“ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES”
“The all inclusiveness of God’s love.” Part 2.
Our most recent newsletter dealt with the subject matter shown above, but there is so much more to say that it seems prudent for us to take the lesson one step further in order to view the big picture. It is evident that God’s overall master plan for his own creation that he created by the word of his mouth, carries far greater significance than many local churches and their leaders are willing to teach. Seemingly, the programs and efforts of local churches and even foreign missionaries are promoted for the sole purpose of saving a few lost souls, and relinquishing the greater majority to the devil and an everlasting burning hell. It is much like a business man who encountered bad times and he tries to salvage all he can, and as the saying goes, “Get what you can and count your losses.” With that mindset among the majority of God’s people, we are told that God will have to settle for 1/3rd of all of mankind, and let the devil take the remaining 2/3rds.
One of the questions that should surface in our minds at this juncture should be this: “Did God create something (like a Frankenstein monster) that he suddenly discovered he can not control?” If we have forgotten who is the God we believe in, and serve, let me rehearse something in your ears: “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. (Meaning there is room for no one else. He covers the broad spectrum of religious thinking) Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48: 12-13. Does this kind of assertion seem to come from someone with limited power and limited will? Have we lost sight of God’s omnipotence?
Listen to the formula God used to create all things and imagine if there is any power to match! “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.” Psalm 33:6. The awesomeness of God is that he said “LET THERE BE and THERE WAS! He does not have to bite his lips or push his big toe into the ground when he says; “Look unto ME, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: (where ever people are) for I am God, and there is none else. I am God, and there is none like me.” Isaiah 45: 22; 46: 9. With all this power and might at his disposal and love that passeth all understanding, where is the competition?
As the prophet announced the coming of Messiah, he exclaimed: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11: 9.Although the birth of Christ was some 487 years in the future, an ancient prophet wrote: “And he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river (Euphrates) even to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9: 10. This language is meant to encompass all peoples, all regions, and all nations upon earth. Alas! My Friend! His kingdom and his love that forms the trademark of his kingdom, knows no boundaries—no limitations set by man, conditions or circumstances capable of side-tracking his predestinated will and purpose.
Let us use a hypothetical scenario to bring out a point beginning with certain scriptures! “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4: 14. John, in the gospels, saw him coming towards the Jordan River and announced: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1: 29. Notice carefully, his mandate! Let us throw this little bit in for good measure. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2: 3-4. Let us assume that Jesus the Savior knew before hand that it was the Father’s will to have all men saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Let us assume that before he left the bosom of the Father he knew what his mission to earth was.
On an express mission to do the will of the Father, we are told explicitly what Jesus did when he died upon the cross. “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” 1 Timothy 2: 6. Listen to how the N.E.B translation renders this passage: “Such prayer is right, and approved by God our Savior, whose will it is that all men should find salvation and come to know the truth. For there is one God, and also one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, himself man, who sacrificed himself to win freedom for all mankind, so providing, at the fitting time, proof of the divine purpose.” Paul indicated to the Corinthians that if ONE died for all, then were ALL dead.2 Corinthians 5: 14. For us who live in this 21st century know how ransom works. People are being taken in kidnappings and in most cases a ransom must be paid for their release, so let us look more closely at what Jesus did. So here is our hypothetical scenario!
Upon the cross, Jesus said, “It is finished” and gave up the ghost. Upon his ascension he promptly returned to the Father who greeted him with a warm welcome of “mission accomplished.” But after some time had passed the Father looked down upon the earth and much to his dismay realized that all of mankind were not ransomed after all. He called his Son into a conference and asked some pointed question. “Son, upon the cross, you said it was finished. I assumed you meant that my will that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth was accomplished. Did you not give yourself a ransom for all? Yes Father! Then why is 2/3rds of mankind going to my competitor, the devil, and I am left with only 1/3rd? Well, Father, I don’t know how to explain it and I sure don’t know what went wrong. I did my best by giving all of me in return for all of them, but it did not seem to work! I gave myself a ransom for all, but for some weird reason for which I have no answer, it seems that all were not ransomed after all!
Come on my Friend! Wake up and smell the coffee as the saying goes! For centuries upon centuries, the church has been busy clobbering folks over the head with a burning hell out of which none can escape. They love to preach this kind of punishment over and over and over, because it puts the fear of God in people and bring them under subjection. The result of God’s redeeming grace and the ransom paid by Jesus Christ was not a gleaming message in those times, because people needed to come to God in fear and trembling, thus making the pastor’s work a little easier. If I can leave my neighbor tied up in chains, I am free to do my own thing for as long as I please. When we venture to infer that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, many reply by saying; “Yes, God is ready and willing to reconcile those who hear the gospel message, repent and come to Jesus.” But if we read 2 Corinthians 5: 18,19, first it says: And all things are of God. What? “The good, the bad, and the ugly”? Not only are all things of God—because nothing just happened by chance or as some prefer to say, “By Providence.” “The Lord hath made all things for himself, yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” Proverbs 16: 4.
“All things were made by him; and without him was nothing made that was made.” How much more clarification do we need? If we think that God is simply loving and pampering those who go to church, pay their tithes and pull out their bibles at lunch time to see if they can win a few to Christ, we need to reshape our mindset and our thought pattern. Tell me, please, somebody! Anybody! Who writes a best seller to be made into a movie with all “good and saintly fellows”? No Sir! A best seller becomes such because of a mixture of characters, and in a lot of cases, it is the villain, the person with the mean streak who thinks of no boundaries to what evil he or she will perpetrate that brings crowds to the theatre.
Take a quick look at the bible! Is it a book chock full of only good people? It is packed with murderers, with drunks, with homosexuals, with prostitutes, whoredom, betrayals, adulteries, witchcraft, fortune-telling, and holy men who sought the Lord, and who stood in the gap between God and wicked men. It is because of this narrative against, and on behalf of man that the all encompassing, all inclusive love of God indeed, does pass all understanding. Think of a few things about us that would merit God’s love! You want to research love? You want to quantify love? You want to put on public display how much love you have for God? Hold your horses for just one minute and let the Holy Writ be the judge.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 2nd John 4: 10. I usually say in sermons from the pulpit that if you were the only person on earth to be redeemed, Jesus would still have died in your place. Here is what I believe is the reason! We are the offspring of God, his offshoot, or next of kin. We are a part of who he is so he must redeem himself back unto himself. Listen to this grand and glorious transaction that God works in us on his own behalf! Speaking of Christ and the Church, Paul wrote: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkly, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and with blemish.” Ephesians 5: 27.
While we are the beneficiaries of salvation as presented to us by the church, it is plain to see that God has more vested in us and in the entire process than we have been told or made to believe all these years. That is why when any person dies, the spirit returns to God who gave it and the body goes back to the earth. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (the real person) shall return unto God who gave it.” Ecclesiastes 12: 7. So then, even in our physical death, God loses nothing. He has entered into a “no loss” process in that whether we live or die, his love surrounds us—all of us in spite of ourselves. No wonder the song writer penned the words: O love of God, so rich and pure, so measureless and strong; it shall for ever more endure, the saints and angels song.
Here is another reason why God first loved us! Back in the garden he introduced and put in place the law that every seed should produce after its kind. Peter declared that we are made partakers of the divine nature and in order for this process to have full vibrancy and be effective, Jesus insisted on the new birth. Ye must be born again he announced! Why? God is reproducing himself in us, but we only partake the nature of people we are born to. If you are new to these teachings, don’t get alarmed! That is why I offer scripture texts for all the major points I raise. “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come and make our abode with him.” John 14: 23. “As God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” 2nd Corinthians 6: 16b. We are the dwelling place of God and not buildings made of bricks and mortar.
Years ago, back in London, England, some days I used to go into St. Paul’s Cathedral and spend some quiet time. There are certain areas roped off and reserved for quite prayers and meditation. Throughout that day, especially around lunch time, people would enter these areas and knee in prayer. It was so very nice to see that in the middle of London’s financial district, people found time to get away in quite prayer to God. Sure, there was a feeling of serenity and even a sense that God is ever so close to the ones in prayer there. But actually, if we go out into the forest and develop the same mindset, we would feel the closeness of God just the same. It is all in our minds! “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth life to all, and breath, and all things.” Acts 17: 24.
This is why there should be no difficulty in sharing Jerusalem with Jews, Arabs, Turks, Greeks, Palestinians, and all people. God is not seeking a home among bricks, stone walls, and shingled roofs. Moses was told at the foot of Mt. Sinai that he was standing on holy ground, but it became holy only because God’s presence had descended on it. Once his presence had lifted it became the same as any other piece of ground. If we go around holding “hills, buildings and mountains” as holy places, we have missed the reality of where God dwells. Would you travel ten thousand miles to find gold that is already in your personal vault? That is what many do who do not know that inside of their very being is where God has chosen to live.
The all inclusiveness of God’s love and his resplendent glory will cover the whole earth as God intended it to be. When we read the scriptures, how can we doubt or deny this truth? “Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men (mankind—humanity) shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.” Psalm 72: 11,17.”The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” Psalm 103: 19. We quoted the following scripture recently, but it is worth repeating because of the message it conveys to all of us.
“For my determination is to gather the nations (The United Nations, The European Common Market, The League of nations) that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy ( but after that, or because of that) For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” Zephaniah 3: 8-9. The all-ness of God’s love and even the all-ness of his judgments designed to bring all-ness in men’s response are featured all over the bible and we would do well to seek them out and learn to enter into the very mind of God.
For too long we have made ourselves content to cheer preachers on, many of whom have developed skills in using “catch phrases” that seem to “turn people on” but lacking the real meat of the Word. When I lived in San Diego, California, I knew a minister who used to play Las Vegas with the Tommy Dorsey Band as an entertainer. As pastor, at 11.00 a.m. on any Sunday there was “standing room only” at his local Assembly in a Southern California City. But this good man knew what buttons to push along with his own bodily manipulations and gyrations to get the crowd on their feet. But what about the Word? At the end of the day, not much was said but many went home saying they had a good time.
Not many people have heard the voice of God, and not many can hear his voice for one reason or another. But every one of us can turn to the bible, read it carefully and within its pages, learn exactly what God is all about. When I observe the language of scripture I stand amazed at the process he takes his creation through, and stand in awe at the final outcome. Paul, under the influence of the Holy Spirit wrote: “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” Romans 8: 21. Let us bring the J. B. Phillips translation into focus here! “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own. The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited—yet it has been given hope. And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty which can only belong to the children of God.”
Please notice that whole creation is not waiting to be set on fire, a fire that will burn for ever and ever and ever. Instead, it is anxiously awaiting the emergence of the sons of God in plain sight of everyone, because then, creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the same glorious liberty the sons of God will enjoy. Let us not forget that it is God who turns man to destruction, then says, Return ye children of men. Psalm 90: 3. Let us not forget that it is the potter who has power over the clay to make vessels according to his own wishes. Let us not forget that from the same lump, the potter makes some vessels fitted for destruction to show forth his displeasure, and with the same hands, from the same lump, he fashions other vessels unto life and mercy to show forth his love and kindness. So who among us can find fault either with the potter or with other vessels that are not made like us? Paul said, “By his grace I am, what I am.” But what does that mean? It means that perhaps you are not inclined to approve of what I am. Perhaps what I am drives you crazy, but do I need to ask your pardon? Over the years I have learned to accept and love what I am, because whatever I am, it is by his grace that I am. Thank you Jesus!
Paul was about to outline some of what God is getting ready to do, and to all human thinking and in trying to be rational and balanced, the apostle calls it a mystery and God’s own good pleasure, otherwise even Paul himself could not explain it. “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things (all the peoples of the world) in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” Ephesians 1: 9-10. But how can Jesus pull this off? From what position of authority will he work? God before hand took into consideration all contingencies and blocked the path to any surprises.
He put on display his might and power when he raised Christ from the dead and set him at his own right hand in heavenly places; “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1: 20-21. How about putting this on for size? How about taking a big bite of these truths? Can you see how God has all bases covered and nothing will be left to chance? Hallelujah! No wonder the song says, “What a mighty God we serve; angels bow before him, heaven and earth adore him, what a might God we serve.” It is plain to see from scripture that Jesus Christ is already in position as the only ruler over earth and its environs.
Not only did Jesus Christ win the victory but he hung it in plain view for all the world to see. “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2: 15. We believe and have no reason to doubt that indeed, in the dispensation of the fullness of times, meaning that every segment of time has served its purpose, God will then gather together in one all things in Christ. Another account reads like this: “Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2: 9-11.
The earth shall be full with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. His kingdom is from sea to sea, even from the river (Euphrates) to the ends of the earth. Do we need more? How about this verse of scripture? “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one.” Zechariah 14: 9. When we look at all the scriptures supplied in this study, there remains no reason to calculate, to decipher, to reason, to ponder in endless deliberations what this is all about. Either we believe what the scriptures teach or we don’t. And the best part is that even if we don’t believe, it changes nothing because God remains faithful for he cannot deny himself.
One song writer contemplated the ever enduring love of God and wrote: “When hoary times shall pass away, And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall, When men who here refused to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call. God’s love so sure, shall still endure, so measureless and strong; redeeming grace to Adam’s race, the saints and angels song. O love of God so rich and pure, so measureless and strong; it shall forever more endure, the saints and angels song. This love supersedes all other circumstances, thoughts of man or his actions. We are told something about the nature of God in the following: “He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Psalm 103: 9,10,14.
The Hebrew word for chide is RUWB or roob. It means to grapple, to wrangle, to hold a controversy, to lay wait, to complain, to contend. Thus, we understand what “God will not always chide” means, and we should not forget that he will not keep his anger for ever. Isaiah proclaimed a message that Jesus echoed when he took to the stage of his earthly ministry. “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of the vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” Isaiah 61: 2.
When Jesus returned from being tempted 40 days in what we call the mount of temptation, he came to Galilee and from there to Nazareth where he entered into the temple and stood up to read. He looked for a passage from Isaiah and began to read: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke 4: 14-19. It should be noted that Jesus did not include the day of vengeance, but simply the acceptable year of the Lord. A wise man said: “I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” Ecclesiastes 3: 10. Much of what we see around that seems so incredibly obnoxious and vile, could it be that we are seeing man being exercised in his trials? We know one thing for sure that: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath thou shalt restrain.” Psalm 76: 10. The average Christian is hard pressed to believe that the wrath of man expressed in horrible ways at times serve to praise the Lord, and when God is satisfied he simply say “enough is enough.” His restraining hand is always at the ready, but we must understand that he has imputed love to all his creation, and in spite of what our natural eyes behold, and we sometimes fail to understand, he remains faithful to the work of his hands. He will not slumber nor sleep, and he guides our going out and our coming in because he so loved the world that he gave us the Son of his love.
Royce O. Kennedy