In our last study we looked at the role of God the Father in the grand plan designed in eternity – “before time began, before the foundation of the world.”

  • God the Father Sends God the Son

What did God the Father send His Son to do in time and space?

  • God the Father sent God the Son to be the Savior of the world.
  • 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” of the world.

God the Son

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and accomplished exactly what God the Father sent Him to do.

And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him.” Luke 9:30-32

I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.” Luke 12:49-51

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon.” Luke 18:31-32

Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” Luke 22:36-37

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ‘I thirst!’ Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” John 19:28-30

“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.” Ephesians 1:8-12

Notice the words “eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The Apostle Paul claimed here that God the Father accomplished His eternal purpose “in Christ Jesus our Lord.” That’s significant to note in our study because it demonstrates how the eternal plan of God determined “before time began” was accomplished in time and space.

The first Scripture quoted above concerns what happened on a mountain in Israel. It happened soon after Jesus fed thousands of people miraculously starting with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Afterward, Jesus asked His disciples how the crowds identified Him. The answers included ‘John the Baptist,’ ‘Elijah,’ or one of the ‘old prophets’ who had risen again. Then Jesus asked His disciples – “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” Jesus then told the disciples that He, “The Son of Man,” would suffer many things, be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.

What Jesus did at that moment was reveal the heart of the eternal plan – the reason God the Father sent God the Son to the world. The disciples didn’t understand what Jesus told them until after the Resurrection, but Jesus did reveal that part of the plan to them.

Jesus then gave His disciples more insight into the inner workings of God’s eternal plan. He told them what following Him would cost them personally – all part of God’s plan from “before time began” –

“Then He said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:23-27

About eight days after saying those words to the disciples, Jesus took Peter, John and James up on a mountain to pray –

“As He prayed, the appearance of His face was altered, and His robe became white and glistening. And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and those with him were heavy with sleep; and when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men who stood with Him. Then it happened, as they were parting from Him, that Peter said to Jesus, ‘Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah’—not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were fearful as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’ When the voice had ceased, Jesus was found alone. But they kept quiet, and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.” Luke 9:29-36

Several important things happened during Jesus’ transfiguration

  • Jesus’ appearance was altered in view of three witnesses: Peter, James and John. His robe became white and glistened. This change of appearance was part of revealing Jesus as God the Son to His disciples.
  • Two men who lived centuries earlier (Moses and Elijah) appeared with Jesus and spoke about Jesus’ death which He was about to “accomplish at Jerusalem.” Moses represented the Law of God and Elijah represented the Prophets of God. Moses, who was buried by God, and Elijah, who was taken into Heaven without dying, both knew about God’s eternal plan in more detail than they did when they were alive on earth. They knew who Jesus was and that He was going to die at Jerusalem. God had revealed that to them.
  • Peter recognized who Moses and Elijah were and wanted to build three tabernacles for them and Jesus.
  • A cloud overshadowed them as Peter spoke and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!'”
  • After they heard the voice of God the Father, the cloud disappeared and Jesus was alone with them.
  • Peter, James and John kept secret what they had seen.

That event would have been further confirmation to Peter, James and John that they were following the Son of God, the promised Messiah of Israel. It is also confirmation for us that God was carefully revealing His eternal plan to the followers of His Son –

  • God the Father sent God the Son to be the Savior of the world.
  • 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” of the world.

The Law and Prophets

Jesus often spoke about how what He was doing was a fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. The Law and Prophets were an integral part of the great reveal of the eternal plan of God –

Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17-18

Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 11:11-15

The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.” Luke 16:16-17

Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Luke 24:44-45

An important part of the eternal plan designed “before time began” was how God would reveal the plan during time and space

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4

Moses, who was also called a prophet (Deuteronomy 34:10), and Elijah and the other prophets of the Old Testament, revealed much of God’s eternal plan over a period of about a thousand years. In “these last days,” God spoke “by His Son.” Even as God spoke through Moses, Elijah and the other prophets, God the Father spoke through His Son. When we read the words of Jesus in the New Testament we are also hearing the voice of God the Father.

That’s extremely important for us to understand and remember. As Moses told Israel –

“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

Everything that God determined to do in eternity is a secret until He reveals it. What God reveals to humans “belong to us and to our children forever.” Why? “… that we may do all the words of this law.”

Revealing the Father

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.’ Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:1-11

Jesus received a lot of attention during His time on earth, but getting attention for Himself was not His intention. He had come from Heaven to earth to reveal His Heavenly Father. What was the purpose of God the Son revealing God the Father? To bring glory to the Father –

Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16

Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” John 12:27-28

** The eternal plan was based on the idea of God the Father glorifying God the Son in time and space so that God the Son could glorify God the Father in time and space. The gift of eternal life that is a central part of the eternal plan determined “before the foundation of the world” is that God the Son would give eternal life to as many people as God the Father gave to God the Son. Eternal life, said God the Son, is to know the Father and the Son.  **

When Jesus taught people how to pray, He taught them to begin by glorifying the Father –

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13

When Jesus was nearing His death on the Cross, He demonstrated a deep desire to glorify the Father –

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” John 17:1-5

Jesus prayed these words to His Father on the night of His arrest. Jesus was just hours away from being beaten and crucified for our sins and what was foremost on His mind was bringing glory to His father. How did Jesus accomplish that? By finishing the “work” that His Father had given Him to do.

Jesus glorified His Father on the earth by finishing the work His Father had given Him to do. That’s an important insight to what happened in eternity “before time began.” God the Father gave God the Son “the work” because that’s the eternal plan. That is why Jesus said, “It is finished,” on the Cross. He finished “the work” His Father had given Him in eternity to accomplish in time and space.

The Father did not assign His Son “the work” of dying on the Cross to do as an afterthought because things went horribly wrong in the Garden of Eden. God the Father gave “the work” to His Son in eternity – “before the foundation of the world.” That’s important for all of us to understand and remember during our time on earth.

A Personal Note

I am deeply concerned that many Christians don’t understand this foundational point about why God did what He did and why He’s doing what He’s doing. Many Christians seem confused by it all. That’s based on being a Christian for almost 50 years, meeting thousands of Christians during those years, talking with them about what they believe and why, listening to preachers preach and teachers teach, and reading hundreds of books about God, the Bible, and Christianity.

The differences in what Christians believe about God, the Bible, and Christianity is astounding and disheartening to me, which is one reason for this series of studies about The Great Reveal. We are all on an epic journey through time, space and eternity and we need to get it right – the first time. We won’t have a second chance to get it right, so this is it. This is our opportunity to bring glory to the Father in time and space.

My prayer is that things about God and life that are fuzzy or confusing now will become clear and understandable as we continue together.

Next Time

In the next part of our study we will look at the role of God the Holy Spirit in time and space based on what He determined to do in eternity.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.