Throughout the boundless reaches of space, only one planet, sparkles like a fragile blue-and-white marble, hanging among lifeless rocks. This marble is a miracle in a barren solar system. Unlike other planets, this one fills a landscape of infinite variety with its rivers, trees, mountains, animals, and birds. This exceptional planet is a precious jewel, a unique oasis of advanced life. It is called “Earth”.
Many scientists admit that this life-filled planet cannot simply be just a matter of luck. Rather, Earth, in all its wonder, declares the glory of God and shows forth the exceptional handiwork of Him that created it. The Bible explains in Genesis 1:1 that, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.” And God reinforces the importance of this truth when He asks his servant Job, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” (Job 4:38) The man Job acknowledges God’s infinite greatness as the creator of the universe. He declares, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. You asked, who is this who hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered (declared) what I did not understand, THINGS TOO WONDERFUL FOR ME WHICH I DID NOT KNOW.” (Job 42:1-3)
But with such a great miracle around us as this earth we may wonder why we are here on this Earth that God has made? What is God’s purpose for us?
Suppose, we determine that there is no God. This would mean that there is no Creator. Everything we see here on Earth would therefore have arrived by magic. There would be no aim, no goal, no purpose to life. This Earth then, could be viewed as a large mass filled with sophisticated ants. Little humans like ants, milling around; working, running, eating, reproducing, wearing out, and finally passing off the land. And the next generation is born and lives the exact same way. All for no purpose? Life would be a useless and great exercise in vanity.
Let us face reality, friends. The end result of all living things is death. It really doesn’t matter whether our death comes at age 20 or age 70. If the whole life-process is only an experiment in vanity, a cruel meaningless theatrical happening, then the history of man can be written in seven words: “They were born, they suffered, they died.”
The Bible proves that God created the Earth. Such a bold statement might make us wonder why God created this planet. In response, we are faced with one two possible answers:
A) God has a purpose in creating human beings.
B) God has no purpose with his Creation.
Thankfully, the Bible answers this very question for us. The prophet Isaiah explains,
“For thus says the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he has established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD….” (Isaiah 45:18)
This is good news! The Bible tells us that God has a purpose with the Earth and with man. This revelation should motivate all of us as now we realize that our life has a meaning! But even with this new motivation we are faced with an even larger question!
The BIG question is: What exactly is God’s reason for creating the Earth and man? Why not look for the answer in the one text that claims to be the word of God? The Bible claims to have a clear message from God that will answer our question about the purpose of existence. It is the same message that Jesus and the Apostles brought from God.
Mark 16:15-16 explains one part of the answer to our question. After Jesus rose from the dead, he commanded the apostles, saying, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.“
These words declare that an understanding of the gospel is essential for salvation. We must know what this gospel is in order to be saved. What is the true Biblical meaning of the “gospel”? The word “gospel” in a Bible Concordance is defined as “to announce good news”. This definition informs us that Jesus and the Apostles were announcing the “good news” to the world. We will then be lead to ask, “What is this Gospel or “Good News”?” To find a complete answer to this question, we must search the Bible. This Gospel, the “Good News” of the wonderful things God has in store for us, is explained in the Old Testament and New Testament. Let’s begin with the words of Jesus.
Mark 1:14 states, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.”
In Luke Chapter 4:43-44, it says, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also; because for this purpose, I have been sent. And He was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.”
When Jesus had gathered his twelve disciples, we read in Luke 9:2,6: “And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick…. And they departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing everywhere.“
For three and half years, Jesus proclaimed the message of the Kingdom of God and upon his resurrection from the dead, he provided even more details of this glorious good news. In Acts 1:3, it records, “To whom also he showed himself alive after his suffering by many proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.“
In Acts 8:12 one of the disciples was sent by God to preach to the Gentiles concerning the Kingdom of God. It says, “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.“
For several years, Apostle Paul preached the same good news concerning the Kingdom of God. In Acts 19:8, it says, “And he (Apostle Paul) went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them concerning the things of the kingdom of God.” And also in Acts 28:30-31, “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.“
The Bible clearly shows that the Gospel that Jesus, the Apostles, and the disciples preached concerned the Kingdom of God!
Why did they preach to others about the Kingdom of God? If this theme was so central to the preaching of the Apostles and Jesus, the reader of the Bible who truly wishes to understand the Gospel message must learn all about the nature of the Kingdom of God.
We can learn a great deal about the Kingdom by reading Acts 1:6. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel? ’” This was the question the Apostles asked Jesus, before he was taken up unto Heaven. The next verse records Jesus’ answer stating, “And he said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’”
Why did the Apostles ask when Jesus would restore the kingdom to Israel? Why restore? Why Israel? This question provides four revealing pieces of information about the restoration of the Kingdom:
1) The Kingdom of God must have previously existed in Israel in the past since it would be something that was going to be restored rather than established for the first time. In fact, God had first ruled over this kingdom in the time of David, followed by the Judges, and then the Kings who descended from David.
2) The Kingdom of God was NOT in the present otherwise the disciples wouldn’t be looking for it to return.
3) The Kingdom will come in God’s set time, a point gained from Jesus’ response.
4) The Kingdom will be established on the earth and will be ruled over by the Messiah (Jesus Christ himself), as he restores the Kingdom to Israel.
Why has God chosen Israel to be the center where His Future Kingdom will be established? Because God made a promise to Abraham and his seed that they would receive the land forever! The apostle Paul taught in the letter to the Galatians and Romans that the same Gospel preached by Jesus, the disciples and Paul, had been given to Abraham in conjunction with important promises that God made unto him. These promises that were given so long ago to Abraham include the key to our own understanding of God’s “Good News.”
A little more than 4,000 years ago, Abram dwelt in Ur of the Chaldees, a city whose ruins can be seen today not far from the River Euphrates in Iraq. Ur was a city of idolatry. Because of this God made certain promises to Abram that were conditional on him separating himself from his idolatrous surroundings and migrating into a new country, that would be later revealed to him. Abram left Ur of the Chaldees, and moved to Haran, about 800 miles northwest of Ur, and north of the River Euphrates. Here he remained for a time, and during that period, his father Terah died. The voice of God again came to Abram, urging him to leave Haran, pass over the River Euphrates, and come into the land that God would reveal unto him.
The book of Genesis records a further development in the promises of God to Abram. While Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, he had flourished with Lot his nephew to the extent that their combined herds became an embarrassment, causing strife between their respective herdsmen. The two men decided to separate, and Abram unselfishly offered Lot first choice of the land. Lot saw the well-watered plain of Jordan, with the prosperous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and was attracted by the prospects of easy living and pleasant communal associations. He left Abram, and elected to go down to Sodom. After Lot had separated himself from Abram, God made a further promise to Abram. He was told:
“Look northward, southward, eastward and westward; for ALL THE LAND WHICH YOU SEE, to YOU will I give it (the land), and to your seed FOR EVER … Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it, for I will give it unto you.” (Genesis 13:14–17)
A few years later, God repeated the promise to Abram in Genesis 15:18, “… YAHWEH made a covenant with Abram, saying: To your seed, I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates.“
Again in Genesis 17:8, it says, “And I will give unto you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession…“
The importance of this promise made to Abraham cannot be over-emphasized. This promise made to Abraham is actually connected to our own salvation. Notice the word “SEED” in the promise God makes. We don’t have to be an expert in English grammar or the Hebrew language to know if the word is singular or plural. We can find out right in the Bible! In Galatians 3:16, it is written, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to your seed, which is Christ.”
The Bible clearly teaches that Abraham and his seed (Christ) will inherit the land FOREVER. This is not just a promise meant to last for one man’s lifetime. The Bible actually tells us that this promise has not yet been fulfilled. Stephen, a martyr for his faith, clearly stated that Abraham had never received the land. In Acts 7:3-4 says:
“He (God) removed him (Abraham) into this land (Palestine) wherein ye (Jews) now dwell, and He gave him none inheritance in it, no not so much as to set his foot on, yet HE PROMISED THAT HE WOULD GIVE IT TO HIM FOR A POSSESSION, and to his seed after him … “
The apostle Paul also declared in Hebrews 11:13, “All died in faith, NOT having received the promises, but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of, and embraced, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” These words are true of Abraham who remained a “stranger and a pilgrim in the land” looking forward to the time when the promised Seed should establish God’s kingdom upon the earth.
While this was wonderful news for Abraham and his children, the promises God gave were actually intended for all mankind rather than just the Israelites. How can we then be sharers of the same promise that God made to Abraham? Can we, the Gentiles, become the seed of Abraham? Certainly! Let us read what Paul told the Galatians. In Galatians 3:27-29, it says, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ … and if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE”.
My friends, the Bible clearly teaches that the individual who understands the things promised and is fully persuaded of the things concerning Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God relating to the promises to Abraham and David are also heirs to this wonderful promised Kingdom. However, in order to receive this promise, that person must live in that hope, believing in these things with a firm faith. The individual puts his faith into action by being baptized into Christ, thus becoming a son of Abraham, the man who the Bible calls Father of the faithful and the friend of God. If we do these things, then we will inherit the earth! Compared to anything we have today, God’s promise of his future Kingdom on earth is a glorious hope! Wonderful, isn’t it?
At present we live in a world full of violence, crime, famine, diseases, wars, terrorism, and injustice. Do you ever wonder where and when these escalating problems will end? Is there any real solution to our world’s trouble?
The Good News is that the Bible tells us quite clearly that a solution to all these problems is on its way! The real and visible Jesus Christ will be returning to the Earth, where he will then sit upon the throne of David in the city of Jerusalem ruling over the world. The Lord Jesus Christ will be called the King of both the Jews and of all nations. The wicked and corrupt civilizations of this world will be over-thrown by him.
Hard to believe? Let’s look at Micah 4:1-3 for proof.
“But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of YAHWEH shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YAHWEH, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of YAHWEH from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks (pruning knives): nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
NO MORE WAR?? How could that be? Is such a wonderful peace possible?
The prophet Jeremiah tells of a time to come when evil is no longer the predominant characteristic of humanity. Jeremiah 3:17 explains, “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of YAHWEH, and ALL the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of YAHWEH, to Jerusalem. No more shall they walk after the imagination of their evil hearts (thoughts).”
A time when man’s thoughts are tuned to the truth of God and wars will cease? What will the world be like? Isaiah 11:6-9 gives us a clearer picture.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the vip er’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my Holy Mountain, For the Earth shall be full of the knowledge of YAHWEH as the waters cover the sea.”
The Earth will be transformed into universal peace, justice, equity, enlightenment, and joy being the predominant characteristics rather than the selfishness, greed, ignorance, and suffering that rule the world today. That is the exciting and great news!
Remember, the BIG ONE QUESTION that we wanted to know the answer to: “What exactly is the reason that God created the Earth and man?” The answer is found in what GOD said to Moses in Numbers 14:21.
“But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of YAHWEH.”
This glory God will bring is almost beyond human conception. It is not the vain glorifying of humans like movie stars, professional sport players, the wealthy and famous people, and so on that we see in the world today. God’s glory is righteousness, love, truth, and wisdom. Therefore to fill the earth with His glory is to fill it with God’s characteristics, His ways, and His thoughts.
The Bible emphasizes that God will not tolerate the evil conditions of our world forever, therefore God intends to restore the Earth to peaceful conditions. War will cease. All diseases presently afflicting mankind will vanish. What humanity has not been able to correct, God will resolve. This change will take place through Jesus Christ, the Son of God when he returns to this earth.
What marvelous promises God has given us about the future! He is inviting us to be part of His Plan. We must realize that this great hope outweighs all things we have today in our lives. This life is nothing when compared to this great promise of God.
In Mark 16:15-16, we are told by Jesus that “he who believes the Gospel and is baptized will be saved.” It does not say, “he that believes in Jesus Christ and is baptized will be saved.” Let it be remembered then, that the condition of salvation is the belief of the whole gospel and obedience to it. Salvation rests upon a belief in the message that Jesus brings from God. The mark of a true believer, one who is saved, is that he believes in the full gospel concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and demonstrates those principles in an active faith.