by Steven Chan
In the previous articles, we discussed the existence of God, the case for revelation by God, the inspiration of the Bible and the fact that the God-inspired scriptures have been faithfully transmitted to us today. The present article will discuss the underlying theme of the Bible. This will help us understand what the Bible is all about so that we do not miss the forest for the trees.
- The Bible begins with the declaration that God is the Creator of the entire Universe:
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1)
It revealed that God is all-powerful in that He spoke the world into immediate existence. The world did not take many years to evolve such that it could sustain life. It revealed that God’s Word is powerful (Heb 4:12):-a. “Then God said…and it was so” (Gen 1:3,7, 9,11, 15)…And God saw that it was good (Gen 1:10,12,18,21,25) and “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen 1:31).b. Psa 33:6,8-9: “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth…Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. 9 For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.”c. Heb 11:3: “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
- The Bible tells us that God is the Creator of man – made in His Image and Likeness – empowering man to have dominion over all of His creation. God placed man in an environment with all provisions made for man, including a suitable companion for mana.a. Gen 1:26: “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”b. Gen 2:7: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being”c. Gen 2:8-9: “The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. 9 And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.”
d. Gen 2:15-17: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
e. Gen 1:18: “And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
- The Bible revealed to us that God crowned man with glory and honor – to rule over all His works: Man was “created for God’s glory”a. Psa 8:5-6: “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all thingsunder his feet,”b. Isa 43:1-7: “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not … When you pass through the waters, I will bewith you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. 3 For I amthe Lord your God…Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”c. Matt 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
d. 1 Cor 10:31: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”
e. In what sense is Man made in God’s image?
i. John 4:24: “God isSpirit” – therefore Man’s likeness to God cannot be “physical” likeness.
ii. The “likeness” must necessarily refer to our spirits (as God is the Father of our spirits – Heb 12:9; Ecc 12:7) – the real self that shares the similar attributes with God such as “ability to think and reason (to walk in the light as God is Light -1 John 1:5), the exercise of free-will, the ability to love (God is Love – 1 John 4:8), to have dominion over the earth” – all of which sets man apart from animals.
- God made Man in His Own Image and Likeness – to Have Dominion over all that He had made – so that man may have “Fellowship with Him” – sharing in common with Him – walking with Him and sharing His values and goals.a. Acts 17:27:“so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us”b. 1 John 1:3-7: “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship iswith the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ…. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”c. Eph 5:11: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness”.
There are definite benefits for being in fellowship with God. Rom 8:31: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Heb 13:5-6: “For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear.”
- The Bible revealed to us that Man’s Fellowship with God was Disrupted by Man’s Sin.a. Gen 3:4-5: Satan’s blatant lie: “4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”b. Isa 59:2: “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden Hisface from you, so that He will not hear.”c. Rom 3:23; 5:12; 6:23: The consequence of sin is death (Eph 2:1)
- God Revealed His Plan to Save Man by the Seed of the Woman bruising the serpent’s head: “So the Lord God said to the serpent…And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:15)a. The Promise to Abraham in Gen 12:1-3: “Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Rom 4)b. Gen 22:18: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”c. Abraham had two sons, Isaac & Ishmael but God chose the seed of Isaac: Gen 21:12 – “for in Isaac your seed shall be called”
d. Isaac had two sons, Esau & Jacob but God chose the seed of Jacob: Gen 28:14: “and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed”
e. From among Israel (Jacob)’s 12 sons, Israel blessed Judah saying that the kingship would be from Judah: Gen 49:8-10: “Your father’s children shall bow down before you…The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes” (“Shiloh” has been understood to mean ‘period of peace’ implying the reign of Christ). Both King David and King Solomon were from the tribe of Judah.
f. God promised King David that God will establish his throne forever: 2 Sam 7:11-17: “Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.12 “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever…. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”
g. Psa 89:3: ““I have made a covenant with My chosen,
I have sworn to My servant David: 4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever, and build up your throne to all generations.”
h. The prophet Isaiah related the virgin birth of Jesus with the throne of David and the angel Gabriel declared/confirmed it:
i. Isa 7:13-14: “Hear now, O house of David!… Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Matt 1:21-23)
ii. Isa 9:6-7: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of Hisgovernment and peace there will beno end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
iii. Luke 1:31-33: ”And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Rom 1:3 – seed of David)
iv. Acts 2:29-36: Peter explained that the Promise to David in 2 Sam 7:11-17 was a reference to Jesus, from the lineage of David being enthroned on His spiritual kingdom following His resurrection.
I. Daniel prophesied concerning the time when the Kingdom of God would be established in the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2:31-45:-
i. Head of Gold referring to the Babylonian kingdom (612-536 BC)
ii. Breast and arms of silver referring to the Medo-Persian kingdom (536-330 BC)
iii. Belly and thighs of brass referring to the Macedonian (Greek) kingdom of Alexander the Great (330-146 BC)
iv. Legs of iron and feet of iron mixed with clay referring to the Roman kingdom (146 BC-476 AD)
v. The Kingdom of God would be established during the Roman kingdom:
Dan 2:44: “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure”
vi. Dan 7:13-14: “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, Onelike the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion isan everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”
j. Jesus lived under the Roman kingdom. When Jesus ascended into heaven in the clouds (Acts 1:9), He received the kingdom from God the Father (the Ancient of Days) and so the apostle Peter declared on the Day of Pentecost that Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God and is both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:33,36)
k. The Kingdom (i.e. the church) came into existence after the resurrection & ascension of Jesus
i. Mark 1:15: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
ii. John 3:5: “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Being born again refers to being baptized into Christ, into His body, the church and the kingdom (Rom 6:3-5; Gal 3:26-27; 1 Cor 12:13; Col 1:18) of which Christ is Head and King.
iii. Matt 16:18-19: “ And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
iv. Col 1:13: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed usinto the kingdom of the Son of His love”
v. Heb 12:29: “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
vi. Christ is Reigning Today, seated at the Right Hand of the Father
1 Tim 6:14-15: “until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who isthe blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords,”
l. When Christ comes again, He will deliver the kingdom to God the Father:
1 Cor 15:23-26: “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who areChrist’s at His coming. 24 Then comesthe end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
- Jesus Fulfilled the Promise made in the Garden of Eden and to Abraham that in his seed shall nations be blessed – Jesus was the Seed through whom all nations would be blessed as He has crushed the head of Satan and freeing man from sin (John 8:32):a. Gal 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons”.b.Gal 3:8, 16: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying,“In you all the nations shall be blessed…Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.c. Satan’s Head was bruised when Jesus overcame Death
i. Rev 1:17-18: “I am the First and the Last. 18 I amHe who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”
ii. Luke 10:17-18: “Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
iii. Rom 16:20: “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”
iv. Rev 12:7-9: “And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
d. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Promise of Redemption made to Abraham:
Acts 3:24-26: “Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”
- The Disruption by Sin of our Fellowship with God has now been Removed by Jesus who has Reconciled Man to God
2 Cor 5:17-21: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
- The underlying theme of the Bible is the Revealing of God’s Plan for the Redemption of Man to Restore Man’s Relationship with God.
- Man can now be Reconciled to God and to be in Fellowship with God thereby bringing Blessings of Joy, Peace, Goodness, Comfort and Hope for Man.
However, if man ignores the plan of God for salvation then “a certain fearful expectation of judgment” awaits him – “For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Heb 10:27, 30-31). “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27) “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Rom 14:12)
But God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet 3:9). “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4).
That is the underlying story of the Bible.