Sabbath, August 8, 2015
“The great plan of redemption results in fully bringing back the world into God’s favor. All that was lost by sin is restored. Not only man but the earth is redeemed, to be the eternal abode of the obedient. For six thousand years Satan has struggled to maintain possession of the earth. Now God’s original purpose in its creation is accomplished. ‘The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ Daniel 7:18.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 342.
Man’s original state and fall
1. With what dignity and glory was man created? What happened to them?
Genesis 1:27; 3:6, 17 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 3:6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat…. 17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
“Created to be ‘the image and glory of God’ (1 Corinthians 11:7), Adam and Eve had received endowments not unworthy of their high destiny. Graceful and symmetrical in form, regular and beautiful in feature, their countenances glowing with the tint of health and the light of joy and hope, they bore in outward resemblance the likeness of their Maker. Nor was this likeness manifest in the physical nature only. Every faculty of mind and soul reflected the Creator’s glory. Endowed with high mental and spiritual gifts, Adam and Eve were made but ‘little lower than the angels’ (Hebrews 2:7), that they might not only discern the wonders of the visible universe, but comprehend moral responsibilities and obligations.” –Education, p. 20.
“The race from that time forward was to be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. A life of perpetual toil and anxiety was appointed unto Adam, instead of the happy, cheerful labor he had hitherto enjoyed. They should be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally come to dissolution. They were made of the dust of the earth, and unto dust should they return.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 40.
2. What other consequences resulted from man’s fall into sin? Could he get out of the abyss into which he had fallen?
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
Romans 5:12; 3:23 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:… 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them. ‘Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.’ ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Job 14:4; Romans 8:7. Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” –Steps to Christ, p. 18.
God’s love for man
3. How did the Lord view mankind’s fall and its terrible consequences? As the loving Father, what is His greatest wish?
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
1 Timothy 2:3, 4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
“God is our Father, who loves and cares for us as His children; He is also the great King of the universe. The interests of His kingdom are our interests, and we are to work for its upbuilding.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 107.
“Christ’s death proves God’s great love for man. It is our pledge of salvation. To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting the sun from the sky. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to Him. With the relenting compassion of a father’s love, Jehovah looks upon the suffering that His Son endured in order to save the race from eternal death, and accepts us in the Beloved.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 209.
The promise of redemption
4. What good news was given to our first parents immediately after they fell? What was included in this promise?
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Matthew 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
“In the sentence pronounced upon Satan was given an intimation of redemption. ‘I will put enmity between thee and the woman,’ God said, ‘and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.’ Genesis 3:15. This sentence, spoken in the hearing of our first parents, was to them a promise.” –Education, p. 27.
“This declaration contained the first gospel promise to man.” –Confrontation, p. 18.
“Plain and specific prophecies had been given regarding the appearance of the Promised One. To Adam was given an assurance of the coming of the Redeemer. The sentence pronounced on Satan,… was to our first parents a promise of the redemption to be wrought out through Christ.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 222.
A plan laid before the foundation of the world
5. Was the plan of salvation a resolution thought up by God after sin’s entrance, or was it in place before that? When was it ordained that the Lamb of God would give His precious life for man in the event that sin should enter the world?
1 Peter 1:19, 20 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
2 Timothy 1:9, 10 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of ‘the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.’ Romans 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, ‘that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 22.
6. What do other verses confirm about when the plan of redemption was laid? What do Jesus’ words indicate about when the kingdom was prepared?
Revelation 13:8; 17:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world…. 17:8The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Matthew 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
“The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race. But ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16. Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the depths of that love which ‘passeth knowledge’? Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 63, 64.
Searching for the time of fulfillment
7. Who lived in hope of the day of redemption? Over the centuries, who searched diligently to find out the manner and time when God’s grace would be manifested for man’s salvation?
Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
1 Peter 1:10, 11 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
“Even the prophets who were favored with the special illumination of the Spirit did not fully comprehend the import of the revelations committed to them. The meaning was to be unfolded from age to age, as the people of God should need the instruction therein contained.” –The Great Controversy, p. 344.
“The prophets to whom these great scenes were revealed longed to understand their import. They ‘inquired and searched diligently:… searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify…. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you;… which things the angels desire to look into.’ 1 Peter 1:10-12.
“To us who are standing on the very verge of their fulfillment, of what deep moment, what living interest, are these delineations of the things to come–events for which, since our first parents turned their steps from Eden, God’s children have watched and waited, longed and prayed!” –Education, p. 183.
- What reveals the marvelous plan for man’s redemption?
- How does our interest in the fulfillment of the plan of redemption compare with that of the patriarchs and prophets?
- How is one’s faith affected by the reality that the plan of redemption has been progressively revealed to God’s people?