We want to strike at the roots of why this "revival" is not of God, and the main reason for the apostasy is this: a wrong starting point was used concerning what God wanted to accomplish before He created anything. The restored prophets go back to the fall to find and restore God's plan. But, the Apostle Paul went back further, and that is where we find the true plan of God.
EPHESIANS 1:15-17: PAUL'S PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH15: Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16: Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:In verse 17, Paul prayed for the spirit of revelation in the knowledge of God. Paul DID NOT pray for just any general revelation. He prayed for a SPECIFIC revelation. He prayed for a specific revelation IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. To King Agrippa, Paul said, "I was not unfaithful to the heavenly vision." He prayed for us to have heavenly vision also. That's what we want to look at: Paul's revelation compared to those of the modern apostles and prophets.
THE FALL AS A STARTING POINT OF GOD'S PLANPart of the reason for the apostasy is that the prophets have looked back to the fall and man's need to be saved as their starting point concerning God's purposes. But initial salvation is only a part of the whole and we've taken a part, salvation, to be the whole of what God originally intended. If we only look back to the fall, our perspective is basically this: History appears to be mainly redemptive; man fell and only God can restore him. But God DID NOT create man just so he could fall and be redeemed. Paul's heavenly vision was much more bigger than that.
We see salvation as being mainly man-centered. It's absolutely necessary, but this man-centered view of God's purpose has led to other gospels, such as the Health And Wealth Gospel, God as our healer, God as our problem solver, God as worker of signs and wonders, or the One who makes us gods. And we must realize that making salvation the center of God's overall purpose for man is primarily bent on what God can do for us. Man fell, but at THAT point, what was God's standard as to what to do about it? Did He scratch His head and say, "What do we do now?" All God said was, "Don't eat of it." But we did, and then He promised a Redeemer, but WHAT was His standard as to what that redeemer would accomplish? And for what purpose would He accomplish it? To save man? For what purpose? The thing we have to realize is this: God's eternal purpose WAS NOT established at the time of the fall, or because of the fall.
THE COMMISSION TO ADAM AS THE STARTING POINTAnother primary source of new revelations delivered by the new prophets and apostles is the commission God gave Adam before the fall:
"Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it" (Gen. 1:28).This has left many with the impression that God's purpose for man was to set up His kingdom. Many of the new revelations are based on man having lost dominion in the fall and taking back what is rightfully ours. But this doesn't answer why God created us? And, what would be God's purpose in man setting up a kingdom? It is these two areas of history that have opened doors for supposedly "new" revelations of God's purpose for man.
PAUL LOOKED IN THE RIGHT PLACE AS HIS STARTING POINTPaul looked BEYOND the fall and God's commission to BEFORE creation. Paul always started with God Himself before the creation of the world. He spoke often of God BEFORE THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. Paul said he delivered the WHOLE COUNCIL OF GOD to the Church. What did he mean by that? Where did he get that Counsel? There were only the OT scriptures. Here is what Paul said in Romans 16:25:
"Now to him that is of powerThe Whole Council of God Paul referred to was what God had determined and purposed in Himself before He created anything. The foundation for what God would accomplish and how He would accomplish it was laid BEFORE He created Adam. Paul's gospel and preaching of Jesus Christ came out of THIS REVELATION from God of THE MYSTERY that He KEPT HID IN HIMSELF SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN.
TO ESTABLISH YOU
ACCORDING TO my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
THE REVELATION OF THE MYSTERY, which was
SINCE THE WORLD BEGAN."
THE PLAN GOD HAD HID IN HIMSELF BEFORE THE WORLD BEGANIn the following paragraphs, I will list all the verses I could find that use the phrase "before the world began" or "from the foundation of the world" or other such phrases. These verses tell us WHEN God purposed to do what He purposed to do, and the details of His works that were finished before the world began. They tell us what He commanded and considered as done that would put any other purposes to nought. They tell us His purpose that would endure through all generations.
All the verses that I share will refer to the revelation God gave to Paul so we would have a proper knowledge of Him. This is the revelation that caused Paul to say, "I was not unfaithful to the heavenly vision," and "I am in chains for the gospel," and "Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel."
HEBREWS 4:1 Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2: For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. 3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.From the foundation of the world, God's works, what He had determined, were finished. Here is what God determined before the foundation of the world. God's works were set before the world began, and Scriptures tell us exactly what they were. The commission and the fall DID NOT alter the purpose that God had established. People in this move are not resting in the finished work of God. There is much sweat, and pushing and pulling, to unite everybody by the year 2000.
ROMANS 16:25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began 26: But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.Since the world began, God had ordained and kept secret a mystery that would be manifested through the words of the prophets, that would establish men from all nations in God's purposes. This is the faith delivered unto the saints once and for all (Jude 3).
REVELATION 13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.Before the foundation of the world, Christ was foreordained as the lamb through whom we would be redeemed. He was manifested for us, meaning, we would have the opportunity for eternal life.
1 PETER 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.
1 JOHN. 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.That which was from the beginning: The lamb that was foreordained by the Father to be manifested as eternal life to us, and that we would be brought into a fellowship with God.
EPHESIANS 1:4 before the foundation of the world . . . . 9: . . . he hath purposed in himself: 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.Before the foundation of the world, God purposed in Himself to gather together all things in Christ. Ephesians 1:22 says Christ has been made to be the head over all things.
TITUS 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2: In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3: But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Savior.Before the world began, God promised that we would be given the opportunity to gain eternal life by faith. This is done through preaching, not demonstrating unity.
2 THESSALONIANS 2:13 . . . God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.From the beginning, God determined to choose those who would believe in Christ to be saved by sanctification and belief in the truth, not by works.
EPHESIANS 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.Before the foundation of the world, God chose us in Christ to be holy and without blame before him in love. This is the plan of God for every man. It is foundational. Also before the foundation of the world, God had ordained that we who believe in Christ should be adopted as His children.
One thing was very noticeable as I gathered all of these scriptures: there is no wrath in mystery hidden. God expected men to accept His salvation. Wrath is not a result of God's planning, but man's rejection of what He purposed.
2 TIMOTHY 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.Before the world began, God planned to save us and then call us with an holy calling (Eph. 1:4) according to his own purpose and grace.
EPHESIANS 3:8 . . . that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.From the beginning of the world, within this mystery hid in God, was a fellowship that God wanted to bring us into.
1 CORINTHIANS 2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to null: 7: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory 8: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.Before the world, God ordained a "hidden wisdom," which would one day be for our glory. In this verse, we see the wisdom of God in not telling anyone about the mystery He hid in Himself: the spirits not of God did not know that if they instigated a plan to get rid of Jesus, that would be their defeat not victory. All they had to do was leave Him alone while on the earth and victory would have been theirs. The blood would never had been shed, and salvation impossible:
Eph 3:4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
6 That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
In Christ, the Jew and Gentile believers would be made one, contributing ultimately to the gathering of all things under Christ. As one body, they would inherit the kingdom of God at His coming:MATTHEW 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.From the foundation of the world, God purposed that through a belief in His gospel, we would INHERIT the kingdom ALREADY PREPARED from the foundation of the world.
MISCELLANEOUS SCRIPTURE: Before The World BeganMATTHEW 13:35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
1 JOHN 3:8 He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
JOHN 17:24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world.
BEFORE THE WORLD BEGANNot only did God have a set purpose before creation, He kept it hid:
GOD HID A SECRET MYSTERY WITHIN HIMSELF
ROMANS 16:25ff Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26: But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.
EPHESIANS 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9: And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.
COLOSSIANS 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; 26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.
EPHESIANS 3:3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4: Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5: Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit.
GOD WOULD WORK ALL THINGS AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILLEPHESIANS 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will.
AFTER CREATION, GOD WOULD ONLY WORK
ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE IN CHRIST
THAT WHICH HE PURPOSED IN HIMSELFEPHESIANS 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will, things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
GOD WORKS EVERYTHING AFTER THE COUNSEL OF HIS OWN WILLEPHESIANS 1:11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will. things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
ROMANS 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29: For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
GOD WOULD CALL MEN ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE2 TIMOTHY 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.Good works not ordained of God are as filthy rags. Only God-ordained works contribute to His purposes. All that He would do would further His purpose and His grace.
GOD WOULD BRING ABOUT WHAT HE PURPOSED
ACCORDING TO THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILLLUKE 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.
EPHESIANS 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
EPHESIANS 1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, 10: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.
SUMMARY OF THE ABOVE SCRIPTURESBefore the world began, God hid within Himself a mystery. This mystery contained His purpose for Christ and the part of humanity that would accept Christ, the Church. That which He purposed in Himself, He would bring about after the counsel of His own will according to His own good pleasure. This purpose would be extended to the Church by grace alone in a way that was consistent with His purpose.