Dear Wake Up Family:
When compiling materials for the Transcript Series books, I’m always searching through Larry’s archives, looking for an email or document I haven’t seen before. He wrote thousands of pages about the Bible. This month’s article is taken from a 1996 seminar. It’s absolutely dripping with his “voice”, and if you listen closely, you can almost hear him speaking! As you read, please keep in mind: “We are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.” (2 Peter 13:3 NLT)
“Long before this world was created, there was God. And long after this world has passed away, God will be here. Because God’s ways are everlasting, God is very careful, deliberate, and thoughtful in everything He does. He knows His actions are closely observed by billions of intelligent creatures.
God is so large that human beings have a difficult time even understanding something as simple as His presence. Let me put this in perspective: Let’s say you grew up in Los Angeles. You went to grade school, high school, college, and now work within twenty minutes of where you grew up. You have lived your whole life without leaving Los Angeles.
Now, if someone asked, ‘Do you know your way around LA?’ you would say, ‘Yes.’ But then, one day, you’re taken up in a helicopter to see the city. At 5,000 feet, the city goes as far as the eye can see. Then the strangest thing happens: You recognize the lay of the land is quite different than what you thought. The curves in the roads, the buildings, the landmarks appear to be laid out quite differently than you imagined. What you see from 5,000 feet is quite different than what you see at ground level. For a moment, there is confusion. Then, with a little orientation and study, your mind begins to reconcile two views—the view from the ground and the view from the air. Yes, the view in both cases is 100% of all you can see at the time, but the perspectives are totally different. One is experiential, the other is objective.
Which view better represents the city of Los Angeles? The fact is, we need both views of God to appreciate how present He is in our lives. God’s behavior over 4,000 years has been recorded so that we might understand Him and comprehend His forthcoming actions. We human beings cannot understand God. However, He behaves in a consistent and predictable manner so that His creatures might begin to understand His ways.
We are living at a time when God is about to do things to earth that He hasn’t done before. When He acts, His actions will be largely misunderstood. And to climb up the ‘mountain’ to see God takes effort.
- T or F: It is easier to listen to a preacher tell us about God than to study the Bible.
- T or F: Bible study is hard. TV is easy.
- T or F: Keeping your mouth shut is hard. Speaking your mind is easy.
- T or F: Utilizing your time wisely is hard. Goofing off is easy.
- T or F: Human beings like things easy.
God has an agenda, and every living creature has a unique role and place in that agenda. If some creature refuses to fulfill his part, God is able to accomplish the original objectives of His plan anyway, by transferring the original privilege to someone else. Plan A / Plan B is a concept that represents this action; it explains the difference between God’s intended will (Plan A) and His permissive will (Plan B).
The premise behind Plan A / Plan B is that God has offered many optimal plans to man but man usually fails, therefore, God implements His permissive plan. Each optimal PLAN (and its subsequent reward) is based on man’s full and complete compliance.
History has recorded that mankind has always failed to fully benefit from Plan A because full and complete compliance has never taken place. History also reveals that God generously deals with man’s failure by converting Plan A to Plan B. As a result, His original objective is met although in a different way.
- Plan A: Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden forever.
- Plan B: Adam and Eve in the Earth made new forever.
- Plan A: Saul appointed as king of Israel.
- Plan B: David appointed as a replacement.
- Plan A: Jerusalem would become the center of the world, David’s throne never ending.
- Plan B: New Jerusalem will become the center of the universe, Jesus’ (a descendant of David) throne never ending.
An understanding of Plan A / Plan B is important if we want to read the Bible with discernment. Many people are confused after reading the Bible because they try to reconcile all that was said “back then” within the perspective of what is known today. How are we to reconcile the actions of God with the foreknowledge of God? Asked another way, how do we reconcile that the Old Testament speaks of many things that: (1) Do not apply now; (2) Will not come to pass; and (3) Did not take place.
For this reason, many Christians read the Old Testament and get highly confused, believing that: (1) Everything written still applies; and (2) Everything written will come to pass.
There is a simple three-step process for studying the Bible and observing the Plan A / Plan B process:
First, read each section as though you were literally on the scene. Put on the sandals of the Bible writer. Listen to the speakers of that day. Keep their remarks within the context of time and place. ‘Who said unto whom and under what circumstances?’
Second, examine each situation in the light of previous agreements or covenants so that the actions or reactions of all the parties are consistent with the body of knowledge known to them at that time.
Third, look for the larger theme. Notice how God responds to the failure of man. That which is written in the Bible and passed down to us is highly important. But, if we don’t read widely, details will lose their contribution to the larger picture.
If Israel had been faithful to the covenant of God, the Plan of Salvation would have been consummated in an entirely different way than it is going to be. But, Israel failed. We’re just like Israel, we have numerous churches but believe everything is fine. We think we know God, but don’t believe His word. Christians go to church, sing about God, and get revved up emotionally, but where are those who study His word? Everyone claims they’re saved, but nobody is listening to His words.
When I watch television and see people conducting themselves immorally, doing what is an abomination to God, when I see people in corporate and political offices stealing, cheating, and lying, or when I hear about the murder and sexual immorality going on in our country, it tells me that the wrath of God is coming upon our nation. He will repay us for our conduct, ‘Then we will know that He is the Lord.’
When the Lord returns, ready or not, we will be forced to make a decision. Get ready, get ready, get ready—to meet God!”09-SepNewsletterWeb