WHO IS THE MASTER PLANNER?
The aim of this section is to learn about God, the Father, and to consider the origin of the Lord Jesus Christ and why this is of importance to us.
We will start this section by identifying who the Master Planner really is. We will find out more about His nature and even His name. We will look at how the planner has become a Father and how His power helps make sure the plan is realised.
3.1 Who is the Planner?
That seems like a fair enough question. We have been spending some time on this Master Plan, but what about the actual Master Planner? Well back in Numbers 14v21 we learnt that the plan belongs to the God of Israel who was talking to Moses on Mount Sinai. The planner is therefore the God of Israel who is also the creator of heaven and earth (Isaiah 45v12).
3.2 What is His Name?
Now that we know that God is the Master Planner, we will want to get to know the Planner better. The best place to go to find out more about the Planner is to His Word, the Bible. The Bible gives us plenty of information about God and even tells us about His name.
In Exodus 3v13-15 Moses asks for God's name. It is here that the name of God is specifically revealed as 'YHWH'. Although most versions of the Bible translate this name into the common noun 'LORD', it is generally agreed that it should remain a proper noun, as the personal name of God. Literally interpreted the name means the "Eternal One" or "He who was, and is, and will be". God's name is directly linked to the Master Plan.
When God revealed His glory to Moses in Exodus 34v5-7, we understood that He professed his character to Moses. A closer look at the verses reveals that He proclaimed His name, YHWH, to Moses, which encapsulates His character and purpose.
3.3 What is the purpose of the name?
God's name, YHWH, is in fact a family name. That is, God intends many people to bear the name, much like a surname in our modern day culture. It is a name which is given to God's saints, those who choose to reveal God's glory in their lives;
"Simeon hath declared how God at first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name" (Acts 15v14 -AV).
From this we see three closely related concepts which all provide different views of God's Master Plan.
We have God's Glory revealed through His name which encapsulates his character.
From this we can see that one day the earth will be full of people bearing the name of God (Revelation 3v12, Zechariah 14v9). Zechariah 14v9 clearly states that God's name will one day be the only name. All people will be bearers of His name and His glory will fill the earth.
3.4 What is the Nature of God?
- God is Eternal
God's life has neither beginning nor end, He is eternal (1 Timothy 1v17 ) "who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see" (1 Timothy 6v16) . He says of Himself "It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshalled their starry hosts" (Isaiah 45v12)
- God is Spirit
God is described a being a 'Spirit' or 'Power'.
"God is spirit and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth," (John 4v24).
- God cannot be Tempted
God is not subject to evil desires like we are. He cannot be tempted to do wrong and therefore he does not have the potential to sin.
"...For God cannot be tempted by evil..." (James 1v13) . Note that this is where God, the Father, is quite different from Jesus Christ, His son. We learnt in the last session that Jesus was "tempted every way, just as we are." (Hebrews 4v15)
- God cannot live with sin
God refuses to live with sin. He has made a plan for sinners to be reconciled (brought back to Him) but will not live with sinners on a permanent basis.
"who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see." (1 Timothy 6v16)
- God is Omnipotent
That's a pretty big word - but it simply means that God is all powerful - in fact God claims to be the only power. God claims to rule in the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4v17) and also proclaims that He is the one and only God (Isaiah 45v5-7). Note: This implies that there is only one real power in the Universe ( the word 'God' actually means power). God is responsible for everything that happens both good and "bad", (Isaiah 45 v 7).
- God is Omnipresent
Another big word with a simple meaning. This means that God is everywhere present. In other words there is no where we can go to hide from God, (Psalm 139v7-12).
- God is Omniscient
The last of our big words. This one simply means that God knows everything. There is no thought or desire that is hidden from God. He knows all things including what is going to happen in the future, (Isaiah 46v9-10, Matthew 10v30).
3.5 When did God become a Father?
In the Old Testament God is revealed primarily by his name YHWH. He is described as the God and redeemer of Israel. There is very little reference to God as a Father in the Old Testament. In fact the references that do exist refer to God as a Father in the future tense. The promise to David is a good example;
"I will be his father, and he shall be my son," (2 Samuel 7v14).
In contrast, God is primarily revealed as a Father in the New Testament. From this it can be seen that God was not always a Father. He became a Father once His son was born to the virgin Mary.
"The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God,"
The writer to the Hebrews also speaks of God as becoming a Father at a specific point in time;
"For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son; Today I have become your Father?' " (Hebrews 1v5).
We are now able to join in this special relationship with the Master Planner. His calling is for us to join His family and for Him to be our Father. God has extended His love for us to be His sons and daughters.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!" (1 John 3v1).
In Romans, Paul talks about God's desire to have us as His adopted children;
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' " (Romans 8v15).
This all links back to God's Master Plan. If we become members of God's family, it is natural that we then bear His name. Like with any family, all members bear the same family name, which we call a surname.
God wants to fill the earth with His family, His own sons and daughters. Once this is achieved His name will fill the whole earth. If His name is the only name, then His glory will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea and the plan will be a reality!
The prayer that Jesus taught his disciples, the Lord's prayer, is really the family's prayer which encapsulates all we have been saying;
"Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6v9).
Let's take a look at the words shown above from the Lord's prayer. The prayer starts by emphasising the fact that God is our Father - the family relationship we have been discussing. We have seen that because God is our Father and we are His children we become bearers of His name. Hence the next line focuses on the importance of God's name. How will God's name eventually be hallowed in all the world? We have answered this before when we asked the question in Lesson 2, How will the Master Plan be realised? Thy Kingdom come. The kingdom is the means by which God will realise the Master Plan. The Lord's prayer confirms this conclusion - the implication is that when the kingdom comes, the will of God will eventually be done on earth. In other words the kingdom will be the means by which God's will or His glory will cover the earth. Let's keep praying this all important prayer!
3.6 What is the Power of God?
The spirit of God is His Power or energy by which He created the world (Psalm 104v30, Genesis 1v2) and keeps us all alive (Job 34v14,15).
The Holy Spirit literally means a 'separate' or 'set apart' spirit. So it seems that God has His 'everyday' power called the Spirit of God and His 'set apart' power called the Holy Spirit. The natural question to ask is 'What is this Holy Spirit set apart or separated for?' It seems evident from examples of its use in the Bible that the Holy Spirit is God's power set apart specifically for the outworking of the Master Plan. The Holy Spirit is the driving force or power behind the Master Plan of God. Two examples of its use will illustrate this point.
The first example of how God uses his Holy Spirit is the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ. The angel Gabriel explains to Mary how Almighty God would become the Father of her child when he said "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1v35 ). So here we see the Holy Spirit being active in the conception of the key to God's Master Plan. A second example is in the writing of the Bible as explained by Peter,
"For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter1v21).
The Bible is the record of God's Master Plan. The Holy Spirit was responsible for its recording.
3.7 Why is it important to know
the Master Planner?
As we have seen many times before God is intent on filling the earth with His character. A knowledge and intimate understanding of God's character is therefore critical for anyone who desires to participate in God's plan. God demands that we get to know about Him, and believe in Him, and His Master Plan for this world, in order that we may be part of it and be given eternal life. Jesus himself said "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent" (John 17v3) . The writer of the letter to the Hebrews adds that "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him" (Hebrews 11v6).
God has primarily revealed His character to us through the life of Jesus. He has been the only person who has truly manifested the character of God, his Father. So much so that he was able to say "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14v9) . "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being" (Hebrews 1v3).
There are many passages in the Bible that help us to understand more about God's character. In Romans Paul summarises God's character as being that of Goodness and Severity;
"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God" (Romans 11v22 - AV)
God's most important and overriding characteristic which speaks of His goodness is His love. John confirms this for us in his first letter;
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him" (1 John 4v16).
He is also a God of mercy and longsuffering. A closer look at the verses 17-21 before the key passage in Numbers 14v21 gives a clear example of God's mercy. Moses appeals for God's mercy not to destroy Israel because of their gross disobedience. Because of His mercy He relents but confirms His statement of intent with the earth through the words of Numbers 14v21. God is merciful, but His mercy will not compromise His intent to fill the earth with His glory.
And so there is also a severity aspect to God's character. God will eventually cut off all those who are preventing the realisation of His plan. Paul speaks of this day of judgement in Acts;
"In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a say when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead" (Acts 17v30-31).
We have learnt that:
- God, the creator of heaven and earth, is the Master Planner.
- He is revealed by His name, YHWH.
- His name represents His character and we are able to bear His name.
- He has a unique nature;
- He is eternal
- He is Spirit
- He cannot be tempted
- He cannot live with sin
- He is omnipotent
- He is omniscient
- He is omnipresent
- He became a Father when His son Jesus was born. We are called to be His children.
- The Holy Spirit is the power of God that He uses to implement His Master Plan.
- We are called to show forth God's character in the same way as the Lord Jesus did.
WHO IS THE MASTER PLANNER?
The Master Planner is God, who is revealed through His name, YHWH, and has chosen to be the Father of those who love Him.
5. Additional References
The following references provide additional support for the issues raised above:
6.1 The Character of God
Exodus 20v5-6, Numbers 23v19, 1 Kings 8v23, Psalm 139v1-12, Isaiah 40v25-26, Isaiah 45v5-13,18-19, Isaiah 46v9, Jeremiah 32v17-19, Mark 12v29, Ephesians 4v6, Hebrews 12v29.
6.2 God Creates Good and Evil
Exodus 4v11, Deuteronomy 32v39, Job 2v10, Isaiah 45v7, Amos 3v6.
Lesson 6 Questions
Check the correct answer to each question, and then submit them. Occasionally a question may require more than one correct answer.