In our last study we looked at God’s Grand Plan designed in eternity. Each member of the Godhead played a vital role in the execution of the plan.
Here’s how we described it –
- God the Father sends God the Son
- God the Son sends God the Spirit
- God the Spirit speaks of God the Son
- God the Son glorifies God the Father
It is an exquisite completed circle where every member of the Godhead is demonstrating love to each other and to human beings they created.
So, how did God execute the plan? That’s where it gets a bit more complicated.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” Deuteronomy 6:4
The Lord God is “one.” It doesn’t say God is one Person – it says God is “one.” That’s a term that describes unity. God is ‘one’ in Essence, three in Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – unified.
- One God (One Essence)
- Three distinct Persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)
God told Moses to speak those words to the children of Israel prior to their entering into the promised land. Here are verses just before the statement about God being ‘one’ –
“Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it,that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’” Deuteronomy 6:1-3
Why would God emphasize His being ‘one’ as part of Israel’s preparation to enter into the promised land? The Israelites had a long history of being around and even involved with the worship of multiple gods (polytheism). The family of Abraham worshiped pagan gods when they lived in Ur –
“And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from the other side of the River, led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. Also I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to what I did among them. Afterward I brought you out.” Joshua 24:2-5
Even though Abraham learned to worship the ‘one’ true God, members of his extended family were still involved in worshiping pagan gods, even to the time of his grandson Jacob (Israel) –
“Then God said to Jacob, ‘Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.’ And Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel; and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me in the way which I have gone.’ So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem.” Genesis 35:1-4
Jacob and his family were surrounded by people who worshiped the Canaanite gods and some of his family continued to worship the gods of Ur. When he moved his family to Egypt because of the famine, Jacob and his family were surrounded by the Egyptian gods. The Israelites had experienced centuries of exposure to pagan gods by the time God freed them from slavery in Egypt. God was going to send them into the ‘promised land’ where they would again face the temptation of worshiping foreign gods. What did Yaweh do? He reminded them that “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
The stories about the gods of the Canaanites, Egyptians and other ancient people were not at all like the God of the Bible. They were petty, unloving, uncaring and constantly fighting among themselves for position and power. The God of the Bible is loving, caring and unified. We find no evidence of pettiness and fighting among God the Father, God and Son and God the Holy Spirit.
“My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” John 10:29-31
Jesus made an amazing claim, one that the Jews understood immediately. That’s why they took up stones to kill Him. Jesus claimed a unity with and equality to God the Father.
Do we find squabbling and bickering between God the Father and God the Son? Do we find petty jealousies expressed among God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit? We don’t. Why? Because “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
God in eternity – “before time began,” “before the foundation of the world” – agreed on a grand plan where each member of the Godhead would carry out the plan’s purpose in beautiful perfection.
Secret Things Revealed
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29
All the secrets of eternity belong to God – and to those He reveals them –
“Daniel answered and said: Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.” Daniel 2:20-22
“Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-11
We might say that everything God determines in eternity to do in time and space is secret until He reveals them. That will be important to remember as we look at what each individual Member of the Godhead reveals. Why? Because God declares the end from the beginning –
“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.” Isaiah 46:9-10
God the Father
- God the Father sends God the Son
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
We see that the Father’s motivation for sending Jesus is His love for “the world.” But there is more to the plan –
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18
There is the issue of ‘condemnation’ that impacts those who do not believe “in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” We’ll dig deeper into that challenge in the near future.
First, let’s look at how God the Father revealed the grand plan to the world –
“So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:14-15
This is God’s first reveal about sending God the Son to the world. God spoke directly to the serpent (Satan) in the hearing of Adam and Eve. Eve understood God’s promise and thought that her firstborn son, Cain, would be that promised ‘man’ (Genesis 4:1). After God banished Cain because he killed his brother Abel, Eve had another son and believed he would be the seed God promised her –
“And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” Genesis 4:25
The “Seed” God promised Eve did come from the lineage of Seth centuries later. That “Seed” was Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21
God the Father sent God the Son to do many things. One of them was to “save His people from their sins.” God the Son would be the “Savior” of lost souls.
God often used angels (ἄγγελος – messengers) to reveal secrets to people. Here’s another:
“Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:30-33
God the Father sent God the Son to be great and reign from the throne of David over the house of Jacob (Israel) forever. God the Son would be the “Lord” of the world.
God the Father sent God the Son to be “Savior” and “Lord.”
Mary, the mother of Jesus, recognized that her Son would be both Savior and Lord –
“And Mary said: ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Luke 1:46-47
The angels of Heaven revealed that Jesus would be Savior and Lord –
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
God the Father revealed to Jesus’ disciples that God the Son was the One promised to Israel and to the world –
“Simon Peter answered and said, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 16:16-17
God the Father determined in eternity, “before the foundation of the world,” that He would send His Son to be Lord and Savior of the world.
“At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:25-30
In the next part of our study we will look at what God the Son determined to do in eternity and how He has done it in time and space.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.