Universal Salvation: The Plan of God Part One
Surely everyone in the world would like to know the plan of God. Is there an exact plan of God in the Bible? If there is, where exactly is it? Well, our God has given us His plan of action which leads to Universal Salvation, and the Israelites lived within the framework of that plan, and did not even know it. And so as not to complicate things, we are going to take seven Hebrew Festivals, and show you that God incorporated His plan within them.
The Seven Hebrew Festivals are as follows:
- The Passover.
- The Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- The Feast of Trumpets.
- The Day of Atonement.
- The Feast of Tabernacles.
- The Great Last Day.
Can you remember the very first Passover? No doubt some of you can, and some of you can not. The easiest thing to do is to go back and look at it: it was at a time when Moses was commissioned to go to Pharaoh to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, a type of sin (Hebrews 11:24-26).
God said to Moses, at Exodus 3:10: "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."
Pharaoh refused to let them go, so God brought ten plagues against Pharaoh and his people. It is the tenth plague that we are interested in.
Exodus 12:1-14 tells us: "1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 'This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: "On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. 7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire - its head with its legs and its entrails. 10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. 11 And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. 14 So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance." ' "
God was going to strike every firstborn in the land of Egypt. To put it bluntly, He was going to cut short their lives, no matter what nationality: which in itself brings a big problem. If God can just take people's lives whenever He wants to, that is premeditated murder. That would make Him no more than an assassin: someone who can kill as and when He wants. And the bottom line is that He can not do that; He is bound by love. He can do only what is in everyone's best interests: if it is not in our very best interests, He can not do it. Love restricts God in what He can do.
The only way that God could legally and justifiably take the life of anyone, is if it were only temporary, and in the best interests of everyone. Once He has given life, He can not totally abort it. Once He has given life to anyone, then that life can only be terminated on a temporary basis, because God is eternal life, and therefore has only eternal life to give. Anything less would make God imperfect. And anything less would not be in everyone's best interests, nor would it be in the image of God. So everyone who has ever lived and died, has had their lives terminated only on a temporary basis.
But where the firstborn of the children of Israel were concerned, on the very first Passover, there was a plan of rescue for them. Exodus 12:7 and 13 says: "7 And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt."
Putting the blood of sheep on the doorposts and lintels of their houses would be blasphemy to the Egyptians, as the male sheep was sacred to the Egyptian god Ra.
But the provision here was for the firstborn of the Israelites to be inside their homes. They were to be totally protected by having to pass under the blood of the lamb when they went into their houses. So ultimately, they were being protected by being under the blood of the lamb: a shadow of things to come, the reality being Jesus, the Lamb of God.
God tells us at 1 Corinthians 5:7: "…For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." And it is the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, that we all now need to come under so that the destroyer, death, can pass over us, and we can enter into eternal life.
The Hebrew word for "Passover" is pesah, from pasah, which means to spring over, or to leap over, and it prefigures God showing mercy.
As it says at Romans 3:23-25: "23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed".
It always was God's plan to give His Son a ransom sacrifice for all; that is a favour to you, His grace to you.
The Passover was a sacrifice, foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ, for the remission of sin.
Immediately following on from the Passover was the Feast of Unleavened Bread: showing that, once we are under the blood of the Lamb, we must depart from Egypt, a type of sin.
Let us read more about it at Numbers 28:16,17 where it says: "16 On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the LORD. 17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days."
The Passover, which depicted the sacrifice of Jesus, was on the fourteenth. Immediately following, on the fifteenth, for seven days, was the Feast of Unleavened Bread; depicting coming out of sin. Once you are under the blood of the Lamb, it is immediately followed by your coming out of sin. And that is the start of your Sabbath Walk (to be dealt with in a later article). Remember, Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath; He invites you to walk with Him in that Sabbath.
Each year, the Israelites had to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, to remind them that God had brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12: 17-20 says: "17 So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread. "
Deuteronomy 16:3 calls the unleavened bread, the bread of affliction: "You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day in which you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life."
This reminded them of their hasty departure from Egypt, the land of their affliction; not even having time to leaven their dough. Exodus 12:33-34 tells us: "33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, 'We shall all be dead.' 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders."
This is a picture which foreshadows God's people coming out of sin.
At 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, leaven is also pictured as a type of sin: "6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
And Jesus said at Matthew 16:6,11,12: "6 Then Jesus said to them, 'Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees…11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread? - but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.' 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Jesus also said at Luke 12:1,2: "1 In the meantime, when an innumerable multitude of people had gathered together, so that they trampled one another, He began to say to His disciples first of all, 'Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 2 For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, nor hidden that will not be known.' "
When the temple of living saints is operating in full upon the earth, all truth will be revealed through it.
So the Passover pictures the sacrifice of Jesus, and the provision for people to come under the blood of the Lamb, for the remission of sin.
Unleavened Bread pictures the exodus from sin to eternal life.
Do not miss next month's article "Universal Salvation! The Plan of God Part Two", where most of you will learn something new about Pentecost.
N ext article: The Plan of God Part Two