"A God who hides Himself"
What a valid observation since less than one third of the world’s population is nominally classified as Christian. Far less have personally accepted Jesus as their Savior and made a full commitment to him. But more basically, Isaiah 45:15-25 reveals that God hid Himself from both Israel and all mankind. Whereas, Isaiah 57:17 speaks of God hiding from mankind and smiting them.
First we will consider Isaiah 57:17, which speaks of God hiding from mankind and smiting them. Remember back in the Garden of Eden when Father Adam disobeyed God, he and the whole human race yet in Adam’s loins were smitten with death and/or condemned to death, which would be a process, dying you will die. God hid Himself from mankind during this dying process.
Why did Adam disobey? God in His foreknowledge knew that Adam, even though created perfect in the image of God (Genesis 1: 26), would lack a crystallized righteous character that can only be acquired by developmental experience.
Consequently, 1 Peter 1:18-20 reveals that God before the foundation of the world knew Adam would disobey and need redemption. Thus, 1 Corinthians 15:22 states, "… in Adam all die." But God’s hiding of Himself is not forever since 1 Corinthians 15:22 goes on to say, "… so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Therefore, Genesis 3:17-19, 23, 24, observes Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, with its self-sustaining perfect blending of soil nutrients, plus all the elements of a perfect atmosphere—no possibility of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. Because Adam disobeyed God, God hid Himself from Adam and his posterity. Adam and Eve were cast out into the "cursed earth." The remaining earth outside the Garden of Eden lacked the perfect Edenic balance of the soil and the atmosphere. Therefore, Adam and his posterity would suffer the calamities inherent in this environ of an imperfect earth.
But God has always dealt with a few men of faith, such as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who was later named Israel. Then God made the Law Covenant with the descendants of Jacob, the 12 tribes of Israel. Why? God wanted to prove, once and for all, that imperfect man could not keep his laws. God’s law spelled out in detail the principles which one would have to practice in order to live harmoniously with his fellow man. Because Israel could not keep the law of God, they broke God’s Covenant. Then God, as stated in Isaiah 45, hid Himself from Israel.
Fast Forward to Our Time
Now in our time the members of the fallen disease-prone human race, each in their limited lifetime, are still experiencing the consequences of the "permission of evil," both moral and environmental. The environmental consequences are calamitous.
Scientists have found that mammoth icebergs are breaking off the ice glaciers in the Arctic. In fact, the melting is so rapid it is predicted that most of it will be gone by the end of the century with all the ecological consequences that would entail, not the least of which would be wiping out coastal cities—devastating hundreds of millions of people (http://abcnews.go.com).
In the U.S. last spring there was record-breaking destruction by tornadoes. In a two-day period more than 300 people were killed in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee by an estimated 305 tornadoes. Then Hurricane Irene flooded New Jersey with an unprecedented destruction of homes. The scorching heat of Texas killing off whole herds of cattle with over 1,600 homes burned to the ground, took nearly six billion dollars in crops and livestock.
The 2010 Haiti earthquake had a death toll of 316,000, with a recovery cost estimated at $14 billion. In the Somalia famine nine million people are hungry. The UN warns of 750,000 deaths. USAID TODAY observed, "Nationwide the number of natural disasters has tripled in the past two decades."
The rapid melting of glaciers causes its own global warming. But, regardless of the global warming debate, this much is certain, man’s greed for profit has motivated an immoral industrialization with no concern for a healthy atmosphere. No doubt, atomic energy and other unknown factors have drastically and adversely affected our atmosphere in ways not fully understood. Remember the nuclear waste vaults around the world are a ticking bomb.
Then there are the national and international tragedies topped by 9/11, and the Iraqi and Afghanistan Wars that helped cripple the U.S. financially. Europe and the U.S. are struggling to pull out of a disastrous recession. If Greece defaults, it could plunge all of Europe into a deeper recession. Italy is not far behind.
In September the U.S., already downgraded by Standard and Poors, was devastated by the Federal Reserve prediction of a second recession lasting for years. Some worry that the U.S. could become a second-class nation with the U.S. dollar no longer the financial standard of the world. Reuters News observed that the current economic down-grade of China, once the booming economic power, could precipitate a world recession. All of this adds up to a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" (Daniel 12:1).
This is all a part of "the travail, which God has given to the sons of men to be exercised in it" (Ecclesiastes 3:10 KJV). Remember 1 Corinthian 15:22; "For as in Adam all die" — involves all the bitter experiences during which man in his dying process is learning the exceeding sinfulness of sin. "So in Christ shall all be made alive" will be fulfilled in Christ’s 1,000 year Kingdom.
The High Calling
Since Jesus’ death, God has not been trying to convert mankind. Rather, God is calling a special "people for his name" (Acts 15:14-18) from among Jews and Gentile, "a little flock" (Luke 12:32) who will "live and reign with Christ" (Revelation 20:6) during his thousand year kingdom. 1 Corinthians 6:1-3 reveals they "will also judge the world." Mark 4:11-12 proves beyond a doubt that God is not trying to convert the world now.
"And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them."
But, 1 Timothy 2:3-6 reveals that because Jesus died "a ransom for all," God "will have all men to be saved [from Adamic death] and come to a [Greek "epignosis" accurate] knowledge of the truth…." This is thrilling! All men are to come to an accurate knowledge of the Truth. John 5:28,29 reveals when "all men" will have this opportunity for salvation.
John 5:28-29 ASV.
‘Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment." (Greek "krisis")
Here Jesus divides all mankind into two classes. (One) "They that have done good" refers to the "Little Flock" who at Christ’s return will be raised to "be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). (Two) "They that have done evil" — all the remainder of men — will come forth to "the resurrection of judgment" or crisis in the Greek text.
The Greek word "crisis" has been incorporated into many languages and has the thought of trial or crucial turning time. A doctor in diagnosing a patient might say, tomorrow will be the crisis. He means tomorrow the patient will take a turn for the better or worse. Look up 2 Peter 3:8-9. God is allowing 1,000 years to give everyone of the "evil" class of John 5:28-29 ample opportunity to "repent" so they will not "perish." Other Scriptures indicate that the raising from the dead of the "evil" will be gradual.
At the beginning of God’s Kingdom, Israel will repent for killing Jesus and Jerusalem will become the earthly capital (Zechariah 12:10; Isaiah 2:2,3) while Christ with his faithful followers will be "kings and priests." Remember, a priest blesses and teaches. They will bless mankind and gradually instruct and crystallize a righteous character in all the willing of mankind. Those that fail to fully submit will be cut off in "Second Death" (Revelation 20:14, 15).
In that beautiful Kingdom chapter of Revelation 22, the "little flock," then the bride of Christ, will utter those thrilling all embracing words in verse17: "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hear say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Just think. If you "are faithful unto death…" (Revelation 2:10), you will be a part of this Bride of Christ that will give this fabulous invitation to the "evil" class who come forth from the graves.
In the 1,000 year probation time of learning, the non-elect of mankind raised from death will have ideal conditions for instruction. How? "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." Isaiah 11:9 "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…." Jeremiah 31:34. Obviously, this has not happened nor is it now being fulfilled. What an ideal time for salvation that will be.
Isaiah 45:17, 20, 22, 23 reveals God will cease to hide himself from those called to the little Flock, then from Israel and mankind in the Kingdom.
Then the whole earth will be transformed into a Garden of Eden with its self-sustaining perfect blending of soil nutrients, plus all the elements of a perfect atmosphere—no possibility of tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
How Do We Really Know?
How do we really know that all these worldwide disasters are because God is hiding Himself during a "permission of evil" to teach mankind the exceeding sinfulness of sin, thus preparing them for the 1,000 year Kingdom of Christ on earth? The atheist points to these disasters as prove that there is no God. How do we really know God does exist?
Job 38:31-32 Proves Scientifically That God Does Exist
Job 38:31, 32
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades,
Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?
Astronomers in the last century have made the following startling discoveries. Ever so minutely, the stars in the constellation Orion are going in different directions. Whether it takes a million years — whatever — Orion will be no more.
The Pleiades are composed of 250 stars in seven groups so that being light-years away, they appear to be seven stars. Telescopes reveal an awesome symmetry and beauty as they orbit together.
Arcturus is a gigantic runaway sun and his "sons" are smaller runaway suns. Astronomers wonder why they don’t crash into another planet or star.
What makes Job’s observations of the Pleiades, Orion, and Arcturus actual proof that there is a God? Although recorded in Scripture over 3,000 years ago, it was only in the latter half of the 1900s that astronomers discovered that the realities of Orion, the Pleiades and Arcturus to be exactly as recorded in the Book of Job.
When Charles Burckhalter, of the Chabot Observatory, was confronted with this text in Job 38:31,32, he said, "The study of the Book of Job and its comparison with the latest scientific discoveries has brought me to the mature conviction that the Bible is an inspired book written by the One who made the stars." Yes, the Book of Job proves God does exist.
Since the 1970s the writer has been using Orion, the Pleiades and Arcturus to establish and/or re-establish the faith of young people in and out of college. I urge you to use these scientific facts concerning Orion, the Pleiades and Arcturus to establish the faith of the young people in your family or in your church.
We cannot be certain, but all the earlier "signs of the times" mentioned indicate that the complete destruction of our present social order (not the planet earth) followed by Christ’s Millennial Kingdom is near at hand. Hallelujah!