๐Ÿ‘‘ God’s Eternal Purpose

Have you ever considered carefully the opening words of the Bible?ย โ€œIn the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.โ€ย Why doesnโ€™t it simply say that God created the Universe? Why theย heavenย and theย earth?

As we go on reading we find the answer to this question, for the Bible clearly teaches that God has aย two-foldย purpose; one having to do with the earth and the other with heaven. The former is the subject of prophecy, while the latter is the subject of the โ€œmysteryโ€, or secret, revealed to and through St. Paul. (See Acts 3:21; and cf. Romans 16:25). The former concerns Israel and the nations; the latter โ€œthe Body of Christโ€, the Church of the heavenly calling.

Some people are surprised to learn that there is not one promise in the whole Old Testament about going to heaven. There the whole outlook is earthly, with Messiah reigning as King (Jer. 23:5; et al). When our Lord appeared in the flesh the angels cried: โ€œPeace on earthโ€ย (Luke 2:14). He Himself said that โ€œthe meekโ€ shall โ€œinheritย the earthโ€ (Matt. 5:5). He taught His disciples to pray: โ€œThy will be done in earth, as it is in heavenโ€ (Matt. 6:10).

Even at Pentecost Peter declared that after โ€œthe restitution of all thingsโ€ God would send Jesus back to earth and the times of refreshing would โ€œcome fromย the presence of the Lordโ€ (Acts 3:19-21).

Not until the raising up of Paul do we learn that now all believers in Christ are โ€œbaptized into one bodyโ€ (I Cor. 12:13), and Colossians 1:5 and many other Paulineย passages, speak ofย โ€œthe hope which is laid up for you IN HEAVENโ€. Indeed, before God, believers are already given a positionย โ€œin heavenly placesโ€ย and are โ€œblessed with all spiritual blessingsย IN [THE] HEAVENLIESย in Christโ€ (Eph. 1:3; 2:4-7).

The prophecies regarding the Kingdom, however, will still be fulfilled and Christ will reign on earth and bring the promised โ€œtimes of refreshingโ€. Thank God, this world will not forever be a place of war and bloodshed, sickness and death, misery and woe. Indeed, at that time, heaven and earth will be opened to each other, and thus will be fulfilled Godโ€™sย two-fold purpose: โ€œThat in the dispensation of the fulness of timesย He might gather together in one all things in Christโ€ฆโ€ (Eph. 1:10). source

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