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The Christian Counter


Appendix A


Promises that could not be kept

A large number of Bible expositors teach that all of God’s promises to men are irrevocable, that is, once made-they can never become void. For example, most people correctly believe that God will never abide by His covenant with man that He will never send another flood to totally destroy the world. Notice the promise: “I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11)

This covenant is unilateral, that is, it has nothing to do with man’s behavior. God has made an unconditional covenant that he will never again destroy the world with a flood. Therefore, this covenant is irrevocable.

 

But, the question has to be asked. Are all of God’s covenants unilateral and therefore, irrevocable? Does God ignore the behavior of man and fulfill His covenants anyway? This subject becomes interesting whenever people discuss the Jews. Many people hold to the idea that the Jews are still God’s chosen people on earth today, even though they reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and His claim that He was the Son of God. Many popular scholars teach that the book of Revelation predicts the conversion of 144,000 Jews to Christianity after the rapture. These Jewish Christians, they believe, will then evangelize the world during the great tribulation and gather in a great harvest of souls for Christ’s second coming. So, does the Bible teach that all of God’s covenants are irrevocable?

 

Possibilities

 

To explain the covenant that God gave to the Jews, I must ask three things that might be disturbing to some readers. To make the following presentation as simple as possible, I have to ask the reader to assume the possibility that the plan of salvation, that is, the means of salvation, has not changed since the day the plan was implemented. In timeless words, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way.” (Hebrews 11) Secondly, I ask that the reader assume the possibility that the plan of salvation is one thing and the terms and conditions of trusteeship are another. In other words, the plan of salvation is a trust and those who have the responsibility of sharing the good news are trustees of the plan. My second request includes the concept that terms and responsibilities of trustees have changed from age to age ass God saw fit. This means that God has required certain things of trustees at certain times that He didn’t require at other times. (Acts 15) Lastly, I ask the reader to assume the possibility that faithful trustees of God and all who receive salvation through them come to a place where they recognize the sovereignty and righteous authority of God. This means that all who receive God’s salvation joyfully submit to God’s law-not as a means to salvation, but in response to His great mercy. (John 14:15, Ephesians 2:8)

 

With these three items addressed, we shall investigate the administration of the plans of salvation.

 

God sets up a trust

 

In the simplest of terms, a trust is an arrangement whereby one person transfers something of value to a second person for the benefit of a third person. In this definition, a trust involves three distinct parties. First, the person creating the trust is called the grantor because he owns an asset that he wants to distribute. But, instead of distributing the asset himself, he asks another to do it for him. In this case, the person responsible for the distribution of the asset is called a trustee. His responsibility is to carry out the wishes of the grantor and so doing; the trustee is rewarded for his services. Lastly, the person designated to receive the asset is called the beneficiary.

 

A trust is quite different than a will. A testamentary will is a document whereby one person declares that his assets are to be transferred to another person after he dies. The major difference between a will and a trust is that a will takes effect upon the death of the testator whereas a trust can take effect as soon as it is set up.

 

The reader may already guess what my next comment will be. The plan of salvation, from its inception, was set up as a trust instead of a will. God established the plan of salvation, as a trust so that mankind could immediately benefit from it the day sin should appear. Further, it has ever been God’s plan that some people would serve the plan of salvation as trustees. Clearly, He intended that His trustees would faithfully discharge their duties, and as a result, the entire world could become beneficiaries of His assets. These last two concepts are no small points and the reader should give this due consideration.

 

God chooses trustees

 

As stated earlier, a simple trust involves three parties: the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiary. The plan of salvation was designed as a trust because God designed that certain human beings should work for the salvation of other human beings. In other words, God has from the beginning, entrusted certain people with advanced knowledge about the conditions and blessings of salvation and in turn, these have been responsible for disseminating the benefits of God’s salvation to the rest of the human race. If it is a privilege to serve as a trustee of a wealthy trust, what is the honor of serving as a trustee of the plan of salvation?

 

The first trustee of the plan of salvation was Adam. God revealed to him the basic elements of the plan. Adam was commissioned to teach his offspring about sin and God’s plan for salvation. In turn, the firstborn male of each succeeding generation was to inherit the privilege of trusteeship as part of his birthright. If each trustee was faithful to his responsibility, then every person on earth would have knowledge of God’s wonderful plan to redeem man and restore him to his Eden home. But alas, Cain, the firstborn of Adam, wanted nothing to do with God or His plans. He didn’t want the responsibility of being a trustee. And, in anger, Cain killed his younger brother, preventing him from receiving this special opportunity.

 

To replace Abel, Eve gave birth to Seth. (Genesis 4:25) By studying Adam’s ancestry down to the time of the flood, we find that with the exception of Cain, trusteeship was passed to the firstborn of each generation.  The trustees were known as patriarchs for a patriarch is a person who inherits the property of the family according to paternal right, that is, the rights that go with being the firstborn male. We also read in the Bible that the trustees began to openly proclaim the teachings of the Lord when Enosh was born to Seth. (Genesis 4:26) By the time we reach Noah, we find that most of the people who lived before the flood wanted nothing to do with God’s plan of salvation. In fact, 1,656 years after Adam sinned, we find only one trustee living upon the earth. His name was Noah, and the total number of antediluvians beneficiaries turned out to be seven. Notice the lineage of the patriarchs up to the time of the flood:

 

Ten patriarch trustees

 

Adam – Seth – Enosh – Kenan – Mahalalel –

Jared – Enoch – Methuselah – Lamech – Noah. 

 

Note: Paternal rights could be, under certain circumstances, redirected. In the case of Adam, paternal rights were transferred to Seth. Centuries later, paternal rights were fraudulently obtained by Jacob, but they need not have been. God would have provided an honorable was of transfer the birthright from Esau to Jacob, for in God’s plan, no one must bear the responsibility of being a trustee if he doesn’t want to.

 

Two things stand out about the trusteeship of the patriarchs. First, there are only ten trustees between the expulsion from Eden and the flood, a span of 1,656 years. Because each of these men lived to be several centuries old, and because they had many offspring, the world must have been populated by thousands of people at the time of the flood. Secondly, the significance of being the firstborn son back then was much different than today. God used the special love and affection given the firstborn, as an object lesson to teach that one-day Jesus, His only begotten Son, the faithful and true Trustee of the plan of salvation, would come to earth and redeem mankind.

 

Another beautiful object lesson is also found in the fact that in those days, the firstborn inherited everything. Today, this would seem most unfair, but in those days, the firstborn received everything owned by his father. Of course, the firstborn then distributed any or all of the estate as he saw fit. Again, the object lesson here is that someday, Jesus, the firstborn of the God, will receive the kingdom of the earth. And, as the option of the firstborn, Jesus will freely distribute the wealth of His kingdom among His brothers and sisters.

 

 

God seeks more trustees

Noah was the last of the patriarch trustees. None of Noah’s sons walked with God, as did their father. We cannot even be sure who the firstborn of Noah was, although some think it was Japheth. (The Hebrew language leaves no room for uncertainty as to whether Shem or Japheth was the eldest. Genesis 10:21) Even with the uncertainty of who the firstborn of Noah, the history that follows shows that none of the three boys walked in their father’s steps. It’s sad to note that even though the flood cleansed the earth of sin, the stain of sin remained in the hearts of the survivors. In fact, about a century after the flood, the descendants of Noah built the tower of Babel in defiance of God’s covenant that he would never again destroy the world with a flood!

 

At the Tower of defiance, God separated the people of earth into groups by language. This simple act caused the dispersion of mankind upon the face of earth. At that time, there are no known trustees of the plan of salvation.

 

The Bible traces the genealogy of Noah through Shem down to Abraham. If I’ve calculated correctly, Abraham was about 58 years old when Noah died. If Noah lived out the remainder of his life in the area around the mountains of Ararat, then Abraham probably never met the ancient patriarch. When God called Abraham to move to the land of Canaan, Abraham lived out on the eastern frontier of civilization. Ur of the Chaldees was more than 800 miles from the mountains where the ark had rested. God’s call to this descendant of Noah literally turns out to be, “Go west, young man, go westward to the land of Canaan.”

 

When Noah died, so did the trusteeship begun with Adam. Since the chain was broken, God started over. About 375 years after the flood, He looked down upon the earth and chose an openhearted man named Abram as a trustee of the plan of salvation and Abram favorably responded to the invitation. It is important to note that Abram (later, Abraham) was not in line to receive the trusteeship. In fact, it is highly doubtful that Abraham was the first born of Terah. But, God sought new trustees of the gospel and Abraham was, for the most part, an honest man. (Genesis 20)

 

Abraham walked with God. He was a friend of God. And, after a period of testing the faith of Abraham, God purposed to make Abraham the father of many nations.

(Genesis 17:4) So, the trust, originally given to Adam, was implemented again. God called Abraham and he responded. However, with this new beginning, trusteeship continued much as it was before the flood, that is, the firstborn still inherited all the land and the wealth upon the death of the father. This lineage of trustees is called the Abrahamic trustees. Notice their progression:

 

The Abrahamic trustees

 

Abraham – Isaac – Jacob – Judah – Er

 

 

The lineage outlined here ends rather quickly. You see firsthand the degenerating consequences of sin. Because Abraham failed to trust in God, Isaac was not the first born, Ishmael was. Then, Jacob was not the firstborn of Isaac, Esau was. And Jacob tried to obtain the birthright through deceit only to discover that God would not accept his treachery. And Reuben, the firstborn of Jacob, was emotionally unstable. Neither did he conduct himself worthy of the sacred trust granted to the firstborn. Jacob denied him the birthright for sexual promiscuity. (Genesis 49:4, 35:22) Jacob also denied the privileges of birthright to his next-born sons, Simeon and Levi, because of their violence and cruelty. So, Judah, the fourth in line, was given parental rights and sacred trust. Then God killed Judah’s firstborn, Er, for his wickedness. (Genesis 38:7) From there, God’s attempt to deliver the plan of salvation to the inhabitants of earth fell apart again. When the trustees fail to discharge the wishes of the grantor, the beneficiaries cannot receive the gifts of the grantor. As a consequence of delinquency, God sent the descendants of Abraham down into Egypt. It is ironic that Joseph, a “grand-son of Abraham,” is the one who set the stage for the family to become slaves. (Genesis 47:21) God permitted the Hebrews to become slaves of Pharaoh and they summarily lost their opportunity to serve the God of their fathers for the next 400 years.

 

God seeks new trustees

 

One day at a burning bush in the Arabian desert, God called Moses to be a trustee of the gospel. (Hebrews 3:17-4:2) Moses was neither the firstborn of his family nor of the tribe of Judah, the tribe to which the parental rights belonged. (Note: The lineage of Jesus is reckoned through Judah. See Matthew 1 and Luke 3) At this point, the lineage didn’t matter for God was starting over. When God’s initial plan failed because of human stubbornness, He resorted to “Plan B.” Therefore, God, keeping His promise to Abraham, needed a man to deliver the Hebrews out of Egypt. And Moses, the murderer-turned-shepherd, became a trustee of the gospel. At Mt. Sinai, God prepared to cancel the covenant given to Abraham. But, Moses prevailed with God  (Exodus 32:10)

 

What God wanted to do was to offer the entire nation of Israel an opportunity to become trustees of the plan of salvation. The population of the world had significantly multiplied. There were many tribal nations scattered upon the face of the earth, and most of them did not know the God of heaven, nor His great love for man.

 

God knew that the best way to demonstrate to the world that He loves mankind, and that he wants to restore mankind to the Garden of Eden, was to take a nation of underdogs and make them greater than all the nations. God also knew that a nation of underdogs had certain bad habits and attitudes that had to be removed if they were going to reach the high and lofty stature He had in mind.

 

So, working through His newly appointed trustees, Moses and Aaron, God set out to make of Israel a nation of trustees. God even promoted one tribe above all of the others to be special representatives of Him before the people. This tribe was the tribe of Levi. But, after a few centuries, it became impossible to tell who was leading who. The Levites were no different than the people; they did the same evil things in the sight of the Lord. Time after time, God sent His prophets to the kings and priests of Israel so that the nations were reminded of the conditions upon which of the blessings of God were based.  But, the Israelites hated the prophets and killed most of them. Century after century the Israelites were chastised and rebuked for their rebellion. In 605 B.C., God even sent the whole nation to Babylon as captives for their rebellion. But, their captivity did not produce long-term repentance. So, the story of Israel ends on sad note. For 1,470 years God tried everything possible to make Israel into a great nation. But, they refused to measure up to the conditions of being trustees of the gospel. In the end, God sent the Roman army against Jerusalem and they completely destroyed Israel. All this happened just as He had warned from the very beginning. (Deuteronomy 28)

 

God seeks new trustees

Jesus, knowing that Israel was beyond redemption, chose a new group of trustees when He was upon earth. Yes, to facilitate rapid deployment of the gospel throughout the world, He chose some men who already knew a number of things about the dealings of God in the past. He chose twelve men who could draw upon an extensive body of knowledge that had already been revealed about God and His character. He chose twelve men who could, step out of Judaism and become known as Christians. And, all but one of the original twelve lived up to the calling!

 

With the establishment of the Christian Church, the conditions for trusteeship were no longer restricted to lineage or paternal rights. Nor was it necessary to exalt a nation of underdogs. That plan failed. The world had changed and God changed the terms of trusteeship to meet the needs of man. After all, the ultimate purpose of a trust is to benefit the beneficiaries. So, the flood-gates were thrown open and anyone who wanted to be a trustee of the gospel could be a trustee. There are many names for this new arrangement, but Christians call it “the priesthood of the believer.” In effect, it means that any person, male or female, Jew or Gentile can now become a trustee of the gospel of salvation if they want to. Historically, we call the twelve disciples of Jesus the first trustees of this new arrangement.    

 

Remember, the duty of a trustee is to carry out the wished of the grantor of the trust. The point here is that God wanted the world to know of His merciful salvation. God wants the world to know of His power to save. God wants everyone in the world to know they can have victory over sin. God wants the world to know they will have joy, happiness and peace if men and women will only obey His commands.    

 

God seeks more trustees

 

The history of the Christian Church is not envious. Within a period of 1,800 years, the Church went from the purity of purpose to persecutor of the saints. In short, the Christian Church repeated the rebellious history of the Jewish nation: it forgot God, it hated those who served God, and it destroyed many who firmly stood for God’s truth about salvation. Why is it that sin consistently ruins the plans of God? Trustees may forget their responsibility to the trust and begin to think that they own the assets that belong to the grantor. Trustees may wrongfully appropriate the benefits of their position to themselves. They may misrepresent the truth; however, God has clearly shown that the position of trustee is revocable if the trustee is not faithful. This is exactly what happened to the Christian Church. The leaders of the Church made themselves the beneficiary of God’s assets instead of distributing the assets of God’s mercy. The Church made service to God a very burdensome experience, and it threatened those who disagreed with it with death. History says that millions died for refusing to obey the laws of the Church. So, God raised up another body of people as trustees.

 

God again seeks trustees

 

When the strong arm of the papacy was broken in 1798, this gave rise to a new group of people that would take the gospel commission seriously. Just as Christianity rose out of the cradle of Judaism, Protestantism rose out of the libraries of Christianity. God transferred all the rights, honors and privileges to those among the Protestants who would serve Him as trustees of His gospel. Still, the basic trust remains intact: The Grantor wants faithful trustees who will accomplish His will.

 

But, in less than 250 years, Protestantism has floundered. She has become derelict of her duties. She has lost her vision and her purpose. No longer does she seek to save that which is lost. She has grown indifferent to the great truths of God through materialism and humanism. Prosperity has destroyed Protestantism. Today, the powerful movement of the 18th and 19th century Protestantism is dead. Many claim the name of Protestantism but few remember her mission.

 

America the great, America the superpower, America has rich and increased in goods, Protestant America is no longer protestant America. America is floundering. Her insurmountable problems are mounting by the day. She cannot restart her economy. She cannot find jobs for her people. She cannot solve inner city problems. Drugs, crime, violence, sexual immorality and dishonesty stain her glorious past. She was home of the free and the brave. Today, she is home of the tired, the poor, and huddled masses and for most of these, she can no longer offer fulfillment of the American dream. Today, she is crumbling from within. Her leaders, once the pride of the nation, are now the embarrassment to her people. Few respect and fewer trust the self-serving leaders of America’s government. Politics have turned negative. Politicians don’t talk about ideals and high goals because dirt about each other is more interesting. Protestant America has lost her right to be the trustee of God’s salvation and she will receive the same consequences as all nations who have failed before. The judgments of God are soon to come upon America.

 

One last time, God seeks new trustees

 

Just in case the reader has forgotten, a few words are repeated. In the simplest of terms, a trust is an arrangement whereby one person transfers something of value to a second person for the benefit of a third person.

 

The world now has more people living upon it than any other time in history and the percentage of people living, it is fair to say that fewer people know about the plan of salvation that at any other time in earth’s history. What does this say about the dealing of god with mankind? Is God’s unhappiness with man justified? Have we consistently failed God, our benevolent Creator?

 

Soon, the fourth seal will be opened. (See Appendix C.) The seven trumpets of Revelation shall begin to sound, and the world will know of God’s great displeasure. The world, in a corporate sense, and every person in particular, will immediately learn that everything has happened upon earth has been done before the eyes of the Lord. He misses nothing. Every person is going to hear that God’s great day of judgment has begun.

 

When the trumpets begin, God will send throughout the world 144,000 trustees of the gospel. These faithful men and women will come from every country of the known world. These will understand the Word of God, the Bible, and God will empower them with the Holy Spirit so that they might tell the world of His plan of salvation. These will accomplish in a very short time, all that God desires. The world will hear the eternal, unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ. And, every person will have to make a decision for or against the eternal truth of salvation. Then the end will come/ Jesus will return to earth and gather His faithful trustees, the 144,000, and the beneficiaries of His trust: the numberless multitude.

 

God’s final trustees will live forever

The story doesn’t end with the second coming. The reader should know that the final trustees of God will be the redeemed of all ages. They will serve God throughout His far-flung universe as Priests and Kings. Because the redeemed of all ages have shown themselves to be faithful and obedient to the King of kings, He will great honor them in the age to come just as they honored Him on earth. They will be positioned above the realms of angels and they will sing praises to God throughout eternity. I find it wonderful that the redeemed should be recognized as the 7th and final group of trustees. As the number seven signifies a full and complete number, so the redeemed will testify of the fullness of God’s love forever. Again the trusteeships of God’s trust are:

 

1.   The patriarchs

2.   The lineage of Abraham

3.   The nation of Israel

4.   The Christian Church

5.   The Protestants

6.   The 144,000 servants of God

7.   The redeemed of all ages

 

Summary

 

The distinction between the terms of God’s everlasting covenant and the terms of trusteeship requires careful investigation. This is not a subject for the casual student

even though the concept is quite simple to understand.  The reader is therefore encouraged to affirm or deny the point that God has continued to extend the plan of salvation to the world in spite of the behavior of those chosen to accomplish the mission.

 

The bottom line is that the plan of salvation is an irrevocable covenant with mankind. And, ever since it’s beginning, the means to salvation has been faith. (See Hebrews 11)

But, that not the question. The real question centers on who will receive the terms and conditions of salvation by faith and be saved. The next important question centers on who will respond to the gracious call of our Lord and become a trustee of the plan of salvation so that others may receive its benefit?








   
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