Does the Bible Have a Theme?
God's Plan for Mankind Revealed
Every book has a theme; the story line and development as well as underlying plot. God's Word the Bible, which is the most widely read and distributed book in man's history is no exception. From Genesis to Revelation there is a recurring theme and stated purpose throughout.. So what is the theme of the Bible? That's what we will now discuss, Truth is...
Let's begin with Genesis; why? Because that is where the beginning of humankind is explained.; it's where God's original purpose for mankind is given as well as how the process of that purpose's fulfillment was interrupted...
We see in Genesis after God had created all the the Earth it'self and all the living creatures in the sea, air and land; He then created man, Adam and placed him in the garden of Eden, instructing him to cultivate it. Adam was given dominion over all the creatures upon the earth and given charge to name them. All was at Adam's disposal and all that was created served a purpose implicitly for man's benefit; from the sun providing light and heat, to the frolicking animals that entertained him and the beauty of the flowers and land. Even today do we not marvel at these very things? Who among us can resist the splendor of a panoramic view or the intricacy and beauty of a flower; not to mention our fascination over the mysteries of science, space, and all things around us! Indeed the earth was created for habitation by mankind.
Consider too that there exist things on earth and in the heavens essential to sustaining human life: The air we breath and how it is replenished by plant life as that very same plant life takes in what we emit, carbon, and regenerates it into life sustaining oxygen. The base composition of our body is made of water, and two thirds of the earth is covered with it! Then too the vegetation provides food that regenerates us also.
Those of us who have come to know GOD know that He is a God of order; with that thought in mind we see that He next created Eve to be as the bible describes: a "help-meet". Even then from the very begining of our existence it was established that then male of the species was the one God placed in the position of headship; it was the man who first received instruction from God and then passed that instruction along to the woman. That this is the desired proces God intended is borne out throughout the bible; but we won't get too far ahead of ourselves...
So here we have man, Adam and eve; placed in a garden-like setting and told to basically expand that garden until the entire earth became what we know as a "garden paradise". Imagine, God's original puropose for us was to live in a worldwide paradise! Hold that thought! God also had another purpose for man: to live and never die. That's right, God intended for humans to live right here on earth forever and never taste death! Think about that, Adam could actually still be alive today! To verify this let's turn to Genesis 3:22-24:"...and the Lord GOD said, 'behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good from evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever ...so He(God) drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims (powerful angels), and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life". That "Tree of Life is also mentioned in chapter 2, verse 9 of Genesis; so what about that tree?
Although it is mentioned in the bible the tree of life is very seldom talked about in today's church; the reason being that to discuss it in any real detail would require teaching more clearly just what God's plan for man really is. Rather, it is commonplace to expound the erroneous teaching that when we die we are going to heaven and the wicked (those not meeting the church's standards) all go to hell. This tree, the tree of life, actually did and still does exist. It's fruit in whatever form it holds (which the bible never mentions...it could have been in a shape and color that never has been seen by us) , that fruit is what would enable man to replenish and regenerate, it is what would enable man to be immortal, to live forever and never die. That is why God posted the very powerful Cherubims as well as the turning sword there: to keep man and anyone else from gaining access to that three and it's fruit. That is why GOD(Jehovah) told Adam that the day he ate of that fruit he would surely die; because on that very day he would no longer be permitted access to the life-sustaining fruit of the tree of life. Upon being banished from the garden and thereby the fruit of the tree of life, Adam began to deteriorate with no recourse or relief which prior to that would have been available to him. Just as we grow old and gradually weaker and susceptible to death, so too became Adam and Eve, and all their offspring leading up to us now. That same tree is mentioned throughout the bible all the way up to Revelation. (more on that in a moment)
Back to Genesis and the garden of Eden. When man rebelled against God's instruction and thus his rulership; God (Jehovah) knew right away what needed to be done to correct the situation. What situation was this? Well, reading the account of when the serpent approached Eve we see that at his informing Eve that upon eating of the fuit of the tree of life she would become like God in that she would then be able to tell good from evil and thus basically make her own decisions, that was when eating the fruit became something appealing to Eve. While not telling an outright lie, (eating the fruit would and did in effect give her the ability to know good from evil); Satan impliedthat God had a selfish or inappropriate reason for not wanting man to have that ability. God in fact did not want them to know the difference as it was and still is not within man's capability to properly handle such authority. Up until their rebelling against God, all man had to do was listen to God's instruction and reap the benefit of having the expertise of the creator to guide them. It's obvious through reflection that God had man's well being and happiness at the forefront given the way He went about providing everything man needed including a means of living forever; so who better to decide what was good for man...or not? Therefore, by omitting the fact that it was in man's best interest to accept God's rulership and authority; Satan became the "Father of the LIE". To tell some of the truth or hide the whole truth is still lying. (a point well to be considered by those who teach God's word)
Right then in the garden of Eden, God's right to rule, his sovereignty, was challenged; and by perpetrating this rebellion, Satan basically issued the same challenge in heaven. (more on that in a moment also).
So what have we learned so far? We've learned that God created man with the intent that we live forever and never die and that we do that living here on earth. To further establish that we are in fact meant to live forever here on earth, let's read Ecclesiastes 1:4:"One generation passeth away, and another cometh: but the earth abideth forever"; now turn to Isaiah45:18:"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited...". So if God created the earth to last forever, and also to be inhabited, what about the teaching that we are going to heaven? Well, let's see what GOD says; turn your bible to Psalms 115:16 which reads:" The heaven, even the the heavens are the LORD's; but the earth He hath given to the children of men". Next, we'll read Proverbs 10:30:" The righteous will never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth" ; then Psalms 37:11:"But the meek shall inherit the earth...", and verse 22:"..."for such as be blessed of him(GOD). shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off". Notice that in all these verse no mention is made of us going to heaven when we die or anyone suffering in a burning hell. It said the wicked would simply be cut off.Also, in keeping with the biblle's true theme, Revelation 21:2 says:"and I John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming downfrom GOD out of heaven..."If New Jerusalem was coming down from heaven where else would it be coming down to but to earth? In fact, when giving the Lord's prayer as we call it, Jesus said to pray:"Let your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven...". This was in preparation to the fact that Jesus knew upon his own resurrection he would return to heaven in answer to Satan's challenge there and oust him(Satan) from heaven and establish the rightfulness of Jehovah's sovereignty there(heaven). As you may know, Satan did recruit many erstwhile angels (now demons) to rebel against God also; he even tried to entice Jesus to do so while on earth.
Yes,when Satan threw out the challenge of God's rule, that challenge included all those who were in heaven, including Jesus. Jesus being the very first of all God had created. What? Jesus was created? Well why don't we let God's word answer; go to Colossians 1:15. See where it says that Jesus was the first fruits of all creation? Yes, that means that Jesus was the very first thing Jehovah created. the following verses in Colossians explain that Jesus was then given the authority and power to create all other things that exist, including Satan. Further, except in more modern translations of the bible John 3:16 says that God loved the world so much that He gave his only begotten son. Newer translations simply say He (God) gave his son; why? Because the word "begotten" denotes that Jesus was given birth to or created. Sadly, the removal in newer translations of the word begotten shows a deliberate and conscious effort to hide, deny or otherwise detract from the whole truth about Jesus and God.
Now ask yourself:Is GOD a failure? At Isaiah 55:11 GOD says:"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it". Given these words it would stand to reason that God's original stated purpose for man: to live forever in a paradise earth, would and will come to be! That's why way back in the garden of Eden when man sinned God gave the prophecy of the woman's seed "bruising the head" of the serpent(Satan). Right then and there He knew the solution to the issue Satan had contrived. He would send forth Jesus to redeem mankind by living as a perfect human his entire life even under extreme and dire circumstances and still submit to God's will and rule as borne out in Jesus' own words while praying (who was he praying to, himself?) at Matthew 26:39:"...O Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: never the less not as I will, but as thou will...".For our sakes, Jesus proved that a perfect human would remain faithful, thus opening the door for God to restore us to perfection and access to the tree of life at the right time. Jesus' submission is emphasized again by his words in verse 53:" Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? Yes, Jesus could have easily said it was just too hard a thing to do and asked God to rescue him and then we would really be in trouble! But Jesus was more concerned with carrying out his role in supporting God as the rightful ruler over all things in creation, including himself. Once Jesus fully submitted and was later restored in heaven the challenge was resolved there and Satan was kicked out of heaven, cast down to earth for punishment to come at a later time after it is proven that even imperfect humans will give it their all to submit willingly to Jehovah as rightful sovereign. Throughout the prophecies in the old testament Jesus' coming was foretold as this recurring theme started in Genesis is repeated again and again. Jesus did not come to liberate the Jews, but rather to set the stage for the liberating of ALL mankind.
While on earth, Jesus did something else; he demonstrated a preview of what was to come at the establishing of God's kingdom on earth. He healed the sick, raised the dead and showed that with God, allthings are possible. That's why he took his time seeing about Lazarus, his dear and loved friend, whom he allowed to die and then begin to decompose before calling him out from his tomb. Jesus thereby showed that he through God's power can and will raise the many who suffer and die back to life with the same mind, body, memory, and personality just as Lazarus had when he was resurrected. This again goes to the theme of the bible, God's original purpose, how it was interrupted, and his plan and efforts to restore the carrying out of that purpose.
Yes, that is the theme of the bible. What God purposed for us, how it was disrupted and how He will restore that purpose. The scriptures between Genesis and Revelation go into much detail of how God allowed man to try every sort of government and lifestyle, all of which inevitably fail, to further show that it is much better to accept his rulership and decision making. Those verses also show that Jehovah has a willingness to go a very long way in order to keep the door open for us to establish and maintain a relationship with him as that of children and their loving parent who seeks to benefit them and knows what is best for them. Don't you as a parent feel you know what's best for your children? All the more so with Jehovah who indeed is the ultimate father!
In the end this wonderful and well maintained, resilient book, the bible holds true to it's them by saying at Revelation 2:7: "He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of GOD".
In the future as in several articles by Truth Is... already, this subject shall be expanded upon. But it is the will of God that you now know that the bible does indeed have a theme and we are well served to learn it, align ourself with it, and share it with others. Until the next article I encourage you to pray and then Pray anyway!