverer will come from Zion,
he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”;
27 “and this will be my covenant with them
when I take away their sins.”
Do you feel the weight of this scripture? It carries with it a glory that speaks of a reality few have the courage to believe and teach. God says that when the gentiles reach their fullness, then Israel will experience the salvation of their Deliverer: Yeshua their Messiah. This epochal event results in the very covenant God made with Israel becoming a tangible, authentic reality with which the world is violently confronted.
In a moment everything will be cataclysmically transformed. The King will return to His holy hill to exact vengeance upon His enemies. All nations will know His holiness.
The Returning Messiah and Coming King
I desperately want to continue with the glory that accompanies that which is yet to be, but we need to back up a bit. Ushering in Israel’s redemption and restoration is the returning Messiah and their coming King. Remember what the apostles asked Yeshua right before He ascended into heaven?
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
Let it be known, the Father will restore the kingdom back to Israel through the return of their Messiah. In fact, if you have eyes to see it, King David’s prayer that he offers unto Yahweh in 2 Samuel details some of the inner workings of God’s plan culminating in a coming king. The backdrop here is that Yahweh was acting mightily on behalf of King David and the nation of Israel. Yahweh tells David that his kingly lineage will extend forever, prophesying of the Messiah who would come from the lineage of David. During this exchange, listen to the beauty of David understanding Israel’s role in making Yahweh’s name great in all the earth through the coming Messiah.
2 Samuel 7:20-26
20 And what more can David say to you? For you know your servant, O Lord our God! 21 Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it. 22 Therefore you are great, O Lord our God. For there is none like you, and there is no God besides you, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 23 And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods? 24 And you established for yourself your people Israel to be your people forever. And you, O Lord, became their God. 25 And now, O Lord God, confirm forever the word that you have spoken concerning your servant and concerning his house, and do as you have spoken. 26 And your name will be magnified forever, saying, ‘The Lord of hosts is God over Israel,’ and the house of your servant David will be established before you.
Yeshua is the Messiah, the Anointed One of Israel.
Yeshua comes from the house of David. He is the one who will reign in the lineage of David. When He returns He will set up His literal kingdom on earth and reign from Jerusalem, and His law will go forth from Zion (Is.2:3).
Ezekiel prophesies of a marvelous progression of events that takes place after the coronation of the King of Israel. As we go through these Scriptures, mark Yahweh’s reason behind literally everything He does. By this time you should be able to guess what it is! To make His name and holiness known throughout all the earth- that the nations will see and fear His awesome and glorious name!
(A quick lesson here before we dive into these passages. Scripturally, the enemies of Israel almost always prophetically come from the north. So when you see scripture speak of “disaster from the north,” it is usually referencing Israel’s enemies marching against them.)
21 then say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from all around, and bring them to their own land. 22 And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms. 23 They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols and their detestable things, or with any of their transgressions. But I will save them from all the backslidings in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes. 25 They shall dwell in the land that I gave to my servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children shall dwell there forever, and David my servant shall be their prince forever. 26 I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
Notice that in the midst of doing this marvelous work for Israel, Yahweh still has the nations in mind. He desires for the nations to see how He sanctifies His people, and that will provoke the nations unto either repentance or hardening.
God As Judge
It really would be prudent to just open your Bibles and keep reading where that last passage left off. After God sets His King on His holy hill, He begins to vindicate His holiness in the eyes of the nations. His method of vindication is His judgments.
Yahweh’s judgments are always in direct proportion to the nation’s sins.
We must arrive at a place in our hearts where we see the utmost significance of Yahweh’s judgments on humanity. In fact, we must come to a place where we worship God as Judge. His righteous judgements are always for His purposes. This idea cannot merely be learned by study or contemplation. One must be apprehended by the reality of God as Judge. Only then will we learn to worship Him in the beauty of His holiness.
So we pick back up in the text with the enemies of the north marching against Israel speaking evil and desiring destruction against those dwelling securely in God’s land. Little do they realize that the pit they dug for Israel, they themselves will fall into. God is bringing them from the north so that He may render judgment upon them!
14 “Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord God: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, will you not know it? 15 You will come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army. 16 You will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.
Yahweh is so confident in His eternal plan that He actually causes the nation of Gog to march against His people Israel. He tells us why He does it, so that the nations may know Him.As the prophecy progresses, Yahweh defeats the armies of the north with great displays of His power and might. Then He again warrants His reasoning behind defeating them.
18 But on that day, the day that Gog shall come against the land of Israel, declares the Lord God, my wrath will be roused in my anger. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.
Through all of these deliverances Yahweh works by His own power, His glory and holy name is His chief motive. The day His holiness is vindicated from before His enemies is a day long since prophesied.
7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, declares the Lord God. That is the day of which I have spoken.
After defeating the armies of the north, even the burying of Israel’s enemies will bring Israel renown and glorify Yahweh! Wow.
12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and it will bring them renown on the day that I show my glory, declares the Lord God.
The judgments of God are not to be considered or taken lightly. They are costly. His righteous judgements cost His Son’s life. The moment God ceases to be Judge, He cease to be God.
In fact, the very foundation of God’s throne is justice and righteousness (Ps.89:14).
The Crucial Attribute, the Mercy of God
As Judge, God reserves full authority to extend mercy. Mercy is only mercy when it is completely undeserved. Remember this, God always does what He is. So when He extends mercy, He is acting from His nature. As the plan of God unfolds in history, there will come a day where Yahweh will have mercy on His people for all of their sin and rebellion. This occurs after many judgments are wrought on the earth.
21 “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.
25 “Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob and have mercy on the whole house of Israel, and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore. 29 And I will not hide my face anymore from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”
Blindness Is Healed
In this eschatological drama, there will come a time after the nations gather against Jerusalem and Yahweh delivers His people that the blindness in which they once walk will be healed. I am convinced that the saddest event in history will be the realization that Israel missed their Messiah when He visited them. Because of their generational sin and rebellion, God caused them to be blind so they did not see the time of their visitation. The image of the invisible God was standing right in front of Him and yet they crucified Him. They rejected their King. But their King did not reject them.
Finally, there will come a day where Israel will look upon Yeshua and realize that this is He whom they pierced. Bitter weeping and mourning will be heard in Jerusalem, not heard since the days of lament for Josiah (2 Chron. 35:24-25). After this sorrow, Yahweh will cleanse His people from their unrighteousness and forgive their sins. They will be a blessed people indeed, with the King of Kings reigning from His holy hill, Zion.
Zechariah 12:10 – 13:1
10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning forHadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo [Josiah]. 12 The land shall mourn, each family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 and all the families that are left, each by itself, and their wives by themselves.
1 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.
It would be an understatement to say that I have only briefly touched on the subject of Yahweh’s glory and holiness. Nonetheless, my prayer is that you can begin to see the real motivation behind everything our heavenly Father does. His glory is His chiefest concern.
If we say that His glory is also our priority, then I would encourage you to continue studying how God said He would be glorified. I find all too often that well meaning individuals actually profane the name of Yahweh by things they say and do mainly because they are ignorant to His real plan as detailed by Scripture. My biggest complaint with the modern day obsession of so called “prophetic” movements is that Israel is rarely mentioned in their movement. How can this be? We clearly see that Israel doesn’t just play a role in God’s plan; I would venture to say they play the biggest role! In the next lesson we will dive more into Israel’s specific roles given by God. God has elected them for very specific purposes and yet they refuse to walk in their calling!
Lest I digress, I want you to be spurred on to bringing glory to God in accordance with His great plan for this universe. My prayer is that this series helps us learn to do just that.