FROM the BEGINNING to the END
A Brief Overview of God's Plan and Purpose for Humanity
By Jonathan Mitchell
Gen. 1:26 And Elohim said: Let Us make humanity in Our image and according to Our likeness. Let them hold sway over the fish of the sea and over the flyer of the heavens, over the domestic beast, over every land animal and over every creeper that is creeping on the earth.
Gen. 1:28 Elohim blessed them, and Elohim said to them: Be fruitful and increase; fill the earth and subdue it. Hold sway over the earth.
Gen. 1:29 And Elohim said: Since I have given you all seed-yielding herbage and every tree on which there is the fruit of a seed-yielding tree, it shall be yours for food
The Human Story
Gen. 2:15 Then Yahweh took the human (Adam) and settled him in the garden of Eden to serve it and to keep it.
Gen. 2:17 The Instruction: you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil The Warning: on the day you eat from it, to die you shall be dying (note: a process)
Gen. 3:6 The Disobedience: they ate the fruit.
The Judgment (the decision): Gen. 3:14-19, 23
a. serpent cursed to crawl on its torso; will eat soil all THE DAYS of its life (it has a limited lifespan); enmity between it and the woman; enmity between their seeds
b. her Seed shall hurt its head; it shall hurt His heel
c. woman has an increase of grief and groanings of her pregnancy; will bear children in grief
d. her restoration is by her husband; he shall rule over her
e. ground cursed on account of Adam; it will sprout thorns and weeds for him
f. he will eat bread by the sweat of his brow until he returns to the ground from where he was taken
g. he is soil, and to soil he shall return
Gen. 3:23 So Yahweh Elohim sent him out of the garden of Eden to serve the ground from where he was taken.
This was the judgment for the disobedience of eating the fruit; this which was just described in 3:14-19 and 23 is the "TO DIE YOU SHALL BE DYING" of 2:17. There is nothing spoken of "eternal punishment" after they die. They began the process of dying when they were removed from the garden of Eden where they had enjoyed access to God's presence (3:8ff, Yahweh walking about in the garden; His speaking with them there). [note: Gen. quotes and summations from The Concordant Version of the Old Testament]
Paul's Interpretation of Adam's Story (Rom. 5:12-14)
12. Because of and through this, just as through one man (or: So it is that, even as through the act or agency of one person,) The Sin (or: the failure, miss of the target and deviation from the goal) entered into the aggregate of humanity (ordered system of religion, culture, society and government; or: world; cosmos), and through The Sin (failure; the mistake; the miss of the target; the deviation) The Death [also], in this way The Death thus also passed through in all directions (or: came through the midst causing division and duality; went throughout) into all mankind (or: into the midst of humanity; or: to all people), upon which [situation, condition, and with the consequential result that] all people sin (or: everyone failed, missed the target, fell short of the goal; or: all make mistakes and deviate from the path)
13. - for until (or: you see, up to the point of; for prior to) Law (or: custom), sin (failure; missing of the target; deviation from the goal) continued existing within the ordered System (world of religion, government, economy and culture; or: organized societies; or: cosmos), yet sin (failure; missing; deviating) is not continuing to be logically considered (is not being taken into account; is not habitually being put on one's account or ledger; is not continually counted), there being (or: existing) no law (or: custom).
14. But nonetheless The Death reigned (or: holds royal and kingly rule) from Adam as far as and as long as Moses [= Law], even upon those not sinning (failing to hit the target; deviating from the goal) upon [B and other MSS: within] the result of that which is conformed to (upon the occasion of the effect of the similarity of, or in the likeness of) the stepping aside (or: the transgression) of Adam - who is, and continues being, a replication (an impress; a pattern; a type; a prefigure) of and from the One being repeatedly (or: always; or: progressively) about to [be (?) come (?) do something (?)] (or: the One habitually impending) (or: which exists being an impression made by a blow from the [situation; Person; creation; realm; arrangement] progressively being about to [exist]).
[NOTE the CORPORATE DEALINGS of God: they are Humanity-wide] Paul informs us that through Adam (one man) The Sin entered into the aggregate of humanity, and through The Sin, The Death also entered. It is in this way that The death passed through in all directions and went throughout into all mankind. Then, upon this consequential result of Death being in all humanity, all people sin and deviate from the path - all because of The Death that entered into everyone. Death is the cause and environment of sin and failure to bear God's image.
We are instructed in vs. 14, above, that Paul describes the resulting situation as "The Death reigning (holding royal and kingly rule)." We read Paul stating this fact again in vs. 17a. Then, in vs. 21, we find a kind of sub-kingdom of The Sin reigning "within The Death." This was the predicament for humanity from Adam to Moses, i.e., for as far as the Law continued (Moses being another name for the Law), as we see in 14a.
The Good NewsIn Rom. 5:15-16 we read:
"Yet to the contrary, [it is] not in the same way [with] the effect of grace (result of favor; the thing graciously given) as [it was with] the effect of the fall to the side (or: = the result of the stumbling aside and the offence is not simply balanced out by the result of the joyful gift of grace - the gratuitous favor). For you see, since (or: if) by (or: in) the effect of the fall to the side (the result of the stumbling aside and the offense) of the one THE MANY (= the mass of humanity) died, MUCH MORE (= infinitely greater) [is] the Grace of God (God's Grace; favor which is God), and the gift (or: gratuitous benefit) within Grace - a joy-producing act of Favor - by that of the One Man, Jesus Christ, surrounded (or: encircles) into encompassing superabundance (extraordinary surplus and excess) into THE MANY (= the mass of humanity).
"And further, [it is] NOT [with] the effect of the gush and flow of the gratuitous gift as [it was] through one missing of the target (failing; deviating; sinning). For you see, on the one hand, the effect of the decision and judgment (result of the separating, evaluation and verdict) [was] from out of one [failure and deviation, which led] into a commensurate effect of a decision (a corresponding result of a negative evaluation which fell in line with the decision and followed the pattern which divided [us] down).
But on the other hand, the effect of the grace (the product of the gratuitous favor and the resulting joyous benefit) [is] from out of the effect of many falls to the side (result of many stumblings-aside and offenses) into the effect of a rightwising eschatological deliverance and making things right (the result of a placing into right relationships within the Way pointed out; or: the effect of an act of justice; an effect of equity; a just award; or: a result of fairness, removal of guilt, and justification, while being turned in the right direction; an amendment of what was wrong; a just-effect; = the effect of covenant inclusion and participation)."
Then in vs. 18 we find:
"Consequently, then, as [it was] through the effect of one fall to the side (or: the result of one offense) [coming] into all mankind ([permeating] into all humanity; = [extending] into the whole race) [bringing them] into a commensurate effect of a decision (a corresponding result of a negative evaluation which fell in line with the decision and followed the pattern which divided [us] down),
THUS ALSO and in the same way, through one just-effect and the result of one right act which set [all humanity] right and in accord with the Way pointed out (through the result of one act of justice, equity and solidarity; through a single decree creating rightwised relationships; through one effect of rightwising which turns [people] in the right direction) [it comes] into ALL MANKIND (all humanity; all people; = the whole race) [bringing them] into a setting right of Life and a rightwising, eschatological deliverance from Life [including them in covenant community] (or: Life's turning [folks] in the right direction resulting in right relating, equity and justice which is in accord with the Way pointed out; a making of situations and conditions to be right, which pertain to Life; an expressing of fairness and equity, which is LIFE; a rightly directed solidarity coming from Life; a just-acting having the qualities of life)."
All of this happened through the faithful obedience of the One Man, Jesus Christ. All that were and are included in the first one are also included in the Second One, or, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:20-28,
20. Yet now - at this present time! - Christ is roused and awake from having been raised up from out of the midst of dead people: a Firstfruit (= the first of the harvest; the Sheaf Offering, signally the beginning of the harvest [Lev. 23:10]) of those having fallen asleep, and are yet sleeping (reposing).
21. For since through a person (or: a human; or: humanity) [came] death, through a Person (or: a Human), also, [comes] resurrection of dead people.
22. For just as within Adam all keep on (or: everyone continues) dying, in the same way, also, within the Christ, all will keep on being made alive (or: in union with the Anointed One, everyone will one-after-another be created with Life)
23. - yet each person within the effect of his or her own class or division (or: result of an ordered rank; effect of place or appointed position [in line]; result of the arranged [time] or order of succession): Christ a Firstfruit (a First of the harvest), next after that, those belonging to the Christ (or: the ones who have their source and origin in the Anointing; those who are [a part] of the Christ) within the midst of, and in union with, His presence,
24. thereafter, the purposed goal and destiny (the finished work; the embodiment of maturity and perfection; the fulfillment; the result; the outcome; the end and purpose attained; the realization of the perfect discharge; or: the end; the closing act; the consummation), when He can proceed handing over (or: would progressively pass along and entrust; should, by habit, give over) the reign (or: sphere of sovereignty; kingdom) to God, even [the] Father (or: in [His] God and Father), at the time that He would bring down to idleness (make unemployed and ineffective; nullify; abolish; render useless and unproductive) every rulership of government (all headship and sovereignty), even all authority and power (or: every right, privilege and what comes out of being - also, ability)!
25. For it is binding and necessary for Him to be continuously reigning (ruling as King; exercising sovereignty) until which [time or situation] (or: until where) He would put (or: may place; could set) all the things that have or hold ruin (or: the enemies) under His feet.
26. [The] last holder of ruin (or: enemy; quality having ill-will) being progressively brought down to idleness (made unemployed and ineffective; rendered useless and unproductive) [is] the Death (or: Death, a last enemy, is being presently nullified and abolished).
27. For you see, "He completely arranges, humbly aligns and then appends and puts under shelter all humanity (or: subjoins, supportively arranges in subordination, and brings under full control, all things) under His feet (= as supporting forces in His kingdom)." [Ps. 8:6] Now whenever He should say that all humanity (or: everything) has been completely aligned and arranged under full, subjected and sheltered control, [it is] evident (clearly visible) that [it is] with the exception of, and outside of, the One subjecting the whole (or: arranging all things and situations in humble, subordinate, attached alignment) in Him, to Him and for Him.
28. Now whenever the whole (or: all things) may be completely supportively-aligned in Him (or: subjected and appended to Him; subordinately sheltered and arranged for Him), then the Son Himself will also continue being supportively aligned to, fully subjoined for and humbly attached under as an arranged shelter in, the One subjecting, appending and sheltering the whole in Him (or: attaching all things to Him), to the end that God can be all things within the midst of and in union with all humanity (or: may be everything in all things; or: should exist being All in all; or: would exist being everything, within the midst of everyone).
Then in vss. 50-57 of this same chapter we read:
50. Now I am saying this, brothers (= fellow members and believers), that flesh and blood (= humans in their estranged condition; = people of dust who have not been resurrected) have no power and continue unable to inherit or receive and participate in an allotted portion of God's reign (kingdom or sovereign action) - neither is corruption and decay (the perishable) continuing on to inherit (participate in the allotment of) the Incorruption (Imperishability).
51. See (Look and consider)! I am progressively telling you a secret ([the] mystery)! We, indeed, shall not all continue falling asleep, yet we all will continue being changed (or: On the one hand, not all of us will continue [dying], but on the other hand, we all will be progressively altered; or: We all shall not continue being put to repose, and so we all shall keep on being transformed; or: All of us shall not continue sleeping, but we all will continue being rearranged to be another or made to be otherwise),
52. within the midst of an instant (or: in union with what is uncut and indivisible), in a rapid sweep or blink of an eye, within, or in union with, the midst of the last or final trumpet. You see, the trumpet will continue sounding (or: For He will proceed to be trumpeting; Indeed, it will keep on trumpeting), and the dead people will one-after-another be awakened and raised up [A, D and others: will keep on standing back up again; will continue being resurrected] incorruptible (imperishable). And so we ourselves will keep on, one-after-another being changed (or: progressively be made otherwise, altered and transformed).
53. For it continues being necessary (it is habitually binding) for this perishable and corruptible to at some point plunge (or: sink) in and clothe itself with (or: slip on; put on) incorruption and imperishability, and for this mortal (one that is subject to death) to at some point plunge and sink in and clothe itself with (or: put on; slip on as a garment) immortality (or: the absence of death; deathlessness; undyingness).
54. Now whenever [other MSS add: this corruptible would (or: may) put on incorruption and] this mortal would (or: may) plunge, sink in and clothe itself with (or: slip on; put on) the Immortality, then will continue taking place (or: proceed being birthed; successively come into existence) the word (the thought; the message; the saying) which has been written, "The Death was drunk down and swallowed into Victory (or: overcoming)!" [Isa. 25:8]
55. "Where, O Death, [is] your victory (or: overcoming)? Where, O Death, [is] your stinger (sharp point; sting; goad; spur)?" [Hos. 13:14; note: TR reads "O Unseen (Hades)" in the second line, following the LXX and Heb.]
56. Now the sharp point and stinger of (or: the sting, thus, the injection from) the Death [is] the Sin (the mistake; the error; the failure), and the power and ability of the Sin [is] the Law.
57. But grace and joyous favor [is] in God (or: by God) - the One presently and progressively giving the Victory (or: the overcoming) to us, in us and for us through our Lord (Owner; Master), Jesus, [the] Christ!
Jesus drank down and swallowed the contents of "the cup that [His] Father [had] given to Him" (John 18:11) when He was on the cross. It was at this point that "the Death [which came through Adam's sin] was drunk down and swallowed into Victory." The Victory was His resurrection.
Now notice Paul's proclamation in vs. 57: God is "presently and progressively giving the Victory (i.e., His resurrection life) to us, and IN us," through our now being "in Christ." So it follows that we have figuratively been brought back into the Garden where there is Life. The word that the LXX uses for "garden," in Genesis, is "paradise." Recall the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, in Lu. 23:43,
"Today (This very day) you will proceed being (continue existing) with Me within the midst of Paradise."
Christ has brought us full circle, back into the place of fellowship with God. We see a figurative picture of this presented in the last two chapters of Revelation. The Vision of the Restoration (Rev. 21 and 22)
1. Then I saw "a new (new in nature; different from the usual; better than the old; superior in value and attraction; new in quality) atmosphere (or: sky; or: heaven) and a new Land (or: earth)" [Isa. 65:17; 66:22], for you see, actually, the first (former; preceding; earlier) atmosphere (or: heaven) and the first (former, preceding) Land (or: earth; soil; ground) went away (or: passed away), and the sea does not exist any longer.
2. And then I saw the set-apart (or: holy) city, a new Jerusalem, continuously (or: progressively) descending from out of the atmosphere (or: presently stepping down out of the midst of the sky; or: steadily stepping in accord, forth from heaven), [coming] from God, being prepared (having been made ready) as a bride, being arranged (having been set in order; adorned; decorated) for (or: by) her man (husband; a male person of full age and stature).
3. Next I heard a great voice from out of the throne [other MSS: atmosphere; heaven] saying, "Consider! God's tent (the Tabernacle of God) [is] with mankind (the humans), 'and He will continue living in a tent (dwell in a Tabernacle) with them, and they will continue being (will constantly exist being) His people, and God Himself will continue being with them [some MSS add: their God].' [Lev. 26:11-12; Isa. 7:14; 8:8, 10; Jer. 31:33; Ezk. 37:27; 2 Chr. 6:18]
4. "And He will continue anointing (or: progressively smear or wipe away) every tear from their eyes. And death will no longer continue existing (or: the Death shall proceed being no more) - neither will mourning (sadness; grief), nor an outcry, nor hard work (painful toil; misery) continue existing any longer ([they] will continue being no more), because the FIRST THINGS went (or: passed) away." 5. And then the One (or: He [who is]) continuously sitting upon the throne said, "Consider this! I am presently making all things new (or: habitually creating everything [to be] new and fresh; progressively forming [the] whole anew; or, reading "panta" as masculine: periodically making all humanity new; progressively creating every person anew; constantly constructing all people fresh and new; continuously renewing everyone)!"
And in chapter 22:
1. And he showed (points out to) me a river of "water of life" (or: Life's water; or: water which is Life), bright (resplendent, glistening, clear, sparkling) as crystal (clear ice), continuously flowing (issuing) forth from out of God's - even the little Lamb's - throne!
2. Within the midst of her broad place (plaza; square; street), and on each side of the river, [is] a tree (a wood; timber; a log; same word used in Gen. 2:9, LXX; figure for "the cross" in the NT) of life periodically producing twelve fruits, continually yielding (or: giving away) according to each month, and the leaves of the tree (wood; timber) [are given] for (or: into) service (nurture, care; healing or medical service; a body of household attendants) of the multitudes (nations; Gentiles; non-Jews; ethnic groups).
3. And every curse will no longer exist. And God's throne - even the Little Lamb's - will continue being (or: existing) within Her [i.e., the City], and His slaves will continue rendering sacred service to Him,
4. and will constantly see His face, and His Name [is; or: will be] upon their foreheads. 5. And night will no longer continue existing. And so they continuously have no need of the light of a lamp, or even the light of the sun, because [the] Lord [= Yahweh] God will continue giving light upon (or: will constantly illuminate) them, and they will continue reigning (performing as kings) on into the ages of the ages (or: the indefinite time periods of the eons). So we see a picture of the end returning to the beginning. Having passed through the processing of death, resurrection life brings humanity back into the presence of, and fellowship with, God, our Father.
We see another prophetic vision of this same situation of a river of life in Ezk. 47. In vs. 1 he is shown the House, or the Temple, and water was flowing out from the Door (figure of Christ) and it flowed east, then south. It became a river, and in vs. 7 we see that there were many trees on each side of the river. In vs. 8 we see that the river descends into the sea. Notice that if you follow this course on a map, starting with the Temple in Jerusalem, that the sea into which this river flows is the Dead Sea. And vs. 8 tells us that the waters of the sea "are healed."
Then verse 9 informs us that
"every living soul that swarms wherever the watercourse (or, river) is coming SHALL LIVE."
In vs. 12 we read that
"by the watercourse (or, river) along its shore on this side and on that side shall grow up every food tree. Its leaf shall not decay nor shall its fruit come to end, or of its months it shall yield frist-fruit (= Christ), for its water are they which go forth from the Sanctuary (or, temple: Christ's body); its fruit will be for food and its leaf for healing."
We saw this pictured in Rev. 22:2, above.
This has been a brief overview of the Plan and Purpose of God. You will notice that it all began on earth, and it ends on earth. Heaven - the sky and our atmosphere - is a figure for the sphere and realm of God, i.e., spirit. The Garden of Eden has now become a garden for the whole world, bringing its life to where there is death. I will end this study by returning to Rev. 22,
13. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning (Origin; Source; Headship) and the End (Goal; Finished Product; Purposed Destiny).This picture shows both the present situation, and future, of the ongoing ministry of healing and life that will continue coming to humanity through God's people, His "church."
14. "Blessed (Happy) folks [are] the ones (folks; people) continually washing their garments (equipment) [other MSS: continually doing His inner goals], to the end that their authority (or: right; privilege) will continue being over (or: upon) the tree of The Life, and they may enter into the City by the gates.
15. "Outside [are] the dogs and the sorcerers (users of drugs) and the fornicators (male prostitutes) and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone continuously fond of (being friendly to) and constantly practicing (making; doing) falsehood (deception; a lie). 17. "And now the Spirit (Breath-effect) and the Bride are continuously saying, 'Be repeatedly and/or progressively coming!' Then let the one continuing to listen and hear say, 'Be continuously coming!' And so let the person constantly thirsting continuously come; let the one habitually willing (or: intending; desiring) at once take (or: receive with the hand) Water of Life freely (or: as a free gift)."
Return To Jonathan Mitchell's Page