A Discussion on Plan A/Plan B
The concepts presented in this chapter should be important to you because every student of Bible prophecy is overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data in the Bible. It has been said that a person has to know everything before he can properly understand anything! While this concept is not entirely true, the more we do know about the Bible, the better and richer the story of redemption becomes.
God is never simple, but there are simple truths about God that help us understand Him! I would like to introduce you to a larger picture of God than you would normally see if your study of apocalyptic prophecy is limited to the books of Daniel and Revelation. Apocalyptic prophecy is difficult to understand at first because there are so many details that surround and encompass the plan of redemption. Therefore, I hope a few general concepts about the plan of redemption will prove to be helpful.
The Living Trust
The Bible teaches that God created a living trust to redeem mankind when Adam and Eve sinned. The term, living trust, comes from two Latin words, inter vivos, which mean “between the living.” A living trust is a very practical tool. For example, it permits a wealthy grantor to distribute his assets to his beneficiaries over a long period of time without being present or having to micro manage the day-to-day process himself. Therefore, when a grantor establishes a living trust, he appoints a trustee or someone to stand “between the living.”
When a person agrees to serve as a trustee of a living trust, he enters into a covenant with the grantor. The trustee promises to carry out the will of the grantor at all costs. This is a solemn responsibility and trustees are usually paid very well for their services. If a trustee fails to keep his promise to the grantor and steals the assets instead of distributing them to the beneficiaries, two things will soon happen. (Remember, the grantor is alive.) First, the grantor will see that his beneficiaries are not receiving the assets he wants them to have and understandably, he will become angry. Second, the grantor will confront the trustee, charging the trustee with dereliction of duty. The grantor may give the trustee a second chance to do the job that he wants done or the grantor may fire the trustee and choose someone else. After all, the object of a living trust is the distribution of the grantor’s assets to his beneficiaries and any trustee who thwarts this purpose must be disciplined or eliminated.
Hopefully, this explanation helps you appreciate the overriding concept that the redemption of mankind is built on a living trust. God is the grantor and He chooses trustees to distribute His riches. He has chosen the whole world to be the beneficiaries of His riches. God originally created a living trust when Adam and Eve sinned because sin separated mankind from God. Consequently, sinners can no longer see God, so He chose to establish a living trust. God appointed trustees to be His representatives on Earth. His plan was that His trustees would be living examples of His character and love. Through their example, God wanted His beneficiaries (the whole world) to see Him. In other words, God’s plan was designed so His truth and grace would flow to mankind through His trustees. His trustees were to stand between a living God and the people living on Earth.
God has faithfully carried out everything necessary to make our redemption possible. He has done everything that He said He would do. Unfortunately, God’s trustees have not fulfilled their responsibilities. Bible history reveals that every time God chose a particular group of trustees to distribute the riches of His grace to the world, His trustees eventually failed. They either became distracted from their mission or they rebelled against God. When His trustees become utterly useless, God has no other option than to start over. After selecting a new group of trustees, He moves forward. This process will end with the 144,000. They will be the last group of God’s trustees.
Plan A / Plan B
The process of starting over and over with new trustees will take a few paragraphs to explain. For purposes of discussion, let us assume that Plan A describes God’s first plan for mankind and Plan B is a followup plan that God put into motion when the trustees responsible for Plan A failed. God’s living trust is intact and He will accomplish all that He intends to do with or without man’s cooperation. God will not terminate His living trust until He redeems all sinners who choose to follow Him. Consider the following scenario:
- God gave Adam and Eve possession of the Garden of Eden. It was God’s plan that they should live there forever and Adam should serve as “the father” of mankind! (Plan A) However, Adam and Eve sinned and had to be evicted from the Garden of Eden.
- Plan B: God started over. He made Adam and the patriarchs who followed him trustees of His gospel. The trusteeship of the patriarchs lasted about 1,600 years (from the fall of man to the flood). It failed miserably because the patriarchs lost sight of God. In fact, during the operation of this plan, the world became hopelessly evil and God destroyed all but eight people in Noah’s day.
- Plan C: About four hundred years after the flood, God started over. He called Abraham out of Ur to be “the father” of the faith-full. Then, God chose Abraham’s descendants to be the trustees of His gospel and He entered into a covenant
with them. This 1,500 year plan (1437 B.C. – A.D. 70) failed because Israel would not remain loyal to God long enough to get the job done. Therefore, God destroyed Israel in A.D. 70 because of rebellion.
- Plan D: During the seventieth week, God started over. Because He made some unconditional promises to Abraham, God had to raise up another group of trustees to keep moving forward. Many Christians do not understand why it is important that believers in Christ are counted as the heirs of Abraham. The heart of this issue involves a promise. God promised Abraham that He would someday give the whole world over to Abraham’s descendants. Thankfully, God considers Abraham’s descendants to be those people who love and trust God as Abraham did! Carefully study this passage and notice that biology does not determine the descendants of Abraham:
“ ‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham’s children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does.’ ‘We are not illegitimate children [we have a father],’ they protested. ‘The only Father we have is God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!’ ”>
When the nation of Israel passed a point of no return, God rejected Israel as the trustees of His covenant. Consequently, every one who loves and trusts in Christ for salvation becomes Israel, the heir of Abraham. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” God raised up a new set of trustees for His living trust. He created a new covenant because He needed a new set of trustees. However, this 2,000 year plan (A.D. 30 – 1994) has failed, too. Corporately speaking, God will abandon Christianity and eventually it will be destroyed. (This matter is addressed in Prophecy 7. See also Appendix B.)
- Plan E: God will soon start over again, but for the last time. He will select 144,000 people as trustees of His living trust. To ensure the success of their mission, He will first remove their carnal natures. This wonderful miracle will ensure their success. (Incidentally, the fallen nature of man explains why all of the previous trustees failed.) The 144,000 will proclaim the riches of God’s grace and His offer of redemption to the whole world during the Great Tribulation. The 144,000 will not deviate or fail to accomplish their mission. When they complete their mission, everyone on Earth will either have the mark of the beast or the seal of God.
I have listed five examples showing that God does not quit. When one group of trustees refuses to cooperate with Him, God moves them out of the way to keep moving forward. God chooses new trustees because He cannot be thwarted! The repetitive process of starting over with new trustees has been synthesized in this book to what I call Plan A and Plan B. Rather than identify each successive plan, I prefer to simplify the concept of starting over by identifying Plan A as a previous plan and Plan B as the plan that follows. I like to do this so that I can make certain categorical statements about Plan B.
For example, Plan B is always better and more glorious than Plan A. Some people, upon hearing this comment say, “You make it sound as though God’s first plan was imperfect!” Actually, God’s earlier plan (Plan A) was perfect because God’s ways are always perfect. However, Plan B is better and more glorious because God uses the failure in Plan A to reveal more about Himself than He previously revealed. Here is an example: If Adam and Eve and their offspring had lived in the Garden of Eden without sinning, Earth would have been “a perfect place” to live. God’s original plan was perfect, but Adam and Eve sinned and God’s infinite love for mankind moved Him to redeem the guilty pair (and their offspring). Plan B was put in motion and as a result, we now see a component of God’s love for sinners that would not be seen if sin had not occurred. Plan A was perfect, but Plan B reveals new things about God which could not be seen in Plan A. This makes Plan B better and more glorious than Plan A.
A Much Different World History
According to the Old Testament, world history would have been much different over the past 2,000 years if the nation of Israel had embraced Jesus as the Messiah at His first advent. If this had occurred, Jesus would not have returned to Heaven. There would have been no need for a second advent. There would have been no need for a New Testament and there would have been no need for the books of Daniel and Revelation because these two prophetic books contain Plan B!
For the sake of discussion, let us lump all of the promises and prophecies ancient Israel received into Plan A. Bible history records how Israel rebelled time and time again. God could not carry out His redemptive trust for the whole world because His trustees refused to do the very things that He wanted done. Therefore, God had no choice but to fire Israel for dereliction of duty during the seventieth week.
When it became clear that Israel would not receive Him as Messiah, Jesus selected a new set of trustees. He implemented a new covenant between Himself and His new trustees. Keep in mind that the living trust (God’s offer for salvation) remains unchanged. The only element that changes are the trustees.
A Faithful Model
When Jesus selected Israel to be the trustee of the gospel, Jesus gave Israel many laws and regulations. These statutes were
perfect because God thoughtfully and deliberately designed them. One set of laws pertained to an intricate ceremonial system
(including animal sacrifices), but most people today misunderstand the purpose for this intricate system. God gave the ceremonial system to Israel as a faithful model. This model reveals the
dimensions of the plan of redemption. Each process the priests conducted in the earthly ceremonial system faithfully parallels a real process that occurs in Heaven.
When Jesus died on the cross, He abolished the ceremonial system along with its perfect laws because the purpose for which the ceremonial system had been created had been fulfilled. This does not mean that the ceremonial system is unimportant today. In fact, the ceremonial system God gave to Israel is profoundly important today because it was a faithful “model” that reveals the plan of redemption. In other words, every theological idea concerning the salvation of mankind has to be evaluated to see if it is in compliance with the ceremonial system God gave to ancient Israel because it is a perfect explanation of redemption’s process.
I like to think of the ceremonial system in this way. Suppose a group grade school students act in a skit that illustrates the separation of the United States from Great Britain. The children thoroughly research the topic and portray the events of history. When the skit is over, we could say two things: First, since this was a skit, when the fifth graders “signed” the Declaration of Independence, they did not sign a valid document. In terms of reality, the skit is just a depiction of the actual events. In terms of “representing” actual events that occurred, their actions were perfect. Second, assuming the skit was a faithful representation of what actually happened, the skit was valuable because everyone could quickly see how the facts fit together. The skit portrayed the truth even though it was just a shadow of the truth.
The ceremonial system is like a skit revealing God’s living trust. The ceremonial system shadows events that began in Heaven when Adam and Eve sinned. These events will continue to function in Heaven until the sin problem is resolved on Earth and the redemption of sinners is finished. The ceremonial system God gave to Israel was not a reality, but Israel had to faithfully carry out the skit because it was a faithful representation of God’s living trust. The Bible clearly says in Hebrews 10:1-4 that sinners were not redeemed by the blood of animals because the ceremony was not a means to salvation. The ceremonial system has enormous value today because it can be used to test every concept concerning redemption.
When Abraham obeyed the Lord and left his home, he showed great faith in God. God was pleased with Abraham and He promised this childless man that he would become the father of many nations. Abraham believed God with childlike simplicity and to honor Abraham’s faith, God made some unconditional promises to Abraham. For example, God promised to give Abraham and his descendants the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession.
There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about the promises God gave to Abraham. For example, God took the descendants of Abraham into Canaan (the promised land), but Israel could not remain there because God had promised that He would expel Israel from Canaan if they become hostile and rebellious toward Him. After God exiled Israel to Babylon for seventy years, He returned Israel to Canaan. He gave Abraham’s descendants one more chance to faithfully serve as the trustees of His covenant. Centuries later (during the seventieth week), Abraham’s biological descendants (God’s trustees) rejected Messiah and God, in turn, abandoned Israel. God moved forward with Plan B by making a new covenant and choosing new trustees (Christians). The new covenant did not change the terms and conditions of the living trust. In fact, since sin began, the terms and conditions for salvation have not changed. Salvation always comes through faith in God.
Because God promised to give Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan, God redefined the “heirs of Abraham” when Israel became a hopeless case. “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed [Greek: sperma], and heirs according to the promise.” At the end of the 1,000 years, the holy city, New Jerusalem, will descend from Heaven. After God purifies Earth with fire, He will create a new Heaven and a new Earth. God will give this new Canaan “that flows with milk and honey,” a new Canaan that is not defiled with sin, bloodshed, or death, to Abraham’s descendants forever. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
Today, the heirs of Abraham are believers in Christ. Plan B is built on a better set of promises and prophecies than Plan A. Many Christians are hopelessly confused when they study the Bible because they keep trying to make Plan A (Old Testament promises and prophecies) fit into Plan B (New Testament promises and prophecies) and the two cannot be mixed. Over the years, many pastors and scholars have recognized this problem and one popular “solution” requires a combination of two false doctrines. The first is a doctrine of dispensations. This teaches that the terms and conditions for redemption change over time. Each change is called a dispensation, that is, salvation is dispensed in a different way than it was previously. The second is the doctrine of a pretribulation rapture. This doctrine teaches that God will remove Christians from Earth prior to the time the Great Tribulation begins so that God can fulfill His promises to Israel, who will not be raptured.
These two doctrines have deeper roots than most people realize. The notion of being snatched from Earth prior to the Great Tribulation is a wonderful idea. After all, no one wants to be on Earth when God’s horrific wrath is released. Going to Heaven before God’s wrath breaks out is a sweet pill to swallow even though this cannot be substantiated biblically. Be aware that sweet ideas (like Santa Claus) can travel far and wide on the merits of apparent goodness, even when the idea has no basis in fact.
A Serious Problem
When Bible students carefully identify and examine the promises and prophecies given to Israel in the Old Testament, a serious problem arises. The problem is that Bible students cannot reconcile why God gave so many promises and prophecies concerning Israel that have not been fulfilled. During the nineteenth century, a few Christians concluded that the pretribulation rapture theory could “solve” this problem. They reasoned that if the church is taken to Heaven just before the Great Tribulation begins, and if 144,000 Jews suddenly become believers in Christ when they see the church taken to Heaven, then God could proceed to fulfill the promises and prophecies (Plan A) given to ancient Israel. Unfortunately over time, this concept has gained traction among evangelicals because it sounds like a good idea to a thorny problem. Moreover, when Israel was established in 1948 as a nation, many Christians rejoiced because they believed this development confirmed the idea that God would soon remove (rapture) the church so that His original plan (Plan A) for Israel could be fulfilled.
Unfortunately, there are huge problems with this scenario. The Bible neither teaches a pretribulation rapture nor different dispensations for redemption. Actually, the Bible teaches that the saints will be on Earth during the Great Tribulation and it also teaches that redemption has always come through faith in God! A great day for Bible truth is coming soon. The Great Tribulation is near. When future events force millions of people to admit that there is no pre or mid tribulation rapture, many religious people will become very bitter toward their clergy and their church for being misled.
Of Course, God Has Perfect Foreknowledge
Some people argue, “God is omniscient, He has perfect foreknowledge, therefore, He cannot have a secondary plan. From the beginning, He has had one plan and there is no room or need for another.” This argument has no merit because it humanizes God. There is a big difference between God’s foreknowledge and God’s love because they are not remotely connected! God does not have a carnal nature. He does not use His foreknowledge in the same way that sinners would use foreknowledge if they had access to it. If sinners had foreknowledge, we would use it for personal benefit because the carnal nature always puts self first. God, on the other hand, does not have a carnal nature. He is not tempted to use His foreknowledge for personal benefit because He loves us more than He loves Himself.
Jesus’ death on the cross proves that God did not use His foreknowledge to save Jesus from death! The Father foreknew that Jesus would die on the cross, but He did nothing to avoid it. The Father foreknew that Adam and Eve would sin, but He gave them the power of choice and they chose to sin. There is an infinite gap between God’s foreknowledge and His love for His children. God will not use His foreknowledge to protect Himself from rebellion, insurrection, or death. His love for us eclipses His foreknowledge. The purpose of God’s foreknowledge is a component of infinite wisdom. His wisdom cannot be limited, which means our Father always knows what is best. Because His wisdom is infinite, God can be difficult to understand. Knowing this explains why we must always have a non-negotiable faith in God.
Consider the contrast between God’s foreknowledge and His love. As you read the following passage from Jeremiah, you will see that God’s heart is very sad. Keep in mind that God has perfect foreknowledge: “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! For when I brought your forefathers out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. From the time your forefathers left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their forefathers. When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.’ ”
Obviously, there is a wide gulf between God’s foreknowledge and God’s love. God foreknew from the beginning that Israel would become rebellious and when they did, it was heartbreaking for Him. How could He be heartbroken if He foreknew this was going to happen before He chose Israel to be His trustees? Please understand that God’s foreknowledge and God’s love do not cross over. They serve different purposes. One characteristic does not affect the other because God is pure in heart; He is love personified.
Plan B Means God Does Not Give Up
Under the “new” covenant, there is a “new” Israel. A “new” sequence of prophetic events will culminate with a second advent. The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation concern “Plan B.” Mixing and/or merging different types of prophecies produces insurmountable confusion. Prophecies belonging to Plan A will not mix with Plan B prophecies. Plan B is a bigger and better plan. Plan B contains a brighter set of promises and prophecies and unlike Plan A, Plan B is unconditional! This time around, God will not wait for a group of people to get their act together and He will not depend on a particular religious body of people to accomplish the gospel commission. At the appointed time, He will complete His work by hand picking 144,000 people from all over the world. These trustees of God, having Abraham’s faith and love for Him, will accomplish all that God wants done in a mere 1,260 days!
God has done a very clever thing by creating Plan B using parallels from Plan A. Remember that Plan A and Plan B cannot be mixed or merged. However, to appreciate Plan B, it is very helpful to understand some of the building blocks in Plan A. In this sense, the prophecies and promises in the Old Testament remain indispensable. By studying the Old Testament carefully, we can understand God’s plans better because there are many parallels between Plan A and Plan B.
Many people have asked if I think the Jews will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem because the Old Testament indicates the temple would be rebuilt. The Old Testament does indicate the temple would be rebuilt, but the Old Testament is not referring to a third temple. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the first temple (Solomon’s temple) in 586 B.C. and four decrees were issued to rebuild it. The Romans completely destroyed the second temple in A.D. 70. There is no prophecy in the Bible indicating that a third temple will be built. The reason for this silence is because God abandoned the nation of Israel at the end of the seventy weeks. He destroyed Jerusalem and the temple because He had installed a new covenant and created a new Israel. God has no need for a third temple.
Jesus told the Jews, “Look, your house [your temple] is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again [I will not live among you] until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” These two sentences are easy to understand. Jesus declared the temple of Israel, which was designed to be His dwelling place, would be left empty. Jesus declared this benediction on the temple because Israel had rejected Him, and as a result, He then rejected Israel. Second, Jesus made it perfectly clear in this text that He would never dwell in Israel again. Israel will not see Jesus again until the Second Coming, and then the Jews will be forced to say, “Blessed is he [Jesus] who comes in the name of the Lord.”
Historically speaking, the Roman army destroyed the second temple in A.D. 70. Later, a Moslem mosque (the Dome of the Rock) was built on the temple mount in A.D. 684. The presence of this mosque keeps the temple mount from Jewish control. God gave the site to the Moslems so that a third Jewish temple could not be built. Many Christians who do not understand Plan B are frustrated that a mosque now sits on the temple mount, but they should not be frustrated. There will not be a third temple. The temple that we should be focusing on and studying about is in Heaven! That is where Jesus lives and intercedes for us. Soon, Jesus will call for the seven trumpets of Revelation to begin! When that day arrives, the present confusion over rebuilding a third temple in Jerusalem will vanish.
Plan B Sealed Up
Now that we have discussed Plan A and Plan B at some length, please consider two statements:
- God foreknew that Plan B would be necessary from the beginning and He began preparing for Plan B during the Babylonian captivity. The book of Daniel contains visions that pertain to Plan B.
- God loved Israel as much as any father could love a child. He desperately wanted His trustees to do the work that He had chosen them to do. During the Babylonian captivity, God spoke to Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Through them, He gave Israel many encouraging prophecies and promises that would come to pass if Israel would cooperate with Him during the seventy weeks (Plan A). At the same time, God spoke to Daniel. Even though God revealed Plan B to Daniel, the information He gave to Daniel was sealed until the end of the world. If Israel had been faithful and Plan A was realized, the book of Daniel would not have been needed.
The Final Generation
The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation tell a story that covers many centuries. It gradually builds in intensity until it reaches the time of the final generation. This story contrasts the powers of sin and rebellion with the power of Jesus, revealing all who He really is. God hid this story from previous generations by hiding four rules in the book of Daniel. This process helped to keep prophetic matters a secret until the time arrives for fulfillment. God does this for two reasons. First, when the time for fulfillment comes, those who love truth move forward. They are spiritually renewed when they see God’s Word fulfilled with their own eyes, and in the process, those moving forward are separated from those who prefer darkness and tradition. This response to truth explains why some people were overjoyed when Jesus was born and others were deeply offended by His ministry. Second, as knowledge increases, man’s knowledge of God increases. God reveals new information about Himself in an orderly way so that His children can spiritually mature. Jesus told His disciples, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them [unbelievers].” If being a part of the kingdom of Heaven is important to you, then the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven will be very important to you. On the other hand, when people are spiritually dead, secrets about the kingdom of Heaven are not important.
From the beginning, God predetermined the number of days allotted to Earth’s existence. I believe the appointed time of the end has come because the book of Daniel has been unsealed. The architecture that has been hidden for twenty-six centuries has been discovered and the intended meaning of Daniel and Revelation is now available!
- John 3:16 Return
- John 15:20-27 Return
- Luke 19:40; Matthew 3:9 Return
- Hosea 6:6,7 Return
- Exodus 19:4-8 Return
- John 8:39-45, italics and insertion mine Return
- Galatians 3:29 Return
- Isaiah 9:6,7; 2 Chronicles 6:16; Jeremiah 33:17-22; John 12:12-16; Matthew 3:1-3 Return
- Hosea 8:1-3; Daniel 9:26; Matthew 23:1-39 Return
- Luke 22:20; Hebrews 8:8-13 Return
- Malachi 3:6-18 Return
- Psalm 19:7-11 Return
- Hebrews 8:1-5; 10:4-9 Return
- Colossians 2:13-17 Return
- Hebrews 7:12-22; Galatians 3:24 Return
- Genesis 17:2-7 Return
- Genesis 17:8 Return
- Genesis 15:6; Hebrews 11:1-29; Ephesians 2:8,9; Hebrews 10:1-29 Return
- Galatians 3:29, insertion mine Return
- Hebrews 11:8-10 Return
- Romans 2:28,29; Galatians 3:28,29 Return
- Hebrews 11:40 Return
- For a comprehensive discussion on the topics of salvation, judgment, and the rapture, please read my book, Jesus: The Alpha and The Omega. This book may be freely downloaded at this web address: www.wake-up.org/Alpha/Subjindex.htm. Return
- Revelation 13:7; 17:6; 18:24 Return
- Hebrews 11 Return
- Jeremiah 7:21-28 Return
- Matthew 23:38,39 Return
- Hebrews 8:1-5 Return
- Revelation 8 and 9 Return
- Acts 1:7; Ephesians 3:9 Return
- Hebrews 1:1,2 Return
- Matthew 13:11, insertion mine Return
- Daniel 8:19; Revelation 9:15 Return