The Big Picture
In the beginning it was all good...
God decided to speak the earth into being and create Man (Adam) in his own image. And no, I don’t know why, but I’m glad he did.
Lucifer, who is also known as satan appeared to have become angry with God for this decision and decided to rebel against God. In response, God cast satan out of heaven along with one third of the angels who sided with him.
God also created a companion for Adam, called Eve. In this early time, all was good, but there was a caveat. Adam and Eve were not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Title Deeds to Earth
That said, God had in fact handed Adam the title deeds of the earth, pretty much like taking on a lease for a property. Adam could legally do whatever he pleased with the earth as God had allowed him to, including naming all the animals and plants.
However along came satan who deceived Eve and Adam into eating the forbidden fruit.
This singular event had two cataclysmic ramifications:
- It meant that Adam and Eve could no longer live in the presence of God, because God can’t tolerate sin.
- And secondly, by doing what satan had instructed him to do, Adam handed over the title deeds of the earth to satan. This was seriously bad news!
Noah Found Favor
Fast forward to the time of Noah! The angels who followed satan out of heaven were also referred to as ‘Sons of God’ (Genesis 6:2). These beings, who were also called The Nephelim, had sexual relations with human women and their offspring became heroes and famous warriors of ancient times (Genesis 6:4). Humans became so wicked that God decided to rid the earth of human kind by sending The Flood. However, he came across Noah.
Fortunately for us, God decided to save Noah and instructed him to build an ark for him, his family and the animals.
Over the next few thousand years man was helped, guided and trained by God in an attempt to get Man to behave himself and to begin by honouring God as He had intended in the first place. God gave us free will which meant that we weren’t simply robots or servant clones.
As part of our training God provided Man, via Moses with Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and a series of Laws, which are found in the first five books of the Bible - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Sin, Blood Sacrifice & Atonement
Man continued to sin and, as a result, these sins had to be paid for (that's called atonement) in order that Man had a sense of right and wrong. We couldn't go on behaving badly and we needed some boundaries. If we stepped over the boundaries, there was a cost which was a sacrifice. Depending on the size or nature of the sin, the greater the sacrifice. It started with oil and grain and grew in scale up to blood sacrifices with sheep, calves and bulls.
Satan is Responsible
One thing to bear in mind, satan was and is behind every single evil event and tragedy throughout the history of the world. And for whatever reason, God chose an intricate and drawn out plan that was foretold by various people throughout the Bible, to manoeuvre ‘Man’ into a place where God could restore the relationship he had with Man at the time of Adam.
This amazing plan was to change the fabric of our existence on earth and to shift the balance of power from satan and his fallen angels or demons to the power of God being placed into the hands of mankind.
In order to achieve this plan, it appears that God had to work covertly as satan still had hold of the title deeds and could scupper the plans by killing whoever needed to be killed.
Whether it was because the heavens imparted messages to people and prophets on earth who spoke events into being or they were simply told messages from heaven, characters in the Bible foretold to coming of a Messiah, the Son of God.
Although satan knew about this coming Messiah, he probably thought that the only way to make this happen was to have sexual relations with a human woman and seeing as God had forbidden it and wiped out all the humans except Noah, satan probably thought he had God sussed! But he was wrong!
Jesus Gave Satan the Slip
The Messiah, Jesus, was born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We know that Jesus was born in a stable or a cave where animals were kept because they couldn’t find a place to stay in a hotel or Premier Inn, because Caesar Augustus required that a census be carried out and everyone had to return to their original home towns. In this case Joseph had to return to Bethlehem.
Shortly after the birth, Jesus’ mother and father Mary and Joseph moved into a house. Approximately two years later the wise men, the Magi arrived to pay homage to the King of the Jews. Out of courtesy, the Magi visited Herod, the governor, and informed him of their plans.
I believe this is when satan found out about Jesus and coerced Herod to kill all the baby boys up to the age of two years old. He failed! No surprise there!
The Magi gave gifts fit for a king of gold, frankincense and myrrh which were extremely valuable. This enabled Mary, Joseph and Jesus to escape Herod and flee to Egypt. They returned to Israel once Herod died.
The history books are fairly quiet in the early years until Jesus was twelve years old and as it says in Luke 2:52, Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and all the people.
God is "Well Pleased"
The next time we hear about Jesus is when he was walking towards John the Baptist in order to be baptised when he’s about 30 years old. After this happens, God says from heaven, this is my Son, with whom I am well pleased. Jesus then goes into the desert and fasts for forty days. (Luke 4:2)
At the end of the forty days, satan finally meets up with Jesus face-to-face and tried to tempt him by getting Jesus to turn a stone in to bread, by getting him to force the angels to protect him and finally by offering Jesus all the kingdoms (governments etc.) of the earth as long as he worshipped satan. Each time Jesus quoted Scripture to satan and knocked him back. This is stating that Scripture is the word of God and is legally binding, even satan has to defer to it. An important point to note is that satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the earth because they were his to give (remember about Adam giving the title deeds of the earth to satan!).
The Party Trick
A story I find amusing is when Jesus goes to a wedding in Cana (John 2:2) and Mary, his mother finds out that they have run out of wine and tells Jesus to “create some”. Jesus says “Awwwww, c’mon Mum, it’s not my time yet to do all this cool stuff,” but Mary says to the servants, “Just do as he says.” It strikes me that Mary knew full well what Jesus was capable of before his ministry started. Let’s face it, Joseph seemed to be off the scene from the end of the Book of Luke in the Bible, so Jesus would have inherited the family building business and would have helped to support the rest of the family, all nine of them.
Jesus then spends the next three years building his ministry. He moved from Nazareth to live in Capernaum, perhaps in the same house as Peters mother-in-law. During this time Jesus performed 35 miracles from feeding 4000 and 5000 men (you need to add women and children to this figure!) to raising Lazarus from the dead.
What we have to bear in mind is that Jesus had a purpose on earth and that was to fulfil the law established in the first five books of the Bible and to finally put satan in his place and defeat him. But this could only be done covertly by God going “under-cover”. Jesus was fully man and fully God and therefore he had to act out all the events that “man” had been subjected to and that included death.
Jesus knew this part of his life was going to hurt his human body, hence asking God to take the cup from him, but Jesus knew that God’s will had to be done.
On the lead up to Jesus being crucified on the cross, Jesus told Peter, one of his disciples/followers that he would deny him three times. Peter strongly disagreed. Once Jesus was arrested, Peter did just that and denied him three times.
As the Scripture foretold, Jesus was executed on the cross. When he died, I guess satan was feeling triumphant. However, Jesus wasn’t dead. He rose again and tore up hell and took the keys of Hades. Hades wasn’t the place of burning hell fire, but it was where satan resided. So, much to satan's surprise, Jesus upped and walked out of there and back to us on earth. In fact over five hundred people saw him after his death.
Some of Jesus' disciples were returning from a fishing trip as they had gone back to their day jobs, when they saw someone on the lake shore cooking breakfast. It was Jesus. During Peter's conversation with Jesus, Jesus asked Peter if he loved him. Peter said yes. In fact, Jesus asked Peter a total of three times, do you love me and three times Peter said yes.
Watch What You Say!
I believe, in the same way God spoke the world in to being, Peter had denied Jesus three times, Jesus knew that Peter had to “un-do” what he had said when he denied him just before his crucifixion.
Forty days after Jesus rose from the dead, Jesus went to be with God in heaven and is now seated at his right hand.
Forty days after that, the Holy Spirit arrived as promised as our Counsellor and guide on this earth.
To become a Christian, to follow Jesus and to have eternal life, we need to believe in our hearts and say with our mouths that Jesus is Lord of our lives. We then need to get baptised in water to confirm our covenant with him and then we will receive the promised "gift" which is to be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus was the final blood sacrifice. He atoned (paid) for our sins with his whole body. This is why Christians say they are 'blood-bought Children of God'. Jesus made a way so that through Him our sins would be forgiven, forever, and with Jesus as our Advocate and intermediary, he paid the price for us to be bought back into a relationship with God.
God's Wi Fi
It is essential as Christians that we continually read the Bible as this connects us to God and it enables us to hear him speak to us. It has been this way since Jesus left us. Look upon it as God's wireless communication!!!
We are only on this planet for 70-80 or so years, however, I believe that during this time we are being trained and tested in preparation for something far greater than we can even begin to imagine. The training program is wholly based upon knowing Jesus and trusting God. Once we get on the right track, amazing things happen. Don't let anyone put you off!!!
We live in what is termed End Times; this means that another major series of prophesied events are lining up that will usher in the second coming of Jesus. This is not a time for indecision as those who do not belong to Jesus will suffer at the hands of satan and ultimately be cast in to the lake of fire.
Trust Jesus. Follow Him. Live in Eternity.
Bless you for reading this. You are now in the top percentile of the worlds population who actually have a handle on the Bible. The next step is to keep reading it. It will change your life in more ways than one.
You might be interested in "The Beginners Guide to Christianity' which follows on from this article.