“The Lord of Hosts swears, ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand… This is the purpose that is purposed concerning the whole earth, and this is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. For the Lord of Hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?” (Isaiah 14:24,26-27)
God has a plan. He has a purpose concerning the whole earth. No one is able to annul God’s plan. No one is able to turn God back from His intention.
What is God’s purpose?
In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul says God’s purpose is to bless us — that is, Christians — “in the heavenly places. even as He chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:3,4) God’s purpose is also to “put all things under [Christ’s] feet” and to make Christ “head over all things” to the benefit of His church, “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22,23)
God’s purpose is to “bring many sons to glory” through Christ “for whom and by whom all things exist.” (Hebrews 2:10) God’s purpose is for us — the sons of glory — to “enter His rest.” (Hebrews 4:1) “For we who believe enter that rest.” (Hebrews 4:3)
Now God “desires to show convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable nature of His purpose, [so] He guarantees it with an oath.” (Hebrews 6:17) He swears by Himself in that “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18) Therefore, “we have this sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.” (Hebrews 6:19,20)
Who can annul God’s purpose; who can turn Him back?
Usually I do not write about “end times,” as I tend to think what is happening right now is so much more important than what is going to happen at the end of the world. Yet, this is not to imply by any means that what is going to happen in the end is not important!
Jesus speaks of “those days” often.
He says, “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.” (Mark 13: 24 – 25)
First, says Jesus, comes tribulation – terrible and final. “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be.” (Mark 13: 19) False prophets and men who claim to be God appear, and deceive many. Nations rise up against each other as do brothers and sisters, parents and children.
In more ways than one, the world is dark when Jesus comes again. He prays that this time will not be in winter. He acknowledges that God, in His mercy, will cut short the tribulation “for the sake of the elect, whom He chose.” (Mark 13: 20)
When Jesus comes, angels will go out into heaven and into the world to “gather His elect.” (Mark 13: 27)
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” (Mark 13: 33)
“For, because you trusted in your works and your treasures, you also shall be taken.” “And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad — in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls — she was told, ‘The older shall serve the younger’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!” (Romans 9: 10 – 14) Neither our heritage nor our works make us right with God. Having all the treasure in the world does not make us right in His sight. “So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills. You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its maker, ‘Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay?” (Romans 9: 18 – 21) Yes, we are clay — we are all alike. We come from the same father, Adam — just as Jacob and Esau come from the same father, Isaac. Yes, God is the potter. He made and owns the clay. Yes, He has all rights over us. He is allowed. “But to all who do receive Him, who believe in His Name, He gives the right to become children of God, who are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1: 12 – 13)